If Your Video Looks Like This, Please Stop

Please, I beg you. Long-time Republican Senator Mitch McConell recently posted this video as part of his re-election strategy. The video was bad enough that it caught the attention of The Daily Show and spawned a new meme, #McConnelling, where folks put different (and hilarious) music or audio tracks over the video.

If your campaign or promotional video looks like McConnell’s, you need to walk away and start over. Here are a few tips which also explain while McConnell’s offering comes up so short:

Provide Value

Not to you, to the viewer. That’s one of the big knocks against McConnell’s video: it is entirely self-serving and really provides no added value to anyone watching it. While it could be argued the video highlights McConnell’s busy schedule, it doesn’t do much else. In fact, it conveys no real information at all.

Instead, when creating a video, think about what you want to leave the viewer with. It should be something that would compel them to watch the video and (hopefully) share with others. Value your viewer’s time and they will respond with views and shares.

Tell A Story

The McConnell video tells a story: that he is a career politician. Or possibly it is a study in purposeful head turning. If that was the point of the video, then it succeeded brilliantly. Otherwise, it failed to create a compelling narrative to engage viewers and connect them with the subject or subject matter.

Humans naturally respond to stories – it is how we have conveyed information throughout history. Your video should use that biology to your advantage to offer an interesting tale that illustrates a particular point of view or a key point your campaign is trying to communicate.

Convey Emotion

It could be argued that McConnell’s video conveys a general sense of positivity, but it seems contrived and boxed for consumption. Give viewers credit: they understand real emotion and it is not anywhere in this video.

The best way to hook viewers is to create an emotional bond. The most compelling videos offer a powerful emotional connection (fear, hope, warmth, sadness) which transcends the content itself. If your audience is not emotionally invested in your video or your story, it won’t carry much weight.

I know campaigns can do better than this disappointing specimen. I hope these suggestions will aide in your future efforts. Now it’s your turn: what do you feel makes for a good video? Please leave a comment below.

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