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Top 10 Most Common Video Mistakes to Avoid

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All too often, marketers and creatives end up making videos for their businesses that don’t engage their audience or make them want to know more about their brand.

You might be wondering, how does this happen? We’ll be honest with you, there’s no magic trick or marketing hack for making a successful brand video. But, we can tell you some common mistakes people make when producing videos for their company to help steer you in the right direction.

Read on to learn more about the video creation blunders you should avoid and how you can build up your creative muscle to start making better videos for your business.

Before you start producing your marketing videos, it’s important to get in the right frame of mind. What are the goals of the video? Where is the video going to be used? What is the best type of video to communicate your message? These are all important things to consider before pressing play. Here are a few mistakes to avoid in the video planning and pre-production proess.

1. Not using a script — planning makes perfect

One of the most common video mistakes we see is marketers and producers not using a formal script. Don’t let the thought of writing a professional video script scare you — simply putting pen to paper (er, fingers to keyboard) is a great way to organize your thoughts and form a cohesive story. Be sure to show your script to other team members and to read it out loud before filming. You’d be surprised at how unnatural some written words or phrases can sound versus a more casual and conversational tone.

2. Setting the wrong tone — align with your brand

Knowing your brand values and the product or service you’re showcasing is extremely important for coming up with the concept for your video. From wardrobes and background music to scripting and lighting, these elements can all impact how your audience will feel after watching your content.

For example, if your product is a fun social app, make sure your video matches the fun and social aspect of your brand. You wouldn’t want to mistakenly use a somber tone and solitary voice-over in your video because it wouldn’t align with the essence of your product. If the style of the video doesn’t match your overall brand, you could easily confuse your viewers.

3. Assuming your audience will care — give them a reason

Another mistake you can make as a creator is believing your audience will be equally as fascinated by watching your video as your friends, family, and coworkers. The support of your closest cheerleaders is important, but you can’t assume your brand’s audience will instantly love your video and share it with their networks. Truth be told, your audience will only care about your video if it is useful or entertaining to them.

“Truth be told, your audience will only care about your video if it is useful or entertaining to them.”

To be useful, create a video idea around how your product’s features could help someone solve a problem or the benefits it provides. For example, we’ve built a robust library of video production content to help creators and marketers get started with video.

To be entertaining, there are an infinite amount of ways you can delight your audience while injecting a little brand flair into your videos. Think about ways to hook your viewers within the first few seconds or ways you can get them super excited about what you have to offer.

For some inspiration, check out this video our sales team made that has continuously proven to delight people:

In an effort to make a video that will connect and resonate with your audience, you should take a walk in their shoes and ask yourself: Would this video be interesting to someone who’s not already invested in the subject matter or familiar with my brand? These considerations could make all the difference in deciding which route to take so you can make a solid first impression.

4. Not using examples — tell a story

One of the best things about video is that it gives people the opportunity to tell stories about their products or ideas without losing any of the information they want to get across. That’s why you should consider using examples or storytelling in your content. Not only do examples and stories make videos more interesting, but they also make content easier to follow and understand.

Case studies and customer testimonials are fantastic ways to tell stories authentically. By asking the right questions, you can clearly highlight the specific ways your product or service has helped your customers. With this format, your audience can hear how your product might be able to solve their problems, too. Additionally, customer testimonials add credibility. If a viewer recognizes the company who uses your product, they might be more inclined to choose you over a competitor.

“Case studies and customer testimonials are fantastic ways to tell stories authentically. By asking the right questions, you can clearly highlight the specific ways your product or service has helped your customers.”

If you want to create a storyline from scratch, that’s a completely viable option as well. We’ve done that for Wistia Channels, our feature that turns your video collection into a binge-watchable format that encourages viewers to spend more time with your brand.

For the product video, our production team landed on a silly idea for it to take place in a guitar shop. Throughout the video, the guitar shop proprietor walks you through how he uses Channels to showcase all of his content, while also illuminating the greatest features Channels has to offer. Take a look at the video for some storytelling inspiration:

5. Thinking inside the frame — get creative!

Whether your business offers a physical product or a service, video is a great way to introduce your brand to the world! Video can be a valuable tool to help answer people’s questions and pique their interests. However, many companies fall into a similar mindset when making introductory and demo videos. We believe these types of videos don’t have to be boring.

