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4 min read

Know Your Audience for Your Promotional Video

So, you’ve been thinking about a promotional video for your company or organization.

Good call.

By bringing together words and images; motion and sound, you are creating what many consider the most compelling form of content. If done with thoughtful planning to ensure its message truly understands the intended viewer, a video will make a lasting impression on your audience.

But what exactly is a promotional video?

"Promotional" – or promotion – means different things to different people. It might be an initiative to support an event or an ad campaign; perhaps it’s a strategy to boost sales; for others, it might be a way of enhancing a brand with a targeted marketing focus.

"Promotional" content can be delivered in many forms – written or verbal; visual or audible. It can be featured on the web or in social media; via online banner ads or even through the mail – for those who prefer a tactile approach to reaching their consumer.

In the television industry, the word “promotion” describes an entire department within a television station or network, populated by dedicated writers, producers, video editors, and camera professionals, whose sole reason for getting out of bed every morning is to create content, which increases viewership by “promoting” series, specials, newscasts, sports, and magazine shows with :15 or :30 spots.

At its core, promotion is a message that creates anticipation. It’s a promise; an assurance that what we’re about to experience is worth the price of admission.

No matter the delivery mechanism, the industry, or the expectation, “promotion” is meant to create awareness, command attention, and with the best intentions – get in people’s faces so they take notice of what you have to share.

As it relates to video creation, a successful promotional video is conceived, crafted, and delivered to permeate the hearts and minds of your audience and present your message with enough impact to be remembered.

Before you begin: 5 Key Questions

As you explore the idea of creating a promotional video, it’s important to understand that no matter what your message or communication goals are, you’re truly entering into a relationship with your audience. To create the most compelling presentation, you need to ask yourself five key questions before you – or your creative partners – ever write a word or lift a camera:

  • What are you promoting (ie. featuring) in your video?
  • Why are you promoting it?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What are their pain points?
  • How do you want them to feel after they’ve watched?

The first two questions shouldn’t be difficult to answer.

What are you promoting in your video?

Are you bringing awareness to a product or service? Is this an invitation to get to know your company or organization by sharing your values and culture? Perhaps it is a capabilities video, demonstrating the expertise of your team.

Why are you promoting this idea, product, or initiative?

Is it intended for the recruitment of new employees? Is it designed to build relationships with potential clients – or with existing customers? Maybe it’s a message to your organization or club, sharing your vision for the future. Or it could be a video to encourage donors to give generously to a charitable cause.

The next three questions are critical.

Who is your intended audience?

Identifying the viewer helps you determine how your message should be positioned – as well as how it will be best seen, heard, and embraced. So before you begin, understand who your intended audience is – and what will speak to them.

What are their pain points?

More specifically, how can your product, service, or idea give the audience peace of mind in knowing their lives will be made better by embracing the promise your video presents? By identifying their concerns in your message, you’re showing an understanding of their challenges and demonstrating that you are capable of providing a solution.

How do you want them to feel after they’ve watched your video?

Forget about a call-to-action for the moment. You’re not asking them to do anything, rather, you’re inviting them to feel something  – and if your video is effective, they will feel an appreciation for what you have to say, making your message all the more memorable.

So before you begin creating a promotional video or, more critically, before you spend resources hiring an outside production company to craft your message, know your audience.

Less is so much more

It’s a common misstep.

All too often, an organization will decide they want to create a video without considering who their audience is. They will share what they want to say, rather than crafting a message that demonstrably understands their audience. By doing so, they’ve missed an opportunity and wasted their time and budget.

As you consider making a promotional video for your business or organization, place yourself in the perspective of the viewer. What is keeping them up at night? What will help them be more productive – and more profitable?

Allow yourself to be choosy about what you are featuring in your video. As a growing organization, you have a great deal to be proud of and a lot to share. Resist that temptation. Too many storylines – and too much information – will dilute your message.

Don’t be concerned with sharing what you do or how you do it. Instead, provide a different point of view by sharing the reason why you do what you do – and why you believe it can help your audience get to where they want to go.

If you’re creating a recruiting video, you don’t need to go into detail about the commissary, the fitness room, the happy hours with coworkers, and the details of your generous 401K plan. Remember – with video, you’re playing in the visual world. A three-second image will convey as much information and, more importantly, as much emotion, as a minute or more of verbal messaging.

Pictures speak to people far more efficiently than words most of the time. Leverage your website or follow-up communications as options for your audience to find out more about your organization.

If you want your audience to learn about your organization and you want to use video as your calling card, the best way to connect with them is to create an emotional, compelling message, one that will inspire them to seek out more information. Remember, video content is most effective when it leaves the audience wanting more.

Think of it this way – your promotional video should play like a movie trailer. A good trailer doesn’t give away the entire film. Rather, it captures the imagination of the person watching and compels them to buy their ticket for admission.

And once your trailer has delivered the viewer to their seat inside the theater, you have a captive audience for the rest of the show.

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