Creating great promotional videos for property brands

Step One – Awareness

The first step in creating effective video content is to have an understanding of the production process. It helps you to know what you are asking for and what can be delivered.

A good first step is to take a look at your market. Look at a competitors marketing activity and their video content. List what you like and what you don’t like and create your own ‘ideal’ list.

Step Two – Have a budget in mind

This is probably the most important question to get answered and out of the way.  The answer to this very much determines how you progress across some of the steps. You may not have the budget to produce the length and type of video you want so knowing your budget and being open about it helps brief a video production company.

Step Three – What is the purpose of the video? Part of a campaign or stand-alone?

A simple question, but crucial. A video is not always the best way to market a commercial property. Ask the question, is the video to be a stand-alone marketing piece or is it to be part of a wider campaign strategy? Both would produce very different videos including the nature of the edit and the choice of audio. If the video is to sit within a larger campaign, it needs to fit flawlessly into the bigger picture. If stand-alone, that message and visual must have an immediate impact on its audience.  The video could be hosted on a micro-site, distributed on social media channels and therefore shorter clips can be taken and used from the full edit.

Step Four –  What four words best describe your audience?

Difficult?  Yes.  However, if you can identify and define your audience down to four words the briefing and creative part of the video production process becomes far easier and quicker.

Step Five – Work out the approval process

This is key to your timelines. What is your sign off process before you move on to the next stage? Have your approval process detailed with all parties aware of who signs off the edits, who views the rough edits and who ultimately signs off the final edit.

Step Six –  What kind of video do you want?

In some respects, it can be argued that this step is perhaps the first step! There are many types of videos that can be produced and your decision will very much be based on exactly what you are trying to get across to your core audience. There are several options and styles, such as, a Property Explainer Video, Company Culture video, Property Teaser/Bite Size Video, Property Launch Videos, Corporate Brand Video, Testimonial Videos, Internal Training Videos that support the delivery of your marketing strategy, On-boarding Videos and videos for social media.   Work out what type of style you are after, glossy high end, industrial, drone footage, fly-through aerial shots etc. There are many options, and your chosen production company will come up with the right look and feel that works for your brand.

Step Seven – Identify the expected length of the video

What is the expected length of the video? 1 min, 30 seconds, 10 seconds? This step links very well with step two.  Once you have identified who you want to see your video and where they view it you can then determine the length of the piece. Keep in mind where the video will be viewed.  The attention span of people viewing content online is a lot less than someone viewing a trailer in a cinema.

Step Eight- Identify what your Audio and visual needs are.

Do you want music in the video?  Will you be providing the music or will you require someone to source it for you? Will there be voice-overs?  If so, who will provide them? 

Step Nine – Who will provide the script?

Don’t be afraid to ask your chosen production company to do this for you. Remember, they have the experience and knowledge and have done this before. Video content runs the risk of getting bogged down by overly complex ideas such as focussing on too many things all at once.  You want your audio and visuals to communicate to your audience in a simple and brilliant way.

Step Ten –  Will you need to make revisions to the video in the future?

You don’t necessarily need to know what they will be; however, it makes sense to inform the company producing your video that this piece may need to be revised and re-used at some point. Will you need to replace the logo at some point if your company is re-branding itself in the next six months? 

Step Eleven – Is there any specific image or graphic that you must have included?

You can get caught up in the whole creative and visual process that little details can easily be missed.  You may need to have your company logo on screen throughout the duration of the video, this logo may itself have include motion and needs to match your brand’s guidelines.

Once you have identified all ten steps and produced your checklist, you are armed and ready to either produce this video in-house or brief a video production company.

By working through the above you will not only save a great deal of time and money when commissioning a video production company, you will be better versed in being able to get across exactly what you want and how you want it to look.

Written by Clare Griffin, Cuecut Video

10 things to ask when looking for a video production company

1/ Do I need a video….really?

The medium is attractive yes and lots of people are producing video for many different reasons. From promotional purposes to training and development of staff to corporate communications and beyond. But don’t be wooed by the medium alone. In many cases a video may not be needed and be more hassle than it’s worth.

Video is a great way to engage people emotionally – get their buy-in and provide them with a lot of information. It’s an incredibly flexible medium with a lot of scope. Don’t just replicate content from an existing format e.g. a PowerPoint presentation into a video. You will gain very little from turning it into a video.

Think through the potential of video to tell the viewer more.

2/ Who is going to watch the video…be realistic.

Most corporate video that is produced by brands is viewed by its intended audience very little. Producing a video in isolation, that is not linked to a campaign, project or programme of activities increases the likelihood of people watching it.

