Hire A Pro for Your Video Content

Hire a Pro for your Video Content

If you want social media video content that people are going to watch you should probably hire a professional.

Too often people confuse the tools with the craft.   Since they can shoot video with their phone, DSLR, or consumer video camera, they leap to the illogical conclusion that they can also produce a great video.

Good journalism and storytelling is a craft that people spend many years learning to do well.   Great or even competent video content on-line is rarely shot by amateurs, and when it is it can be embarrassing, and/or just plain bad.

Video storytelling can be one of the best ways to make an impression, and with the array of great content streaming on-line do you really want to blow it?

I am not talking amateur video of kitties or kids doing cute things here.   Nor am I talking about adults doing stupid or possibly endearing things caught on camera.

Although you should know that many of the latter don’t go viral, and those that do are often heavily produced.  In other words there’s a pro in there somewhere.

If you are talking about conveying important messages and information about your brand on social media viral videos may be completely wrong for the job.   Understanding your goals, and the end users you want to reach, will dictate the thematic and creative approach in your video.

From the moment that great project, idea, or event drives you to think about a video to the completed product, a lot of creative stuff happens that leads to success.

Branded content that’s good isn’t an accident.

Great content – that which is useful and engaging – doesn’t happen easily or by accident; it requires experience and practice, the sort of which requires digital marketing leaders to recruit the right talent: often ex-journalists and others from artistic disciplines such as graphic design and photography. Understanding the Art and Science of Content Marketing , The Guardian.

While hiring a full-time ex-journalist or video producer is probably not in the cards for budget constrained SMEs and agencies here’s a piece of good news—you don’t have to!  Nor do you have to ask your overtasked and untrained communications person to shoot and post video.  (I’ve seen this happen a lot, and it’s not pretty!)

The real benefit of production tools getting easier, cheaper, and more accessible is that independent video content creators master them and use them.  So those creators, with a small creative team, or even on their own, can deliver great results on limited budgets.   So next time you get an urge to make a video—hire them!




Provided by Pixabay

With social media we all have the capacity to be publishers of video stories, but that doesn’t mean we will do it well.

Video, like any multi-media tool, needs to add value to a story in a very clear way; simply to use it for its own sake doesn’t work.   While video watchers on the web may be willing to tolerate lower quality images they won’t tolerate irrelevant content.

When businesses or individuals start to think about a video content strategy there’s one primary question that needs answering to get everything else right.

When does video add real value to your story?

Media organizations have been figuring out the answer to this question for a while now as they’ve continued to experiment with best uses of video in their operations.

Here are my top answers to when does video add value to your content along with some examples.

     When it “brings to life” in a unique way an element of a story that would not be as good without it.

In 2007, Washington Post reporter Gene Weingarten wanted to do a story on how rush hour morning commuters would react to a world class violinist  posing as a common street performer.  With the headline Pearls Before Breakfast Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let’s find out.  The story ran as a feature in the Sunday magazine.  In the on-line version they posted the text and pictures along with small embedded video clips that allowed users to see and hear passer by reactions to the playing.   The story ran and was the most viewed in the history of the site.

When you think about using video it should add something to a story that you might otherwise just tell in print.  Here the video is a social experiment with an intriguing question that could only be answered by watching what unfolds.  This story is much more impactual because you want to “see” what is going to happen.

     When it tells emotional and personal human stories with central characters that are compelling

Video is an emotional medium that works really well when it captures a human story with really strong central characters.   While some writers would argue this point, I don’t think the printed word and/or even pictures can compete with video when it comes to telling emotional stories about human beings.   Take a look at the use of video in this piece by Ian Brown, a Globe and Mail columnist, who wrote a book called “Man in Moon”, based on a series of articles he published in the paper.

     When it provides a voice to users and a place for them to participate

Whether communities are posting video themselves, or being given a place to express themselves video can be a very strong medium to give voice to community on topics of concern to them.  Watch this compelling interactive video project created by the Washington Post called the N Word.

     When it gives you valuable information and/or shows you how to do something that you didn’t know how to do before.

The how-to genre is very video friendly.   People look up all kinds of practical information on how to do things on-line and often turn to video to get help.  Great how-to video is clear, concise, and well shot.  It’s a lot harder to do well than you may think.  One of my favourite channels for how-to is epicurious .

