How to Launch Your First Video Series
Launching your company’s first video series is an occasion brimming with excitement. It is a way for your brand to head in new and interesting directions through a format that caters for almost limitless creativity. Not to mention the potential potency of video, which makes up 80% of all consumer internet traffic. But with such a responsibility comes uncertainty.
This is your company’s first foray into the world of video, so how do you ensure that it is done right? How do you run the production of an effective video series? In fact, where do you even start?
With 9 years of experience in the field and over 2,000 films under our belt, we know a thing a or two about video production. This is why we are sharing our tips on how to launch your first video series the right way.
Unfortunately, the process isn’t as simple as setting up your camera and getting it rolling. Not even close. From coming up with an original idea that will help you stand out, to distributing your content effectively once it is finished, a colossal amount of detail and thought needs to go into every single step in the process. A good place to start is with a solid content strategy. This will lay the groundwork for what is to come and helps point your team in the right direction in times of unclarity. It will be the compass that your storyboards adhere to and the basis for your release strategy. But before we get into all of that it is important to begin at the start.
As with every foray into the world of marketing campaigns, video series all start with an idea…
Starting with the right idea
As with all forms of marketing, video series are sparked by an idea before they become roaring successes. As the very core of what your series will become, the idea becomes the driving force behind every development. As such, it is vital that your idea does everything right.
It has to hit all the right notes with your audience, embody all of your company values and, most importantly, draw attention to your brand. Good ideas can be hard to come by. Great ideas are yet more elusive. But there are certain ways to help coax fresh creativity from the recesses of your mind or those of your creative team.
Unfortunately, the first step in creating a video series is often the most difficult. Coming up with an original idea is no mean feat. Everything has to be considered, from subject matter to the actual style of the video series. (For a source of inspiration on the latter, read our advice on 7 Types of Video Series You Can Make). It is just a case of sparking that idea in the first place.
One of the most popular means of doing this is hosting a brainstorming session. By setting up a relaxed, informal setting in which new ideas are thrown around, you are encouraging a greater chance for outside-the-box thinking, and therefore new and interesting ideas. There are many ways in which you can set up a brainstorming session. Different activities suit certain people and specific situations. It is all about going with the flow of the session and encouraging a judgement-free atmosphere without letting things stray too far from the core subject.
For more tips on how to host a content series brainstorming session read our Brainstorming Blog.
Get the help of someone with video experience
It goes without saying that those with experience in the industry can be immeasurably helpful when it comes to matters running smoothly. The professional touch of someone with video production knowledge will lead to better quality footage, higher value footage and a greater chance of achieving your desired results.
Not everyone has the luxury of a videographer working in their office. In fact, very few companies do. Therefore, the matter of budget often comes into question during this step. But don’t worry, you don’t have to hire an entire team. Just one or two professionals, full-time or part-time, can prove invaluable in the long run.
Everything from having tips on how to increase the video’s production value to mastering the audio side of things can be vitally important. The value of such an individual can be visualised by imagining the results without one. Imagine spending big money on a documentary series that ends up looking utterly amateur. Or recording a series of interviews only to find that the interviewer’s voice lacks any kind of clarity. It is a failsafe means of avoiding errors which could otherwise have been easily averted.
Use a storyboard or concept test
Once you’ve got your idea and have the right team assembled, its time to better outline what your video series will consist of. This is a great means of visualising your idea, as well as showing it off to stakeholders. There are 2 main ways of doing this in the video industry: storyboards and concept tests.
Storyboards are a series of sketches that represent what each shot of your video series will consist of. Much like an article outline for a writer. They depict camera angle, lighting and transitions, as well as the video’s dialogue. They allow you to see how it will flow, whether the content to convey what you want it to and how your idea will appear to the fresh eyes of an audience.
In terms of creating a storyboard, it is important to establish a timeline before you dive in. Pick out the key scenes that need to stand out, adapt your script to fit in and then get sketching. Experts tend to use quite detailed sketches in a storyboard, but don’t fret if your art skills are sub-par. As long as you can display your idea effectively, then a simple stick man drawing can also do the trick. Storyboards are a means of laying out your plan before you splash the cash on producing it.
