Avoid these 5 mistakes to make better videos for your brand

By Emma Baker,

Creating strong and engaging video in-house can seem daunting. So learn how to avoid and fix these common mistakes to take your smartphone video production skills to the next level.

Mistake #1 Making a video with no clear message

We know video is important so we set out to make one at all costs. Even if we have no clear idea of what we want to say.

300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every day. With no shortage of choice, viewers are ruthless about scrolling past content that isn’t relevant or engaging. Producing a video with no clear message will frustrate your audience and do your brand more harm than good.

How to fix it: 52% of us watch online video to be inspired or entertained, and we’re far more likely to share videos that have an emotional impact on us. So if you want to grab your audience and get them sharing your content, start telling stories.

The good news is, you can create powerful video stories using only your smartphone and some basic equipment. Understanding what makes a compelling story is more important than a big budget.

If you get to grips with the principles of storytelling, you’ll understand how to find the stories within your organisation, how to draw them out of the people you interview, and how to structure the final edit to heighten the emotional impact of the story.

Mistake #2 Making a video that is too long

Lack of a clear message can lead to videos that are bloated and long-winded. With no clear focus it’s tempting to simply throw in every second of footage you’ve captured. But with 45% of viewers clicking away from videos after just 1 minute, most of that precious content will never be seen.

How to fix it: As a guide for planning, limit each video to just 3 or 4 key points. Any more won’t fit in a 2 minute video (the longest your video should be). If you have more to say, split the content over a series of shorter videos.

Also plan a strong hook within the first 8 seconds. That’s how long we take to decide if planning so your questions illicit inspiring or fun responses that can be used as the hook in the final edit.

Mistake #3 Choosing the wrong people to interview

It’s easy in a large organisation to switch to the default setting when selecting interviewees for videos. The same names pop up all the time and there’s a feeling that you must always interview the senior leadership team.

But the success of your final video relies on how connected your target audience feels to the person in your video. So finding the best person for your specific audience and purpose is a big part of creating a video that connects.

How to fix it: Spread the net wider. Be strategic and diplomatic about selecting your on-screen talent. You know your organisation so develop relationships with people from every department.  It starts with understanding your audience. People respond to an authentic story from someone they can relate to. Often a message will hit home harder if it comes from peers.

It’s also crucial to find the right interviewer. You need someone with the energy and sensitivity to set people at ease and get natural responses on camera. They’ll need a keen ear for detail to listen for on-point messages and ask the right follow up questions to give you all the content you need for a strong final edit.

Mistake #4 Recording poor sound in interviews

Poor sound quality on your video is one of the most frustrating things for an audience. Getting it wrong will lose you viewers within seconds. The most common mistake is relying solely on the camera’s built-in microphone. In an interview this microphone is just too far away from the speaker to record clear sound that will connect with your audience and keep them watching.

How to fix it: A lavalier mic that clips onto the speaker’s lapel is the simplest solution to get clear audio.  But you also need to monitor the sound while you’re recording your interview.  One way is to record a sample clip and listen back before you record the full interview.

A more professional approach is to use the Filmic Pro App to record video. The app displays audio levels letting you visually check the quality of the sound throughout the whole interview, guaranteeing professional results.

Mistake #5 Making videos without compelling visuals

A powerful video needs strong visuals to sell the story. But too often corporate videos produced in-house, stop at the interview stage. No matter how engaging the speaker or the story, a static image of the same person for 2 minutes just won’t cut it in the world of online video. Ideally the images in your video should change every 3-6 seconds otherwise the brain tunes out and viewers click away.

How to fix it: Set up your shoot in an interesting location that gives plenty of opportunities to capture people in action. Write a list beforehand of at least 10 visually interesting elements you can film that will help tell your story. Remember people doing things is much more interesting than static shots of buildings or products. Video is about movement so do your best to capture the action.

We make these mistakes because we get distracted by the technical side of making videos: the kit, the apps, the fancy camera work. We think this is what will make our videos stand out.

Yes the technical stuff is important but when you make your next video don’t forget the most important element to consider is your audience – first and last.

If you get that right, the rest should follow.

Emma Baker MCIPR is running the CIPR’s Smartphone Video Masterclass on 27 November.

Photo by Joey Huang on Unsplash


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