When it comes to testimonial videos, the most important thing is to have a product that feels real and authentic. If you’ve been busy rounding up customers to produce testimonial videos with, you might be tempted to write out statements or lines that you’d like them to say. What would be easier, right? Just tell them what to say and it will sound great! Unfortunately it’s not that easy. Unless your subject is Daniel Day Lewis or some equally suitable ‘fresh from the actors studio’ talent line, they’ll probably sound canned and fake trying to read anything scripted.
You want the subject to tell a story in their own words and balance that with marketable material and statements the brand can leverage. Ideally, the statements should reinforce the messaging and narrative of the brand but writing a script for a customer to read word for word takes away the authenticity of the video. Here’s a little insight into how video production services go about developing a rapport and list of questions for a testimonial video shoot. With a little work ahead of time you’ll be able to guide the customers to the ideal statement without having to put a script in their hands.
The first step to creating a great testimonial video without a script is by establishing a relationship with the subject. Start with a pre-interview over the phone. Establish some report by asking about their life and then use that as a connection when they arrive at the shoot. A little time on the phone with each subject will provide you with a starting point on what types of questions to ask in the interviews. Always prepare a list of these pre-established questions that will cover all bases to help you get to the best parts of their experience efficiently while making use of the video production services.
When it’s time to conduct the actual interview start very broad. That will allow the subject to tell their story and get comfortable with you, the process, and the setting (cameras, lights, Joe the gaffer in his faded Axel Rose T-shirt lurking around in the back…). Just like a good marriage, the key to a good interview is listening. Listen for cues into what they really liked about their experience with the product and use those as starting points to lead them to areas in which you want specific responses or statements in.
Questions that are leading and designed to illicit a specific brand centric response should be last. If you’ve spent the bulk of the interview listening, laughing at their jokes, and smiling during their anecdotes, you’ll have enough trust built up to ask them to rephrase things the way you want them to for optimal messaging. You may even be able to ask them to say something specific about the brand and a story you want to tell in your testimonial video campaign.
Don’t be afraid to suggest words if they’re searching for a way to say something, keep fumbling, or are just rambling. When I want to cut to the chase I often use a pre-amble like this:
“So I think I’m hearing you say X (insert paraphrased version of their comments). If I was going to say something along those lines I might put it this way “XYZ Statement”. Does that sound like something you would say about the brand?”
Nine times out of ten they will give you an enthusiastic ‘yes!’ and happily attempt to regurgitate the line as you pitched it. It might take a few try’s (or half a dozen), but they will usually trust that you are there to guide them rather than to manipulate them. Interviewing is an art form that benefits from extensive experience. The more time a person has spent conducting interviews for testimonials videos, endorsements, or documentaries the more efficient they will be at getting useable footage from your customers.
After a long day of shooting you should walk away with a decent amount of content from various testimonial video interview subjects. The way you edit can also have an impact on the authenticity of the finished product. There is a lot of possibilities and combinations of how to edit various interviews or subjects within an interview to serve a particular need.
Perhaps each subject used a different product and you can create a video that talks about the experience of buying that particular item. Maybe they represent a different demographic or subset of customer. When a potential customer watches these videos, they want to see if they can picture themselves having the same experience to justify the purchase. Make the stories complex and rich by mixing various viewpoints in various voices or by stringing together the highlights of one persons experience.
With a little preparation, the right interview techniques and video production services, and some creativity in post, you should be able to create a series of testimonial videos that serve the brand without having to rely on scripts or talking points. Remember, the whole point of testimonial video is to wrap the authenticity of a customers voice around your brand for credibility. Don’t kill that credibility by showing up with a script when it’s time to conduct the interview.
For a comprehensive guide on how to find, negotiate and produce video endorsements check out our free guide: Finding, Negotiating and Producing Great Video Endorsements: https://www.cinemastersind.com/white-papers-testimonials/
If you’re a marketing director or business owner interested in endorsements or an agency looking for an experienced endorsement producer, feel free to drop us a line through our website; www.cinemastersind.com.