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This may sound obvious, but it is very common for people to come with us with a message that has not been polished to a finish. It is SO important that your message is fits in that perfect place between too simple and too complex. A good rule of thumb is that a good message has one well-defined point, and two to three supporting points. Anything less lacks the depth your viewer expects; Anything more can keep your viewer from getting your point.
Let me say this again. DEFINE your audience, and be specific. Often, people tell me, “My audience is whoever clicks on the link to watch the video.” No. Those are your viewers. There is a big difference between audience and viewers. The audience is the people you WANT to react and respond to your message. Audience is a subset of viewers, and you should know exactly who they are. You should know your audience so well that you can tell me what they look like, where they live, who they hang out with. If it helps, give your ideal audience member a name. “Meet Marcella. She’s a 25 year old copy writer living with 3 friends in a studio in The Mission.” If you can’t get that specific, the task of defining your audience is not done.
Now that you’ve clearly defined your message and audience, it’s time to shoot, right? Wrong. This is where the fun begins. What is the most effective creative to deliver your message payload to your audience? The great news is that you can find a mountain of data to help you get the creative right. Also, the bad news is that you can find a mountain of data to help you get the creative right. Even though you can find out a lot about what your audience responds to online, don’t stop there. Get out and observe your audience in the wild. Go where they go. Shop where they shop. If you’ve got budget, conduct some research. Once you have deep knowledge of your audience, put together some top-level creative concepts. Make image boards. Then get them in front of people in your audience and see how they react. Use what you’ve learned to settle on a creative.
Once your creative is settled, it’s time to write the script. This is a critical moment. The best scripts are written in the right voice, and don’t have a single extraneous word. Whether you’re writing it, or you hire a writer, read it out loud, record it on your phone, play it back, and revise and polish and revise… until it’s perfect and tight.
It may seem redundant to take this step, but trust me—seeing how your words and images line up before you shoot can save so much time on the set. It also gives all the stakeholders a chance to deeply understand what the video will look long before the shoot. This is the final place for everyone to make sure everything is exactly right—don’t skip this step!
The best results are obtained when you have experts handling each step along the way. Hire professionals to fill in the gaps on your team. Filmmaking is a collaborative art. Build a great team, and you’ll get a great product.