If you are producing a talking heads video ask yourself – “do my customers actually want to watch someone talking about how great their organisation is etc…”. Give the viewer something. Interesting information that they don’t know about. Enlighten them about how things work behind the scenes for example.

Behind the Scenes at London Bridge City, Hudson Fuggle / Cuecut Video Production 2017

Alternatively, or simultaneously, solve your customers’ problems. Ultimately that’s why they engage with your brand in the first place.

Ask yourself, why will people spend time watching this video. Most people start watching and drop away after a matter of seconds. Take a look at the performance of your previous video. Look at their stream performance. When and where in the video do they stop watching.

4/ Where is the video going to be used…yes your website, but where else?

Importantly ask yourself how are you going to reach your audience once the video production is completed and delivered. What are you going to do with the content and how are you going to distribute it. Which channels – and don’t just say it’s going to go on our website. Is it going to be used internally or externally? Will it be used as content for part of a specific campaign?

5/ Does it really need to be longer than 1 minute?

If people are going to be watching it via the web on their mobile or tablet, then you need a very strong case for why a video need be longer than a minute if it’s a promotional video. If it’s training content, film or a documentary style production then yes it will more than likely be longer.

It’s more difficult to create short, concise and engaging videos than it is long drawn out videos.

6/ Could I just use a videographer or do I need a full-service production company…what’s the difference?

A full-service production company and a videographer will use the same set of skills and they will both be able to deliver you a finished video.

A full-service production company will engage talent for each part of the video project. Someone will look after managing the project – the producer, another after directing it. A cameraman to film it and editor to cut the video and a number of other people to deliver specialist skills (e.g. autocue operator) together with a number of production assistants working across the project.

A videographer will deliver all or some of the above themselves.

Dependent on the needs of your project, somewhere between the two can work well. For example, a small production company where a small team overlap and deliver multiple skills simultaneously. Such as a Producer / Director and Cameraman that can edit.

7/ Yes video can look great on a budget, but, again be realistic…

Helicopter shot to open followed by multiple locations on different filming days with dozens of edit changes, the client asks. All for a budget of a few hundred pounds. Good video takes time to produce.

Working to specific filming days and wanting sunny skies, if the weather is bad then…yes…the weather is bad. HD, 4K, 8K, no matter what you are filming your footage on, without extensive post-production time allocated to the project, the video will look like what you are seeing the day it was filmed.

Like most things when it comes to creating good content. Keep things simple. Less is more often. It’s better to capture 3 people talking to camera well than 10 saying very little.

8/ What information should I provide my video producer?

A clear explanation on the objective of the video project as part of a solid brief. A laser-sharp understanding of your audience. Who do you want watching the finished video.  Where you intend to publish the content and the channels you are considering using to reach your audience. A clear idea of the expectations project stakeholders have for the finished video.

Together with; timescales, budget, logistical issues relating to accessing locations or pinning people down to film and any internal politics that you feel would be worth sharing with the video producer that will help him or her produce you a high-quality video on time and on budget.

9/ How many stakeholders should I share the video with before signing off?

Create a small team internally within your organisation who can view and feedback on the video whilst it is in production. Editing via committee is a very expensive process and significantly dilutes the ability for the video to meet what it set out to achieve.

10/ What do I want people to do after watching the video?

Consider, digest and re-watch the video – for example, a training video. Enquire or make a booking if it is a promotional video. Share it if it is part of a marketing campaign. Or simply enjoy it in the hope that the viewer thinks about your brand it the light of the entertainment they have received and/or what they have learned.

Property marketing managers practical pillars for video creation

Ask yourself, who do I want to watch my video? How am I going to get the video in front of them?

Video is one of the most versatile platforms content marketers can leverage. Their value proposition to the property market is second to none, IF you know what you are doing. Video’s wonderful mix of narrative, sound, motion and visuals offers a brand a unique and deeper relationship with its core market and audience.

Cisco predicts that by 2019, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video. Never has it been more important to focus on your video content strategy.

All good marketing campaigns accept the validity of good content as part of the marketing mix, they know why content marketing is crucial to the success of a campaign.  The key questions to answer are how do you create a good content marketing strategy that involves the creation of good video content? How do you choose it? How do you measure it?  Does this video content seamlessly and effortlessly sit within your marketing strategy? Just how do you bring it to the marketing mix?

