How to create quality video content

Throw a coin into the deep well that is the Internet and you’ll hit dozens of content marketing blogs proclaiming how video nerds will inherit the earth. There are 4 billion YouTube views per day and by 2017, video will account for 69% of all Internet traffic.

Brands now have a sudden, insatiable appetite for video content that I can only equate to the great alternative music craze of ‘92, which saw an upward spike in the number of red flannelette shirts sold.

However, I offer this word of caution to all new clients ready to jump onto the branded video content bandwagon: video isn’t a laundry list of key messages to be packaged up at 25 frames per second and dumped on YouTube. Video is the child of filmmaking, an art form in itself, and one comprising many disciplines – script writing, cinematography, lighting and editing, to name but a few – all steeped in a language that is equal parts artistic and technical.

While I don’t proclaim to be any sort of Truffaut, here are five simple things I implore brands to consider when dipping their big toe into video content creation:


We’re living in an age of diminishing attention spans and the war for eyeballs gets harder every day. The average engagement of a YouTube video is just over a minute and the first 15 seconds are paramount to making your audience stick around. So make that first 15 seconds count and avoid filling it with spinning logos or obtuse titles.


This is pretty obvious but if you want to captivate your audience, your content has to have feels, bro. Video is a storyteller’s medium that has the power to make people laugh or cry in seconds. Utilise it to tell stories that will hook your audience. But don’t take my word for it, simply watch this video and this video and ask yourself which was more memorable.


Tied to the last point, a Nielson study conducted across the US during the GFC showed humour always beat out advertising focused on value proposition, regardless of the state of the economy. The study also showed a marked increase in narrative-driven or sentimental ads. Who can’t think of a Sorbent toilet paper ad without also making a link to oh-so-cute puppies?


You may think a boardroom is a great location to conduct an interview. It isn’t. Most boardrooms have centralised air-conditioning that emits a hum guaranteed to be picked up by your sound recording device, and which is costly to get rid of. Furthermore, a grey, carpeted wall and a plastic fern make for a horrible background. And before you say “That view of the harbour would look great as a backdrop”, remember that cameras don’t work like the human eye and your stunning view will almost certainly end up looking like a wall of white light.


Supplementary to your interview footage, you should have cutaway or overlay shots to support any kind of point being made by your interviewee.

So if your subject is talking about, for example, mums loving new Product A, make your video more engaging by overlaying the story with a visual of a supermarket, Product A on the shelves of said supermarket and a mum picking the item up off the shelf.

That way, your audience isn’t staring at the interviewee’s head for the duration of the video. An added benefit is that it allows you to make audio cuts, removing ‘umms’ and ‘ahhhs’ and any other stumbles to make your interviewee sound more coherent and confident. So always plan and shoot overlay.