Consumers love videos. Marketing experts routinely agree a quality video is far more effective than text in marketing efforts. According to data from ComScore, Americans watched over 48 billion online videos during July of 2013. YouTube reports that website has more than one billion unique visitors every month. Clearly, consumers spend time watching videos, with many of them produced to market a product or service.
Low-quality videos are viewed millions of times on YouTube, but most of those are videos of unique events, and not intended to be marketing tools. Video experts recommend improving quality when videos are intended for marketing. However, there is less agreement over what it takes to accomplish that end. There are five common misconceptions about producing successful corporate videos that should be discussed before production starts.
1. Videos need to be short to hold a viewer’s attention.
While a viewer’s attention spans are notoriously short, the actual length of a corporate video should depend on the video’s purpose. Shorter videos are very appropriate for most business websites or when videos are intended for use on social media sites. There is valid research indicating viewers will abandon a marketing video that runs longer than two to three minutes, so length must be a factor.
The majority of videos used as marketing tools will, indeed, be under three minutes long. Not only does that make it easier to hold a viewer’s attention, it makes the videos less costly to produce.
Today’s websites may well incorporate several videos to promote or explain various products or services. Viewers have the option of watching only the ones that apply to their needs.
However, corporate videos produced as instructional or informational guides will routinely run far longer. The length still needs to be controlled, eliminating content that does not contribute to video’s goals, but length must be limited by the intended use, not a pre-determined rule.
Non-profits are quickly adopting videos to promote their causes as well. While some of those videos are used solely on the organization’s website, others are intended to be used on social media sites or to enhance presentations to groups or funders.
To successfully convey the intended message, videos need to be well produced. However, the length will vary according to the intended purpose, and even a longer video will command the attention of viewers if the quality is high enough.
2. Hiring a professional for filming a corporate video isn’t absolutely essential.
There are many situations where hiring a video production company is strongly recommended. Other situations are equally demanding. Quality is always important, but modern equipment provides excellent results.
With a little practice though, relative newcomers to videos can produce a decent product. This type of production is exceptionally handy for online video blogs or to highlight special products or services featured on corporate websites.
However, for consistent quality, it’s difficult to match a professionally produced video. Shopping around for affordable alternatives to in-house video production often results in locating companies that produce high quality videos at surprisingly low costs.
When deciding between hiring a film and production company or shoot video in-house, examine the goals for the video and the available budget before making any decisions. When a video is meant to be used on a website for only a short period of time, saving money and sacrificing a little quality may be the best answer. When the video is meant to be used for a longer period of time or widely distributed, consider hiring professionals.
3. Anyone on camera must appear professional.
Here again, the intent of the video must be considered when deciding how professional on-camera speakers must be. When a video appears too polished, it can diminish the ability to connect with the viewer on a personal level.
Of course, that doesn’t mean dressing inappropriately or being unprepared is acceptable. It isn’t. But, pausing or even using an occasional “ah” or “um” does not reduce the effectiveness of a corporate video. An occasional pause may, in fact, make the video appear more genuine.
It’s important to remember that viewers are more likely to watch an entire video where the speaker is more easily identified with. In other words, the level of diction and how rehearsed a video is should depend on the intended audience.
Consider working with a professional to determine if a video should be recorded and edited to meet higher standards. Professional video production companies will help the on-camera person decide just how polished the performance should be to most effectively communicate the intended message.
4. Anything less than a professional video will negatively affect a company’s image.
Companies invest considerable resources to build a brand. Website design, social media advertising, and corporate videos are viewed as avenues to enhance that brand. Even videos intended only for internal use must reflect that goal. At times, corporate leadership believes absolute perfection is necessary for brand building, but that may not be accurate.
While videos need to be good, for most purposes they don’t need to be flawless. Perfection tends to come at a price, and many companies and other organizations simply do not have the funds to produce flawless masterpieces. It isn’t practical, as retakes and extensive editing are requirements to attain a level nearing perfection.
With experience, filming videos becomes easier, as actions and articulation become second nature, not forced. That means when several videos are anticipated, they will tend to become better without spending more money per video.
Viewers are looking for a message from corporate videos and, unless the quality is very poor, will not be offended by minor imperfections. Brand recognition is enhanced, rather than damaged, by videos viewers can relate to.
5. Only professionals can properly edit a corporate video.
With the proliferation of less expensive cameras and editing software, the process of producing a video is greatly simplified compared to techniques used in the past. Today, social networking sites are packed with videos shot with smartphones, and they are actually quite good. With editing software, they could be even better.
Corporate videos must rise to a higher level than videos shared on Facebook and similar sites, but those less-than-perfect videos on social networking sites fueled the current rush toward using videos for marketing. It didn’t take corporate officers long to recognize the value of a short video that actually delivers a message.
The other major factor leading to the current video revolution is the proliferation of smartphones and tablets like the ubiquitous iPad. The growth of hand-held devices created fundamental changes in online marketing and communication, as text-heavy websites are simply not viewable on smaller screens. Videos, on the other hand, are ideal for communicating on those smaller screens.
Professional production companies typically use high-definition cameras and edit the video using software like Apple’s Final Cut Pro. Both the cameras and software are expensive, and not practical for most companies without dedicated video facilities. In addition, the software is not recommended for installation on anything less than a very high-end Mac computer dedicated to editing videos.
However, with the technology available today, quality corporate videos are within reach of virtually any company. Video cameras for budget-conscious companies are readily available, and video editing software for both Windows and Mac operating systems inexpensive and simple to use.
The choice for contracting the video production or attempting to create the videos in-house again depends on the intended use of the video and the budget available. While using a professional team for producing the video is nice, it isn’t always necessary.
Move Past the Misconceptions.
To start improving online marketing revenues, get past the five misconceptions. While there is always a little truth involved in each misconception, the reality is videos are here to stay, and savvy marketing experts are quickly adapting to society’s hunger for video content.
A broad range of companies and non-profits are realizing communicating a message is important, and videos are the best way to accomplish that goal. The usefulness and uniqueness of the content is what will, ultimately, determine the success of a video, but getting the videos to the target audience is also vital.
That means embracing social media and outlets like YouTube in addition to simply posting a video to a company or organization website. When a viewer likes a video viewed on social media, it will often be shared with others, exponentially expanding its audience. Today, companies are catering to this vast pool of potential customers. Corporate videos tailored for use on those sites are increasingly becoming top marketing tools.
Explore all the potential uses of corporate media. While external marketing is an obvious use of videos, internal marketing can be just as important. Video production experts work with companies to evaluate all the potential uses for corporate videos.
Don’t let the five misconceptions mentioned here, or any other ones, keep your company from incorporating videos into the overall marketing plan. With the explosion of hand-held devices altering the marketing landscape, the demand for videos will continue to increase.
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