I've heard that all of the cool movers and shakers in real estate went to Real Estate Connect in New York (guess I'm not cool, I missed it.) But hey, I did follow it on my twitter stream, especially the video portion, and I noticed quite a few attendees were wondering "How do you tell a story with video?"
In my past life as a tv reporter, I was expected to produce compelling stories that had a total length of 90 seconds or less on a daily deadline, so I 'm sharing some tips from both my experience in tv news and in my new passion, video production for real estate and small businesses.
Get Straight to the Point
Don't waste my time. You only have seconds to get a viewer's attention.
Don't conclude that you have their attention just because they clicked on your video. And forget about gradually building up to what you want to say or what you want them to see. Use your best video first. Yes, in the first shot.
If you're doing a video tour, make sure the first few seconds make the viewer want to see more. If it's an agent profile, welcome them with a smile, a super quick introduction and then get straight to your message. Don't wing it. Know what you're going to say, and practice!
Make it Short
In tv news, if you wanted to run a piece that was longer than 1:30, you needed to get special permission from the producer, and you had to make your case why it deserved ten more seconds. It can be argued that real estate is different - if someone is interested in a home, they want to see all the details, so they're willing to sit through a longer video.
I've seen (and produced) video tours that run closer to 3:30, so while I think shorter is better, I know Realtors who swear by the longer tours. It depends on variables such as the square footage of the home and if you're marketing to out of town clients...they love the longer videos which will allow them to decide whether to travel a long distance to see it in person. But a short, well produced video is always better than one that slowly meanders along aimlessly, essentially begging the viewer to click stop.
Find the Emotion
Just as movies feature a central character who you care about, remember to give the audience a reason to care about your video. A neighborhood tour doesn't have to just show the features of the area - give us a soundbite with someone who lives there and loves it!
If you're promoting your services on video, include a client testimonial from someone who loves your work. The person should be articulate, expressive, attractive and authentic. In a property tour, the "emotion" may be more subtle, but you can still find it with a warm, crackling fireplace, a cascading waterfall, or in the script itself, describing how the unique features of this home will meet the needs of the buyer.
Write to the Video
People remember more of what they see than what they hear and they're more likely to believe their eyes than their ears. So remember, in your video story, the video and pictures always come first in your script writing.
Write to the video. Don't write what you want to say and then try to find the video or pictures to fit it. Look at your video, find your best shots and then write to the images.
End with a Call to Action
Reporters are often told to begin their video pieces with their best shot, and end it with their second best shot. That's what people remember. And if the middle isn't quite as compelling, well, that might be forgiven.
So, make the ending count with a clear call to action, telling them in both the script and graphics, exactly how to contact you.
Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of art and although the technology may change, the need to tell our story stays the same.
So don't be afraid to jump in and happy videotelling!