10 Mistakes to Avoid While Planning Your Video & What You Should Do Instead.
The difference between a good video and a great video could be as simple as spending one more hour in your preproduction planning, resulting in drastically different levels of success in meeting your goals. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to best plan for video production. Here's our list of 10 mistakes to avoid while planning your video and what you should do instead.
1. Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing the right video partner.
After deciding to create a video, the first step is to pick a production company to partner with. It’s important to find a team that shares your values, understands your needs, and sees a solution through a strategic lens. Having the right partner ensures the smoothest process for your video production. Also, consider what role you’d like to play in the development of the video—some clients choose to be very hands-on, while others would just like the video to be turnkey. Evaluate your bandwidth and find a team that can deliver the service you're looking for.
2. Don’t try to make one video that does all the things.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting your video to address all your marketing goals, but if you try to accomplish too much with one video, it’s likely none of your objectives will reach the level of success you’d like. Instead, make sure to choose one goal to focus on. If you can’t narrow it down, consider creating additional videos. Put a clear call to action relating to your goal at the end of the video, so your audience knows what to do next.
3. Don’t ignore your brand.
This isn’t just about brand colors and logos (although it is important to include those to help build your visual identity). Beyond visual markers of your brand, you should establish a brand voice, including your tone and vocabulary, that you can use across all your messaging to unify your content. Is your brand lighthearted and playful? Serious and heartfelt? Expert and educational? Do you have terms that set you apart from others? For example, think of Starbucks’ use of tall, grande, and venti in place of the usual sizing terms. Make sure you and your video production team have a solid sense of your brand while planning your video. You don’t want to invest your resources into video production just to realize six months later that the videos are a poor representation of your brand.
4. Don’t focus solely on the product or service.
As an expert in your field, it’s easy to talk in great detail about the product or service your organization is offering. While it’s great to have a deep understanding, it may be difficult to get your audience engaged with that style of messaging. Instead, think of things from the audience’s perspective: How will this impact their lives and why should they care? Deliver a story for them to remember. This simple shift helps the video resonate with your audience and ultimately adds value to your project.
5. Don’t make your videos too long.
As seen from the success of TikTok, viewers tend to prefer short-form content. Now, not every video you make has to be under 15 seconds—a lot of factors such as subject matter, target audience, and delivery platform impact the optimal length of videos—but it’s safe to say shorter is usually better. If you can’t share your message in less than two minutes, it might be a good idea to make it a series of shorter videos instead!
6. Don’t cut corners in production.
Creating video content has become increasingly accessible with the rise of smartphones with sophisticated cameras. To stand out and establish the professionalism of your organization, you cannot cut corners in production. The difference between a cell phone video shot in the moment and a produced marketing video is more than just the camera being used. Expert framing, lighting, and audio capture will take your videos to the next level. Additionally, filming in 4K or using multiple camera perspectives gives the video team flexibility in post-production that could save time and effort in the editing process, ultimately preserving the budget.
7. Don’t start a project without knowing who needs to sign off on it.
It’s important to know in advance who has to sign off on the final product so they have an opportunity to weigh in early in the process. Nothing is worse than showing a final video to your client to learn there is a committee of people in the background who thought it would look entirely different. If these people do not get an opportunity to give their input early, the time and money spent on creating the original version of the video will be lost, and the cost for the project could quickly climb.
8. Don’t wait to build a distribution plan.
Once you have a video that the team is happy with, the next step is sharing it with your audience. But there are so many ways to do this: in email marketing, on social media, paid preroll, affiliate shares, at events … the list could go on and on. Knowing how the video will be used and distributed informs all sorts of decision-making at the beginning of the project, and waiting to build this plan puts you at a disadvantage.
9. Don’t forget to measure success.
If you don’t know how you’ll measure the success of your video, you’ll never know if it did its job or if you’ve leveraged your resources properly. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to overlook when you’re focused on the logistics of developing content. You have to go back to your objective to decide the best markers for success. Awareness videos have a different job than fund development videos and conversion videos so naturally, their success would be measured differently. Decide what makes the most sense for your goals—whether that’s views, click-throughs, engagement, or something else—and make a plan to track it.
10. Don’t mismanage your resources.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention resource management. All projects include a timeline, budget, and people. Fulfilling the needs of one area without exceeding the limits of another is a balancing act. Consider when you want to debut your video, how much value the video will bring, who you’d like to feature, and how you can plan to get the most out of each category. Partnering with a production company that respects the project’s constraints and has the experience to deliver in all areas will stretch your resources and ultimately deliver more value.
If you keep these 10 things in mind while you’re planning your next project, you’ll take your video from good to great!