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How to use online video as an effective communications tool

How to use online video as an effective communications tool

By Detlev Weise, chief executive officer at simpleshow

Today we look for short, immediate bursts of communication that can be easily digested. Consequently ensuring your message is understood and your audience remains engaged has never been more difficult.

Online video is fast becoming a popular method used by marketers to communicate with audiences, giving them the freedom to be creative with their message and giving audiences the ability to interact with a brand whether they comment, Like or share the video, providing maximum potential to reach a wider audience.

Short explanatory films perform a valuable role and can help people communicate anything from employee incentives, corporate responsibility, key marketing information, training or change management.

Presenting a complex topic in such a way that it ends up sounding ‘simple’ can be tough and there are a number of pitfalls that marketers need to avoid to ensure online video becomes an effective tool and a sound investment, rather than a redundant and expensive exercise.

1. Simplify your message

Analyse your topic and filter out layers of information omitting anything that isn’t core to your message. At the same time you must consider your audience’s point of view – what previous knowledge do they have? Drawing up a SWOT analysis will confine you to key statements for your audience. Most people fail to appreciate the time and objectivity that the process of simplifying something requires hence why an external service provider can provide a fresh outlook to help evaluate your topic from a neutral and objective perspective.

2.  Tell a story

A good story can help your audience understand and, above all, remember the message. Make sure your video encompasses the three key elements of a story: identification, dramatic composition and resolution.

•    Identification: It makes sense to invent a character around which the story revolves and the simplest method is to use your target audience as a blueprint for the main character. Avoid using too many protagonists as it’ll help your audience follow the story more easily.

•    Dramatic composition: By asking yourself what problem you want this video to solve you will be able to distill it down and enable you to confront your character with the relevant issue.

•    Resolution: Once identified, your problem needs to occur in the first half of the film to give enough time to focus on the solution, or to explain a topic. Your video should have a clearly defined conclusion and a resolution.

3. Visualise it:

Images are a hugely effective way to communicate a message: they stick in people’s minds longer than words and many symbols are understood at first glance globally. For this reason, don’t be afraid of presenting your product symbolically. Simple visualisations can help convey the content in an easily comprehensible manner.

4. Turn up the sound

Speech, music and sound effects are all perceived differently to visual stimuli, but exert an enormous influence on your audience sub-consciously. Be ambitious when it comes to the soundtrack.

•    Narrator: Always follow the golden rule of narration and hire a professional. Remember that a poor-quality narration will ruin even the most beautiful visualisation.

•    Music: Using background music in your clip helps you stir different emotions in your audience. While you do need to bear in mind the editing and usage rights, using music can also help the pace and atmosphere of the film.

•    Sound effects: Good sound design can help your film become easier to understand and attention to detail will further improve its impact. But do remember that sometimes less is more as it’s not necessary to assign a noise to every visual action.

5. Spread the word

Decide the objective of your video and think how to reach that audience. Do you want it to explain your service, communicate a milestone or attract visitors to your website? How you host and distribute the clip will determine whether it reaches that target audience and, ultimately, whether it will achieve the desired effect, that makes a tangible difference to your brand.

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