Video is a visual art form that allows us to connect with other people and learn about their experiences. It’s how we share ideas, like that new recipe you’re going to make when you get home tonight. Of course we can read about these experiences and ideas, but video opens a window and makes us look in. So how do you hold someone’s interest now that you’ve gotten their attention?
Show me something.
There’s nothing better than compelling visuals. Action and movement. Beautiful landscapes. And don’t forget about audio.
As a former broadcast journalist, I always keep my ears open for what’s called “natural sound”. If you see a person running in a video, can you hear their sneakers hitting the pavement? Use that as a short clip in your film – a “pop” of sound – and all of a sudden, the viewer is transported to running along with the person on screen.
Another tip – visualize your interviews. What do I mean by this? If you’re interviewing a graphic designer for their company’s website, don’t just settle for the interview. Film the designer working on a project, going for a walk, eating lunch with their
co-workers— because this is what video is made for. The more diverse your footage is, the better. I could get technical, but I’ll save that for another time.
Tell me something.
Going back to what I said about video allowing us to look in: it’s about telling a story, using images to convey a message. What drives you to share a video on social media? It’s because you feel something after watching it. We laugh. We cry. We’re inspired because we’ve learned something we never would have known before. Most importantly, maybe we can relate.
An added bonus – the element of surprise. Whether you set up your narrative with a punchline, or just move in another direction we weren’t expecting, you’ll find some happy viewers around the corner.
If you can’t surprise your audience, then deliver them with a video that is useful. Teach them something – like those short & sweet cooking videos. Tell them about a new product and why they need it in their lives – whether personally or professionally – and make it fun!
Music is another great way to set the tone of your messaging and flashing text on screen can call attention to something you want to stand out.
Keep it short.
I’m used to producing short videos (think 90 seconds) and here’s why you should as well. How do we have time to watch all of the videos that get posted online? We don’t. That’s why I recommend keeping your videos under three minutes and shorter if you can. Of course, there’s an exception to everything. If you have an amazing story to tell, your visuals are compelling, and it’s useful, then I will be glued to the screen for the next 20 minutes (and so will you).
For me, video storytelling will always be extremely gratifying. Whether it’s sharing how a patient has overcome a life-threatening illness or finding out what’s made a company build amazing success over the last 40 years. I’ve worked in front and behind the camera. In the edit bay and on the set. But the best part about it is being let into someone else’s life for a brief moment or being taken somewhere new.