Written by: Johnny Sandqvist
The mistake many advisors make when thinking about getting into video is putting the medium on too high of a pedestal. They think it’s too expensive, or they don’t have the on-screen talent, or they don’t have the writing ability to script one out.
On the other side of things, you’ve also got advisors who are crazy about video but don’t understand the purpose behind it. They’ve read enough to know that three out of every four business executives watch video, or that one-third of all time spent online is spent watching videos, or numerous other statistics, but they don’t know why they personally need a video or what they should do with it. It’s just the next big thing, and they need to have it.
Both ends of approaching video are wrong. They can be made simply, and they need a defined reason to exist. It’s just like any other part of your digital marketing strategy; it’s simply another pillar that creates a stronger foundation for your efforts to reach new clients and inform existing ones.
So today, let’s get to the heart of creating a good video. You’re going to need to understand the purpose of your video first, and then you’re going to need to understand how to create content to fulfill your goal.
Setting a Goal for Your Next Business Video
If you’ve been working with any sort of content calendar or marketing strategy already, the first step in creating a video is a familiar one.
You’ve got to start by asking why? Why do you need to create a video? Is it to inform clients of a new service being offered, or is it to attract attention from clients who haven’t yet heard of you?
What is your goal here, anyway? If the strategy side of marketing is new to your firm, you’ve always got to start here first. You should never create anything without first understanding why it needs to exist and how it’s going to help you accomplish your business plan.
So, let’s talk about the types of goals your video might adhere to. Here’s a short list.
A video focused on raising awareness is designed to promote your firm and services. You’re looking to find clients who need what you provide, and make them aware that you can solve their problem.
While all videos should, in some manner, create engagement, a video focused on Engagement is more heavily geared toward producing a desired action than the Awareness goal. While an Awareness video might give an overview of your services, the Engagement video could be shorter and more targeted to a specific need—such as tax planning—and create a strong call to action to contact you for tax planning services.
Retention and Support
I’m putting support together with retention because these goals are both focused on client education rather than prospect education. You want your existing clients to continue to think of you as the key part of financial education in their lives; doing so will help you retain those clients and support their needs through ongoing communication. This could be as simple as a weekly market update where you provide ongoing education.
Product or Services Explanation
An explainer video is a staple among technology companies, but it’s also useful among financial advisors. If you’re rolling out a new Client Portal to your clients, you’ll want to educate them on how to navigate and use it. This type of video can also be beneficial in demonstrating your offerings to prospects. In that way, it can work in tandem as an Awareness video, but the true goal is to explain a new product or service and impart an educational approach.
Now that you’ve selected a goal for your video, it’s time to plan content.
Creating Content for a Business Video
The type of video you’re making will influence the content just as much as your selected goal. If you’re making an animated video, you’ll obviously end up going down a different path than if you’re filming a live motion video.
For this post, I’m going to work with the assumption that we’re working with live motion and someone (possibly even you) is talking to the camera for a good portion of the time.
After your goal is established, the first step is to determine how long your video should be and then write a script.
The length of video is a critical decision. Too short, and you won’t get enough information across to serve a useful purpose, but too long and viewers will lose interest and bail before they finish watching. It’s usually a safe bet to plan for less than 90 seconds for a video targeted to prospects.
If you’re filming an educational piece for clients, you can safely plan for a longer video because they already know you and have shown they want to hear from you, and you’ll likely be using more technical content than what you’re showing in a pitch video to a prospect.
Script writing is no more difficult than writing a blog or a quarterly letter to clients. It is simply another medium to convey your message. While you will need to do more self-editing to say just the right words in the time allotted, you don’t need to freak yourself out.
After you’ve finished your first draft, read your script out loud and time yourself to make sure you’re close to the time limit you’ve set. From there, do another edit to either trim or lengthen for time, and then read through again to brush up on clarity.
After you’ve done that first editing pass, take a step back and look at your script with fresh eyes. Either leave it alone for a day, or print it out so you’re not looking at it on a computer screen. Changing the format in which you read something can have an effect on how your brain processes the information. These are some common tips given by best-selling novelists like Stephen King when they talk about editing their manuscripts, but they apply to our situation as well.
This time, read your script with your goal in mind. Are you conveying a message that aligns with your video’s end mission? If it does, great. If it needs some work, hit the editing table again. This is a process you might have to repeat a few times to get the script as tight as you want.
After the script is written and edited, it’s important to think through the auxiliary content you’ll need as part of your video. Do you need props? Graphics on screen? Plan these out before you film, write them into your script, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time, headache, and reshoots later.
And there you have it—you’ve now planned the purpose of your video and determined what you want to say during it.
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