Karl Stelter Studios 5 Avoidable Ways Video Content Can Fail (and how to sidestep disaster!)

Where Film Meets Function

5 Avoidable Ways Video Content Can Fail (and How to Easily Sidestep Disaster!)

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 | No Comments

BalanceNothing can be quite as exciting (or confounding) as releasing that shiny new piece of video content. You agonized over the concept, fought through production and budgeting, and tweaked the headline until you forgot what the hell you were even tweaking to begin with (or just ended up on facebook).

Finally, you release it and…! crickets. Nothing. NOTHING?! Yup, nothing. What the heck happened?

1. The Video Wasn’t Specific

Think about when you have 2 of your closest friends over for dinner – you cook together, have an intimate conversation over wine, and overall, improved your relationship. Now imagine that same scenario except there’s 10 other people to entertain in the same amount of time – how the heck are you going to build a deep relationship with all of them, all at once?!

Simply put – you can’t…and the same principle applies to your video.

You have only seconds to initially engage your audience, and if it sways off target even a few moments, you’ve wasted your (and their) time.

Solution: Pick an ultra specific audience to pursue, and stand firm on it from the start. Someone will undoubtedly want to add a demographic because ‘we could have such a wider reach!’ – and this is your real test. Gently remind them that a focused video is a successful one, or you could end up with a badly bloated video!

2. Concept Incongruence

Audiences hate feeling tricked, and that’s exactly what will happen if you employ a story or marketing campaign that, while great on paper, doesn’t accurately represent who you are or what you do.

For example, if you tell a great story about hand-crafting everything with love, but you actually manufacture 95% of your goods in China, you’re probably in for a rude awakening.

People are smart – if you can’t back up your claim, don’t shout it to the world.

Solution: Step outside of your business and think about how people actually perceive you – and then push those perceptions plausibly. From the example above, if you want to focus on hand-crafting your goods, then show that you have a long-term strategy in place to increase how many goods you hand-craft.

3. Focusing on What YOU Want to See

Your concept is solidly in development when you realize that the piece just doesn’t have enough branding. And come to think of it, the company message really isn’t clear enough. And actually, let’s focus on how we make our product instead of that Mom using it.

…the death knell of every failed video.

Solution: I’ll be blunt: yes, you are the one paying for the content, but you aren’t the target. Accept that you want to see doesn’t matter – it’s what your audience wants to see that counts. People are savvy – they know they’re watching ads, and don’t need it shoved in their face.

4. Not Taking Any Chances

The car whizzes by on a highway, MPGs flash on the screen, a handsome driver at the wheel and – you stop watching the ad. It’s a template that’s been done a thousand times, and I promise you doing yours the same way for the 1001st won’t bring you anything different.

Now, some people like these predictable results – but if you want to stand out and engage your audience, going for a templated approach is not the answer.

Solution: Brainstorm 5 ideas – and throw them all out. They’ve been done before. Instead, think about what your company represents and find a unique way to tell that story. If you’re stuck, try hiring a freelance writer or screenwriter – an outsiders perspective can be a breath of fresh air!

5. Leaving it Out to Dry

Let’s say you managed to navigate through everything successfully, and you have a really superior video that targets your audience with a great story. You pat yourself on the back as you release it – but it’s not taking off. People aren’t sharing it. In fact, you’re pretty sure the only views it has are from your own company. What happened??

Solution: It’s David vs Goliath – except you didn’t give David his sling. With so much content available (6,000 hours of video per hour is currently uploaded to YouTube) you’re going to need a release strategy in place well before ever hiring a production team. No one can engage and share your brilliant content if they don’t see it!

Video can be tough – but when done right, like this successful campaign for deformed fruits, it can connect with an audience deeply and spread like wildfire. What kinds of pitfalls have you encountered, and how did you course correct?

Anything you’d like to hear more about? Let me know here or @KarlStelter.

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