Strategy and distribution – Part 15: How to make a (good) promotional film
This is the latest instalment in our How To Make A (Good) Promotional Film series. If you missed previous posts or want to go right back to the beginning and find out what it’s all about, click here. New instalments will be released every Friday. Click here to have them emailed straight to your inbox the moment they go live.
Last year, I gave a talk at the inaugural EcoSummit Amsterdam on Content Strategies for Cleantech Start-ups. Below you can see what I had to say on making a video and not having a distribution strategy…
“Investing in good content is the first step. But don’t waste that investment by doing nothing with it.”
This is particularly true for films. Clients often get very excited about film production, and it really matters to them that we portray everything about their company just so. But if that film is just going to sit in a forgotten corner of the Internet with no one watching it, it’s a waste of their time and money.
First, you’ll need to upload your film to a video hosting site. Really your two viable options are Vimeo and YouTube. Here are some tips for getting things right at the upload stage:
Make it catchy so someone wants to click on it, or informative so it’s clear what it’s about.
A short description that gives any context a viewer might want or need. You can include a description of your company and a link to your website here.
These make your film searchable. So think of anything someone might type into a YouTube search that should bring up your film.
YouTube lets you choose one of three random thumbnails for your film. I would suggest using the ‘upload your own’ version. Either search through the film and take a screenshot of the most enticing looking shot. Or design your own by using that enticing shot and adding a title or a png (no background) version of your logo over it. The better this looks, the more chance someone will click on it to play your film. And it makes you look more professional.
All going well, the film you have created is a short and impactful introduction to your company. So it’s a great piece of content for your website. Have a think about visitor journey and when you want them to see the film.
If you think the film is the best introduction to your company, then put it proudly on the Homepage. You could go as far as to make it the whole homepage (depending on your website template options).
If it’s more important that visitors see the existing content on your home page first, then you could add it further down, or put it on the ‘About’ page. If it’s a case study it may make more sense on a ‘Customers’ or ‘How it works’ page.
My main tip would be: Don’t hide it.
Sharing your film
You don’t want to simply rely on your audience re-visiting your website and chancing upon seeing your new film. There are lots of ways to make sure that anyone engaging with your company also sees your film:
Announce your new film by sending out a special newsletter.
- Email signature:
Add a link to your email signature so that every time you send a message you’re also promoting your film.
- Social media:
Social media is a great place to share film content. You can also share short social media clips from the main film, that entice viewers through to watch the full film.
Add the film to your personal LinkedIn profile as well as your company or group page. Perhaps you’re an active member of some appropriate groups you could share the video in.
- Personalised emails:
Use the film as an opportunity to get directly in touch with important customers, partners or investors. Tell them why you made the film, ask them to watch it and let you know their thoughts.
- Second-hand sharing:
Certain partners or customers may want to share the film through their own channels. If it’s a case study that features another company then it’s also great promotional content for them to share.
Offline (real world) uses
Your film should be an effective and powerful introduction to your company. So sometimes it’s best to let it do the talking. Showing the film to a live audience is also a great way to watch their reactions!
Start your presentations by showing the film first, or embed it at an appropriate point.
Start meetings with it – use it as an opportunity to bring people up to speed while you get yourself ready for the meeting.
- Investor pitches:
Get your investors warmed up by using the film to introduce your company and technology.
- Trade shows:
Have the film running on loop on your stand. You will need to think about sound for this, it would make a lot of sense to add subtitles to your film for this sort of use.
Increasingly, online news channels are desperate for video content. Video gets more clicks and increases visitor engagement and click-through rates.
So when you send out a press release, send the film along with it and let journalists know that they’re welcome to embed it alongside their stories.
Our Climeworks film received well over 100,000 views because we sent it out with the press materials about their launch.
Call to action
It’s also important to decide what you want someone to do once they’ve finished watching the film. Is it enough for them to simply watch it, be impressed and then go on their way? Or do you want them to carry on engaging with you after this point?
You can put ‘calls to action’ in the description of the video on YouTube. You can also add overlays and links to the actual video using the YouTube settings.
You may want to encourage viewers to:
- Visit your website
- Watch another video
- Email you
- Sign up to your newsletter
Organic, paid-for and ‘going viral’
You may reach enough of your target audience by following all of the steps above. However, you may also want to consider paying for extra reach. This can take various forms:
- Google Adwords
- YouTube ads
- Social media promotional posts
- Facebook ads
- Paid editorial content
Each form of paid content reaches audiences in different ways and has different costs. They also vary in effectiveness. Think hard before you start paying for promotion about who your audience is, where they are, and what value a video view is worth to you. It may not be worth paying to get thousands of views, if those views are from a general audience that doesn’t include your target customers.
If you are considering paying for reach, then I would recommend a lower cost experiment. Pick an amount your willing to ‘trial’ advertising with. Set it up to reach your audience, and make sure you can track their journey (e.g. through your website). You want to have a way of knowing what a paid-for view translates into (newsletter sign-up, customer call etc). Once you’ve used up that budget you can do a cost-benefit analysis to decide if paid-for promotion will you bring you enough value for what it costs. Scale up only if it’s worth it.
And remember – ‘going-viral’ is an enticing prospect, and hundreds of thousands of views on your video will feel great. But don’t forget why you’re doing this. One positive response from the right customer/partner/investor that sees your video, may be worth a lot more than 400,000 random views on your YouTube channel.
And here’s my call to action for this whole blog series…
I’ve really enjoyed the chance to share all the ins and outs of filmmaking. I hope you’ve found it equally useful and inspiring.
I’m excited to see what you do with this information. Please do send us links to any film work you’ve made using this advice. You can email us or catch us on our social media channels.
And of course, if you’ve got a good story to tell and you think we’re the right team to bring it to life through film – then I’d love to chat about your next project. Please get in touch