Tell a Story: How to Make a Promotional Video

Marketing guru Seth Godin said that ‘marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but the stories you tell’. Video allows marketers to create a story in a way that gets their message across to their target audience in a fun, engaging and memorable way.

Back in 2019, we wrote about how video marketing was the next big marketing trend and listed all reasons why it’s an amazing marketing tool. In 2021, video content still gives brands an edge that’s hard to beat. Promotional videos in particular are amazing for advertising a product or service to a targeted audience.

It’s not all about TV and YouTube. Social media platforms love video, rewarding video posts with more views than other forms of content. Google loves video too – landing pages with good quality video on them often rank higher in search results. Video ads even get better conversion rates. All this reflects the fact that today, most people prefer to watch a video rather than read a page of text!


Where to start?

Promotional videos can be as slick as the latest iPhone launch or as ‘DIY’ as the latest TikTok trend. You never know what might go viral! The key thing is to focus on your brand and the personality that you want to put across.

You might decide to hire a professional with state-of-the-art sound and recording equipment, a scriptwriter and a director to create a highly polished production. Or you might like to take a simpler approach, using one of the many video maker apps on the market. 

Either way, here are some tips to guide you through the process of creating an amazing promotional video!

1. Establish the visual style and tone

To make a video that resonates with your audience, you have to blend creativity and empathy. Like with any marketing communication, put your audience at the centre of the picture and build a story around the problems that they have. How does your product or service help them? 

There are lots of different styles to choose from to help you communicate your message. Will it be quirky or sleek? Do you want to feature real people, an animation or even a whiteboard explainer video?

2. Create a goal and make sure you have a clear call to action

Producing a video is a big investment of time and resources, so make sure that you define your goal and direct all your efforts towards smashing it! 

What do you want people to do or feel after they watch your video? You might want to advertise a sale, let people know about a new service or boost engagement. Try not to have too many calls to action or you could lose focus. And if you’re directing people to a page on your website, make sure it’s targeted to your goals too!

3. Keep it short and sweet

Your video should be long enough to get your key message across but short enough to hold your viewers’ attention after you get that initial engagement. 

What’s the perfect length? It depends on where you plan to show your video, your goals, and who your audience are. It will take more time to evoke the sort of emotion seen in a John Lewis Christmas ad than it will to create a punchy sales announcement!

TV ads can sometimes last up to a minute, while YouTube prefers longer videos. Each social media platform has its own rules. A basic rule of thumb is that people have short attention spans, so be succinct. 

3. Create a storyboard and script

The next step will be to draft out a storyboard – a list of all the shots that will appear in your video, in a linear order. It’s the planning stage where you put all your ideas together, along with working out where any graphics or animations should appear. 

Taking time to plan this part out carefully will save you time when it gets to the production stage! You’ll know what props you need and what sort of backgrounds you need.

You can also start to work on the script at the same time as the storyboard. Whether you have a narrator, someone speaking directly to the camera or written subtitles – the words are crucial and should reflect your brand personality.

4. Lights, camera, action!

The next stage is to make your video! If you’re filming on location, you’ll need to organise the details in advance as you might need a permit. If it’s a public area, pick the least busy time of day. You might need to book a studio and props in advance. If you’re working with a director, they’ll help you with all of this.

5. Post-production

Once filming is complete, the next stage is to pull it all together. This is where you can add graphics, animations, voice-overs and music. There are lots of possibilities. 

Don’t forget to add subtitles to make your video accessible for people with hearing impairments and improve the usability of your website.

Tip – Make sure you make a few different edits of your video so you can share them on social media without getting too repetitive.  

6. Promote it!

Once you hit ‘publish’, your work isn’t over! One of the great things about promotional videos is that they can be used across a host of different platforms to expand your marketing reach – from your website to social media accounts. You could also use it to create paid ads on social or Google. Whatever you do, make sure you share it widely!

Get in touch if you’d like to talk about how we can help you create a beautifully produced video that reflects your brand and connects to your audience.