6 Mistakes to Avoid When You Make a Promotional Video

Video's job isn't to educate; it's to initiate a personal connection or start a conversation with the customer.

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By Zach Cutler


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I'm not a videographer. Heck, I'm not even a film buff.

Related: By 2019, Video Marketing Will Be Everything. You've Got to Get in on the Trend -- Now.

But, with the rising importance of video in the marketing suite, video content -- as an increasingly crucial component of marketing -- has come onto my radar as a CEO. Nine out of ten marketers in a survey said they now place importance on video content, and over 67 percent said they intended to spend more to create video content this year.

Josh Gold, creative director at Serio Films, is someone who's learned the do's and don'ts of creating promotional videos for a brand. Over the past decade, Gold and his company have shot films that raised millions of dollars for worthy causes and helped put brands on the map.

Here, according to Gold, are six mistakes you should avoid when creating a promotional video for your business:

1: Forgetting the "big picture"

Don't get distracted from your overarching objectives. Video production is a long, involved process where changes must frequently be made at a moment's notice. All too often, the overall purpose of the video can get lost in the day-to-day shuffle.

Therefore, ask yourself before making all major decisions: "Does this help us achieve our goal?" This will help orient you back to the big picture and help you stay on track, says Gold.

2: Trying to include too much in one video

It's important to maintain a tight focus when it comes to video marketing.

Many people try to cram in as many ideas and visuals as possible, but for viewers, this makes the final product unfocused and confusing. Videos are often big, expensive undertakings and you want to get the most out of your investment. But trying to include too many things at once can lead to overcrowding, clutter and a poor viewing experience, Gold stresses.

Related: Leverage the Undeniable Power of Video Marketing on All Platforms

It also weakens your ability to connect with viewers and dilutes the message. It's always better to make sure your videos are clear and focused, and get the point across.

3: Focusing on information rather than emotion

Video is a great way to introduce yourself to the viewer. Some people mistakenly treat a video like a brochure, attempting to provide an in-depth descriptive profile of their entire business so that their videos will be as informative and all-inclusive as possible.

The trouble is, this reflects a misunderstanding of the medium and of the role video plays in marketing. Video's job isn't to educate, but to initiate a personal connection or start a conversation. Video is not the correct format for long-winded explanations, facts and statistics. That's why Gold recommends thinking of video as the cover letter for your business, not your company's résumé.

Videos put a human face on your work and your beliefs so that viewers can relate to your message and remember it afterward. It's the emotional connection your video makes with viewers that often determines whether they will continue to interact with your brand. So, leave the finer details to your website or the glossy pamphlets. Once the video has drawn them in, viewers will be able to do further research about your company at their own pace.

4: Failure to prioritize during filming

When you're not familiar with how production works, it can seem like every moment is a potential filming opportunity. Clients often urge video production teams to shoot tremendous amounts of footage, not wanting to miss a single moment, team member or achievement.

It's understandable that you would want your business to be captured in all of its nuance, complexity and beauty. But don't be swayed in that direction. In fact, Gold says that research and careful planning before the shoot will save you a lot of time and stress.

A professional marketing firm will work with you to prepare your concept, the shot list and the interviews based on valid criteria rather than any last-minute panic. This way, you'll know exactly what needs to be done by the time production starts.

And if a filming opportunity does pop up at the last minute, please refer back to the question mentioned in point number two.

5: Disregarding the "utilization plan"

Utilization, or how you plan to use and distribute the video content, shouldn't be an afterthought, advises Gold. It should be an inextricable part of planning and creating every film. The intended usage shapes both the content and style of a video. For example, a video for your home page is going to have a different set of requirements than will a video for Facebook. Make sure you have an understanding of what you're going to do with the video and modify it accordingly.

The worst thing you can do is shoot the footage before you determine how you're going to use it. Rather, go into production knowing which scenes and techniques are most suited to your plans. This will save you from wasting time and money on filming scenes you won't be able to use.

6: No call to action

All the money and time you spent creating a quality video and getting it in front of the right people will go to waste if you don't provide viewers with a way to take the action you wish them to take. So, feature a prominent call to action in your video that makes it clear what you want the audience to do and explains how to do it.

A video without a call to action is like a meal that's served without a fork and knife. Your video might be inspiring, entertaining or emotionally moving, but without a clear call to action, viewers will be unable to subscribe, purchase, donate or do whatever else you hope for. It may sound silly, but it's important to spell things out. Without a prompt from you, viewers may not even know there's anything for them to do!

Related: The 4 Pillars of Stellar Video Marketing

In the end, creating a high-quality video demands a great deal of work. There's no reason to sabotage all that effort by making easily avoidable mistakes. Keep this list in mind, and you'll be rolling out promotional videos that showcase your business in a positive light and help generate desired results.
Zach Cutler

Founder & CEO, Cutler PR

Zach Cutler is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Cutler PR, a tech PR agency in New York and Tel Aviv. An avid tech enthusiast and angel investor, Cutler specializes in crafting social and traditional PR campaigns to help tech startups thrive.

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