Tips for creating video promos of your staff’s work


Promos work.

Are your students creating promotional spots to remind viewers about their upcoming programs? Posting promos on social media outlets like Twitter or Facebook, or on your website, can create a buzz for your show. Want proof?

In March of 2013, we created a 35-second clip promoting a special edition of our show about homeless teens. The result? Check out the screen grab below and see the people reached, and the number of shares. facebook_data_htv

It drove many more viewers to our show than if we had waited until the day it went online to try to stir up interest.

There are some things to keep in mind if you decide to create promotional spots for your show—and by the way, they are great assignments for kids. You could even make a staff position for a Promotions Director.

Promo Tips:

*Narration is optional. Often, the best way to get the viewers interested is to just use sound bites and natural sound.

*Whether you use narration or not, make sure you don’t over-sell your content. Hyperbole will hurt your credibility.

*Do not give too many details away in the promo spot. You want viewers to tune in for the full show. Give them a taste, but not a meal.

*Music and graphics are fine, even important, but the actual story content viewers see in a promo will be more important than flying text and swooshes.

*The promo spot says something about your journalism. It is okay to plug a light feature along the way, but remind folks you are doing a news show first.

*Make the promo about the viewer—why should they care? What’s in it for them?

*Pay attention to technical quality of the promo. If it has bad video, is too loud or too soft, it will lead viewers to think your entire show will be that way. Take pride in the quality of the promo.

*Provide useful information about when the show will be available, and where. Do not assume everyone who sees the promo knows those details.

*Total running time of a promo should probably depend on the length of the show you are promoting. If your show is 10 minutes long, a 2-minute promo is not a good idea. But a 30-minute show can have a longer promo spot.

Here are a couple of promos for a show we produced in 2014 called “Spare the Child.” We did two different clips, the first is about 45 seconds:


The second one was a longer spot, but remember, it is for an in-depth, 27-minute show:

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