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11 Must-Know Ways to Cut Video Expense.

How can your organization tighten its belt without strangling all that you’ve built before? Get more from your investments, including your next video project. Here are some important guidelines in any economy. More >


The key to great creative executions is the ability to grasp the client’s business issues and to develop solutions that have an impact on those. Gerry Hanlon has the unique ability to make sure that the big idea is based on strategy, and that the words and visuals support it. You can trust his judgment.


Don Mahaney

Chief Executive Officer

Strategix Advertising

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Video Resources

With our decades of experience in the marketing world, we can help you make sure that the video you end up with meets the specific goals you’ve set. We’ve often found, for instance, that the greatest impediment to a successful video isn’t a problem with your vision or with the production itself, but with organizational forces beyond our clients' control.


We can help with that too.


The articles below, compiled from Gerry Hanlon’s column, can help you make sure that your video meets your objectives as well as the business results you’re after.



A Checklist For Do-It-Yourself Types

Everybody has a camera these days, and the urge to use yours on behalf of your organization can be irresistible. While you might find that the results turn out differently than you’d hoped, here are the kinds of questions you might want to ask yourself to at least get you started in the right direction. Good luck!

  1. What are your goals for the video?
    a. Branding
    b. Recruiting
    c. Training
    d. Sales Aid
    e. Other
  2. What do you want to have happen as a result?
  3. Who is your target audience – or audiences?
  4. Who within your organization would you like to have appear in the video?
  5. Will they be able to relax on camera? If not, how can you get them to?
  6. Are there specific products and services you’d like to highlight?
  7. Do you want to post it to the website after completion?
  8. Has the creation of a video been approved at all levels of the organization?
  9. Do you have photographs or other previously shot video available for use and cleared for copyright issues?
  10. Any mandatories or roadblocks?
  11. Who is your main contact for approvals?
  12. Who will be responsible for scheduling, coordination and confirmation of deliverables?
  13. Are there additional elements of the communications plan with which this video needs to coordinate conceptually, graphically or from a timing point of view?
  14. Will you need help developing further elements of a communications plan around the goals this video is intended to accomplish?
  15. What are your criteria for considering this video to be a resounding success?

Selling the Sizzle With Video: Part 1

Even in times like these, video engagement is still marketing’s hottest tool. Here are eight ways to engage viewer interest and maximize your investment.


For marketers, the latest Google “this” or the newest YouTube “that” seem to offer a new sales-generating magic bullet every week. Yet according to Advertising Age, there is “a growing body of evidence which suggests not only that TV advertising still works, but that it may be working better than ever.”


This points out a marketing maxim that hasn't changed in the last half century of advertising.


If engagement with your audience is important, the most effective communications approach is still the combination of sight, sound, intellect and emotion.


Even champions of the online industry are struck by the interactive world’s inability (so far) to fully engage consumers. Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, recently said, “We need a creative renaissance in interactive advertising... Whatever form it takes, great creative… engages the consumers’ intellect and emotions in ways that create bonds between consumers and advertisers…”


The word's getting around. Forward-thinking marketers are creating their own web “newscasts.” Individually personalizing online-delivered videos by recipient’s name. Capturing and sharing the glowing recommendations of their clients. Introducing their company’s unique brand at prospect meetings. Consolidating training programs. Saying “Welcome” to thousands of new employees, one online meeting at a time. Re-purposing existing video so it’s exactly the right message for their website.


Obviously, not every great idea is great for your situation. But here are a few thought-starters, guidelines and ways to make sure your next video hits all the right notes to engage your audiences, one person at a time.


Engage viewer interest.


At its heart, video that works tells a story. Viewers want you to touch their hearts, tickle their funny bone, engage their interest visually, aurally, intellectually and emotionally. Videos that work well employ the following guidelines instinctively.


1. Get real.

Studies still confirm that most of us buy with our heart, not our head. So it’s important for your video to establish a personal connection with the viewer. Hint – utilizing real people is a good start.


2. Tell a story.

Nothing entertains and engages like a well-told tale. Try telling yours by imagining first and foremost what your viewer would like to hear, not what you’d like to sell them.


3. Use video’s emotional power.

Ever wonder why “How did that make you feel?” is often the first question a TV reporter asks? It’s simple. Video is by far the most powerful medium for conveying emotion. For marketers, that equals engagement, and engagement means sales.


4. Entertain.

Each of the many elements that comprise your video will be critical to its success. Your choice of actors, company spokespersons, testimonials, voiceover, music, pacing, length and “tone” can all support your video’s goal and brand – or compromise it. Choose carefully.


5. Leave humor to the professionals.

There are limited ways a joke can be told well – endless ways to tell one badly. Treat your audience as you would treat them face-to-face. Respectfully.


6. Write to the picture, not your sales plan.

TV news covers thousands of fires and natural disasters every year, but budget debacles only rarely. Why? Fires and natural disasters make for a more dramatic visual story. Build your script with the visuals always in mind.


7. Sell first, educate later.

“Say one thing and say it well” has long been an axiom for success in advertising. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Stay focused on the single message you want them to remember.


