Before you Start a Video, Start with Questions

As the Chief Operating Officer at 522, I’ve often been the first person a new client speaks with before starting a project. In fact, one of the best parts of my day involves working with our sales and marketing team to navigate these early conversations – because I enjoy learning about new companies, new marketing initiatives and new stories. What can I say, I simply get excited to start video projects.

Why Questions Should Be the First Step to Creating a Video

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend with some of the introductory phone calls we get with customers. Rather than starting with a general list of requirements or a high-level objective, customers already seem to have a concept in place. This concept is sometimes a reaction to a competitor’s video. Or, it’s a derivative of a viral video on Youtube.

Although it’s awesome to have an inspiration and a concept, this can sometimes lead a company down the wrong path. Or, at a minimum, it limits the options available. In order to get the most out of video and tell the best story, you should start the video production process by asking the right questions.

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The Most Important Questions to Consider Before Starting a Video

Questions are very important to the storytelling process. It’s helpful to ask certain questions before contacting a production company or even during the discovery process. Here’s a series of my favorite questions that I like to use to in order to understand a client’s requirements and kickoff a project.

Before you start a project, ask yourself these questions?

  • How would I describe my target audience?
  • What are the attributes of my target audience (age, sex, profession, job title, etc.)?
  • Who is buying my product/service and why?
  • What perception does my audience have before watching the video? Am I trying to change perceptions or reinforce existing perceptions?
  • What type of tone has been successful for me in the past? Has humor worked? What about emotion?
  • What types of marketing materials have resonated with my audience in the past? Are these strategies in line with my objectives?
  • What challenges do my customers face?
  • What action do I want the viewer to take after watching the video?
  • In what context will the viewer watch the video? Will it be featured on my company’s homepage? In a pre-roll ad? Used on a landing page?
  • How will I determine if the video is successful? What are the key performance indicators?
  • What is the budget? What is the return on investment I am targeting?

Summary

Overall, I think it’s important to start with questions. By asking questions within your team and working through the answers with a production company, you can be confident with the story’s direction. Introductory questions and the resulting conversations ultimately help to define your audience and create a compelling story.

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Resources

Creating a video doesn't have to be complicated. Here are a few resources to help you along the way.

  • New to Video?

    A first timer's guide to
    producing video.

    Get the Book
  • How Much is
    a Video Worth?

    A complete guide to
    calculating the ROI of video.

    Get the Book
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