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4 Reasons Your Video Marketing is Failing


By Ben Sullivan | August 10, 2017

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I'm the guy you would call once you've decided to make a video. Now, don't make me hate you.

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So, you’re thinking about making a video for your practice. Well, good news. You’re on the right track.

As a writer and director, I’m the guy you would call once you’ve decided to make a video. From experience, I can tell you that video is one of the best ways to improve client engagement, boost conversions and drive sales.

Just don’t make me (or your production team) hate you.

You see, I started out as a corporate videographer like everybody else, but then I got into independent film. I started running around with guys who used prime lenses and shot raw so they could color grade their footage to get it just right. To pay the bills, we would do corporate shoots, and it soon became a universal rule: we all hated corporate shoots.

Why? We saw the same mistakes being made over and over again. No matter how hard we tried, no one would listen to us. So please, don’t be another one of those as I share with you the four biggest mistakes that I hope you never make.

1. Wanting a Live-Action Brochure

As an independent filmmaker, I had gotten a taste for how powerful video could be to move people emotionally. My team and I knew how to create emotion through moving pictures and sound. Invariably, though, we had to forget all of that in order to give our corporate clients what they wanted.

That’s when it became clear — none of our corporate clients wanted to create emotion. They wanted to communicate information. Without knowing it, what they really wanted was a live-action version of their brochure — a talking head, if you will. And that doesn’t make a good video.

A good video should be about your clients and your potential clients getting to know you. That may include some details about what you do, but don’t forget to include who you are and why you do what you do.

You can’t be afraid to get personal. Because video has the power to move people, you have the opportunity to build trust with your video, and we trust people when we understand what motivates them. Tell that story to your clients. Make sure they know what makes you tick.

2. Writing Bullet Points Instead of a Script

You need to write a script. I know you don’t want to, but you need to.

I can tell you from experience, the videos that hit their mark and exceeded expectations were the ones with a robust editing process that took place before anyone even picked up a camera.

Videos are not about reciting lists of features and benefits. Videos are an experience that have a beginning, a middle and an end. I guarantee you, none of your brochures, business plans or web pages are written that way.

If that sounds like it’s too much for you, then ask for help from your production team. They’re really good at it. Let them do it.

3. Rushing It

Don’t over-schedule your day. You’re paying these people a lot to capture the essence of who you are and what you do in this video. Don’t sabotage the process by giving yourself an appointment in an hour.

I can’t tell you how many times we ended up cutting the best beauty shots because the CEO had to run off to a meeting 45 minutes after we started.

Plan to be occupied for at least half the day. If possible, give yourself the whole day with the crew. They’ll most likely have a list of shots they want “if there’s time.” Indulge them. That’s why you hired them.

4. Booking the Conference Room

Please, whatever you do, don’t book the shoot in the conference room. I know it’s easy and cheap, but you don’t understand what you’ve just done to us.

We live in a world where we use cameras and glass to capture colors and motion and shapes to communicate meaning and emotion. Instead of having a diverse pallet of visual motifs available to use to tell your story, all we can do is squabble about which wall looks better: the one with the plant or the one with the white board.

Let your production team decide what would be best to visually support the script.

Now I know what you’re thinking — all this sounds risky. That’s why it’s so tempting to go to an assembly line corporate videographer who will just put you into the template and be done with it. You know what you’re going to get that way. It will be fine. Safe — boring, but safe. It’s riskier going with a more creative route.  You’re not sure what you’re going to get.

But it might be golden.