Documentary-style testimonial videos are an incredibly effective marketing tool, but require many elements: high-quality equipment, a skilled cameraperson, a quiet and aesthetically pleasing place to film, and an interviewer who creates a relaxed and welcoming environment are just a few key elements of quality film production. After filming, a video requires skilled editing from a videographer who knows how to present the message and branding of your product, program, company, or institution.
Each of these aspects is vital to creating engaging video content, and many aspects (such as practicing the interview process) can be prepared for in advance. Here are some tips and tricks to the interview process that will help to produce the best footage.
Getting the Best Testimonials: Tips While Interviewing
Let the interviewee know that you will repeat questions several times to allow them to express themselves in several ways.
Remember that these are sound bites. Instruct your interviewees to speak in snippets, not in long paragraphs.
Instruct him/her to sit still and not make faces, nervously laugh, etc. after finishing a response. (People often do this to indicate that he/she is done speaking. It ruins the shot.)
Before filming begins, check that the mic is not showing, that interviewee hair is not out of place, that clothes are in order, and that no one is behind the shot.
Don’t begin asking questions until the cameraperson states that we are rolling.
Look the speaker in the eye as you ask questions and listen to his or her answer.
Do not speak while the interviewee speaks.
Pause for several seconds before asking the next question.
Make sure that the speaker looks at you and not the camera.
Have the speaker state his/her name, city/country of origin, and other details several times. (Chances are that you will need several options for this sound bite.)
Make sure that every question begins with a statement. For example, “I choose X because . . . “ rather than “I chose it because . . . “ Explain this to the interviewee so that they understand what is needed of them: for example, tell them that in the final product, your questions will not be stated or revealed.
Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewee to state something again if you KNOW that this will not be a useful sound bite because of something that happens or is said. (For example, if an interviewee accidentally stutters too much, or if a noise in the background creates a distraction.)
Have fun and be comfortable: this will help your interviewee relax as well!
Lastarria Media, LLC produces high-quality testimonial videos for the international education sector. Here is just one example of Lastarria Media’s work: to see more samples, contact us.
YouTube is a valuable marketing tool for higher education and allows institutions to send a message about the voice of their campus. Is your school using YouTube effectively? Follow these tips to ensure your higher ed institution is creating useful content, engaging with users and providing a pleasant user experience, and getting the most out of the content that is created.
Creating valuable content
What types of videos should you make? With higher education, there are many options.
Guided tours of your campus and/or department
Guided tours of housing accommodations
Testimonials: students, alumni, staff
Student services interviews
Tips for incoming students
Facebook Live events
Tips when filming
Remember that a user will subliminally connect the quality of a school’s video to the quality of its programs. Be sure to create videos that are clear to see and hear, and choose backgrounds and shooting locations wisely.
Choose well-lit locations
Record videos with a minimum of 1080p resolution
Make sure the camerawork is steady: use a tripod
Beware of background noise that can distort
Test the sound and lighting before filming all of the testimonials
Get plenty of b-roll footage (footage of the campus, buildings, etc. to play while a person is narrating or providing a testimonial)
Brand when possible: have people giving testimonials wear a shirt with the school logo, or place students near a sign with the campus name.
Tips when posting
Posting content is an opportunity to improve your school’s SEO. Don’t miss this opportunity.
Video title should be within 70 characters
Use keywords in the title if possible to improve SEO
Use proper tags: YouTube provides suggestions when uploading
Make sure the video description is clear in the first 100 characters: this is what is shown when sharing on social media.
Feel free to use the rest of YouTube’s allotted 1,000 characters for the description: this is a good place to use keywords and link to the other sites and social media accounts
More tips for producing quality video content
Include closed caption for a better user experience: YouTube makes this process simple
Always include a call-to-action (Book Now! Learn More!)
Remember that call-to-actions can now be included throughout the video using YouTube’s “cards” (this helps catch the attention of users who do not watch the entire video)
Create YouTube playlists for an easier user experience. For example, make one video focusing on each program you offer and then make a playlist called “Our Programs.”
Get mileage out of your content: share on several platforms! Embed on your institution’s website, share links on PDF versions of flyers, include the link in email signatures, and share on social media.
For more information about producing quality content for your higher education institution, contact Lastarria Media.