My Mum once did something astounding when she was younger. She blew out the Beatles.

She was about 20 and working in Liverpool city centre in the early 60s when a friend asked her to come see this new band that was playing lunchtime concerts at The Cavern club.

Off my Mum went, but half way down the steps she halted hit by a wall of sweaty heat rising from the subterranean club.

“I’m not going in there,” she said, “it’s too hot and smelly.”

And by those slight chances history passes you by.

For the past three years I’ve co-delivered workshops to show comms people how to plan, shoot and edit effective comms video. I come back to The Beatles to give two tips because people are switching off your video far quicker than you’d like them to.

Beatles video tip #1: Make your video like a pop single

In the UK, 71 per cent of the population have a smartphone and research shows we check our phones on average more than 85 times a day. So as we scroll we make snap decisions on what to watch and for how long for.

Your audience will make a decision on whether or not to watch your video within a few seconds. Surprised by this? Pick up your smartphone and go scrolling. You’ll quickly come across a video auto-playing. How much did you watch? A few seconds? And then you scrolled down to the next?

Did you watch with sound? On Facebook 85 per cent of people don’t.

The Beatles came from an era when singles were king. So, they made records to be singles. They needed a hook straight away. They needed you to listen.

When I think of The Beatles’ ‘Taxman’ I think of the count in and the riff. For ‘Twist and Shout’  I hear the guitar riff and John Lennon singing ‘shake it up baby’. Think of any Beatles song and within five seconds you’ve got a hook. You need to think of this when you are making a short form video. Put your best content right at the start. Make people watch. If you save it for the end chances are it’ll just be you.

Beatles video tip #2: John Lennon and the Beatles are bigger than Jesus

When I was a reporter I found hard news easy to write. Put who, what, when, where, why, how in the intro for a hard news story and you have a ‘clothes line’ interview. Dead easy.

I found writing a feature much harder. A feature is a more expansive think piece where you can be more creative.

The best tip I came across for writing a feature was simply this… put the best line in the intro. So the first line of the John Lennon interview should be:

“We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity.”

So, put your best visual content at the start to get people to stop scrolling and watch.

I’m @danslee on Twitter and dan@comms2point0.co.uk. If you hate missing out on the good stuff subscribe to my weekly email here.

Pic credit: Tyler Merbler / Flickr




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