sly : marketing

I am terrible at creating videos – but does it matter?


I love to create stories, and storytelling is part of my marketing business. I want to be able to create stories about everything, even… fruits and vegetables. But, usually, I am a writer and I am developing stories by using words and text to describe emotions.

Now that I have clients, I want to help them create stories too. I want them to be online, and I want them to be all that they can possibly be. I have bought a camera, a Canon EOS 650D, and I’ve started to take pictures for my clients. I used to be terrible at it, but I’m learning. And I’m trying to tell stories with pictures as well as with my text.


I’m not so sure I’ll ever be anything but terrible when it comes to creating videos. On the other hand, I’m not sure if it matters.

Most of the time, when I’m watching videos from people and businesses online, I just want the video to be authentic and to tell a story. I want the story to be true, and I want to understand that it’s not an advertisement.

I’m thinking that I want to just use my iPhone and create a video for my clients. I just want to talk, show my face, and say hi. Is that going to work at all? That’s the thing, I believe in being authentic, and I believe that we’re all capable of creating stories and doing awesome marketing, even though we’re terrible at creating videos.

This is what I’m talking about. I would never do something like this for a client, but on the other hand, it might actually work… (I created the video a while ago, while I was walking to work very early in the morning).

Do we need to hire someone to create professional videos, or can we actually create videos for clients (or for the company we work for) by using a smartphone and being creative, even if we’re terrible at creating videos?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

46 responses to “I am terrible at creating videos – but does it matter?”

  1. Dexter says:

    If you are creating professional videos that your clients business depends on you should hire someone. Nothing worst than a bad video that actually hurts business. Mobile phones do not offer the same flexibility and quality as professional cameras. Here are a few examples of videos we created:

    • Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition (HRRC)
    • Vinny Ten
    • Down and Derby
    • New York Video Meetup

    Let me know what you think.

    • Hey Dexter,

      Your videos looks awesome. And they look really professional.
      What I’ve been asking myself is that some of my clients don’t have that kind of money to hire someone to create videos like this, does this mean that they shouldn’t create videos at all?

      Like I said, I’m terrible with video, so I am not really sure if they shouldn’t create videos or not.

  2. Joel Luks says:

    Yes, it matters. First of all, vertical videos are huge no no. Can you recall any video player that uses this format? Shows little understanding for video trends and usage. Also, the look of a video must be aligned with the business, something that’s no different from how collateral materials are designed. There has to be a strategy, one that isn’t determined with the equipment available. So yes, in this case, hire someone that knows how to manipulate all the tools.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, The video you did for me for the Spotify guest post was great. But a hand-held vertical video on the iPhone doesn’t cut it for business. Ask Ruth or Annie Andre to help you with pointers. The video that Annie Andre did in her guest post for Adrienne was spectacular.

    Practice every day for fifteen minutes making short videos. See if you can get to the point where you are satisfied with the product. If you aren’t then don’t offer that service to your clients. But if you have the time, I imagine that you will get to where you need to be!

    • Ruth Zive says:

      Hi Jens. Yup, I agree with Carolyn – it’s worth spending some time learning best practices – Paul Wolfe has a great series on video over at One Spoon. And if you can’t deliver a professional video, you should invest some money and outsource to meet your clients’ needs. You could always hire MarketingWise 🙂 (even though I love your very informal videos for blogging!)

      • Hi Ruth,

        I have seen your videos and they are just awesome. I love professional videos, but what I’m trying to say is that maybe once in a while it’s ok for a person in a company (one of my clients) to just create a video with his smartphone and publish it? Or should all videos be of high quality?

        I might have to hire you 😉

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Yes, I did include a very bad example in this post, but I sort of did it on purpose. I have talked to several of my clients and potential clients who’re saying that they don’t have any budget for creating videos, at least not professional videos. And that got me thinking that when every single person working for the company has a smartphone, they could create videos themselves, and I could create some as well. But, like you said, it’s all about practice and that’s what I’ll be doing 🙂

      I’ll probably talk to Ruth or Annie Andre as well 🙂

  4. I think that many different things work for different people when it comes to social media and engagement. And you’re correct in saying that people want real honest content above all else.

    If something as simple as using your phone to post videos to the internet will work or not is impossible to say. But I would bet that if you approach it with an open mind and give it a try it has a good chance. And I base that on your interest in doing it that way over trying to do it some other way.

    Often it’s how a person perceives what they are doing and how comfortable they are doing it that matters most.

    So give it a try what have you got to lose. Just share with people that it’s a test and if they like it you’ll keep doing it. I’m betting that for you it will work as obviously you’re not into video if it isn’t more direct and casual verses staged and fancy.

