How To Create a Winning Promo Video

how_to_create_a_winning_promo_videoPromo videos are what sells you to a potential show attendee, a venue booker, a prospect, blogger, magazine editor, or a talent buyer.  Anyone who presses the play button on your video is looking to see what kind of stage presence you have, what kind of energy you bring to your live performances, and basically if you’re any good.  Most people will not stop at simply listening to your studio tracks.  They are going to want to see your live footage because, well the camera never lies.  Plus, it picks up every last one of your flaws.  If you can impress someone with your live footage video, then you are one step closer to closing the deal.

There are many elements and factors that go into making a great video. I can’t possibly share them all here, but I will show you how to think creatively and design your video to be a sales pitch. After all, the more selling your videos and presentation materials can do on the front end, the less selling you will have to do on the backend.


The Camera

The camera you use does not have to be an expensive “uppidy” camera, but it needs to be something high quality enough that can capture you clearly. You don’t want your video to be fuzzy or unsteady. That will come off looking very unprofessional and you might get misunderstood as not taking your artistry seriously.


The Environment/Background

Put some creativity into your backdrop.  Will the video show you performing at a venue?  Will you be in a park, or a warehouse, or possibly a theater?  You don’t have much freedom at venues, but you can get creative if you film in other places.  I’ve seen someone film a video in a backyard shed.  It was dark and grimy but it went with the overall theme of the song and so it was awfully perfect. Simple backgrounds could work too, such as filming in front of a brightly colored wall. Whatever you choose, think about what it will look to the person seeing it from the other side.  Make sure everything in the shot has a purpose.  Another very important point to remember is light.  Unless you have a good reason, your set should be well lit.  There is nothing worse than seeing a promo video that is too dark and too hard to make out. You should portray yourself in the best possible light, pun intended.


The Song/Performance

More than likely you want to go with a medium to up tempo song. The idea here is to keep the person’s attention. A fast upbeat song can help encourage your viewers to clap, sing along, tap their feet, and dance along with you. Before long, they will realize they are enjoying you. It’s easier to sell someone when they are having a good time.

On the other hand, if you have really strong, sexy vocals and energy that can keep people’s attention, by all means go for the ballads.  A slow song would work great in this instance.


The Editing

Editing can make or break your video.  Editing can make or break your video.  It wasn’t a mistake. I said it twice.  A song is usually 2 to 3 minutes. That can be a really long time if you’re not entertained.  Proper editing can help bring liveliness to your videos. Panning, zooming, cutaways, fades, and even title slides at the beginning and end can add energy to an otherwise boring video.   A combination of wide shots and close-ups are a great way to bring a little diversity to your scenes.  Don’t be afraid to use these features.  Another way to add diversity is including still images with a Ken Burns effect.


Your Persona

This is not the time to be shy. This is the time to exaggerate your personality. Be funny. Be witty. Be energetic. Be bold.  Energy is what your audience feeds on, and it is what your viewers feed on as well.  Unfortunately, it is really difficult for the camera to pick up on energy so you have to work harder to convey it.  For example, if you like to turn your head to the side at a certain part in the song, make sure to do it with more spunk and animation for the camera so your viewers can get the feeling of what you’re trying to say.

Consider your wardrobe when filming. Put some thought into it and wear something interesting that speaks to your brand. Your live performance is more than just the sounds you make.  With your videos, you have sound and visuals to use to your advantage.


Other things worth mentioning

If you are filming yourself performing at a venue, it may be worth considering video testimonials from audience members.  After your show, grab some folks from the audience and ask them to give a quick interview about their experience. They will be believable because hopefully by then you have wowed them and they will be able to share that on camera.

Creativity and uniqueness will take you a long way.  Push the envelope and try new things.

Don’t miss any opportunities.  Think about what you’re singing about and figure out a way to visually introduce those elements into the film artistically.

Here are some great promo video examples:


Film is an artistic medium and there are a lot of things you can do with it.  The opportunities are endless.  Don’t be afraid to showcase your creativity through your promo videos.  The main objective is to make yourself look as professional as possible while being entertaining.

Need help with your video?  Share your thoughts in the comment section or contact me here.

About Anitra Jay

Anitra Jay is an acoustic soul singer-songwriter based in Houston, TX. She tours regularly up and down the US from Vermont to Texas and everywhere in between. Her music is a sultry down to earth blend of soul, pop, and gospel. After being laid off from her job in 2007, Anitra decided to pursue a career in music. She took her educational experiences in Public Relations and her professional background in marketing and applied it full force to her music. She's found significant success in establishing a lasting fanbase using her special brand of marketing techniques which she shares freely with other artists. In addition to being a full-time performer, Anitra runs, a blog for indie artists sharing actionable tips and advice on how to promote, develop, establish a fanbase, and more. Her passion is to inspire other musicians and build a community of like-minded independent artists to encourage and promote successful careers in the arts. She appeared on HGTV's Tiny House Hunters in May of 2017 to share her music story and her Tiny House Journey with the world. Follow Anitra on Twitter - @IndieArtistsDIY and @Anitra_Jay. Join the mailing list to get practical DIY tips and tricks in your inbox -

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