I’m nearly finished with Part 5 of our ongoing Online Video Marketing Basics series, and it’s all about the distribution decisions facing video creators—you can read Part 4, Choosing the Right Video Equipment, to tide you over until the new installment is ready.  But I just read a great article that would be a perfect companion piece to our Basics series, and I wanted to share it with you.

It’s an article called “Online Video Can Kill Your Credibility,” but it could just as easily be titled “Do’s and Don’ts For Online Video Production.” It’s written by Mitch Joel, who is the president of Twist Image, a digital marketing agency.  And it’s written—by the author’s own admission—by a guy that doesn’t do much video production.  But he watches plenty.

So the piece is a godsend for online video producers and marketers like you and me because it’s from the voice of a fan… a viewer… our target demographic… and he’s telling us exactly the kinds of things that will cause him to tune out, lose respect, or simply stop caring about you or your video.

So I highly recommend you check it out.

Do’s And Dont’s For Online Video Self-Production:

None of the Do’s and Don’ts are going to kill you on their own.  And you can have success with a video even when these imperfections exist.  What the author is trying to do, however, is remind us of the things that make viewers respect us less (even if they’re not conscious of the effect).  Here’s a sampling:


You don’t have to spend thousands on lighting gear to have good lighting.  But you do need to be proactive and conscious about choosing your shooting locations and angles.


This was one of the ones we actually talk about a lot here at ReelSEO.  Audio is every bit as important as video quality—probably even more so.  Ignoring audio, or simply trusting it to your laptop’s built-in mic, is tempting fate.


Did you ever take a public speaking class in high school or college?  I’m guessing you did.  And I’m also guessing that one of the first rules they taught you was about fidgeting:  stand still, stay in one spot, and don’t lean to one side on one hip.

Eye Contact

The second lesson you learned in that public speaking class was about eye-contact.  If you don’t look your audience in the eye, you come off as shifty.  And with online video, the audience is your camera.  Not the webcam image of yourself on your screen… not something off screen… not the face of your friend who is holding the camera… but the camera itself.


Almost without exception, we humans are better at doing things the more we practice them.  Why, then, do so many online video creators seem to think they can wing it without rehearsal?  When you skip the practice, it shows, and the end result has less polish.

There are more things on his list, and they’re all important, but I wanted to give you a taste of what Joel is saying.

Self-Produce Vs. Professional Video Production?

Now, some of these things we touched on in Part 3 of our Basics series—Self-Produce Or Hire A Professional—and some we did not.  But they’re all important considerations when making the decision to self-produce your video.  A professional will have the equipment needed to follow the above suggestions as well as the experience of having it all before.  That’s not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t self-produce, but rather simply that you need to remember that making a successful piece of quality video is more than pushing a “record” button.  It’s lights and audio and rehearsal and perfectionism and… so much more than just starting the camera.

Those of you planning to self-produce would be wise to heed Joel’s list of no-no’s, and even seek out example videos of both the right and wrong way to do it.  It’s helpful to understand the annoyance a viewer feels when we don’t make eye contact or when we fidget too much, and it’ll help you stay committed to getting it right at your next shoot.  Self-produced video can be successful, even when it’s less than perfect.  But that doesn’t mean we should be half-hearted in our efforts.  That doesn’t mean there’s not a cost to us when our videos have obvious flaws.  Viewers will respect you more—and likely be more engaged with you and your content—when there is an obvious attempt on your part to minimize distractions and mistakes.