Bookstore by Carla Berzolla on Flickr (Source: flickr.com)
When it comes to video marketing, companies are generally in one of two camps. On the one hand, there are those who have invested heavily in a high-end home page video that has done a pretty decent job at attracting traffic to their website and has looked the part when played at exhibitions.
Then there are the video enthusiasts who put videos on several different pages, and are always recording video testimonials and video blogs, but are happy to settle for "cheap and cheerful" rather than invest in quality.
So which one's right? Well, neither.
Yes, as with any type of content marketing, quantity is important. Increasingly, Google and other search engines are rewarding sites which publish regular material - be it blogs, infographics, videos or a combination. It's that regularity which helps to build an audience and generate a buzz.
You don't need to aim for perfection. The beauty of video is that even if you're not sure about what to say or how to say it, you can put it out there, test the water, then tweak it and re-publish if the response - or lack of one - demands it.
But the idea that quality doesn't matter is farcical. Apart from you and your colleagues, your company's brand is the single most valuable asset you own, and your brand should be reflected in the quality of your video.
Yes, a local florist or an odd-job man might just get away with something fairly basic, though even then my advice would be to err on the side of quality. For the vast majority of businesses, however, quality really does count.
So what do we mean by quality? Here are five key pointers.
Video quality is about more than just the pictures. Poor quality sound can give a video a distinctly unprofessional feel. Never rely on a microphone built into a camera, and certainly not on your webcam. Always use a separate, professional-standard microphone.
With HD television more and more popular, people are starting to demand high-definition - and to notice the difference beteen high- and standard-def. Picture quality will only improve - a system called 4K is already big in Japan - but for now insist on nothing less than full HD.
People have always used stories to communicate, and successful video marketing is essentially just that. Videos that don't tell a story - whether it's about your company, your brand, your philosophy or whatever else - just don't work. If the producer or company you're thinking of hiring doesn't get that, think again.
If you've always fancied yourself as a Steven Spielberg, don't try experimenting on that company sales video. Generally you don't need actors or flowery scripts. Just go for something simple. Find your best communicators - train them if necessary - and work out what you want them to say. Don't worry about fancy tilts, pans and zooms - and always use a tripod when appropriate.
There is a a growing trend towards companies producing videos in-house. Provided you have the right skills and sufficient talent at your disposal, this can work well for a wide range of material. But for really important content - a promotional video, for example, or a film to show on an exhibition stand - always call on specialist expertise.
Robin Powell is an experienced broadcast journalist, content marketer and founder of Ember Television. You can follow or link up with him. To see some examples of quality video production, see our portfolio.