There are five pillars to follow, each one relying on the other.  Identifying your aims and objectives may seem obvious enough, however, few people take the time to write these down. Define your content, identify what you want to say to your audience.  Who is your audience?  Identifying this is half the battle won. Produce your timelines for the promotion from start to finish and ensure everyone sticks to them.  The final pillar being measurement, analyse what went well and what didn’t.

Throughout the points below are some good examples of video used across commercial property.

The Practical Pillars for the creation of video content.

Identify Your Aims and Objectives

  • The brief – outline exactly what it is the business is trying to achieve
  • Broad Goals – identify the broader, long-term objectives
  • Specific Goals – detail the campaigns specific objectives and desires

Define Content

  • The idea/piece’s name – not always the promotion title
  • The ideas, what do you want to show?
  • Is it unique?
  • Length of the promotion piece – length maps to platforms/channels e.g. short on social
  • What format do you want the video to have? Animations, Vlog, info commercial
  • Communications channels – social media, website, social listening (Buzzsumo, Brandwatch)
  • Google Keyword Planner, Google Auto-Complete. How are people searching for commercial property?  What are they searching? It is currently reported that almost 80% of investors and tenants start their search online, it is crucial that they find you and that they feel confident about what your property brand offers.  Video can help you showcase what you have to offer.

Know your Audience

  • Who do you want to watch your video? – Target each market with specific marketing content
  • Database – Target your database, reaching those that you already have a relationship with is the first step
  • Social Media – Who is using this, how do they want to see your information? Is video what they want over a written article or still image?
  • Traditional – Mix your marketing strategy – Traditional methods work incredibly well with a certain audience whilst the new platforms such as social media appeal and attract others. Do commercial property professionals engage with social media in a work context?

Time Lines

Identify your work-flow and allocate ownership and timings.

  • Sourcing and briefing a production company
  • Creation- Pre-production, Production and Post-Production
  • Sign-off
  • Realisation (upload)
  • Dissemination (social, outreach platforms – Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat.)
  • Promo – social, newsletter to accompany the video. Where is your video content going to go? How will people see it? Think is this at the start of any video project.

Measurement

It is essential that before you launch your video you have a clear path set for measurement.  This makes any future campaigns far easier to plan and execute.  Look at:

  • Site traffic
  • Views to video and its stream performance. See how long people watch the video – 20secs, 20secs, 1 min. If they drop away (i.e. click off to another page or competitor website) ask why. Could we improve the edit of the video for example to keep them engaged until the end?
  • Length in views analysis/increased average dwell or bounce time
  • Social interaction on segments posted, likes, shares, comments
  • Increase in engagement stats on social media
  • Increase in new business leads/enquiries
  • Increased traffic to video from emails
  • Increased ranking for key terms
  • Newsletter sign ups
  • Understand your performance-based advertising, campaigns through Google Adwords, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are a very effective way to deliver solid publicity and can generate thousands of brand impressions. This type of advertising is immediate and measurable.

More or less straightforward, it doesn’t need to be difficult, the underlying message throughout is ‘identify exactly what you are trying to achieve’. What do you want to say to the viewer? Who exactly is that viewer and how do you get your finished video in front of that group of people.

View video (excuse the pun) as you would all other marketing campaign material. Use the right vide platforms available, and there are many.  For example, Vimeo, Wistia and Ooyala. Research those that you think would fit your campaign and produce the results and build this into your budget.  Screen shots of the promotional video can be simply uploaded and distributed through various property and estate portals along with social media platforms.  Remember, you can mix video content with traditional print media, direct mails, display and window signage and broker events.  The moving visual part of your campaign will bring it to life and add greater impact whilst the narrative will do the talking.

Marketing your property through video enables your target audience to visualize the property and area through live images.  The use of drone footage, fly-through and aerial shots capture the full scope of the property, area or environment.

Even use the production process as part of your media campaign, let your current followers on social media see snippets of what is to come. Use this method as a build up to the final showing of the property.  This not only creates excitement and interest, above all, it engages you with your clients or potential clients. They feel involved and this, as such, builds your relationships.  Every time the CEO talks about the new property/estate, ensure this is filmed and uploaded to your social media channels again linking in with the upcoming campaign. This can be done simply with a mobile phone, it’s quick, efficient. People today are more comfortable with quick-fire/handycam style video posted on social media. They don’t expect traditional broadcast quality all the time.

Be smart and above all be brave, engage with people and embrace the many social platforms that you have at your fingertips.  The audience reach gained will add so much weight to your campaign and ultimately be the platform to showcase what you do best, marketing Commercial Property.

Written by Clare Griffin, Cuecut Video

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