Looking to produce a corporate video but don’t know where to start? This quick guide will take you through the basic steps.
No matter what line of business you may be in, there is really only one way to produce a great corporate video.
Every project will have its own unique creative and logistical needs, but all of them share the same basic blueprint for moving from concept to production to final delivery.
Let’s take a look at each of these critical steps -
1. Identifying Your Needs
Too often, business owners and marketing execs want to produce video content without any real objective. They’ve been told (correctly) that video is one of the best ways to drive awareness to their brand, and want to jump on the bandwagon.
But they put the cart before the horse. They decide to create a production before they truly understand the why…
Only once you identify a powerful WHY is it time to create your video project. It’s not about generalities - like gaining more social media followers or improving brand awareness - it’s about specifics.
Your video content should be linked to a specific, actionable, and measurable outcome. You want to have X amount of people sign up for your mailing list. You want to grow your YouTube channel by 5x. You want 10,000 people to buy your direct response product.
Whatever the objective may be, it needs to be identified first. Only then can you ingrain the WHY into your script, production, edit, and release strategy.
2. Identifying Your Customer’s Needs
It’s one thing to figure out your own objectives, but understanding how those align with your prospective customers needs is another story.
Great video content is all about creating value for the viewer. This may come in the form of an exclusive offer, free educational material, or anything else that is all about THEM and not about YOU.
You and your brand may be putting out the content, but if the focus is strictly on what you do then no one will care. This applies whether you’re making a 3 minute corporate spot, a 30 second commercial, or 15 second instagram videos.
Your customers will only notice your video material if it directly benefits them. There is simply too much great material out there already for them to notice anything that isn’t directly beneficial to them.
So before you even come up with a concept, consider your customer first and foremost. Who are they, what can they benefit from, and how do you find them? Once you answer those questions, your creative direction will become much more clear.
3. Deciding On In-House Production Vs. Hiring A Production Company
We just published a whole article on this topic, but will re-iterate the point here as it’s so crucial.
Knowing when to hire an outside video production company is absolutely essential to the success of your project.
Many companies wrestle with the idea of hiring out a video producer. For the same money, they figure - why not just buy a camera and have our in-house creative jack-of-all-trades handle it for us?
In some cases, that may be a completely viable idea. But it all comes down to the content itself and a true assessment of the quality your in-house resources.
Chances are, your in-house capabilities are not going to match a professional production company. There will be exceptions to this rule of course, but in the vast majority of scenarios, working with a third party is essential - Not only for the ease of experience during production and post, but for the effectiveness of your overall campaign.
An outside producer will be able to help you with everything from strategy to scheduling to deliverables. If you have some of these components covered in-house, you can always hire a producer to handle a segment of your project, for instance strategy.
Regardless, it’s critical that you decide early on which tasks will be handled by a production company and which will be handled internally. From there, you can move forward with the remaining steps on the list.
4. Writing Your Script
This stage should be self-explanatory. Every video needs a script… Even those that are “unscripted”.
If you don’t have a blueprint for your production, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Too often, corporate videos run 5 minutes too long and still communicate nothing to the audience - Usually because they lacked focus from the get-go.
Whether you script something in-house or you work with a video production company like ours, this is always the essential first step in your process. Everything that comes after, including the physical shooting and editing of your content, will hinge on the quality of that script.
Depending on your creative, the script may take the form of traditional screenplay, or it may be bullet points on your notes app. There isn’t one format that can apply to every type of production, all that matters is your messaging is being communicated in the most efficient way possible.
This will serve as the DNA for the rest of your project, so you want to take as much time as you need to get it right. People often mistakenly emphasize the importance of the actual production of video content, when it’s the planning and scripting that dictates whether any given project is successful.
5. Scheduling & Production
If you’ve done your homework on the previous steps, these two tasks should be executed quickly and efficiently.
Most professional productions are scheduled on a 10 - 12 hour day. Assuming 2 hours for load-in and setup, that leaves you with 8 - 10 hours to shoot your video (on a 1 day production).
10 hours may sound like a lot of time, but those hours will fly by if you’ve scheduled your day properly.
Your schedule should allow for exactly the amount of time you need to get your project in the can. Nothing more, nothing less. Too much dead space in your schedule and you’re simply spending money to sit around. Too much production scheduled into a single day will mean you’re going to miss shots and have less time with interview subjects.
Nailing your schedule is mandatory if you also want to nail your production.
Producing the video should be the easy part. Everyone always thinks of production as the biggest task of them all, but really it’s just about following the plan you’ve already put in place.
It’s no different from having a wedding or event. 99% of the heavy lifting happens beforehand, and the better the quality of that early work the smoother the production will run.
6. Editing & Post-Production
Stories are made in the edit. No matter how well you’ve planned and executed your shoot, the edit is where it can all be made or broken.
A bad editor will make strong source material look sub-par. A mediocre editor will make that same footage look pretty great. But a true rockstar editor will take that same material to entirely new heights.
They will go above and beyond to take your (already great) raw footage, and shape it into a new form. They may deviate from the script to try out a new concept that conveys your key messaging even more effectively than the script. They’ll work with the material in an innovative way, and maximize every last bit of great footage while ruthlessly trimming all the fat.
Production value is massively dependent on post-production. This applies to the picture editing, but also the finishing work -
What good is your 4K footage if it’s not color corrected properly? Why spend all that money on a sound recordist if you aren’t having a post-audio engineer mix it for you?
The devil is in the details when it comes to editing & post. Those finishing touches - that final 5% - that goes into your edit and polish will differentiate your content from everyone else’s. None of this needs to cost a whole lot either, it just requires that you collaborate with creatives who know their stuff.
7. Releasing & Distribution
No video is complete until it has been released and consumed by your audience.
Unfortunately, this is where most companies fail - even those who have succeeded in producing great video content.
The key of course, is to have your release strategy baked into the DNA of your project from the onset. If you took the time up front to truly identify your audience, you will have considered that audience throughout each creative and tactical decision along the way.
When it comes time to release your content, you should know exactly when to release it, how to amplify the message organically, and have a plan for redistribution and syndication. If you’re not considering all of these items beforehand, your video will not make an impact.
Corporations are known for spending a fortune producing material that ultimately gets dumped on their YouTube channel and forgotten about. What’s the point in making content that no one will ever see?
It’s so easy to get your material seen and to mobilize an audience. It doesn’t necessarily even have to cost anything. All it takes is some ingenuity with your release strategy to ensure your content has a long tail.
If you’d like to learn more about content production, be sure to email us at email@example.com
We offer free consultations to businesses and brands just like yours, and would love to hear more about your creative objectives.