You spent a fortune producing a gorgeous company video. A bunch of guys with very expensive camera gear spent all day interviewing your executive team (and you’re pretty sure one of those guys called himself a Director). The video hits all of your talking points and, to everyone’s surprise, even Doug, who is usually a rambling idiot, nailed it. When you first showed it to the office, Allison cried, and everyone applauded. You rolled it out to your entire email list and posted it on Facebook with a proud, “Check out our new company video!”

Most of your clients applauded it, you received about 130 views, and now it lies, lifeless, in the depths of YouTube’s corporate video graveyard. After the excitement of seeing yourself on video wears off, you start thinking about the amount of money you spent for… 130 views, most of which are your existing clients. Worst of all, analytics show that people stop watching a quarter of the way through, so they’re not even making it to the part where your logo does that cool spinning thing. What happened?

Your intent was good but the execution was flawed. You told your story––your mission, your vision, your history, your processes––and therein lies the problem. You had someone’s attention for eight seconds (the amount of time it takes for a viewer to decide whether they’re going to keep watching), and you told your story. Instead of creating an engaging, entertaining experience, you made a video full of all the things you wanted to say. You made the video for yourself rather than for the viewer. Case in point, you rolled it out begging people to watch it (your “Check out our video” Facebook post).

An estimated 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube each minute. That means people aren’t exactly starving for content — there are plenty of options. Today, time is the most precious commodity––the highest-rated intangible item of value––and people are very serious about how they spend it.

Here are some tips for making video content for other people:

  1. Always ask, “What’s in it for the viewer?” Entertainment? Utility? “They get to learn about us” is not a good answer to this question. And if a producer suggests you “get your story out there,” collect your things and leave. The story you tell needs to be about your viewer.

  2. Show more than you tell. A wine manufacturer, for example, could create a video where the owner talks about how great the wine is OR they could create a dynamic experience showing beautiful magic hour close ups of the grapes, the bottling, and pouring — in a way that would make your mouth water while watching. The story is about them and their experience.

  3. You don’t need as much verbal information as you think. The human brain can only hold and recall so much information before we start to unload. Data shows that the more information is thrown at us, the less we remember. More, focus groups show us that much of the information you think is important actually isn’t. For example, company history and environmental efforts are on the bottom of consumer priorities. Save these things for dedicated spin off videos or literature.

At HackStone, we always strive to learn about our clients’ audience. We begin most relationships by taking inventory of the current video library and looking at performance metrics. It should always be part of the process to avoid wasted money. We guide our clients toward producing master marketing videos for maximum impact. Video is a powerful medium — one of the few that allows you to use two senses together to emote and guide your viewer through any emotion you want.

As humans, we feel very deeply, and actually seek out content that makes us feel. Don’t waste the opportunity with a 5-minute reel of boring.