How to use video to explain complex products and services
Video can be an extremely effective tool to explain a complex topic.Â The real power of video is that it can engage several aspects of the audiences mind at once: the senses of sight and sound as well as the emotional & the analytical.Â If produced with these goals in mind, all of these aspects can be tapped in to.
The other trait of video that is especially handy is that (unlike a conversation) video can be meticulously crafted and perfected so that the right message is delivered CONSISTENTLY every single time, 24/7, globally.
These are great features, right? But it’s not always so easy to know how to create and release content that fully takes advantage of all these characteristics. Here are some hard-won lessons I’ve accumulated (over the past decade or so producing content in San Francisco content gamer, tech and geek audiences ) that I hope will help you produce content that works for your goals:
Know Your Audience: *It sounds like common sense but it’s easy to stray. You have to keep them in mind at each step: know what they want and what will turn them off.
Respect Your Audience: This one is also tougher than it seems, especially when time and money are short. Make the decisions that are good for your audience and it will come back to you. It’s a balance though, it has to be reasonable and “do-able”.
Define Your Goal: *One video, One goal. I like to think of video like a tool (hammer,Â saw or screwdriver). These tools are effective because they do one thing really well. Try and accomplish just one thing with each video and you chances of success skyrockets.*
*Keep it Simple: *It’s tempting to want to explain everything. It’s also hard to know what to throw out. If you keep in mind the audience and the goals, it’s easier to know what fits in that box, and more importantly, what doesn’t.**
Give Creativity Room to Breathe: Great ideas don’t just happen and you can’t sit at desk and decide for genius to strike.Â I find creativity works best when I’m able to learn all I can about a project , then forget it for a while – then inspiration strikes later when I’m more relaxed (bed, shower, walking the dog) and not laser-focused on solving the issue.
Elicit Emotion: By using inspirational words, emotional music and beautiful imagery you can really light up your audience’s emotions which will tend to keep people engaged.
Tell a Story: A story with a beginning, middle and end, also keeps people engaged. By conforming to a story structure you ensure the audience will want to hear how it ends, giving you the time you need to show and tell.
Be Critical: Once you’ve had plenty of time to brainstorm, it’s time to edit like a real bastard. Resist the temptation to fall in love with your ideas, which can always be improved. You have to remain a vigilant audience advocate and keep asking yourself “but really, why would the audience care?”
Motion Graphics: Are a very effective way to illustrate complex points. By creating visual metaphors that visually explain the points you want to make, you can help people grasp concepts more that are best absorbed by their more visual side of the brain. The catch is that if you decide you want/need to use motion graphics, it can take time to design and animate.Â You really don’t want to skimp on motion graphics – they probably won’t look good and can backfire.
Make it ‘Share-worthy’: In the age of social media and free distribution of video (via You Tube) the opportunity now exists to get wide & free distribution, but the effective barrier to entry is ‘sharability’. If you try and force-feed your audience marketing drivel, they won’t appreciate it – or share your video. If you go to the other extreme, you may be able to make a viral video, but it probably won’t have very much brand message in it to be so sharable. I advise trying to strike a balance where the audience is appealed to enough to make it sharable (to the target audience) but that helps get the message across enough that it probably takes it out of the viral video contender category.
Understand Your Sales Funnel: By creating video content that helps address the concerns and questions of your audience at each tier of your sales funnel, you can help facilitate easier audience understanding of your complex product or service.Â When people search the internet for answers, your content can be what they find, making you a thought leader and a more likely solutions provider. But you have to make the content first for this to work!
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