Video content isn’t easy (or cheap) to create—in fact, most marketers consider video to be the most difficult type of content to produce. Despite its challenges, video marketing is a powerful tool for every business–from explainer videos that help prospective customers understand how a new software works to snackable recipe videos that drive social media engagement for a food companies.
Videos can introduce products and services to new audiences, educate and deepen relationships with existing customers, increase traffic to (and time spent on) websites and so much more.
Including a video on a landing page of your website, for example, can increase conversion rates by up to 80%. 80%! That’s huge! You’re almost guaranteed to see a video pay off (and then some) if you do it right.
These are seven video marketing foils to avoid as you’re getting started with a new video strategy.
1. Jumping into video without a plan.
A lot of companies and brands start doing video marketing because they see everyone doing it and think, “Welp, we better make some videos!” Yes, you better, but don’t just make videos to make videos.
Before you call a videographer and press the record button, gather your creative brain trust together to discuss a) what your video needs to say, b) how your video should look and feel, and c) where the video will live and (d) how it will be promoted once it’s done.
A strategic video partner can give you guidance to answer all of those questions. This planning phase is so crucial to a video project (maybe even more important than the shoot itself!). Taking care with this process will set you and your production team up for success to ensure your dollars and time are well spent.
2. Trying to fit too many stories into one video.
This is one of the most common mistakes brands make when they are initially starting with video marketing. We get it, because a substantial investment is involved, you want to make the most of it and somehow that snowballs into a full-length feature film about your business.
But the painful truth is that very few people will actually watch it. You only have someone’s attention for a few moments, so make it count.
Ask yourself: What is the one message of this video? (Ahem, yes, there should only be one.) Is everything included in this video supportive of that message? (We mean everything, from the music to the graphics to the script.)
If you have multiple messages that you need to convey, consider creating a series of videos that will tell a cohesive story rather than a single video, but they should each be able to stand on their own.
3. Making videos that are the wrong length.
Many content marketers will tell you that everything should be under a certain number of seconds or the internet will ignore it and it’ll be sad and lonely. We disagree. No hard and fast rule exists on how long a video should be—it’s always going to depend on the story, the distribution plan, and the ever-shifting sands of social media file specifications and viewer appetite.
Here’s our rule: a video should be as long as it needs to be to tell the story, and not half a second longer than that. For a brand spot, that might mean 90 seconds. For an explainer video, that might mean 60 seconds. For an ad on Facebook, that might mean 20 seconds.
Additionally, a video should meet the specifications needed to execute its distribution and promotion plan. If Instagram says your video has to be under 12 seconds, make sure you can tell that whole story in under 12 seconds. And every one of those 12 seconds better be good.
4. Putting off graphics and animation until after the shoot.
Graphics and animation—when done well—transform and elevate videos. Even something as simple as animating your logo and call to action can add polish, and some brands create powerful stories with graphics alone. When it comes to explainer videos, for example, short animated videos are a fantastic option that consumers love.
Work with your video producers and creative team to understand their capabilities and make sure they can deliver the kind of quality you expect. Understanding graphic design or animation plans early on will give producers the opportunity to layer those considerations into storyboards and shot lists to ensure that the finished product makes a bigger impact.
5. Making videos that look like any other brand’s videos.
This cliché may be cheesy, but it’s true: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Good video partners love collaborating with your creative teams to make sure that video content looks and feels like, well, you. It should be an extension of your brand in every way, from the camera angles and the script, to the graphics and music.
Pull inspiration from the photography and design used in your website and social media, as well as from videos you love. This way the production team can truly get to know your brand and make sure that the videos fit seamlessly with that story.
6. Trying to kill all the birds with one stone (err, video).
So you invest all this money to make a video for your website and then you also decide to share the same video on Facebook and throw it in your email newsletter and make a little ad unit out of it. Don’t do this. The same exact video does not belong in all of those places, and in some cases, the quality of the video will even suffer because the file specifications differ per platform.
Marketers can get a lot of juice out of a single video by thinking about versioning instead. If you have your distribution plan ahead of time and you know where the video will ultimately live and be shared, work with your video team to create multiple versions of the same video. You might want a full 16:9 video on your product page, but a <15-second square crop for Instagram ads or a short looped GIF to use in your emails as a teaser.
7. Not doing any video marketing.
Okay, okay, this one’s kind of a joke but we had to say it out loud. According to a forecast from Cisco, video will make up 82% of all internet traffic by 2021. Additionally, 79% of consumers prefer watching video to reading about a product.
So if you have a feeling video marketing might be good for your business, you are right. It’s a mistake to ignore it. A good video partner will help you figure out the best type of video strategy for your goals.
Learn how MSP-C can ignite your audience with video magic.
Read next: 5 Best Types of Content Marketing for Great Storytelling