Career Advice

The Secret to Making Marketing Videos People Actually Want to Watch

Ezra Hurwitz's videos creatively capture upcoming works for companies like American Ballet Theatre. Image courtesy Hurwitz

These days, it's hard to scroll through social media without seeing a beautifully produced dance video. While artists and companies may have once relied on flyers and posters to promote their performances, video has become the most effective way to reach the broadest audience possible. But with so many high-quality videos competing for attention online, only the most compelling content stands out from the crowd—and converts to ticket sales.

1. Craft a message with your audience in mind

Dance filmmaker Ezra Hurwitz suggests starting with a clear message. While it doesn't need to have a literal narrative, your video should at least have an overall arc, even if it's abstract. Once you have a concept, try featuring a well-known dancer, or filming at an interesting location.

"The audience doesn't care about what's onstage. They care about the experience," says Mark Ciglar, founder and creative director of video production company Cinevative, on the podcast CI to Eye. When planning content for a video, he suggests asking, "Who's the audience, what do we want them to feel, and how can we get them to feel that to such a degree that it requires them to act on that feeling?"

Think about the objective of your video. Will it be used to educate an audience who doesn't know you or to connect with people who've already been introduced to your work? Are you promoting one show or an entire season?

Hurwitz recommends including your dancers in the conversation. "Dancers are marketing themselves much more aggressively and effectively on their own platforms," he notes. Tap into their efforts to create fresh content.

2. Make quality a priority

"Your videos need to be thumb-stopping," says Erik Gensler, founder and president of digital marketing firm Capacity Interactive. "Use those first three seconds to grab someone's attention."

Get to the point as soon as possible. "If you have one clear thought, and you say that as quickly and as succinctly as you possibly can, you have the greatest impact," says Ciglar. If you try to say more than one thing, you could lose your audience.

Make sure the footage is effective both with and without sound. Remember to follow copyright laws: Purchase licensed music or royalty-free songs, or collaborate with a musician for an original score.

If you don't have the resources to produce a high-quality video, embrace the fact that you're on a budget, recommends Hurwitz. Try creating a raw, underproduced film, or short videos to post in your social media stories. "Make sure the elements you can control are really great," he says.

3. Continue the conversation

It takes more than sharing a video once to increase awareness about your work. You'll need to continually engage your audience if you're aiming to convert views to ticket sales.

You might create a video series, or use still images to complement the message in your videos. Consider sharing new social content weekly or even retargeting viewers who've watched your video. "Content marketing is about educating," says Gensler. "The more an audience knows about an art form, the more likely they'll attend."

Come up with a strategy before you actually create the material so you can be sure to get what you'll need. Hurwitz even suggests planning your video campaigns when you're planning your season. "If you find a way to visually create this consistent messaging, it has a bigger impact," he says.

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