Blogging is new to me, and finding good quality material to post and talk about is proving somewhat time consuming. God knows how a layman must feel. Among many of the lists and blogs I trawled today there was a piece in Marketing Land that made me think about how video is sold – it was yet another of those ‘7 things you need to do…’ columns about video marketing. Like many of these expert list columns it is extremely reductive and at times delivers potentially damaging advice to a companies  and organisations considering video for the first time. Sure, we all know web video converts – if it’s done well. Everyone knows quality doesn’t need to cost the earth, and my two year old son could tell you videos should be brief for social media delivery. I disagree wholeheartedly with several of the points Litt makes in his article though, and most vehemently to his initial blurb about quality. I fight for quality on a daily basis and for every production, and it’s becoming ever more difficult to win this fight as budgets fall and rates are squashed by the removal of most barriers to market in the corporate video sector. Authenticity and quality are the same – unless, of course, you’re not supplying quality.

We always deliver high quality production values as a matter of course, production values which reflect the brands of our clients,  and it’s a shame that some marketers like Litt often fail to see the value in good strategy development and planning before the camera is switched on, as well as good creative direction throughout the process, and importantly professional film making by trained practitioners, so that the authenticity of your organisation is instantly apparent in the quality of the production. Even if the camerawork is shaky by design – which is difficult to accomplish by the bye. The truly creative elements of production are the things that can’t be cheapened by Sony or Canon, and which the plethora of articles like Litt’s ignore. I truly and deeply believe that quality at all stages of production is completely integrated with authenticity, not set apart from it, and it should be striven for and applied right the way through the video making process. Never let any self-proclaimed video expert tell you otherwise, because when competition for attention is thin on the ground the outward appearance of your brand is the first thing people will notice, then they’ll look to see if you’re authentic. Ideas are king, without a doubt,  but if your video looks and sounds dreadful you’d better make sure it’s got a good enough premise to hook your audience in the first five seconds on YouTube. I give you a exhibit A: the hopelessly misguided Popschips viral ‘starring’ Natasha Beddingfield.

So in the spirit of lists, here are my 6 things to consider before you commission a video:
  1. Dedicate resources, but make sure a good proportion of those resources are directed towards pre production and planning, developing a video strategy and getting outstanding creative direction from a video producer. Cameras shouldn’t be a part of this equation.
  1. Volume does not equal value. Value should be measured on the success of your video and nothing else.
  1. Figure out your stories. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm some more and use your video company to help you. Company ‘explainers’ are a good starting point for some, but they certainly aren’t for everyone. Making your company stand out with a good idea is better.
  1. Tailor the video length to the delivery platform and your audience – it’ a mistake to automatically assume a three minute attention span. We created a twenty minute promo for a large engineering client, Pearsons, last year. Heresy! I hear you cry. But it worked, because it was for a tender bid that was used to highlight product details pulled from a thousand page manual. You can see it on the Pearsons YouTube page. By the same token we’re also creating a series of thirty second emailers for Newcastle University that are tailored and targeted at very specific demographics across the globe. Horses for courses, many audiences are surprisingly tolerant of length.
  1. The most useful point I think Litt gives in his article is about measurement, and this is by far the most overlooked and underused element of most video strategies. There are countless tools available to marketers for monitoring the success of their video marketing, the best of these offered within Google Analytics, Youtube and Vimeo.
  2. Be wary of experts giving lists of things you should do, including me! Speak to them, look at their work, look at their clients, and find a video partner who you can work with, trust and who can tailors their service to the individual needs of your organisation.