In my January 2019 blog post, I reviewed licensing trends which myself and my fellow inventRight coaches saw in 2018. A point of emphasis was that inventors are now expected to do just a bit more. With a crowded pool of product developers trying to steal a licensee's interest away from your product, the need to create better marketing material or even developing your product further is very real.
I am often reached out to asking for advice on how to make a product demo go viral. As I pointed out in my June 2018 blog post titled, "Why You Won't Go Viral and Why That's Okay," I don't have that answer and I don't believe anyone does. It should be noted, I myself did not create the Woof Washer video that garnished 70 million views. In fact, I had nothing to do with it. A very large production team of industry professionals wrote, filmed and edited the entire spot.
The next inevitable question I receive after sharing the above is, "Okay, do I even need a video at all?" The answer to this question: Truly, it's a case-by-case basis. As a general rule of thumb, if you are claiming your product can do something quicker, instantly, neater or easier, then you better start thinking about making a product demo! "I can wash a dog in 60 seconds or less," I proclaimed for years as I was pitching Woof Washer. I never once made that statement without a demo to prove my claim.
Ten years ago, there weren't nearly the volume of resources there are now to create a demo video. In actuality, my demo was very amateur. Looking back, it was embarrassingly amateur compared to what I make today. With resources such as Fiverr and now iR Design Studio, I challenge each one of you to make a demo with high production value. Stand out from the crowd. Your product's benefits are key —let's make those benefits memorable.
I mimic the same tried and true formula the "As Seen On TV" industry it's known for.
1) Introduce the problem: This is typically a man or woman having an overly difficult time completing what should be an otherwise simple task. They are typically being overly exaggerative and the video is in black and white.
2) Introduce the solution: This is your 'hero' or product shot. Have a big beautiful image of your product pop up on the screen. "Introducing [insert product name]. The all new [insert brief description and benefit]. A product logo can also go somewhere on the screen at this time More on that below.
3) Demo the solution: Now I want you to show how easy using your product is. Show the viewer the benefits. Does your product flip a hamburger more easily? Then show a close up of the product flipping a hamburger on a grill. Focus and zoom in on the product. I do not need to see the person or actor. The product is the star of the demo, not the person.
4) Introduce the offer: On a typical "As Seen on TV" commercial this would sound something like, "Buy now and get a second free, just pay shipping and handling." We obviously are not going to do that. Show your sell sheet on screen instead.
Your video should not be more than one minute long. Licensees are busy people. Do not bore them to death! I know what you are thinking. "The above sounds easy in theory, but how do I do it? I have never done this."
I've lived in Los Angeles, California my entire life, just a stones throw away from Hollywood. Even so, I had no experience in video production either!
Here's what you need to know:
First, create a script.
Then, for each line, I want you to write a description of that scene and what the actor/actress or the product will be doing. For a one-minute video your script will be in the range of 10 to 20 short sentences
"You love barbecuing, but your meat always sticks to the grill!" Black and white video, man tries to flip hamburger on grill but hamburger falls apart.
"And serving crumbling food to guests is a real party downer." Black and white video, crumbled burger gets placed on plate at table. Person at table frowns at plate.
"Until now! Introducing 'Barbecue Spatula Max,' the quick and easy way to grill and serve perfect burgers every time! Color video of product flipping the burger perfectly. Logo appears in top left corner.
"Enjoy your summer day with perfectly cooked food." Lady bites into burger. Smiles as she lifts burger to mouth.
And so on and so further. Really think this out. I encourage you to go on YouTube and watch just about any informercial to see exactly how they structure these videos. You can also find these videos at Asseenontv.com.
Hire a voiceover artist. Voiceover artists are readily available on Fiverr and similar websites. This will cost you around $50-$75 depending on the amount of words in your script. Always listen to their demos to get the exact voice you are looking for. You simply send the artist your video and script. He or she will then add their professional voiceover to the video and send it back to you.
Create a product logo. I've said it many times: The most beautiful logo in the world won't do anything to license your product if the product stinks. That said, having a logo does undoubtedly give your sell sheet and video an incredibly professional look. Design Studio can assist you with this as well.
If you are using Apple products, then you have likely heard of Apple's video editor "iMovie." It is free and can be found on all of their platforms. A couple months ago, I had no experience with this program. I started educating myself and now my results are through the roof!
Here are a few simple effects you can teach yourself by watching very short 'how to' videos on Youtube. These are crucial to making your video look professional:
- a) Overlays
- b )Picture in Picture
- c) Green Screen
- d) Text
- e) Transitions
- f) PNG transparent files
Sometimes, you may want to add previously recorded video to your demo video. Check website Pond5.com for their stock images and video. They can be pricey, but if you intertwine real professional video with the video you are taking, and it's done correctly, the results will be seamless and truly remarkable!
You will likely film your demo with your smartphone. Purchase a tripod. A tripod will prevent video shake and let you sweep from left to right very fluidly. These can be found on Amazon.com for around $20.
Set your smartphone to record in HD. 1080p is the standard. YouTube will allow you to upload your video in this format. Make sure your settings are correct before you hit record!
Find a song or music that you like on YouTube to use as background music for your video. Is your product a kids' toy? Then have fun and silly music. Is your product a motorcycle accessory? Then add something with a "Rock-n-Roll" vibe. Do not make this loud. Your voiceover should not be overpowered by the music. There are many websites available which will allow you to download the audio from any YouTube video.
Have a friend or family member help you. Somebody needs to operate the camera and somebody needs to manipulate the product. This will take no time at all and if you have supportive people on your side, they will be happy to help!
DO NOT take a video of yourself saying "Hi I'm John and I am the inventor of…." The only time this may be applicable is if you are an expert in your field. Perhaps if you are a doctor who invented a new life-saving device or a plumber who invented the world's first leak-free faucet. In these cases, your credibility will serve you well. Still, I would heavily suggest that in most cases doing this will not benefit you.
Edit, edit, edit! Keep looking at your one-minute video and make the appropriate edits until it is just right.
Inventing is what all of us do. We love it. We are passionate about it. Most of us however are not passionate about the pitch and the marketing of the product. This really is an odd way of thinking. We have spent, in some cases, years developing a product. However, when it's time to show our baby to the world, we present it in the absolute most amateur way!
Most of the inventRight students I coach want to make licensing their career. If that is your desire too, then you must embrace the idea of making professional demo videos. Remember, if you don't, there's a high likelihood that an inventor down the road is. Don't let them steal your thunder!