Concept tests have a similar purpose to storyboards but delve deeper into the matter. They create a sample of your video content on film rather than paper. Consisting of a short video clip, a concept test is much like a series pilot episode but far shorter. They allow the creator a glimpse at their idea in the flesh. They help decide whether every element of the series will work, from on screen chemistry to the style in which it will be shot.
For more information on how concept tests work and what they can offer, read our Concept Testing Blog.
Build a video series release strategy
Once you have your idea sorted and video concept approved, it’s time to decide how to release your content to your audience. This may seem a relatively simple task, but a lot of work goes into helping your content land with the right people and perform as you want it to. Release strategy ranges from delivery platforms (social, email etc.) to how you upload the videos themselves (SEO, ad snippets etc.).
It is important to have a launch plan for your series. This means lining up when and where your videos will be released. Will you tease with short snippets on social to draw attention, before releasing the full content on your site? Or alternatively, will you opt for a full release in conjunction with a significant or relevant date? This decision depends on everything from your marketing style to your target audience.
Next, you have to consider where is best to release your video series content. This varies greatly between companies and their respective marketing strategies. For example, an email campaign may work better for establishments with a high number of subscribers, whilst those with a younger fanbase and a lot of followers may consider a social media-focussed release strategy.
When it comes to posting on social media there is also the decision of which platform best compliments your content. Factors to consider include:
- Specs – Some platforms only cater for video content in particular sizes, dimensions and ratios. If your video is an inspiring, wide-shot epic then a square format may not compliment it…
- Video Length – Platforms like Instagram only allow videos to last for a certain amount of time. Therefore, longer pieces may be better suited to a platform like YouTube.
- Quality – If you are looking to wow your audience with great detail and specificity, then don’t use a social platform that will significantly reduce the quality of your video.
- Stories – Social pages tend to come with a “story” function these days. Often this is a good means of teasing snippets of your upcoming footage or telling the story behind your content.
Beyond the realms of social media, it is also important to upload the videos effectively. Working in the back-end of your site, paying attention to elements like meta descriptions, video titles and alt-tags can be the difference between failure and success. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is what puts your content in all the right places on Google and other search engines. It will see your work appear in relevant searches and land with all the right people.
For a more extensive look into optimising your video’s search engine presence, take a look at our Video SEO Blog.
Use analytics to improve on the next video series
So, your content has been planned, shot and released. It’s time to sit back and watch the views, visitors and conversions roll in, right? Wrong. This is one of the most important long-term elements of the video series launch process.
Analytics are a brilliant means of monitoring your videos’ KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). They should form a key part of your plan in the form of what you ultimately want to achieve from the campaign. Your KPIs need to be aligned with the overall purpose of the campaign and your company as a whole. They need to be ambitious yet achievable, as failure to reach your targets is detrimental in more ways than one. Your KPIs also need to be specific, because vagueness can lead you astray from the overall objectives of the company. And lastly, they need to be actionable. By this, we mean that some of the events surrounding them need to be under your control.
Looking to achieve a greater number of sales? See how your video content is affecting conversion rates. Keen to drive more people to your site? Monitor the traffic that the series brings in.
Analytics can help measure success, guide your video series in the right direction and even influence the handling of future video content series. Just because the production stage is over, it doesn’t mean that the work is finished.
So, there you have it. Our rough tips on how best to handle the launching of your first video series. But the intricacies behind bringing a concept to life go beyond the guide above. Creating a video series effectively is no walk in the park.
As with every marketing campaign, remember to learn from the mistakes of your previous campaigns and listen to your customers. It is they who you are trying to connect with after all. This can be done both at the concept test stage – letting a select few loyal customers attend the screening – and through the analytics provided once the video has been released.
Ultimately what you are looking to achieve is a series that reaches all the goals that you set. And every campaign has different goals. As such, the best practices vary between both different brands and individual campaigns. This is why the presence of an experienced professional can make the process easier and therefore more enjoyable.
It is an intimidating world to take your first steps in to. But if properly executed, the process is as rewarding as it is challenging.
For more help on the matter of launching a video series, drop us a line.