question mark on blackboard videos

Video is becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. It’s more compelling and engaging than most mediums. But oftentimes, too much time gets spent on production quality, rather than the messaging. If you are a video production company serving small to medium sized businesses, the messaging and marketing of the video usually isn’t completely worked out. Your clients will be far happier if you help them in this regard, and the results will speak for themselves.

Clients of all shapes and sizes approach us knowing that video is a fantastic way to engage with audiences but haven’t thought of the action they want the video to create. Whenever we engage with new or old clients, we start by asking questions.

Here are 5 questions you should ask that will create a better video:

1) What’s the purpose of the video?

Working backwards is a great place to start in the pre-production process. By asking the purpose, it will give you a much better idea of the shots you need to get and what the product should look like. If the purpose is for brand awareness, you’ll want to keep it short and sweet. If it is to sell a product or service, you’ll want to include more details but still keep the pacing up. If the purpose is for education, clarity and simplicity reign supreme.

2) How are people going to watch the video?

This is perhaps the most overlooked part of video production. You could create the best video in the world, but if no one watches—does it even matter? No. So organizations need to have some sort of distribution strategy in place for the video to be seen. If they don’t, we’d recommend you yell from the rooftops about the importance of a distribution strategy. This is where marketing expertise comes into play. If you don’t feel comfortable in this area, see if they’ve got someone who you can collaborate with. Ultimately, if you produce good work and it gets seen by the right audience, you are going to have a very happy client with tangible results.

Some common examples of distribution:

  • Posting and boosting the video through Facebook
  • Uploading and promoting it through YouTube’s advertising platform
  • Direct distribution from sales staff
  • Embedding it on a website (if their website doesn’t draw a lot of traffic, they should use at least one other distribution channel)
  • Television ad buy

3) Who’s the target audience?

Knowing who the video is going to be tailored to is extremely important. And don’t let your client get away with saying adults 25-54 years old.

The typical target used to be based on demographic and geographic factors. With the rise of the digital age, and the ability to obtain more data about customers, this has expanded to include psychographic and behavioral segmentation.

dart on board representing targeting

Figuring out the target audience is essential for production.

Important factors which completely change the way the video should be produced and distributed are:

Demographic factors:

  • Age – A video designed for people 65+ years old should look nothing like a video designed to engage young adults.
  • Education – Communicating to professionals with advanced degrees vs. high school graduates looks different.
  • Industry – Various industries use jargon and operate in certain systems which need special consideration.
  • Income – Similar to education, a video which appeals to a millionaire often looks considerably different than one designed for someone in the middle class.
  • Gender – Especially important if the large majority are a specific gender. If the video is designed for a male heavy audience, it should certainly be considered before you start filming.
  • Marital Status – Usually not top of mind, but very important.
  • Religion – If religion is a factor, the religion’s values and beliefs should be factored in.

Geographic factors:

  • Urban vs. Rural – The divide between urban vs. rural continues to grow in America.
  • Specific Cities/Counties – Douglas County, Colorado looks considerably different than Denver County, Colorado
  • States – There are considerable differences between states which might be relevant
  • Region – A video designed for a West Coast audience might look different than one being designed for an East Coast audience.
  • Domestic/International – What may seem completely normal could be completely outlandish to an international audience

Psychographic factors:

  • Activities, Interests, and Opinions (AIOs) – This is a very broad category which might have many layers. A video targeting current mountain bikers should look distinct from a video which targets dancers. Another example would be a video targeted at Republicans vs. Democrats.
  • Lifestyle – We all live different lifestyles. Lifestyle psychographics can often be seen in the banking and auto industries.
  • Values/Attitudes/Beliefs – People are raised different and have a set of values, attitudes, and beliefs. These often carry a tremendous amount of weight to people. The worst videos are usually because they insult someone’s core values, attitudes, or beliefs.
  • Personality – In our last blog post we talked about brand personality. If a brand has a developed personality, then you can target people’s personalities which would match.

Behavioral factors:

  • Purchasing Behavior – How do they make a purchasing decision? This is tremendously helpful when creating videos which look to generate more sales. What information do the client’s customers want when buying a product?
  • Customer Journey Stage – When they see the video, are they getting introduced for the first time, or do they already know quite a bit?
  • Occasion/Timing – Christmas videos in May aren’t good (some would disagree).
  • User Status – A video designed for new customers vs. returning customers might look different.
  • Interest unknown – Are you reaching out to people who are already interested in what you are showing, or is their interest unknown?

If you aren’t currently thinking about all these factors, we highly recommend trying to implement them into your pre-production process. Not only will you learn more about your client, you’ll have a much better video. It may seem like quite a lot to digest, especially if you don’t have a marketing background. But once you’ve begun to consistently ask and think about these factors, it becomes second nature.

Also, the more work you do for the same client, you’ll already have a lot of this worked out.

4) Where will the video be filmed?

This question opens the door for dialogue about the time and effort the video might take, as well as the ability to shift the location if the client has a location which won’t be suitable. When there is a video which will require filming in a dozen locations, the cost considerations will rise tremendously compared to a shoot which requires one location.

A client might not recognize at first how much location filming adds to the cost. Every location requires travel, as well as set up and take-down of the equipment. If the locations can be consolidated, you’ll save your client money and add value to your video. Happier clients = more work.

5) What problem does the video solve?

It’s similar to the first question about purpose, but it’s distinct enough that it should be talked about. The purpose of a video might be to increase sales, but how does that solve a problem which the client currently has?

Perhaps they have a problem showing clients visuals of the product which set your client apart from the competition. Perhaps the problem is framing the product on how it makes a difference. If you understand how your video is solving a problem, then the script/outline of the video can specifically address that problem.

Video has inherent advantages. It is both compelling and engaging. It can be a powerful tool to educate audiences, increase sales, or change minds. If you start out the pre-production process by asking these five questions, the end video will be a much better product. You’ll be happy that your video was more successful and on-target, and the client will receive a lot more value.