How To Balance Message With Production Quality
Ok, so lets talk money. When it comes to producing video your budget is going to be the key factor in how good the final product is. Yes, there are fairy stories about films produced by companies shot on a mobile phone going “viral” and getting millions of views. And you may also be told that it’s all about being creative on limited budgets. But lets be honest, how many videos went viral this year? Can you name them? The truth is that only a handful (and we’re talking single figures here) of videos “go viral” so if that is part of your video marketing plan then you should be realistic about what you will actually achieve.
Search Engines Love SEO
There is also a school of thought that says “any video marketing content is good for your business” and that by simply having any video content on your site is a positive force due to its effect on SEO (search engine optimisation). If you’re not too familiar with this then let me break it down a little. Search engines LOVE video. There’s a much better chance of your company getting to the top of the search pages if you have video content on your website and on your social media pages (Youtube etc). This led to many SEO experts advising that “even video shot on your mobile phone” would have a positive effect on your business.
You’ve probably seen “video blogs” or “company welcome” videos on corporate websites that companies have shot with low production values in the hope that just having “any video content” would be a step in the right direction.
The approach assumes that viewers don’t expect high production quality from some corporate video and that the low budget “blog” type films are actually an endearing and honest way to engage them.
How Important is Production?
The idea being that as long as there is actual content being delivered (eg, advice, tips, news) then the picture, sound and production quality is not important. This is plain wrong and makes a dangerous assumption about what customers expect and demand from a business or organisation.
Let me give you an example. This was a real conversation that actually happened.
Business – “We’ve shot a 30 minute intro film for our business to help us increase SEO. Our internet marketing advisor said that having a long film on our site would be great for helping search engines find us and new customers engage with our brand. We were advised that quality wasn’t important as a search engine couldn’t distinguish between a professionally produced film and one we shot ourselves”
I need to re-iterate that this was actually a real conversation! A company actually did this! Yes, really. I’m guessing that no one (apart form the business owners) ever watched the whole thing.
There are many things wrong with this approach.
First Brand Experience
One of the most important things to remember when producing online video is that it will most probably be viewed be someone experiencing your brand for the first time. That’s a good thing. New customers are what this is all about.
But the power of online video is such that it’s not a static element. If you’ve marketed the video well then you’ll have probably placed a copy on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and twitter etc to maximise it’s distribution.
This means that your new customer may only ever experience and view your film out of the context of your website. It may be embedded in a Youtube share, or linked to on twitter. Therefore it wont be surrounded by the rest of your website as backup to its own presentation strengths and branding quality.
So if you’ve intended to create content with low production quality in the hope that the surrounding website will add the extra polish that you’d normally associate with your brand then you may have made a mistake.
All the Viewer Will See Is The Video
When the content is embedded, shared, or linked to by social media in many cases all that the viewer will see is the video itself. Every initial impression, assumption and conclusion they have about you will be developed from viewing the video alone. That’s why every element of the video you produce should have the polish and quality you expect from all the other elements in your marketing toolbox.
Lets imagine that you’ve produced a film that doesn’t really capture your usual quality or brand ethos but you decide to put it online anyway to help drive those all important search stats. If this works then your company may rise up the search pages and generate more visits. Great. But the top hit I the search traffic may be this video so all the new customers generated will all land on your less than ideal video. If the video then creates the impression that your brand values aren’t that high then the net result of the whole exercise will be making a negative impression on more people!
To argue that it’s all about delivering content NOT production quality is counterproductive. If I need to give a potential customer my business address then the quality of information I am about to give them relies on me accurately passing them my address. However I don’t hand write my business cards in the belief that as long as the information or content is correct (ie my address is spelt correctly) then the quality of the delivery mechanism (ie – a hand written business card) is not important. We all know the truth here.
Communicate Strength of Brand
As businesses we spend time and money ensuring that our marketing communicates the strength of our brand and the quality we deliver. Every aspect of the way in which we present ourselves will add to the way in which new customers perceive our business and the trust they have in what we offer.
If you really think that you can output low quality marketing items in the belief that “its better than having none at all” then take a look at some of the most successful companies in the world today – Apple, Samsung, VW. Everything you expect from these companies products can be seen in the way they present their online video. But, hey! I hear you say, “these companies have millions to spend on production and my company doesn’t!”. Well yes, you’re right. These companies will spend serious amounts of cash in order to present high quality video production values. But here’s an example of SME client that we recently produced video for who had a modest budget but a clear understanding of the quality they required and the importance of presenting every aspect of their brand in the best possible way to new customers.
If you would like to read more about how to boost your production quality, read our article about grip. If you’d like some quality SEO advice for your business then we’d recommend our own guru Mr Ben Read.