To show off or announce a new product, your video doesn’t have to consist of someone demonstrating an in-app walkthrough or a hands-on how-to (though those are great places to start). In fact, it can even be entertaining! That’s where thinking outside the box comes into play instead of thinking inside the frame. You could film a fake game show about your product, record a catchy jingle about its features, or cook up an interesting narrative centered around how people actually use your product in action.

No matter what type of video you make, try to move away from the norms of its genre. If you stretch your creative legs a little, your video will be more interesting and memorable. Only by somehow defying what’s usually done can your video rise above the average.

For some inspiration, check out a video we made celebrating the launch of Wistia for Chrome:


Now that you’ve considered the purpose and tone for your video and have a creative idea in mind, it’s time to follow through with your plans.

Here are some production mistakes that often occur during the execution stage and a few tactical tips that’ll help you craft a high-quality video without a full-scale production crew.

6. Bad lighting — look critically at your shot

Is your lighting looking dull or shadowy? To get great lighting for your video, you don’t need expensive or professional-grade equipment. The best light to use for a shot is often the most convenient! Effective lighting for your video is all a matter of taste and being able to look critically at your shot to indicate the areas that could use some supplemental lighting.

“To get great lighting for your video, you don’t need expensive or professional-grade equipment. The best light to use for a shot is often the most convenient!”

Our Head of Production, Chris Lavigne, has created a super helpful guide for a technique he dubbed “Lighting on the Fly” that covers techniques for ambient light, light setup, light source, and color temperature as well as equipment you can purchase. And if you’re working with a smaller budget, our “Down and Dirty Lighting Kit” is an attainable and repeatable setup that will keep people on camera looking sharp and well-lit for under $100. While this kit isn’t the end-all be-all for lighting in every video, it’s one way to start developing your lighting instincts!

7. Poor sound quality — make sure your message is crystal clear

Audio also plays a major role in the way viewers experience your video. If people can’t understand your message, it can lead to poor engagement and a negative overall experience.

There are three main variables you should consider when recording sound for your video: the environment you’re recording in, how far your microphone is from the sound source, and what kind of microphone you are using.

We’ve created a guide all about recording audio for business video that covers choosing a microphone, setting the gain, essential audio gear, and how to record video with a DSLR camera.

Additionally, if you’re experiencing “roomy” or “echoey” audio in your videos, we have a post that’ll help you improve your audio quality with tips for getting your sound as natural and clear as possible.

Have you ever felt sea-sick watching a video? Shaky footage can be hard to overlook. Even though a lot of cameras and rigs have built-in stabilization, shaky footage still rears its ugly head from time to time. Luckily, this is something you might be able to fix in post-production — but we’ve compiled our best tips for shooting stable handheld video footage for when you’re on set to save some extra time. If it’s just you and your camera, you can use your body or elements of your environment to capture steady shots. We highlight some handy tricks that we like to use in this post.

For shooting folks speaking on screen, we highly recommend using a tripod instead of going stand-free. Of course, there are a myriad of other instances where a tripod is a must-have like capturing time-lapses, close-up shots, and especially for shooting video by yourself. The main takeaway here is that it doesn’t hurt to have stabilization gear at the ready!

And, if you’re trying to vary up your shots, we know three ways for shooting overhead video. Here’s a video that’ll teach you how to use a tripod, a boom pole, or a mirror to capture an impressive shot from above!

9. Not using a call to action — tell your audience what to do next

Although you might’ve created a beautiful video that’s getting a ton of views, you might not be driving the conversions you were expecting. That’s why incorporating a call to action in your video can help you tell your audience what you want them to do next!

Incorporating a call to action in your script is one way to drop a hint, but you can also do so in post-production with illustrations and graphics. If you use Wistia, you can simply customize your video with Calls to Action and other conversion tools throughout your content to create opportunities for deeper engagement, make the video experience easier and more enjoyable, and collect all kinds of interesting data.

10. Not customizing the video to match your brand — bring it all together

Lastly, if you want to familiarize people with your brand, you should bring elements of your branding into your video. Whether that’s with design in post-production or in another creative way, customizing your video to match your brand can tie everything together.

With Wistia, you can also easily customize the player color to match colors in your brand guidelines and make it look snazzy on your site! We think it’s a pretty neat feature if we do say so ourselves.

