Have you ever wanted to create a promotional videos for business, company video or a creative video production? Video content, after all, can be used in so many ways, from social media posts and advertisements to emails and marketing sites. But how do you go from “wanting to create a video” to actually scripting and producing one? Seems complicated, right? It’s actually pretty simple!
Now, I’ve written million-dollar commercials for big clients like Samsung and Visa, and I’ve written scrappy videos for SaaS companies like StartupThreads and Amino.
And no matter the company, budget, or reason for the video, there’s a pretty basic format every video follows, from first idea to final cut.
Below I’ve outlined the 8 steps, which I hope will help to get your video idea out of your head and onto your audience’s screens!
Before you sit down to script out your video, you’ll want to take a step back and consider why you want to create a video in the first place.
Videos can be expensive to produce, so it’s important to get crystal clear on your goals before you start writing dialogue.
For example: perhaps you’re a new company and you want a video that introduces your brand/mission to web visitors. Or perhaps you have a new product line that needs further explanation to prospective buyers. Maybe you’re just running a sale and need a video that pushes people to take action.
Here are some common reasons many companies create promotional videos:
One thing to note: if you have multiple goals, you may want to consider creating multiple videos. The more goals (or ideas) you try to cram into one video (especially a short one) the more likely you’ll complicate the script and confuse your audience.
If you have multiple goals, you may want to consider creating multiple videos for business.
Once you’ve identified why you want to create a video, it’s time to start looking at potential directions for how you could bring your video to life.
Now that you have your “why,” it should be a little bit easier to determine what makes sense in terms of direction.
For example, let’s say you’re a new company who wants to create an intro video for the homepage hero on your site; the goal of the video is to introduce the brand and get people to sign up.
In this case, you would likely go with a company video that’s more along the lines of “introductory” or “explanatory” in nature. You may even find that a combination of several directions makes sense.
For example, maybe you’re a new company, but you’re up against a lot of competition. Perhaps an “introductory” style video with a “problem/solution” angle would be ideal (showing the “old way” as the problem and the “new way” [meaning your company] as the solution).
To give you some ideas, here’s a list of possible directions you could go in:
Once you have your goal and direction finalized, it’s time to further refine your approach by setting the tone for your company videos for business.
Tone is defined as “the general character or attitude” of something. But to make it simple, you can just think of it as how your video is going to make your audience feel.
For example, do you want to make your audience laugh or do you want them to be moved? Do you want them to feel informed, or do you want to tell them a story?
Keep in mind, the creative direction (chosen in Step 2) should play well with whatever tone you decide to go with. For example, if you decide to create an “introductory” style video for your homepage hero, it probably doesn’t make sense to use an “urgent” tone, as that’s best for things like a sale.
(Of course, pairing a particular creative direction with an unexpected tone isn’t necessarily a bad thing —
Will this be a 30-second video? 60-second? A minute plus? 5 minutes?
You may be thinking: “how can I know the length of the video until I script it out?”
And trust me, I hear ya! But the reality is, without using some type of time parameters, your video will likely end up too long and potentially unfocused.
Without using some type of time parameters, your video will likely end up too long and potentially unfocused.
Remember, your idea should only be as big as the time it has to unfold, so putting restrictions on your concept will only help to make it stronger and more effective.
This will also help you avoid frustrating situations, like forcing yourself to cut a two-minute script down to 30 seconds (which is like torture, btw).
By this point, you should have your goal, direction, tone, and duration figured out.
The next thing to consider will be the visual style of the video, meaning what it will look like.
The visual style of your video can come to life in many different ways, but here are some general ideas for how it can be done:
Many videos are a combination of some (or all) of these visual styles. For example, human actors who talk to animated characters (live action) or narrative-style videos that use a combination of main shots and b-roll footage.
The combinations are endless, really.
To decide what makes sense for your company video, think back to Steps 1–4 (your goal, creative direction, tone, and duration) as all of these factors should ultimately influence the visual style you go with.
Alright, at this point you’ve done a lot of the pre-planning work that will hopefully set you up for success. It’s now finally time to start mapping out your idea!
Assuming you have a loose idea for your video, it’s now time to start fleshing out the details.
To do it, I would suggest you start at a high level, then work backward from there.
For example, before I start laying out a script and all of the details, I usually write out a paragraph that essentially summarizes the idea from a high-level perspective. This paragraph should focus on the concept itself, so you always have something to refer back to when you begin building out the ideas (and the script inevitably gets a little murky).
To show you what I mean, I’m going to share with you an example of a fake script I always wanted to write for the running app, RunKeeper (the concept would be “Running ties us together”:
From the beginning of time to the last New York Marathon, running has always been a part of who we are. While many see running as “just a hobby” we at Runkeeper know it’s so much more than that: it’s an insatiable urge, a primordial desire, an indescribable drive. Running is and always has been, necessary to life itself. Across the world, through the depths of the deepest forests, to the highest mountain peaks, and through the dustiest of trails, running runs through our veins. And like our DNA itself, running is the what ties us together, from ancient beast to modern man.
Now this “overview” is not perfect or complete, but it’s just there to make sure you (as in the person either writing the script or in charge of producing the video or videos for business), has a clear picture of what this video is all about (of course, if you could see the script unfolding in my head, this example write-up would make more sense, but oh well).
Now that you’ve got your high-level overview, it’s time to start thinking about the details of the story. For example:
How many different scenes will there be? How many locations will be needed?
How many characters? Who are they? What is their storyline? What do they look like?
Will the video be set to the sound of someone’s voice? Can there be background music? Will any text need to appear on screen in order to get the message across?
How does the product fit into the story? How many times will the product appear and when/how?
Any major props needed to make your story work (i.e. — iPhone, car, bridge, elephant, etc)?
What’s the last message we leave the audience with? What do we want them to feel / do?
There’s really an endless number of details to consider here, and every answer you come up with will likely lead to another question.
The idea is to try and figure out as many details as you can, so when you go to write your script, all the pieces will start to fit together.
Speaking of which, it’s time to get out your pen and pencil — it’s script time, baby!
Every writer, creative director, director, etc, likely has their own way of writing scripts. There are also countless “script templates” for how to lay everything out (while these may seem pretentious, they actually are pretty helpful).
Regardless of what it looks like, the main things you want to make sure you have in your layout are:
If nothing else, laying out your script will force you to put your idea into an executable format, which is kind of necessary when you’re involving other people (actors / directions), equipment (lighting, props), locations, etc.
It will also help you to cut anything that’s unnecessary and will hopefully act as a “safeguard” for making sure you’re getting whatever product shots, CTAs, etc in there without forgetting (because trust me, when you’re on set filming at 4AM because you have a “daybreak” scene, it’s easy to forget a lot of things).
Okay, so you’ve written your script, you’re done now, right? Not exactly.
It’s now time to work with an artist, illustrator, or designer to create visuals that go with your script.
The idea is to work with a visual artist to help bring your script and ideas to life, making sure whatever you’re about to shoot is going to look good (and make sense) on film.
The type of artist you work with will depend on the medium you’re shooting within— for example, if you’re creating an animated video, you’ll probably want to work with an illustrator/animator (preferably the one who will create your final video) to put together the storyboard.
A storyboard is not only important for you and your team, but it’s also super important for the artists, actors, and directors, so they can get a good sense of the visuals they’re supposed to recreate. No one is saying the storyboard has to perfectly match what happens in the scene, but it should act as a guide.
Alright — you’ve got your script and your storyboard done. As you were wondering what the 8 steps to making promotional videos for business, company videoor a creative video production, well now you know.
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