When people find out what we do, it almost always sparks interest – and it should. I’ve got a really cool job. So It’s not surprising, when from time to time, I will get the question:
“We’ve got a video on our website, will you take a look and tell me what you think?”
I’m fairly pragmatic and assume when asked that question, that the “askee” wants an honest answer. (Maybe that’s a character flaw).
A few months ago I got “the question” from someone. So I watched their video and shared my thoughts. Below is my unedited email, in it’s entirety.
I did look at your video and have a couple of observations that I trust will be helpful to you.
- The first thing I noticed was the quality of the video compression – it wasn’t bright, crisp and clear.
- You guys didn’t look like you were comfortable delivering to the camera – it looked and felt like you were reading. You can always use an interview-style to get around that. * I would want it to be a little more upbeat. * It should be more client-focused vs. who you are and what you do.
- Overall there is simply too much on-screen text – too small to read and too busy
- Your viewers can’t pause the video – that’s a big deal for a lot of us. We want control.
- I would suggest supporting graphics that emphasize the content you’re communicating.
As something of a “fail safe”, I did have someone in the office look at the email before I sent it. (When in doubt, I’ve always found that to be a good idea). But in looking back at those notes, I realized my comments really summed up the 7 characteristics that must be considered in order to keep your video from not being the best it could be:
The quality of the video is a mirror of the quality of you and your organization. Ask the question, How does that video reflect on us? If in doubt, pull it. Impressions are incredibly important!
Choose a style of delivery or format that you are comfortable with and that reflects believable. For example, we always discourage clients from reading a script. Why? Because it almost always looks like they are “reading a script”. So be real.
Whatever your content, where appropriate, be upbeat and positive in your delivery. There’s nothing worse than watching someone go on and on about how excited they are – only to hear it delivered in a labored, obviously read, drone. A little spring in your voice will go a long way to engaging your audience.
Don’t forget to make the message of your video about your customer, not you. They don’t want to hear about you, they want to hear what you can offer them and how it will help them. It’s not about you, so make sure your focus conveys that.
Author, speaker, and friend Ken Davis says it this way, “When the tension is gone the attention is gone.” What he means by that is, leave them wanting more. The practical application here is to ignore the old adage, “tell ‘em what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell ‘em what you said”. You’ll keep your audience engaged by keeping the tension and thus their interest.
Viewers want control. Don’t be tempted to have your video automatically play and don’t assume that taking away the play/pause function will make them keep watching your bad video. Extend enough trust and intelligence to your audience to assume they will do what’s best for them.
Support your message with appropriate visuals. That can be pictures, text or b-roll. Either way, it keeps your viewer engaged and helps them “see” what you’re saying.
The reality is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money for a nice, clean, simple video. However, if you’re doing it yourself, ask some friends or trusted clients who will be honest with you about what they think. And if what you want to accomplish is beyond your capabilities, find someone who can help.
We don’t have to produce your video for it to be great. (Although I am hoping that the new “all future video has to be produced by Comprehensive Media” legislation I have before congress will soon be law). Okay I’m kidding. But I’m not kidding when it comes to following these 7 indicators to keep your video from stinking.
By the way, this person never responded to my email – but their video is still up. Only now, it’s not on the home page.
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