Video crew, Virginia State ParkYou’re about to spend a significant amount of money.

Did you first ask yourself, “Do I need a video?”

Why are you doing it? Everything begins with understanding the goal — the purpose—of your video or other media product.

So, what’s your video goal?

Start thinking about any media product from the primary effect you want it to have on your audience.

You want something to change in people’s minds as they see your video, something that benefits your organization. What is that something?

After viewing the video, what do you want your audience to:

  • Think?
  • Understand?
  • Do?
  • Feel?

The goal of your video always falls into one of the following categories:

  • To persuade or motivate (e.g., sales, political ads, commercials, fundraisers, corporate ID)
  • To inform (e.g., education and awareness)
  • To train (e.g., instruction of any kind)
  • To entertain (e.g., sitcoms, feature films)

No matter how many goals you think you have, one goal always supersedes the others. For instance, your video may demonstrate how to trap feral cats, but your superseding goal is to convince local government that trap-neuter-return (TNR) is smarter than euthanization.

Examples of clear video goals include:

  • To persuade policymakers to adopt a no-kill policy for feral cats
  • To train workers on best practices for handling and disposal of chemicals
  • To inform farmers about agricultural run-off
  • To persuade people to visit your web site store
  • To train pharmaceutical reps on disease states related to a particular product
  • To persuade mothers to buy your vitamins for their children

Goals can’t be grandiose — for instance, “To boost my company’s revenue by 400%.” You can’t count on a single media tool, even a commercial during the SuperBowl, to do the work of an integrated sales campaign.

Corporate media products are designed to make something happen that hasn’t been happening for whatever reason. Acknowledging this challenge (e.g., economic recession, overcoming bad press, etc.) will help orient your scriptwriter to the level or seriousness of the issue that’s caused you to consider a media solution. You probably won’t mention this challenge directly in the video, but knowing about it is all-important to the scriptwriter. Do you need a non-disclosure agreement?

The word “goal” should remind you that, as in athletics, your video has a finish line. And, as in athletics, your video should score, that is, have a measurable effect on your audience (regardless of whether you measure that effect).

This is where objectives come in. Look for that Video 101 for Business installment soon.

Video 101: Do I need a video?

by susan time to read: 2 min

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