Between my TV news background and my work in private sector video production, I’ve seen enough video over the past twenty five years to know the difference between an effective visual story and one that falls flat. But it wasn’t until just recently that I truly dissected what sets apart effective online video from video garbage. In today’s competitive online world, best video practices can truly be the difference maker for online relevance.

Here are my top three online video mistakes:

#1 The Talking Head. Yes, making a video can be fun and exciting! We get it. And there is certainly an adrenaline rush stepping in front of the camera when that little red record light goes on. But the harsh reality is, you are not that appealing. Sorry but that includes me too. If you start a video with a head shot of someone talking directly into the camera, aka “the talking head”, you better be extremely attractive, important, or funny, and even then, you probably lost me at “hello”.  Effective videos capture attention right from the start, and rarely is that accomplished with a talking head. Instead, begin with your most visually compelling footage, or a jazzy graphic, or some great music and quick edits. Anything but the talking head!

#2 Bad Audio. Everyone thinks about the video but many video newbies and novices don’t realize that audio is more important. Without clean audio at an appropriate level, there is no message or point to your video. The message is lost, no matter how good the video looks. Use a clip on mic to capture the best sound and if you don’t have one, position the camera close enough so that its built-in mic can record acceptable sound.

#3 No Call To Action. Many people can come up with a decent video concept, but they forget about what they want people to do with it? Go to a website for more info? Send them to your social media sites? Email for more info?  As a video producer, you can’t assume people know what to do next. You have to be very clear and concise with instructions.

The most effective online videos finish as strong as they started.