Promotional Video Client Tips.

Video production is a wonderful tool to use to connect with your audience and demonstrate what your organization does and why it is important. It can also vary in cost. Clearly defining what you hope to achieve can save you valuable time and money.

Many organizations are not familiar with the process of making a video or working with a production company. Here are a few questions I ask potential clients to ensure that we deliver what they truly need.

Who is your main audience?

A client will often have multiple audiences that they want to reach. In my experience, if you try to cater to all, then you end up catering to none. A video for a U.S. audience will have a different focus than a video for a local audience in Bangladesh or Cambodia for example.

Even within the larger U.S. audience, who do you want to target? Do you want to target U.S. government or other established donors who already know your country? What information is important to them? Are you targeting churches or the U.S. public? What is important to them?

For local audiences, who is your target?  Government officials?  Other organizations? The general public?  What message do you want them to take away from the video?

It is important for a client to decide who is their number one audience and then we can start from there to develop a project. It is possible to add material to reach another audience, but it may come at the expense of watering down a compelling story.

What makes your project special?

There may be several organizations in a country trying to achieve similar goals to you. What is it that makes your organization unique? What separates your organization from the others? Can you sum it up in one sentence? If your video is focused on a successful implementation, what were the factors that made it a success? Why should people support your organization over other worthwhile projects?

If you can't clearly articulate this than your organization might be in trouble....

In a sentence, how do you want your audience to respond after watching the video?

What do you want your audience to feel? Do? Think? If you want them to support your organization, then in what fashion? Who should they contact? What are your needs?
Also, do you have a plan in place so that when your audience wants to know more about your work and/or wants to provide assistance (either financial or in kind), you have people and information in place to respond to them?  If you are asking for funds, do you have an easy way for them to contribute to your organization?

Many times, organizations will produce a video and not have the resources ready to respond to the people that contact them.

What is your plan for distributing the video?

Through out the years, I have seen organizations spend tens-of-thousands of dollars on a project that is rarely viewed. What is your plan for distribution? Will the video be shown on TV, at a conference, on your website? If so, have you contacted the necessary parties to find out what approvals and/or processes must be completed in order for your video to be available for viewing?

The simple process of uploading a video to youtube can be time-consuming if you don't know who in your organization has the account information or if you need the video to be approved by other members of your organization before being released. Better to have this information at the beginning of the project rather than wasting time after the video has been completed and potentially missing your deadline.

Who on your team is the lead and who signs off on the final video?

The best videos I have made have been with the help of a passionate member of the organization. This is because they know the people involved and can articulate what is important to the organization. However, keep in mind that having too many members of an organization involved in the video process can creatively weaken the project.

I recommend having one team member of your staff act as a producer for the project. They can assist with lining up sites, contacting interviewees and being part of the team while filming. When decisions are being made, they will have a seat at the table and be able to participate in the conversation. By being involved every step of the way, they will understand the reasons that the project may have changed or evolved and be able to articulate those decisions to their leadership.

Also, who within your organization has the authority to sign off on the video? If it isn't the staff member acting as the producer for the project, then they will need to be involved in the discussions that take place during the early phases of the project. They need to understand why choices were made and give their opinions early on during the planning phase.

It is easy to make changes to a script, or about what images to capture while filming. But once the video has received its final edit, the cost of going back and making major changes is expensive and can be stressful for both parties.

How to save costs.

More locations mean more days of shooting which mean more costs. Since having a crew out in the field can cost thousands of dollars a day, do you want that money to be used filming your project or traveling to multiple locations?

If your organization covers a large area, can you find one place (a province, town, etc) where multiple activities occur near one another? The more planning you do before the shoot the better. Prioritize what are the most important visuals to film.

Also, if you need an interview from a person who lives in a remote area, it might be cheaper for them to travel to where the crew is filming rather than sending the crew out to them.