As we dive into the three main reasons video initiatives fail, keep in mind the warning signs to watch for so you can avoid the struggles that others have succumbed to in the past.
You need to start with a ‘culture of video’ mindset
For a video initiative to thrive, we recommend focusing on a “culture of video” at your business. Granted, any time the word “culture” gets thrown around, we’re venturing into abstract territory. But still, the point is a valid one.
All too often, businesses see video production as an exotic, once-a-year type thing. They hire a production company to come in for a full-day shoot. It’s exciting and stressful. And maybe they get one or two beautiful, highly produced videos out of it.
Instead of video being something that’s a rare occurrence, creating a culture of video means that video becomes something you do frequently and publish every week. In turn, your employees become more comfortable with being on camera because your videographer is an employee they see and work with every day.
Suddenly, video becomes a part of everything you do. Your website proudly displays videos that tell the stories of the clients you've helped, your sales team uses video as their primary method of prospecting and selling, and your team can be seen, heard, and known through the bio videos on your website.
Devon McCarty is a They Ask, You Answer coach with a deep background in video production and strategy.
He helps businesses integrate video into everything they do — to build a culture of video within their organizations.
Although video can have a massive influence on all aspects of a business, its effect on sales can have the quickest and most profound impact.
“The real magic of a video strategy,” Devon says, “is how it empowers your sales team to start working with customers in a way that builds trust and expedites the sales cycle in a way that conventional emails and cold calls just can’t.”
Simply put, video builds trust and speeds up the buying process.
When you establish a culture of video, your entire team is on board with your video production strategy, and your customers can engage with — and learn from — video at every stage of their buyer’s journey.
Invest in your video success: Time and money
When business leaders think about in-house video production, they’re wary of a huge upfront investment in technology that could become obsolete in a few years.
Devon advises his clients differently: “Remember, the greatest videos are the ones that are the most helpful and relevant to your audience.”
You can get started on a shoestring: with a smartphone and a $40 lav mic kit from Amazon. Chances are, your budget is a bit higher than just 40 bucks, but you don’t have to break the bank to get going.
“You don’t need to start with a 4K camera,” Devon says. “A DSLR, a good microphone, and some decent lights will be everything you need to get started.”
You’ll also need a computer to complete edits, as well as a software platform, but these both become cheaper and easier to use each passing year.
Along with hardware and software, you need to prepare to invest time.
Yes, an in-house videographer will focus full-time on video production, but that’s not enough. Other team members need to contribute as well.
Marketers might need to write scripts or build landing pages.
Company leaders might need to help craft strategy and goals.
Company experts will have to make time to be interviewed on camera.
Employees might need to travel for filming.
Someone must be designated to review and approve all videos.
Even though a videographer is usually a one-person video team, they can’t do it alone.
A video initiative can fail if there isn’t adjacent buy-in from other team members — and you should consider that a prerequisite for getting started.
With that, you’re really ready to begin.
🔎 If you're looking for more information to help get you started:
3 common mistakes that cause video initiatives to fail
If you’re about to get started with video, keep your eyes out for these all-too-common problems that can cripple your video production and burn out your videographer.
1. Perfection paralysis
Devon sums this challenge up simply: “When a company is so focused on making each video the best and most perfect video ever, they never publish anything.”
Naturally, you want your videos to look and sound good, but your goal shouldn’t be perfection — it should be helpfulness. If a video will provide value to your audience and is on-brand, you should post it. Endless tweaks and edits will stop you from getting things out the door.
And remember, your first videos are not going to be your best ones (just ask HubSpot!), but building processes and getting videos completed will help you grow and improve.
Solution: Define what a ‘good’ video is
According to Devon, “A ‘good’ video is simply a clear story that answers the question, solves the problem, or takes the viewer to the next step of their journey, no matter what it is.”
Lighting, sound, editing, set design — all of these things will naturally improve over time. Don’t let perfection paralysis stop you from getting a good video out the door.
Pro tip: Don’t forget the purpose of your video initiative
When in doubt, go back and align with your original purpose. What are you making these videos for? If your video is good enough to help accomplish this task, ship it.
2. The videographer is wearing too many hats
The most successful videographers are the ones with a focus that’s narrow and clearly defined.
When the opposite is true, production can suffer or the videographer can burn out — through no fault of their own. So, how does a videographer come to be wearing too many hats? Usually in one of two ways:
Video production gets added to someone’s already full plate. Maybe a marketer or a sales rep has some video experience, so they get asked to make video production part of their job. The problem is, they already have a full-time job. Adding another huge responsibility is not going to work in the long term for a lot of reasons.
The videographer’s role keeps expanding. If you bring on a videographer for a specific reason, but soon you want them to handle social media, start a podcast, or work directly with customers, they’re going to feel overburdened.
Solution: Clearly define the job description for your videographer
It’s likely that your videographer will be a utility player on your team, says Devon. Still, be certain that they’re not being pulled in too many directions. Make sure their job description is clear, and have regular check-ins to determine their bandwidth and help set priorities.
There’s nothing wrong with a job description changing over time — just make sure that adding new responsibilities only happens if you’re removing other responsibilities.
Pro tip: Keep the strategy in mind
Make sure any new task you hand your videographer aligns with your strategy and goals. It might be tempting to ask for a 10th-anniversary video ahead of your off-site leadership retreat, but know that it will come at the expense of other things.
3. Death by review
Similar to perfection paralysis, death by review is an all-too-common roadblock that prevents videos from getting out the door.
When you build your production and review process, says Devon, “think about how many people really need to watch that video before it gets launched.”
The more layers of review you add, the slower the process, the more revisions, and the greater the chance that the videographer will head into editing with a half-dozen conflicting opinions.
Solution: Create a lean review team
Devon recommends his clients have no more than two or three people review scripts and videos.
One person can check for factual accuracies.
One person can make sure a video is on brand and aligned with your style guidelines.
You really shouldn’t need anyone else.
Pro tip: Establish clear review points
You’ll want edits to happen at the outline stage, at the script stage, and then at the rough-cut stage. These checkpoints avoid the headache of someone calling the script into question after the video has already been shot.
Expert advice: Starting off on the right foot
In Devon’s work with companies, he finds himself giving three main pieces of advice at the onset of any video strategy initiative:
Start with why: Make sure you know why you’re doing video in the first place. The better you define your mission, the better you can chart your course and evaluate your progress.
Then, bring your videographer in: It is not your videographer’s job (at least at first) to define strategy. Bring them in and share your vision, then get out of their way and let them work.
Trust your process: When you have a strategy, an owner, and a process, you have the major building blocks for success. The videos will get better, the results will come. Avoid micromanagement or impatience.
Put the right steps in place, bring on the right people, avoid the common missteps, and your video strategy will gain momentum and accomplish your goals.