Trouble Coffee, Outer Sunset San Francisco

Trouble Coffee, Outer Sunset San Francisco

I feel like as the importance of social media and online marketing increases, businesses and entrepreneurs are expected to create more and more online video content in all forms.  

And in the age of Twitter, the inclination seems to be create it quickly.  So people are posting unedited recorded workshops, Google Hangouts, and narrated PowerPoints.

Great, you have content, but what does your audience think of this content, and by expansion, your business?

Sloppy.  Unprofessional.  Lazy.  Untrustworthy.

Not really the message you wanted to get across.


If you are in a hurry to create content, I’d recommend two basic planning techniques to up the quality of your content.

First let me share this.

On Monday Terry Gross at Fresh Air had on Louis C.K. (in case you don’t know him, he is a famous comedian who has his own TV show) who talked about training for his monologue on SNL.  According to Louis C.K., SNL is his largest audience, and it is an audience that differs from his typical audience (or target market).  

So Louis C.K. performs his comedy shows regularly around the country.  But rather than just go and wing it, he decided to create new material (content) for this specific audience.  And he practiced!  He practiced and honed his monologue by going to clubs with no audiences, places where he knew he was going to do poorly, open mics, weeknight sets.

Listen to him talking about his practice here, or click here for the full show.

Here is his eight minute monologue on Digg.

The result of his practice.  His routine ‘brought the house down,’ according to US Weekly.

What does this mean for you?

If you expect a huge audience, or a new audience, or are delivering new content, TESTING your message is key.

Even if you have a small audience, if it is an important audience (and I feel even an audience of one is important) delivering quality content is better than sloppy content.  EDITING is key.  


Maybe you’ve heard of the amazing short animation, The Story of Stuff, which went viral and spawned a movement.  The author of that 20-minute video which outlines where our manufactured stuff comes from and where it lands up, Annie Leonard, started her work in this issue back in the 1980s.  She developed her understanding of the life cycle of stuff through years of work in the field and her story through years of talking about the subject matter.  

Now you probably don’t have years to hone your message, but if it is not breaking news, you can spend weeks or months testing and honing to make sure your video lands versus flops.

How do you do this?

1.  Talk through your idea/message.

Yes, you can learn a lot by just telling people your idea.  Talk to your current clients.  Talk to your colleagues.  See if they have questions.  Are they confused?  Do they get excited (or fearful or called to action - whatever your end goal is) after hearing your message?

2.  Test on low investment social media

Share a short version of you message on Instagram or Vine and see how it is received.  Share the ideas of your message on Facebook and see how your fans react.  

3.  Show people

Once you’ve created your video, finished recording your Hangout, recorded your presentation, share it with someone you trust and get their feedback.  This could be your colleague, your friend, your boss.  Whoever knows your content and can give you honest feedback about the content (does it make sense) and editing (are there places where you need to trim - like that time during the Hangout where you didn’t know an answer, no need to share that with everyone).


Editing takes time.  It can take a few minutes or a few days, depending on the amount of changes that need to be made and the form your content is in (video versus PowerPoint presentation).  Even if you created your "content" using Google Hangout you can edit the final video using YouTube video tools.

So here is my suggestion if you think you don’t have time to do the work.

1.  Make a list of all of the problem areas

2.  Make a list of what it will take to fix these problem areas (re-record audio, edit out mistake in audio/video, find new video clip, etc.)

3.  Schedule in the editing tasks

4.  Get it done

Even if you are hiring someone else to do the editing, you will need to be available to review the changes and give feedback.


Adding in a few simple steps to your content creation process can help you avoid the pitfalls of quantity without quality control.   Just like you'd brush your teeth before that big date or presentation, you want to spend the time making sure your online content is audience ready.  So brush your teeth, test your message and do your edit before you your video goes live.  Your brand will thank you.

Do you have any creative ways of getting feedback before your video goes live?