Contributed by Aaron Rodrigues,
CEO & Founder of Via Media
Content marketing is the key to selling any product or service in today’s digital market space. Companies that see exponential growth with their sales are most likely no strangers to leveraging effective video marketing campaigns to increase their bottom-line profits.
And sitting right at step one of each campaign is the strategy or what content producers in the industry know as the storyboard.
Just like the quote ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’, drawing out an effective storyboard is crucial to any video marketing campaign’s success.
It entails the details needed to capture your target audiences’ short-lived attention spans and communicates the key unique selling pointers effectively.
Very often, small business owners rely on the expertise of their video production teams to produce a storyboard for their campaign. My personal advice would be to be involved in every step possible to ensure you get the best of your marketing investments.
What is a storyboard?
A storyboard is the first step of any video production, and it very often consists of a series of sketches or texts that help both the client and content producers visualize what they are going to produce.
A good storyboard often includes creative direction, a list of shots to be made, audio inputs and even other notes that the producers might find useful.
This storyboard is then passed on to the camera operators and directors of photography to translate into video production.
A daunting task at first glance, but a necessary one indeed.
Business owners or marketing managers who have not gotten the chance to dabble in storyboard creation are always advised to start out simple.
While there are many templates that can be found online, as a content marketer, I found much alleviation in using a simple excel sheet with clearly marked out headers as a great start to beginner storyboarding.
A piece of advice to budding content marketers: Start out simple, use the tools that you are most comfortable with to begin but make sure that your video team understands what you are getting at.Aaron Rodrigues – Via Media
Why is a storyboard important?
Communication is key when it comes to selling any product or service. Any business that just has great products or services but fails to share this information with their target audience, may not be a very profitable business. A sad truth, but one that can be avoided.
Translating your unique selling propositions (USP) to your target audience is key to capturing their attention and the first step to getting this done is ensuring that your content marketing team is on the same page as you.
An effective storyboard communicates these USPs in clear, precise pointers. This is the make sure that nothing important is missed out.
Remember that while you are the subject matter expert (SME) in selling your product or service, it does not mean that your content marketing team is!
From the director to the cameraman and eventually, the person sitting behind the computer editing your video late into the night, having a great storyboard ensures that the messaging objective of your content marketing campaign is consistent even when you are not around.
Strategizing for your video campaign
Having heard about all the positive results other business owners have derived from their videos, you are now ready to embark on your video marketing campaign.
But where do you start? Every successful video starts with a strategy plan and here are some pointers for you to consider.
- What do you want to achieve with this video?
- Who is your target audience?
- What platform are you going to be publishing this video on?
- What is the call to action?
What do you want to achieve?
Starting off with the objective of the video sets the tone for the entire team.
Are you looking to build awareness for your brand? Are you holding a promotion or are you trying to show a solution to a problem?
The answer to each of these questions would directly impact what kind of video style that is produced.
If you’re looking to build your brand, you might want to go with a more corporate and formal-toned video.
On the other hand, a sales promotion video might be more fast-paced with music keeping your target audience on the edge of their seats. Very often, content marketers are thrown the challenge of creating videos with multiple objectives.
While not impossible, at the end of the day, if you can keep your target audience engaged throughout the entire video, that itself would be a good barometer for a successful video campaign.
Who is your target audience?
Identifying your target audience is key to a successful video campaign. Human beings are subjected to so many advertisements every waking moment of their day.
In a way, humans have also built a natural resistance to ads – clicking the ‘Skip Video’ icon on YouTube or swiping next on TikTok the second they see an ad has almost become second nature.
If your video is to be successful at all, you would need to know everything about your target audience. Research their biggest fears and concerns, learn what makes them tick.
Keep the first 3 to 10 seconds of any campaign specific to catching your target audience’s attention, and your chances of success increase exponentially. Once you have identified your target audience, share these findings in your storyboard so that your content marketers are on the same page as you.
What platform are you publishing your video on?
Yes, we are at that age where we are exposed to a plethora of publishing and content marketing platforms. Each with its own customer base, user behaviour and technical formatting.
Whether you are shooting a video specifically for a TikTok ad or creating a YouTube video for your channel, do make sure to mark it out on your storyboard.
Each of these platforms has their own video dimensions and this directly affects how the video should be shot.
What is your call to action?
Finally, the make it or break it step. If your video is captivating enough for consumers to make it all the way to the end, ensure that you let them know what to do after!
Whether it is to visit your website, subscribe to your channel, or purchase a product, make it known.
Make sure to include details such as website URLs or contact details in your storyboard so that it can be incorporated into the necessary segments of the video.
No-Fail Video Ad Storyboard
Once you have answered all these above questions, it is now time to get started and draw out your own Ad Storyboard! Here are a few steps to include:
1. Plan out your timeline
Identify your timeline by allocating timeslots for each one of the above segments. Begin your video with a hook, explaining the problem, following through with a solution and lastly a call to action for your potential customer.
2. Write out your script
The script of your video may include voiceovers, conversations or even a combination of the two. Fill up your storyboard with a script but make sure it is segmented properly into scenes.
3. Include a shot list
A shot list is made up of clear concise instructions on the various video clips that make up each scene. If drawing is not your forte, explain your ideas using words and be generous with each explanation. If you need a close-up shot of your model rocking your new clothing line, or even a wide shot to establish your setting, make sure all these are written down as well.
4. Conduct a table read
Once you have gotten your first storyboard draft done, sit the entire team down and go through it scene by scene. This would be the closest you get to how the final video would turn out without actually shooting the video. This is a crucial step to ensure you nitpick on the small details and at the same time gets everybody on the same page and ready to shoot.
Set yourself up for success by following these steps. At the same time, do remember that every storyboard done should communicate your brand, message, or promotion effectively to your target audience. A good storyboard ensures that everyone involved in the production is on the same page in terms of the direction and eventually the outcome of the video.