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50 Tips to Make Your Videos Engaging & Effective

50 video tips, no charge.

What follows below are 50 tips, hard-won over 20 years producing video content. Enjoy!

Ask your team “why” you are doing a video in the first place. It’s amazing how many times the answer is revealing.

Don’t forget your audience: What do they know already, what do they care about, where will they see this, etc.?

If you have too many goals with your video it’s harder to achieve any of them as well. A Swiss Army knife does a lot, but not much well.

Try and give yourself 2x more time than you think it will take to make your video, time=breathing space for quality.

Don’t start your project in a common knowledge vacuum: Take 5 mins to Google the topic, see what comes up.

Keep it simple.

Sleep on it. Sometimes, learning everything you can and then stepping away for a bit is the best strategy.

No production goes as planned. Plan for chaos and cover your @ss.

Look at your goal and compare it to your budget and timeline, does it really seem realistic? If not, you’re just wishing.

Most videos have multiple stakeholders but try and put one person in charge. and consolidate all feedback in each round.

Design by committee yields lack-luster results. Imagine if the Mona Lisa was painted by several people rather than in a singe artists vision. It can take a team to create but a cohesive vision yields best results.

You need a hook, right away, or the audience is GONE.

Once you got them hooked, frequent changes (to music, edit, narrative) are the easiest way to keep em’ glued.

When scripting, try and keep the amount of words to the absolute minimum possible while still communicating what’s needed to be a successful video.

The best ideas will come when you are relaxed.

You’d be surprised what can be shown visually or communicated in ways other than spoken or written words.

Metaphors are your best friend.

Not all feedback is valid.

Collaboration is a very powerful strategy. By getting a diverse group of thinkers, you increase the potency of the possible.

Lists are a great way to condense information in a script.

Text can be used on screen to reinforce things that are said in voice over. Seeing AND hearing something is at least 2x as strong.

Don’t use the wrong font. Font etiquette, it’s a thing.

No matter what kind of content you are creating, if it’s also entertaining it can be more effective.

When planning your production, don’t forget to leave time for bathroom breaks/food/parking.

Yes, you should put it on YouTube.

‘Play’ is an important part of the creative development process.

Consider if making a draft version of your video may be helpful. You could use your own voice, footage shot with your phone  and edit them together for a very rough draft before you spend budget of full production.

Light and sound is everything. If you can’t control them in your shoot location, then you are basically gambling.

Video is all about motion. Use it whenever you can.

When scripting, try reading your script out loud, it’s very revealing.

If you are going to use photos, you’ll probably want landscape oriented ones so they work with the 16:9 horizontal aspect ratio of HD video.

Don’t try and do it all yourself, some tasks are best left to specialists.

If you have time, get lots of feedback and revise. Rinse/repeat.

Look at examples of other people’s work to get inspiration.

After you have your video edit locked a color correction pass can make a world of difference.

If you have a variety of footage, you have much more flexibility for editing.

Snacks are a easy/cheap way to keep everyone happy. Cookies work great!

Start gathering assets early: logos, fonts, photos, etc. They can be hard to dig up.

The creative process isn’t like manual labor and you can’t manage it the same way.

Human faces are endlessly fascinating, showing them can be a greta way to humanize a topic.

B-roll can be more important than an interview. With good B-roll, you could add voice-only narration or even use text to communicate effectively and with high engagement.

Use the story structure of “This happened, then this happened, but then this happened” to keep people engaged. They just want to know what happens next!

There is a saying that “audio is over 50% of a video”. It seems true to me. Great music and sound effects can really sell weaker visuals.

Good music is the single most important aspect of engagement.

Consider if you may want to repurpose extra video content for alternate versions, out takes, social media fodder, etc.

Changing music frequently can keep a longer video from feeling too long.

Sound effects can make a huge impact, especially with animated graphics. Without them a video can feel very flat.

Slow motion is a fantastic way to boost drama.

Don’t use the “Happy Birthday” song. That’s an owned/copy-written song and I’m guessing you probably don’t have a license to use/broadcast it.

When reviewing your videos, be an audience advocate: if you are bored or unclear, so are they.

So there you have it, the keys to the kingdom. Go forth and conquer!

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