Four key elements in the creation of a great video product

The type of video you decide to create will largely determine the other elements that you use. Keep these four key elements in mind during the planning and production of your video products:

Target Audience

This is the most important decision you need to make. Who are you trying to reach? You have to think about demographics: age, socioeconomic level, gender, nationality, educational level. It's no good to jump into the planning process with vague statements like, "I want to create a video product for sale on the Internet that will appeal to everybody, everywhere." First define your niche market, narrow your target audience, and create your video with a specific type of person in mind. When you set out to create the kind of video product that one specific person will want to buy, you increase the likelihood that a lot of people will want to buy it. Always wrap your language in images that your target audience can relate to.

Participants

If you decide to shoot a how-to video on an area in which you have expert knowledge, you are the natural choice as host. If you decide to create a do-it-yourself video in an area where you don't have expert knowledge, you will need to take great care when choosing a host. Once you've decided on a subject and a host, you will need to work together on the script. And always remember that video is not just a format-it's a language. Never say it if you can show it. The viewers will understand much better when they see it being done, so don't just explain things while the camera focuses on you. The rule of thumb is: Whenever you can present a visual image of something, show it instead of talking about it. Instead of explaining how to do something as you talk into the camera, always show a demonstrator (whether it's you or another person) carrying out the action as you describe what's happening. You'll quickly become an expert in the use of "voice overs"-speaking off camera as the audience sees action taking place. Do-it-yourself, educational, and promotional videos should be full of voice overs.

Length

The type of video you decide to make will determine the best length. A great promotional video can be done in as little as 3 to 4 minutes, and should rarely be longer than 7 to 8 minutes. A do-it-yourself or educational video will be from 10 to 30 minutes.

Props

If you're doing a how-to video, the subject matter will determine what props you're going to need. Even if you plan to be your own host or demonstrator, make a list of all the props you'll need. Lay out the shoot before you do it and walk through it several times with your camera operator. This will keep the shoot from turning into chaos. Even experienced studio professionals work with a prop list every time they shoot.