Videos have become a staple in business, whether it’s a new product announcement from the marketing department, a how-to guide from operations or a news release from the PR team. Whatever the purpose, all these videos must have one thing in common: They need to be good. A great content idea can fall apart if the video looks like an amateur project. Most executives know this, which is why the biggest corporations hire professional filmmakers and videographers to do the job. Until you have that type of budget, though, you’ll have do it yourself. Before hitting Play, make sure you’re not recording these video no-no’s because any one of them could ruin any marketing strategy you have.

1. Use Really Bad Lighting

If a video is too dark or too light, you can’t see what’s going on. What’s worse, it can inspire the wrong emotion. Make sure your video is well-lit, but not so much that it washes the subjects out. Certain lighting techniques are appropriate in some instances but not others. For instance, soft lighting weakens a professional presentation, but enhances the mood in a warm-and-fuzzy story. The lighting you want to do for depends on the equipment you have and the feel you are trying to get across. While it’s easier to maintain lighting indoors, there are some great ways you can master the lighting when outdoors.

2. Make Sure The Audio Quality Is Very Poor

No one talked in silent films, but the film always had a soundtrack, and audiences had no trouble hearing it. Do a sound check to get the clearest sound for your video. If you’re filming an expert talking about a business issue, make sure the mic is close enough that you can hear him or her. Also, try to find a quiet, soundproof area to film your scenes. Unless you have a boom mic lying around, avoid filming outdoors. Indoor videos are normally better because you don’t have to worry about the elements getting in your way like too much or too little sunlight, other noises and rain.

3. Use Lots Of Cheesy Visual Effects

Filmmakers have been using visual effects for decades to make something out of nothing. However, they’ve had years of practice and expensive equipment – you have a software package. It’s fine to use effects like fade to black and text boxes, but use them sparingly. Even if you’re great at creating these kinds of effects, too many can distract the viewer from the message you’re trying to convey.

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4. Forget To Include Any Kind Of Call to Action

The worst thing someone can say after watching your video is, “What was that about?” Without a call to action, that’s a real possibility. Viewers should leave your video knowing what to do next. A segment offering tips on how to get a small business loan might be interesting, but it won’t have the same effect without a simple tagline or text box at the end saying “Call today for more information.”

Here’s an example from one of ReelSEO's Creators Tip videos, see the call to action encouraging you to subscribe? You gave them a goal, or a task to do before the video was finished and most people will do it if they were interested in the video.

5 Really Great Ways To Ruin A Corporate Video CTA 606x284

5. Don't Brand Your Footage Or Channel

While endless repetition of your company name or logo can be obnoxious, one or the other should appear often enough that viewers know who’s behind the video. Always add it to the last shot, along with the copyright. You can also add your logo to the opening shot, e.g. “Acme Products presents,” or place speakers in front of a backdrop with your company name. Something as small as a sign in the background can do the trick, just so people know who the video is for throughout the whole thing.

Here’s a good example from CJ Pony Parts, a car parts company that uses videos to market their products. In the screen shot below, you can see the branding they subtly place in their videos. Did you notice there was more than one location of their brand? Wherever you can slide it in is good.

5 Really Great Ways To Ruin A Corporate Video CJ Pony 606x207

Then, at the end of the video, they added their logo.

You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg to make a professional-looking video. With a little know-how, you can avoid costly video mistakes like the ones listed above. With the amount of time and effort you’re putting into the videos, you want to do all that you can to ensure they are top notch and will get you the most results. Remember to promote your video as much as you can when you’re finished. You can create the greatest video ever, but without a promotion, it is worthless. Using sites that aren’t visual is a huge mistake in the promotion of your final product. Pinterest is a great tool to do this, follow the advice in this video and you’ll be on your way to a successful campaign in no time.

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  • Steve

    Great post Courtney. Although I agree with all 5 on this post, I would like to zero in on point #3. With the work we do in creating videos for all kinds of industries, when investigating clients, we often notice that some of their own in-house work looks pretty laughable and only detracts from the message they're trying to convey. Not only does the video look bad, but it makes their brand less credible.

    What I would also recommend for companies to get a leg up on their competition is to think about using 3D animation, especially if you're part of the manufacturing industry and have many moveable parts to demonstrate that ordinary videography simply can't capture.

    If anyone is thinking about using animation in their company videos, I recommend checking out We work with a lot of industries to produce very high-quality work that helps set themselves apart from other similar companies. Please contact me at [email protected] for more info.

  • Carl Hartman

    Just because you have good lighting, apply a few effects and keep the camera in focus, does not mean you have a good message. Powerful marketing starts with a great message, not your technical prowess. I can shoot a great story that connects well and markets a product without anything fancy. Don't get so wrapped up in technique and technology. This is one of the problems with slick advertising, most of it is creatively amazing but does little to sell products. You getting awards for great creative rarely benefits your client.

  • Ian Piepenbrock

    Hi Courtney, good post. Even though you'd think 1, 2 and 3 are a no-brainer I come across the crappiest quality you can imagine. It often happens that a new client has some old(er) video content and asks us to re-brand and enhance it. Of course existing video content can have its value, but in most cases I advice the client to throw it away because it's so horribly produced. They actually think its quite good...

    I think one important addition to your article is that all of the above counts especially for corporate video, like an official corporate or product presentation. In other cases a video for online/social use doesn't always have to be 'overproduced' to have it's value. In my opinion storytelling, authenticity and creativity are most important for online video.

    PS: I'm not a native English speaker so don't throw me under the bus for bad grammar ;-)

    • Carla Marshall

      Thanks for your comments Ian.

      Corporate video is a difficult medium to get right and there's a very fine line between producing safe, stuffy content or being a little more inventive. It takes experience and skill to produce something that the client is happy with and that the potential viewing audience will embrace. Sometimes it is just better to start from scratch.....

      • Ted Nolan

        The client doesn't have to be happy, the viewers do or there will be no clients. Savvy clients understand that and it's your job to make them savvy.

    • Mark Robertson

      Wow, pretty good for it being your 2nd language :-)