If there’s one word triggering equal parts eagerness and anxiety in marketing meetings everywhere, it’s ‘video’.
Marketers are eager to use video because of its proven effectiveness (51.9% cite it as the content type with the most ROI), and because the medium has become so pervasive; 75% of senior executives watch work-related videos weekly, and almost 60% of these executives admit they prefer to watch video than read text.
But many marketers feel anxious about video because of the perceived investment of effort, time and resources required. Even though the hurdles are fewer than ever before, for many, video production still feels intimidating.
Although almost 80% of B2B companies are using some form of video in content, the remaining marketers cite three main reasons for their hesitation, including:
Lack of expertise (44%)
Lack of budget (41%), and
Lack of staff/bandwidth (32%)
In this post, we’ll address these three obstacles and some practical approaches for overcoming each.
1) You’re not Steven Spielberg (or a screenwriter, producer, videographer etc.)
While you might feel at home with other content types, video feels admittedly out of your comfort zone. You might not know how to script for a visual medium, or organize the logistics of a live video shoot, but that’s not necessarily a limiting factor to get started. Producing video often requires recruiting people with these exact skills.
In fact, a video marketing benchmark report created by GoAnimate and the Content Marketing Institute found that 46% of the most successful video marketers to date use a combination approach to production using both in-house and outsourced resources:
Image source: CMI report “Start Smart, Scale up, and Stand out With Video”
In short, it’s rare to find a one-person operation – and as the rest of the report showcases, it’s a challenge to scale video across the business. But if you’re shying away from video altogether because of inexperience, it could be because you’re unsure what’s really involved in video production from start to finish.
Defining your video’s purpose
When embarking on any new video project, you’ll first want to determine three things:
- Your intended target audience and how you’ll reach them (who is your audience and where will you distribute your video to ensure they see it?)
- A meaningful message you want to share (what do you want your target audience to know, and what specific action do you want people to take after watching your video?)
- Some video concepts that can convey your message (to help with this step, look to stories that already resonate with your audience, or even your target persona’s interests to spark some video ideas).
Understanding the production process
Once you have an idea developed for a specific target market, you can embark upon the video production process. It typically looks something like this:
Ideation / Scripting
- Script your concept. In this stage pay careful attention to how your idea will be shot live or created as an animation, and be mindful of length (under 2 minutes is ideal for something intended for the top of the funnel).
- Storyboard how your video will look from shot-to-shot with some sketches. This will help you get a sense of the shots you need to tell your story and how they’ll be arranged in the edit.
- Determine your budget, locations, and rentals. In this stage you’ll schedule your live shoot, outline the logistics and equipment involved, and secure any needed permits for the area you’d like to film in.
- Book any required on-screen talent. This is video dependent as some videos will require an on-screen persona and others can use voice over talent that can be outsourced later.
- Capture your live footage. Or, create animation / motion graphics to match up with your script using a cloud-based animation software like GoAnimate.
- Record any needed audio (voice overs, sound effects, etc.) and select your background music. You can find some great resources for choosing your background audio here.
- Edit together a first draft of your video guided by your storyboard. You can use software like Final Cut Pro for live action videos, or WeVideo, a collaborative cloud-based editing tool.
- Make final edits and distribute. For a live action video you’ll want to pay close attention to your audio and color correction in this stage. For animation, you’ll want to ensure your story runs seamlessly and includes all the points you outlined as part of your message.
These steps can vary in complexity depending on the project you’re working on and whether you’re dealing with live action or animation. Nonetheless, the production process stays pretty close to this basic order every time.
The point is, even if you’re not a professional video producer with years of experience, at your core as a marketer you’re a strategic brand storyteller, and that’s all you need to get started.
By beginning to understand the production process and experimenting a few times with a DIY approach in house, you’ll start to feel comfortable expanding your skillset and calling upon outsourced professionals to help as needed.
2) You don’t have a Super Bowl budget
Beyond experience, many marketers believe video requires a massive budget, but this isn’t true.
Creating your own videos is now more feasible than ever because of the high-quality recording devices everyone has access to at reasonable prices (in fact, you likely have one of these devices in your pocket!). From iPhones to GoPros, tablets, and even lower-end point-and-shoot cameras, the tools are readily available for capturing footage you can be proud of, so budget isn’t truly a limitation any longer.
If you have some natural lighting, a mic, and a strong pre-production plan, you’re set. You can find some solid tips for creating in-house video on a budget with the following resources:
Beyond access to great equipment for live action videos, there also are various cloud-based alternatives and apps available for creating animated videos.
