Nothing… and everything. Personally, I’m not a fan of talking points. At least not when every question elicits an answer from a narrowly predefined set of them. The speaker ends up looking evasive and robotic, and does not connect with viewers. “But we’ve carefully crafted our message and need to stick to it” you say. Stick to the spirit of your message, not the actual words. There’s no point making an interview style video if the interviewee is not going to act human on-camera.
When done right, interviews and testimonials are excellent marketing tools. After all, people generally trust each other more than they trust a corporation. So… How do you make a great interview or testimonial video? You really only need two things.
First. Find the best candidate(s) to interview on-camera and pre-interview them for the following:
- Find people that are passionate first and foremost. Their enthusiasm will come across on camera.
- Make sure they have a good success story to tell.
- They need to be willing to be on-camera, it’s ok if they need a little encouragement, but if you have to twist their arm they will not make a good interview.
- Get 2-3 more interviews than you think you need so you have enough good content to work with in post.
- Depending on your product/service it’s good to show a well-balanced cross section of employees of all levels – not just execs.
- Having a diversity of age, gender, and ethnicity is also a good idea. If you only have men in the video it won’t resonate with women as well.
Second. Once you’ve selected the interviewees and they show up for the interview… make them comfortable. I can’t emphasize this enough. All emotion comes across on camera, that’s why film and video is so powerful. Nervousness will not advance your cause.
- Hire the right producer/director that knows how to quickly build a rapport with the interviewee and set them at ease.
- Don’t give them talking points! Just craft the questions to elicit the type of content you want and deal with it in editing. Remember, you already carefully selected the interviewees, so you’re covered.
- Don’t have their boss in the room, they won't feel at liberty to say what they really think. Not that they’re likely to say anything negative (which you’d cut anyway). It’s about keeping them relaxed and talking like a real human being.
- Set aside enough time in their schedule in advance, so they’re not rushed.
- Do it in a setting that's both appropriate for their role in the company but as free from noise and distractions as possible.
- Have them dress in clothing they feel comfortable in. They shouldn’t wear a suit and tie if they don't normally.
- Keep the set small, the less people in the room the better.