Short or long digital video?
When it comes to creating content for your social media channels and website, there are a few key questions that need to be answered. Among them: how long should videos be? We’re always asked to confirm the inclination that videos should be short. Rightly so, creators and customers are down on long videos, assuming users don’t want to sit through a long narrative.
That says more about how you view your story. And it may convey to your team your trust in them, your own company’s story, and/ or your overall view of your value to your audience. To be concerned with length first fails to focus on what’s most important in getting your organization’s messaging into the forefront.
The question also buries the more important question about an effective digital video:
- How do we convey our most important core value propositions in a way that captures attention and makes a long-lasting impression?
I began my career first as a storyteller. It included many types. As a young reporter, I spent about 60 days at the beginning of my career asking myself just what I intended to accomplish. I was spending too much time on some pretty dark cases (I’ll leave it at that for now), and I had to ask myself just what I was going to spend my career doing if it were indeed going to be spent in these corners of the world. I came away from the self-analysis determined to write stories in a way that people would remember them. I set out to find details that other reporters wouldn’t bother to uncover. I talked to people whom other reporters wouldn’t bother to reach. And it helped me understand how to quickly and efficiently dig into the most important aspects of story.
As I transitioned into other careers, this experience helped hone the system that Groundswell Health uses today to dig into the most valuable aspects of a client’s programs, products, and services — their core value propositions — to convey their most compelling attributes that appeal to the target audience.
So, rather than being fearful that your communications team or agency isn’t capable of telling your story with brevity or compelling attributes, grill them on how they plan to take the story of your impact to other audiences in a compelling way. The better question than short or long:
- What are you going to convey and how?
This question challenges the creator to explore the goals, the resources, and the story arc.
Here’s five other considerations to creating a compelling story:
- Understand the company’s target audience: Who is the video intended to reach and what content will be most effective for them?
- Who is telling our story?
- A valued customer? An influencer? A company leader?
- Develop a clear message and get right to it.
- Too often, we see brands spend too long in the setup. Like a good news story, use the inverted pyramid model to frame the most important and engaging aspect of your story at the top. We cringe when a marketing or communications team doesn’t have the trust of a stakeholder and end up spending the first 30 seconds of a video introducing a featured physician and his or her credentials and medical school. Important details, certainly. But let’s not pretend that’s why someone is watching your video. The assumption is implicit that whoever is featured has the necessary credentials. And when your intro is laborious and lengthy, your audience is long gone.
- Make sure that the key message of the video is easy to understand and memorable by having your core value propositions developed and honed in advance of launching your video production. Trying and testing a set of value propositions helps your communications team explore the visual and story-telling elements that will speak to your audience.
- Plan for cadence prior to distribution: Consider how you will distribute the video to make sure it reaches its intended audience on all your key channels. It’s likely that your message is too complex for a single video, and it’s even more likely that you have several angles per value proposition.
So spend some time working on your agile communications plan by fleshing out all the potential angles that can speak to your target audience(s) over time. The time it takes your team to commit to a tight story — even if it’s told in multiple segments and angles — is well worth it.
Want to see how we do it, reach out, and we’ll go over exactly how we deliver compelling video with a cadence that continues reaching your target audiences.