Do you have a new product to unveil? An event to fill out? An official announcement to make? The way in which you promote your message is as important as the message itself. And what's the most effective medium for reaching out to audiences right now? Oh yes, it's video.

People are watching an average of 16 hours of online video per week. Whether via YouTube, on social media, or livestream in the #InfluencEra, the video format has been picking up huge momentum and this clearly shows in the stats about how much video content is being consumed.

Only a few minutes browsing the web is enough to realize that companies generally know how to use this format to their advantage. Not counting, of course, the many promotional videos that make you want to cover your eyes and cover your ears, or risk the cruel fate of 'death-by-cringe'.

promotional video creation

To help you bypass the cringe and to get your company into the online video hall of fame (the top, not the flop), we have grouped together 7 mistakes to avoid at all costs when creating your promotional video.

And because video is a real passion at PlayPlay, we will share some concrete tips to help you in your promotional video creation.

Error #1: Thinking that a promotional video is not possible to create in-house 🎥

The first reflex as a marketing or communications manager, when thinking about the task of producing a promotional video, is to go and hire the experts at a video production agency. That's just logical, right?

But many of the videos promoting your business can actually be created in-house, without dishing out a huge amount of cash to the 'pros'. In fact, for some types of videos, it may even be more appropriate to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. Who knows your company, products, services and employees better than you do? Nobody!

For example:

  • Videos for your internal communications. To motivate, entertain and inform your network of employees, you will need to create dynamic content on a regular basis. So you might as well start working on multiple short videos, on a smaller budget, rather than spending a large part of your resources on a single expensive video!
  • Videos to enhance your employer brand. They must reflect your values and convey authentic messages. And who better to do this than you, who knows your company inside out?
  • Videos posted on social networks. These should be short, engaging, and riff on current trends. But by the time you get your promotional video produced by an agency, this trend may have already come and gone.
  • Videos promoted by digital advertising. To be really effective, your advertising videos must be continuously optimized, according to the results of each new release. What better motivation to get into DIY mode, knowing that you can fine-tune these optimizations rapidly for each new advertisement, without having to wait for an agency to get back to you?

Of course, for an advert on TV, you should definitely consider the expertise of a production company who specialize in this format that requires a more by-the-book approach. But online, the video crown is there for taking, as proven by the thousands of influencers and Youtubers who become stars from their bedrooms. The versatility of the online video form gives you the freedom to direct and produce your own content, in your own style.

All that remains is to find video editing software that's easy to use... and to avoid the following 6 mistakes when creating your promo videos.

Error #2: Basing the entire video on your product 🔍

No more self-centered promotional videos! Even if, according to HubSpot, 97% of marketers say that video helps their customers better understand their products or services, your video should not be just a demonstration of your product.

On the contrary, the videos that work best as part of an online marketing strategy are those that engage and involve the audience. Take a second to remember your favourite promos: it's the story and the emotions you felt when watching that made you remember it, right?

Whether you are communicating to your employees or potential customers, the same rules apply: your promotional video must showcase your company, your product or your offer in such a way that involves your target audience on a personal level.

And that's where the art of storytelling comes in. Start with the problems that your target audience may encounter, to which your company provides the answer, or from a common situation in which your company can help them come through it. Add emotion and life to the story by putting yourself into your audience's shoes.

Worried that your video will lose its effectiveness if you move too far away from your product? Make no mistake: emotion is at the heart of any act of purchase or loyalty, in both B2C and B2B. And don't worry: a Twitter study estimates that the simple presence of a brand logo on a video can increase an intent to purchase by 9%. Phew.

Error #3: Writing a script that's way too rigid 🖋

As you probably know, every good professional video starts with a good script. The principle: anticipate what is going to be said in your video, whether it's the dialogue between the 'actors' on screen , or the voice-over.

If you create your promotional video in-house, you will, no doubt, involve people whose main line of work is not acting. Maybe an amateur stand-up night or two, but that's probably the extent of it. Employees, clients and partners will be your stars, and acting may not come very naturally to them. If you write a script that is too rigid, too tight, they will have to memorize their lines, and you risk losing all sense of authenticity or spontaneity.

