13 essential tips to help you create better videos in 2014

by Adam Hayes on 29 January 2014
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1. Tell a story

With the rise of social media and content marketing, brand storytelling is on the rise. Traditional ‘ad’ videos simply don’t cut the mustard anymore. Sure, you can list features and benefits…but your modern viewer wants to know exactly what difference your product will make to their life. This means you have to infuse your video with personality, create compelling characters, and tell a story with a beginning, middle and end.

If you get it right, the rewards are massive – tell a story your viewer loves, and they’re more likely than ever to share it with their friends. Branded video sharing is 50 times higher than it was 5 years ago, while brands account for 40% of the top 1000 shared Instagram videos.[source]

2. Keep it short and relevant

Of course, you’re incredibly passionate about your product, and you want to shout it from the rooftops. But the thing is, your viewer’s attention span is limited. They’re BUSY, and they have lots of online distractions to keep them occupied.

If your video doesn’t grab their attention – or drones on for longer than 1-2 minutes (maximum!) get ready for them to quit watching before the end. There are always exceptions, but we reckon 60 seconds is a great benchmark to shoot for. That’s plenty of time to tell your story without boring your audience!

3. Plan it properly

The old saying ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail,’ certainly applies to video production. You really need to plan your video in advance to give yourself the best possible chance of creating video that helps achieve your goals. Here are some questions to think about:

  • What’s your budget?
  • What style of video do you like – screen capture, animation, talking-head?
  • How long should it be?
  • What should viewers ideally do once they finish watching?
  • What are the few key features you really want to stress?
  • What’s your story – beginning, middle and end?

Here at Wyzowl, one of the first things we do is create your script document, which contains the voiceover – verbatim – and a description of the action that will be happening on screen. This means we can establish the scope and story of the project at the earliest possible opportunity, giving us a clear structure to work to throughout the process. We find it works very effectively!

4. Make it uniquely ‘you’

There’s no point creating a video that doesn’t correlate directly with your brand. A great video should sit neatly on your website and be identifiably ‘you.’ In other words, it should tie in with your brand guidelines – colours, typefaces and graphic style – and it should also communicate in your tone of voice. If you pride yourself on having a fun, humorous brand, make a fun, humorous video or it will seem weird and could undermine other aspects of your brand story!

5. Use high quality graphics

However compelling your message, if it looks amateurish, it’s not going to do the job. How many of your favourite marketing videos contained low-res stock images, or clipart? I’d hazard a guess at ‘none!’ It’s really important to make that extra investment and make sure your end product is just as beautiful as the story you’re telling.

6. Make sure you’ve got permission to use that music track!

Ok, let’s say you’ve created the perfect video. You’ve told a great story, created beautiful visuals, and painstakingly condensed it all into an engaging, dynamic minute of video gold.

Time to select your music. You know that track that cost you $3 on iTunes? Yeah, using that could actually end up costing you thousands! The whole music royalty business is a minefield, and if you get it wrong, you can find yourself unnecessarily taking a dip in some financial hot water.

That’s why it’s crucial to use royalty-free music from sites such as Audio Jungle and ensure that you’re legally watertight.

7. Use a professional voiceover artist

If you’re making an animated or screen capture video, you may be tempted to ‘DIY’ when it comes to the voiceover narration. Believe us, this is always a LOT easier said than done.

Sure, you may save a small amount of money, but you’ll generally end up either compromising on quality, or spending your ‘savings’ on better recording equipment.

A professional voiceover artist works with high-quality recording gear, in a recording studio, so you’re guaranteed a crystal-clear audio track. They’re also going to read the voiceover at an optimal rate to aid your audience’s understanding. And it costs less than you might think!

8. Provide a clear call-to-action

Viewers who make it to the end of your video really need some guidance on what they should do next. Whether you’re offering a free trial, recommending that they download the app now, or simply advising them to visit the website for more info, the end of your video should overtly tell your viewer what they should do next. This allows you to guide your audience’s behavior while your offering is still fresh in their mind.

9. Animate it properly – don’t compromise on quality!

If you’re making an animated video, the last thing you want to do is compromise on quality. It’s another flaw that can completely undermine the entire message and send out a disastrous message about your brand.

Animated videos are AWESOME. They are such a fun, creative way to convey your brand message, and people love them. But you have to do it right! Dodgy transitions, poor physics and low quality can all conspire to make your brand seem cheap and shoddy, when it’s anything but. Unless you’re totally confident here, we’d recommend going straight to point 13…

10. Keep it interesting and engaging

To make the point again, your viewer is busy. There are hundreds of other places they could be, but they’ve chosen to click ‘Play’ on your video. One of the most important things to remember is that you MUST make your message fun and tell your story in the most engaging way possible. People simply don’t want to spend their online leisure time watching corporate ad videos. The good news is that, even if your subject area is a little dry, there’s always a way to inject some fun!

11. Keep it on budget

We touched on this in point 3, but this is so important, it merits a point all of its own. Firstly, it’s important to have a clear budget in mind at the very start of the project. From there, you need to ensure you protect yourself against spiraling costs.

If you’re making the video in-house, there are plenty of variables that can see your costs start to rack up.

Some video studios also have hidden costs that can drive prices up mid-project…such as charging you for every ‘round’ of feedback and revisions.

At Wyzowl, we pride ourselves on being the exception here. We operate simple fixed pricing so the price you see on our website is exactly the price you pay.

12. Have fun!

This is one of the often-forgotten parts of making videos, when it should really be one of the most important! Whatever style of video you’re making, have fun creating it and I guarantee that sense of fun will come across in the end product.

Throw ideas around, get creative, collaborate with people who know the ropes, and work together. You can really create something special!

13. Trust the professionals!

Clearly, there’s a lot to consider if you decide to plough a lone furrow and create video yourself. So why not consider trusting the professionals and letting a team of video experts (like us!) do the work for you?

With every Wyzowl package, you get fixed pricing (no nasty surprises!) with your script written for you, bespoke graphics created in line with your brand, all the animation, voiceover and royalty-free music. At the end of the process, we provide you with a HD video file for you to use to your hearts content. If you’re interested, why not get in touch!

Video Marketing

Adam Hayes

Written by Adam Hayes

Hey - I'm Adam, Content Manager here at Wyzowl. I'm lucky enough to write words and tell stories for a living. I work with a weird and wonderful bunch of people who share my passion for digital marketing, brand storytelling and, of course, Mario Kart.