Video MistakesMost businesses are seeing the writing (or images) on the wall and quickly realizing that video marketing is the key communications tool of the future.  With the immense popularity of YouTube and the emergence of Google Hangouts as a broadcast medium, businesses are eagerly getting on board the video bandwagon.

Deciding to use this powerful visual resource to get your message out is smart.  However, once entrepreneurs jump into the video waters, most soon realize that it’s a tough swim.  There are several common pitfalls most business owners experience as they begin their video marketing efforts.  Fortunately, most of these rookie mistakes are easily corrected.

Here are the six video screw-ups that will sink you faster than you can say, “Lights, camera, action!” 

1.  Not Thinking Strategically 

When you decide to create a video, you gotta know your goals!  Too many people dive headfirst into their video production without setting a specific business objective.

  • What do you want THIS video to accomplish?
  • How is the video tied to your business goals?
  • What is the call to action at the end of the video?

I’ve seen many videos that left me scratching my head wondering, “What was the point?”  Know your goals going in.

2.  Message Mishegas 

Closely related to rookie mistake #1 is not having a clear message in your video.  What are you trying to communicate and how can you get that message across simply and succinctly?  Your video should have one key message, and you should know (and tell the viewer) exactly what you want them to do.

It’s a bit like so-called “2 X 4” marketing.  That’s taking a 2 X 4 piece of lumber and whacking them over the head repeatedly until they get the message. (Only as a metaphor, of course!) 

3.  Tech Obsession 

Too many video neophytes get tangled up in the technology.  If you let the tech trip you up, you’ll never get your video done. The truth is the equipment choices should be the least of your worries.  It doesn’t matter what camera you use!  Even a webcam or an iPhone will suffice.  Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.  When it comes to technology, chances are you are over-thinking it. Point. Shoot. Post. Repeat. 

4.  Picking the Wrong Platform 

There are dozens of ways to create great video, from traditional talking head videos to off-camera PowerPoint videos or animation.  Don’t get tied down to one perception or method of video.  On-camera talking head videos are fine, but think outside the screen for other options that may be more appropriate for your personality or your message.

You can use to produce your own animated video, or publish with to turn your slide show into a dynamic, engaging video.

Google Hangouts have exploded in popularity and provide a way to replicate a webinar or webcast with you (and others) on camera.  And Google Hangouts On Air are becoming more popular and mainstream by the day.

There are numerous platforms available, so find the one that’s best for your business.

5.  Selling Too Soon 

Online video is an excellent sales tool, and you could argue that every video is somewhat promotional in nature – even if it’s just building your visibility or credibility.  But starting out with a sales pitch video can be shortsighted.

It’s vital that you first establish trust, add value and build your likability factor.  (Video is great for this!)  In short, you’ve got to serve first and sell second.  Once you’ve developed some goodwill with your videos, then you can ask for the sale.

Like any marketing tool, it’s a process, and you don’t want to pitch until you’ve had a chance to earn their trust. 

6.  Post and Pray 

The final rookie mistake is all too common.  Newbies think once the video is done, their work is done.  In truth, it’s just beginning.  Too many businesses adapt a “post and pray” strategy, which isn’t really a strategy at all!  They upload the video to YouTube or their own site and wait for the views to magically appear.

In this “Field of Dreams” scenario, if you upload it, they will not come.  At least not until you promote the crap out of your new upload.

Post and Pray is not a marketing strategy – you have to create a mini marketing plan for each video and determine how you’re going to get eyeballs to your video.

One easy (and often overlooked tactic) is to simply leverage your video and get it on to as many platforms as possible.  Start with YouTube, but share your video to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even  More outlets mean more views.

If you’re guilty of any of these video marketing offenses, the good news is that they are all easily avoided.  Steer clear of these six common video “fails” and you can go from video newbie to video ninja in no time!