The struggle for most marketers and strategists is not how to make something that's "pretty good" or "that works," it's how to make something truly great.
Here's how Julie, a communications director for a non-profit, measured the importance of making their video great:
"We spent 1/6 of our entire year's marketing budget on our first mini-documentary. We were nervous about it but once it was completed we realized what a great investment it was and quickly decided it was a no-brainer to produce another mini-documentary." - Julie, Director of Communications
Four Rules of Great Video
1) Identify the audience that you want to reach.
Are you crafting a film that your audience wants to see? The more relatable you can make your characters or topic to your audience, the deeper you'll capture their attention. You want your viewer to like your hero and identify with the choices your hero has to make.
Where does your audience live? (e.g. city, state, country.) How do they watch videos now? (e.g. broadcast TV, industry events, social media, mobile, YouTube, for work, movie theaters, festivals, Netflix, Amazon, etc.)
2) Understand the story that you want to tell.
Have you decided who your hero is? What's at stake for the characters? Have you painted a clear picture of what odds they are up against and what it will mean for their life if they achieve success?
A good story paints a clear villain (e.g. belief, idea, person, misconception, physical challenge). To make it great you have to show your hero's journey as they confront and ultimately overcome that villain. The more you bounce between your hero's attempts to succeed and their failure the more dramatic and entertaining your story will be.
3) Craft it well.
If you lose your viewer halfway through, it's possibly worse than if they had never watched your film. Because now they have a negative impression of your story / project / product.
Films must be entertaining if you want them to have a positive impact on the viewer. Make good art. All the elements have to work - story, performance, picture, sound, music, pacing.
4) Make a distribution plan.
Film can be a very persuasive and powerful tool, but only if people watch it. Once you identify and study who your audience is, then you can build a systematic plan to get them to watch your film.
There's many well-established ways (advertising and festivals are examples), but you need to find a way that works for the people you know you want to see it. It might be a one-on-one meeting, email, black tie event, sponsorship, media coverage, paid advertising, or guest post on a national blog.
One film I love that knocked the Four Rules of Great Video out of the park was by Extra Gum: