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It’s Not “Video” You Want, It’s Content

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February 15, 2014

It’s Not “Video” You Want, It’s Content

Here at Click2View we don’t like to talk about video, we prefer to talk about content, motion content to be precise, because we think stories are more important than assets.  It’s great that video is moving from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ for marketers but too often the brief is about creating an asset rather than creating content.  Allow me to illustrate with an example.  Here is a fairly typical first brief:

Hi,

Can you tell me how much is a 3-5 minute YouTube video?

Regards,
Marketing Manager
Generic Consulting Group

That’s it. Eight words. And not one of them tells me what this video is supposed to be about. Let’s dissect it. The first words are purely about price, which suggests this person is not interested in the best outcome but the cheapest and it should not be a surprise to anyone in the marketing industry or indeed life that you get what you pay for!

The mid-section is about duration, which is odd because how can you know how long your video will be when you don’t even know what its about?  If it’s good content it may sustain a longer telling much like Kony 2012, which was a comparatively epic 30mins but still achieved nearly 100million views on YouTube (okay, I know the guy turned out to be a tw*t but people still watched it).  Similarly TED Talks featuring the world’s foremost though-leaders tend to run for 18minutes and are exceedingly popular on the web.  However, without a story 3-5minutes can feel like an eternity, so maybe a punchy 60seconds would be more appropriate.  Either way, the value of a video to its audience has nothing to do with duration.  If it did, cinemas would charge more to watch longer films and less to watch shorter ones, which would ultimately drive down the duration of films depriving us of some of cinema’s greatest stories.

Next we come to YouTube, the ubiquitous video platform that has at once driven our business model and unintentionally damaged it.  Without YouTube the demand from brands and corporates for regularly updated video content would dry up and so would our revenues.  But, because YouTube is a free platform those same brands and corporates can be dismissive of it and consequently don’t always give their content the love and budget that it deserves.  The proof of this is TVC’s. A typical 30second TVC made in the US in 2011 cost US$354,000 and took/takes many months to get from concept to delivery. Why?  Because a TVC costs money to market, a lot of money, and though we’re frequently told how no one watches TV anymore the medium still devours the largest slice of most media budgets so the investment in the content is correspondingly higher.

Finally, there’s the word video traditionally meaning a length of magnetic tape strewn with microscopic particles that are translated by a video head into sounds and pictures on the screen. Asking someone to make a video is like asking someone to make paper; both are benign mediums that require content to impart value. At no point does this brief mention the content or, equally as important, the audience. Who is this piece of motion content for? What is it they need to know? How are they to respond?

Here’s how I would rewrite this brief:

Dear Neal (I’m a sucker for some old-school manners).

I wonder if you can help me, I have been charged with creating a video on the theme of innovation primarily for use on social media but there may be other applications. Our company provides consulting services to the finance industry and we want to tell them about our unique methodologies designed to increase productivity and reduce waste. As well as expertise we provide actual software applications that help track time, prioritise tasks and streamline reporting functions so that finance department heads can have a much better view of what their teams are doing and how they are doing it. Hopefully they’ll be inspired enough to make an enquiry on our website! We have a budget in mind but are also looking for some guidance so perhaps you can give us a few options from low to high. You can take a look at our existing content on our website, YouTube channel and Facebook page but we are hoping, with this video, to take things to the next level.
Let me know if you need anything further and I sincerely look forward to your prompt response (again with the manners).

Kind regards,
Marketing Manager
Generic Consulting Group

There you have it. Now I know what the company does, the story they want to tell, who it’s for and how they want that audience to respond. And though it may have taken a little longer to write, guess what, the author is going to get a quicker, more accurate quote from this than the previous version. And that’s basically what you want, right?

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