Read This Before You Leap Into Video

You’re not doing video? What do you mean you’re not doing video – video is the next big thing didn’t you know – the New Year batch of social media predictions left us in no doubt about that.

In fact it’s already being done pretty comprehensively all over the web with 36 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and 2 billion videos viewed every day.

And if you want to get found then apparently the SEO advantages are off the scale – they say You Tube is the second largest search engine in the English-speaking world.

So what’s not to like?

Well plenty actually. Let’s look at a couple of examples of why I think you should think carefully before you rush in to video.


Video is great for forming a bond with your audience by letting them see who you are. Good looking bloggers with quality equipment who talk fluently have the upper hand as do enthusiastic “good eggs” who don’t care if it’s a bit creaky – but I don’t know how many of us have the chutzpah to get away with that. Look at this video from good egg Gini Dietrich who writes Spin Sucks and is fab – but do I really want to take time out of my life to listen to a dog bark all over what she is trying to say?

The “Fun” Video

Create video that is fun and engaging they say. Funny videos go viral and can draw attention to your brand for a fraction of the cost of a TV advert but I think this has already been overplayed. You have to be terribly witty and original to make something which is genuinely funny. Look at this video from the medical billing company NuesoftTechnologies * “hilariously” ripping off Lady Gaga.

The goal of the video was not about generating sales leads but to get noticed by thought leaders in the industry. Well it’s good to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve but to me this “jolly spoof” is pure David Brent and if I were a thought leader I’d run a  mile. Staff larking around in a “You don’t have to mad to work here bit it helps” fashion, may get you attention but what about respect, influence and kudos?

OK let’s get positive now – on the plus side “How To” videos are great. If you need to know how to do something, like a one-armed press up or how to make an icing funnel, then You Tube or I-village are full of brilliant video tutorials (if you are lucky you get a buff guy by a pool in LA as well, although there is less demand for naked cake decoration.)

I don’t mind the slightly home-made aspects of these videos because they meet a direct need – how do I do that blinking one arm press up? But I deplore shoddy work which could be avoided. Is there a cult of the amateur going on which positively welcomes the wonky vid?

Laura McBeth, senior marketing manager for Washington Green Fine Art says it’s all about knowing your audience. She produces video with a hand-held ‘home-made’ feel when she wants to promote mid priced product for a youngish audience who will comment and share. This is perfect for raising awareness and buzz but may not always lead to a landslide in sales. When it comes to selling something luxurious and top end Laura reckons the higher income crowd want something slicker and more polished and she gives it to them.

Better broadband speeds coupled with cheaper video recording devices and ever more user-friendly editing software means video can be done really well even by solopreneurs and bloggers.

PR and Social Media expert Paul Sutton from Bottle PR sent me a link to this slick social media tutorial on the Social Media Examiner which proves the point.

In conclusion, the year ahead will increase the need for all of us to be more creative and innovative. Things aren’t going to slow down and we need to keep across it. But you need to make a conscious decision about why you want to do video, whether it is to improve your rankings, appeal to a new demographic or get your stuff talked about and shared.

There is nothing wrong with choosing what works for you and there is no compulsion to jump in without a plan.

If you do decide to do video;

  • Keep it short 30 secs – 2 mins max
  • Interview others but be kind – people hate the sight of themselves even more than they hate the sound of their own voice.
  • Don’t be afraid to take your time and do several takes – no one wants the Occado man in the background.
  • Enjoy yourself – shifty and embarrassed is not a good look.

My thought to take away? Try to produce the best work you can.

* This example is taken from the HUBSPOT e-book – 11 examples of online marketing success

Thanks to all who helped with this post including mediawomenuk who helped source additional material.


7 responses to “Read This Before You Leap Into Video

  1. Oh boo. I agree. Jack Bauer throwing a fit during the video was annoying, but it’s life at Arment Dietrich and we made the decision to post the video to show people what it’s really like working here. Any other video would have been edited to death and not a real representation. Through everything we do, we believe in being real. And if that means Jack wanting to play catch while we chat, that’s what it means. Some people find it hilarious while others find it annoying. I’m very sorry you found it to be the latter.

    My best advice for being doing video? Just do it. Don’t watch yourself. Don’t retake 12 times. Don’t edit it to death. Just do it, post it, and go.

  2. Dear Gini,
    I feel like a real heel for citing you as an example as I really admire your work. Now you have had the grace to come and comment – what a star! I guess it goes to confirm that it IS all about choices and having hours and hours to perfect blog posts is not something many of us have. Take care, Lucy x

  3. You are 100% right that keeping it short is the key. There are some people who can get away with tlking for 40 mins (Gary Vaynerchuk is one) but if you want to keep people coming back week after week to your videos short is the key!!

  4. Thanks Niall. Loved your guest post on Daily Blog Tips – I bet that increased your page views no end !

  5. I’d say the quality of the audio of the video makes a world of difference (but I guess I am kind of biased). Good sound production and a good voice-over can make the video ‘look’ better because it reframes the whole experience.

  6. Hi Etienne, as a voiceover myself I would tend to agree! But I think the thrust of a lot of the ‘new’ video is about being slightly wonky and therefore more friendly and approachable, like Gini’s stuff.

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