Although video production is now a more affordable communication tool, the time and cost involved in creating successful quality videos mean that it’s vitally important to avoid any pitfalls.
There are several that can trip you up. In fact, some of our clients have made these mistakes and, as a result, beating a path to our door to solve the problem!
For your benefit, so you don’t succumb to these hazards along the way, here are five common pitfalls to avoid.
(1) Cutting corners on Pre-Production
The immediacy of a video is creating a bit of a mindset that pre-production (the planning and organising prior to filming) is no longer necessary. Most smartphones have a half decent camera and many businesses are creating short video clips in this way, without any pre-planning.
The smartphone type video certainly has a place, particularly on social media where you might want to share what you’re up to in the office today, or even respond to a customer’s request with a quick ‘how to’.
However, if you’re looking to create quality video assets that have longevity, target your audience clearly and fulfil specific business and marketing objectives, pre-production is a really important part of the process.
This doesn’t mean you need to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’, a bit of spontaneity and flexibility can be really beneficial; but you do need to define your goals and objectives so that you don’t waste time and money creating content that simply doesn’t work.
(2) Not understanding your target audience
What you want to see in your company’s video is not necessarily what your audience wants to see. If you’re a senior exec and you’re creating internal comms for those employees on the shop floor, you need to make sure the video’s content addresses them – not the other members of the Board. Similarly, if you’re a 28-year-old marketing director, what you might like to see in a video is not automatically what a target audience of 65+-year-olds will identify with. Never target your video at yourself!
(3) Trying to include too much information
The most successful videos (and TV adverts) are those that have a very simple, clear message. They might use lots of visual effects, a captivating story-line, or a cast of thousands, but drill down through all of this and you will find a concise, targeted proposition.
Although your product or service may have many benefits, which you can share through your video, it will have one specific message for your target audience. It could be that ‘it will save you time’, or that ‘it will make you look amazing’; whatever that message is, it needs to come across loud and clear without any other confusing or conflicting messages.
Similarly, if you’re selling B2B services, your message might simply be ‘we are the best’. Or if you are creating explainer videos, the message should be ‘these are the steps you need to take for success’. The rest of the video’s content and the information you share, should all be backing up this proposition, driving viewers to take action based on this clear message.
(4) Not playing to video’s strengths
With stats like ‘55% of people watch videos online every day’*, lots of businesses are looking for opportunities to use video as part of their content marketing, brand awareness and sales strategies. Great news for video production companies!
However, jumping on the bandwagon is all very well if you have a good concept that works with the medium. But just creating a video because everyone else is, is not a good starting point for successful video communications. Lots of video content out there (whisper) is not very good.
Some companies are broadcasting content just for the sake of it; they are not creating engaging content, not adding value for their audience, and perhaps using video when another format would be much more effective.
To avoid this pitfall it is essential that you ask ‘how can we use video effectively to communicate our message?’
(5) DIYers – cutting corners
As mentioned before, some video content can be produced entirely in-house, if it meets your objectives and is an acceptable way of communicating with employees and customers. However, be aware that this could be a false economy – especially when you consider the impact on your image and reputation.
For example, if you’re tempted to write the script yourself, consider whether you have the expertise to do so. A poor script can weaken the overall quality of your video and, therefore, its success in reaching your audience and generating the response you need.
In a training video, for example, using your own staff to play characters in a scene, instead of professional actors, can work well – in some situations. In other situations, the lack of professionalism can result in an unconvincing story that fails to make an impact – in fact, it can turn the audience off; they lose interest; they don’t learn.
Filming everything on your smartphone might sound appealing but it could be a huge mistake! The images may look fantastic on a small phone screen, but will they look the same on a full-size PC or TV screen, or projected on a large screen at a meeting or conference? You also need to consider exposure levels, the ability to get wide shots and close-ups (without using different lenses), sound quality, etc. How will your audience perceive your brand image and message … will they take you seriously?