If you’re marketing a product or service online and you’re thinking about video, here are a few tips to help keep the project on schedule.

1. Envision and plan your video before approaching a production company or before starting on the project. People ask us “how much will a video cost” or “how long will it take to make the video” without any clear idea about what they want. That’s like asking somebody “how much does a house cost” or “how long does it take to build a house.” The answer: It depends. Does the house have one story or two? Does it have a garage? What about a pool? You would never build a house without a blueprint. A corporate marketing video should have a clear plan too, prior to starting.

2. Consider the length of your video. There tends to be an inverse relationship between the size of the video screen and the length of time that people are willing to watch. This is why the best movies are 100-120 minutes long, most TV shows are 30-60 minutes long and the most effective web videos are 3-5 minutes long. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. But I will say this: Plenty of people approach us to make a video that is 15-30 minutes long, 15 minutes can be a long long time to go on and on about your product or service — yawn — when the same message can be said in 3-5 minutes.

3. Customer testimonials self verify. Unlike comments from your CEO or your script, which will rightly be percieved intentionally persuasive or even biased, and unlike written customer testimonials, which people sometimes feel can be faked — video testimonials tend to be self-verifying because people instantly sense if it’s an actor or if it’s a real customer with true feelings about your product or service. Getting real customers on video with real feelings is extremely motivating to other potential customers.

4. Consider audio — ambient room noise, where to place the mic, audio levels. Consider video — white balance, lighting, focus, camera angle, aspect ratio. Consider interview techniques — what the subject wears, where the subject looks, answering in complete sentences. Consider editing, consider location, consider music consider everything, etc., etc. etc. The point is, it’s already difficult to tell you the hundreds of things that you need to do to make a professional video — it’s IMPOSSIBLE to tell you the 10,000 things NOT to do! You are forewarned — mistakes can be made. Make sure you hire professionals if you want professional results.

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