Want to nerd out over production? Check out this post for more video production faux pas to avoid!

Now that you know some common mistakes people make, we hope you feel more confident about going into the creative process. Video offers amazing opportunities to catch people’s interest with something educational, entertaining, and even artistic.

Making a great video can ensure your audience’s first exposure to your product or idea is a memorable and positive experience. But, if the video falls flat in some aspect, it can have the opposite effect. So, avoid making these common mistakes and start getting more creative with your business videos to effectively engage your audience!

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Video Marketing

7 Fashion-Forward Video Series to Keep Your Eye On

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Who said videos about fashion were only made for the big screen? The Devil Wears Prada might be a pretty high standard to live up to, but in reality, tons of brands are already making innovative shows and video series to help move their businesses forward.

In fact, we recently stumbled upon four fashion-focused brands that are all creating entertaining, binge-worthy video series, that even Meryl Streep herself might be interested in watching. Businesses like Vans, Refinery29, Marc Jacobs, and Foot Locker stood out to us as top-dogs in the branded content space because their shows are so clearly focused on attracting a niche audience, which is a key part of executing an effective brand affinity marketing strategy. Plus, they’re just plain fun to watch!

Who doesn’t love a good surf video? Have you ever wondered what it really means to be a “sneakerhead”? Take a look at what these creative brands put out into the world and get some insights into what you can do at your business to make an awesome series yourself!

We bet you know someone in your life who owns a fresh pair of Vans. But if you’re not familiar with the brand, Vans is the original action sports footwear, apparel, and accessories brand promoting creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture.

Vans decided to showcase those company values with a video series called Weird Waves, which follows the gnarly journey of Dylan Graves as he introduces viewers to “the weirder side of surf culture and the characters who chomp weird waves.” In two seasons, he links up with people from the underground side of the surf scene to ride everything from waves in wintery Great Lakes to waves formed by falling ice in Alaska. This show is no joke — things get weird!

To successfully showcase what their brand stands for, Vans identified the perfect brand ambassador to be the host for an engaging binge-worthy series. While not everyone can relate to riding waves in unthinkable places like Dylan Graves and his friends, viewers can be entertained and identify with how Vans is a champion of creative self-expression.

In a more fashion-focused realm, Refinery29 is an online media and entertainment hub that appeals to young women who may be interested in style, health, careers, technology, and a whole lot more. To pique the interests of their target audience, they’ve created an award-winning video series called Style Out There exploring “the connections between clothing, community, and culture across the world.”

Style Out There features hosts Asha Leo and Connie Wang as they travel the world to learn more about “the ways clothing has given women a way to speak out, look within, and identify the forces that limit their potential.” In season one, watch Leo dig into Decora style in Tokyo and how it goes against the mainstream, or jump ahead to season three and learn about Afrofuturist fashion with Wang and why it’s more than just a costume for black women.

For someone interested in style, this series goes deeper than the outward appearance of an outfit or accessory. It shows the significance of fashion for people to express themselves around the world.

Now, if you’ve ever wondered what the inner workings of a high fashion label look like days before a runway show, check out Marc Jacobs’ The Making of RUNWAY.

This six-part series follows Marc himself, Joseph Carter, Creative Director of Runway, as well as many of the faces working to run the ship five days before Marc Jacobs’ February 13, 2019 show. From fittings and design meetings to set and music planning, they show you what it takes to make a fashion show a success.

Marc Jacobs is a world-renown brand, but the way they shot their behind-the-scenes footage could be pulled off by any company big or small. Whether you’re aspiring to work for Marc Jacobs or a fan of the brand, this simple series gives you an authentic look at the people, the work, and the creativity that makes Marc Jacobs what it is.

In the fashion industry, Patagonia is famous not only for leading the fight against climate change but also for spearheading the binge-worthy content movement with their visually stunning and thought-provoking documentary series.

To promote their signature line of work-friendly attire, they blended their passion for the environment with the art of storytelling to craft a video series called Workwear.

In this seven-part video series, you’ll meet farmers, eco-friendly automotive technicians, conservationists, fishermen, and more to learn what drives them to work so hard day in and day out and how they protect the environment while doing so.

Even though Workwear is meant to promote Patagonia’s line of work clothing, they don’t draw any direct attention to their products.

