Lights, Camera, Blog Part 02: Share some expertise and speak to us naturally


Electricians, like all of us, sometimes need to put some spark into their video work. (Image from Best Boston Electrical video via YouTube)

In this second installment of Lights, Camera, Blog, I’m going to focus on ways to approach shooting videos in house, in relation to content and shooting style.

It is safe to assume that your first time making video for your marketing will be a little nerve wracking, so the more you can stay on safe, confident territory the better.

The upside of this, is that it means you can actually produce some content that customers and prospective customers might find useful or helpful.

This is because your most confident territory is likely going to be doing what you do well.

I will show you some example videos in a moment, but first let’s look at some good rules of thumb:

  • Remember it is NOT a commercial
  • Keep it short
  • Make it complete – show a complete process, or work through ALL the key points about a product or service relative to the context being shown
  • Create a simple shoot where you can capture sound and picture together on your smart phone or domestic video camera

All of the following sample videos break or follow these various rules, so let’s learn from their mistakes and efforts.

This is NOT a commercial

One of the biggest mistakes people make when creating videos is making TV commercials.

Let’s face it, we spend our lives developing skills in AVOIDING TV commercials, so why on Earth would anybody volunteer to click through and watch our commercial on our website or Facebook, when there are interesting things fighting for our attention?

These two ads, both appear to have been produced by the Yellow Pages. They have very similar scripts and presentation styles, full of the typical advertising cliches like ‘experts’, ‘first choice’, etc. These typify a situation where an outside crew has been used but there is little genuine connection with the business being displayed.

Furthermore, these ads, like most of my samples, just rattle off a list of services when we KNOW that consumers only go searching for the products or services they need or care about.

Keep it short

Both of these ads go way too long for the content being displayed. Of course, interesting content can demand 5, 10 or 15 minutes, but when you have either just a shopping list of features or services, or a stilted speech to camera, our attention spans wander and our fingers are like to click elsewhere.

Make it complete

This particular ad is again visually uninteresting, using still images emblazoned with lists of features or services and served on a bed of soft music.

The frustrating thing about this is not only that it is too long (we could have scanned a list of these items in about two seconds rather than be forced to wait for it all to unfold) but that it just lists a mish mash of items without answering any of my direct questions.

For example, ’emergency electrician’ could mean anything, likewise with ‘service upgrade’, but as a non-electrician, I am likely to be searching online for specific problems that arise WHEN I need an emergency electrician or when I need a service upgrade. This ad ASSUMES I know what those trigger situations are. Our job as marketers is NOT to make those assumptions for the benefit of Google and therefore our potential customers.

Create a simple shoot

This ad is not perfect but I have saved it until last because it is on the right track.

Here, the coworkers have used a phone or domestic video camera to film and narrate some aspects of electrical work that can give me more insights as a customer in relation to what is involved in particular jobs, what working style this company uses and learn more about why certain elements are important to include.

There is no doubt that having the camera closer for more of the shoot would have helped engage us and NOT splitting this into multiple videos but rather just stitching shorter scenes together might have helped us move the action faster and show us potential customers the level of detail we need to know.

What I particularly like is that through this ONE, specific example, we learn more about the company than any of the semi-professional or ad-style videos have managed to convey. We hear how colleagues talk to each other and we hear some expertise being shared via the commentary.

When you start playing with video, remember these four things and just try to help give your prospective customers a peep behind the curtain into your world.

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