7 mistakes brands make when commissioning video content (and how to avoid them).

25th May 2018

written by George Hughes

 

Regardless of the type of client, industry or budget, we see the same pattern of mistakes emerging when brands decide to commission a video.

 

  1. Going with the cheapest quote.

 

When it comes to commissioning video for your business, the landscape for finding a video specialist is a minefield, littered with all kinds of video production providers; from marketing agencies to video production companies and freelance videographers.

When navigating your path to the right video producer, there is often a temptation to go for the cheapest solution.  In fact, your mate Dave is pretty handy with his Canon DSLR and filmed your sister’s wedding last year. And Sam from Accounts has a brother who’s graduated from film school and set himself up as a videographer. He’s willing to create your video for free. But before you go down the tempting route of finding someone cheap, consider this; what is the true cost of working with an inexperienced video producer?

 

Before we answer that question, let me ask another one… If you’d bought a plot of land and were about to build your family’s dream home who would you hire? Would it be a professional architect with a solid reputation, proven track record, references and access to the best builders, carpenters and plumbers? Or would you hire your next door neighbour’s son who’s pretty handy with a hammer and did their loft conversion last year?

 

When you hire an inexperienced videographer with no track record, you might save yourself some money on paper, but you’ll end up paying the price 10 fold in the long run. There is the chance that you’ll get lucky as there are some amazingly talented freelancers out there, but it’s a gamble you should be willing to risk losing. Inexperience can result in a whole host of problems from being given a poor quality video that can cause brand damage to a lack of professionalism, leading to an unreliable service and unexpected costs.

But beyond those issues, the biggest problem our clients have reported from hiring inexperienced videographers is the time strain and stress caused by them having to micromanage the project. As soon as the cracks start to appear in a video production, you will be sucked into trying to problem solve and sort out the mistakes.  

 

 

  1. Thinking of the video company as “technicians” and driving the creative from in-house.

 

There’s often a perception that videography is like photography – you need a photographer for a shoot, you just hire them to take photos. So surely a videographer is the same? But in reality the two are very, very different.

When you need product photos, portraits, fashion images or pictures of an event, you hire a photographer for the day on a flat rate with a potential cost for processing. But the minute you decide to create video of the same things, it becomes more complicated. And here’s why…

 

A photographer can rely on a simple moment in time, captured in a single image that tells a story. But for a videographer, that story has to be told through a series of video clips. And for a proper story to be told through video, the videographer needs to plan the shoot before hand and build a narrative. Unlike a photographer, the videographer also has to record sound from the environment they are filming in and then potentially add more sound to their video in terms of music or sound effects.

All this means that the video they create needs to be edited and that takes far longer than it takes to film. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For any production that’s more complicated, the videographer cannot work alone. Other players will need to be enlisted from producers, directors and script-writers to sound operators, lighting technicians, editors and motion graphics specialists.

 

Sometimes, brands and agencies believe that they can cook up an idea for a video in the same way they might plan a photo shoot, then hire a videographer to come and film the concept they’ve created. They are then surprised when at best it doesn’t turn out the way they expected and at worst is a complete shambles. Video production is more than just the videographer shooting the footage, it’s a team effort from the producers in pre-production using their expertise to create the best concepts and storyboards through to the specialist post-production team who add the bells and whistles to the finished product.

 

 

  1. Not having a clear budget.

 

The most common experience we have when speaking to prospects is that they won’t be transparent about budget. Sometimes they say they don’t know what their budget is, other times they are just evasive and want to find out how we charge and what our “rates” are. Unfortunately, whilst this may seem like a chicken and egg exercise, it actually isn’t. Without a basic steer on budget, any production company worth their salt cannot provide a realistic quote.

 

Think of the person offering the quote as the project manager of a house build. If you put that individual on a patch of land and say “I want to build a house here and I want it to have 5 rooms – how much will it cost?”, there is absolutely no conceivable way that the project manager can offer you a realistic quote. If they do offer you a “competitive” quote then you can bet anything that the final price will be far higher than the quote. Without knowing the scale of the project, the materials you want to build in and the finish on the inside, how can that Project Manager accurately quote?

 

It’s the same in video production, we need to know how long the video needs to be, what level of expertise the camera operator and equipment should be, whether you need a soundman, lighting, added equipment, how long the edit will take and whether you want added elements like graphics. It’s a complex build that is tailored to the available budget.

 

  1. Not having a clear objective for the video.

 

We see time and time again where companies decide they want to create video but they don’t think about their objectives or what outcome they want it. Without a clear strategy going in to creating video content, you may as well flush your money down the toilet.

The first thing we always do when talking to our clients about creating video is to identify the overall objective and who they want this video to be seen by. It’s the most important factor and informs everything we do. Is this B2B or B2C? What demographics are we targeting? How will the video be shared? What is the objective of this video? Sales? Brand image? Production explanation? All these questions need to be answered before we can come up with creative concepts for the video. For example, if the video has ad spend behind it and is destined for Facebook pay-per-click then it needs to be very short and punchy but if we are relying on organic shares then we’ve got to create a strong hook so people engage with it. Conversely, if this video is B2B and will be sent out via email, then perhaps we can assume a pre-existing level of knowledge and familiarity with the subject matter in your audience, so we can have a longer video with more depth to it. By having clear KPIs and understanding of the core objective for the video you will get far more out of it than just creating video for video’s sake.