Video in your back pocket

phone-945451_1920 (2).jpgWhen I went back to school in the spring of 2011 to do my Masters in Digital Journalism and New Ventures I was digitally challenged, and determined to do something about it.

After 20 years in the television business, producing documentary and lifestyle series for specialty cable networks around the world, I was going to get the chance to learn about digital media storytelling.   It was exciting!

I didn’t understand theories of technological disruption and innovation until after I entered the program, but I knew instinctively that really, REALLY, big change was on the doorstep of my industry.

Netflix was on the scene, YouTube was growing leaps and bounds, Blockbuster was dead and gone, and the cultural agencies that funded production companies like mine were abuzz over interactive digital media projects—introducing new tax credits to support them.

So what’s happened since then?

Well technological disruption of the TV business is now accelerating at warp speed;  the agencies that introduced interactive digital media tax credits are trying to contain the massive number of applications received;  and traditional networks and specialties are scrambling to hang on to revenues being siphoned off to new agile competitors in the on-line sphere.

I don’t know what traditional TV will look like in another few years. When you are busy defending the gates from intruders, it is  not so easy to find your blue ocean strategy to make it all better.

But as cold hearted as this sounds, for the rest of us I would argue things are looking up.

For the first time in history the internet and user platforms are allowing us to reach a mass audience.  We aren’t tethered to a system where the admittance fees to the communication channels, and the necessary tools, are so prohibitively expensive that we can’t join in.

This is an amazing time for any organization or business to use video in their social media strategy.

With ever faster video streaming, burgeoning on-line hosting platforms, and camera technology that is putting more in a mobile phone than we had 10 years ago in some of the highest end professional cameras —video is your stage—you just have you step on to it.

To argue that you are better off to spend your limited communication dollars on more written words is an argument that is anchored in the perceptions from the past.    In terms of cost to value ratio today it doesn’t hold up.

In my Masters I was interested in the business of digital media storytelling, but I was also required to get my hands dirty and I reported and filed video stories every week on a web site I created and ran.

That experience brought me closer to where my heart had been as a young TV producer—telling stories about things and people that I cared about.   Then I had to carry around a lot of extra people and expensive equipment.

Now the tools of the trade can start with the phone in your back pocket.  How cool is that?

Video is #1 Most Important Tool in Your Social Media Content Strategy

If you have no video and no video strategy in your social media marketing plan you don’t really have a plan.  That might sound harsh, and yes I have a conflict of interest in writing this, given that I produce videos for social media for a living, but you don’t have to take my word for it.

You might, though, want to take Gary Vanyerchuck’s.   He’s the guy who became a YouTube sensation and used it to grow his family’s wine business from 3M to 60M a year.  He’s gone onto to run Vayner Media , a pretty hot digital agency, and to co-own Vayner/Rse a 25M venture capital fund.

He says video is the single most important content strategy for social media today.  Read more here.

I work a lot with public institutions, governments, and not for profits.

What always surprises me with clients is that, despite all the good intentions in the world to capitalize on social media, video is often left behind.    They tell me they know they should do it, but it’s still the last thing they do, or it’s the thing they do for special events when they have a bit more money.

Why?  Here are the top three reasons I hear often from Marketing and Communications Directors:

  • I am better off spending my money on written on-line content because I can get more articles, and cover more for our stakeholders.
  • Video stories are much more time consuming to get done.
  • Video is expensive so we have to do it sparingly, and only for special campaigns where we can justify the money.

O.K., but if you are in fact leaving video out of your arsenal, which could arguably be the single most important element in a social media content strategy, maybe it’s time for a rethink?

In the next few postings I’ll debunk the rationales listed above for not having a social media video strategy and provide some insights into getting one started.

The hurdles to the adoption of a good social media strategy are usually fear based; be it fear of the tech, fear of the time, or fear of failing and blowing money.   Nettleton, R. (2015).  Lesson 2: Social Media’s Impact on Communication Practices. Retrieved from http://ccol.algonquincollege.com/com0011/lesson-2/lesson-content/

But the truth is when it comes to video there has never been a more exciting time for self-publishing.   The tools of the video trade are plentiful, they are getting easier to use and cheaper than ever before, and, most importantly, the channels of distribution are accelerating as I write this post.

True, that the cacophony of distribution possibilities means more noise on every channel, but that’s a post for another day.