For musicians: 3 secrets to a great promo video

Want to book more concerts? Wondering what to focus on in your promo materials? I’ve got you covered. Here is . . . For musicians: 3 secrets to a great promo video. To help, check out the inspiring promo video example below from guitarist/composer Kaki King.

Why bother with a promo video?

Think about it. When you go to a musicians’ website (or any other performers’ site), if there’s video don’t you click on that first? I know I do.

If the video on the home page is compelling and short, I watch it all the way through. That usually gets me curious to see what else I can find on the site so I stay longer and the chances of my being interested in going to their concert or signing up for their newsletter goes way up.

Video is our most compelling way to make a great first impression.

Video helps you “come to life” on your site. It can work as a great introduction and call to action to get people to explore further on your site and want to connect with you.

Many musicians immediately assume that they need to hire a super expensive videographer. Not true.

And that none of the video they already could be used. Not true.

How to create a great promo video on a small budget

First of all, review the video footage you have. We don’t need whole pieces or whole movements, but really short compelling clips from a range of repertoire.

PLUS we need a real sense of you. So including clips of you speaking directly to camera (as though you’re being interviewed) can work well.

Use short clips of performances, recording sessions, or even rehearsals with good quality audio.

And if you have excellent audio clips you might use some of these, too. For visuals to accompany these, consider using still shots. Photos of you in performance as well as casual shots of rehearsals, or you connecting with fans post. You can also use text to include a quote or 2 about you or a quote from you—about your mission.

How to choose which video clips to use?

Look for camera angles and gestures and movement that helps make the clip more compelling. You do not need entire phrases. But you DO need a compelling set of clips that highlight contrasting moods, styles, tempos, and periods.

And it’s great if you have some footage that includes audience reactions, too. If you regularly speak to audiences in your performances—and you’re good at it—consider including a clip of this as well.

This is something that concert presenters really appreciate seeing. They want to book performers who connect well with audiences and who can introduce themselves and their music from the stage with lively commentary.

You can add supertitles to indicate the title of the work and the composer. And if the performance venue is noteworthy you may want to consider including that as well.

YOUR first step: gather content

Everything I’ve described above—choosing the clips, the order, the photos, supertitles, etc.—is work YOU need to do.

You might imagine that hiring a pro would take this work off your plate. Nope.

You need to do this because you are the best person to choose the set of clips and potential photos to consider.

Once you have the “compost heap” of potential material you’re considering using, you may want to work with a coach for final editing choices and a reality check. And if you don’t have the skills for using iMovie or ScreenFlow, you may want to hire a videographer to compile and edit based on your directions and choices.

Doing it this way can save you hundreds of dollars. Many musicians do all their own editing. The one place I’d really suggest you get help though, is in choosing among your potential clips the order, the supertitles, and the final cuts.

It’s not easy to be objective about our own material and that’s why an expert coach can help you learn how you are coming across and help you make that great first impression.

For musicians: 3 secrets to a great promo video . . .

Secret #1: Less is more

We all have short attention spans these days, so if your website has full-length concerts, or even recordings of 20 minute pieces, realize that NO ONE will watch and listen to these. No one has the time or the bandwidth. Less is more.

Instead of only having video on your ‘listen” page—which people may never get to—have a short introductory promo video on the home page of your site. If people are drawn by it, they’ll the explore further on your site. The goal is to get them engaged in that short promo.

Secret #2: hone your story

Figure out what story to tell that helps visitors get a real sense of who you are and why you make music. This should NOT be the usual boring bio stuff—where you went to school, who you studied with, where you’ve performed, or awards you’ve one. What listeners really want to know is who you are. REALLY.

So this is the place to be vulnerable about your mission, WHY you love music or how you came to your instrument, or the latest project that you are fascinated by.

You do NOT have to have a rags to riches story or a dramatically difficult childhood. But you DO need to get real, be genuine, and tell an actual story that piques our curiosity and helps us get even more engaged with your music.

Secret #3: get inspired

Watch and listen to this promo video of the terrific guitarist and composer Kaki King. It’s well worth the 6 minutes. (But don’t go this long with your own unless your story genuinely needs this much time to spin out—the way Kaki King’s does.)

What do you think: what in this is most engaging for you?

What ideas from this can you use in your own promo materials?

I’d love to hear—post your related comments and questions in our exclusive free Musicians Making It Facebook group—join the conversation!

Looking forward,

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well

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