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All Video is Not Created Equal by Jennifer Donaldson

One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words[1]. With that kind of power, you’d want that video to be fairly decent, right? Well, remember that not all video is created equal.

In the old days it was a real commitment to change the channel, now you don’t even have to move your hand.  Research done by Visible Measures finds that you’ve got 10 seconds to grab your viewer and reel them in before they click away.  If your video is lacking in sound quality, enticing visuals, captivating content, and many other aspects that contribute to viewer engagement, then you’ve lost the power of 1.8 million words.

Recent research shows that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.[2] If your video is slow-paced, poorly edited, and tells an in-accurate story, then that negative message is going to stick with your viewer for a long time.

No Barrier to Entry

When I was first producing network news, you had to prove you were well trained in the art of storytelling, or that you were at least trainable.  Today, there is no such barrier to entry.

Anyone with an I-Phone, I-Movie or the equivalent can produce a video and get it onto the Internet.  Many companies think that Aunt Suzie or their nephew’s best friend who once videotaped Aunt Suzie’s wedding is good enough to produce a video for their site.  Other’s who watched an episode of “Murphy Brown,” “The Newsroom” or once worked at a marketing agency simply can’t understand why you have to HIRE someone to do what they are positive they can do.  It looks easy and plus it’s fun… Yes, it is fun to use video to tell a story, but the bottom line is it takes skill and not everyone has it.


More video content is uploaded in 30 days than all three major U.S. TV networks combined have created in 30 years.[3] That means that the pressure to stand out amongst the crowd is crucial.

To do that you have to offer more than moving pictures, but a story that is MOVING.  Storytelling is imperative.  Besides being consistent in messaging, style and quality, digital content must be compelling, engaging and entertaining.  You engage people by giving them someone to care about, not just random video shots, loud music and crazy graphics.


Mothers Out Front is a non-profit in Boston made up of passionate women who came together out of a shared urge to combat the ever-growing climate crisis that is taking over the world. While their website is simple enough to navigate, when I look for more in their video, I am underwhelmed.  They have one video on their Website with a mother in a chair with her two children telling her story for the entire 4 MINUTES AND 56 SECONDS of the video.  There is no other image, no video, no photographs, no headlines or photos helping to tell her story and not only do I have to strain to hear what this woman is talking about, but in no way do I connect with her, feel her pain or sense an urgency for this cause. In fact, I am dreading the next 4 minutes and 56 seconds because I know it will feel like an eternity… This is an example of when text would be compelling.

Hunters Estate Agents is a real estate firm in England.  They use an energetic song  (which I doubt they have the rights to) and there’s a stuffed penguin in a chair, but I could not be more confused as to what they are trying to sell me, and the first reason is that I can’t hear the audio. The sound quality is so poor that they even have to use subtitles at one point!  It becomes clear that they started with a message, though the story is jumbled and quickly falls apart.  But at least, by the end of 2 minutes and 37 seconds I know what every nook and cranny of their office looks like.

With RACO Card Solutions prints plastic identification cards and their marketing strategy is stuck in the past. Until I saw that this video was uploaded in 2009, I was convinced that this was a piece from the 80’s. There is a brief and poorly shot introduction of an employee and then her voice under uninspiring, poorly shot and edited video for an additional two very long minutes.  There is no story and no people to care about, or relate to and the office looks like a snooze.

[1] Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research,

[2] Insivia,

[3] Insivia,

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