How to Write Captivating Commercials and Promos

Lesson 11/11 - Self-Produce vs. Outsource


How to Write Captivating Commercials and Promos


Lesson Info

Self-Produce vs. Outsource

Let's finish up today with talking a little bit about Production 101. So if you are going to do this in-house, do it all by yourself or if you're gonna outsource it to someone. So here's some questions to ask when you're in that decision-making process because doing promotions can feel quickly overwhelming and often the inclination is like, I'm just gonna hire somebody. That's great, I'm not against doing that, but sometimes, we jump to that conclusion and don't think it through and spend a lot of budget and maybe perhaps hire the wrong person or it wasn't the right fit, they didn't really understand our creative brief. So think about it, does it make sense to invest time in this one-time transaction or will I use this knowledge again? So for example, if you want to do a video promotion for your business and you need a small amount of knowledge around quick editing and adding some music, right, which you can find in YouTube videos. For some of us, it doesn't make sense to learn that on...

our own and try it on our own because we're super busy and we don't care about those skills and we'll never use them again in our lives, right? So in that case, it might just make sense to engage an editor, just hire somebody that's gonna help you edit video. There are people out there, they're actually quite affordable, you can find them easily online. So think about that. Or is it like, I'd really like to do more video in my business? I actually personally am very passionate about video and it's fun for me. This is a skill I'd really love to learn. Well in that case, don't outsource it. Use this as an opportunity to learn. Use this as your opportunity to say, "Yeah, I'm gonna invest this time "in my business, I know I'll use it." Also, am I operating in my genius zone? So all of us are great at something, right? That's what our business is. We're all great. You're great at photography, you're great at Pilates, you're great at spirituality, right, we're all great, you're great at systems operation, everybody's great at different things. So is learning this skill to create this promo, to do a visual, to create a video, is that gonna take you too far away from what you actually are here to do? If it is, you need to outsource it. If not, if it's like, no, no, I can learn that in two hours, no big deal, I'm actually quite adept and good at this, great, don't worry about it, but that's another question to ask yourself. And also, really important, what is your budget for this project? Oftentimes, as small business owners or solopreneurs, we don't always think about budget, so any time you have something new to promote, you have to think about your budget first. So budget comes before any of this other stuff happens. What are you willing to put in in marketing dollars to promote this? For some of us, it's I have zero budget. I can't put a dollar in, right? I can barely draw a salary. That's okay. You'll get to another part of your business and if that's the case, then do not outsource anything. Don't go into debt for that, right? Then keep your promotion plan simple. Just start with a couple promotion ideas and then you can build from there. For others, we want to just immediately say, "I need to outsource everything, I'm so freaking busy," but then at the end of the day, we end up spending $30, on Facebook ads and they didn't really work for us and then you're like, "Oh, no," you know, and that's because you weren't as involved or thinking about, oh wait, maybe I shouldn't have spent all that there, maybe my money would have been better spent here, maybe I didn't need to go that deep, to spend that much money. So always create a budget first. What are you willing to put in to create or promote this project? Alright, and then here's some quick ideas for self producing. The great thing now with technology is gosh, there's so many ways we can just do this stuff ourselves and be totally terrible at technology. I am awful at technology. I am always running around after my husband with my phone, I'm like, "Fix it." I don't know. I don't know how to do anything. I'm like, I just hit wrong buttons, and I'm a mess. But even I can use simple photo and video apps, so that tells me that you guys definitely can cause I am perhaps the worst at this. So there are such simple ways to make awesome promotion visuals. You can use things like Canva or Word Swag, they're great apps, they cost like three dollars, and you can easily go in and create stuff. There's a million video apps. I don't know them all, but I know there are a million of them cause my husband has them all. And some of them cost money, like they might be $10, and some of them are free. So it's worth it if you are self-producing to see what these opportunities are out there cause nowadays with technology, there are so many things that can help you make really vivid, fun promos. You can also take classes at Creative Live. So there's tons of classes here. I don't teach the producing stuff, right? But I know that there are other classes, there's tons on photography. There's so many visual classes here, I think there are hundreds. My husband scrolls through them so I know they're here, probably thousands. So you can always check their catalog and see if they have anything that would help you in this production quality and again, you're just watching an awesome class and you know it's from here so it's gonna be good quality. And then I love this tip, is every college has, actually I should say most, not every, they have a film or photography department, right, like TV radio film, it's usually called, or sometimes it's actual filmmaking if it's a bigger college like UCLA. So you can also call your local university or college and get in touch with whomever is in charge of that department and see if any of their students would be willing to work on a project for your business, either for school credits, they could do it as an internship, or for you know, a lower rate just to build up their portfolio. The great thing is, these folks are very hungry. They're students, they need to build a freaking portfolio, right, and they don't have a lot of opportunity to do that other than just making it up themselves. So when they have an actual person to work with, like a real campaign that you're gonna put in the world, like whoa, because how exciting is that? They can put that in their resume, their portfolio. So I've done this many times. I will say in some cases, the film school videos that they created for me were better than ad agencies I've hired and spent tens of thousands of dollars more than what I paid them, which was usually like a few hundred dollars, maybe just some lunch, it depends. Right, it depends on what we've worked out. But that's just simply because they're driven to build their portfolio, right, it's exciting for them. So if you're really stuck, try that. They also have lots of really fun ways and ideas that you may not have thought of and as long as it's in the vein of your creative brief, right, why not? They're students, but they're talented, that's why they're doing this. So catch them early. Also, you