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A TV reporter's guide to creating interesting business videos

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Ever wondered how a TV reporter turns around a news story so quickly? They certainly don’t have time for storyboards or lengthy scripts written way in advance, and they usually don’t set off for an interview armed with a long list of prepared questions.

As a former ITV reporter based in the South West of England, I know how to bring a subject to life: focus on people and their personal stories! Listen to what they say and engage with them.

Usually, as a TV reporter, you’re working up against the clock and you only have a couple of minutes of screen time (max!) to get your story across. So, you need to write tightly and use sound bites effectively. The skill is to put your interviewees at ease and get them to open up and tell you about their own experience or personal take on a story. You then craft the script - if you’re using one - around their best or most emotive sound bites. Sometimes, it’s effective to do away with a script altogether and let their words tell the whole story. It depends on the nature of the piece (hard news, topical feature or “and finally”), how much information you need to impart, how much time you have and, crucially, whether your subject is a good talker!

Well, the good news is, the same basic approach can work wonders when you need to produce an interesting video to market your company, service or product to customers and potential customers. Yes, it’s a cliche, but people DO buy from people - people they like and trust. So how to best engage your viewers in a business video? By showing that you’re genuine, and by focussing on people who resonate with them!

That’s what TV reporters do day in, day out. They seek out the human face of news, the people behind the facts and figures who bring an issue to life. And that approach works equally well for business as for news.

I believe that people don’t want to be bombarded with endless sales patter. They don’t want a hard sell. So when it comes to making a video for marketing purposes, if you present yourself or your company in a genuine, engaging and personable way, then viewers will be more likely to want to find out more about you and why what you do could be of interest to them. Make it personal. It’s not rocket science. It’s human nature.

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