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There is one huge, fundamental error that people and businesses make when crating video content. Are you guilty of it?

The story

When creating any content it can be compelling to start by telling a story from personal experience. The problem I have is not that I don’t have a story but that I have too many.

Over the years producing video there is one mistake I have seen companies make over and over again. It either happens in the scripting phase or during the final edit and it is so fundamental that entire success of a video campaign can hinge on it.

The mistake

What is the big mistake that can cause the failure of a project? I can explain the mistake by giving a warning. It is only four words long but they can make a huge difference:

Don’t dilute your content!

Please sir, I want some more?

The mistake a lot of people make is trying to cram too much information in to a single video.

Does this sound familiar? You’re putting together a video or any piece of marketing content. You’re describing a product or service and you or a colleague leans across the metaphorical desk (sends you an email) and says “I think you could add a little more information”.

‘More information’ is not inherently bad, it can be necessary in some cases but can lead to overcrowded content.

Why dilute?

Let’s say you drink whisky. Or tea. Or fruit squash. Or any flavoured beverage that takes your fancy. You enjoy the taste. The more water your add, the more dilute the flavour becomes. Add too much and you stop being able to taste the flavour at all.

Content is the same. If you have a clear undiluted message the viewer can easily understand, pay attention and remember it. If you dilute with too much unnecessary detail or other messaging it becomes dilute and unmemorable. It goes from a valuable delicious drink to something that might just get spit out.

"To attempt mastery of everything inevitably makes us mediocre in many areas."

People are interested in one thing

People have lower attention spans than ever. When they watch a video it is because they have been promised something by the title, description or thumbnail that peaks their interest. If they cannot see what they were looking for they will stop watching.

To keep people’s attention a video needs to clearly answer the question the viewer has with no more detail than they need.

Why people keep making the mistake?

If you are guilty of this mistake – I get it! I really do.

People are passionate about their businesses and their products and feel like every element is important (it is but only to them). Passion, although good, is not always an objective place to come from and it is easy to get carried away. This passion is responsible for about half of overly diluted videos.

The other reason, in my opinion, is cost. Videos cost both time and money and people often feel that by adding in more information to a video they can get their money’s worth. Unfortunately the opposite is true. As we have discussed, the more content you add to a video the less effective it is.

From my experience people often make this mistake during scripting, whilst they are thinking about what to include, or they make it during editing. They see the edit coming together and worry that an essential piece of information is missing or that a statement made, whilst true, is too specific.

How to avoid the mistake?

  1. Plan carefully. Go into any video project with a clear idea of your end goals and what the video is trying to achieve. (Use my 5 magic questions to help guide you)
  2. Write a script that follows my rules on video duration.
  3. For every point, product and caveat you make ask yourself whether it is truly necessary.
  4. If it is a point or product worth including it may deserve its own video.
  5. Consider your videos location in your sales and marketing funnel. Although not always the case a good rule of thumb is the further down the funnel the more detail you can get away with adding.
  6. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid! Simplicity is king.

This advert from Douwe Egberts is so simple. It doesn’t need fancy camera shots, editing or special effects. It just asks a simple question that challenges you to give their instant coffee a go. They add just enough detail so that you know they have the relevant credentials and then stop. They don’t explain their roasting process, talk about the health benefits, the risks associated with caffeine etc. It is short, sharp and to the point.

For more information about Smarter Video take a look here.

Please get in touch and let me know what you would like to learn or read about.

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