By John Houghton on January 16, 2014
A lot of companies are catching on to the power of putting videos into their mobile apps. I’d like to tell you about how to be successful in publishing Content Marketing videos in your mobile apps using the interview format. Content Marketing has become one of the most recent and hottest trends, since it has proven to be so effective (if you don’t know what content marketing is, please read Tap Into Riches with Mobile Content Marketing). One of the hardest things about content marketing is doing the required research to assemble content that presents new and useful information. With the interview format, you don’t have to do nearly as much research. Instead, your work is to find and bring in new and interesting guests, and let them be the experts. This makes the interview format one of the most inexpensive solutions, and it provides the highest returns when it comes to mobile video content marketing. In mobile video, the viewing area is smaller than a TV, so the content needs to be more compelling than web video, as audiences are less forgiving and more easily bored. Here are the top areas I find companies need the most help with when creating a successful interview program for mobile deployment:
1. Know Your Audience – Get to know your audience’s needs and interests. The first step in any type of marketing is to know your customer. Find out what you can do to inform, entertain, or make things easier for them. How-to or DIY (Do It Yourself) content is very popular. You might find that there is a category of how-to multimedia that you can produce that would be interesting and informative for your audience. Creating this content makes you and your company subject matter experts in this area.
2. Keep it Regular – The power of getting regular content out there is like the power of depositing regularly in your investment account. By publishing on a schedule, you develop your audience using the long tail phenomenon. You can’t go dark for any period of time, otherwise your audience drops off and you have to start over.
3. Have a Good Host – If your program uses a host, make sure he or she has had some training. The last thing you need is a rookie introducing your videos and dragging the program down. You might consider hiring a professional. Becoming a good host takes a lot of practice, and to learn more about some of the mistakes new hosts make, please read my upcoming post on How to Be a Good Host in Mobile Video Programming.
4. Don’t Rely on a Script – I’ve been creating and providing multimedia content marketing since 2005, and certain old-school marketers have asked us to produce entire interview programs in which everybody reads from a script. This type of scripting works well if you are creating a promotional video and hiring a professional voiceover actor to deliver the lines. Ordinary people don’t usually have the skills for this, so they should not be reading from a script in an interview program. I’ve seen a lot of scripted interview programs on various company websites, and they are boring and artificial. They don’t impact sales, but instead annoy customers and prospects. This goes back to what I studied in college (communications) – it is best when people speak extemporaneously when addressing any audience in any medium. If you look scripted, you will not appear authentic and your audience will not trust you. If you’re reading, it’s probably because somebody else wrote what you’re saying and it might not be what you really feel. Your audience wants you to speak from your personal experience, and you should be able to do that without a script. This demonstrates thorough knowledge of the subject matter you are presenting. With mobile video, the audience is even less forgiving, and authenticity will win points in holding your audience longer, allowing you and your company to build a relationship with them.
A voiceover actor can read from a script because they have made a profession out of it. Our president can do it effectively, and so can a TV anchor – they’ve been doing it every day for years. The average person can’t really do this convincingly even if they practice a lot. Typically a good voice actor has 10 or more years of experience in voice acting. A typical type of video you would make with a professional voice actor is a three-minute promotional video. The type of voice actor you hire here will know to use his or her voice for pitching and selling in this medium – which is a very specific type of talent. The documentary video is another format that uses professional voiceover, and the skill here is called narration, which is also very specific. I’ve studied narration formally, and have been featured in a number of documentary videos. Narration is the opposite of pitching, it is understated and relies on the authority of facts, since the format denotes unbiased information. You could make an unbiased documentary video for your content marketing efforts, and it would be a great idea, but the level of effort/expense is ten to twentyfold over the interview format, and that’s why you don’t see this approach as often. I hope this gives you a sense of when you should or shouldn’t read from a script. If you show up at a TV station for an interview with a script that you expect to read, they’re not going to be very accommodating; therefore, you should keep your interview programs extemporaneous.
That being said, it will help the host to put their thoughts together if the host writes out their script. This can help the interviewee, and it will help the interviewee to prepare by getting the questions in advance. Nobody reads anything live, but writing it out helps organize and set the talking points into memory. If everybody has extra time while you’re shooting (which may run up your production bill), they can “ease off the script” by referring to it at first, and then by the fourth “take” end up fully off script (make sure you practice first). Another tip: if something is hard to say, it probably needs to be rephrased.
5. Use B-Roll – B-Roll is cutaway footage that illustrates what is being discussed. On a nationally syndicated network television show, the most charismatic people available are hired, and you can usually hold the camera on them for a minute without boring your audience. Adding a cutaway shot will make that segment even more dynamic. If you hold the camera on a more average person for a minute, the audience becomes immediately bored and it becomes difficult to continue watching. If the user is watching video via an app on a mobile device, then they will be even less patient. To remedy this, add b-roll. The less dynamic the person, the more b-roll you can use to save them and your episode. If you can’t think of a b-roll shot that would complement the audio, you have to come up with something, even if it is only loosely related. A good exercise is to watch a program you like and pay attention to the b-roll they use. As you do this, take notes and compare the shots with the subject matter. B-roll doesn’t need to correlate directly at all times, but you need to put something up there to create visual variety and hold the viewer’s interest.
There’s much more that can be said, but these are the top tips that I find people need to hear in order to keep from making the biggest mistakes that first-time mobile video producers tend to make.