    • Hey Frank,

      I’m definitively approaching it with an open mind, and I find this discussion very interesting. And I believe that it’s also important what the video is for. For instance, today, one of my clients has his birthday, and I could have recorded a short video with my iPhone when some of his co-workers are singing happy birthday for him. I would think that it would be an awesome video to post on Facebook even though the quality of the video was fairly poor.

  5. Adrienne says:

    Hey Jens,

    I would think that if you are creating something for a client then it would definitely need to be much more professional. Like my videos, I’m just sharing information and sometimes I shoot myself sharing it. But I’m trying to connect with my readers, friends and hopefully new viewers.

    The problem with doing videos for customers is that they have a brand that they are trying to make people aware of and in your fabulous story telling way, I think if you could hire someone to shoot those videos for you then you will have a much larger clientele mainly for that service.

    Start small and build up, I think you’ll be very successful. You’re still the storyteller.


    • Hi Adrienne,

      I love this discussion. My “problem” with professional videos are that many of the are too professional when it comes to social media. I am that type of guy that enjoy the homemade videos of the CEO just talking without all the editing. It’s so much more personal, and I understand that the person didn’t have a lot of help making the video, and to me, that builds an even stronger relationship. On the other hand, I’m still terrible at creating videos, so it’s not really about me 🙂

  6. Nawaz says:

    You are facing a little bit hesitation that will reduce your creativity. Try to overcome this fear and go for practice and soon you will be also perfect in video creation as you are in writing.

  7. Mys Palmer says:

    Hiya Jens! I found your post on Adrienne’s site so of course I had to check out your central hub. Video *shrugs* I know what all the fuss is about. I know the value. But I don’t use Video. I’m not sure I can pinpoint why. I’ve shot several and just never posted them. Not one. It’s not that they aren’t “good” quality, or that the subject matter is off. I just. Ugh. I don’t like doing it very much. So i’m afraid I’m biased in this opinion.

    On one hand, yes, videos should be good quality. I don’t think that means flashy though. Your video sample above was clear, the volume was good and you stayed on topic. So to me, it was good. I think professional video is beautiful, but costly and unless it’s going to provide a major income boost, should anyone waste the money?

    • Hi Mys,

      It’s great that you found me via Adrienne’s site. This post is not one of my best, just to let you know 🙂

      I’m thinking that we should have a goal with our videos, sometimes it’s ok to publish an informal video (of fairly poor quality) and other times we should hire someone professional to create them. But in the end, it’s all about what we’re trying to accomplish, don’t you think?

      Thank you so much for your comment. I hope you’ll be back 🙂

  8. Radu says:

    It doesn’t matter as long as nobody see them :)) No seriously, it matters if you have something to promote but if you are doing them just for the fun of it, it’s ok.

  9. Both.

    I’ve shot crappy low-budget videos that somehow ‘went viral’ and led to opportunities to create more sophisticated, polished, professional-looking videos.

    The story and the timing is the thing.

    • That’s very interesting Laura. Some of the videos I’ve seen that’s gone viral has been kind of low budget, and that’s the type of videos I really enjoy – but like you’re saying, I also believe that we need both.

      Thank you.

  10. Hi Jens,
    Adding video to my marketing strategy is something that I have wanted to do for quite a while now. Like you, video is not one of my stronger suits. Thanks for the starting the discussion.

    I’m glad that you mentioned Ruth’s videos being awesome. I’m checking her site out now for inspiration. (Her video on repurposing content is very good.) I’m not looking to create video for clients, I just want to overcome my camera shyness and add video to my blog.

    • Hi Sherryl,

      I have tested a few videos on my blog and on YouTube and I haven’t made them too personal. I mostly didn’t show my face, I was more or less hiding and just showing how I did various things on my computer. So, instructional videos are so much easier to make than the videos where I have to be on camera.

      I’m not sure if I’ll ever create any videos for my clients, but I’m going to try to create more for my blog. I’m terrible, but it’s fun 🙂

  11. Whybrand says:

    Great article and very good helpful information I like it I am a blogger so I can imagine that how much effort did you put in this, thanks buddy keep up the good work

  12. Mariano says:

    Hey man!

    Good point. I know your video sucks.. And your idea is great. I think you should create your own vide, be authentic and OWN that relationship with your clients!

  13. No, it doesn’t matter. Shoot with your iPhone, horizontal ! This is what people are 100% comfortable with now. They know it’s not pro but they are engaged by the people and message. You notice that mostbpeoplevsuggesting go pro hav a vested interest?
    Walter @adamson

    • Hey Walter,

      That’s a very interesting point of view. I’m like you and I’m thinking that most videos could be made with my iPhone, as long as they’re authentic and I’m showing who I am (or who my clients are).

