As startups continue to proliferate and large players continue to increase their offerings, it's becoming harder and harder to rise above the noise and truly get your company's story heard in the IoT and tech marketplace. But getting your story heard is critical -- and video is increasingly one of the best ways to do that.
The statistics are compelling: A video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%, and including the word "video" in an email subject line can increase open rates by 19%. Those kinds of numbers should be hard to ignore for IoT and tech companies looking to get their story in front of potential customers.
Want to see some of the great video work we've done?
But as with all things, there are certain steps in the video creation process that absolutely need to be nailed down if the end product is truly going to tell your story and engage your potential customers. Follow along with us as we create the "More than Dots on a Map? The Failure of Telematics" video for our client, CyntrX, and by the end you'll learn ThreeTwelve's 6 steps to a better video.
1. Focus Your Video's ConceptWhen you decide to do a video, you may be tempted to throw in everything under the sun. It's vitally important that you resist that temptation. Video engagement and completion rates are higher for shorter videos -- so try and aim for the two-minute mark. To do that, find a concept that will tell a focused story about your unique value proposition (UVP). For the Cyntrx "More than Dots on a Map" video, we decided on a concept that focused not on everything that the CyntrX tracking platform can do -- which is quite a lot -- but rather on how fleets with GPS platforms that don't fully leverage the potential of telematics are getting little more than just dots on a map -- and leaving money on the table.
2. Write a Script that Leverages the ConceptWith the concept clearly defined, it's time to get words down on paper. This is where getting your story heard begins. Getting words down on paper can be hard for a lot of people -- but if your concept is truly focused on your unique value proposition, you at least have a jumping-off point. As with most writing, try not to censor yourself too much at first -- rather, let the words flow. To get started, you can try defining the problem that your UVP solves -- and then tell how your UVP solves it. Or ask a question that will resonate with your audience -- and tell how your UVP provides the answer. Through it all, keep in mind that owing to the nature of video, shorter, pithier sentences and bite-sized pieces of information will likely stand out to and be retained by the viewer. (See the first draft of our script here)
3. Edit the Script for Clarity and TimeOnce you have the words down on paper, you now need to engage in an exercise that's arguably more difficult than the initial writing: Editing. Read your initial script out loud, timing yourself as you do so. Try to read slowly, as the voiceover artist will. This will give you some idea of where you might need to edit down, or if you have time to add more to the script. Also keep in mind that the narration will need to be some amount of time shorter than the actual video length, to allow the video production artist some latitude with title cards, animation, and the like. For the "More than Dots on a Map" video we were aiming for a voiceover time of 1 minute and 40 seconds, so that we could have 20 seconds to make use of for timing throughout the video. The problem? Readings of the initial script were coming in thirty seconds too long -- and thus, some hard editing work had to be done.
Faced with editing your own script, first go after the low-hanging fruit of unnecessary words. Things like extra adjectives and adverbs, particularly if they are fluff, are good candidates. Instead of saying "Our amazing and astounding platform," for example, think about whether "amazing and astounding" are actually conveying something useful to the viewer, or whether simply saying "Our platform" will be enough -- particularly since what you're going to keep in the script will show the viewer that your platform is amazing, anyway. After trimming the fluff, you may still be faced with having to make additional cuts to the script -- and this is where editing can get truly tough, because you're going to need to remove some things that may be fairly substantive. You may, for example, have to rewrite a feature list to be more general, or abbreviate a use-case discussion. The exact nature of your cuts will be up to you -- but as you edit, keep casting a sharp eye on everything as you ask yourself whether a particular sentence or paragraph truly serves to move your story forward. As you engage in all this work, keep reading out loud and timing yourself, and keep editing until you get down to the desired voiceover time. (See the final, edited draft of our script here)
4. Properly Storyboard Your VideoIt's now time for the video production artist to get to work on storyboarding. Your script, by this point, should be clear, concise, and tell a good story. The artist will be able to use the script to generate graphic and animation ideas that serve to visually tell the story -- and that, obviously, is a key component of video work. Aside from allowing the artist to coherently think about the video as a whole, and the resources they'll need to produce it, storyboarding also allows stakeholders better buy-in on the direction that the video will take. If you're producing your video in- house, you'll know who the stakeholders are for your video -- for us, it's our client, and we present the storyboard to them before going further in the production process. That allows them to either approve where we're going with the video, or else to point out things that aren't working for them -- because changing something at this stage is far easier than trying to fix something after the entire video has been produced. For our "More than Dots on a Map" video, our video production artist ran with the idea of dots and money in a very compelling way -- and CyntrX loved it. Onwards.
5. Hire a Voiceover ArtistThis is actually one of the easiest steps in the process. But it's also important, because despite the number of times you read the script out loud during editing you likely don't have "The Voice" -- and a poor voiceover in an otherwise great video can potentially ruin the entire product. We use Voices.com to post our jobs and to audition, if you will, potential voiceover artists. It's easy and it's affordable, and if you're putting the time and money into producing your own video there's really no good reason to skip this step.
6. Final Video ProductionOnce the voiceover is in hand, the video production artist gets to work on the finished video. If an appropriate amount of time was spent storyboarding, the artist's job is significantly eased during production -- they know where they want to go, and they likely have already created or sourced the assets they'll need to complete the job. Do note, though, that although this step is "eased" by storyboarding, it's still not what the non-video layman should consider "easy." Video production is, indeed, both a craft and an art, and involves everything from keyframing animations to properly laying-in and leveling the audio. Unlike the typical whiteboard videos, though, which reuse templates over and over and often involve little more than just typing some text into cartoon word balloons, the end product here is a custom video that has been concepted, written, and produced from beginning to end with the singular goal of getting your story in front of people in a compelling way.
The Final Video:
We hope these 6 Steps to a Better Video serve you well. The IoT and tech spaces are endlessly fascinating sectors in which to work, and we love seeing and hearing the stories of all of the companies in the space -- and we look forward to hearing your story, and seeing what you create in your own video endeavors. (And if you're at all interested in fleet tracking, do visit CyntrX and find all they have to offer with their fleet tracking solutions -- you'll be glad you did!)
Contact Us For Help With Your Video Needs
Contact us today to find out more.