People aren’t reading anymore; they’re watching.
They don’t want to read your white paper, they want to be engaged, interested, and entertained.
They want all that in seconds, not minutes or hours.
How will you stand out?
As the owner of Rip Media Group, I believe in The Power of Story. More importantly, I believe in the power of visual storytelling. I was part of a billion dollar sale to Cisco systems before I started this company, and have produced Hollywood feature films and over 1,000 branded commercials in the past decade for brands like Cisco, Ben and Jerry’s, Comcast, The United Nations, NetApp, and hundreds more.
These commercials and content have helped secure over $100 million dollars in funding and revenue gains by our customers. I am deeply proud of this, and certainly in the video marketing business. My team and I know from experience that companies must incorporate video in their marketing plans if you hope to stay viable.
If you know you need a better story, and video is the best way to tell a story, you need some rules to guide you through the process.
So, let’s cover the 5 most critical elements in a great story, and why video is transformative to marketing, eLearning, and branding campaigns.
To create a successful video, you MUST start with a great story.
Your company will live or die based on the story you tell about your product, service, and even your company culture.
Using the expertise I’ve gained working as both a Hollywood producer and with corporate clients as a marketing/brand strategist, I’m sharing the essential elements you’ll need to include when creating your great story!
First, let’s imagine you are a real estate builder, and you need to sell a house.
OK: you need to lay your foundation, and then you’ll begin the process of framing. Next, you’ll want to add in the details like painting your walls, installing windows and doors, etc. Finally, you’ll need to furnish your structure with light fixtures and appliances before finding that ideal buyer.
Are you ready?
Before you build, you must begin with the buyer in mind. What kind of house are they interested in? How many bedrooms are they looking for? Who are you selling to?
Great advertising is focused on one thing: getting the buyer to understand “what’s in it for them.”
NOTHING ELSE MATTERS
It’s all about your client, or your prospect, and solving a problem they have. It is not about you. Resist the temptation to show off all the killer bells and whistles you offer, as it really is not about you or how long you’ve been striving to achieve this amazing feat of science, nor is it about how you are so much better than the competition. Rather, you need to make your audience feel exactly how what you are offering will benefit them.
Your viewer wants to know how you will:
Once you’ve got people thinking about how terrific your offering will be for them, your job becomes far easier.
Take a moment – what are the top 3 things your product does to improve your customer’s life?
So, who is your most desired buyer? Who did you create your product or service for?
Before you sketch one frame, or commit one word to script, you need a very clear understating of exactly WHO your buyer is. This will make it so that you can target your video directly to them, along with all accompanying blogs, articles, press and advertising.
What are their interests? What do they spend money on? What do they watch?
Some of the basic questions you’ll need answers to should include:
· Economic Standing
· Level of Education
· Techie or Earthy
· Relationship Status, Kids
· Where do they live?
The more in depth you can go with your buyer profile, the better your script and subsequent marketing video will be.
Okay! Your foundation has been laid and is set, now you can start framing. With all of that prep out of the way, let’s dive into incorporating what you’ve learned about your buyer into the script. Part 2 of this series will help you determine the type of story you’re going to tell.
Awesome! We are moving right along. You’ve laid your foundation — you know who your buyers are, now it’s time to start framing your house. With your target audience in mind, you can now begin crafting your story. But what type of story are you going to tell?
Stories create attachment, activate sense memory, and evoke emotions. Your marketing videos should be designed to pull the strings that generate such reactions. There are Four Types of Stories you can use to get your message across. Do they seem familiar?
1. The Underdog Story – This is where, against all odds, your hero wins the day. This hero is a bit of an everyman, except for one or two extraordinary talents. Silver screen examples of this would include films like Rocky, Harry Potter or Wall-E.
2. The Hero’s Journey – The journey that takes our hero from relative obscurity and insignificance to accomplishments only he or she could have dreamed of. Familiar examples of these are films such as Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, The Princess Bride, and nearly every Nike commercial.
3. The Nuts and Bolts – Think of “how-to” videos as a mini documentary, where you have to learn something new. When it comes down to the facts, information, or learning a new technique, communicating in a clear fashion will give your videos edge over your competition.
4. The Transformation – These stories are about characters whose lives are transformed. This is what we hope to accomplish with your videos, as the goal is to transform your buyer’s lives for the better through your product and/or services.
Now, these types of stories may mix into each other. For example, Lord of The Rings could be classified as a hero’s journey and an underdog story at the same time. But, the important thing is to understand what your story is and why it will change your customer’s lives for the better.
We’ve all seen examples of good stories. What is YOUR story?
Next up in Part 3 of our series we’re going to discuss how to tell your story.
Continue reading to learn more about the 3 Act Structure.
As we discussed in the first part of this blog series, when it comes to creating a successful marketing video, coming up with a great script is job-one. Seth Godin says it best, “It’s not about your product – it’s about the stories you tell.”
You’ve laid your foundation by determining who your customers are, and you’ve framed your structure by determining the type of story you want to tell. Now let’s move on to some design basics. How do you tell your story?
Every great story contains commonalities that drive emotion. One of the most famous of story-building basics is the 3 Act Structure.
