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Winning Strategies

5 Storytelling Tips to Make Your Marketing Videos More Interesting

Making a good video is arguably more challenging than making gluten-free bread taste good.

Notice the emphasis on the word "good."

People love to throw around statistics like this--70 percent of marketers say video is responsible for more conversions than any other type of content--without commenting on the difficulty of creating marketing videos that don't feel like marketing videos.

Anyone can record a video with an iPhone, upload it to YouTube and call themselves a videographer. However, very few people understand how to create the kind of video experience people will actually sit through, remember, and share with friends.

In this article, we'll reveal five storytelling tips to take your marketing from borderline interesting to moderately engaging. But you'll have to identify that extra ingredient that separates your message from the rest.

5 Storytelling Tips for Making More Interesting Marketing Videos

There are at least 9 different kinds of videos you can create to market your brand, products, and services:

  1. Inspirational: Distill your core message, values and vision into a compelling narrative.
  2. Educational: Teach your audience how to do something.
  3. Testimonial: Profile the benefits customers have received via your product/service.
  4. Animation: Tell your story via pictures, drawings, and fun visual elements.
  5. Explainer: Demonstrate the sequential process of interacting with your product/service.
  6. Video Emails: Any marketing video can become part of your marketing list strategy.
  7. Product: Showcase your product in a fun/dramatic way.
  8. Company Culture: Give prospects an inside look at what it's like to work at your company.
  9. FAQ: Answer questions commonly received by Customer Service in video format.

In every great video, there is a complete story. Each story has a beginning, middle, and end. How you craft the story can mean the difference between retaining attention of your audience, or just being another video file on the web.

Most businesses make the same mistake with videos as they do with their blogs: they use it as a platform to highlight themselves - like a used car commercial.

We all know car commercials suck.

Why?

Because they have zero story.

Here's how you tell a story to market your features:

This video has everything: product shots, usability shots, and a display of features, usability, etc...

But, it is a story you will remember long after you forget all the features.

If you're going to use video, and expect an ROI, you need to become a master storyteller. In this article, we share five tips - but that's really not enough. This should be a primer, but you should make it a matter of personal growth to get really, really good at storytelling.

5 EXPERT STORYTELLING TIPS

1. Focus On The People

Three questions to ask yourself when crafting video storylines around people:

  1. Why should they choose to do business with us?

Answering this question often requires some real soul searching. You have to tap into why you do what you do.

Once you have figured these things out, you can translate those intangibles into storylines centered around your customers, employees, and founders.

Here's an awesome explainer video created by Dollar Shave Club:

  1. What are our customers doing or thinking before using our products?

Again, you want to focus on the people, not the product.

People have busy lives that include specific priorities, interests, and values. Be explicit about what's possible as a result of using your product or service.

I bet you can come up with at least a dozen scenarios of how your product/service makes life easier for customers. Once you have your basic scenarios, you can begin thinking about how to translate them into those 9 types of video content.

Don't be afraid to get a little theatrical if that's part of your brand. Exaggerating something to make a point is comedy at its finest.

Check out how Slack did exactly that with this marketing video testimonial:

  1. What are our employees talking about professionally and personally?

Your customers want to know what makes you human.

Check out how Google focused on people by showcasing an intern in this video:

The bottom line: Facts are boring without a face to demonstrate why they matter.

2. Sequence Your Stories

This may seem obvious, but it's worth mentioning: Stories have a beginning, middle, and end.

You know you are missing one of those elements when your marketing video either doesn't feel like it's going anywhere, or feels incomplete.

A good story has:

  • A beginning, featuring a relatable character encountering some sort of situation.
  • A middle, where that person takes action to address the situation.
  • An ending where the outcome is revealed.

You can properly sequence your story by:

  • Introducing a main character and hinting at the main idea.
  • Building one event onto the next.
  • Finishing with a clear resolution to the introductory scenario.

3. Plan Lighting & Backgrounds

Your background can distract from the shot - it can also make it interesting. So, choose your background wisely. 

The best times of day to shoot outside are generally immediately after sunrise or before sunset.

When shooting indoors be sure to use a three-point lighting system for optimum quality:

4. Use Creative Angles & Cutaways

Another way to enhance your storytelling is through the use of creative camera angles and cutaways. Beginners always shoot straight on; pros use wide-angle and telephoto lenses to change the apparent distance between objects for creative effect.

Wide-angle lenses will appear to increase the distance between an object in the foreground and another in the background. Conversely, telephoto lenses will compress the distance and make objects appear closer together. If you have ever watched an action film with a car chase, you have witnessed the phenomena of the telephoto lens. While the cars may have appeared to be a paper's distance from one another, there was likely a good twenty feet between that "near miss."

Another angle technique includes utilizing different vantage points provided by your environment: Staircases, ladders, balconies, etc. Such unusual perspectives can intercut standard shots to break up the monotony.

Here's some more information on camera angles:

Additionally, consider experimenting with cutaways by interspersing close-ups with other shots of the environment (i.e. office desk memorabilia, city streets, cool wall art).

Don't be afraid to shoot more footage than you think you need.

5. Edit, Edit, Edit

Finally, the best way to enhance your video marketing skills is to become a master editor. 

The longer your video, the more you risk losing people.Wistia analyzed 564,710 videos, and more than 1.3 billion plays, to determine the ideal video length.

What's the magic number?

Two minutes.

Wisita found that engagement is steady up to 2 minutes, meaning a 90-second video will hold a someone's attention as much as a 30-second one.

Make Better Marketing Videos

One key to becoming a master video marketer is learning how to build branding through video. It's not enough to make a bunch of videos, you need a consistent brand voice and personality.

Geico doesn't just make videos - they make their videos unique and branded. 

Everyone knows the discount double-check moron screaming in the background.

Everyone knows "mayhem like me."

Everyone knows how to hum, "Nationwide is on your side" with Peyton Manning.

These are branded videos, with a consistent brand voice and personality. Before you start making videos, grab our brand voice and character guide here:

How_to_make_brand_character_and_voice_workbook

Written by Ashley Gwilliam / July 19, 2017

Ashley is a content writer and brand developer. After graduating with a degree in print-journalism, Ashley’s storytelling skills took her from the bizarre world of on-camera acting to the practice courts of NBA basketball players to the virtual meetings of inbound marketers. Today she specializes in building memorable brand voices online, with a focus on the travel & tourism, e-commerce and tech industries.

Articles by Ashley Gwilliam