Save money with animation
If you go the animated route for your first few video assets, you’re even less subject to concerns about budget.
Unlike a live-action video where location, on-screen talent, and logistics can get tricky (and costly if you need a reshoot for any reason), you can use animation software to create a ton of different variations of your video without spending excess from your marketing budget.
Animated videos are a great option for a range of videos including product explainer videos, infographics, FAQ videos, or even stories for the top of the funnel, like EdWire’s explainer video about their Microsoft Power BI platform:
Overall, whether you choose live-action or animation, a huge budget isn’t needed if you’re able to communicate a strong point.
Take for example the Arizona startup Crowd Mics, whose scrappy marketing caught the eye of content marketing expert, Ann Handley. Their video didn’t have a mega budget, or super high production value, but as Ann points out, it’s useful, inspired, and empathetic to their target customer.
3) You don’t have dedicated resources or a ton of time to spare on a project
Even with a determination to get scrappy and create video in-house on a shoestring budget, there’s still the challenge of finding resources and overall bandwidth for completing a video asset.
Luckily, the fact that you have two options of live-action and animation available to you is very helpful for this particular issue.
Limit your live-action crew
In the case of live-action videos, you can get away with using two to three people maximum to create an asset, including:
- A producer/writer: responsible for outlining the needs of the video (for the audience and the business), scripting the content, liaising with the videographer, and planning the logistics of the video shoot.
- A videographer: responsible for collaborating on the script, storyboard, capturing footage, and the various edits.
- On-screen talent: responsible for narrating the story or appearing in the video, delivering lines as needed.
As mentioned, however, you can always learn to capture footage, star-in, and put together an edit yourself, overcoming the amount of people needed on the project. Using the how-to resources listed previously is a great way to discover how to become a production studio of one (or two/three max).
For help on sourcing a videographer (for when you can’t swing it alone), try a resource like Veed Me or Video Brewery. These services match you up with a videographer or content creator in your price range, and you can hire per video you need vs. hiring a resource full time.
Skip the crew altogether and pick animation instead
As hinted at before, going the animated video route can be an excellent means of overcoming an issue of time and resources.
With animation software, you can put together a short video for almost any purpose in much the same way you would create a Keynote presentation for a meeting. With a library of animated resources at the ready, it’s simply a matter of:
- Thinking in pictures
- Scripting for a visual medium
- Storyboarding your idea
- Figuring out on-screen animations vs. other rich media like sounds effects / audio
- Selecting the animations and transitions that work for your purpose, and
- Creating a video conveys your message quickly
In fact, in terms of bandwidth, the entire animated video process can be performed independently.
Ultimately, you only spend the time you personally allot to the project (be it a few hours, 3 days, or up to a week), instead of working with a live-action dependencies, like the availability of locations, shoot dates, a crew, or your videographer’s schedule.
Even if you purchase background music or voice-overs via an outsourced option in the production stage, you’re still acting as a team of one and can deliver a video in less than a week.
Unleash your creativity (even with a crew of 1)
Additionally, animated video helps you avoid some of the creative barriers inherent in live-action video.
When scripting live action, for example, you have to limit yourself to locations you have reasonable access to. But with animated videos, you can showcase any location and include as many characters as you like. (Your video can take place at a ritzy hotel in Dubai and star 7 characters, but none of it requires leaving your desk or paying a hefty tab).
Animated videos can also aid in comprehension when explaining complex topics. With animated videos you can use icons or custom graphics to explain concepts that might be difficult to convey if you had to use live action.
For example, if you’re creating a video about the financial industry, you might need to explain the concept of the housing bubble, or terms like ‘credit default insurance’. Or as the TRACS Group did, you may have to explain tax credits in Georgia:
Animations can be more helpful than live video in cases like these (when explaining detailed mechanics), and you can generate the step-by-step animations independently when you have a library of illustrations and transitions at your fingertips. The asset library of an animation software can save you reaching out to a designer and adding more complexity to your project.
So wait no more!
The obstacles of inexperience, budget and bandwidth may have been keeping you from producing video content to date, but we recommend taking these suggested steps to overcome them.
Creating video doesn’t have to be a challenge. But if you still feel overwhelmed, try animated video by signing for a free 14-day trial with GoAnimate.
If you have overcome obstacles to deliver great video assets, we’d love to hear what’s worked for you!
Tweet us your questions or comments using the handle @GoAnimate, or contact us via Facebook.