A few weeks ago, I came across an inquiry on common business video mistakes and a few of my submissions were selected for the article on CIO.com. But as Manager of Video Services here at Matter Communications, I see my fair amount of mistakes and I feel compelled to complete the list here, too, so we all can do our best to avoid them!
1. Not knowing your audience. Knowing your intended audience (customer or partner) may seem like the obvious first step, but is all too often overlooked. We don’t mean knowing the demographics, we mean understanding what your audience LIKES to watch: the genre, the aesthetics, the talent, the production value, the running time, and the emotion behind the most popular or well-received videos in your industry. See which videos your competition has found success in producing, and use those as a stepping-stone and make better ones. Ultimately, start at the end; research and understand your intended audience.
2. Convoluted messaging. Now that you understand your audience’s tolerance with video, make sure you tailor your messaging accordingly. Do not plan on explaining every minute detail about your product or service. Instead, create video that explains just enough to have your audience yearning for more information. There’s nothing worse than having your audience checking the time mid-video because it’s too messaging heavy, AKA boring. For most instances, and especially on the web, create your video to be the “teaser” for a broader conversation. And to be safe, you should create your video wherein the first 15-seconds really captures the essence of your message – lead with the takeaway.
3. Missing Call-to-Action. When someone has watched your video, what do you want him or her to do next? Empower your audience to do something! Call, log-on, e-mail, like, click, share, tweet, comment, follow, hashtag, etc. – this should be established at the beginning of the video production process.. Engaging with your audience is the most powerful part of business video creation.
4. Being too “brand-heavy.” Very rarely does someone want to watch a sales pitch. This is a very grey area, but we strive to keep the ratio 90/10 with messaging heavily in favor of what your audience is interested in – e.g. the industry landscape, trends, talented people, great achievements, and then how your product “Y” or service “Z” makes an impact in the audience’s life. Your intentions first-and-foremost should be to tell a story that inspires action. And all this circles-back to knowing your audience.
5. Being ill-prepared. When it comes time for the actual video production, there are two sides to this coin: being ill-prepared in concept and in time.. You should strive to 100% conceptualize, understand how to create, and have all stakeholder input on your end-goal video before actually executing your production. This saves a great deal of time with every milestone; from production, to editing and post-production, and especially the review process. Similarly, allow enough time to create the best video content you can. Make sure you schedule a time your CEO has available to be fully-immersed in the production process. Book that conference room all day. Grant access to your production team for as long as they say they need on site. Allow several weeks (or months) for the post-production and review process in advance of the launch date. Don’t rush it: affording the right amount of ample time benefits the video immensely in the end.
6. Setting poor expectations. Video ROI is currently a largely unproven process, so don’t tell your boss this video will drive a thousand more sales or land the next million-dollar deal. But with that in mind, you should have a plan for the spend and its eventual return. Start with one business benchmark (e.g. engagement, brand awareness, click-thrus, etc.) and establish a realistic goal. This goal should be attained via the research of your audience.
7. Hiring the wrong video production team. If you hire the right team, they will be just that: a team. They will help and guide you in creating great video content on the budget you have. They will aid in setting expectations and provide the production value you need to achieve your vision and goals.. And they will bring creative ideas to light and make it a fun engagement.
8. Low Production Value. HD cameras are a dime-a-dozen nowadays so there’s no excuse here, but enriching your production value will greatly enhance the likelihood of audience engagement. Production tools like sliders, Dolly’s, jibs, and MoVI’s all create dynamic video that help craft your story and detail your message. But please, no vertical video! Lighting and audio can also make or break a video. And though business videos allude to “corporate music,” you don’t half to fall by this wayside. A simple quality control check, ask yourself this question: does this look good to me?
9. No distribution strategy. So now you’ve spent your time and money on a killer video….now what? You cannot just upload it to YouTube and expect 1,000’s of views. You need to support the project by way of a social media strategy, a PR distribution plan, and even paid media placement to jump-start the organic view capabilities. And you should also create shorter/teaser versions of your video to add to your Instagram account, for example, directing traffic to the full-length video.
10. Lack of interaction. For every social platform it’s obvious: like and reply to comments, give shout-outs for positive audience engagement, and follow like-minded brands. You should use your video platforms in the same way.. And don’t be afraid to reuse your content after the initial push by posting your (relevant) video months later; keeping your message top-of-mind is the name of the game. Plus, that’s what #TBT is for.
What are other common business video mistakes we should avoid?