can consider, are you operating as a creative director in your business? So when you're thinking of outsourcing, here's what happens. Sometimes we'll just hire a camera person or an editor to help. In any of those cases, you are operating as creative director, right, there has to be somebody in charge of all the people. Let's say you hire a copywriter. You hire somebody to make images for you for social media and you hire somebody to make a video for you. Who is taking care of all those people? Who's managing all those people? That's you, right, creative director. If you don't want to be that, if you're like, "Uh-uh, I am not creative director, I have no time," well there are actual creative directors you can hire. They exist. They either go by creative director, sometimes they go by brand manager or brand coach, they use lots of different terms, there are lots of people like that out there that are really fabulous and wonderful. So again, when you're considering outsourcing and if you have the budget, I would honestly consider bringing on that person. They also usually will connect you to their people so that everybody works in a beautiful unison, right, like their preferred copywriter, their preferred web design person, whomever, so that way you're not doing this all on your own. And then also make sure that you communicate your creative brief during the meeting. Now, if you're hiring an agency or a brand coach or creative director, they're probably gonna wanna do their own brief kind of on top of yours for their purposes and that's fine. They're gonna love you cause you've made your own brief already. Even if they expand upon it for their purposes, they're gonna be like, "Wow, you have such clarity." Like they're gonna be really impressed cause it's hard a lot of times for people that do branding work to extract that information from clients, like they haven't thought about things in this way. So just the fact that you did that very first lesson that we did today, they're gonna be like, "You are such a dream client, I am obsessed." And it's gonna make your promo so much stronger. So make sure anybody that you're working with, whoever it is, a copywriter, a person from film school, like a kid from film school that is helping you with this, make sure they read your creative brief so that they understand and everyone's on the same page. And also, don't ignore chemistry. This is just a simple thing, but a lot of people will hire sometimes cause they're like, "Well, I didn't really like that person, "but they seemed to have a good portfolio "or they seemed to know what they're doing" and that is usually a recipe for disaster. So it has to be a culmination of yes, you like their work, whomever you're hiring, right, or something that you've seen in them, but also, you have some chemistry with that person, you actually want to spend time with them. In any type of promotion creation, particularly around a launch, you're already in somewhat of a stress mode, right? You know you have something to sell so there's already a little level or maybe a big level of stress. Now you're bringing somebody else into the mix and if they're gonna drive you crazy and not be a great person to hang around with, that's gonna make your stress level even higher, even if they're the most talented person in the world. So really put some value in your connection to the people that you're hiring. If you get that gut feeling of like, I don't really, they're kind of rude but like maybe, you know, then I would just go another direction. So there are tons of talented people out there that can help you with things for outsourcing, but don't ignore the chemistry you have with that person. In some cases, you have to spend a very long period of time with them to create things, and you want to make sure it's someone you're cool with hanging out with for all that time. And also, if you're considering someone to hire, make sure that you read external things about the company and not just reviews. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to restaurants that have five-star Yelp reviews and they are terrible. Or I've bought a book that's all five stars and I'm like, "This book, what?" And then I always like the things that have like no stars. (laughs) It has like two stars. So I don't always put a ton of weight in reviews. Also, most of client testimonials are things that have been filtered in some way, right? We've talked about client success stories, you know, in a bit of a different way, weaving as a story, but with this, most people just take a testimonial and they're only gonna put the very best testimonials they can find, so you're seeing this very filtered view. So don't always just rely on that. I like to do just a quick Google search about the person. Obviously you can't do this if it's a film student, they're not gonna have anything, but you can ask their professor how they are, ask for just a reference, but just see if there's any news articles or interviews about the company. I've definitely discovered lots of great insight on people through interviews, like if they've been featured on a podcast or if they were even in print featured or on video somewhere, that's always a great time cause then you can see them unfiltered and if you get a vibe from them, you're like, "Oh, I really just connected to what you said," or if you're like, "That person was kind of a jerk "in that interview," and that's gonna give you an inclination of, is this someone that I want to spend time with and give my money and budget to. Alright, and with that said, we can wrap up our awesome promo class today, so if you want to just tell me how all this stuff landed for you and keep me updated on your promotions, I'd love to hear. So you can find me on Instagram, I'm there most, Melissa.Cassera. Also, Facebook, Melissa Cassera, but I'm not there as much, or Twitter, @casseracomm, or my website,

Class Description

Commercials, teasers and promos are a great way to publicize your business. But taking on the task of creating advertising that looks professional and grabs people’s attention can be intimidating. The last thing you want to do is put out ads that are amateurish or tacky.

The good news is you don’t have to hire an expensive agency to create compelling commercials. This class will walk you through all the steps of how to do it yourself, from coming up with a clever concept to producing your ad on a tight budget.

As a brand and marketing consultant for businesses and a successful writer for movies and TV, instructor Melissa Cassera will show you how to use screenwriting tools and techniques to develop dynamic, award-worthy promos that drive sales and win clients.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Understand visual engagement and why it’s important to show, not tell.
  • Create an effective hook so your audience will pay attention and remember your ad.
  • Add emotion to your commercial so it stands out from the rest.
  • Develop a commercial brief.
  • Avoid using clichés and go for the unexpected instead.
  • Strike the right balance between entertainment and sales pitch.
  • Write an awesome tagline.
  • Master the art of the tease to add an air of mystery without being confusing.
  • Incorporate audience involvement to increase engagement.