Simply put, the 3 Act Structure is made up of three major turning points: The Set Up, The Midpoint or “big twist,” and The Resolution.
Let’s break these 3 Acts down and get to the heart of each section:
Act One is known as The Set Up. In this first stage, the protagonist is introduced and the antagonist is brought up—though not necessarily seen at this point. Within the introductory scene, a compelling protagonist will do something likable. This does not mean that our protagonist has to be a “good person”—They just have to do something endearing, something that hints to the better or relatable side of their character.
For example, our hero robs a bank, but on the way out, he coolly slips a stack of money into an old man’s pocket who was earlier denied a loan. In that moment, we see that our protagonist has guts, but he also has a heart.
About a third of the way through Act One, there is a moment that changes our protagonist and moves the hero into action. This moment is called an “inciting incident.” Maybe the main character comes face to face with a life-altering problem… such as being diagnosed with cancer or meeting the love of his life and he wants to do one last robbery before he moves to the Bahamas with her—or both. The inciting incident in this case moves our protagonist to go out with a bang and rob the largest international bank in the world.
Move along Act One to about two-thirds of the way through and our protagonist starts to have second thoughts. Those second thoughts are swept away by the climax of Act One—a moment of excitement and action before we move to…
Things start to get really interesting in Act Two as the protagonist comes across obstacles. Action rises, the audience’s heart rate spikes, and attention should be locked before we hit—The Midpoint.
The midpoint is also known as “a big twist.” This is something that completely throws our protagonist off. The shocker of the story. The partner is the enemy. The bad guy becomes worse. The lover is a spy. Act Two is all about surprise and confrontation.
From the midpoint, we move on to another obstacle, then a major disaster, which leads to an ultimate crisis. Our hero loses all hope. The main character doesn’t know who to trust or where to go in this moment of crisis.
In the greatest hour of hardship, the protagonist enters the Act Two climax. This is the moment of truth—what the audience has been waiting for since the first scene. Our bank robber is finally about to steal from the top international bank. He slips through all the security measures and fights with the antagonist in an epic battle. Against all odds, our protagonist comes out the winner.
Act Three starts off with a bang, riding the wave of the final climax of Act Two. The climax of Act Three takes up the first two thirds of this ending section. The major component of Act Three consists of descending action. Then we have a wrap-up and the end. Act Three is known as The Resolution in that it ties together all the floating questions from previous scenes.
This final section sets the tone of how we leave the story. Is it sad but beautiful, surprising and action-packed, or happy and sweet? Perhaps our protagonist does move to the Bahamas but without his new love. An elderly man that reminds the protagonist of the old man from the first scene tosses him a coin for good luck.
This is the time for resolution. The Third Act is the place to bring the story together for a great last impression.
The 3 Act Structure works because it keeps the reader or viewer engaged. It is filled with adversity, high stakes, and a hero’s quest. There are surprises and turning points all along the way that perfectly build into climaxes and a final resolution. If you look at any story you enjoy, you’re sure to find the 3 Act Structure keeping the ups and downs plus the flow of it all together.
Each story type must have particular emotional elements that evoke passion, motivate and inspire an action. In Part 4 of this series we are going to dig a little deeper into the emotional elements we touched on here. Next up, make sure your story has the right S.T.U.F.F.!
Let’s continue with our home-building analogy, shall we? So far you’ve laid your foundation (you know your customers), your framing is in place (you’ve determined the type of story you’re telling) and you’ve painted the walls a lovely shade of blue (you have your 3 Act Structure). What’s next?
It’s time to start filling in the details! Let’s add some emotion and imagination. Remember, your audience doesn’t want a white paper, they want to be entertained and engaged!
And to keep your audience engaged, your story needs the right S.T.U.F.F.
(Yes, that is a New Kids On The Block gif.)
Great marketing, writing, advertisements, videos, and stories in general have a basis for what makes them captivating and entertaining. So let’s break the S.T.U.F.F. down into its five parts:
S: It needs to be Sexy or Sizzle.
T: It needs to be Touching.
U: It needs to have an element of surprise or be Unique.
F: Successful stories are most often Funny.
F: And finally, you move your audience to action with a touch of Fear.
Whether or not your story has the right S.T.U.F.F. determines your marketing results. S.T.U.F.F. consists of simple ideas, with a simple acronym for memory, but it’s tied to complex emotions and backed with modern psychology and cutting-edge marketing techniques.
What grabs your viewer in a marketing video? What makes your story pop? Sexy elements mean that your story needs to have appeal. This means that your target audience is drawn in with what makes your product or service cool.
This can be taken as actual sex appeal, but in general, a sexy story is one that is intriguing. Sexy is what grabs your audience and takes them from wanting something they may never have known about to needing a product or service that you do better than anyone else.
In corporate terms, sexy might be a product that’s sleek, well designed, or efficient. Or it can be a service that’s above and beyond. Couple these components with a beautiful and sexy marketing video, and you have a potion for success.
Touching is what moves your heartstrings. It’s what makes your message relatable and draws in the deeper emotions of your audience. Touching speaks to common core beliefs that allow your target audience to say, “Yes! I think that too. This is a company that I like.”