 

  1. Not aligning video to brand purpose.

 

Video should always be seen as an extension of your brand identity. When done correctly, it will feel like a seamless transition from your print materials, web site and brand image through to video. This is done through the style, tone, fonts, imagery and colour. Too often, companies will use video inconsistently, putting up a series of videos that have nothing connecting them. Or worse, they will post videos to their social feed that are amateur or home made. A third of people who watched a poor quality video had a negative perception of that brand. Video should always be integrated into a company’s marketing strategy from the outset and even if it’s only used sparingly, it should reflect the quality of the brand. Lack of budget should not be used as an excuse for putting poor quality video out into the public domain. With careful planning and a reliable video production company, most budgets can be stretched to create video content that will have a high impact in the right way. For example, a single day’s filming could be done in a way that generates large volumes of material that can be recycled into a series of short videos for your social media feed. By setting a style for the look of the videos from filming techniques to motion graphics, larger volumes of content can be generated for a fraction of the cost.

 

  1. Not getting on the front foot with a good video partner.

 

All companies with a marketing strategy can benefit from using video and most of them know that. But we often see that unless there is an immediate need for video, most people don’t bother to find themselves a video production partner. The result is that when they finally realise they need to commission some video work, they are already on the back foot. The deadline looms faster than they thought and they are forced to hire the first company they find even though they may not be the best. This can lead to paying above the odds for an inferior product.

There are a lot of benefits to partnering with a video production company for future opportunities. We have a few companies we work with on a rolling basis and it brings huge benefits to them. Firstly, we’re always on the phone to discuss any video ideas they have and to brainstorm concepts with them as well as budgets. This can help with internal marketing briefs they are putting together or in the case of agencies, with pitches to clients. Because a relationship is in place, there is a transparency to pricing and budgets that installs a sense of trust in all the players. Everyone values the relationship and wants it to continue so no one is going to take advantage of the other. And finally, its in the vested interests of the video production company to keep the relationship going so they will always try to deliver above expectations. In this way, we’ve helped some of our clients to win big contracts with some major brands and we’ve helped others to put a lasting content strategy in place that maximised their yearly marketing budget.

 

mistakes commissioning video

 

George Hughes set up Small Films with a simple ambition – to create brilliant films for brilliant people. Over the past 14 years he’s learnt his craft in the television industry working in the UK and USA as a Producer / Director and camera operator making hundreds of hours of high profile series for major broadcasters including the BBC and Discovery Channel. From hard-hitting documentaries about the mafia to light-hearted cooking shows with high-profile chefs, he has worked with a wide range of budgets, briefs and subject matters and is excited at transferring this experience into the production of branded content. George and his team are passionate about partnering with like-minded people and organisations to create amazing films. For more information, or a chat about commissioning video content, contact us here.

In the fast-evolving world of digital marketing, the way we consume content is changing. With less reliance on desktop and laptop computers and rapidly expanding mobile technology, consumers can choose exactly when, how and where they access the internet and interact with online content. To grab the attention of this busy on-the-go audience with a short attention span, only the most engaging, flexible and value-adding content formats will continue to make the grade. With recent research showing that 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words (Forrester Research), now is the time to say goodbye to text – and welcome to a golden age of video marketing.

 

This is all very well for the large global brands, but what if your brand is small, or new? Smaller businesses can be put off by the perceived expense and technical issues involved in creating regular quality video content, so is it really worth the effort? The stats would seem to suggest that it very definitely is.

 

A Cisco report predicted that by 2018, a staggering 78% of global consumer internet traffic will be video. Adding video to your website landing page has been shown to increase conversions by 80% (Invisia), and to engage audiences to reduce your bounce rate. The average user spends 80% more time on a website with video (Mist Media). What’s more – looking at the the ultimate metric, 76% of businesses report that video has been good for their ROI (Wyzowl).

 

The numbers speak for themselves, but if you still need convincing have a look at our top reasons why video content is king in brand marketing:

 

  • It can provide useful information on your products

Consumers want enhanced information on products and services – particularly new ones. Explainer videos are a brilliant way of adding value to the customer experience whilst at the same time positioning your brand as helpful and knowledgeable. Your brand becomes not just a service or product provider, but also an expert information resource. And that’s good for sales. 74% of viewers who watched an explainer video went on to purchase the product or service (Wyzowl).

 

  •  It can shape and reinforce your brand identity

As part of an integrated branding strategy, video content is the most effective way of getting across your your brand identity and story. Video appeals to all of the senses – you can use sound, music, attractive visuals, narrative, emotion, humour and mood to convey what you want people to ‘feel’ about your brand. And how they feel has a huge impact on their consumer behaviour. If they feel connected to your brand through your authentic use of video, they will develop trust and form a relationship with your business.

