Overcoming Your Fear of Video

By Tom Sellwood


Video. It’s a word that carries enough fear-inducing connotations to send an Antarctic chill up the spines of marketers, brand managers and C-level executives. Account planners break into a cold sweat at the words play count, but without it, social media managers resort to posting played out memes, and the only visitors to your website are tumbleweeds.

Video can bridge the gap between a brand and its audience, but common anxieties about video can quickly snowball into swearing off the medium all together. Here are three common worries companies express about video content marketing, along with some easy suggestions to overcome these concerns:

“I need to cover everything in this video. How could I possibly do that in 1–2 minutes?”
Here’s the good news: you can’t. You can’t possibly cover everything about your brand or product in a web-length video and keep your audience engaged. Why is that good? Because it will keep you focused on what your video is actually about. A shorter runtime prevents you from cramming in too much additional information that would water down the key message of your video, not bolster it.

So, stay disciplined on your video’s key message, confident in the fact that it will achieve your objective if you keep it on point. But, plan on producing more than one. Ideally you’ll create a video calendar that lays out what topics to address with which video, and when. It’ll relieve the pressure of covering everything, and you’ll be able to focus on creating the best content possible.

“We’ll never get approval from higher-ups on this script and concept.”
No, not with that attitude you won’t. All joking aside, this is one of the biggest challenges we hear from clients when trying to get video approved. Even if C-level executives are the ones giving the directive to produce a video, they’re often the ones standing in the way of completing the project or even just getting it off the ground.

If you believe in the concept and are passionate about the video’s subject, you should use all the tools at your disposable to convince your higher-ups that the final product will be worth the investment of your team’s time and money. This is where visual aids come in. Storyboards are one of the best ways to illustrate a scene-by-scene depiction of the project. If you’re using a voiceover (VO) script, you can sync up the script with the images so your bosses will know exactly how the verbal messaging matches up with the visual messaging. Additionally, find some strong examples of videos with styles similar to what you’re trying to achieve so higher-ups and others on your team know the tone, pace and feel you’re going for.

To further strengthen your project’s chances of being approved, make a case for the video’s sound. If you are using VO, have a few options of VO artists to play for your bosses—this will help immensely in getting them to imagine the overall “feel” of the video. Additionally, select a couple of sample songs or soundtracks that you envision going well with the video.

Not only will these ideas help you get the green light for your video, but your creative and video team will all be on the same page during pre-production, production and post-production, and ultimately they will create a much better product.

“No one will watch our video.”

Even if your video doesn’t go viral and end up on Good Morning America, it will still have an impact. However, there are ways to maximize its engagement potential.

As an exercise, think of your video as an “event”—let’s say a launch party for your company’s newly constructed office building. Before you even send out invitations, you might tweet about the first meeting with the architect. Then, you might Instagram a picture of the groundbreaking ceremony. You might post Snapchats of the construction progress along the way. A team member might also blog about the process. You might humblebrag about the wood floors and exposed brick in an email newsletter. When you send out invitations and as you get closer to the event, you increase your promotion. The publicity wave crests as the doors open to the launch party. After the event, you would share a second wave of event photos, recaps and behind-the-scenes stories.

No matter how great the content or production is, the video alone isn’t enough to be its own publicist. It needs a voice. And while providing that voice may take some extra time and energy, the promotional platforms are generally free or inexpensive. Just like in the above example, you can talk about each and every single aspect of the video—from the first meeting with your creative team, to storyboard sneak peaks, to behind-the-scenes footage. Then, after the video is launched, use the Three Steps of Video Recycling: Reuse, Recycle and Repeat, to continue to leverage the story you’ve told.

Video is a powerful medium. It makes us laugh, cry and experience everything in between. Few other mediums can elicit such visceral responses. Harness this power by staying focused on your video’s key message, selling the concept to your higher-ups and promoting the hell out of the finished product; it will ensure that the audience is doing the laughing and crying, not you.