To avoid this pitfall, nothing beats a flexible script that uses the situational, 'improv night' know-how of your actors. When spontaneity and authenticity are paramount, help your blossoming stars to forget that they're on camera. Go for a bullet point script which highlights the key messages of your actors' lines, so that they get the gist of what they need to say, without them having to memorize an entire Shakespeare monologue.

That said, for this script to work well, it's worth taking some time to explain the objectives of your video to your stars before the filming takes place, so that you can answer any questions they might have. This will ensure that your stars are prepared, but not overprepared. As a result, Your promotional video will feel so authentic that your target audience will be able to relate and instantly feel involved in your video and take notice of your message.

Error #4: Rushing your storyboard 📃

The storyboard of a video is the template that will guide your post-production process. It allows you to know which shot, which element, which person should appear on screen at such or such moment. It's a bit like the red thread of your promotional video.

If you rush the creation of this storyboard, you won't make life easy for yourself during the editing process... or you may even end up forgetting to shoot a key scene, or a crucial dialogue!

So give yourself a few hours to create a simple storyboard. A PowerPoint will do just fine, where you can specify:

  • The location where the scene will be shot.
  • The necessary materials to shoot the scene (objects, sets, costumes...)
  • The people who will be appear on screen during each scene.
  • The situation that will take place.

There's no need to embark upon an Xavier Dolan style storyboard: just take into account the absolutely necessary components of your video. Your video editor will thank you for it afterwards!

Error #5: Forgetting to think about where you want to post your video 🚀

As a good marketer or communicator, you'll know that all the content you create must be carefully thought out according to the channels through which it will eventually be distributed. For video, this is all the more true, as the final format of your promotional video will depend on where you intend to post it.

  • Are you planning to post your video on your website? Don't forget to check with your website administrator to find out what the ideal format is.
  • You want to share your video by email with your employees or customers? You'll have to think a little bit first about how to do this (well that's lucky: PlayPlay has already got to the bottom of this and has designed a clever little guide for combining video and email).
  • Is your promo video destined to be posted on social media? Formats can vary, from the Instagram story to the LinkedIn post.

For some extra guidance about posting your promo video check out the essentials of an effective video marketing strategy. You will find everything you need to know about the formats to adopt for each distribution channel.

Error #6 : Neglecting animations in your video 🖥

Filming a promotional video, full of emotion, storytelling and dynamism, is definitely the way forward. But your content could quickly become dull, lifeless or even difficult to understand, if you don't include animations!

Video animations are the elements that appear on screen to help your audience retain the key messages of your promotional video. They can be...

  • Subtitles, to guide the viewers through the video.
  • Keywords, to draw attention to the key terms that should stick with the audience.
  • Diagrams, to help explain the more complex elements of the message.
  • Pictograms, to emphasize the key information in your video.

Without falling into the trap of overcrowding your video with too many different things going on all at once (which can blur your message), try to integrate some of these creative flourishes during the editing process. Focus on what you want your audience to take away from your promo video... and highlight these messages in the most dynamic way possible.

Error #7: Forgetting to include a call-to-action 🧲

A promotional video is a strong incentive for audiences to discover more about your product or your company. Whatever your target audience is, you want to encourage them to carry out a specific action: registering for your next event, consulting your product page, asking for a demo...

That's the theory, anyway. But then, in a video format, how do you get your audience to get in contact with you? The answer lies in three letters, which you already know: CTA, the call-to-action.

So think about creating a memorable outro, which clearly indicates the action you want your audience to carry out: "Download our brochure on our site", "Call us at...", "Click on the link in the description..." and so forth.

Depending on where you will be you be posting your video, it should be relatively simple to call your audience to action:

  • On your website, remember to integrate a button or link around your video (just below, for example).
  • On YouTube, take advantage of the final screen to integrate a link that leads to your website. Double your hook by including this same link in your video description text.
  • On Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter: in an organic post, write an engaging, attractive description, and highlight the URL (in the comments) that you want your audience to pursue. On advertisements, you can add a CTA directly under your video.
  • On Instagram, it's impossible to put a clickable link in the post description. Instead, include the link in your profile bio, and mention in the description that the link can be found there. However, you can integrate links to your product pages directly on your Insta Stories.

Like a real checklist, this article will help you to create a promotional video that will really make your target audience want to find out more about your company, your event, or your product... without being a graphic designer, Hollywood director or video editor. Now, it's down to you. 💪