Nearly all integrated communications and marketing plans feature some form of video content. However, even with this form of media used so widely nowadays in financial services, very few manage to get the content for this just right.

Why do we battle so much with video content?

A common misconception - especially among many investment management firms - is that video content is merely the verbal version of a written factsheet or sales aid. This is how we end up with videos that are too long, with too many points to cover and packed with industry jargon.

Sometimes the message we are trying to get across on video does not translate that well when scripted. There are also the cases where the speaker - albeit highly intelligent and perhaps talented as an investment manager - is not a natural presenter, and thus struggles to hold an audience when delivering a message.

So how can we improve?

Crisp message: The first step of any integrated marketing plan should start with developing a central message, and refining it enough to be crisp and clear for everyone to understand and remember. This is very helpful to ensure that all content serves one purpose - to drive the audience to your brand.

It's about the audience: Define the audience that the video is being created for, i.e. consumer, advisor, institutional, or internal stakeholders. Take time to understand each group's level of interest in and knowledge of the subject, and tailor the video content to these.

Keep it short: This cannot be emphasised enough - there is a greater chance of getting your message across in video form if it can be said in 60-90 seconds. The other common misconception that content can be longer for more sophisticated audiences (e.g. institutional investors) is a myth - these consultants and trustees are only people too; it is only their level of knowledge and information required that would differ from other audiences.

Rehearse: While investment managers may be highly skilled at getting their portfolios to work, not many of them are equally skilled in getting their key messages across succinctly and compellingly. Luckily this is one challenge that can be overcome by disciplined preparation and dry-run sessions before the actual video is recorded.

Scripting: Some form of a script is crucial to ensure that interviewees stay on message, especially for a video that is under two minutes long. However, this has to be balanced to ensure the presenter does not come across as reading off a script, and rather conversational. Ideally, the interviewee should be briefed on key messages to get across, and then allowed to work out themselves how they want to say this.

Following these basic principles should result in an improvement in video content, better value for money - and, hopefully, make for a more painless video experience for all involved.