With a background working across a range of commercial video productions, feature films, and TV pilots, Digistorm’s in-house content creator, Isaac, is quite the expert when it comes to all things video!
Over the past few years, video marketing has gone from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a non-negotiable for schools that are trying to stand out in a competitive market. The most important video that you’ll create is your school promotion video. It’s also known as your explainer or culture video, and it’s usually featured prominently on your school website and most of your digital marketing materials.
A great school video helps your audience connect with your message in a way that doesn’t feel awkward or boring. It doesn’t have to be long — usually, these videos are less than five minutes in length — but it does have to engage your audience while simultaneously driving home exactly what makes your school great. Sounds complicated, right? Whether you’re hiring a production company or creating it yourself, you want to end up with a video that you’re proud of.
To help you out, we’ve put together our top five features of a great school video. But first, let’s take a quick look at whether you should outsource the production of your video or keep it in-house.
As we mentioned, a school promotion video is one of the top ways that schools are marketing themselves to the wider community. They can be added to your website, YouTube page, social media channels and even displayed in movie theatres or on TV. They add a human element to your advertising while also showing off your facilities, staff and students.
With this in mind, you might be wondering whether you should hire an outside company to film your video or whether to keep production in-house. It’s a great question and one that only you can answer. Here are some considerations to help you make your choice.
Many forward-thinking schools are starting to view video content creation as one of their top marketing strategies. To achieve this, they are hiring team members who have a strong background in video production, editing and promotion. If your school has a person on staff who has proven that they have the skills to cut together brilliant promotional content for your school, why not task them with creating your promotional video?
The second consideration you’ll need to take into account is your marketing budget. Video production can be costly — particularly if you have grand ambitions for what you’d like your promotional video to achieve. If you don’t have the budget to pay an external company to storyboard, film and edit your video, it might be time to start thinking creatively.
You likely have a number of very talented and eager students in your film and television department who are looking for an extracurricular assignment. If you feel confident that they have the maturity and the talent to pull it off, start putting together your student film crew!
Once you have decided who is going to film your video, you’ll need to provide them with a clear brief. A comprehensive and helpful brief will include the following five features to ensure your video is a success.
The first thing you’ll need to determine is who you are creating a school video for. Are you looking to drive new admissions? Connect with your existing community? Promote your brand to other businesses? Recruit top teachers to work at your school? By focusing on one audience segment, you’ll be able to make better decisions throughout the planning process. If you’re having trouble zeroing in on your video’s audience, step back and take a look through your overall marketing strategy to review your customer personas.
Once you’ve settled on your target audience, you can start brainstorming the types of messaging that will best engage them, which leads us to...
Now, your school video doesn’t need to have a gripping plot like ‘Avatar’, but it does need to have a narrative for your viewers to follow. A good story is the key to developing an emotional connection with your audience.
In the planning stages, you should be thinking hard about the story you’re trying to convey. Ask yourself:
Answering these two questions will help you to develop a story that resonates by showing the heartbeat of your school. For example, if you are trying to demonstrate your school values, you might follow the journey of a student who exemplifies each value as they progress from kindergarten through to high school. This story is relatable to everyone, feels genuine and can be filmed in a very creative way.
A big part of shooting school promotional videos is determining where the video will be played. It’s so important to know what platforms your video will be viewed on, as you want to ensure your video has the best possible user experience.
For example, a video that has been shot and edited to be featured on your website might not be able to be repurposed for social media. If you hire a production company, be sure to let them know the specific channels where you wish to share the video so they can shoot it accordingly. The most common video dimensions are:
Another consideration that you’ll need to keep in mind is that many social media channels (including Facebook and Instagram) may not play sound until the viewer clicks on the video. This makes it difficult for viewers to engage in a dialogue-based video. To work around this, a lot of producers are now using subtitles and animated text within their videos.
Actors are for movies! Using them can make your school come across as cheesy or fake. By using members of your school in your video, you won’t just save money, but you’ll also be able to feature real stories from your community.
When you’re considering which families and staff to feature, take some time to prep them and then film them to see how they come across on film. Some people have the ability to stay calm and continue acting naturally when the camera’s rolling, and some don’t. Unfortunately, you won’t know until you try them out!
If you’re concerned about students feeling uncomfortable when they’re being filmed, try to source a director who has experience working with children. They’ll know how to get the best, most authentic performances out of your child stars without spending hours of time waiting for the perfect take.
You’ve held the viewers’ attention this long — now it’s time to prompt them to take the next step. To do this, you’ll need to include a clear call-to-action (or CTA) at the end. This is very important, as you don’t want a viewer to be asking, ‘What now?’ after they finish watching.
A CTA can be presented in many forms, such as a message at the end, dialogue, a website link or contact details. To determine the best call to action, you’ll need to have a think about your audience again, and the information they’ll be looking for. You might want to send them to:
Once you’ve dedicated where your audience should go, write a CTA that helps them to get there as easily as possible. Your school promotional video shouldn’t be the end of their journey, but the start!
Now that you know what to include in a great school video, with some creativity and hard work, you’ll be well on your way to developing your own! If you want some more video inspiration, make sure you subscribe to our Digistorm YouTube channel!