Video marketing has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Why? Because it works! And a video pre-production checklist can mean the difference between videos that get people excited and videos that get skipped.
Did you know more video is uploaded in a month’s time than the major TV networks in the US have created in the past 30 years?* And once we hit 2021, it is predicted that a million minutes of video will flow across global IP networks every second.
As a business owner, you know full well that video should be at the heart of your online marketing efforts. If you’re in pre-production video planning mode, we’ve put together a helpful checklist for you to lean on. Not only does this pre-production checklist help ensure you are producing videos that engage your audience, but it also maximizes your chances of achieving a strong ROI.
Outline Your Video’s Objective
You have to define your purpose before you start creating your actual video content. After all, you don’t want to spend a ton of time and resources on the video production process and video editing if you don’t have a goal set in place.
Is your goal to educate the audience? Inspire them? Get them to make a purchase? To showcase your brand as being in support of a specific cause? To highlight a product feature that your competitors don’t offer?
Your objective will set the tone for the video. It will shape its script, voiceovers, animations, graphics, and more. It will also significantly impact how long the video is.
Create a Customer Persona
In addition to an objective, you shouldn’t start the video production process without a customer persona. In fact, you shouldn’t start any kind of marketing endeavor without a persona.
A customer persona is a fictional representation of your most ideal customer. It should include a detailed background on this customer, including age, gender, occupation, geographical location, objectives, challenges, and how your product or service can meet his or her needs.
Your video content is going to target an audience that can benefit most from your product. To differentiate your brand from the competition, you’ll need to appeal to this audience in a unique way, but you can’t do this unless you know who the audience is. Once you have a thorough understanding of the audience, you can then move onto the other pre-production video steps.
Craft Your Message
Now that you know who your audience is, you can start on crafting your message. What ideas are you wanting to convey in the video? Are their multiple ideas or concepts that need to be explained? Do you have a concept that is hard to put into words? If so, creating an explainer video will be a smart move. Explainer videos along with whiteboard animations do a great job at simplifying the communication of complex ideas and concepts.
To ensure you are crafting a message that resonates with the audience, you need to ask yourself what it is about your message or story that they should care about. Is there a specific problem that the audience is facing? Go back to your customer persona to identify this problem. Now, is there a way that you can tweak your message so that it appeals to that unique problem? More specifically, can you craft the message in a way that will work to answer all of the following questions:
- What product/service feature are you highlighting?
- What are the benefits of that feature?
- What does it mean for the audience if they take advantage of that feature?
It’s not enough to create a message that simply states what the features and benefits of your product or service are. You must go a step beyond and explain how those benefits are going to simplify the lives of those in the audience.
Take for example you sell tire shiner that doesn’t have to be washed off. This type of cleaner has the benefit of no need for water; this means the audience doesn’t have to be washing their car to use it. It also means it can simply be sprayed on and the audience can go on about their business. This makes it very simple to keep the tires on a car shiny, which is particularly beneficial for people who are limited on time. With this in mind, you could create a video that highlights how a customer can quickly use the tire shiner and then roll on down the road to enjoy time with their family instead of having to wash off the tire shiner.
Develop a Budget
The next part of pre production video planning involves creating a budget. This will help you decide what types of graphics and animations you can afford to include in the video content. If possible, you should definitely consider using 3D animations in your videos. These animations do a great job at grabbing the audience’s attention and they also help portray your brand as an entity that is serious about providing a good customer experience.
An excellent way to determine whether or not you can afford certain elements in your video is to find one that is similar in length, graphics, and animations. Next, give this example to a video production agency and ask them for a quote based off that video. The agency can give you a rough estimate of what it would cost to create a similar video. From there, you can see if that price fits into your budget.
To put it simply, though, it’s going to cost you about $2,000 to $10,000 for a quality video that is two to three minutes long. $5,000 is a good starting point. If you only have $2,000 to spend, you may want to wait until you can expand that budget. It’s better to wait until you have the monies to pay a professional agency rather than wasting what you have on amateur video production.
