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How to Make an In-House Video Campaign Painlessly, Using the Resources you Already Have

A Tuesday morning in September found me penning an email to my male office colleagues:

“Gentlemen – I kindly ask that you refrain from using the men’s restrooms on the third floor. You might find your actions immortalized on camera forever.”

It seems like an odd request to make, but I assure you I have a good explanation. For a couple of hours, I was about to transform the third floor into our own film studio.
As part of the Customer Success Team, I had a mission: my colleague Ayanna and I wanted to create an in-house video campaign – a series of videos to help guide our clients through their customer lifecycle journey, that we would make and edit ourselves. Customers would receive regular communications to help them get started, expand adoption through their organization, and learn from the successes of other similar clients. We didn’t want a bunch of dry emails. We knew video would be a more relatable, friendly, and fun way for clients to receive the information.
Still, when it comes to actually making a video, the task can suddenly seem daunting. “Don’t you need a professional studio and camera for that?” a teammate mused. The short answer is absolutely not. There are actually only a relatively few basic tools and know-hows you need to have in order to make a compelling video campaign.

Content

The first step was deciding on content. We decided on a 12-month campaign that touched the customer at key points in their lifecycle and provided updates and resources tailored to them (such as new product releases and links to Support). Each month, the customer would get an email with a short 1-2 minute video featuring me speaking directly but informally at the camera about a specific topic. Now, it’s important to highlight the word “informally.” Ayanna and I agreed that we wanted this campaign to feel personal, not over-polished.
Now that we had decided our topics and schedule, our next task was to write the scripts for each topic. Though I had offered to film and edit the videos myself, I was not an expert in scriptwriting. Now, we asked the Marketing team for inspiration. This is where having a centralized video repository helps. They already had some of the material we needed and were happy to help us repurpose footage. Armed with all the necessary items, I then set off to film.

Setup

Here’s what you’ll need in terms of setup to do a basic but nice shoot in your own office:

  • A high-definition camera, preferably a DSLR. Chances are someone in your office will own one. If not, a standard point and shoot camera these days will have full HD recording capabilities.
  • A cheap tripod, studio lights & wearable mic. I found a simple tripod, bright light that screwed on to the top of my camera and a clip on microphone for a combined total of $45 on Amazon. Input your camera model into Google and you’ll find which light will fit with it. If all else fails, an old fashioned lamp close to you but not in camera view can work just as well.
  • Video editing software. I used iMovie, which not only comes free on Mac computers but is also astonishingly simple to use given its very intuitive design. Spend an hour playing with a test clip inside iMovie to get the feel of it. There are also thousands of YouTube tutorials for beginners.
  • A quiet, well-lit space. Want to know the most basic difference between a mediocre video and a terrible one? A good location. I found a great, well-lit space…that was unfortunately next to the men’s restrooms. Hence the email.

Success! (Mostly)

This is very much a trial and error process. You may fumble over your words in front of the camera. It may take you time to establish exactly what schedule of messaging suits your customers best. You may spend 4 hours filming the perfect take, only to play back your footage and discover that your mic picked up somewhat more audio from the nearby restroom than you had anticipated. Oops. But that’s what editing is for.
The point is, you can make an effective in-house video campaign with little or no video experience by using the tools and personnel you already have. With a little patience and help from your colleagues, you can create a campaign that puts your voice in front of the customer at the click of a play button.

Looking for more information on making videos without professional equipment? Read more of the series.

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