At the beginning of this year I wrote an article detailing Econsultancy’s efforts to start using more video on the blog.

Our biggest problem back then was coming up with ideas that our audience would be interested in, rather than just creating video for the sake of it.

Six months down the line we still haven’t got much further with our video strategy for various reasons that will eventually become clear.

But I thought it would be useful to provide an update so people can hopefully benefit from our own efforts at developing a coherent strategy.

Thankfully my motivation has been reinvigorated in part due to a morning spent filming a fake advert for London’s Covent Garden.

It was arranged by StreamSafe to show off their video collaboration tool and involved spending the morning learning the ropes with Will Francome, film director and co-founder of Reel Nice

So, here’s a run down of what I’ve learned thus far through a combination of helping with Econsultancy’s video strategy and working with Will.

And if you want to improve your own skills in this area, be sure to book onto Econsultancy’s Video Marketing Strategy Training

Someone has to own it

In the past six months our motivation to create video content has ridden a rollercoaster of short peaks and long troughs.

This is largely due to the fact that we’re all very busy and it’s easy to neglect extra-curricular activities while focusing on day-to-day tasks.

There are three or four of us who have been involved in the conversations around utilising video content, and our COO Katharina Pesch has been good at championing our cause.

But while video remains a ‘nice-to-have’ we’ve been bad at setting deadlines or delegating tasks.

Therefore I’d really recommend putting one person in charge of your internal video strategy and making sure to set firm deadlines. 

You don’t need mega-expensive equipment

Camera equipment is obviously vital if you’re going to produce regular videos, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Aforementioned director Will Francome said that most DSLR or compact stills camera systems shoot HD or even 4K video.

These provide an affordable option for businesses on a tight budget. However you do need to be aware of potential issues around audio quality.

According to Will:

The number one issue with these systems is that getting good usable audio can be slightly tricky. A wired lapel or boom microphone in to the camera is a good idea. 

Also, if your camera has no audio input, you can record separately and then sync the audio and video up in post. iMovie and other basic editing software will allow you to do that.

iMovie will suffice

Film editing software also needn’t cost the world.

Apple’s iMovie will probably be sufficient for most people’s requirements and the most basic version only costs £10.99 ($17).

There are probably cheap alternatives on the market, but iMovie is the only one I have used and I found it easy to get to grips with.

You do need some tips/training

On our jaunt around Covent Garden it quickly became apparent that I have zero talent as a director or cameraman.

Framing shots, getting things in focus, arranging the lighting, making sure the microphone boom wasn’t in view; all this is basic stuff, but you don’t really think of it if you’ve never done any filming before.

As such I’d recommend either going on a training course or at least getting someone to talk you through the basics.

It will make a huge difference to the quality of your video and ensures you can be proud of the end product.

For example, this is a still from our video in Covent Garden. 

We placed the interviewee to the right so the background was in view, and asked her not to look at the camera.

This might seem obvious to old pros, but when you’re totally new to filming and you’re trying to do a voxpop in Covent Garden these types of techniques could easily be forgotten.

Get your intro sorted

This is a small housekeeping point but one that you need to get sorted early on so it doesn’t end up delaying things when you’re ready to start filming.

Your videos will need some sort of logo or intro at the beginning so they look professional and stay on-brand.

It doesn’t need to be over-complicated, but equally you don’t want your first impression to be a lousy one.

Our most recent video from our Future of Digital Marketing conference simply has the brand logo at the beginning.

It’s extremely basic but it provides a short, professional segue into the video.

This example from Moz is more impressive. The company’s little robot jogs across the screen while a charming ditty plays in the background.

It’s upbeat, memorable, on-brand and short, which ticks all the best practice boxes.

Collaboration tools might be useful

We hardly ever reference software vendors on the Econsultancy blog, but StreamSafe deserves a mention as Econsultancy deputy editor Christopher Ratcliff and I were both impressed with its functionality and simple UI.

It basically allows you to securely share videos with colleagues and make annotations or comments within the online dashboard, which simplifies the post-production and sign off process. 

It’s definitely a big improvement on sending videos by WeTransfer and detailing edits in an email, which is how we’ve traditionally done things at Econsultancy.

Just start doing it

My final suggestion would be to just hurry up and start using video, as that’s the only way you’ll learn what works.

It’s very easy to procrastinate or focus on other tasks, but really if you want to begin using video then the best thing to do is buy or rent a camera and start experimenting.

We’ve been dragging our feet for too long at Econsultancy but hopefully that’s (finally) about to change.