Villing & Company

Seven Key Areas to Help Companies Improve Online Video Content

Web and video are like mac and cheese. They improve each other. It's no secret that the last five years have witnessed an explosion of online video content. The Internet is like an electromagnet sucking up video ads and entertainment. Just like back in the early eighties when "Video Killed the Radio Star," nowadays the Internet killed the video store and it may eventually take cable programming and the rest of the traditional video world with it.

Online video is here to stay. And it's growing dramatically every year. Industry thinkers are blogging about it, and company leaders are reading what they write. The result is that every company out there wants to put a shiny new video on their website or launch a YouTube channel.

Sounds easy, right? The trouble is, a web video needs to be pretty good or people won't care and it will end up being a huge waste of money. So what can help make your web videos better? Here are seven areas to consider:

  • Shorter is (Almost Always) Better – There are few counterexamples to this. Long videos are called TV shows and they get away with it because their primary purpose is entertainment. Twenty-minute commercials, on the other hand, won't cut it. Aim for 2-3 minutes. Trimming the fat, as painful as it may be, will more often than not result in a stronger, better edit. Also, people will be far less likely to lose interest.
  • Tell a Story – While your video may not be entertainment, that's no excuse for not at least attempting to be entertaining. The key is telling a story and finding the emotional edge of your message. Find a story people can relate to. Keep in mind that unless your company history is really unique, it may not be the most compelling story for viewers.
  • Make it Pretty – Visuals are remarkably important. Design and color choices, editing style and typography really do matter. They can make the difference between amateur and professional video. Not everyone is a natural in this department, so hiring a graphic designer or agency is a good idea to help ensure visual quality. While not everyone can make great design, nearly everyone can tell when something looks bad. This is one of the best ways to up the production values of your web video.
  • Hire a Videographer – It used to be the case that poor-looking video was passable online. Not anymore and especially not for a business. Your brother-in-law may have a nice video camera, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's able to shoot video that looks professional. If you'd hire a professional photographer to shoot your daughter's wedding, the same goes for shooting a corporate web video.
  • Record Quality Audio – They say sound is 50% of the picture. It really is, if not more. Good sound can salvage poor video quality. But it never works the other way around. Poor sound can destroy a video! This is another reason to either master this skill internally or hire a professional.
  • Know the Market – Knowing your audience is key. What is interesting to one person may be a total bore to another. If you know your target viewer and what they want to hear about and see, this can greatly improve the effectiveness of your web video. It's okay if someone outside of your intended audience isn't interested as long as the people you want to reach are deeply engaged. That goes back to telling a story. You need to tell a story that resonates with your potential customer, not necessarily everyone.
  • Make it Funny - And by funny, I mean make it actually funny to most people. Your great grandma doesn't have to get the humor, but most people should. That means avoiding inside jokes. While it may be tempting to put your employees in the video doing silly antics, it's rarely a good idea. A clip of the office staff dancin' to the Oldies may make you split a gut, but trust me, the rest of us will be wearing angry frowns and scrambling for the "back" button. Funny is popular online, but it has to be done right.

There's a lot more that can be said about improving online video content, but most problems seem to fall into one of these seven areas. Since the display quality of online video has never been better, there's never been a better time to put your best foot forward and maximize the potential of your web videos. After all, anyone in the world might be watching.

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