Whether you’re marketing a feature film, video on-demand service, or digital product, creating a trailer is an essential step in preparing to launch your new offering. It’s also a great way to get your audience excited about what you have to offer and encourage them to watch your full video. But before you start editing, make sure your trailer tells a compelling story that draws viewers in and makes them want more.

Historically, trailers have been used to introduce movies and play out a narrative that teases the audience about what they can expect from a full-length film. The first movie trailers were created in 1913 by Broadway producer Nils Granlund who was inspired by the audience members sitting around waiting for their turn to see a movie in a theater. He developed a short film that featured rehearsal footage from the upcoming play The Pleasure Seekers to keep audiences interested while they waited. He unknowingly revolutionized the art of trailers, and this form of marketing has remained in use ever since.

The best trailers do more than just introduce your film; they tell a compelling visual story that keeps the audience engaged. This can be done through a variety of techniques, including the use of different types of footage, the placement of scenes in your trailer, and how you edit them together. A trailer should start with an opening shot that introduces the film and catches viewers’ attention, and it should end with a cliffhanger that makes them eager to watch more. A call to action is also important, and if possible you should incorporate one that encourages viewers to buy the film, sign up for your mailing list, or view your next video.

The most successful trailers are able to capture the audience’s imagination with the help of strong music and sound effects, which set the tone for the entire trailer. From the rustling of leaves to the dramatic thunder of an explosion, these audio elements create the perfect atmosphere and help draw the viewer into your film’s world. A recognizable voice or on-screen text can help narrate the trailer and add an additional layer of storytelling.

When it comes to editing, it’s essential to follow a three-act structure. The beginning should lay out the premise and introduce characters; the middle should heighten the conflict, and the end should provide a satisfying climax.

If you are using a voice-over or title in your trailer, it’s crucial that the narrator sounds natural and not overproduced. This will keep the audience from tuning out and tuning in, and it will help your trailer feel more authentic and less like a commercial. Lastly, don’t forget to include a final shot that shows your film’s release date or a “coming soon” banner. This will keep viewers engaged and ensure that they come back to your site or subscribe to your channel.