The Top 4 Video Mistakes to Avoid

Nobody’s perfect. Not you, not your friends, not your childhood heroes, not even the greatest artists in history are 100% successful 100% of the time – even if it might sometimes seem that way to outsiders. But even with this universal acknowledgement of imperfection, there is still a tremendous amount of pressure for content marketers to hit the mark exactly right every single time. Learning how to deal with all the pressure (and avoid cracking under it) is one of the most important skills your team needs to learn, as well as one of the most undervalued.

One reason that so much branded content fails to connect with audiences is because its creator focuses far too much on what they are trying to achieve and, as a result, forgets to acknowledge their limitations. They become too obsessed with the wrong metrics, grow overly ambitious, and ultimately wind up with a lesser version of what they want rather than an incredible version of what they can actually accomplish. After all, the devil is in the details – especially when it comes to producing video content. 

Yet even for veteran video content marketers, the pressure to make something ground-breaking can cause small, but vital considerations to slip through the cracks. A single small leak in a dam will rupture its integrity, and one tiny mistake can tank an entire production. If you want to succeed, you will need to develop a balance of ambition and practicality. That way, the next time that you shoot for the moon, you can still keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. 

A helpful approach to finding this balance is to keep a careful eye open for any mistakes – even before they spring up. To lend you a hand, here’s our list of the four biggest video content mistakes that brands make, so that you can stay 100% focussed on bringing your story to life.

1. Forgetting Your CTA

The call to action (CTA) is arguably the most important part of any piece of video content. It is the moment when you urge your audience to do something: Click a link, buy a ticket, share on social media, schedule a meeting, etc. Without a clear CTA, the message/purpose of your video essentially amounts to “Thanks for your time, folks! Bye!” But so many video content marketers neglect to include prominent CTA for a variety of reasons.

Maybe they worry it will feel too pushy or too alienating for potential customers, and drive them away. Maybe they sincerely believe that their content speaks for itself – that just by creating a top-notch video, viewers will be inspired to seek out next steps. Both of these thoughts are totally understandable, but (usually) incorrect. Audiences need your encouragement to take action, so don’t let them down. Whether your prompt comes in the form of a lead form or a voice-over instructing them to like and subscribe, make sure to include a CTA in every video that you release.

2. Obsessing Over SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of increasing your branded content’s visibility for search engines like Google and Yahoo. A decade ago, it was arguably the best way to make sure that your content was highly-ranked on these websites. Just by posting regularly, any brand could develop a following, which in turn would lead to more views – and hopefully more engagement. But SEO has become such a buzzword that now over two million blog posts are published every day. All of this means that if your company focuses on SEO to the detriment of other marketing factors, you’re almost certainly going to come up short. 

This is not 2007 anymore, and your brand cannot establish market dominance just by posting video content consistently. Instead, try to find your specific niche – the creative angle that sets your content apart from the rest. And while the industry may feel totally saturated at times, this just means that brands which are able to elevate their content will attract extra goodwill from an exhausted, embittered audience.

3. Overextending Yourself

Just as dangerous as developing a myopic approach to SEO is overextending yourself trying to explore every video content option available.  How many content-hosting platforms can you list off the top of your head? And how many different types of video content, just in general? There are too many to ever tackle each variation with absolute efficiency. That means when brands, especially those with more limited resources, attempt to do so…well, just like we already said, they tend to end up with a worse version of what they want, instead of a great version of what they can reasonably accomplish.

Try to figure out what specific type of video content is ideal for your business or brand, and start by honing in on that before you approach other avenues. Yes, it may sometimes feel like you’re limiting yourself – because you are. Limitations can be healthy for growing brands, the same way that herbs benefit from a well-regulated garden environment before they expand into a massive patch. Win that first solid audience base, and then use them as your springboard for new video content strategies.

4. Being Too Impatient

A recent study from the University of Denmark revealed that the global average attention span has narrowed significantly in the past 40 years, partially due to the amount of information that people are constantly inundated with. Audiences the world over are much less attentive than they used to be, which means your content needs to hit hard and fast to make an impression. But just because they have the right as consumers to be less patient does not mean you do too. It may go against your instincts, but sometimes the best thing to do is wait and watch.

Even if you create incredible video content, there is no guarantee your brand will experience a sudden jump in viewership, engagement, or conversion. Content marketing takes time to impact audiences. This will be a gradual change – one that might make you feel that your strategy is ineffective. But remember, an MIT report revealed that the average 12-month content marketing project more than doubled site traffic and increased inbound leads by 5-to-7x. That means you need to think about your content plan in terms of months and years, not days, if you want to experience serious growth. 

All of these mistakes can happen to any brand at any stage of their existence, from humble startups to corporate behemoths. They are not necessarily a sign of poor management or creative weakness. Instead, they reflect the ultra-competitiveness of the current market and the rapid changes resulting from an explosion in accessibility. Everybody has to deal with them, which arguably levels the playing field for your brand to advance. By keeping one eye open for possible mistakes, you are averting them in advance and opening up the possibility of true video content success.

Leland F.

Leland F.