The recent stats on video content for the web confirm the use of video for content marketing is still growing. It can be a highly effective tool for marketers, and if it’s not a part of your mix, you need to reconsider. But video takes more time and money than many other types of content, so mistakes with video are costly. I recently talked with Eric Falk of Off the Front Productions about the potential pitfalls.
Here are the five mistakes he sees most when it comes to video for content marketing (I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of at least three of these over the years!) and how marketers can avoid them.
We underestimate the time it takes to make a great video. We almost always have a tight timeline. We need the video for an event, product launch, or campaign with a hard date. We short-cut the concept development and don’t invest in outside creative help to come up with something memorable and different. We show up with a half-baked script the day of shoot and end up making changes throughout the day. The talent for the shoot isn’t fully prepared. In the end, we have to take extra time in editing, add another shoot day to get what we missed, or just settle for an average video.
The fix: Make the choice to produce fewer, better videos. Leave breathing room for creative thinking, script writing and practice – before the cameras are rolling.
We sell too much. Especially in B2B, it’s tough to step away from features and benefits and trying to fit in all of our key messages. But if you package everything into one video, your audience will glaze over. Leave the product specifics to fact sheets and other more detailed collateral. Having unclear goals for the video falls here, too. “We need a video for a home page for brand awareness and recruiting that we can also show at trade shows” is trying to do too much with one video. Your concept will get muddied and it will be hard to write the script, choose the takes and get a great finished product.
The fix: Entertain and engage your audience with your video, and let the hard selling come through somewhere else in the process. Get hyper-specific about what you want the video to do and who it’s for. Then make a video that hits exactly that.
We assume because we make it, they’ll watch it. You can make the greatest video, post it to your site, and then watch it just sit there. Resist the urge to shoot one-off videos just because you have a little budget, or someone thinks you should have more video on your website. These are bound be underperforming videos. Starting backwards– from the video– is a mistake, because it won’t necessarily fit with the other things you’re doing. And if you don’t have it linked to other campaign elements, chance are no one will ever see it.
The fix: Start with your campaigns and programs and think about where video makes sense. Make sure your every video serves a purpose, and is integrated into your overall marketing plan, and closely tied to other elements. Once you post it, promote the heck out of it through all of channels!
We use our company execs as talent. As Marketers, we tend to gravitate to obvious internal experts for our videos, doing a Q&A or the greatest hits from our talking points. Whether it’s our CEO or head of technology, it feels safe to go with someone like this as the talking head. But the result can be videos that read safe (boring) to your audience. And let’s face it, not every exec is made for front-of-the-camera work, and they often are touchy about taking direction.
The fix: Bring in professional talent and go with a more creative storyline to will make your videos more interesting and more professional. It will open your options and shouldn’t really add much, if anything to your total cost.
We don’t take enough risks. Cost and time constraints push many marketers into a video rut. We do the videos that are expected, easier to execute, and not too “out there.” It doesn’t matter if your video includes all the right information if no one watches it. Most people will bail within 30 seconds unless you grab their attention.
The fix: Resist the urge to do what you’ve always done. Paying for outside creative help will likely lead to a better performing video. You can use humor, music, or something unexpected, but most important is make an emotional connection with your audience. Storytelling can be the best way to do this, if people identify with something in the story.
Through our conversation, Eric shared some great videos from marketers who clearly spent more creative time up front and delivered memorable results. I did a little research of my own, too. Take a look. I hope you walk away with some new ideas and inspired to take more chances with your video content.
Same-old information with a twist: Delta Airlines in-flight safety video
Story and brand with a soft sell on product: Bose “Better Never Quits”
Compelling personal story: Sister Lorraine Aucoin shares her experience with Momentum from Tufts Health Plan
Funny twist on the release of a new UI: Hootsuite’s “Mean Tweets”
Creative concept grabs attention and awards: Gainsights 2015 Pulse Conference acapella preview