When you're planning or producing video content for your business for the first time (or even if you've been doing it for a while), it can be difficult to spot the common pitfalls you may be in danger of falling into.
Nobody wants to invest lots of time and money into a video project only to make a rookie mistake.
The good thing is, once you're aware of the biggest mistakes made when it comes to creating corporate video, all it takes is a little forethought to avoid them.
To help you out, here's a comprehensive list of the 10 most common corporate video mistakes, and how you can neatly sidestep them:
1. Making video without a clear objective
It might sound obvious, but before you can create a successful video you first need to know exactly what you want it to achieve.
Sometimes video can be such an exciting new medium that businesses jump into it headfirst without considering what their real goal is, beyond "we want a video on our homepage!".
Your video content and what you want from it should also be carefully considered in relation to your wider business aims and current content strategy. Keep in mind your broader strategy and remember that video isn't the right medium for every job.
How to avoid this: Don't make video just for the sake of making video. Instead, identify a problem you want to fix or a goal you want to achieve with video — and then turn it into a SMART objective. It could be getting 50% more visitors to sign up for a free trial of your software. Or it could be ensuring 95% of your team watch a training video.
Once you have a clear objective you'll know where you want to head with your video content, and you'll have more guidance on how to get there.
2. Not thinking about your target audience
Now you know why you're producing a video, you might be tempted to create the kind of video you'd like to watch. But you must never lose sight of the fact that you're making video content for your audience, not yourself.
That means you can't just focus on the features rather than the benefits of your product, film boring footage of your CEO, or be too sales-heavy. Would that be interesting to your audience? Of course, this answer is reliant on who exactly our target audience is and your video objectives (see above). But probably not.
Always remember to create a video based on your target audience, their needs and interests, and the problems they face that you can help alleviate. This applies whether your video content is internal or external.
How to avoid this: First of all, you'll need to make sure you've identified your target audience. If your information on them is a little spotty, conduct research into them to fill in gaps. It's valuable to know what kinds of video they already like watching and the common problems they face.
Finally, when creating the message and creative concept behind your video (read more about this below), make sure everything is tailored to appeal to that audience.
3. Focusing on too many messages
The best, clearest and most memorable corporate videos generally have a single message. The more messages your video content contains, the higher risk there is of it becoming overly complex and confusing.
That's why it's recommended to focus on just one message in your video. Sometimes it's unavoidable that you'll need to have a couple, but try to avoid any more than two.
Your video will benefit by being shorter, less muddy, easier to follow and more enjoyable for your target audience.
How to avoid this: Based on your objective and your target audience, consider what you want your video content to say to your audience. Boil this down into one or two core messages that are most vital to what you want to achieve.
A single video can't get across every message or solve every problem. If you're wanting to express too much in one video, consider cutting it into multiple videos each with a single message instead.
4. No clear creative concept
You've got your objective, your target audience and your message. But you're not quite ready to start shooting your video yet, although many people jump straight into it at this point.
First you need to decide on a clear creative approach to your video content, which will in turn inform the script, the filming style, the editing, the music and more. This is basically the central idea that your video rests on, which supports your message and is tailored to your audience.
For example, the creative concept behind the Dollar Shave Club video (as if you need an excuse to watch it again) is: watch a business founder as he gives a comedically bad tour of his factory and convinces the audience to buy his razor blades.
How to avoid this: Settle on a creative concept for your video ("going viral" is not a valid approach) that is based on your audience and your core message.
Keep in mind this creative approach during the production phase of your video content, and use it ensure all parts of your video are in alignment.
5. Forgetting about a Call-to-Action
Remember that video objective? If you've got a goal you need to achieve then you probably want your target audience to do something after watching your video, which means you'll want to include a Call-to-Action (CTA). This is something a surprising number of businesses forget to do.
The fact is, your audience can't read your mind. Unless you explicitly tell them with a CTA, they won't know that you want them to take further action — whether that's filling in a form or sharing your video with their friends.
