Let’s face it, sometimes you have to communicate messages that aren’t particularly exciting. How do you make sure the audience will want to watch that content?

Based on my experience it’s all about having a full understanding of your audience that goes beyond what they think of your product or service. Amongst other things, you should be looking at:

  • Their online habits and networks
  • Their hobbies and interests
  • Their jobs or position
  • What provokes their emotional responses
  • What are they likely to share and discuss

Using that information you can create content that appeals to your audience and achieves your objectives. Of course, you may well have a marketing agency doing this for you, but make sure it’s part of their process.

Once you have done the research (which may have already been done for a different project) and have a good grasp of your audience, the objectives of the project and KPI’s, it’s time to start developing the creative. This is one of the most challenging but also most crucial phases of a video production. The key is effectively interpreting the results of your research and any other insight you have gained. Look at the big picture and use it to position your thinking and filter your creative ideas. There are lots of clever techniques, take a look at CPSB in New York for some ideas:http://www.cpsb.com/icp.html

Remember, you don’t have to be literal with your ideas. Try and make sure your brief leaves plenty of room for your creative team or branded content agency to be, well… creative. If you feel the subject matter has real potential to be boring, think laterally and look at alternative ways to approach the project, always referring back to the research to make sure the content is relevant and will be effective. Similarly, just because you think the subject is riveting it doesn’t mean your audience will, so always consider it from their point of view.

A while ago, a banking client approached us with a view to producing a 5 minute web video that highlighted their products and services. I asked them one question: would you watch that video if it came from another bank? They admitted that they most certainly would not. In the end, the work we produced was very different to what they thought they wanted, and was very successful. Another client asked for a documentary “aimed at young people” but had no plan for distribution; good research allowed us to target the audience effectively, and the viral video we made for them received over 5 million views.

The chances are you won’t need, or want, to reach everyone. More niche social projects can have very specific target audiences, so content you and I may find a little tiresome could be the most interesting and sharable thing the audience has ever seen.

So, some key points to remember:

  • Where possible, spend time researching and understanding the audience
  • Set clear objectives and KPI’s
  • Think laterally when developing creative
  • Just because you find it dreary, doesn’t mean your audience will
  • Just because you find it exciting, doesn’t mean the audience will

It’s worth noting that sometimes it’s not practical to take all these steps (for example, your budget may only allow desk-based research). Just be mindful of them and try to incorporate as much of it as you can. The most expensive video is the one that nobody watches.