Instead, Patagonia focuses on the real reason each person in the video series chooses to make an honest living. And with over 2.5 million views on YouTube, they’ve reached and resonated with plenty of people who share the same “why” when it comes to their work.

Lululemon is an athletic apparel retailer with strong roots in yoga, running, and any other activity that makes you break a sweat and feel great. However, when they think about their marketing, they make sure not to just focus on the physical aspects of these activities. They also make sure to highlight the mental and emotional side of physical fitness.

To celebrate the International Day of Yoga, for example, Lululemon released a video series called Yoga Changed My Life to tell the stories of three people who used the power of yoga to overcome a traumatic experience.

From conquering teenage homelessness to a near-death experience due to a complication from Crohn’s disease, you’ll learn how powerful yoga can be for the mind, body, and soul.

Most athletic apparel retailers try to generate demand for their products by emphasizing the physical benefits of exercise, but Lululemon understands that truly resonating with an audience requires a message much more inspiring than that. You can’t just strive to look good — you also need to feel good.

Nike’s I Am Giannis tells the origin story of Giannis Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and one of the best basketball players in the NBA.

Giannis is known for having a strong work ethic and bulldog mentality that rivals the game’s most iconic players’. And after watching this five-part video series, you’ll quickly understand how his humble beginnings in Athens, Greece have fueled his fire to reach the upper echelon of the basketball world.

You can’t help but smile as you watch Giannis’s story unfold. From getting selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft to attracting thousands of Greek and Nigerian fans to each of his games to designing his own signature Nike shoe — the story is both uplifting and inspirational.

As marketers, we recognize that Nike knows how to tell a compelling story, especially with just a few words. But by venturing into long-form storytelling and spinning a narrative about one person’s life over 20 minutes of video content, they might have just told their best story yet.

After seeing the ideas these brands have come up with, we hope you’re feeling inspired to start creating a video series of your own! Start by figuring out what makes your brand unique and what your current audiences like about you. The next concept for the perfect video series could be right under your nose!

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5 Food and Beverage Video Series That’ll Make You Hungry for More Content

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Do you remember the iconic “how many licks” Tootsie Pops commercials from the 70s? What about the heartwarming snowman that thawed after eating a satisfying bowl of Campbell’s soup?

Many food and beverage brands are famous for their clever and memorable advertisements.

However, only a handful have taken their creativity to the next level and crafted full-scale video series that rival the very TV shows they place their ads with.

We’ve rounded up five of the best video series in the food and beverage world so you can draw inspiration for your next project. Read on to cook up some delicious ideas for your next show!

As the most popular energy drink in the world, Red Bull naturally gears its brand toward pro athletes who participate in extreme sports. One of the ways the company connects with this cohort is by crafting thrilling video series about the world’s most extreme athletes. From a video series about wingsuit fliers to one about the top athletes in their respective extreme sport, you can get your daily dose of adrenaline from a single episode.

But out of all of Red Bull’s video series, the arguably most compelling one is about the athletes who have overcome near-impossible odds to ascend to the heights of their extreme sport. It’s called The Way of the Wildcard.

In this wild video series, you’ll hear from a two-time cancer survivor who holds two world records in cycling, a former prisoner turned Iron Man triathlete, working-class brothers who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in rowing, and many more impressive athletes.

All of the stories in The Way of the Wildcard are naturally chock-full of conflict, which grips audiences from start to finish. And by showing audiences how these athletes achieved their dreams with the odds stacked against them, it inspires viewers to do the same.

Growing up, a day out with your friends during the summer usually included a swim at the pool, a bonfire, and a can of soda. Was there anything more carefree?

Coca-Cola wanted to tap into this nostalgia to forge a closer bond with their audience. Their bold idea? A video series called One Last Summer, which follows a group of incoming college freshmen as they enjoy their last summer together.

Throughout the four-part series, you’ll learn all about this friend group’s future plans, watch them cross off their summer bucket list, and navigate the complexities of their high school romances.

Each episode of One Last Summer focuses on a single character. This approach allows you to get to know them personally, understand the dynamic of their friend group, and understand why it’ll be bittersweet for them to split up when it’s time to go off to college.

One Last Summer is sure to transport you back to your most carefree days as a teenager — and it might even persuade you to crack open a Coke while you’re at it.

