Whatever else you do, don't do this.

It's great to see so many people embracing video as their go-to communications tool.

I do a little dance every time I see a company take their initial tentative steps into the world of video marketing, cheerleading from the side as they publish their first videos, virtually high-fiving when they smash their previous social media stats, and nodding sagely as they awaken to the endless possibilities video presents them.

But like a 10-year old let loose in their mother's make-up bag, early video efforts can sometimes resemble a triumph of enthusiasm over expertise, crying out for a patient older sister with a keen editorial eye.

Pointing a camera at someone standing in front of pop-up banner, shouting 'Action', and hoping that this miraculously produces 60 seconds of valuable content for your target audience is rarely a successful strategy.

I'm not for a minute suggesting you need a full-scale, Hollywood production complete with lighting guys, assistant directors, focus pullers and a prop department (although a make-up artist is always welcome!)

Today, video is much easier to achieve. The quality of the smartphone camera in your pocket is usually rather good. The technical elements have been simplified

and automated.

Platforms like Video Sherpa make it easy for anyone to film, edit and publish their own video content. The tech is not the issue. What to do with it, and not do, is the crux of the matter.

So, like the aforementioned older sister offering a guiding hand, please allow me to share some nuggets of wisdom, otherwise known as 'Pitfalls To Avoid At All Costs'

1. Boring Your Audience To Death

See that fence over there? Time to get off it.

The two main offenders in the 'boring' olympics are

A) What we say

B) How we say it

It is incumbent upon us, the videomakers, to ensure that the content we share with the world is, at the very least, interesting. This is where your marketing role is important, particularly in video content designed to engage external audiences.

You might be creating a video to promote your company's latest widget, and are under pressure from the boss to showcase every last button, gizmo and function.

But, does your audience care? Probably not. They care about what your widget will do FOR THEM - an important distinction. This is where you, as the video director, have to gently but firmly veto all suggestions that stuff your videos with unnecessary 'filler'. Every message should earn it's place based on it's level of interest for your audience. If it's not scoring an 8 or above, ditch it.

If WHAT you say is incredibly important, then HOW you say it is equally so.

Bland, monotone, corporate promos are a waste of time unless, of course, you're selling an incredibly bland, corporate product.

Not being boring is mainly about having personality in your videos. This doesn't have to imply flashy & loud, with studio set-ups and every special effect you can think of.

Au contraire. An honest, conversational style is the most effective way to communicate on video and the best way to differentiate your company from the competition. Your audience wants to know who you are, what makes you different, why they should spend their hard earned money or trust your products and services.

Letting them know genuinely and authentically who and what your company is about, is the most powerful content of all.

And because people are often reluctant to really be authentic in their videos, sometimes hiding behind 'corporate promo' type content - when you do it, it will resonate all the more.

2. Do Your R&D

Research & Development? Don't be daft. Rob & Duplicate.

Being creative is a muscle that you have to exercise, that gets better with use. At the start, it can be hard to come up with creative ideas for your marketing videos.

Luckily, there is this wonderful resource called 'the internet' where you can watch great examples from others who have gone before, getting inspiration from what works really well and would be a good fit for your company's marketing videos.

YouTube, Vimeo, The Drum, Hubspot, and video awards are all great sources of inspiration. When you see something you like - the way a shot is framed, the location used, how the message was delivered - note it down.

I'm not suggesting that you faithfully copy anyone else's video - definitely not. But be open to ideas and filter them for your unique company / message / audience.

3. Put Down The Kitchen Sink

I'm sure you have lots you want to say to your audience. But trying to shoehorn it all into a single piece of video is a huge mistake.

Too much information = your audience is overwhelmed with detail and will forget half of it.

Too much information = your video is too long and you'll have lost most of your audience before the end.

Too much information = means you are not tailoring your messaging to your different target audience segments.

Too much information = you have put all your eggs in one basket, and have nothing else to share to keep your audience engaged and nudge them down the buying funnel.

It's far more effective to have a series of short videos that focus on one or two key messages, that can be tailored to specific audiences, and can be drip fed to them on different channels or at different points of the buying journey.

4. Unleash Your Inner Marie Kondo

Get organised.

Don't even think of starting to film before you have made a plan for your video, know what you are trying to achieve and CRUCIALLY, that all parties involved are on the same wavelength.

And I don't mean just having a chat on a zoom call - what is in your head and your colleagues head are rarely the same thing, often very distant relations in fact, so it's important to storyboard your ideas and get them signed off in advance.

This will clarify

- Who your exact target audience is

- What channels you will share the video on

- How long it should be

- What your messages are (and what is NOT being included)

- How they are being delivered

- Who is delivering them

- Where they are being filmed

- What shots will work best

- What other elements / images / footage / props will be needed

- Who is doing the filming, editing, approving

and so on.

Rushing ahead in a flurry of enthusiasm is bound to result in tears, with a big fat "That's not what I wanted at all!" at the end of it.

And no-one wants tears.

I hope you now feel confident enough to start planning your video knowing you know all the "pitfalls to avoid" to create a high quality piece of content.

Video Sherpa's streamlined, cloud-based platform enables teams to film, edit, collaborate and publish their own video content on one central dashboard. Those videos will be a piece of cake with Video Sherpa on your side...

Feel free to book a call to learn more.