 

  •  It’s the most engaging of all content formats

Research at Diode Digital showed that 60% of online viewers will watch a video before reading any text. Video advertising also has the highest CTR of all digital format advertising and consumers are much more likely to click on video than static banner ads (Sizmek). Social media platforms are increasingly being optimised for video content, and video is shared a huge 1200% more than links and text combined on Social Media. (Simply Measured). It’s also beneficial for brand recall. 80% of consumers can remember a brand video they’ve watched in the last month (Hubspot).

 

  •  It’s great for brand SEO

Google owns YouTube so it’s not surprising that video content often comes high up in searches.  In fact, your brand is 53x more likely to be at the top of Google search results if you have video embedded on your website (Moovly). Make sure your videos are SEO optimised to aid this, using keywords, SEO titles, and back-links to your products and other pages.

 

  •  It can revolutionise your emarketing

Embedding video content in your enewsletters can transform their impact. Hubspot reports that click-through rates can be boosted by 200% – 300% by the addition of video content.

 

  •  It’s flexible and works well on all devices

Video content works equally well on everything from PCs and laptops to tablets and smartphones and is particularly suited to a dynamic, out-and-about audience. With increasing mobile device usage and the growth of m-commerce, video is the perfect medium for reaching the mobile generation.

 

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign. Contact us here.

What is it that puts some companies off investing in business video?

With recent research revealing that 1 minute of video content is worth 1.8 million words (Forrester Research), and that now 80% of global consumer internet traffic is in video form (Cisco), it’s a very brave company indeed that decides to leave video out of the content marketing mix completely. But it’s also no secret that producing good quality business video content can be more time consuming and costly than other forms of content. The key, then, to getting more bang for your buck (and more content for your cash) is to be clever and resourceful with the video content you commission.

 

Don’t think of your corporate video as one entity to be embedded on your website, or posted on YouTube and then linked to repeatedly on your social media channels for the next year. You may (rightly) be proud of it, but in an age of rapidly updating information, even your most dedicated customers can get bored of seeing the same content repeatedly, whatever the quality. Instead, think of your video as a rich source of multiple types of content that can be distributed across multiple marketing channels. Take it to the max and repurpose your business videos. There are many effective apps and tools you can use to help you edit and repurpose your video content, or to save time and money, ask your video production company to produce different edits while they are making the main video content piece. Think outside the box and plan your repurposing beforehand.

 

Here’s what you can do to repurpose your business videos:

 

1. Use all available channels. For maximum exposure consider publishing your video on your website, on YouTube and other video sharing channels such as Vimeo, Wistia, and Vidyard. (If you are after one big hit count, concentrate your efforts on one channel).

 

2. Optimise for social media platforms. Break your video into shorter clips and themes. You’ll be able to use these in lots of ways (embedded in marketing emails for example) but primarily for distribution across social media. Customise edits to fit the optimal length for each social media platform. Optimal lengths for the big platforms are as follows:
YouTube 2 minutes
Facebook 1.3 minutes
Twitter 30-45 seconds
Instagram 30 seconds (and must be less than 60 seconds.)

 

3. Use the video clips sequentially in social media story features. Use 10 or 15 second segments to post in a story format on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. Posting stories puts you straight at the top of your followers’ feeds and is a great way of increasing visibility and engagement.

 

4. Transcribe the video. Turn your video into an informative blog post by transcribing or summarising it (or both). Embed the video from YouTube and add a direct text link to your YouTube video page which will help the video page rank higher in Google searches.

 

5. Convert the video to slides. This works well for educational and informative video content and can sometimes generate much more engagement than the original video. Share on platforms like SlideShare and SlideSnack.

 

6. Create a podcast.  When you plan the audio or voiceover for your video, think about how you might be able to convert it for a podcast. It might pay off therefore if you can get the audio to make sense without the visuals. Podcasts are rapidly increasing in popularity (1/4 of UK people over the age of 15 have listened to one) and video-editing software and other tools can be used to export the audio. You can publish it on iTunes and other podcasting sites and share it across your social media platforms.

 

7. Add a version with subtitles. Many people, particularly those who are out and about and viewing on mobile devices, watch video with the sound off. Make a version of your video with subtitles that can be viewed in this way, or for showing in the background at industry events etc where it might be difficult for viewers to hear the audio.

 

8. Get behind the scenes footage during the video shoot. Show some depth and character to your brand by getting behind the scenes footage of your video shoot (the set, the crew working, hair and make-up) – little teaser clips can drum up interest before your main video launch.

 

9. Keep stills of your video. Use the images across your website, social media and in other marketing collateral.

 

10. Make an outtake blooper video. If it’s at all appropriate for your brand, (it may well not be) consider making a video of outtakes or funny moments from your video shoot. It shows a human side to your business and can help you connect emotionally with your audience.

 

11. Turn your video into GIFs. Use those in email content, banner ads etc.

 

So – is it worth investing in video for your business? With the multiple ways you can now reuse and repurpose your business videos into new quality pieces of visual, audio and written content, the answer would have to be yes. If you want content that is great value for money, improves your SEO rankings, increases engagement and provides more ways to target your customers, commissioning video is a brilliant starting point.

 

If you’d like some more inspiration for breathing new life into your video content, contact us here for a chat.

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