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Choosing the right video format.

February 2, 2016

Around the E&S office, I’ve gained something of a reputation for having a lot of feelings. It’s true: As a fairly empathetic, socially oriented person who also happens to be a copywriter, there’s nothing more important to me than connecting with others and communicating meaningfully. And the idea of connection should be important to you, too, if you’re going to use video to interact with your audience—whether it’s an explainer video or an introduction to your brand. So with that in mind, here are a few tips I’ve collected on how to make different types of video more meaningful.

If your video is: explaining complex topics.

You should consider: an animated video with a narrative that’s written in plain English. While you don’t want to talk down to anyone or oversimplify, the topic is already complex enough without asking your audience to pull out a dictionary or manual just to make it through the explanation. Along with easy-to-follow language, using animated illustrations can also go a long way toward making in-depth information easier to process.

If your video is: creating brand awareness.

You should consider: using live-action video to paint a bigger picture. If your audience wants to know when your company was founded or where it’s headquartered, they can find that info on your About page. Instead, consider making your brand awareness video about something bigger, such as your core values or your mission as a company. And according to Jeanne Ivy, our assistant content director who has more than 20 years of video experience, “This is a great opportunity to do a longer-form video—up to 2 minutes—for online, then edit down to 30 or 60 seconds for broadcast.” Showing who you are and what you do through an inspirational—or aspirational—lens makes it easier to connect to your audience on an emotional level, which makes your brand more memorable.

If your video is: introducing a new product.

You should consider: paying attention to production quality. A new product is likely the result of lots of research, design and hard work, so why introduce it with a video that looks like a late-night infomercial? Instead, create a video that shows you put a lot into the product and you’re proud to show it off. If you’re excited about the product, your video quality should demonstrate that to your audience, so they can get excited, too. “This is a time when showing really is more important than telling,” Ivy says. “Think about the use cases the product is designed for and consider showing them in your video.” And if the product requires a lot of explanation, you can use a CTA to drive people to an explainer video.

If your video is: engaging your users.

You should consider: doing a series of installments. Whether they’re short animations highlighting different product features, a weekly vlog or a series of “day in the life” videos showcasing your company culture, producing small bites of video can keep your audience interested without requiring them to make a huge time commitment. Plus, short videos are infinitely more shareable via social media and could even “allow you to join a larger, timely conversation playing out on social,” Ivy adds. And remember: Because shorter clips are generally less formal, production quality may not be as important—within reason, of course.

Whatever you’re hoping to accomplish with your video content, I urge you to keep your end user in mind. How do you want them to feel? What action do you want them to take? How do you want them to perceive you? Considering these factors will help you produce content that’s relatable, meaningful and memorable on an emotional level.

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