I recently released a promotional video for my business (my animation blog). It was professionally recorded at a high end studio, edited, color corrected, and generally took a while to produce to the level I wanted it to be. It also wasn’t meant for promoting any products, or even attract new people to my website.
This video was created as a brand asset.
In general, these kind of introductory videos (also referred to as explainer videos) are used to explain what a certain service/software is about. It’s between 1-4 minutes long and it quickly gives a new visitor an idea of what they can expect if they sign in/buy that service.
That was not the main reason I created the video.
Why did I make this video?
You might think I created this video to be used as some kind of “trailer” for my website. Something I can put on my YouTube channel and drive more people to my site.
While this was part of the motivation behind it, I actually didn’t even have new visitors in mind when I wrote this video. I wanted to give my existing audience a glance into my story. I wanted to bring them closer to my world in hope to strengthen the trust, value and brand equity my website has.
I wanted existing readers who might have felt weary of making a purchase, or subscribing, to feel more comfortable trusting me and my products.
By having a professional video produced for your business, you send a message that you are here to stay, and that hopefully your are someone people can trust with their time, attention, or money. I was showing the face that stands behind the business.
Other good reasons to have a promotional video
I wanted to have a video on my homepage. What I had before was a photo of me, and some text to the right of it. Now I have a video beside that text. It’s much easier for people to simply click a play button than it is to read a bunch of information. Especially if it’s their first time on the site. I mean, who cares?
It’s always good to have a nice looking video in your arsenal, so you have something to send people if you need to provide some basic information about your business.
The thought process behind the story in the video
Because this video was meant to mostly increase the brand value (as opposed to promoting a specific thing) I wanted to tell the big story behind the brand without getting too much into specifics. I wanted it to be able to stand on its own as a promotional video, regardless of what’s going on in my business at the moment, at least for the next few of years.
You should probably watch the video before reading further, as I will be breaking down the structure of the video:
So what’s the story?
The main points I wanted to touch on, that I felt were timeless (as they were the core features of the business) were:
- Making animated shorts
- Showing behind the scenes of those shorts
- Being a learning platform
- How my story has led me to create this website
I then had to construct the story in an interesting way, by creating some kind of “story arc”. I broke it down to 5 parts:
1. How it all started (AKA – a fun memory)
I like to go straight into a personal story, instead of some cliche’ opening that sounds scripted. In my original script I was going to go straight into the memory of how I made my first “making of” video after college. In the final edit. though, I decided to go with a joke on the whole straight face delivery of a line and start laughing in sort of an out-take kind of way. This might be a cliche’ as well, but I liked the way it turned out.
This is the point of a story where something changes for the main character. The tipping point, call to action, whatever you wanna call it. This is where I talk about realizing that people love watching behind the scenes and making-of videos (as do I) and that this could be a main focus point for me.
This is the part of the story where I decide to take action on my realization, in the form of making another animated short, but this time document the whole making process.
The “Where are we today” part of the story, showing briefly how far the business has grown since that first video into something bigger. Again, I didn’t go into specifics here, but I did try to show that we are about more than video tutorials. We are a learning platform, a book publisher, a movie production studio – all in one place.
Closing (or summarizing) is always one of the hardest parts. It’s easy to fall into cliche’s or just boring repetition. I tried to find the quickest most to-the-point way to close up the video, and I did it with one sentence.
“I love making animated films, and if people like watching the process of making those films, that’s a pretty good deal.”
Why think about structure so much?
It’s easy, when making a video like that, to just write a minute long description of your business, showing a few products or whatever service you have to offer and call it a day, but that’s the wrong way to go about it.
These kind of explainer videos/trailers are suppose to tell a story. Telling a story is an art form, and not something that should be done without thinking. I worked a long time on refining this 5 part story arc before getting into the wording. Even if your business seems boring, you still need to do your best to capture people’s attention, and the best way to do that is by telling them a story.
Stick your product in their faces and you could lose them right of the bat. Tell them a story they can identify with, empathize with them, and you might grab their attention for long enough to get them hooked into your brand.