This is when you see an ad about a family. Suddenly, viewers can picture their own families, their own lives. And once your product or service is introduced within that common ground, once touching is incorporated, a viewer’s brain clicks into a more trusting mode.
This is where a company gets to stand out. What are the differences that make your company special? Perhaps you are branching off into something completely new. Or maybe your company’s been around for a while, but want to present new products or services. A company can be around for 30 years and still feel unique and unexpected.
The “U” in S.T.U.F.F. can also mean Unexpected. What’s the twist or surprise to your story? A transcribing service that also takes care of your mailing is something surprisingly convenient. Voila! You have a personal assistant that was completely unexpected. What takes your company over the edge of Usual and mundane to the unexpected world of Unique?
The internet is packed with stats on how humor is the best thing for a video. What’s Funny ties into the rest of the S.T.U.F.F. that we’ve covered so far. Funny can be Sexy, Touching, and Unique.
Laughter and happiness makes people more open. A potential client is more likely to buy from a company that makes them laugh because they feel like they have a common humor—Plus a funny video is much more likely to be remembered and shared than a “regular” ad that simply states what a company does. If there’s only one element you incorporate into your marketing, humor’s one of the top strategies to increase your sales numbers.
Fear is one of our most powerful emotions. It sets into motion instincts on “fight or flight” modes. So what does this mean for story and marketing? Adding Fear into the mix is the last element to kick your audience into action. This might be a deal that only lasts for a short while. It might be a threat to you or your family’s data or security. It could even be pending threats to your health.
Fear brings up why your viewer needs to act now. Or even begs the question—Why didn’t you hear about this earlier? Why didn’t you act yesterday! Bring the element of fear into your story for faster results and stronger emotions.
The entertaining stories that truly grab an audience and produce action contain the right S.T.U.F.F. These marketing strategies, infographics, blogs, videos, and even graphs appeal to what’s Sexy, Touching, Unique, Funny, and have an element of Fear. What S.T.U.F.F. do you want to add to your marketing video?
Alright, it’s time for all of your hard work to start paying off! You’re ready to show off the amazing marketing video you’ve created as part of your new advertising campaign! Whoa, hold on there, you’re still one critical step away. Continue reading Part 5 to find out what that next step looks like.
Okay, you’ve done all the hard work and you think you’re ready to launch this baby! Your home is fully decorated (with the right S.T.U.F.F.) and now it’s time to move into production and get this marketing video made. Am I right?
Not quite! You’re close, but you’re still one critical step away.
If you’ve followed steps 1 through 4, then you’ve reached the 5th and final step: testing your script.
While this may not seem the most glamorous of tasks, it is very likely the most important. It wouldn’t be prudent to invest money and time creating what you’re dead sure is a masterpiece only to have it backfire horribly.
So, how do you test the marketing message in your video? Testing your script involves several steps, and needs to be done with an eye toward improvement – not speed.
When testing, find a sample audience that will give you an unbiased opinion. Try to stay within your target demographic so as to get a clear picture of what your results may look like. Your husband or wife might not share the same feedback as your target demographic.
Here are the 5 steps we like to consider when testing video scripts at Rip Media Group:
Once you’ve collected this data, analyze with a ruthless eye toward making your message as good as it can be. Writers are often counseled to “kill their darlings,” meaning that a phrase or convention they’ve used, no matter how clever, may not serve the story. Make sure every word leads your viewer to the outcome you are seeking. If it doesn’t, it has to be cut.
Your script may go through several incarnations before you are ready to go. Never fear, this is normal, and will lead to a better finished product in the end.
You thought I was going to say something else, right? No, it’s “short” and “shareable.” This is the key to making a dent on the web: for your content to make the rounds on social media, it needs to be engaging and concise and have enough impact that people will want to share it with others.
Attention Spans for viewers are getting shorter and shorter; for the web it’s ‘grab them in 7 seconds’ or lose them. People simply aren’t willing to wait when there is so much content competing for their attention. It’s your job (and ours at Rip Media Group) to produce engaging video content that gets your message across quickly and effectively to your target market.
Producing a short, shareable video can result in an immediate and substantive return on investment. There are more tools than ever before to help you distribute any sort of video content. It’s not just YouTube, but other video sharing sites like Vimeo, Daily Motion, Metacafe, even Vine – yep, it’s true, social media outlets are now considered serious distributors of video content.
Use social media for all it’s worth. Posting videos to your social media pages, particularly Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram and Twitter, can get you more views, faster. So make sure your videos are being shared across the various social media outlets.
Now that you have the rules, how do you feel about telling your brand story?
Having a great story will lead to the creation of a great video which will attract an audience that will result in more viewers, customers, and ultimately more revenue!
Thank you for allowing me to help you on your marketing video journey. If you’d like to know more about me, what our video production process looks like, or what it would it be like to work with Rip Media Group, you can watch us here: Rip Media Group – Our Green-Light Production Process .
Thank you so much!
If you want to succeed, learn how to address your customer’s pain points and create a masterful, brand story that engages, and sells – even while you sleep