If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a powerful content video is worth 1,000 pictures. The challenge comes when you have to sit down and choose those 1,000 pictures and create something from them that resonates with people.
“Video is the way forward for brands, influencers… everyone wanting to say something or marketing a product.” – Sean Wilson-Smith, founder of Vidr.
In this meta-interview, I chat to Sean Wilson-Smith, founder of Vidr, about the successes on their startup life so far, along with a 5-minute video of our interview if you'd prefer to listen to rather than read his words...
Leigh Andrews 14 Feb 2018
Make them give a damn
The “everyone wanting to say something” needs to reach an audience that is “tired of everyone saying something.” Content videos start and end with humans – humans create them and humans consume them. So ask yourself three questions before you pick up that camera (or phone, as it goes in 2018):
- Will my audience give a damn about what I’m saying?
- If they do, will it move them to act?
- If they don’t, what can I show them that will make them care?
Those questions lay the foundation for conceptualising, creating and communicating the message you want to get across in your content video. Why is it called a content video and not just a video? The word video
implies a nonchalant approach – no real thought has gone into showing off the object or subject. A content video gives your audience something of value. This takes you from a place of saying something, to saying something significant.
Bust the myths
- Content videos have to be professionally created. NOT! While video quality is certainly one element to consider (and don’t even get me started on pixelation), it is not the be all and end all. Why? Because content videos will largely be used as part of a greater social media strategy and mobile now drives 56% of all web traffic (according to SimilarWeb). You can get away with content videos made on-the-go. Where you have budget, time and capacity to create more elaborate videos, do it!
- It’s a video so my audience will watch it. NOT! Your audience expects you to include content videos as part of your overall content plan. That doesn’t mean they will watch it. Refer to the three questions above when you create your video. Only then will they watch it, and only then act (maybe).
- My experience doesn’t include making videos so I can’t do it. NOT! If you have a phone, you have a camera. If you have a camera, you can make videos. How? Open your camera app and shoot. Open your video editing app and create. Open your social media platform and post. If you’ve thought about your audience, what will make them act and considered how you want to get your message across, the footage won’t be hard to get.
- Content videos have to be long and detailed. NOT! Why tell your audience something when you can show them instead? Content videos that work can be as short as three seconds. If you’ve said all you need to say in that time, then it doesn’t need to be longer. According to Time, the average human attention span is eight seconds long – that’s shorter than that of a goldfish!
- I’m just going to show my audience the product. NOT! If you’re selling a product, then you definitely need to include the product in your content video but audiences are also smarter in 2018 and they expect more from you. Include music, people, copy, photos and sounds.
- Content videos don’t have to conform to design rules. NOT! Don’t forget the principles and elements of design when you use copy or graphics in your videos. Things like lines, spaces, size, colour, and balance must always be considered. A poor choice of font could completely ruin your message. Be mindful when choosing fonts (and never use Comic Sans, Arial, Times New Roman or any Chalkboard font). Can you imagine Comic Sans used on a video for a ‘luxury’ brand? NO – it would be awful! It's not only the font choice that is important but the placement, size and legibility. When working with a busy background – make sure the copy is legible. You can either increase the font size or use varying weights (bold, etc.) or place the copy over a coloured box. Keep it short and make it look good.
- Content videos should be posted everywhere. NOT! They only make up part of your overall content strategy and if they aren’t aligned with your platform strategy then they don’t belong there. For example, you might have a series of four 30-second videos that showcase four different elements of your business. While you might publish all of them on YouTube and Instagram, you might only publish one of them on Facebook. Think of what your audience wants.
- There isn’t much variety in content video creation. NOT! If you think content videos only consist of bits of footage slapped together, think again. Content videos can take the form of gifs, live streaming, cinemagraphs and even timelapses.
- My audience doesn’t control what I create. NOT! You’re in charge of creating content videos, but your audience is in charge of how you create them. How do you find out what they want to see and how often they want to see it? Insights, reporting and analytics. In 2018, the backend of social media platforms and websites don’t exist for your health, they exist for the health of your business and your brand. If you aren’t using them, you aren’t looking after your business and brand. Those tools will tell you who your audience is, how often they’re online, what they like, what videos have made them act, and other insights that will drive future content videos to be successful.
- Content videos are just a phase. NOT! Content videos will not disappear over time, they will only evolve and becomes more accessible and powerful. As we power on into the year, phones and cameras in hand, video is being created by more people each day and more people are watching video each day.
This is by no means a conclusive list of video content myths that a lot of businesses hold onto, but it sets some boundaries and gives some clarity in terms of what you’re actually capable of. You too are capable of creating.