Last month, we wrote a short post with tips on how to make sizzle reels. This morning, we realized most people outside of the video marketing and production industry probably still have no idea what a sizzle reel is, and by no fault of their own.

“Event video”, “promotional video”, and “music video” are all non-corny, self-explanatory terms. “Sizzle reel”, on the other hand, makes you think of a T.G.I. Friday’s commercial. Frankly, a more down-to-earth, user-friendly term for these types of videos would be something like “snapshot video”, “slideshow video,” or “gallery video.” Unfortunately, the video marketing gods decided long ago to call these things sizzle reels.

So we’ll just have to make do. Sizzle reels are one of the most common types of business videos, but they’re less a “type” and more a “way” of shooting video. For example, sizzle reels are usually associated with teasers, trailers, and quick promos, but they can also be made-to-order for pitches, presentations, and interactive media.

Here’s a breakdown of 5 types of business videos sizzle reels are most commonly used for:

1. Press

People are saying great things about your brand. Why not show off? Press reels are effective at selling products and services because they’re a transparent method of indirect marketing. Put another way, people tend to trust family, friends, and the news over direct-marketing tactics.

Jason Derulo

2. Coverage

Meaningful milestones and awesome events deserve great coverage. Sizzle reels overload viewers with bite-sized content to feast their eyes and ears on. They also do a great job of sneaking in “real-time” product reviews and client testimonials.

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3. Promotional

Perhaps the most widely recognized “type” of sizzle reel, promotional videos (like that T.G.I. commercial) need to convey a lot of enticing information in a very short time. Even if that’s not the aim, a sizzle reel approach allows a promotional video to be instantly engaging.

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4. Teaser/Trailer

Since trailers and teasers are short by necessity, they pack the biggest punch when viewers are bombarded with a heady rush of image and sound. They’re a great way to build hype for TV shows and movies, but can also be used for webinars, vlogs, and upcoming events.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

5. Photo/Visual

The most basic sizzle reel is essentially just a slideshow with music but no narration. There’s a charming aesthetic to such simplicity, and many companies have modernized the photo reel with live-action shots. They’re appealing because videographers don’t have to worry about writing scripts, finding actors/voiceover artists, or recording live sound, giving these sizzle reels a fast turnaround time.

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Sizzle reels can be incorporated into business videos in many other ways, too. Think snapshot client testimonials and front-loaded pitches or presentations. Digital resumes can be updated into talent reels, while recruiting videos can become slice-of-life office tours.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, you know what a sizzle reel is. The next step is to think of a creative way to use one for your business.