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6 Things to Do Before Starting the Video Production Process

6 things to do before video production

Video is growing in importance as a marketing tool. Why wouldn’t it be? Videos, after all, enable you to connect on a more personal level with your audience. They grab people’s attention and sustain it. They allow for very powerful storytelling that leads to conversions.

If you want your video to achieve all those things, though, you can’t just get your camera and start recording. There are several stages to the video production process. Let’s take a look at each of those: 

1. Know your audience

You can only have effective video content if the video message resonates with your target audience. That means you need to understand what your target audience wants first before creating the video content.

This is where audience personas can help you.

Audience personas, also sometimes called buyer personas, are semi-fictional representations of your ideal audience. They are semi-fictional because even if each persona doesn’t exist in real life, their characteristics are based on people’s real characteristics. An audience persona looks something like this:

Video pre-production. Buyer persona example

Source: Medium

You can get the information for your audience personas in many ways. 

For example, use Google Analytics to determine the demographics of the people who access your site. Check out your contacts database, too, to see what kind of website content they consume. 

Another way is to ask for additional information through your website forms. Here’s an example from Salesforce, which requires those who wish to avail of its free trial to supply other details such as the company size:

Video pre-production. Website form

Source: Salesforce

You can also ask your customers about their pain points and preferences via email surveys, for example. Ask as many questions as you can. The more you find out about your target audience, the more you can tailor your video content message to their wants and needs.  

The customer persona will help ensure the content you create addresses customer pain points.

2. Set a budget

Once you know the type of video you want to create, you need to set your budget. If you do not set a budget during pre-production, you might end up spending more than you can afford. 

Setting a budget is pretty straightforward. Make a list of the things you’d need to pay for and estimate, realistically, how much those would cost.

For example, let’s assume you want to create an explainer video. Assuming you have no equipment, these are probably the things you’d have to budget for:

  • A high-quality camera 
  • A tripod
  • A good microphone 
  • Meals during the shoot
  • The actor for the video
  • Someone to edit your content

The bigger the production, the higher the costs, of course.

If you opt to hire a production company to take care of all your production needs, you can ask for the estimated budget. The production house will take care of everything but charge a premium for the service.

3. Write and revise your script

Once you’ve estimated your initial budget, create the script for the shoot. Ask yourself some basic questions before you get started. For example:

  • What is the purpose of your video?
  • What is the action you’d like your audience to take?
  • What value is the video bringing to your audience?
  • What are your chosen distribution channels?

Let’s take our explainer video example again. These are the answers you might come up with:

  • Video purpose: To explain how the product is the solution to the target audience’s problems.
  • Desired audience action: Sign up to a free trial
  • Value of video to the audience: Better understanding of the product
  • Chosen distribution channels: Company website, company YouTube account 

Keep the answer to those questions in the back of your mind as you create your script.

Your script doesn’t have to be complicated. 

For instance, your script for the explainer video could follow an explainer script video template. Check out this sample script:

Video pre-production. Script example

Source: LinkedIn

Consider the language you use in the script.

The words you use and the tone will depend on your target audience. For instance, if you’re targeting millennials, you might use fun and casual language. If you’re selling to an audience of professionals, you might need a script that exudes authority.

In its explainer video “Communication without chaos”, Slack uses slang that is appropriate to their target audience.

Make sure to read and re-read your draft script. David Campbell, Marketing Strategist at Right Inbox says “not to be afraid to make revisions until you find the final script that will truly get your brand message across.”

4. Decide on the optimal video length

Decide on the run time of the video before you start. The length of your video should depend on your chosen distribution platforms.

According to Hubspot, if you’re planning to create an ad on YouTube, it’s best to make it around two minutes long. Moreover, the ad has to hook people within the first five seconds of the video.

The Dollar Shave Club Ad is a great example of this.

5. Make a storyboard

A storyboard is a visual presentation of your planned video content. It serves as your guide once you start the video production process.

When you already have a visual guide when shooting scenes, you’re more efficient. You don’t waste time and other resources. Here are the steps to creating a storyboard:

  • Make a shot list: Determine how each element will be positioned in the frame. Pay attention to the angles, too.
  • Sketch: Make a rough drawing of how each shot would look like.
  • Include details: Indicate which elements will be moving in each shot, if any. 
  • Add context: It helps to add a bit of context below each frame so you won’t forget your vision once you start the video production process.

Check out this sample storyboard for a video on customer testimonials:

Video pre-production. Storyboard example

Source: Storyboard That

You can hire a storyboard artist for the drawings. If you have no budget for that, don’t worry. Even basic stick figures will do. The idea is just to get a general idea of how you’ll shoot each scene.

Pro tip: Stick to your storyboard as much as possible once you start video production. 

6. Create a production schedule

Let’s say you have your script and storyboard. Now it’s time to create that production schedule.

The video production schedule shows the entire video production process over time. So, it tells everyone involved what scenes will be shot on specific days, what equipment will be used, and when people are needed on those days.

It’s basically a guide for everyone involved in the video production process to follow.

Video pre-production. Schedule example

Source: Single Grain

Invest in scheduling software, too, to ensure proper organization. Everyone in your production team should be on the same page about the schedule. Even a one-day delay can result in you missing important deadlines. That would mean more time and resources wasted.

In Closing

Businesses can no longer shun video marketing. With videos, you can reach audiences to promote your products and achieve other marketing goals. Videos are effective marketing tools because they are engaging and can powerfully tell stories. 

There are, however, several things you need to do before you even press that record button and create your next marketing video content. I shared those six things with you: Know your audience, set a budget, write and revise your script, and decide on the optimal video content length. Then make a storyboard and create a production schedule.

Remember, behind any great video is an excellent strategy. Follow these steps, and your subsequent video production process will go smoothly. The result? Your final video content will help you reach your marketing and, by extension, your business goals.

About the author: Owen Jones is the Senior Content Marketer at ZoomShift, an online schedule maker app. He is an experienced SaaS marketer specializing in content marketing, CRO, and FB advertising. He likes to share his knowledge with others to help them increase results.

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