Having No Video Is Better Than a Bad Video

During a creative session with a client I checked out a video they had on Youtube. I won’t be specific about the content but let’s just say it was pretty bad. Bad camera work, bad audio, bad editing, I mean it was all around bad bad bad. I know, say how I really feel and stop sugar coating it, right? It was a video that a friend had done for nothing. A friend that happened to have a cheap video camera and the time to film this awful video that made a drunken home movie look like a blockbuster.

My client laughed and joked about how the price was right- free. And that “I guess it is better than having no video at all, right?”

He could immediately tell from my expression that I did not feel the same way.

“Take it down. As in yesterday.” I told him. “It is not better than nothing, it is hurting your image. Get rid of it and do it now.”

It may be the age of video on the Internet, but having a bad video is like having OJ as your spoke person –it does you more harm than good. It hurts your image and makes you look like an amateur. And I am not talking only about the really crappy videos shot by your secretary’s high school son for a media project at school. I am talking about any video that is not professional.

If you made the mistake of hiring a low cost firm to do your video, did one in-house, got your daughter’s wedding videographer to shoot your business video, or have made the big error of doing the “Hi, it’s me, and this is what I do” talking into the web camera narration video as so many people have, these videos are killing your image. They are not better than nothing, they are much worse.

You only get one chance at a first impression, so if the current media on your site or on Youtube isn’t professional, then trash it. Your video needs to be representative of the quality of product or service you have to offer. If your video is of low quality it makes YOU look low quality. It will make you look like you have low standards of quality as well.

Think about that! After all, if you were happy with a poor representation of your company in this video, then your performance must reflect that video, right? That is what prospects are thinking when they see it. If your video looks cheap, you look cheap! Now don’t get me wrong- it doesn’t have to look expensive. It DOES, however, need to look professional.

Would you send out a business card or a brochure with misspelled words on it and say –“Oh well, it’s better than nothing.” Of course not. So why are you not as critical of what you use to represent yourself on the Internet?

What makes a video look unprofessional enough to pull it? Here is a quick and dirty checklist:
* If it is glaringly obvious that it was shot by an amateur.
* Spots on the lens? Puh-lease! Nothing screams amateur like a dirty lens!
* Not using a tripod or other support. Handheld cameras are for awful reality TV shows.
* The audio is awful, too soft, too loud, too noisy, etc..
* Terrible music- any of that MIDI stuff or it sounds like a bad 70’s porn.
* Using copyrighted music- it’s illegal, people! If you are using copyrighted music like U2, Lady Gaga, or the theme to Rocky, you are inadvertently telling the viewer you are a thief and cannot be trusted. Think I’m kidding?
* Jumpy and jerky shots because the camera operator is unsteady.
* Jumpy and jerky edits because the editing is poor.
* It is sooooo boring. C’mon, now. If YOU think it’s boring and it’s about your company? Then for Pete’s sake you know others do.
* It is nothing but a slide show of photos, or a PowerPoint with a voice over. If so see the point directly above.
* The video is poor because a poor quality camera like a Flip or other camera was used.
* If you or any of your staff find it embarrassing. In fact, if you are not anxious and proud to show it to everyone you know? Lose it.

That amateur video is actually costing you money in lost clients. Put a stake in its heart. Kill it. Delete it. Bury it. Then go out and hire a professional to create a video that is engaging in content and professionally filmed, edited and scored. It will pay for itself many, many times over in the revenues it generates for you.

Jim