Zoom fatigue is upon us, and it doesn’t just affect employees dreading their fourth video call of the day. More than ever, companies are using video, live-streamed events, and virtual presentations to communicate with customers, the media, and the general public. In a world where nobody wants to add another video call to their calendar, it’s increasingly difficult to capture attention, foster engagement, and make things memorable for audiences on the other side of the screen.
The importance of video content is nothing new, but video is rapidly becoming the primary avenue of connection with the outside world. Case in point: CES, the largest technology trade show in the world, went completely virtual this year. Instead of being hosted in the massive Las Vegas Convention Center, CES 2021 was hosted entirely on Microsoft Teams: Video product announcements, keynotes, and roundtable discussions were streamed live and on demand to “attendees” around the globe.
In many ways, the show-wide shift to video was a huge convenience for visitors and brands. Attendees no longer had to choose between interesting sessions happening at the same time, as they had on-demand access to panel discussions and presentations. And of course, a virtual event makes it much easier and more cost-effective for anyone to attend without having to travel, book a hotel for a week, or stand in a booth for days on end.
At CES 2021, video wasn’t just a bigger part of the brand experience; it was the entirety of the brand experience. With that much at stake, it’s crucial to ensure that your brand isn’t an also-ran in a sea of virtual presentations. The good news is that it doesn’t take a zillion dollars, CGI effects, or a webinar directed by Michael Bay to make things memorable. It all comes down to thoughtful strategy that fits your budget, target audience, and business goals.
Produce (or practice) your video ahead of time:
Live-streamed videos don’t literally have to be shot and streamed in real-time. Use that to your advantage by creating interesting segments, designing graphics, editing things together, and developing content to support your video well in advance. By pre-recording your video and publishing it at a scheduled time, it’s much easier to deliver professional-looking results while avoiding the inevitable challenges of a live shoot. If you do choose to shoot and stream live, practice runs are essential. Doing dress rehearsals will make panelists feel at ease, create lively dynamics between them, and help you work out any technical issues. Invite a small internal audience to watch those rehearsals, and use their feedback to improve your live event.
Treat it as a permanent piece of content:
Many brands make the mistake of live-streaming a video, then offering no option to view it later. That will significantly limit your ROI and shrink your potential audience several times over. Plenty of reporters and interested viewers could have schedule conflicts during live streams, or they may be in a completely different time zone. Plus, more people may want to watch your video after they hear about it on the news or on social media. To expand your viewer base many times over, make your video available to view on demand. Upload it to popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If there are particularly compelling snippets of your video, think about creating shorter clips optimized for social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
Think beyond the video itself:
You’ll need plenty of additional materials to support the content in your video: Press releases, product details, images and videos for reporters, you name it. But you also need to consider accessibility and ease-of-use. Does the video platform require viewers to download additional software? Can the platform provide a written transcript of the video that viewers can read and reporters can quote easily? Are the speakers in your video identified with lower-third graphics? If viewers want to learn more about the panelists, are bios and headshots featured outside the video player? Ultimately, think about the experience of reporters covering your virtual event and viewers seeking more context. If you have to rewind the video to identify each speaker or transcribe a quote, the viewer experience will be annoying.
Cut to the chase:
One big benefit of providing bios and headshots on your video landing page is that your panelists can dive right into the discussion. Think about your average Zoom call: The first five minutes are usually spent doing introductions and making small talk. By the time those five minutes are up, your audience’s attention may be gone. Providing bios on the video landing page will allow you to begin your topical discussion right away. Keeping the discussion moving should be another big goal for your practice run. It’s a good idea to assign each panelist a question to answer first and give them time limits for each response; you may even implement a shot clock like “Pardon the Interruption.” A repetitive question-answer-question-answer format between the moderator and panelists can get boring fast. Instead, encourage panelists to respond and engage with other panelists instead of waiting for the moderator to address them.
Above all, remember to be interesting:
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it often gets lost in the shuffle when you have so many other details to worry about. Yes, it’s important for your video to reflect your brand messaging, provide a virtual product demo, or share your insights on an interesting topic… but it’s equally important to make sure it doesn’t fall flat by failing to engage viewers. There are many ways to make your presentation stick in viewers’ minds: The quality of your script and pre-produced segments, the personality and interactions of your presenters or panelists, and branded tchotchkes mailed to registered viewers all help make it memorable. After putting together an outline for your video, it’s time to answer a tricky question: Will your presentation stand out from all the rest?
If you’re planning your very first virtual presentation, virtual media engagement, or virtual event, expect a bit of a learning curve. The best way to avoid unwanted surprises is to partner with experts that have done it all before.
That’s where we come in: Airfoil has decades of experience producing multimedia content, as well as planning and managing events (both real and virtual) for companies of all sizes. Get in touch with us to learn how we can help with your next virtual product launch, discussion panel, interactive webinar, or virtual event. We’ll take it to new heights.