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I meet with companies regularly looking to create and add visual content to their websites. One of the most common questions is what to DO before we start filming. I find myself repeating these instructions, so I figured I’d write them down as a benefit to those who are looking to create visual content or stories for their employees, customers or shareholders. We are inundated with marketing messages every day. There is SO MUCH clutter it’s hard to get any content to stand out. Video content with a clear PURPOSE will win over flashy, expensive, and polished productions in an environment that demands authenticity. Successful companies like Medtronic and 3M are building out internal news rooms and are telling stories or “reporting” instead of “producing” content. Creating regular content and telling your story will help your company rise above the clutter, and being intentional about the content you create is a great start. Here are some things to identify before you create content for your business or non-profit. 1) Identify your AUDIENCE - Who is the video/content for? I recently met with a local police department about creating a “branding” video. They wanted to highlight their newer officers, and demonstrate the tools and “toys” they had to keep their community safe. I learned from the discussion that there had been a fair amount of turn-over in the department over the last 5 years and they wanted to recruit and retain great talent. At the same time, they wanted to show the community their commitment to serve and protect, encouraging prospective residents to move into the city. So we determined that the video crafted should have 2 audiences, one being future officers and the other, future city residents. Clearly understanding and identifying the audience before we moved on would help us establish the story we hoped to tell. 2) Identify your MESSAGE - What story do you want to tell and how do you hope it will impact your audience? Now that we knew WHO this video was for, we could begin asking questions about WHAT we would like to tell them and show them. I encouraged the police department to be concise with their messaging. Many times we try to accomplish too much in the content we create. We want our visual content to answer every foreseeable question, when it should simply engage our audience to seek additional information. We want to MOVE our audience towards the call-to-action while keeping them engaged. 3) Identify your key CHARACTER(S) - Who would be the best person/people to help you tell the story? Truth and Passion sell! Finding passionate people who align with your story and the message you want to send is KEY! LESS is MORE when identifying characters. A good rule of thumb is to include characters that are a part of your audience. In the police video, we plan on interviewing a current officer who is newer to the force and asking him questions about WHY he chose this department over others. In addition, we are hoping to find a city resident who has been well-served by the department and would be willing to tell his or her story. 4) Identify your call-to-ACTION - What do you want your audience to DO after viewing your video? WHAT behavior in your audience did you hope this content would motivate? At the end of the video content, there needs to be a clear way for the audience to engage with you or your cause. The police department wanted to recruit new officers, AND recruit new residents to the community. We recommended two separate call-to-actions or endings. For the officers, the video would end and the text at the end of the video would say something like: “Interested in employment opportunities with this department? Go Here….. www…..” This version of the video could be shared at a Job Fair or posted on the employment page on the community’s website. For the residents we recommended something like: “For a tour of the station or to learn more about our community go here….” This version of the video could be shared on the community’s Facebook page, community-facing website, etc. Once your content is created, you can’t expect it to go viral on its own. It’s important to MARKET YOUR MARKETING. Seek ways to put the informative content you’ve created before your intended audience so that they might engage with you, and you might increase your impact and desired outcome. If you have additional questions about content creation or if your business needs help, that’s why we’re here. Please reach out for a free initial consultation. www.picturetimemn.com Now tell your story! BTW... This book is a great resource if you're looking for more information on this topic. Consider downloading it on Audible and listening in the car!