Designing a Promotional Video

Designing a Promotional Video
Wendy Thomas - Wed Jun 06, 2012 @ 12:43PM
Comments: 99


You’ve been asked to design a product video.  Now what do you do? 

Video is big, it’s really big and many companies are finding out that video can be a powerful tool wjen creating buzz around their product. The thing to remember though is that this is not your Daddy’s video. Remember the film strips of yore when the beep is how you knew to advance to the next picture?

Well times have changed. Everyone is busy and you’ve got seconds (5 - 15 by most accounts) in which to grab someone’s attention. You need to incorporate color, flash, and excitement.

But perhaps most importantly, you need to establish right up front, why it is that your viewer should spend the time to watch your video. The value needs to be established and shouted out in the first few seconds of he video, otherwise, you run the risk of someone hitting the delete key before your message even gets stated.

Here are some things to consider when designing a video:


“Top 10 things you didn’t know you needed to know”

Titillate your audience. Give them a reason to tune in right away. Hey, if you watch this, you’ll learn 10 new things! What could be better than that?

“Best laundry trick ever”

Provide a specific reason. If you watch this, you’ll learn a laundry trick that will knock your socks off and probably make your life easier.

“Small house design”

If you can’t come up with a headline that grabs then create one that says exactly what it is the video is about. If I want to know something about this subject, I’ll watch it.

DO NOT waste your headline by naming your video things like “Wow!” or “You must see this!” most of us have learned by now that videos with names like that are not only useless but will more often than not, simply put a virus onto our systems.

Other things to consider when designing a video are:

Engage and entertain your audience

Even with videos, people want to be entertained. Make sure:

·         the person doing your voiceover has a lively voice

·         you use animation where appropriate

·         you include interaction where appropriate

·         the graphics are clear and uncluttered

·         you avoid acronyms but if you do use them, identify all so that you don’t leave your audience scratching their heads

While we’re at it, make sure that you recording devices (including headsets and microphones) work properly. One of the fastest ways to lose your audience is to have your message be muffled.

It’s not about you

Focus on features that your audience wants to know about, not the ones that you think are cool. When I worked with the engineers at Digital this was one of the most difficult concepts to get across.  Sure they spent a lot of time designing a neat new widget, but when you came down to it, if it didn’t add value to the audience, if it didn’t make their job easier, then it was nothing more than a nice-to-know.  

And while it is nice to include some of those nice-to-knows (after all they are interesting and can set you off from other companies) they should never upstage the focus of your message.



Wendy Thomas is a writer, journalist, and blogger on subjects ranging from social networking and e-marketing to owning backyard chickens. She spent more than 20 years as a technical writer and has taught classes in technical writing and instructional design both at the graduate and undergraduate level. Through her business; Jackson and Thomas e-Writing, her work with, and as a Savvy Sister at, she regularly consults with companies advising on best practices to use when trying to effectively get their brand and platform recognized on the Internet.

Wendy has been a guest speaker, a columnist, and has been published in regional and national newspapers and magazines, as well as on many blogs. You can contact Wendy at

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If the video will be posted online you need to think about SEO too. Include the keywords that people may use to search for what the video provides in the title and description. Videos can also rank in the search engines.

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