Video structure for marketing and sales videos etc
Fortunately for everyone – or at least you, if you want to make 'sales' videos of any kind – there's a fairly widely adopted standard structure. We'll explore it below. It's so simple all it takes is a description and a few examples. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Structuring by teasing
There's an art in the sale. The idea is to pull your audience in so that not only do they stick around to the end of your video, but they want to stick around! It's a technique used in radio and TV magazine programmes a lot – you've only got to listen to your local radio station for half an hour and you'll hear it. Variations of it are used all over the internet's videos. At its purest the structure looks like this:
Pretty obviously, the idea is to open a loop to hook your audience in, and not close it until you've opened up a second (or even a third!) loop. This means there's always something for your audience to hang on for. They don't get what they need in the first five seconds and vanish!
Importantly, you go straight in and create your first open loop even before you have your titles etc. That's a structure you'll be familiar with if you want almost any TV program.
Here's an simple example from the almost-ubiquitous Pat Flynn. I've jotted some things-to-note under the video but have a watch of it first. You probably don't need to watch all of it but give it a few minutes at least.
First, notice that the thumbnail (what people see as the still image that represents the video) isn't the first scene – in fact it's carefully chosen by Pat and doesn't actually appear on the video until a little over 20 seconds in.
Everything before that is the "opening tease". In fact, Pat is so overt about his approach that at 37 seconds in he literally says "So check it out! Cue the intro". The intro runs for five or six seconds (and is obviously something someone's put a lot of effort into!). In other words, we're three quarters of a minute into the video before Pat even begins to deliver!
… but because of the "open loop" created in the "opening tease" we're hooked.
What's important in for now is that you recognise the way Pat's got you interested. He keeps promising something – he keeps saying what's going to happen… These are all "open loops" and it's human nature not to want to stop before they're closed.
Or as a radio presenter would say
You'll get the hang of how to open the loops very quickly but for the sake of kicking things off, the most simple ways to trail something upcoming are:
- statements like "the top five reasons why … You'll not believe number four!"
- questions such as "wouldn't you like to be able to …?"
It's not rocket science!
Exercise #1: watch TV or listen to the radio and make a note in your notepad every time you hear this happening!
Exercise #2: create a list of questions or teasers you can put into your video. Jot them down on index cards: put the answers to those questions on different index cards. Move the cards around on your table to intersperse you openings and closings.
Oh, a sneaky and personal PS: We're 36 seconds into this video about problems with Batman before we get to the titles! What do you mean Batman isn't real! You're just saying that to be mean! https://youtu.be/4cvmPIb7oek