How to successfully prep your interviewees for video customer testimonials

Laura Hailstone 6th October 2020 Brand Comms, Customer Advocacy, Industrial, Professional Services

Let’s face it, being interviewed in any capacity is not the most natural thing in the world to endure.

Throw a camera into the mix….. and well, ‘rabbit’ and ‘headlights’ is the most likely outcome for your interview subject.

But with video customer success stories and case studies becoming a key marketing tool in the B2B landscape, having a sure-fire process for prepping your interviewees before the actual shoot is vital.

If they feel relaxed, in safe hands, and know what’s expected of them, your job will be a lot easier and the final edit a much smoother process.

Read on for our top tips to ensure your video shoots run as smoothly as possible, and you have strong storytelling for your customer success stories.

Send them a brief 

Don’t assume that the interviewee/s will do any prep before the shoot. Even if they do, it might not be what you plan to ask them or need them to say.

Take the time to write a clear, concise brief for the interviewee that outlines what’s expected of them, how the video shoot will work, timings for the day, the story you want to tell and the questions you plan to ask, what to wear (more on this later), and anything else that will help prevent any surprises for your interview subject on the day.

No line learning

Encourage your interviewee/s to have an idea of the key points and story they want to tell, but make sure they don’t ‘learn their answers’ – you want the video to feel natural and unrehearsed. This isn’t a scripted production.

Stats are welcome

If possible, ask the interviewee/s to come armed with a few key measurable results or quantifiable outcomes. You don’t need actual figures – percentages or ballpark figures work best – i.e. productivity increased by 30%, or revenue more than doubled. This will help you bring the story to life.

Clothing Dos & Don’ts

Most people won’t be aware of the issues that certain colours or patterns can cause on screen when shooting video. Ask them in advance not to wear clothes that are:

  • Green
  • Chequered
  • Stripes
  • Anything with an intricate pattern

Jargon-Free Language

Remind them that this is a video customer story and will be seen by people that may not know the ins and outs of their specific business, so ask them to use simple plain language when answering your questions, and to keep their answers short and concise.

CUT! Retake

Make sure they are prepared to repeat everything  – a lot! The aim is for you to get great soundbites from them for the final video edit, and this is done by asking them to repeat specific sentences. This could be because the sound quality might have dropped during an important sentence, or because the interviewer realises they have just said something that illustrates the customer story nicely but perhaps was mixed in with some other points.

Use full sentences 

This may sound obvious, but typically the interviewer is always cut out of the final video edit so it’s important that the interviewees use full sentences when they answer your answer:  i.e.

Q: How has using the XXX product improved operational performance?
A: Using the XXX product has improved our operational performance by X, Y, Z……………

Make them feel safe

It’s great to remind your interviewees, perhaps at the start of the shoot, that they are in safe hands and will be guided through the whole process. They can simply just relax. It’s your job to make them sound and look good, so all they need to is focus on telling their story.

A lot of these tips may sound simple but they are often not communicated to the interviewee/s in advance. There can be enough unknowns during a video shoot so having fully briefed and prepped interview subjects is one less headache to worry about on the day.

At Velo, our team of content creators are experts at understanding what’s unique about your company, and uncovering the best way to emphasise your customer success stories through video and written case studies. To find out more, get in touch today.

Laura Hailstone

Laura Hailstone

Senior Content Creator