7 problems that doom web videos

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to pay our respects to Cecil’s Cupcakes. A fine company, Cecil’s could have cornered the cupcake market in a 200 mile radius around its home base in Boise. Unfortunately, the cupcake gods did not see fit to give Cecil a lick of sense when it came to using video to enhance his web presence. Now, despondent children with upcoming birthdays and hapless adults planning bridal and baby showers have no alternative but to turn to Little Debbie for their cupcake needs.

Oh Cecil. We barely got a chance to know you. You understood that you needed a web presence, and so you bought a domain and even upped the ante by springing for the do-it-yourself webpage design package. And you thought it might be a great idea to add some video to your web page. But you had no idea how to do it, who to turn to for help, how to get the most for your money. And you never really mastered a good meringue topping for your lemon chiffon cupcakes. Which is OK in a way, because real meringue involves raw egg whites and that could have gone horribly wrong. But the other mistakes, you paid a heavy, easily avoidable price. They killed your business off faster than a mass salmonella poisoning from tainted meringue.

Don’t be like Cecil. Using video on your website is one of the best ways to push your business forward, but unless you know what you’re doing (or hire a video company like Hencar that knows what it’s doing) you will waste a lot of times spinning your wheels in a swampy mire of deflated meringue. Just like Cecil.

Here are some common problems you may encounter when trying to produce a web video.

  1. Your website doesn’t support video:

    We mentioned this in an earlier post about getting the most from videos on your website, but it really bears repeating. It’s the most important aspect of having a web video presence. If you only plan on making videos for YouTube or Vimeo, then this isn’t much of an issue. But really, in this time of everything-lives-on-the-web-and-dies-without-the-web-all-hail-the-mighty-web, you pretty much need to resign yourself to having an actual website. Even if it exists only to drive all of your fans to your Youtube or Vimeo page, you should still have your own website. It offers your the chance to put up extra content, including blogs, giveaways, links to books that you write, links to other sites you have, etc. All in one helpful location. But take a cue from Cecil. Unless you have web design and development experience, you should not just try to put up your own website and design it yourself. Of course if you don’t intend to use it to support videos, then you can give the DIY method a try. But then, why are you reading this post if you aren’t interested in making videos?

  2. You freak out at the idea of making a video:

    Just take a look at what’s out there. Teenagers are making web videos. And some of them are getting paid, and paid well, to do it. OK, so maybe when the possibility of money loomed on the horizon their parents stepped in and said: “You need to get some professional guidance.” But if you look at what’s out there, and look at who’s doing it, you should have no qualms about making a web video.

  3. You overestimate your ability to make a web video:

    Heeding the advice given in number 2, you do that research and decide: “Of course I can do much better than those teenagers!” The problem is, you don’t bother to get a second opinion. So you make web videos, post them, and then three weeks later find that you’ve become a meme or made someone’s list of “Worst Videos on the Web.” It’s not that your ideas were necessarily bad, but even the best producers need to get feedback. That’s where hiring a company like Hencar to help you with your web videos can pay off. You can get objective feedback and positive coaching that will make your videos far better.

  4. You hire a production company to make your videos:

    What? You don't think I can make my own web video?

    What? You don’t think I can make my own web video?

    What’s that? How is this a mistake? Isn’t the point of this blog to encourage you to do that very thing? Yes indeed. However, there is a caveat. Note that the statement omits one very crucial thing: It stops with “make your videos”. So the company makes your videos and sends you a file (or hands you a copy on a flash drive, uploads it to Dropbox, etc). And that’s it. Now, how do you get it onto the web? Do you know how to upload the video to your website, or to a hosting site? Do you even know how to get the video into the proper format needed for a particular site? Will the video play on a variety of devices (tablets, mobile phones, laptops)? Delivery services are crucial, and if you don’t ask about them up front, you may either be left with a video you can’t use, or an extra charge you can’t handle when you ask the company for help getting your video where it needs to go.

  5. You overdo the “cinema verite” thing:

    It’s one thing to make your video look casual. “Sure, I’m just like you, now we have an automatic bond!” The thing is, while you want to appear approachable, you also want to be credible. Which won’t be the case if these factors come into play: Your video is poorly lit, has muddy audio, no background, a horrible background, and/or moves all over the place because you’re shooting it on your smart phone while jumping around after that fifth Red Bull, and ohmyGAWWD!! You’re just so exCIIIted to BE here on a VIDeo! (Did we nail it? Is that not how all those annoying teenagers on YouTube talk?) If anyone could say your video would take third place behind a 10-year-old’s 4-H video on animal husbandry and a car dealership ad filmed by a local crew in Cullman, Alabama, you’ve made a big mistake.

  6. You put your video on your website:

    Again, a trick tip. Of course you want your video on your website (you did read Tip # 1, right?) The problem comes when there it is, and there it stays, alone and neglected. You don’t get the word out. So, unless someone knows to go to your website, you have a whopping 15 views six months after you post it. Nine of them are from you, because you’re so delighted to see your video on the web that you have to keep looking at it. The rest are from your mother, who keeps clicking on it to tell you everything that’s wrong with it. Having a video presence on the web is crucial, but just as crucial is making sure other people know about it. You need to have an active social media campaign which includes links to your videos. That means emails, Facebook and Twitter posts, Vine if applicable, etc. Get those links out, and keep getting them out. And if you are consistent about posting web videos, it doesn’t hurt to remind followers about some of the older ones that may be connected to your newer offerings. So don’t stop at putting links to the current videos in your social media and email campaigns. Put links to EVERY relevant video you’ve done in those blasts.

  7. You come in like a lion and go out like a lamb:

    Please disregard that if you happen to be the month of March. For everyone else, DO NOT DO THIS! All too many people get really excited and amped up for putting out web videos (ohmyGAWWD!) but then, after the first six or so, start to lose interest or energy. The thing to do is work out a plan and a schedule for making and releasing web videos. Sure, you can shoot half a dozen in one sitting, but don’t put all six of them on the web in another single sitting. Pacing, people. It’s about pacing. Sit down, come up with a list of topics, then decide how to release them at an even pace so that your followers know they can expect regular postings. Nothing turns off followers more than really getting into a person’s web videos, only to be left hanging for weeks or months at a time because the producer has either gotten tired or distracted and can’t put out anything for an extended stretch. Those followers will quickly get bored and move on to greener, and more updated, pastures.

Web videos are really an investment in your brand. If you’re just interested in having a little fun and maybe making a few new friends with some homestyle videos  about your hobby or topic of choice, then by all means feel free to go it alone and do it yourself. That’s one of the big draws of sites like YouTube and Vine. But if you’re serious about using videos to increase the web presence for your brand (including you, as well as any product or service you offer) then professional video production is the way to go. Hencar will help you avoid all of the pitfalls mentioned above, and the countless others than can drag your final product down. Give us a shout so we can tell you what we can do for you.