Recent statistics show demand for video is growing at an impressively rapid pace:

  • 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers.
  • 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

Not surprisingly, video is also being used increasingly for research presentations. Here are a few insights and tips to help you use it most effectively.

1) Video Is Not a Visual Medium. One of the common misperceptions about video is that it’s all about the visuals. For sure, a video provides the viewer with images. But for a video to be truly engaging, it needs to tell a story.

2) Video Is a Narrative Medium. The way to think about video is as a narrative medium, one that just happens to use imagery as its predominant vocabulary. It’s the series of words and images that matter. The footage needs to move forward in a way that is coherent and meaningful. It needs to make us want to know what comes next. And to leave us with a satisfying sense of closure at the end.

3)  It’s All About the Script. Since video is a branch of storytelling, it’s worth your while to spend the bulk of your effort honing your script. If the script is tight and focused, the visuals will only help to improve the communication. On the other hand, if your script is “flabby” or overwrought, no amount of beautiful footage or motion graphic effects will help. 

4) Build Your Script on an Idea. As David Intrator, Chief Meaning Officer at RTi, notes, “in storytelling what we mean by an idea is a proposition, an assertion, something that can be argued for or against.” That means your script needs to revolve around a central unifying idea or proposition. You need to be making a case. For example, “Insights About Millennials” is not a story idea. “Millennials Are Nostalgic for a World They’ve Never Known” is a story idea. 

5) Structure Your Story to Support the Idea. What’s important is that your story is not just “one damn thing after another,” but rather organized in a way that holds together and supports the argument you are making. There are a variety of tried-and-true structures you can start with, from classic Hollywood 3-act structure to the “sandwich” structure you probably learned in high school, namely, “say what you’re going to say, say it, then say what you said.”

6) Keep Your Words Short And Sweet. Video moves quickly. So remember that short headlines communicate. Long sentences don’t. Be terse and to the point.

7) Use Visuals That Add Something to the Words. When choosing your visuals, ask yourself what, if anything is this adding to the story? Is it simply illustrating the words on-screen? Or can it provide a deeper or broader understanding of the text?

8) Music Matters. Often overlooked is the importance of using the right soundtrack. Perhaps more than anything else, the music will determine how your video feels. Do you want it to feel exciting, calm, bold, intimate? Should the music suggest technology, nature, or signal a certain age or demographic? These are key considerations. And make sure the soundtrack matches the pacing of the edit. Nothing can weaken your communication like a soundtrack that feels like it’s just been slapped on as an afterthought, with no relation to the rhythm of messaging in the video.

9) Cut Out the Inessential. Effective videos are efficient videos. Cut out words, images, or even entire sections that don’t directly support your story idea. Less is always more.

10) Remember, Your Video Is Not the Whole Story. Most likely, your video will be part of a larger presentation, probably including a deck that will contain the data. Let the video do what it does best, i.e., offer simplicity, memorability, and emotion. Use your deck to communicate complexity and nuance.

If you keep these insights and tips in mind, you’re guaranteed to provide the kind of video communication that is becoming increasingly central to our industry and provides real value to your clients.

Happy storytelling.