2020 was the year of video.

I remember going to AdTech conferences back in 2010 and sitting through presentations on “The Year of Mobile”. 2010 was going to be the year mobile advertising took off. And then it was 2011. And 2012. And 2013. And it was still “The Year of Mobile”. Digital video and audio have felt like that too. They’re the Groundhog Day of buzzwords, at least, for some. Many have taken to these media with skill and there’s a plethora of really great content out there. Others were slow to jump on the bandwagon… that is, until the coronavirus changed how we connect with each other.

In 2020, we enjoyed the continued growth of digital audio (check out our blog on programmatic audio to learn more about this), and of course, the emphasis on video. These trends will only become more pronounced in the coming year, not just because, but greatly helped by our shift to working from home. As our remote team members have known for years, having amazing content to listen to and watch while we worked from home made the adjustment that much easier. And that’s why we’d love to share our tips for creating amazing videos, as well as some of our favorite videos and podcasts from 2020. Check them out below:

How to create amazing videos (many of these apply to podcasts as well!):

  1. Use design and photography best practices – these include the rule of thirds, avoiding any “noise” that can be caused by movement (another reason to use a tripod if you’re using your phone to record video), ensuring the lighting is good (it’s soft light and there’s a lot of it), and choosing a simple background to avoid distractions.
  2. Practice using your phone to maximize quality – if you’re using a phone to record, that’s fine. There are things you can do to ensure the video looks and sounds great. You can get a tripod for your phone. You’ll want to use the camera on the back (and flip the view) as it’s better than the camera on the front. You’re going to watch the video so it’s okay if you can’t see yourself as you record. Finally, record in landscape mode (horizontally, not vertically) for the best quality on larger devices that are wider than they are tall (such as computers and smart TVs).
  3. Work on your camera presence – if you’re not a natural on camera (many of us aren’t), practice, practice, practice how you look and sound on camera. Smile. Slow down. Avoid fidgeting. And most importantly, watch yourself, a lot. You’ll notice any distractions and be able to assess how easy you are to understand. Make sure to watch and listen on your phone, while walking, in the car, and on a computer, to recreate as many of the situations your viewers may be in as possible.
  4. Have a plan for content – while going “off script” can be fun and engaging, you can avoid looking rehearsed while still having a plan for what you want to communicate in your video, and who your ideal viewer is. Define your goal(s), write a script, create a storyboard, rehearse it, and then don’t be afraid to delete, revise, or rearrange sections that don’t end up fitting your overall narrative. This sounds like a lot, but I promise you, it’s really not. It just means think about what you want to say, how you want to say it, practice it, and then make sure it ends up telling the story you want to tell, or don’t post it.
  5. Keep your editing simple – avoid adding a lot of effects, and instead focus on the following:
    1. Maximize audio quality; using noise cancelling to clean up any background noise.
    2. Adjust the lighting where needed.
    3. Cut out any pauses, gaps, or silence, as well as footage before and after the video (your introduction and closing remarks).
    4. Add background music, graphics, and transitions where it makes sense to add visual interest and keep viewers engaged.
  6. Promote your videos – some of the things you can do include: post your videos on social media, ensure they’re well optimized, curate playlists, regularly share new content, have a robust linking strategy from your website and social media profiles, and engage with your viewers by responding to comments. There’s a lot more to a well thought out and effective video marketing strategy, so contact us if you’d like to discuss this in more depth.

Our favorite videos and podcasts from 2020:

What are your favorite videos and podcasts from 2020? Do you have videos you’ve made that you’re particularly proud of? We’d love to hear from you!