questionsWhen it comes to online video, most people as still asking the wrong questions, or what I jokingly refer to as, “Foolishly Asked Questions.”

Okay, so maybe foolish is a bit harsh.  After all, you don’t know what you don’t know!  With that in mind, here are the most common “wrong” questions, along with their “smarter” counterparts:

Wrong Question:  What camera should I use?

Better Question:  Do I have the appropriate camera for my specific video goals?

The video equipment you need depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.  Are you doing a video for your website’s home page that’s going to have some shelf life?  Or are you just sharing quick tips on YouTube?  In most cases, the best camera to use is the one you’re going to use most often, and that could very well just be your webcam or your smartphone.

Wrong Question: How do I make a viral video?

Better Question: How do I create a compelling video that is going to resonate with my target market?

Obviously, it would be fun to have a “viral” video that gets millions of views on YouTube.  But the odds are against it, and you probably don’t need a viral video to accomplish your business objectives.  The question is whether or not you can make a video that hits the sweet spot with your specific audience. Don’t make your video with the masses in mind; produce it for your ideal target market.

Wrong Question: How long should my video be?

Better Question:  What’s the best and most efficient way to deliver this message? (In other words, how short can my video be?)

While it’s true that the vast majority of YouTube videos are under 3-minutes in length, it’s more important to consider your message and how long (or how short) it will take to communicate that message.  Your video should be no longer than it needs to be to get the job done.

Wrong Question: What’s better, YouTube or Vimeo?

Better Question: What are the best platforms for distributing my video?

Even though YouTube is the big dog of video hosting sites, it’s not a question of where you should post your video, but where shouldn’t you?  If you start with YouTube, it’s easy to share your video from there to Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other platforms with one quick click.  More is better!

Wrong Question: What format should my video be?

Better Question: What’s the best way to get this video off my hard drive and uploaded?

Don’t get bogged down in formats and codecs.  If you’re uploading your video to YouTube, it really doesn’t matter whether your video file format is .mov, .wmv or .mp4.  YouTube and most other sites are format neutral.  Just get it off the hard drive and out to the world!

Wrong Question: Should I buy Camtasia or “fill in the blank”?

Better Question: Am I using the appropriate software to create the type of video I want to create? (Sketch video, animation, talking head, screencast, etc.)

Just like we tend to get hung up on equipment, we also get sidetracked by finding the right software.  Again, it all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your video.  If you’re planning on doing primarily talking head (on-camera) videos, you may not need any fancy software.  If you want to do “screencasts” to capture your computer screen as you narrate, then Camtasia may be a good choice.

Wrong Question: How do I make money with my video?

Better Question: Am I providing enough value so that this video can be monetized?

I believe that every video can be monetized, either directly or indirectly – if you are providing enough value to your prospective buyer. You can use video to promote and sell a product, or you can use video as the product!  Just focus on delivering value, then you can work on monetizing it.

Asking the right questions about online video will make you a much better video marketer.  And in a world increasingly ruled by video, being a better video marketer is a unique competitive advantage.