With over a decade of experience and a passion for video production, Sarah Soliman brings her expertise to her company, Soliman Productions. She takes pride in helping businesses and organizations to enhance their visual brand through video content creation.
We spoke to her recently about how investing in video content can help event organizers create great events.
- How do event organisers make their event stand out?
You have to create a buzz. For a stand out event, you need to offer your audience excitement, education and the networking opportunities that in-person events provide.
- How do you make sure your video content is different?
It’s about incorporating human voices. I always remind clients that their biggest advocates and sales tools are the people attending their events. At Soliman Productions, we aim to tell a story, using text and graphics to drive emotion in the viewer. I always say you have to let the video breathe. A video needs to be compelling and pull at the heartstrings. And always try to keep videos short. Our attention spans are getting shorter, so if a video is going to be 60 seconds, it’s got to be really effective.
- What are your views on pre, during and post-event content?
Content for pre-event is all about promotion. Use your stakeholders, including speakers and break out area leaders, to sell the value of the event. Why should someone attend? Why should a business allow its employees to attend? Short teaser videos of your speakers saying hi and giving hints of what they’ll be talking about work really well.
Then during and after the event, the focus should always be on creating FOMO - fear of missing out. With our clients, we create sociables. They’re short videos (60-90 seconds) that might be produced straight after a presentation. It will sell the content and the event and encourage those that didn’t attend to join you next time. You have a captive audience during the event so use them. If they liked it, get them to record it on camera for you!
- How should event organisers leverage social channels with content?
Have a social media strategy ahead of the event. And make sure you have all the technical requirements in place. You don’t want to be at the event and discover you don’t have enough bandwidth, for example. Have people in your team who are focused on social media and will take responsibility for it. Make sure that you encourage interaction on social media channels. Posting content is one thing, but responding to comments and creating hashtags for the event will create interest.
- What content is resonating with the audience the most at the moment?
You know, coming through the pandemic and being in such a disrupted landscape has left people wanting meaningful and timely content. I think people want to hear the human stories and feel that face-to-face connection. And I think people are more willing to open up and be honest. So use that and make sure you ask the right questions to capture the emotion.
- What was the best piece of content you have ever put out?
We produced a video for Associated Luxury Hotels International’s big customer event, and it really kicked things off with a bang. We focused on the challenges of the pandemic, and we used sound effects and music to create emotion in the film. I always say that when you’re watching something like that you want tears, but also joy. And you should be able to watch it back in five years time and have it still mean something.
- What doesn’t work in terms of content and why?
Cutting corners! Nothing drives me crazier than poor audio. I mean don’t send someone who hasn’t taken a video before onto a busy event floor with a phone and expect to get good content. Also, take some time to think about the background and the aesthetics of your video. You don’t have to spend a fortune on the best lighting and equipment, but viewers will struggle to engage with videos if you have a speaker standing in a dark corner that they can’t hear properly.
- How has the pandemic provided a way for video content to stand out again?
During the pandemic, we still did some small scale events. And we would interview people by standing back and using a long boom arm microphone, so it was still possible. But for sure, as events start to come back in person it’s a tremendous opportunity for any event organiser to capture content and stories from people that are more compelling than ever before.
- How much time should event organisers be spending on content creation?
This is a really important question because I definitely don’t think organisers give it enough time. With events likely to continue as a hybrid, alongside in-person events, organisers need to give content creation as much time as they would find the right speakers. Don’t just think of it as an expense, but also as a revenue opportunity. I’m a real advocate for getting ahead and spending time creating a content strategy and a content library. That way you can archive your content and keep it open for your member base.
- How to use content to add value to your exhibitors and sponsors?
Most of our clients are associations and corporate businesses, so they’re looking to expand their network. We’ll work closely with them to develop their marketing strategies in the digital space, using social media platforms, web development and public relations campaigns. Part of that strategy should be to encourage their exhibitors and sponsors to use new and creative ways to get their content out. They can sponsor your video content, for example, which can really help them to reach a new client base.