Video Production in Times of Social Distancing
I'm getting a lot of requests from friends, clients and colleagues with questions related to DIY video production as they are forced to work remotely, so I wanted to create a blog series with some of the common topics that have come up over the past few weeks.
How To Use Video to Keep Your Business Active During the Pandemic
As businesses are locked down and people around the world are forced to work remotely, you might be wondering how to stay productive during these challenging times.
How can you keep your business moving forward when its doors are closed? How can you engage your customers and/or employees when they're stuck at home? And when things do return to normal, how can you best be positioned for success in what is sure to be a very different market?
Of course, these are huge challenges and there is no easy answer. However, I believe video is a critical tool to keeping businesses alive during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Let's talk about some of the reasons why you should be using video to address these challenges:
You probably already have everything you need, and with a few inexpensive pieces of equipment you can take your production value to a much higher level. Videos don't necessarily have to be highly-produced to be effective. If you're locked-down (or even just slowed-down) as a result of the pandemic, use this time to create your own video content using equipment you have available or can easily obtain. Your smartphone is an extremely powerful video tool if you know how to use it, and that's really all you need to get started.
The audience for video content has just skyrocketed. Most of the world is stuck at home and turning to online content to fill their time. I have a couple youtube channels, and my views have increased more than 50% in the last few weeks. This might be the best time in the history of the internet to start using online video because the audience is larger than it has ever been before.
Video is a safe way to keep your business active. Reducing the spread of COVID-19 will only be possible if everyone does their part to reduce contact and honour social distancing guidelines. For many entrepreneurs, shutting down to this extent jeopardizes the future of our businesses. This is a very complex problem that will be different for everyone, however, video is a safe way you can keep some aspects of your business moving forward during these challenging times.
Developing video assets now will position you for success when things get back to normal. Strong video content never expires, so spend some time now creating videos that will will benefit your business for years to come. As things do get back to normal, businesses and individuals that have used this downtime productively will be in a much better position to recover quickly.
Learning a valuable new skill is a great way to stay busy and engaged. There is a learning curve to using video for your business, and in the past you may not have had the time to invest in it. Now is a great time to start (or continue!) because learning a new skill will keep you active while also doing something positive for the future of your business.
Okay, great. So what can I actually make videos about? Here are some action ideas, and I'm going to be creating videos and write-ups that go into much more specific detail for each of these.
Create instructional videos related to your business. Instructional videos are by far the most underrated type of video content out there. Production quality is far less important than content when it comes to instructional videos, making them a great target for a video project you can do yourself. If you create good instructional videos that meet a specific need, people will watch it. I say these types of videos are underrated because they're less glamorous as a polished marketing video or an entertaining commercial. But if you think about it, you've probably spent much more time watching online instructional videos than online marketing videos. In fact, you probably seek instructional videos out specifically, and when you do find them, you skip the ad at the beginning as soon as YouTube lets you!
Start planning a video course. Create a video course about a topic you're an expert on. Video courses are a great way to increase your credibility and reach, and at the same time can be a great passive income stream. Depending on the type of course you want to create, it might not be possible to complete it until social distancing guidelines are lifted. However, you can start planning it now, and work on a marketing strategy to put into action when it's ready.
Create a live online event. I think a lot of people are looking for structure in their work lives as they transition to the realities of working from. Consider planning a live online event, or transitioning a planned event to an online format instead of canceling it completely. Having a live, scheduled event is a great way to restore some normality and connect with colleagues, friends and clients at a time when we are more isolated than ever. The tech is there to deliver a really strong online event, and even as things return to normal, online events will probably become much more common.
Come up with a ground breaking video ad campaign. Small companies have become household names from a single, well-timed video campaign. There are plenty of examples, but the one that everyone knows and talks about is Dollar Shave Club. With the right concept and execution, imagine a video like this could do for your business. If you have some time now, consider brainstorming possibilities for videos you could create down the line.
Brush up on your knowledge of video for social media. With platforms being continually updated, it can be hard to keep up with social media video trends. Do you have a good understanding of the features out there on different social media platforms, and how you can best use video to leverage them? If you're not already familiar with and using things like IGTV and Stories, or you're not sure about best practices for using videos on Facebook and LinkedIn, now is a great time to master these powerful tools.
I hope these suggestions have given you some ideas to stay busy and productive. I'll continue updating this page with specific guidelines related to all the topics I've discussed here, including tips and tricks, best practices and equipment suggestions.
Finally, don't hesitate to reach out to myself or another video production specialist if you want more support to put any of these ideas into practice. Although we may not safely be able to offer on-location assistance at this time due to social distancing, there is still a lot of value we can provide remotely. If you have a specific project that isn't covered here, there's a good chance a few hours of consulting could really help clarify things. Or, if you want assistance with editing your videos, there's a lot of folks out there right now (myself included) who would appreciate the work while production is on-hold.
How To Get Good Audio and Video for a Live Online Event
There are some incredible software options out there that make it possible for anyone to hold world-class live online events. Microsoft Teams Live Events is a good example – it allows you to present to thousands of participants, take surveys or polls, and move into breakout rooms, creating an experience on par with an in-person event. But regardless of how many clever features the software has, if you have a poor audio and video stream, that can ruin the event for your audience.
Normally, a producer like me would be able to help professionally stream a live event for you. But the good news is that with a few key principles, you can get a great result on your own. This means even while things are locked down, you can follow these simple steps to host a live online event while respecting social isolation guidelines.
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