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10 video tips for success: what NOT to do

This week we’re looking at tips for video success based on what I’ve seen work out there, what I’ve observed myself with efforts so far, and an informal survey of what is shockingly bad – that stuff we want to avoid.

So, like a car crash that we can’t glance away from, let’s cover the stuff that we DON’T want to do. I’ve compiled this list based on input I’ve canvased from clients, friends and colleagues this past week. I’ve pulled the essence from their quotes – protecting the innocent from being revealed! There’s some golden stuff in here:

  1. Pitch & sell: This is going to offend many, but pitch and sell video is viewed as an AD. Position it as such, buy the space and audience and go crazy. Show up in Youtube pre-rolls or to a defined audience on Facebook if you must, but don’t try to hide it as an “update” to your audience. Consumers are fed up with this approach. It’s in your face, often uninvited, and many will hit delete, block or scroll. A small % will buy in. Is that really the way you want to build your business?
  2. Be too polished and edited: Why would I say that? Because when it’s too glitzy it feels like a pitch and sell. You’ve got about 5-10 seconds at most for viewers to decide if they will continue watching. If it’s slick, they are programed to be suspicious because that’s what ads usually are. They’re done with ads. Especially in their “personal space” which is what Zuck has committed to making Facebook and Instagram these days. He’s still selling ad space there of course, but there’s growing intolerance for ads, especially when the audience has been poorly selected and targeted.
  3. Big promise: You’ve seen them – money, success or weight loss. These may well be desirable outcomes for some, but if there is no relationship, the promise is shallow at best, with questionable authority.
  4. Bad audio: While many videos will be viewed without audio on (think mobile device in a public space), if they do press audio it had better be clear. Research backs this up; we’ll tolerate less professional video as long as the audio is good.
  5. No captions: Since a lot of video these days is viewed on mobile devices, it can be intrusive on others to turn on the audio. If you’re mouthing the words, people will scroll…
  6. No headline, no compelling set up description for content: It doesn’t need to be long, but it needs to grab a viewer, let them know what they’re in for and why they should watch it. Then make sure the content delivers. Get to your main point within 10 seconds.
  7. Too long: It seems people are less patient about length on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They’re not searching for solutions, they’re passively scrolling. Time and patience are limited in that environment. Longer content seems ok on LinkedIn or Youtube, provided it’s relevant to the viewer. On these platforms viewers seem more programmed to take in information, be searching for specific content, or simply wanting to be entertained.
  8. Are you informative or entertaining? See above. If you’re not one of the two, don’t produce a video.
  9. Lacking an objective: Some video appears to have no good reason to be there, other than someone (me?) told them 85% of content consumed will be video by 2021, so they better get busy. Being there and being visible can be purpose enough, but at least have a mechanism to drive them to your website or capture interest somewhere in there. Even lurkers will connect eventually if they see value in the content. This tip isn’t coming from viewers, it’s coming from me – there has to be a deliverable, or you shouldn’t be devoting time and energy to video.
  10. Mindful of viewer context: This should likely be #1 instead of #10, since in my view it’s the most important one. Are viewers actively searching for content? Or passively scrolling? Knowledge of what an audience is looking for and how they use a platform dictates content, and how it is presented.

I could likely go on, but 10 is a nice number. It makes a good headline too! Marketers have a way of screwing things up when they jump on board a trend. The big shift to video will be no different. Trust me, there will a lot of money committed to doing exactly what I’ve suggested you NOT DO, as companies jump on board, do what has always been done, and fail to view the opportunity from the viewer perspective.

At the end of the day video is a great opportunity to personalize a brand and connect on a human level with your audience. Don’t over complicate it. Just be real. Tell the story only you can tell.

Check out the promo video for this post below:

I’d love you feedback on the inclusion of the “out takes” at the end of the video. I did this for some fun last week, and received feedback that people thought it was fun and showed vulnerability. I’m all about that in an effort to be authentic, so have a look – and watch to THE END. Then let me know what you think in the comments below!

Mary Charleson

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