A CTA can range from something as simple as a voiceover asking viewers to like and subscribe, to a clickable link at the end of your video leading viewers to a landing page.
How to avoid this: Always include a CTA in your videos if it will help you achieve your objective. Remember to make it relevant to the content of the video itself, clear and persuasive.
6. Creating a video that's too long
So you've shot your video and now it comes time to edit. First and foremost, you need to remember your audience and what they want to watch (but don't forget your objective, message or creative approach either). Keep in mind that the average attention span is about eight seconds.
This generally means keeping your video as short and sweet as possible, unless you're creating a longer educational or training video.
You might have a lot of good footage. It can be difficult to strip it down to just the necessary, but if you include everything your video will become too bloated. Any good editing process should use the least amount of footage necessary to express the video's message and appeal to its target audience.
How to avoid this: Edit your video to be as short as possible. Even if a specific video clip looks great, sounds great and expresses your message, if it's unnecessary or superfluous then it should be cut.
7. Telling rather than showing
Video is by nature a visual medium, which means you should take advantage of its ability to show the point of your video message, rather than just tell it. You'll keep your audience more engaged and much more likely to take in and remember your message.
For example, why would you film an employee talking about your product working when you could film that product actually working (the Will it Blend videos are probably the best example of this)?
This won't always be possible — for example, it can be difficult to show certain services working on camera — but wherever you can you should embrace the visual nature of video, whether that's with b-roll footage shown in interviews or animation used to explain a complex service.
How to avoid this: Think about ways you can show your product or service in action. If you're filming an interview, liven it up with b-roll.
If your video is internal, like a health and safety video, use filmed footage of health and safety examples to engage your audience more than just a voiceover or lengthy dialogue.
8. Lack of consideration for video placement
Once you've finished producing your video content, you'll need to place it somewhere (where your target audience will see it). This could be on your homepage, on Facebook, or at a conference.
So ideally you should be considering your video's placement while you're still producing it. That's because each platform, whether offline or online, has its own rules when it comes to video that you'll have to consider during production.
For example, if you place your video on Facebook then remember that some viewers may watch it without audio. If you're placing your video on TV you'll need to produce a short and high quality ad. And if your video will sit on your business intranet, be aware of what may surround it on the page.
How to avoid this: Think about where your video will be placed or shown before you finish filming and editing. This way you'll be able to specifically tailor the video to its eventual home.
If you're producing a marketing video, keep in mind at what stage of the marketing funnel the video will appear. This will also effect its content and editing.
9. No real marketing or distribution strategy
Just like any other form of content, video needs a good marketing or distribution strategy behind it to be successful.
It doesn't matter whether your video is internal or external: the same rules apply. You need to put plans in place for how you'll spread the reach of your video content and get it in front of your target audience.
Many businesses seem to think they can put their newly created video content on YouTube and call it a day. Your distribution strategy doesn't need to be complex, but it does need to be there.
How to avoid this: Build a real strategy for how you aim to reach your target audience with your video, whether that's through word of mouth, SEO, social media, PR, influencer marketing or PPC. Then execute it.
10. Not analysing video metrics
There's a great feeling of relief that comes once your video content is live and your marketing strategy is set up. However, there's still one big mistake that you need to avoid — and that's failing to use video metrics to track the success of your video.
After all, how are you going to know if you achieved your video objective or not without keeping track of some analytics?
You definitely need to monitor your video metrics once your video content is live, not just to measure your success but also so you can constantly improve your video efforts in the future.
How to avoid this: Make sure you're all set to track the right video metrics for your objective before your video goes live. Monitor your video once it starts getting views, and learn from its performance.
Read our guide to video metrics to find out exactly which metrics you should be tracking, and why.
Those were the 10 most common corporate video mistakes and how to avoid them. Almost all of these errors can be prevented by creating a good video brief in the planning stages before production actually starts. Download our free template below to create your own brief and avoid these mistakes in your next piece of video content.