Posted October 24, 2012 by Steve Young

video production mistakesWith the declining prices of video production equipment, many of us “amateur filmmakers” feel like we have the power to be the next Christopher Nolan. However, not even the best camera can help us produce a high-quality video that a) tells the right story; b) helps communicate the story in a visually appealing way; and c) actually produces results.

When creating a video of your business, here are 7 video production mistakes you MUST avoid to ensure that your video is high-quality in terms of appearance and results.

Mistake 1 – Outsourcing the Script Writing

There is no one that knows more about your business than you, so why would you outsource the script writing? A good copywriter can help you with the words, but you should be the one dictating the story.

If there’s one thing that you remember from this post, then remember that the script is the most important part of the video. A beautifully shot video may look amazing, but it will do little to produce results if the script is not good.

When producing your video, your number 1 priority is to focus on the script and make sure you’re telling the most compelling story you can possibly tell.

Here’s a framework that we use:

1) Introduce your company with instant clarity. Try to avoid buzz words. Tubemogul reports that 10% of users click away within the first 10 seconds of the video, so you want to make sure you start the video on a strong note.

2) Explain the problem. What problems are your potential customers having that your business will solve? Are they hungry and craving a meal? Are they looking for a way to grow their business with video? If you don’t know, then ask a couple of your customers why they love your service.

3) Tout your features. Video is a great way to visually show off your benefits. If you have the best pizza in town then get visuals of your chef preparing it. Or show off a feature within your software that solves a big pain point for your customers.

4) Use social proof. From logos to awards, give customers assurance that others have used and love your service. At SmartShoot, we’ve worked with a few of the world’s largest brands – Microsoft, Google, YouTube, Yelp, etc.

5) End with a call-to-action. Let your customers know what you’d like them to do at the end of the video. Don’t give them too many options here (eg. call, visit website, come into the store, text, follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, etc). Stay focused on what you’d really like them to do. You can tell your customers to visit your store and put the website and phone number in the YouTube description or as the last slide (also known as the end slate) of your video.

Don’t make the biggest video production mistake by outsourcing your script writing.

Mistake 2 – No Preparation

Once you have the script ready to go then start preparing. The idea isn’t to memorize the whole script; the idea is to have the main points in your head so you can have a smooth on-camera presentation.

If you are narrating the video, remember to use words you normally use in everyday life. It’s hard enough being on camera, but trying to sound like someone else makes it even harder.

Think of it as if you’re preparing to give a presentation or a toast. You want the main talking points in your head, so you can deliver the best narration. Don’t worry about stumbling over words; editing can be your best friend. That’s the beauty of video.

Mistake 3 – Lack of story

Video is a powerful medium that connects you to your audience. However, a lack of story can be detrimental to the overall success of the video. If you followed our script framework (covered in video production mistake #1), then you should have nothing to worry about.

James Wagstaffe, author of the book Romancing the Room, states that you should remember the ABC’s of a good presentation. Audience Before Content. Think about making your audience the hero of the movie. For example, by using our service you will be saving your company $2,000 a month and doubling the productivity.

Your audience cares most about themselves, so appeal to their needs and desire and you’ll have a video that produces the results you’re looking for.

Mistake 4 – Too Long…TMI

TMI (Too Much Information) is a trap we all fall into. We know our product and service the best and want to tell our audience about ALL the ways it will help them. However, the shorter your message the better the results will be.

Think of your marketing video as a movie trailer. Your goal is to entice your viewer into learning more about you. You’re not trying to give the whole plot away.

We recommend staying close to the 1 minute mark. TubeMogul reports that half the viewers will drop off after the 60-second mark.

Mistake 5 – Poor Sound Quality

The key to a great video is great audio. Great visuals cannot save a video from poor audio quality. Consider using a lav-mic instead of the on-camera mic. The sound will be crisp and more importantly your video won’t look home-made.

Mistake 6 – Call to Action Missing

Going back to our movie trailer analogy, your objective is to entice the user to take action after watching the video, so end it with a call-to-action. Think of the number 1 way your customers buy from you and tell them to do that at the end of your video.

Also, remember to keep the call-to-action button or action close to the video.

Mistake 7 – Find a professional

YouTube has popularized consumer generated videos. However, a video of your business should be professional. Talking in front of your web camera is a great way to connect with current customers, but will not create sales with potential customers.

If you are just starting off a budget of $500 or less should be sufficient enough to find a high-quality videographer for a half-day shoot and a one minute video.

If you’re ready to get started, post a video project to our marketplace.

[Photo by Rosa Menkman]

About Steve Young

Steve Young is the Director of Product Marketing at SmartShoot. He enjoys writing about marketing, design and product development. Although he shares the same name as a famous quarterback he unfortunately does not share the same bank account, so please throw him a bone and share or comment on his posts. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

Keep in touch: @stevepyoung

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