All of us “video people” are constantly looking for ways to make our inbound marketing videos better and more engaging. Over the past few months, I’ve been compiling helpful tips I think will make your video marketing instantly better. Here’s what I’ve gathered so far.

A crucial part of inbound marketing is figuring out who your potential buyers are and what they want to see. A great way to determine this is to talk to your existing customers. Engage with them to figure out what they like and, more importantly, what they don’t like. This will allow you to create videos your potential customers want to see.

Storytelling is one of the most difficult yet important parts of making a great video. If you aren’t telling a story in your videos then you need to start. I find the easiest way to write a script is to start by asking, “guess what?” For instance, guess what? I have five tips for making your inbound marketing videos better. See how easy it is? If you are finding it difficult to tell your story, then let your customers tell their story. A compelling case study or customer review can make for an awesome video.

It’s been said that good sound can make or break a video. The first part of making your video sound good is making sure you are recording good sound. If you don’t have a good microphone or don’t have money to buy one, make sure you are in a room that has good acoustics. The room should be relatively quiet and should not have an echo when you speak. Always test the sound of the room before you commit to recording there.

The second part to making it sound good is the music. Please, please, please don’t use music from your iTunes library. You most likely do not have the proper music license to use that music, so when you post your video, it will eventually get flagged and removed from the video hosting site you are using. The best thing to do is subscribe to a stock audio library or purchase royalty free music. If you can’t do this, you might be able to convince one of your friends or family members to record some music for you. Even if it’s just an acoustic guitar, it’s still better than nothing.

Lighting is the second most important part in videography. When you are picking a place to film, not only does it need to be quiet, but it also needs to be well lit. The most ideal place would be a room with a large window. Natural light is the most appealing form of light and the cheapest! So if you want to look great in your video for zero cost, all you need to do is sit opposite of a big window. The downside is you will only be able to shoot your videos during the day. The most ideal situation would be to purchase a professional lighting setup. It’s not hard to create, and it will give you the most professional look.

Some people have a hard time accepting feedback. Feedback is essential in the process to figuring out if your videos are connecting with the people they need to reach. Encourage people to leave feedback and to engage with you after the video. This will help give you an idea of what is working and what isn’t. One of the worst things you can do is reject constructive feedback. People are smart and they know what they like. If someone is spending the time to engage with your video and, on top of that, they leave feedback, it is important to engage with them and listen to what they have to say.

OK, so I know the title says five tips, so this one is more of general advice. If you want to produce better videos, and better content for that matter, you need to be passionate about what you are creating. Showing emotion and being passionate really helps your audience connect with your video. So don’t be afraid to be you, and don’t be afraid to let your personality show.

We usually suggest keeping video content as short as possible, even suggesting 60 seconds as the ideal duration for a web video. And we’re not alone. On-going studies related to video duration consistently find that short videos perform better.

However, while we still believe that basic mantra holds true (the shorter the better), we also believe there is no “ideal length” for a video. As with most things, it depends. In order to help you determine the perfect length for your video, we’ve simplified the formula into 4 C’s.

1. Customer

Who is your customer? What do they care about? How much time do they have to spare? Are you selling to tech-savvy teens with hours to kill online, or time-crunched doctors? Is this a customer looking to make a buying decision, an employee watching a required training video, or a hobbyist interested in learning a new skill? If you’re not sure, do some research and find out. Understanding your customer/viewer, is paramount to determining the ideal duration for your video.

2. Context

How much context do your viewers have? Are they coming into the video “blind” with little to no knowledge about the product or industry? If you’re trying to sell something complex like health insurance, it probably makes sense to spend some time educating your audience. However, if it’s already an established industry (e.g. web design or auto parts) you should be able to jump straight to the point and skip the background detail. Context is important when considering what to say and what to leave out, so make sure you have a solid understanding of where your viewers are coming from and how much they already know (or don’t know).

3. Content

How much content do you need to convey? What can we omit? In the explainer video world, we often think of content like a hook. It should be just enough to get the viewer engaged (hooked) and interested in taking the next step (e.g. requesting a quote, calling in, reading more). But at other times, the content may require a much longer video, like an internal training video that is required viewing for all employees. Something like that may run up to 5, 10, even 15 minutes, which is okay because of the intended use.

Branded content can often run long too. By telling a story and entertaining the viewer, you can keep viewers engaged for longer than you could if you were simply promoting or explaining a business, product or service. Branded, entertaining content is also a great route to take if you’re looking to create shareable videos.

4. Channel

Where is your video going? Your website, YouTube, an email, a presentation? The channel you use to promote your video is one more way you can start to determine just how long your video content should be. If most people are finding your videos on YouTube, they may have a little more time to kill, and you should be able to test some longer form content. However, if it’s going on your website or in an email, the people you’re targeting probably have limited time and you’ll need to be brief. Fortunately with trade shows and presentations you usually have a captive audience, so you do have some flexibility to go longer if needed.

Unfortunately, knowing your customer, context, content, and channel will not give you an exact formula for determining your ideal video length, but it will give you a starting point and something to shoot for. As I mentioned earlier, no matter what you come up with for your 4 C’s, shorter is always better assuming you cover the necessary content and provide proper context.

Last but not least, determining a target video length on the front-end is just half of the equation. You also need to do some analysis once the video is live to figure out if you need to make any adjustments. Thankfully, most video hosting services (like Wistia or Brightcove) now offer video analytics, allowing you to see just how engaged viewers are and where during the video they’re dropping off. Use this data to edit your video, trim the fat, and optimize engagement.

Hope this helped!

There are a multitude of Video Marketing options available and to help simplify the choices, I’ve listed three popular types below;

Promotional Videos – Whack it straight on the front page of your website. Slap-bang in the middle. Emphasise your branding. Know your target market and wow them with a punchy, short, high-impact video that ensures you stand out and they remember you.

Client Testimonials – Reviews are highly trusted (think Amazon and Ebay) and we instil confidence in potential customers when we provide them with real life accounts of customer experience. Service is everything and if you’ve delighted past clients, let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth!

Event Video – Making a big hoo-haa for a product launch? Attending a big-daddy trade show? Cover it with film and release multiple edits. You can drip-feed the content over two weeks or so and add it to your archive. It’ll do wonders for your SEO and cement your place in the market as a leading player.