The question of whether companies and organisations should create content and messaging internally, or engage with an external agency is a perennial one. Many companies use a combination of both options with some marketing and comms being generated in-house, while for large campaigns and top line messaging outside assistance is sought.
Video presents a new problem. Not so long ago video content was generally created by an external agency; primarily because of the technology and skills needed to create engaging content, and because companies only produced a few video productions a year. However, with the rise of video on social media, the volume of online video content, and advances in consumer technology, things have changed.
Consumers have an insatiable appetite for video content; marketers and comms teams understand how effective it is at conveying messaging both for B2B and B2C users; and therefore everyone wants to create more and more content.
Creating Video In-House
To meet this demand and to be in a position to use video in a responsive and interactive way, it makes sense to create video content in-house. Then you can quickly produce content as and when it’s needed; whether it’s a short explainer video requested by your customer service team, or a topical interview in response to a news event to be shared on social media.
This solution ticks many boxes. Not least that apart from an initial outlay for equipment and training, it allows companies to create lots of video content on a budget.
However, it is not free! Those members of staff charged with producing video in-house are taking home a salary at the end of each month and their time is valuable. Most likely they will be from your marketing or comms department and have many other activities to do as part of their roles. ‘Quickly’ creating a video takes them away from other important tasks, and consideration must be given as to whether this is a productive use of their time.
Another factor to consider is the skills and technical proficiency needed to create quality video content. I’ve been slightly bemused by the amount of poor content being generated by companies for social media. Taking advantage of features such as Facebook Live to create ‘thought leader’ content, share company culture or a product demo is a great way to reach your target audience, but the poor quality of many of these clips must be damaging brand reputation for some. Do your customers or clients really want to see unprofessional footage – doesn’t that detract from your brand?
Of course, there is definitely a time and a place for user generated content like this. But it must be aligned with target audiences, the platform it’s broadcast on, and the overall message being conveyed.
Messaging And Engagement
Video is effective when it consistently delivers a core message and engages viewers immediately. Attention must be paid to the company’s brand proposition, culture, ethos and core messaging. Many of our clients struggle with this: how to communicate sometimes complex information in a way that’s aligned with the brand, and how to create video content that sets them apart from competitors.
It’s a challenge and one that not all in-house teams are capable of resolving. Unless you have specific expertise within the business, however great your marketing and comms teams are they may struggle to transfer these complex ideas into video.
Collaborating With An External Video Production Agency
I confess to being somewhat bias as the owner of a video production agency here in Surrey. However my approach to creating effective and engaging video content is all about collaboration. This means that when I first speak to clients we discuss ways to produce video, in the volumes required, utilising all resources at the client’s disposal.
This could involve creating top line video content on behalf of the client, and supporting them with other in-house content in a variety of ways. We appreciate that not everyone has the budget to outsource every piece of content, but at the same time we don’t want to see video content being diluted with less effective in-house productions. Therefore my approach is to look at ways to get the most value out of any video production commissioned, and also advise on how other content can be generated that’s consistent with the company’s message.
Another key aspect of collaborating with an external agency is getting a fresh perspective. Many of clients find it difficult to find ways to tell their story in a way that makes them stand out from the rest. However, your people in-house have a deep understanding of your brand and therefore their contribution is invaluable. Collaboration is key.
Below is a short summary of the pros and cons of both approaches – my recommendation would be to meet somewhere in the middle:
In-House Pros And Cons
Pros: deep in-house understanding of the brand, full creative control, easy to create video on demand, lower costs.
Cons: difficult to create unbiased content, professional equipment is expensive, inexperienced in-house staff can make video content less effective and more costly (takes longer for poorer results), hidden costs such as downtime, or other essential activities not being addressed.
Video Agency Pros And Cons
Pros: a fresh perspective, have specialist expertise, have latest technology and larger pool of equipment, have vast experience creating effective content for clients including others in your sector, costs are transparent and therefore it is easier to budget.
Cons: can’t think of any! To be fair – can be more expensive on a video-by-video basis (speak to your video production agency to see how this can be managed), loss of internal control, clear communication and a detailed brief is needed to ensure excellent results.
If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail, please get in touch. Call me on 01252 717707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org