A little while back, I wrote about the top 5 things you should be doing but are most likely not when entering a video competition. Today I am going to drill down on one of those topics; how to write a compelling video description.
In order to know how to write a compelling description, we have to start at the beginning by understanding purpose and audience.
Purpose: Zooppa hosts competitions. Unlike a normal contract for an advertising agency or company, you have to persuade the client to choose you. Rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, takes many forms. Most videos on Zooppa are pieces of rhetoric with a specific target audience the client wants to reach. However, your target audience for a competition is also the judges because they are the decision makers. Therefore, the purpose of the video description is to make your video memorable and interesting in the minds of the judges.
Audience: While I am not allowed to submit videos to the competitions, if I were to submit, I would want to know what the judges are eating for breakfast. I would want to know how they think, what their interests are, and what motivates them to make the decisions they do.
After I do everything in my power to figure out who the judges are, or make a best guess at what I think they might be like, then I can start to try and influence them.
Optimizing a Video Description: The worst description you can make is one that summarizes exactly what happens in the video. You want people to watch the video don’t you? Why would you give your audience an easy reason not to watch the video? By adding a description, you are only duplicating information that is already there. The description is your opportunity to give extra information you want your audience to have.
So what should this extra information be?
Recalling our purpose, the description should be something compelling to the judges. Just like a good film, the best way to stand out and make something memorable is to tell a story. Not just any story, but a strange story that stands out in your audience’s mind. You want the story to create an emotional connection with your audience, so that when they review the video, they associate that emotion with the film.
If you are really good about doing your audience analysis, that emotional reaction will be positive and your video might get that extra kick it needs to move up in the standings.
Lets look at an example and use an old contest, say Dungeons and Dragons:
Step one: Audience analysis First lets think about who might be the judges for the campaign. A quick search on Wizard’s Linkedin page reveals that the Seattle based company has roughly 500 members. At least half of those are Magic: the Gathering employees. After thinking about the various roles, I would think it highly unlikely there are more than 20 people in D&D marketing.
Knowing they have limited resources divided across multiple projects, we can guess that there is probably one Senior marketing person along with one or two junior marketing people working on the project. The Senior Marketing manager is likely to do all the decision making though, so we are going to cater to him/her. Further research shows that the age of a senior marketing position is probably 28-35. Now, knowing all this, what might appeal to this type of person?
Step two: Make inferences People in their late twenties are usually thinking about marriage or kids. People in Seattle typically love the outdoors and adventure. We could dive a lot deeper, but that should do for our example.
Step three: Tell a story Use the information gleaned from steps 1 and 2 to tell a story.
Two weeks ago I had my friends over to D&D when my daughter came in and said she wanted to be a princess in our game. We all played along and let her take a role, knowing that she would probably lose interest quickly. While everyone was kind of annoyed at first, we were soon blown away by the imagination of Sarah and it turned into one of the best D&D games ever.
It made me think about why we are still playing this game as adults: To relive the creativity and imagination that we once had as children in a more challenging and stimulating way. I decided it would be really funny to show what it would be like if Sarah (only 5 years old) attempted to play D&D. I also wanted to film in the beautiful outdoors, because while we usually play around a kitchen table, our minds project to a much more magical place.
I am not in any way suggesting that you lie and make up a story you think will appeal to a particular audience because you probably don’t have to. You should have plenty of fun experiences and fun stories from the film process alone; it is just a matter of choosing the right ones that can make all the difference.
Next time: Optimizing the Comment Board