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Are you sitting comfortably?
Then let’s begin.
Once upon a time, in a place far, far away…

This is how stories started from prehistoric caves to Hollywood space odysseys. We follow the path of the hero from humble beginnings through impossible challenges to the final transformation that brings salvation.

Fine. But what good is all this to us?
If we have to tell stories in our videos at all, how can we do this sort of thing in only a couple of minutes?

How can we tell stories?

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Do videos need a specific structure?
I don’t want to force my videos into any old structure because I don’t want my videos to be the same as anybody else’s. I want them to stand out.
Why can’t I just tell it how it is?

The answer is simple:
Skeleton - StructureAll videos need structure. Unless, of course, you want to revolutionise the oldest art form mankind knows. Structure is the skeleton of storytelling. Try walking without your skeleton.

Dress - StructureNow, all successful videos with the same type of purpose use the same type of structure as long as. It is the way you dress your skeleton that makes yours different. That is where the skill lies.

Since all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end, the question is how do we start our videos, how do we end it, and what do we put in the middle?
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“I don’t want to ruin my videos by appearing as ‘salesy’ at the end.”
Hands up if you agree with this sentiment.
Well, it’s confession time: I used to think exactly like that but… it doesn’t work.

Why not?

Let’s backtrack a moment and look at why we have videos on our website and social media properties.

There are two important points here:
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What is the very first thing we have to do in a video?
Actually, there are 2 things, and I’ll talk about both of them.

The first two things we have to do are GRAB and PAY.

First, we have to grab our viewer’s attention within the first 10 seconds of our video.
Why do we have to do it so quickly?
Because, as we all know, viewers’ online attention spans are extremely short, and the competition for our viewer’s attention is fierce.
That is why we have to grab the attention and keep it as quickly as possible. It is simply a MUST.

How do we grab our viewers’ attention?

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How long should our videos be?

  • 30 seconds?
  • 1 minute?
  • 2 minutes?
  • 5 minutes?

What’s best?

The first approach to an answer is:
A video has to be as long as it has to be.

While undoubtedly true, this is probably not really helpful as far as this question goes.

We all know that there are no easy answers to ‘What is best?’ question because ‘it all depends.’

So, what does the length of a video depend on?

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Does it matter where we shoot our videos?
Indoors?
In front of a plain background?
Perhaps something more varied?
Outdoors?
Actually, it does matter although not so much where we film but the choice of background for our videos matters.

What kind of background should I choose?

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This is one of the most important topics in this series, and probably also the shortest blog post. So let’s get stuck right in.

What is WIIFM?

1. Is it a Non-Governmental Organisation?
2. Is it a radio station?
3. Is it a new game for the Wii?

Well, it is none of these.

WIIFMBeing charitable, radio station would probably come closest because WIIFM defines the wavelength on which we have to broadcast our message if we want to be heard at all, if we want it to be received by our audience.

WIIFM stands for What’s In It For Me.

Why do we have to broadcast on this wavelength?
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Isn’t it enough just to create videos?

Do we really need a purpose for creating our videos?

Everyone now talks about wanting and needing videos. Is it really necessary to go all fluffy and delve into why?

Do you know why you want videos?

Let me come clean at the outset. Being clear about our purpose has nothing to do with being ‘fluffy’. It is hugely important even if we limit ourselves here just to creating videos. Without it we won’t get anywhere.

Let me answer these questions in turn:
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There are at least a couple of dozen different types of video, give or take a few. What makes Talking Head Videos special?

Let’s recap: Those who offer Professional Services have to connect and build trust with others before these will become clients.

What is the best way of achieving this?

Of course, it is talking to them directly face-to-face.

How can we transfer this online?
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smartphone video - portrait formatDo your smartphone videos have these ugly black bars on either side when you upload them?
Do you ever wonder why this happens?

It’s simple. We make videos with our smartphone by holding our phone the way we always do, namely ‘upright’ (or in ‘portrait’ format).
It is convenient and very easy as this is how the phone naturally sits in our hand.

The result, though, is a narrow little video that generally flits all over the place and usually sounds bad.

And the black bars are there because videos are shown ‘horizontally’, in ‘landscape’ format, as our eyes are arranged horizontally in our head and not vertically.

There is a real danger in using videos like that to promote your business, service or project. Because it looks amateurish and at times even off-putting, this judgment can carry over to and damage your image, reputation and credibility.

Can we do anything about it?
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