If 2020 taught the business world anything, it’s that flexibility is critical to success.

When customers switched to online retail almost overnight, marketers rapidly had to adapt to new behaviors and update their messaging, including a focus on video marketing.

Plenty of marketing success stories emerged, but not every team made it through unscathed.

That’s why 69% of respondents indicated that new customer growth is their top priority for 2021, according to the 2021 Voices annual trends report.

The key to acquiring new customers in the next “new normal” will be adjusting your content strategy to match your audience’s preferences.

Video consumption increased dramatically during the pandemic, and 86% of marketers now use it as a marketing tool—a 23 percentage point increase from 2017. If you want your content to stand out, you’ll need to amp up your quality to meet modern customers’ expectations.

Cutting Through the Noise: How to Make Your Video Stand Out

Like other types of content, video can be distributed to an unlimited number of people after production.

What makes video unique, however, is that it gives your audience the impression that messages are being personally delivered.

Add in the benefits to SEO, increased engagement, and the potential virality of the medium, and it makes sense that companies are eager to capitalize on video.

In fact, HubSpot research notes that the average business publishes 18 videos each month.

The prevalence of video isn’t surprising when you consider how easy it is to pull out a smartphone camera.

But some of the videos people — and businesses — make are just plain bad.

They might be too quiet, grainy, dark, or otherwise poorly made. It’s hard to garner much of an audience if the quality isn’t up to par.

If you want your marketing messages to reach a receptive audience, you’ll need to upgrade the production quality of your videos.

This doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy the best camera on the market or hire an expert videography crew — you just need to get back to the basics.

Here’s how you can improve the quality of your marketing videos without incurring major expenses.

Experiment with Existing Equipment

Believe it or not, improving production quality is less about how much you spend on equipment and more about how proficient you are with the tools you have.

Even if you’re starting with nothing more than a smartphone, you can learn how to capture great shots and test your setup regularly to optimize results.

Familiarize yourself with basic videography principles before your next shoot. Get as close as possible to your subject.

Time your shoot to take advantage of natural lighting; if you’re shooting indoors, use auxiliary lighting.

Practice, practice, practice.

Understand the weaknesses of your equipment, which will help you know what to look for when it’s time to upgrade.

Don’t Skimp on Sound

When you’re trying to improve the production quality of your videos, it’s easy to get caught up on details like resolution.

Video is a visual medium, and the best way to make a splash is with spectacular visuals — or is it?

While recording in 4K adds options like cropping a shot without losing quality, most phones can only support 1080p.

And according to Facebook, people are 1.5 times more likely to consume video content on phones than on computers.

A hefty investment in the latest and greatest video tech would likely go to waste for much of your audience.

A better place to spend your money? Sound.

A wireless Lavalier microphone can be discreetly clipped on a presenter’s shirt or jacket to capture crisp, clear sound without echoes or feedback.

Even options under $50 can make a significant impact, and your entire audience will be able to hear the difference.

If you’re making ads or producing creative content, you can also purchase prerecorded sound effects or music to instantly boost the audio quality of your videos.

These will sound better than the ambient noises you record while filming.

Stabilize Your Shots

Devices have come a long way. For example, some smartphone cameras can capture videos in 8K resolution — also known as raw footage.

These capabilities mean that even mobile phone shots can look professional as long as they’re stabilized properly.

Professional videography tripods can cost thousands of dollars, but there’s no need for that kind of expense when you’re just getting started.

For extended still shots, like those you would see in interviews, you can purchase a tripod for your devices that will keep the subjects in the frame the entire time.

When the camera is stable, viewers can focus on the person or people delivering the message instead of a shaky recording and shifting background.

If you’re planning on taking tracking shots (i.e., where the camera follows subjects around a set), you might look into buying a dolly or gimbal.

Expand Your Video Education

Video production is a complex topic, but there’s a wide variety of courses available.

With an expert breaking down different subjects, you can learn quickly, easily, and at your own pace.

Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning have great options, but videographers on a budget can learn an impressive amount from YouTube without spending a dime.

Focus on tutorials and courses that provide an overview of basic videography principles before diving into device-specific walkthroughs that will teach you how to master the equipment you have.

Whether your video gear collection is a smartphone and a mic or thousands of dollars worth of specialized equipment, gaining knowledge is the best — and often cheapest — way to improve your production quality.

Video offers marketers an incredible opportunity, but only if the videos are worth watching.

With so much content competing for customers’ attention, your production quality will need to stand out from the crowd if you want to net more business for your company.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to improve your production quality without hiring a videography team or spending a fortune on equipment.

Start with these four steps and hone your skills, and you’ll be able to create memorable videos that viewers can’t wait to watch.

David Ciccarelli

David Ciccarelli is the founder and CEO of Voices, the No. 1 creative services marketplace with over 2 million registered users. David is responsible for setting the vision, executing the growth strategy, creating a vibrant culture, and managing the company on a day-to-day basis. He is frequently published in outlets such as The Globe and Mail, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal.

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