When you post online videos to support your company, are you unwittingly killing your own credibility? You are if you make any number of small mistakes, says author Mitch Joel.
As the president of digital marketing agency Twist Image and the author of Six Pixels of Separation, Joel is used to working with brands to convey a message online. As Internet video has become more accessible, he’s noticed that more people are using that ease to turn in sloppy work. Or, as Joel puts it, they’re creating videos that are “unwatchable.”
To remedy that, you’ll need to step back and look at your work like your viewers will. Be aware of subtle mistakes that will make you look less professional and ruin your credibility in the eyes of the audience.
When you first begin creating online video, you need to think about the basic package you’re offering your viewers. It is watchable? Is it listenable? Joel says he recently watched a two-person conversation online where one person came through too loud and one too soft. He had to keep adjusting his volume to listen to the conversation.
Also, think about your setting. Joel tells of watching a video by an industry thought leader that was recorded in the man’s basement. The background was an overstuffed and broken bookcase, and the speaker’s shirt was stained. No matter how good the information, the video had the effect of lowering that speaker’s credibility. It might be subconscious, but that’s what comes across to the viewer.
Things off-screen can effect your credibility, as well. People moving around off camera can throw visible shadows if you’re not careful, and that will distract viewers from your message.
Think about how you’re presenting yourself, as well. When you speak to the camera, you need to look forward as if you’re looking your viewer in the eyes, says Joel. Letting your gaze wander will make you look less knowledgeable. Even letting your eyes roll for a second can ruin the impression.
Be sure that you’re sitting comfortably and not shifting. Someone continually adjusting his or her seat will look evasive.
In person-to-person speech, ums and ahs are a natural part of how we talk. In video, it makes you look less confident and takes away from your credibility.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Don’t feel like you need to post everything you shoot, stresses Joel. If you hit your stride on your third posted video, that means there are still two poor videos out there to give viewers a bad first impression. It’s not worth it.
Instead, make practice videos for your eyes only. Study them as a viewer would and look for distracting details. Is the audio crisp and clear? Is the background neutral?
Use this time to experiment with different configurations. Try positioning the camera at different heights and see which one hides any hint of a double chin. Create different lighting arrangements and see which is more pleasant. Watch your footage and imagine what your first reaction would be, if you were seeing the video online.
For more on Mitch Joel’s ideas, see his recent blog post, “Online Video Can Kill Your Credibility.”