Marketing Best Practices

4 Video Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

By Ashley Taylor Anderson May 14, 2015

Have you ever had a conversation with your team about video marketing that went something like this?

“We’re spending all this time creating videos, but they’re not doing well. What’s going on?”

“What do you mean, not doing well?”

“Well, we thought we’d get major traffic and engagement from our videos. Like BuzzFeed.”

“But we’re not BuzzFeed.”

“We want to be the BuzzFeed for our industry.”

“Okay—so what does BuzzFeed do that we don’t?”

“…They include cats?”

Every brand, publisher, and business producing video content wants to know what they’re doing wrong when their performance doesn’t live up to expectations. Part of this may be that expectations are set unrealistically high—after all, your company probably isn’t BuzzFeed. But the other part of it is that producing great videos is hard.

If you’ve created video marketing content before, you know that a lot goes into visual storytelling: scripting, talent, filming, production, music, packaging, distribution, and the list goes on. With so many factors at play, assessing why your content is underperforming can be difficult.

However, there are a few common mistakes that businesses often make when producing videos for marketing purposes. In this article, I’ll cover 4 of the big ones I’ve encountered as a content marketer.

Mistake 1: Skipping the Context

Writers tend to rely on narrative to hook readers in gradually. With video, though, there’s no such luxury. If you don’t set up what your video is about and why someone should watch it in the first few seconds, people will bounce, regardless of the overall length of your video.

If your video is on a particularly complex topic, or you have a bunch of videos that contribute to a larger concept, it may be tough to provide enough context within the video itself. In these cases, it’s a great idea to create an interactive experience or microsite that guides the viewer through the overarching story you’re trying to convey and clearly shows how your videos fit in with that story.

A nice example of this is the inspiration site NewsCred put together for their #ThinkContent conference. They skillfully curated video content for the site, providing context and a story that goes along with each featured company.

Video Microsite

Mistake 2: Omitting Your Company’s Branding

So you’ve created a great video, and it’s getting tons of shares—sweet! But it doesn’t seem to be driving any traffic into your site. What’s going on?

It may be a simple issue of branding—or lack thereof. Most social networks now support native video posts and embeds from YouTube and Wistia, so if someone comes across your videos on social, they may totally overlook the company who originally created the piece.

The solution is to create a branded intro and/or outro you can use on every video you produce. This way, your company branding stays with the piece wherever it’s shared, and you have a better chance of driving awareness and traffic back to your site.

Google nailed it with their video on Facebook about Campus Seoul. Their super simple outro includes their logo and URL so that anyone who views this video shared by a friend knows who originally produced the content.

Facebook Video Post

Mistake 3: Neglecting to Optimize for Search

We marketers are usually pretty good about optimizing our written content for search, but this doesn’t always translate to video content. Sure, it’s easy to pick a topic that’s relevant to your audience—but when it comes to writing the title and description for that video, SEO can make a huge difference between getting a few views and getting a lot of views.

Keep in mind that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google with more than 3 billion searches a month, so choosing the right tile, description, and tags for your video on YouTube is just as important as choosing the right page title, meta description, and alt tags for a web page.

Mistake 4: Forgetting to Include a CTA

Unless you’re in the business of monetizing page views with advertising or sponsored content, you’re probably using videos to drive your audience to other content or product pages for your company. But just having the presenter say where you want your viewers to go isn’t enough. As with any other piece of marketing collateral, you need to include a clear CTA.

A great place to do this is at the end of your video with a link or button in the video itself. YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Facebook, and other platforms support in-video CTAs; you can also have a direct link in your description as well.

J.Crew handled this nicely with their Travel with Style teaser video on YouTube, where they included a clear CTA both in the video and in the description.

Video CTA

The Bottom Line

Videos are a great type of content to have in your wheelhouse, but they also require more time and resources to create. In order to make sure you see a strong ROI on your investment, make sure you provide context, clear branding, key search terms, and strong calls-to-action for all of your videos.

What other video mistakes would you caution marketers against? Tell me in the comments section below!

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