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Video marketing: how to avoid DIY disasters

It’s never been easier and cheaper to create a great-looking video for your business; the tools of the trade have become easy to use and relatively affordable so nothing keeps you from creating the broadcast-quality video yourself.

As a result, more businesses are using video for marketing and social media.

The advantages are clear; video is a very engaging medium that does a great job creating a connection with your target audience, so creating your own business videos is a no-brainer.

Rubbish.

Unfortunately, 90% of business videos don’t get the result the makers are after.

Here’s why so many videos fail:

  • Content. The business hasn’t put enough thought into what their message is.
  • Audio. the video looks o.k., but it’s hard to follow what’s being said.
  • Lighting. Filming without considering light can make video look cheap and very unflattering.
  • Length. Even with good content, noone will watch long videos when they’re looking for a service or solution to a problem.

Get the content right

Good video isn’t about HD. It’s not about clever graphics.

As a viewer, I want to be told something I don’t know but am surfing around to find out. Solve a problem I have and you’ll have my attention.

All good content starts with writing. My experience is that some of our clients tend to want to shoot too soon. Spend some time getting your message clear well before you shoot.

Audio

After content, bad audio is a major reason a lot of content doesn’t work, because it often gets overlooked.

Almost all the information in a video is conveyed through audio, so this is the first thing you need to get right.

You can get away with sub-standard image quality if the content is compelling, but bad audio is a surefire way to get people to click away.

One way to prevent bad audio is to not use the internal microphone on a camera when recording a presentation; it will create echoey audio that is hard to follow.

Use external microphones that are close to the sound source.

Lighting

You can create great looking video in situations where there’s a lot of daylight. Where there isn’t, there really is no way around using some form of video lighting.

Don’t bore us, get to the chorus

The vast majority of business video is being watched online, so here’s a stat you may like:

Only 20% of viewers of online videos make it to the end of the second minute.

Make sure your video is as compact and concise as possible; if you don’t get relevant in the first 10-15 seconds, the vast majority of viewers move on.

But that’s not it

Of course, there are dozens of other ways to stuff up video; horrible techno music soundtracks, cheesy titles, color balance issues, video compression issues, and so on.

The question really is; does it pay to DIY with the business video?

DIY or Call In The Expert?

There are no shortcuts to creating good content; you will have to invest either time or money.

Time

Your time isn’t free.

Every hour you spend doing something you could outsource is an hour you’re not spending doing any work on improving your core product or service.

Consider if you can afford to invest the time.

Money

Outsourcing is expensive, but if you want to go down the DIY route, consider the investment too.

Keep in mind that the camera is only a small portion of your total investment; you need batteries, memory cards, lights, microphones, tripod, software, extra memory for your computer, a decent quality screen.

This stuff really adds up.

In the long run, the investment is worthwhile if you need video on a regular basis, for instance, if you run a video blog.

If you only need an introduction video, it may not be worthwhile.

Expertise

The choice between Time and Money really depends on what level of expertise you have.

If you’re a pretty technically minded person with a keen interest in video, DIY is probably for you.

If you expect to need a considerable amount of time learning by trial and error you won’t get a good return on your investment of time.

The third way

You could also combine the best of both worlds by doing the bits you’re comfortable with but outsourcing the stuff that would take you a lot of time.

For instance, you could do your own shooting and scripting, but leave the editing to a professional.

Shop around for production companies; they generally offer great value and expertise.

And.. action!

Have a look at an earlier article called ‘Online Video: 10 tips to get you started’.

You’ll find some pointers on how to deal with production companies if you outsource your video production.

If you go DIY, check out Web Video University to get all the info you need to get started.

Robert Moorman is creative director at Hunting With Pixels, a strategic online video, and social media production company.

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