There’s a lot that goes into creating a successful video, which is a primary reason you need a video pre production checklist. All of the following elements will impact the cost of your video:
- Camera and other equipment, including props
- Production crew
- Studio shooting
- Production time
- Length of video
- Licensing fees
- Language and translation
- Caption and subtitle creations
- Miscellaneous fees
Develop a Distribution Plan
Before the actual video content is created, you need to put together a distribution plan. Where is the video going to be hosted? On your website? Social media? On YouTube specifically? How do you plan to promote the video? Do you need to start promoting now? If so, do you have a marketing plan in place for the video?
The important questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Where are people going to watch the video?
- How are they going to watch it? (desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc.)
- Why will people want to watch your video?
Creating an organizational plan that’s focused on simply putting the video on your website isn’t going to cut it. Your intended audience will greatly impact your distribution plan. Fortunately, you don’t have to overwhelm yourself with creating a plan. A professional video production company will help create one for you. The production team will have extensive knowledge relating to the various distribution avenues you should take advantage of to ensure you reach your intended audience.
Now that you have a budget in place and you have pinpointed your audience and the message that you want to share, it’s time to brainstorm how you’re going to bring that message to life. The best way to go about this is to schedule a brainstorming session. You’ll want to include at least one person from every department. If you’re a smaller company, then you should consider including all of your staff members.
Put a large whiteboard at the front of the room and write out the message you want to share with your audience. Take for example you want the audience to understand that your brand is more than a brand; it’s operated by real people. Your message would be something along the lines of “[company name] is more than a brand. We are real people with real problems and real solutions.”
Now, have everyone at the brainstorming session write down their own idea of how they would convey that message. Next, go through all of those ideas and put the best ones together. Take those ideas to a video production company and let them do what they do best.
Decide on Video Length
Before you put the cart in front of the horse and speak with the video production agency, you need to decide how long you want the video to be. Ideally, it’ll be anywhere from 10 to 90 seconds. Shorter videos tend to perform better than longer ones, but your message and budget will greatly impact its length.
Some messages can’t be effectively conveyed in only 90 seconds. Take for example you’re creating an explainer video on how to build a kitchen table with a heavy focus on the sanding process. There’s a good chance the video is going to need to be several minutes long. Just remember, the longer the video, the more expensive it’s going to be.
Identify Who Designates Approvals
The next step on the pre production checklist involves identifying who is going to be a part of the approval process. More so, outline the various levels of approval authority that these people have.
All elements of the video production must go through the approval chain before being finalized. By following this chain, you can rest easy knowing that the final product is going to be exactly what you expect. You don’t want to end up with a video that leaves out a very important element only to realize that it was left out because you never gave the approval for it.
See If Permits and Licenses Are Needed
Are there any types of waivers that need to be filled out before the video production process can begin? Does your intended location for shooting the video require you to schedule an appointment? Is there any special parking that has to be booked beforehand? These are all questions that must be answered well before you head out to shoot footage for the video.
Create a Video Production Schedule
If you are shooting the video footage yourself, you’ll need to create a schedule for the video shoot. This can be tricky because it’s often difficult to set a time that aligns with everyone’s schedule. It becomes even harder when you are shooting outside due to weather concerns. If you’re creating a video out of animations and graphics, then scheduling becomes much simpler.
Choose a Professional Video Production Company
The most important step on the video pre production checklist is choosing a professional video production company. You can actually do this step first to take the hassle out of the many parts involved in creating a video. Your budget will impact which video production companies are realistic for teaming up with. Always pick one that has a long list of examples of video content that it has created for other clients. Check online reviews and choose one that has a strong reputation for providing superior customer service.
By following the video pre production checklist outlined above, you’ll have a much better chance at creating a video that reaches your target audience and effectively spreads your intended message. Contact IGW today to partner with a professional video production company.