I was as shocked as you may be when I did a year-end recap of my progress. I have a team of two. One editor who also serves as a camera operator and sound engineer and one graphic designer. They also have other objectives outside of creating video because we’re a small team with a holistic marketing strategy that doesn’t start and stop with video. We have, however, realized we can get the most bang for our buck by leaning heavier on video production. And since it’s the market we serve, we feel that “eating our own dog food” is the most honest way to communicate.What I wasn’t expecting when I took this job is that I’d be making more video content than my friends in Hollywood. As the wife of a director/producer, I’ve kept my husband in the film lane while I did my marketing thing. Now, with the democratization of film and the demand from audiences to see brands in video format, I’ve found myself swimming in the same pool doing my best to learn from the pros while also adding my own expertise in brand strategy to the way we use video to market our products.
There are a lot of benefits to having access to the Hollywood community, not in the least of which is their experience. They’ve been at this for much longer than any marketer I’ve ever met and I don’t have the budget or time to reinvent the wheel. The tricky part is learning from Hollywood while understanding their objectives are different than mine. I need to use video as an ongoing way to communicate with my customers so my business can continue to grow. Our common issue is that both of us are trying to produce high quality content at rapid speeds to meet public demand. Fortunately for me, I don’t need anyone’s permission to get started!
Here are the Hollywood tools I’ve reformatted to fit the marketer’s needs when producing video content:
- Begin with the end in mind. Setting up for any kind of video is a waste if you don’t have an outline and list of equipment you’re going to need. As you start looking at the holes in your communication efforts, spend time in pre-production outlining your talking points, brainstorming appropriate b-roll footage and looking for the right locations to shoot. While Hollywood producers and directors know they need to have a post-production plan, it’s often vague due to budget and aggressive deadlines in production. The way you operate is almost backwards. You’re starting with the end in mind. You’re likely making a video for a specific need your company has to boost sales or engage your audience which means you have deadlines already set for when this project needs to be live. Start there when you’re mapping out your shoot and the content. When you start with the end in mind, you already know how many different places this video needs to live which helps you make decisions about post production before you even begin shooting. Something Hollywood often doesn’t plan for ahead of time is the post production and marketing experience before a shoot begins. Having your entire marketing team in on the project ahead of time allows you to set the video project up for optimal success. It helps determine edit schedules, shoot schedules and all the ways this video can be used so it has a longer shelf life! Think of it as an editorial calendar but for one project. You’ve got the skills, leverage them.
- Take on the role of the director. The truth is, you’re going to have to play a handful of roles as you dive into video. Don’t be afraid to get your hands on a camera and throw on a pair of headphones. One of my favorite parts of making video content for our brand is learning from my team. When it comes to the actual making of a video, I know my limitations. I couldn’t even figure out how to unpack a tripod the first video I helped create. Now I’m helping with camera, sound and set up when my team needs me to jump in. The point is, you’re going to have to do a little of everything, but the role you can’t shy away from is director. It’s your job to make sure you get all the content you need for your marketing efforts. Stay on set, guide your talent in using the right language, make sure to encourage them if they seem nervous or stiff on camera, and be on the lookout for opportunities to take your team off script if, in the process, they stumbled onto communication that brings new life to your brand.
- The edit bay is your new home. After all that planning and shooting, the last thing you want to do is remove yourself from taking this video across the finish line. This doesn’t mean you micromanage every single piece of the process. What it does mean is that it’s still your job to make sure your brand is accurately communicated with both the accuracy of content and the tone of the visual experience. You are responsible for how people perceive and experience your brand. Until your team reaches expert status on video content creation, your job is to make sure they don’t fail. The point here isn’t to judge them on views or likes. It’s to chalk each attempt up to a win if the video helps fill or solve a communication problem for your brand.
What I’ve learned from Hollywood is that not every piece of content we create will win awards. What I’ve learned from marketing is that winning awards for our content isn’t the objective; closing a sale, connecting with the people we serve and making it easier for our team members to do their jobs is the goal.
Marketing is all about driving change. I think there is an incredible opportunity to lead the way by taking what Hollywood has done for over a century and putting our own spin on it. We have flexibility, access and permission on our side and it would be a shame to waste it!