Dan Haverty

Videos are powerful tools. They’re engaging, exciting and often make us want to do something. It’s no surprise then that they’re the main event for some of the best content marketing strategies out there.

You’d think that with so many videos circulating on the internet, we’d have a set of fool-proof ways to produce compelling content. But it turns out there’s a lot of misconceptions about what makes for a good video, and we could all use a refresher from the experts.

We got AJ Muffett, Brafton’s Video Creative Director, to give us his take on some of the most popular do’s and don’ts about videography.

1. Do Tell a Story

“Absolutely tell a story!” AJ says. “Why create a video if there’s no story to tell?” Telling a story is what brings the whole thing together. Without a story, videos don’t really have a point, they don’t draw in an audience and they don’t help you achieve your goals.

So how do you do it? “You want to tell a story that relates to your target audience. Don’t just tell a story that you think is interesting — tell a story that they will find interesting.” That might mean presenting a familiar problem right from the get-go, demonstrating potential work-throughs using some flashy graphics, and then topping it off with a way to solve that problem.

2. Do and Don’t Use a Script

This one can get a little complicated. For some videos you should definitely use a script. Others, not so much. “For animations or voiceover-driven pieces, it’s certainly important to have a script because you don’t want [your interviewees] winging it, and you want to have a clear goal to communicate.”

But if you’re putting together company “about us” videos, testimonials or even case studies, it makes more sense to let your interview subjects speak freely. This lets their passion come out. That’ll make the video feel more authentic, and your audience will relate to it much better.

3. Do Try To Create an Emotional Response

This one’s a no-brainer. “100% yes! Why would you create anything if you weren’t trying to get a response?” Video works best when viewers are engaged and walk away feeling something — that’s what’s going to get them to remember you and buy your product or service down the line.

Of course, not every emotional response is a good one, so you could be walking a fine line here. But as long as you’re evoking the appropriate response in the right way, making your viewers feel something when they watch your video is truly the mark of a successful video. “The worst thing you can have is for someone to watch a video and feel nothing,” AJ says.

4. Do and Don’t Use Stock Footage

There’s another fine line to walk when it comes to using stock footage. For lots of folks, there can be some negative connotations around stock footage. The term may evoke generic images of busy highway flyovers and businesspeople shaking hands.

But AJ tells us that stock footage is actually used in a lot more video content than we realize. “Well-placed, thoughtful stock footage is super useful and super important,” he says. “As long as it’s helping tell the narrative or move the story forward in a positive way, then stock footage is a good tool to add to your repertoire.”

5. Do Keep Your Videos Simple and Concise

You don’t want to make your videos so simple that they’re generic, but using tools like an AI video generator can help you avoid overcomplicating the video and crowding out your message. “If you overcomplicate it by making your scenes too busy or trying to fit too much narration in a short period of time and you lose the actual goal of the video, then you’ve lost the whole point of the video.”

6. Don’t Make Your Videos Too Long

This one is right there alongside keeping your videos concise. Most of us have short attention spans. Very short. One widely cited Microsoft study found that the average attention span is just 8 seconds. Your videos should reflect that reality and get your point across as efficiently as possible.

Plus, it pays to leave some information for viewers to wonder about: “You should leave your audiences wanting more when they leave a video. Enough for them to start a conversation or engage with your website after the fact,” says AJ.

7. Do Include a Call to Action

Always always always encourage your viewers to do something in your video. At the end of the day, the whole purpose of your video is to get people to do something, whether that’s filling out a form, going to your website or buying your product or service. If you don’t direct them anywhere, then what’s the point of the video?

8. Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Sometimes people push out videos expecting to see tons of clicks and likes pour in right away. That rarely happens, but you definitely should expect something to come from your videos. “Just because you created a video you shouldn’t expect immediate results, but you shouldn’t have just created a video just to create a video. You should’ve created a video with a goal or a purpose in mind that should’ve been part of a larger strategy.”

So there you have it. Expert insight on creating impactful marketing videos from one of our experts. At the end of the day, any one of the above tips will help you pack the most punch with your videos, but incorporating several (or all) of them into your video content strategies might really transform them for the better.