Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

YouTube: Why everyone should stop dumping raw video on YouTube now

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Because most raw video is just terrible. It’s lazy, a time suck for consumers and most of it doesn’t even tell a story. It’s just stuff.

Now, there are few absolutes in authentic storytelling and there are some useful raw footage videos out there but most raw footage dumped (I wouldn’t dare call it shared) on YouTube is just bad.

Exceptions include true breaking news events of relevance to the viewer, for example.

And now I’m starting to see raw footage of what’s not happened. See this video for what didn’t happen. You can’t make this up and I’m not. Ha.

One raw video footage “production” was showing the British Royal family getting into cars – except the queen. “See how the queen wasn’t there to get into cars?” No, I didn’t see her. LOL. Geesh.

So seriously, I’m okay with raw video footage on YouTube If there’s context and it’s something that can’t be shared through just words (or other medium). For example:

  • Some police dash cam footage. But again, not all of it. Just the stuff worth watching.
  • NFL highlights with the original commentator play by play. This isn’t  dump and run either, since editing is involved, but it’s basically raw since it’s the original.
  • Presentations that we missed and are required to view.

I see all kinds of organizations (and people) post raw video. Content marketing agencies, in-house brand teams and even journalism organizations.

At least add some context and before posting ask:

  • Why is this piece of video worth posting?
  • Does it show anything my copy didn’t share sufficiently already?

If good answers exist, post away. And share away while you are at it.

Some people might say: “But Christoph, I use YouTube as a holding place so I can embed that video on my website.” (And you forget about your YouTube audience in the meantime?)

Same principles apply for that scenario. And if the website article has more context, link to it. Or better yet: Share the context directly on YouTube.

Related: What’s with all the links on social media? 

There are a couple of other ways to get away from raw video footage:

1 – Edit while shooting 

This is possible, even for live, breaking events. I’ve done it! Start and stop clips to make the uploading easier and the clip more useful for the viewer later on.

This takes a bit of anticipation skill since you have to click stop and go at the right times. And you won’t know when that is ahead of time. But still photographers do a version of this. They keep shooting.

I didn’t say it would be easy. 🙂

2 – Edit before posting 

Certainly you can spend hours editing video and more power to the great video editors out there. But you can also edit quickly on your phone, for example.

  • Here’s the clip in the media library.
  • Trim it down to just exactly what you want people to see.
  • Upload via YouTube app.

Related: Video editing software for storytellers 

Video is hard and takes a different skill set from writing, but it’s another way to share useful and authentic stories. But just like with writing where not all words are necessary, in video not all footage is necessary for the viewer.

The viewer distinction is important. I once saw an editor leave a 30-second clip in a  story just because we loved it. There was no value for the viewer. Cut!

Edit writing like you are running out of words. Edit and shoot video like you are running out of storage. 


Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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