When I was a senior in college, I made a series of online videos with one of my best friends. We called the series “Real Life Sammies,” devising something that was half cooking show, half comedy-nonsense, and we filmed ourselves (poorly) constructing an ideal sandwich to eat during specific experiences.

The post-break up sammie, for example, consisted of two microwaved chocolate chip cookies with Nutella, cookie butter, and rocky road ice cream stuffed in between. We wrote about thirty-five of these recipes and planned to film us making them all, but we stopped after only producing three videos. Disappointingly, the videos were only funny to us and about three of our friends. We had wanted to make videos for the sake of making videos, not because it was the best content format for our project. In hindsight, an Urban Outfitters-style coffee table book would have been more appropriate.

According to just about everything you read nowadays, video is king. Audiences often respond better to video than text, and as technology improves, producing video content is becoming easier and easier. However, before your brand embarks on videos just because you hope the format will generate the numbers you crave, keep these important guidelines in mind.

Do tell a unique story

Even the most dry informational content needs to live within an engaging narrative—if you want anyone to pay attention. Just like we preach about written content, telling a relatable story on camera will help your audience care about your product in a way that rote information just can’t. If the narrative naturally strikes an emotional chord, even better.

It’s also important to ask why your brand has to tell this story instead of your competitors. What makes it truthful and unique to you? If it’s something that anyone could talk about, it’s probably not worth your time.

Do center your videos on human characters

Numbers and abstract concepts are too nebulous to inspire shareable, watchable brand videos—leave those in the board room. Individual human stories, on the other hand, trigger our empathy and make us care.

When we hear a statistic about a disease affecting tens of thousands, for example, it’s hard to conceptualize the size of that story. But when we’re told the story of one patient—her personality traits, family members, hobbies, and values, it’s much…