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Are you so excited to read about how to break your business? Oh the joy!

Truth is, one of the best ways to avoid a mistake is to learn how to make it. As much as I'd love to give you tax and organizational structure advice (not), I'm going to stick to video-centric recommendations. Don't act surprised, you're on a video company's blog page :) 

On that note, here are a few things we'd recommend you avoid doing... in your content marketing:

Full disclosure: That's not really me lying on the moving walkway... I did eat Cinnabon, though.

Full disclosure: That's not really me lying on the moving walkway... I did eat Cinnabon, though.

Copying Your Favorite Ad
I wish this was advertising 101 but taking a stroll through your local mall will tell you differently. Here's a story:  I was walking through the Minneapolis airport a few weeks back getting ready to board a plane en route to a fanciful vacation. I had just left Cinnabon and rolled onto the moving walkway to lazy myself the remaining 35ft to my gate (the American dream) when, suddenly, I floated past a billboard.

The picture on the billboard showed a white background with a high-tech watch on it. "Cool!" I thought, "the Apple Watch! I wonder what feature they're adver...WAIT." It wasn't the apple watch. It was a competitor. And guess what? I can't even remember which one. Why? Because they copied Apple's successful ad campaign which, in the end, just made me -- and most everyone else -- think of Apple.

You have to create original content. Copying other campaigns pushes people to think of other products, not yours. Even if it's not a direct competitor, you are not doing your brand any favors.
 

Getting Too Excited About... You
Hey, we love you and your company just as much as you. And your clients love ya too... but they love themselves a little bit more, and that's ok! Think about it like this:  if you were to come to this blog and read a bunch of stats about our company, you'd lose interest faster than some awkward southern saying about molasses. The reason you're reading this and the reason I read the blogs I do and the reason your customers will watch your video(s) in the future is because they are "you" (them) centric.

Showing the value of a product or service to a potential client will always "sell" better than telling them facts. Remember, facts tell, stories sell. You wouldn't be interested in buying grass seed unless you knew it would help your dying lawn. Customers are never in the market when they don't see value for themselves but are always in the market when they do. And one last cliche -- people hate to be sold but love love loooove to buy.
 

Specializing In Everything
Unlike recommendation numero uno, this one is business 101, or at least really close to it. You can't be the best at everything. Your clients will have needs that are way out of your service range that you'll never try to touch... but they will also have ones that are right on the brink of capabilities that are, like, really, really tempting to give a good ol' college try.

This is a very common mistake we see in video production all the time. Don't call yourself "The National Leader in XYZ" when, in reality, you are the regional almost at only Y. Truth is, being the regional almost isn't a bad position at all -- as long as you differentiate from competition, identify capable leads, and specialize in their niche.

Creating a video that speaks to your target audience -- whether that's people you want to hire, people you want to sell to, people you want to donate to or whatever -- is way more powerful than creating a video that attempts to speak to everyone. Speaking to everyone is speaking to no one; avoid the temptation to "go viral"! Getting conversions is better. Going viral is a fun little, how do you say, cherry on top!

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About the Author
Jake LeVoir is the Director of Sales at Slate and Main. He has built a career on helping organizations grow by developing engaging video campaigns that drive consumer traffic and increase brand awareness.

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