The online video space is like one giant, crowded bar and all anyone wants to do is watch the “big game”. That’s the space we’re dealing with today. It’s noisy, there are plenty of distractions and you’ve got to find a way to rise above it all and capture everyone’s attention.
In those fleeting moments when viewers aren’t consuming content they have searched for, you’re trying to get their attention to pitch to them why they should give your product or service a chance. Potentially, you have a huge, captive audience and it’s easier than ever to get your content in front of viewers, but getting them to stop and stay in a whole other issue. One way to stand out above the crowd, noise or no noise, is a really well-made silent video. We bring you 7 top tips to using this kind of approach in your video marketing.
#1 Tell a Moving, Compelling Story
A silent video forces viewers to focus more on what is happening on screen, which makes it even more important to tell a story through actions that illustrate the importance of your product while maintaining viewers’ attention. Since you’re working in a silent medium tell your story through actions, appearances and behaviors. There is no room for fluff here, so if it doesn’t enhance the story take it out or change it. Bonus points if you can make a twist ending as good as the video below.
This incredibly moving video from the Liver Transplant Foundation in Argentina is currently going viral (3.5 million plus views at time of writing) is the perfect example of a story well told in a short amount of time. It keeps you hooked from start to finish with an emotive storyline, and ends with a very tacit yet powerful call to action:
#2 Reinforce Your Brand Message
Much like you see Ford doing in their most recent advertisements, use bold letters to explain things when you have no sound. Go ahead and mute the video below - you can still tell what’s going on and get the major points you need about the truck’s new features, simply from the text on screen.
#3 Use Music to Enhance the Story
I know, I know, that doesn’t make any sense but bear with me a moment here. A silent video can have backing audio, maybe even sound effects, but rather than being carried by dialog of some sort, it should be carried by the story that is created on the screen. In an atmosphere where viewers are scrolling through content, often on a silent feed, the video must be able to stand on its own, whether it has audio or not. Chipotle's 'The Scarecrow' is a great example of silent marketing video that utilises an understated but effective backing track.
Another example is this trailer for 'Gears of War 3' from Epic Games where Mazzy Star's haunting 'Into Dust' is beautifully juxtaposed against the violent and horrifying images from the game.
#4 Be Brave, Go Completely Silent
Yes, you could use some backing audio or sound effects to enhance your video, but why not try being silent. Viewers are used to constant sound when browsing for content, a silent interruption is completely unexpected and in and of itself could grab their attention.
#5 Watch Old Silent Movies for Inspiration
Silent movies come from an era where they had little to no choice in the matter and HAD to succeed without the sound we’ve accepted as normal today. The best movies from the era succeeded for a reason, re-watch the classic and learn from them.
#6 Production Quality Matters
If you’re making a silent video, the visual elements are critical. You must use a high quality camera to film. The set is equally as important. All of your visual elements have to be in harmony or they could distract from the final product. Try out different editing techniques to further draw viewers’ attention. Maybe you make the video in black and white or add in a slow motion effect. There is no dialog to get in the way so you’ll have to tell your story frame by frame.
#7 Follow the Three Second Rule
If your audience can figure out and process your message in three seconds or you can grab their attention in those three seconds so solidly that they stay for the rest of the video, you’ve done your job.
The next time you are in a crowded bar, check and see which ads you notice on TV. Chances are the ones that grab your attention will be succeeding at one or more of these elements. You must be able to stand out above the noise that is online video. Sometimes the best way to stay out is through silence.
Do you have a favorite silent video? Let us know in the comments below.