Using the interview style to communicate your message on video.

The interview format is my favorite style for web and social media videos. Like all good marketing, it has been replicated from real life. In our case, we model our interviews after the 60 MINUTES format. We show multiple angles of our interviewee, both wide and close up shots, but in our production, we never show the interviewer. One reason is that I’m no Anderson Cooper, and in our case, we only want to highlight our subject matter.

The authenticity of this method along with its versatility make it my preferred delivery mechanism for a number of messages. Whether you’re explaining your mission statement, detailing the differences between types of policies, or recounting your origin story, your interview is the next best thing to telling your story in person. In fact, this style mirrors that in-person experience, which is why I feel it is so effective.

If you are interested in implementing this interview format for your video communications, then read these helpful tips to help you develop your own video interview series.

First, you need the right equipment. You can do it yourself, which I’ll address below, but you should hire a professional videographer. If you follow my recommendations on how to do this project cost effectively, you may realize that this does not have to cost you a Hollywood budget. For every interview, I suggest two cameras so you can cut between angles. It is also essential that you have professional microphones for recording and a lighting kit. It’s the sound and lighting that differentiates professional videos from amateur productions.

Like any successful project, it all comes down to planning. If you set out to produce 6 videos from one shoot, you will capture enough footage during that initial interview.  Plan to write 12-15 leading interview questions. Start with some warm up questions to get your interviewee comfortable on camera. This usually begins with questions about the interviewee – how you started, when you founded the company, what were some of the key pivotal developments in the company’s growth? After the general nervousness of the lights, camera, and production are minimized for your interviewee, he or she may start to have a natural conversation with you, which is what you want. This format works best when it’s authentic and real. It’s acceptable to have some “ums” and “ah’s” – that’s how we naturally speak.

Life’s story is told through images, but we also need footage for coverups. When we edit your segments, we are going to need footage to show when we cut up your audio. Even though we will have some natural pauses, we want you to look good so we often take out words, merge sentences, and weave together audio. To avoid unnatural cuts in the footage, we show other shots of you in your office, meeting with staff or clients, or working and demonstrating your expertise. We hear the words from your interview during these shots, but it’s a safe bet when you see these shots that we have reworked your audio. We also will use these extra shots because people don’t generally like to see talking heads for long periods of time. Additional footage in your natural setting keeps the video flowing.

The magic is in the editing. Just like with planning from the onset, some of the most important work is in post-production. The goal in your editing session is to weave together 90-seconds to 2-minutes of audio, with your subject appearing on camera 3-4 times. It’s essential to keep each video to one major thought or point. All other content should be related to supporting that primary message. I’d rather see you produce 6 two-minutes videos than 2 six-minute videos.  Sometimes the content will dictate that you produce a longer form video, but I would not post a video online longer than 4-minutes if you really want people to watch it.

So, you want to be a video producer.  Perfect is the enemy of good, so I would rather you produce decent videos on your own than not do them at all. If you’re going to embark on this initiative on your own, make sure you invest in a tripod for your high-end camera phone or for your DSLR camera. Next, buy yourself a microphone and some LED photography lights. Remember to not shoot in front of an open window. But with the amount of effort and cost for equipment you’re probably better off hiring a professional. I don’t do my taxes myself, and certainly would not represent myself in court. 

I know I’m better off sticking to what I know, and I believe telling your story in video is your best strategy to move forward in your marketing-communications.