We all want to put our best foot forward when it comes to making videos. But occasionally, we inadvertently make mistakes. If you are just making Youtube videos for a personal channel, you may not be concerned with these issues. But if you are creating videos as part of your blogging or vlogging career, these 13 video mistakes will make you look unprofessional to your viewers and cause you to lose sponsorships
(This post contains affiliate links (*). That means that I make a small commission from sales that result through these links, at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.)
Personal Presentation Video Mistakes
Certainly, the first thing that jumps out to the viewer is the way you present yourself. With videos, most of your success comes from your ability to influence the viewer.
Most presentation problems arise when we do things that distract the viewer. Regardless of what your video content is about, you want the viewer to stay focused on the message, not on some crazy eyesore.
This means the first impression matters. They matter a lot. With that in mind, these are some of the things that you want to avoid.
1. Bad Manicures
Depending on what type of video you are making, your fingernails can make or break you. Dirty nails or polish that is either garish or chipped will cause the viewer to be distracted.
That doesn’t mean that you need to go full-on Kardashian with it. Most people can get away with a short and neat nail.
For instance, I do home improvement videos for my biggest blog and crafts and recipes for my smaller site. Naturally, home renovations will play hell with your nails.
To keep things appropriate for both sites, I do a basic sport length with either a buff shine or a neutral polish. This works well for almost every niche, and it allows the viewer to stay focused on the sponsored product.
I recommend that every blogger/vlogger invest in a good pair of cuticle snips* and a basic nail buffer.* They are both cheap but will do a world of good.
2. Gaudy Jewelry
Jewelry is another thing that can cause distraction. How many times have you watched a video and were drawn to the jewelry the person was wearing.
It may be nice to have viewers comment on your jewelry, but if they do, it means that they are not completely focused on what you are saying.
If your intent is to sell or promote the jewelry, that may be a good thing. But, if you are trying to promote a product, this can be a big turn-off to the company.
3. Distracting Clothes/Materials
Likewise, your clothes or other materials can be a major distraction. Exactly what is the person trying to promote in the image above? Hint: it is the bag! But, if you thought it was the shoes, you wouldn’t be alone.
Avoid mistakes like this in your video and your sponsor will thank you.
4. Chewy Gum or Drinking
I think it goes without saying that you should never chew gum or slurp drinks on camera. Unless you are promoting a brand of gum or a drink, it really looks (and sounds) unprofessional.
In addition, you can add eating to this list of video mistakes to avoid. No one wants to see you chowing down on your lunch. Save it for later, or do it off-camera.
5. Low Energy
Have no or low energy will suck the like right out of your content. For new videographers, it can be difficult to pump enough energy into a video. You may feel natural or fake, but energy is the heart of a video.
If you struggle with this, there are things that you can do to learn how to look comfortable in videos. Go through this list and practice, practice, practice until you have it down. Your videos will improve substantially.
6. Rambling Introductions
Some of us are natural-born talkers. Unfortunately, no one wants to hear a long rambling introduction. Yes, you need to get your brand in there. Yes, you need to introduce the message. But try to get to the point quickly.
You will lose a significant percentage of your viewers is your intro takes too long. Try to restrict yourself to around 6 seconds.
Professional Competency Video Mistakes
You always want to avoid making mistakes in your videos from this category. Professional competency issues are the things that can really get you in trouble. These things are will be violations of either contracts or laws.
7. Showing Competitor’s Brand
When you are doing a sponsored video, you should never, ever mention or display something from a competing brand.
For example, if you are doing a video for Betty Crocker cake mixes, don’t use Duncan Hines icing. If you must use a competing product in order to do the project, make it as generic as possible.
i.e Take the icing out of the container and place it in a plain dish. Don’t mention the brand. Simply say that you are using frosting.
Normally, the contract or agreement with a brand will have something in it prohibiting you from using a competitor’s product. If you make this mistake, you will likely never get another sponsorship from that company.
8. Forgetting to Mention/Display Sponsored Brand
Always remember to mention and show the sponsored brand within your video. They (the sponsor) like to see this and will very put-off if you don’t do it enough.
A good rule of thumb is to mention the brand at the beginning of the video. Then mention it again somewhere in the middle. Finally, always close with another call out to the product.
In addition, you should display the product or the packaging as much as possible. If you can, display it throughout.
If the product is only part of a bigger project be sure to show the packaging when you reach the point where you incorporate it into the project.
9. Forgetting to Include Disclosures
Don’t forget to include your disclosures. If you are getting paid or you have received a free product, you must disclose this both verbally and in the description. If you leave it out, you will be in violation of the FTC policy.
Make sure to state right up front that the video is sponsored by [fill in the rand name here]. In addition, you have to indicate that affiliate links are links that will earn you a commission.
That’s just one of the important things you need to know about affiliate marketing. There is a whole slew of other things to take into consideration.
10. Using Copywriter Material/Music
Don’t use copyright material. This includes images, clips, and sound. Even music that just happens to occur in the background can get your video flagged. Take this into consideration when doing on-site recordings.
Video Quality Issues
11. Using Bad Lighting
There is a reason why “lights” comes first in the phrase “Light, camera, action”. Bad lighting is the hallmark of an ammeter.
The best free lighting is the sun. But the sun can be unpredictable. Cloud coverage can cause shifts in lighting that are noticeable especially when the video is sped up.
Invest in some good continuous lighting. I use the Fovitec 2500 watt lighting set.* It is a good cheap set-up that works for both beginners and experienced.
12. Having Bad Sound Quality
Even worse than bad lighting is bad sound. You don’t want to rely on the onboard mic on your phone or camera unless it has good quality and you can record with it less than a foot away from your mouth.
That is not likely to be the situation. Most cameras will need to be several feet away from you. In which case you end up with an echo and a tinny sound.
It doesn’t matter how good a video looks. If the sound is bad, the overall impression is one of low quality. Likewise, a clean crisp sound will make a mediocre video seem professional.
A very good but cheap mic for a DSLR is the Rode Go.* If you need to be able to move around, the Rode Go wireless system* coupled with the Rode lavalier mic* is great for both DSLRs and iPhones.
13. Including Background Distractions
Be mindful of background distractions especially when going on location. Noisy cafes, lots of people walking around in the background, and other uncontrollable events can be distracting to viewers.
In addition, you legally are not supposed to use the likeness of others without getting a signed consent form. If a child is in the background, this can be especially troublesome.
The same thing goes with music. As mentioned before, copyright music can get your video banned on Youtube. It doesn’t matter if it is a small blip or an entire song. Even when you have no control over the atmosphere, they can flag you.
One thing you can do to remove background distractions is to take a picture of the background. Then, do your bit in front of a green screen and incorporate the image into the video during editing. You’re there, but you’re not.
Exceptions to the Rules
Sometimes video mistakes aren’t really mistakes. Yes, there are a few exceptions to the rules. But use good judgment when deciding.
If gaudy jewelry is your signature and your viewers have come to expect it from you. If you have a distinct filming style or sound that is by its nature distracting. If you have developed a persona that is monotone and low energy.
All these are situations where you might be able to ignore the rules. But if doing a sponsored or paid video, you should still ask yourself if the brand you are partnering with expects your “personality” to show through. Do your viewers expect your unique style to always be there, or is this a time when you need to make some adjustments?