One of the most challenging parts of successful video marketing is sticking out from the crowd. With today’s technology becoming more and more sophisticated and user-friendly, video production has become accessible to the everyman. And as we’ve seen with smartphones, photography and the advent of Instagram, when a medium becomes more accessible, it also becomes more saturated.
So for those of us attempting to market ourselves with video, the question is this: how can you make your content unique and stick out in the sea of new media?
1) Utilizing high quality audio
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: audio is the most neglected part of video production. The most accessible avenues for HD video (smartphones and consumer DSLRs) do not come well-equipped for quality audio output, and this is often the first indicator of a low budget production.
Perhaps the easiest way to stick out, investing in a supplementary audio solution is a wise choice for anyone who’s getting serious about their video marketing.
B&H did a great product demo on some popular (and affordable) audio-for-video solutions, which I’ve included below for fledgling audiophiles:
Anything from a shotgun mic for DSLR hotshoes, to wireless lavaliers, boom poles and external field recorders can give your production a noticeable leg-up in quality.
2) Taking advantage of what’s special
Take a good look at the resources at your disposal. And not just the “resources” that first come to mind; think beyond the number in your bank account and the tech on your PC.
I’m talking about your company culture, the unique people you share an office with, where that office sits, and all the things that make your business unique. Zero in on the small things that already make your business stick out and put them in front of the camera.
Here’s a brief production that took advantage of a few unique parts of our own company: the employees, their love for their city, and the huge mural of said city that towers over the operations floor.
Consider how something like an offbeat office brainstorm ritual could be spun to reach your target audience or give your company credibility. Is there something unique about the way you package or ship products that would catch an audience’s eye? Does an employee’s quirky desk set-up personify your company culture?
Taking full advantage of what’s special about your business can be the best way to impress and establish trust with a potential customer, so don’t skip over the small stuff.
3) Shooting outside the box
Get away from the run-of-the-mill talking heads and plain jane interviews: it’s time to think – and shoot – outside the box.
There’s always a different way to get the shot, and it’s important to consider all your options before you make the move. When it comes to video marketing, audiences are all too used of seeing the same old shots from the same old angles (static shot, head and shoulders from eye-level, etc.).
What about setting that camera on a floor-level dolly for some eye-catching movement and a dramatic view? Could you mount something to the ceiling for a wider bird’s-eye shot of the subject and their environment? How about attaching a camera to the subject itself for a first-person frame of reference?
Get creative and be confident when you’re planning your shots; viewers are more apt to gravitate towards something they’re not used of seeing.
4) Out-of-the-ordinary production and storytelling
Moving beyond your lens’s perspective, what else can you do to impress your audience and give them a satisfying viewing experience?
Let’s talk storytelling techniques and post-production.
Think about your narration (if there is one) and how it’s going to affect your final presentation. Is your narrator a man, a woman, a robot or something else? Are they speaking softly, excitedly rehearsing their dialogue or SCREAMING it at you? Delivery makes a difference in the way your story is communicated and perceived by the audience, so don’t just settle for the norm.
Will the message you’re aiming to convey benefit from an illustration? Using stop-motion animation to capture a scene as it’s drawn out on a whiteboard, sidewalk, paper or other surface can generate a creative touch for your video. In much the same way, timelapse photography ensnares a scene as it evolves in a manner that most people aren’t used of seeing. This has become an accessible technique that’s both aesthetically gripping and effective in a marketing context.
Text can also play a huge part in how information is absorbed and perceived. How can you incorporate textual content into the finished product and make it work alongside your visuals? And what will the text look like? Words can take the form of a templated font, originate with handcrafted blurbs, or become dynamic moving elements in a video.
And don’t neglect the little things. Think about how you transition your shots and what it can do for the final product. Creating your own themed transitions for a project can really help tie your story together in a way that’s both clever and attractive.
5) Compelling content you can’t ignore
We’ve covered the ways you might better communicate your message, but let’s take a moment for the message itself. If you don’t think you have anything interesting to say, then think harder! Even the seemingly blandest subject matter can be transformed into something worth watching.
One of the best ways to spice up your content is by introducing humor. Techniques such as sarcasm and self-deprecation can make your message more relatable and approachable. But be warned: humor can be hard the pull off properly. And keeping it PG is necessary in most professional contexts.
Along the same lines as humor, witty wording can make your video pop out from the crowd. Don’t underestimate the power of creative vocabulary and well-timed remarks. Puns, rhyming and general wordplay tends to get caught in viewers’ heads and keeps them coming back.
And when all else fails, do something completely unpredictable and ballsy. By drawing outside the lines and pushing the envelope, you’re going to get attention from the places you least expect. The key here is staying focused on your end goals, and ensuring that your execution is flawless. Fearlessness and meticulous planning is the recipe for success.
If you’re still clouded by self-doubt or have hit your own creative wall, give my post on “ways to stick out when nothing else is working” a quick read for some genius examples to get your juices flowing.