      Thanks a lot 🙂

  14. Make It Mine says:

    I have learned so much by reading your blog. It always amazes me how much there is to learn. It is also mind boggling how fast things change. For a newbie like me having a resource like your post.

  15. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Jens, from what I understand in your post, you like the idea of connecting with your clients in an informal way through your videos.

    And it has already been said in the comments that one thing is to shoot your own videos and another thing is to create the videos as a service, which are completely different things.

    If your aim is to be more comfortable on camera and be informal and get your clients to know you a bit better or to trust you in advance, then all I would focus on is on being as real as possible, avoid boring stuff, create short videos and if you have to invest a little bit on equipment I would advice to focus on AUDIO first.

    You can have a low resolution video with awesome audio and people will still watch it (besides you can use only the audio for a podcast as well) BUT if you have awesome video with crappy audio, there’s no point in watching because people are going to be really pissed from the audio itself.

    As for shyness goes, I’m the perfect example of overcoming this. I used to SHAKE on my first videos but just after a week I managed to understand I was afraid of something that is not even ALIVE, it’s just a small piece of equipment called a video camera and that’s it!

    If there’s anything you fear, just repeat it so much until the fear goes away, works like a charm.

    If you want to be more “Pro” with your videos, you have to understand there’s a learning curve for that and it’s a steep one.

    Proper lightning conditions, resolutions, filters, speech articulation, vocal exercises, mic placement, dealing with green, blue, white and black screens, studio lights, shadow correction and I’m not even mentioning low thirds, FX, the actual video editing process, animation, sound FX, audio mixing, etc, etc.

    Just work with whatever you have and do it OFTEN.

    That will tell you what should you be focusing on at a later time, hope that helps Jens! 😉


    • That’s great advice Sergio. What I have been thinking about is that I want my clients to be informal too, and I want them to be able to record videos from their smartphones and create relationships with their customers. On the other hand, I belive that it should be a mix of “amateur videos” and professional videos. It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

      I’m still terrible when it comes to creating videos, but I’ll be working on them to become better, but I’ll never be professional 🙂

  16. Sergio Felix says:

    I forgot to say, you can check out David Risley or Chris Ducker’s videos.

    Both of them are CEOs and both of them create “informal” videos but the only informal bit is that they are not wearing a suit and a tie and both of them shoot videos in their office.

    Everything else is as professional as possible (Opening, Branding, Content, Call to Action)

    Another thing you can do is search in YouTube for “click track profit” is a program that teaches people how to use traffic exchanges, safelists and how to track campaigns.

    You’ll see literally thousands of videos from people creating their video for the first time and you may even bump into the CEOs as they record a LOT of stuff in the most informal way possible even though their company is very successful.

    They have been doing that for 14-15 years so they know what they’re doing, definitely check that out.


    PS. Feel free to add this comment to the previous one so you don’t have to split comments from me or… do as you want! LOL 😉

    • That’s awesome. I’ll take a look at both David Risley’s and Chris Ducker’s videos right now, adn the same with “click track profit”. I’m eager to learn more about how things work when it comes to video 🙂

  17. Bethany Lee says:

    Hi Jens (liking your blog here),
    I like your video. It’s authentic and simple and it tells your story. That’s all that matters as far as I’m concerned. I make videos on my own blog and I’ve started making videos at work, and I’m not a professional videographe–I’m just someone who has the passion to go for it. People like videos (short ones). So I say, whether we are professional at it or not, we should just go for it. 🙂

    • Hi Bethany,

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed the video. I was a little embarrased that I added it to the post, because it wasn’t of high quality at all. But, on the other hand, it was an interesting example 🙂

      I’d love to see some of your videos, can you post a link?

  18. Josh says:

    I am working hard to learn how to make better videos. I am a fan of using our blogs as a place to learn how to do it. It is a reasonable “test” market and a good opportunity to try things out.

  19. Amit Shaw says:

    Hi Jens,

    I am not bad with videos but still I make videos sparingly. It all depends on what I want to say to my readers and if that requires a video to support. Many whom I know do not rely on videos for their doing their jobs. If you are good at it, it definitely is going to give your work an edge over others’ work.

    • Hi Amit,

      I agree. I am working with a video production company right now, and I can see the benefit of making professional videos. But, many of the companies I am working with don’t have the money to invest in videos, so I’m thinking that they should try to do it with their smart phones, it doesn’t have to be really good as long as it’s personal.

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