If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a powerful video is worth so much more. “Video is the way forward for brands, influencers… everyone wanting to say something or marketing a product,” says Sean Wilson-Smith, founder of Vidr.

Will they give a damn?

Content videos start and end with humans – humans create them and humans consume them. On reflection, this applies to engagement in general. It’s that special, and often elusive, moment when you feel connected, recognised and in tune with a third party – be it a brand or a person.

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 the message?
  • If they do, how can I move them to act?
  • If they don’t, is the message wrong, or just how it’s being conveyed?

These questions lay the foundation for conceptualising, creating and communicating the message you want to convey in your content video, and the impact it achieves. The word “content” before “video” implies that you will give your audience something of value – that’ll reward, enhance or entertain. It will shift you from ‘simply saying something’ to ‘saying something significant’.

Then bust these myths

  1. Content videos have to be professionally created. NOT!
    While production quality and cinematographic aesthetics used to be important, we’ve moved on. Now it’s more about delivering the promise or purpose. Why? Because content videos form part of a greater social media strategy, and mobile now drives 56% of all web traffic (according to SimilarWeb). Don’t be afraid of content videos made on-the-go. But DO make sure they are relevant, resonant and aligned with your brand promise – that’s the key to busting the first myth. Take a look at Lucozade Energy’s slushi video as an example of content video success – it was shot quickly on mobile and the message still rang clear:
  2. My audience loves the brand – so of course they will watch the video. NO!
    Your audience expects content videos to be included in your content marketing strategy. That doesn’t mean they’ll watch them. The way to bust this myth is you need to create videos that talk to people’s needs, wants, desires, and aspirations. Facebook understands this, and is the reason behind why it’s recently updated it’s news feed ranking in favour of these kinds of video.
  3. I’ve never shot a video, so I can’t do it. WRONG!
    If you have a smart phone, you have everything you need. Here’s how to blow that myth out of the water:

    • Decide on the message you want to convey.
    • Launch your camera app, and shoot.
    • Then edit – only include footage that is powerful and relevant, choose the best soundtrack (only if it supports the message)  and add cutaways, title screens or subtitles (if required) to enrich the story and final product.
    • Choose the most appropriate platform for your audience or message, and post it if you’ve thought about your audience, what will make them act and considered how you want to get your message across. Then the footage won’t be hard to get.
  4. Content videos have to be long and detailed. NO!
    Content videos (that are extremely effective) can be as short as six seconds. To bust this myth, simply say what you need to say, and avoid the ‘fluff’. People aren’t looking for length, they want value. According to a study done by Microsoft, the average human attention span is eight seconds long – shorter than that of a goldfish! Nike, with almost 8 million followers, recently achieved huge Instagram success with its video strategy because of this “no-fluff” approach. Read how to craft a short video campaign like the Nike experts here.
  5. What’s not to love (about my product)? WRONG AGAIN.
    Regardless of how amazing your product or service is, your audience doesn’t care. All they care about is the positive impact it’ll have on their life. So don’t tell them what it does, or what makes it special or unique. Tell them how it will make their lives better – by fixing a need, gap or daily challenge. Bring the value to life with real stories or practical situations they can relate to.
  6. Quick content videos are exempt from design rules. NOT!
    Aesthetics and visual delight must always be considered – it’s a non-negotiable, because it influences – subtly or overtly – how your audience responds. The way to bust this myth is to take into account elements like lines, spaces, size, colour, and balance. 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.
  7. Content videos should be posted on all our social channels. NOT!
    As part of your overall content strategy, they need to be aligned with your platform strategy and audience needs and expectations. Some might be perfect for YouTube and Instagram, while another might only be appropriate for Facebook. Careful consideration of your channels will sort this myth out instantly!
  8. Content videos – different content, same (old) format. NOT!
    If you think content videos only consist of bits of footage slapped together, think again. They can take the form of GIFs, live streaming, cinemagraphs and even timelapses.
  9. I’m in control. NOT!
    While you might be in charge of the creation, your audience controls the playout. Insights from reporting and analytics tools will tell you who your audience is, where they are, and what they like/want.
  10. Content videos are just a phase. WRONG!
    Rather than a ‘passing fad’, think of them as engagement mechanisms that’ll require constant adaptation and evolution. Just like TV didn’t kill radio, and digital didn’t destroy print – they need to constantly, and increasingly, adapt to shifts in consumption behaviours and audience needs/expectations. More video is being created by more people each day and more people are watching video each day. So how to stand out? For starters, here are five types of videos you should consider.

Over to you

This is by no means a conclusive list, but hopefully it has provided some inspiration, allayed some fears and provided clarity in terms of its potential.

We believe in practising what we preach, which is why we teach content creation (that includes content videos) as part of our full-time offering. Creative Production is one of our four faculties that are the foundational pillars for all our programmes. We are committed to lifelong learning in whatever form it takes, and sometimes that form is video. Good luck out there, and go create!

~ Shae Leigh

Red & Yellow’s Communications Champion, cat lover and craft beer enthusiast.