8. Assume that your mother cares – but no one else does.

There’s a battle for your audience’s attention every minute. Creating your video is the first step in getting it seen. Pay attention to how you plan to promote and distribute it as another key factor in its success.



Selling the Sizzle With Video: Part 2

Optimize for online.

Video on your website finally makes affordable what was once limited to expensive and inefficient advertising on TV – viewer engagement.


Even better, it’s targeted toward just the right people, measurable and relatively inexpensive. Keep in mind, though, that it offers its own set of unique viewing challenges. Here are eight ways to make sure the time and investment you've put into your video are shown to their best advantage online.


9. Edit for interactive viewing.

Porting video over to your website is relatively easy. But remember that online audiences are actively seeking specific information and have little time to spare. Make sure your online video gets to the point.


10. Re-purpose to meet each audience’s interest.

Corporate videos are often seen as “one-size-fits-all.” But what interests one audience can be irrelevant to another. When planning your video, consider all the audiences you want to reach.


11. Remember that people respond to other people.

No matter how dazzling the technology you use to present your message, there’s no substitute for sincerity. Heartfelt, unscripted sales messages and testimonials can be invaluable for putting a human face on your organization.


12. Engage in a way that’s online-friendly.

Home made videos can be uniquely charming – but often miss the point. When you have a lot of internal audiences to please, a surer path is to develop content that’s both entertaining and relevant to viewer interests, and aligned with your organization’s brand.


13. Make it Google-optimal.

As video’s popularity on the Internet has skyrocketed, Google algorithms count videos’ relevance more heavily in searches. Make sure your meta-data is comprehensive, and that your file naming and architecture makes your video easy to find.


14. Consider the viral possibilities.

While corporate videos are great for getting the message out, it’s rare to find one that’s so absorbing that millions will pass it along. Want to try? Go for the bizarre, amazing, unusual and truly newsworthy. If you’re just not there yet, go for the heart. Hit that and you can’t miss.


15. Make it easy to share.

Video on the web makes a great conversation starter. Promote that possibility by making sure your video can be embedded, emailed, downloaded and posted to social media sites like YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, and countless others.


16. Track your ROI.

Some studies show it’s not unusual to find that adding video to a site can drive 36% more clicks, 20% more inbound calls and more than double time spent on a site. Track your video’s performance online by giving it a unique call to action, trackable URL, coupon, discount code or its own phone number. To maximize your trackability and justify your investment, there are even some reasonably priced applications that combine video, tracking and lead-generating functions in an all-in-one package.



Selling the Sizzle With Video: Part 3

Sell your CEO.

More than a few times, I've worked on videos that were almost totally complete, with thousands of dollars invested in making everything just right -- only to have them killed before they saw the light of day. Getting buy-in from everyone who can slow it down or stop it may be the most important way you can protect your video investment from the very beginning.


It pays to pay attention to gathering support from the very beginning. Here are nine ways to get everyone on board.


17. Get buy-in at the highest levels.

Remember that the goal isn’t to create a cool video. It’s simply a great vehicle to promote the company’s brand, increase sales, recruit more of the best and brightest, train associates more effectively and efficiently, or quantifiably improve the organization’s position.


18. Emphasize ROI and marketing potential.

Advertisers’ containing huge investment in TV commercials is bottom line evidence that video’s approach works. Its inherent potential for drama and audience engagement, reasonable cost and easier-than-ever distribution means that kind of power is available to departments within organizations as well.


19. Everyone else zigging? Zag!

Unless you’re planning to be out of business, keep in mind that studies consistently show that organizations that continue to market through downturns end up with increased share when times improve.


20. Budget smart.
It’s amazing how production companies can meet your needs when you’re clear upfront about budget limitations. Ask them to show you how they can meet your needs with clever scripting and “workarounds.”


21. Leverage your investment.

Consider adding shots or even another day of taping to meet down-the-road needs. Even though you may have thought of your initial video as “decoration” for your tradeshow booth, consider giving it online legs too, or as an adjunct to other divisions’ video efforts.


22. Plan – to accomplish more and spend less.

The key to efficient video production is in the planning. Discuss your expectations with your video producer, and make sure everyone involved is prepared on the day of the shoot. Once the crew has arrived at your site, enabling them to move efficiently from shot to shot can eliminate heartburn later.


23. Stay loose.

Successful corporate videos depend on tight planning. Brilliant videos result from a combination of planning and a touch of genius, which rarely arrives at a convenient time. When possible, leave room for last minute inspirations, both in your budget and deadline.


24. Choose your video production partner wisely.

Your checklist of questions should include the following: Are they just shooters or scriptwriters too? Do they know your market? Will they help you meet your sales or communications goals? Do you like their work? Do they present themselves well? Can they help you sell the video up the chain of command? Do you like and trust them?


25. Relax.

You’d be amazed at how many ways there are to address budget and production issues in the hands of experienced videographers. With clear vision of what you want to accomplish, you’ll be better able to fully utilize the expertise of the partners you choose to produce your video.