As with anything, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Let’s take a broader look at videography and storytelling first. You have the most amazing business opportunity, but if you share it poorly, it will be viewed poorly. Taking the time to follow the steps and doing quality at each step will pay off handsomely with investors. Give yourself four to six weeks to do a video, whether going professional or trying to do it yourself.
1. Define Your Message – Many small companies when they start, they tend to vomit with their marketing. You know, the ones that send “50 reasons why you should hire me!” To new eyes, it is difficult to wade through all the reasons and they never effective. Distill it down to three maybe four key points you want them to walk away with. If you have created a 30 second pitch, now is a great time to pull that out and use it as a foundation. Simplicity and strategic focus will win every time at this game.
2. Write a Script – Take the time to write a script. Use people with names that others may be able to relate to, John, Mary, or any other common name. It is easier to anchor attention in a story than to discuss important but abstract concepts. Having a foundation for people to relate to will make it easier for them to build the context around the principles you are trying to share. Also try developing multiple story concepts, you might find some great opportunities you never saw before.
3. Follow the Investment Pitch Formula – Start with the problem your business fixes. If the problem isn’t significant or people can’t relate to it, then they won’t invest. Tell how your product or business solves that problem succinctly. Show numbers of how the economics will make it work. Present your team and show how you have all your bases
covered. Last of all, have your Ask! Be clear about what you want them to do, money is the easy ask. But consider giving other options, like follow us on Facebook or share our business with friends.
4. How Long Should the Video Be? The correct answer is”…like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject but short enough to create interest.” ~Winston Churchill. A video can be long or short, as a general target 1-3 minutes is good. There can be some different strategies to keep it interesting, like different shots or angles. However, if the script isn’t good, then people won’t engage. Think about all those commercials you tune out!
5. Get a Professional Voice Over – A professional voice over can make a huge difference! There is so much they can do. Before you start looking for a voice over artist or thinking about your buddy that sounds like Barry White, think about the sound, feelings, and emotions you want the voice to convey. Writing them down helps everyone see what is important. Do you want them to be friendly or authoritative? Is it a male or female that will connect with your audience more? Do they have an aged and wise voice, or smooth radio voice? VoiceJockeys.com and Fiverr.com are two different levels of service. Listen to 10-20 options and narrow down to just the right voice. Make sure you also tell them where you want voice inflections or to say it a certain way. For unusual words, spell it phonetically. Fiverr is also a great place to get custom music from talented people.
6. Storyboarding to Full Video Development – Storyboarding is a great way to put your thoughts together visually and then work through the execution of the video. For some businesses this is essential! How should the format of the story integrate with your brand? Do you need a whiteboard video or something much more colorful? There are a number of creative option. I’ve had some success with Fiverr, but research is critical and you get what you pay for. An alternative option is using PowerPoint, Keynote, or Prezi. You can also do a live interview with a professional film crew, it all depends upon your budget. Live interviews are more difficult due to getting the lighting right.
For those unfamiliar with Prezi, it is an online platform that can zoom in, zoom out, rotate, or jump to an entirely different area on the platform. It enables new dimension to plain presentations while still being able to deliver professional outcomes.
7. Timing is Everything – Ensure that the timing and feel of the video at the right speed with the right pauses where you want the audience to think. If you need to edit the audio, Audacity is a free program that will give you capabilities beyond just the basics. If you are new to video editing, you will find that after you have seen a clip 10x you may think people can read the screen just as fast as you did the 100th time. Remember to focus on delivering to the person who will view it for the first time.
8. Test Out Your Video – Share your video with those who can provide you with feedback. See if it makes sense and you go at the right speed. All feedback has some kernel of truth that needs to be considered. Make the revision and seek more feedback.
Every creative agency will tell you, you can have any two, out of Good, Cheap, and Fast. If you are on a budget time is your biggest asset. If you had additional tips for creating an investor video, I’d love to hear them in the comments section below! Good luck raising funds!