When you think of Cadbury, you most likely think of rich, creamy chocolate. And when you think of chocolate, you might reminisce on the good old days when your mom or dad would slip you a piece of chocolate after dinner.

That’s why Cadbury decided to create Families Reunited, a video series that aims to reconnect parents with their teenage children by giving parents a crash course on their children’s passions.

In this two-part video series of 20-minute episodes, you’ll watch a dad learn how to pop a wheelie on a BMX bike just like his son. Then, you’ll watch a mom learn how to conquer the ice and figure skate with her son. At the end of each episode, the parent ultimately proves to their kid that they’re not as different as they think. Even better, they can also spend time bonding over a shared passion.

Almost every parent goes through a rough patch with their kids, especially when they’re teenagers. But Families Reunited lets parents who have drifted from their kids know that they’re not alone. It also inspires them to truly understand their kids before they try to rekindle their relationships with them.

Known for their fun, playful brand identity, Taco Bell stuck to their guns when they released The Taco Bell Show. It’s a game show that features celebrities — including Drake Bell and Spencer Pratt — known and loved by Taco Bell’s young target audience.

On the show, the host and the guest celebrity play Taco Bell-inspired games, like “Diablo Dare.” It’s Truth or Dare, but instead of doing a dare, participants have to drench a tortilla chip in diablo sauce and eat it. What a creative way to plug two of their products into one game — kudos, Taco Bell!

The Taco Bell Show draws you in from the beginning by immediately informing you what it’s all about — a game show with celebrities. It then keeps you glued to your screen by having the celebrities play fun, creative games. If you ask us, that’s definitely a recipe for binge-worthy content success.

Another brand that leans on humor and lightheartedness, Kentucky Fried Chicken released a series of satirical Shark Tank-esque pitches for outlandish business ideas called KFC Innovations Lab. These ideas include Colonel on Ice, a bow tie that also serves as a GPS locator, and a walking cane that doubles as a remote control for your TV.

All of these pitches relate to KFC’s founder Colonel Sanders in a creative way, which makes the video series one of the funniest in the food and beverage industry. After watching it, you’ll laugh so hard that you’ll work up an appetite, and KFC hopes it’ll be for some of their famous fried chicken.

Crafting a creative and compelling video series is just like cooking. It’ll be hard. It’ll get messy. And there’s a chance you might burn the dish to a crisp. But, hopefully, with these examples, you can put together a recipe for a video series that will please your audience’s palate.

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Announcing “Built to Last”: An Audio Conference from Buffer and Wistia

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If you’ve watched an episode of Brandwagon or tuned into our Change the Channel event last year, then you know there’s nothing we love more than talking to people about what it takes to build a great brand. And now, we’re super excited to continue that conversation with Buffer, a social media management platform, throughout Built to Last — a free audio-conference for brand builders.

Taking place on August 19 and 20, this first-of-its-kind conference will feature guests (including our very own Chris Savage!) from companies that are invested in building stronger brands and creating compelling content in all forms. If you’re looking to learn how to foster organic growth, take marketing risks, or develop an audience of engaged advocates — this conference is for you.

Attending a marketing conference once meant spending an entire day in a windowless ballroom or glued to your computer screen for hours on end. By leveraging the power of podcasts, our conference sessions will be available for your listening pleasure no matter what you’re up to.

Wait a minute — what does an “audio-conference” really mean?

We’re taking the concept of an in-person conference and delivering it as a podcast. Built to Last attendees will receive access to a private podcast feed where we’ll release seven episodes over the two-day conference. Each episode will feature lessons and insights to help you craft memorable content and campaigns that create devoted audiences.

By signing up to attend this conference, you’ll get access to the content in real-time or on-demand (with show notes!). We encourage listening while making a meal, getting some fresh air, or moving your body. In other words — you do you!

Beyond the podcast episodes, we’re encouraging attendees to join our private community to network with each other, participate in facilitated discussions, and interact with select speakers live. Simply sign up to attend Build to Last and you’ll be invited to join — simple as pie.

We hope you’ll join us for this interactive podcast experience. If you’re as pumped as we are, then head on over to the Buffer site to register, see the full list of speakers, and get all the conference details. Oh, and be sure to charge those headphones so you’re ready to rock ’n roll!

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