3 common mistakes to avoid when making corporate videos

You may actually be making your videos too short. 

Video is an increasingly important part of any communications toolbox. 

From vertical video for social media to slickly produced corporate narratives, these visuals can translate an organization’s objectives through a human lens or clarify complex concepts. But as ubiquitous as they are, creating great videos that engage and convert can be tricky. Finding ways to interest and engage audiences in sometimes dry or non-visual topics takes a deft hand, and there are many pitfalls along this creative path. 

Todd Plotkin, CEO of Green Buzz Agency, a video content company, recently walked PR Daily through some of the common mistakes companies tend to make when creating videos. 

  1. Choosing the wrong visual storytelling method 

Video often offers more flexibility than other storytelling media. From playful cartoons to serious talking heads, from emotional interviews to informative graphics, the options are nearly endless when it comes to selecting the look of your video. 

But which one to choose is highly dependent on what you want to achieve. 

Navy Credit Union works with Green Buzz on motion-graphic videos to help explain complex financial concepts to an audience who may be introduced to them for the first time. 

“It’s not easy for them to understand if a talking head tells them (something),” Plotkin said. “There’s just too much there. But a motion graphic is perfect because a motion graphic has a voiceover. It has statistics that you can put on the screen. It has an actual visual story that you can tell. So you can basically tell three stories at the same time.” 

But that doesn’t mean that a motion graphic is perfect for all scenarios. Plotkin posed the hypothetical of working with a non-profit on a video describing how donations help kids. That may not be the best time to bust out the animation. That’s when you’d want interviews and footage of children who have been helped. 

“It doesn’t make any sense because a motion graphic takes away the whole human element of it,” he said. “It takes away the human space, it takes away how that human feels in that moment.” 

2. Making your video too short. 

Just as you’ve got to choose the right visual storytelling method for a video, you’ve got to ensure it’s the right length to tell your story without boring your audience. 

So that must mean you need to keep it short, right? 

Not so fast, Plotkin said. 

“The reason why a lot of corporate videos need to be short is they’re just not that compelling,” he explained. “They’re not that good. But if you have a great story, if you have a dynamic central person, if you have a really impactful organization that you’re talking about, then then you should let that breathe.” 

Like any piece of messaging, videos should be the length they need to be to tell your story while also holding a viewer’s attention. That might be 5 minutes or 37 seconds. The right length is whatever the right length is. Because long doesn’t have to mean boring if a video is produced properly. 

“You don’t want to have a static image where just a talking head on screen, that’s not very interesting. That’s not going to keep people engaged,” Plotkin said. “You want to make sure that the editing pace is faster, people’s attention spans are really short. So you want to make sure that there are lots of different visuals that they can tap into.” 

3. Not planning video shoots carefully 

A video needs careful choreography to get its points across, and this hurdle often arises during the shooting process. . 

Plotkin recommends working to identify umbrella topics or themes that you want to highlight in the video. Then work backwards to figure out which interview subjects can hit one or more of those themes. 

“At that point, it’s about writing the interview questions and making sure that you’re looking for certain sound bites,” Plotkin said. “You’re looking for certain things that they’re saying, and they’re answers that will help you construct that story that you want to tell about that organization under those themes.” 

Then, once you’ve conducted the interview, look for visuals to help support what the subject has described. 

“While someone is doing an interview, you want to kind of key in on other visuals that go along with what they’ve said in the interview,” Plotkin said. “And then you want to go and find those things. So it talks about playing frisbee outside. You want to make sure hey, can I go outside with you? Can you guys toss a Frisbee back and forth because you mentioned this in your interview?” 

Wherever your visual storytelling journey takes you, avoid these video traps to create beautiful, thoughtful pieces that resonate with your audience. 

Sherri Kolade contributed to this report.

Allison Carter is editor-in-chief of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


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