In the time it takes you to finish reading this sentence, approximately 30 hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube. That’s an hour of video pumped onto the Internet every second. And that’s just YouTube.

If you include the videos that are uploaded to Vimeo, Facebook, Veoh, Daily Motion, and various other video-sharing sites every day, that number would be unfathomably larger.

The availability of low-cost equipment like Flip cams, easy-to-use editing software like iMovie, and free (or extremely cheap) video-publishing services has transformed us into a nation of filmmakers. The problem? Our handiwork suggests most of us went to the Blair Witch school of filmmaking, and flunked out after one semester.

The Internet is choking on crappy videos. Boring videos. Pointless videos. Videos that fail at being funny, fail at being informative, fail at being entertaining or enriching in any meaningful way.

Does that mean you should hang up your camera and stick to what you’re good at? No.

The sheer potential of online video makes it very much a worthwhile enterprise. But before you hit “Record” on your next project, here are five things to consider.

  1. Size matters. More specifically, length matters, and in this case, shorter is better. A needlessly long running time will run viewers off every time. While there is no one-size-fits-all rule for length, you will never go wrong in making an effort to keep your video as brief as possible. Not sure how long is too long? Find a test audience you can trust, and let them tell you their honest opinion.
  2. Story rules all. A video without a story is like a balloon without air: limp, boring, and useless. What’s that? You DO have a story to tell? Good. Now be sure to tailor it for your audience (see #3). While brevity is a virtue (see #1), don’t keep to a strict time limit at the expense of your story. We certainly didn’t on this 9-minute plus video we produced for the Tindley School. Use the time it takes to tell your story – but please, have a story.
  3. Know your audience. If content is king, then your audience is queen, and you should show it the proper deference. Never start planning a video before you’ve determined who your audience is. For example: you may not find this video we produced to explain the successes of the Near Eastside Super Bowl Legacy Initiative all that interesting – because you probably aren’t one of the neighborhood residents, city officials, civic leaders, or community development professionals for whom it was intended. Know your audience, and tailor your story accordingly.
  4. You aren’t that interesting. No offense. We think you’re perfectly delightful. But don’t give into the temptation to make your video all about you. Yes, it’s fun to talk on camera. But in video as in writing, it’s better to show rather than to tell. Sharing tips? Interview an expert. Explaining a process? Show that process. Promoting your business? Do it in an interesting, unexpected way.
  5. Don’t skimp on sound. How many times have you watched a video with a grainy, low-resolution picture because you were interested in the story? People will forgive poor visual quality if the story is strong. But if they have to struggle to hear it? Not a chance. Nothing will kill a video faster than poor sound. So get a camera with a good shotgun mic, or invest in a couple of lavalier microphones for interviews. It’s worth it.

Want to know more about how we handle video production at Well Done Marketing? Shoot us an email or give us a call. Want to see the broad range of online videos we’ve produced for our clients lately? Feel free to browse the WDM Vimeo page here.