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Getting started with video



Our guest blogger today is Colin Ramsay from Little Dragon Films.


Getting into video can seem a little daunting, getting it right first time can be harder. What type of video content is best for your brand?  How do you engage an audience with video? As the market and demand for video rapidly evolves I find conversations are more often about ‘what type of video should I do?’, rather than, ‘why should I use video?’ The reasons for using video are compelling and if you’re late to the party you can read more about it here here and here.


It is more useful to share some background knowledge on the types of video content that you could start with to help generate some ideas. Video allows so much scope - you are only bound by your imagination and budget so it’s good to know what the main building blocks are so you can plan to create some truly unique content. 




An example of Colin's work. 


What do you want to achieve?

Video reaches your audience like no other medium can, so you should always start with the question - what do I want this video to do? You may want to enhance brand awareness, drive SEO or promote a new product or service. The more clear and focused you are about what you want to achieve the better the end results (and the person behind the camera will love you for it!) Secondly, start thinking about what sorts of things would appeal to your audience through sound and vision whilst staying true to your brand. 


The main types of video content

The promo - the cruise missile of video content, essentially a targeted 1-2 minute, call-to-action video to promote your product or service in a polished, engaging, highly concentrated way that will increase conversion rates and generate lots of sales opportunities. Here’s an example from the Dollar Shave Club.


The about us - bring your ‘about us’ page to life by showing off your story, your personal ‘why’ and your team. It emotionally connects your audience with your brand, the journey you're on and increases trust with your customers. I really like the way that marketing agency Quirk have approached this.


The (fictional) Story - sometimes the best way to communicate your messages is by offering your audience a fictional narrative that highlights the issues that matter most. It can be clever, funny, exciting or even scary and you can let your imagination run wild. I love the video Rainforest Alliance produced for their "Follow the Frog" campaign and the results speak for themselves. 


Tutorials - Don't tell your audience how to do something, show them. Get out in the field do your thing and take your audience through a step-by-step guide on how to use a product or technique, as Jamie Oliver does below with his tips on making perfect scrambled eggs. There is no better way to share knowledge (bar being in the room with them) and the feedback through comments is invaluable to your business. Also you could encourage product users to do their own video tutorials/reviews and reward the best ones.


Explainer - If you have a lot of information to get across in a short space of time or you want to explain a complex process then you need an explainer video. Your customers will rarely have time to read a ten-page document but they will watch a 2-minute video, animation is also great for this. We like the animation we produced for the UN, explaining the process behind the selection for the UN secretary general in a video called 1 for 7 billion. 


Interviews - interview videos are the perfect way to inject some authority into your marketing content. Thought leaders, partners or any of your senior team sharing knowledge, insight and personality to camera can only be a good thing. TED talks are an extension of this.


Vlogs - there are many blog posts out there, and vlogs or video blogs are a great way to stand out. They’re inexpensive to produce, personality-driven, and quite possibly the best bang for your buck in terms of sheer engagement value. Here’s an example from Ashens, who vlogs about 'comedy, technology, idiocy'.


Customer testimonials - text based recommendations can sound a little phony, video testimonials when done right just feel more authentic, they build more trust and convert more leads by capturing the best quotes from your own happy customers in an engaging style. Here's an example we did recently for a client, showing how their customer benefited from the renewable technologies they produce.  


Culture - ‘what's it like to work here’ interviews, fun days in the office, pranks, celebrations, and everything in between. Show that your brand isn’t a 9-5 treadmill, but a human ecosystem with personality. They’re also great for attracting the right sort of talent and HR will love you for it. Here’s an example from Cambridge games company Jagex.


Webinars - free live online broadcast from an expert (usually from a laptop/desktop in the office or at home) to a registered audience that offer helpful, valuable insights. Good hosts will use webinars to encourage the audience to interact, ask questions and do mini polls etc. rather than just talk at them. 


Live events - One step up from a webinar is an event video, which covers a corporate event, usually with short guest interviews, in a polished and highly shareable fashion. I filmed the recent Sookio Masterclass on politics and social media, see below.


Virals - not really a type, more a recent trend - virals are a video that becomes hugely popular through the process of sharing, typically through youtube, social media or email. Through design and a bit of luck the video has a very sticky, sharable quality - usually massive surprise, humour or just plain weirdness that grabs and keeps people's attention. Paired with a positive social message it's a winning formula, a recent example of this was the ice bucket challenge that went global.


There are other types of video content and ideas will often merge and evolve but this list should help you get started. When you have an idea you like, contact us, we'd love to hear about it and help you create it.