My Story – Taking a copywriter out of her comfort zone!

I’ve included the case study video at the start for those who just want to watch it and skip the story…. but go on, please read the story too!

The upsurge in consumption of, and demand for video content over the last few years can’t have escaped your attention, and not being one to stand still for too long, my fascination with the power of video as a marketing tool gave rise to a new goal on my CPD to-do list for 2017 – to learn more about video production.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and spend a lot of my time telling other people’s stories through the marketing strategies I devise, and articles and website content I create for clients. But storytelling doesn’t just happen through written content. Embedding great media content including images, infographics, and videos into those blog articles, web pages, social media and email marketing campaigns add a lot of value to the finished piece and being skilled in the delivery of all of those things is challenging. Luckily, I have good creative partners to support me, so I can focus on project managing content marketing campaigns and delivering the bits I do well like writing the copy. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to learn more about the other types of content myself.

Over the last year or so, I’ve tried out some video apps I discovered through my online research. These helped me to create basic pieces of video content relatively quickly for my own or my clients marketing content – the Quik app from GoPro is probably one of my favourites to date. I dabbled in some Facebook Live, and created some videos on my smartphone to upload to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube profiles before I was brave enough to do it live – not too many of them were masterpieces I might add and I’m still no videographer, but it’s good to give things a go anyhow and learn from the mistakes! I even wrote a poem about my copywriting services and created a video from it. I’m still trying to work out whether that was a good idea or not!

The following video is perhaps one of my better attempts (bearing in mind my limited video production skills), using footage and photos taken at a social media strategy training session I delivered for Women in Business NI in November.

I also attended a number of workshops on video marketing through organisations that I’m a member of including Women in Business NI and Newry Junior Chamber. Both of these workshops were delivered by Niamh MacAuley of Purple Dot who is passionate about video marketing and has some great tips on apps to use and equipment you can buy cost-effectively to create your own MOJO kit (that’s mobile journalism if you’re not familiar with the lingo yet!). Using these you can learn to make really professional videos on your smartphone with a few add-ons. Towards the end of last year, I also attended a really great Digital Skills Day hosted by BBC Academy as part of the Digital Cities Tour in Belfast.

The most rewarding learning experience I had on my video marketing journey last year was with the digital media team at Southern Regional College. For a number of Wednesday nights in September, October and November I headed down to their Banbridge campus to up-skill on using video equipment to make my first professional video for my business – this was a step up from using apps and the attempts I’d made on my smartphone. The weekly 3 hour evening sessions gave me the opportunity to focus on developing my skills a bit further and enabled me to gain a qualification as well – an OCR Level 2 Certificate in Video Production.

With experience working on strategy development and content marketing projects and skills in copy writing, I was well within in my comfort zone for the first few weeks of the course as we worked on the video planning stages – we identified our video goals, discussed the style of video we would create, then started story-boarding and scripting the content.

Next on the agenda for me and my video production partner (and hubby), Paul was to do a voice over for my video. Paul and I took ourselves off to the soundproofed recording room for an hour to get to grips with using the recording equipment. I then had the task of creating my voice-over. This took a few attempts to get the pace right, and the words out without laughing, but I got there in the end.

The following stage of the course was a bit more daunting for me – trying to get my head around lighting, familiarising myself with the video camera settings and setting up the equipment for a shoot. We went home for a few weeks armed with cameras for a 2 camera set-up, tripods, lighting equipment, microphones and other audio equipment – we looked the part as we showed up on site at Universal Meat Company to film our video, even if we didn’t feel very much like a professional video production team!

Production began, and we did our best to film my video case study, in a boardroom in which 3 of the 4 walls were filled with glass windows – probably not the best set location in hindsight but we closed the blinds and got on with it! It’s funny how you sit in a room regularly for meetings and don’t really notice things like that. A lesson for next time!

Our next challenge was editing the content together and adding a soundtrack. I think I need a bit (or perhaps a lot) more practice in this area but all in all, we were quite pleased with the finished result. As always, there are things I’d do differently if I did it all again but that’s part of the learning experience – let me know what you think of the finished production please (and go easy on me!).

To save you scrolling back up, here it is again.

Whilst the learning is far from over, the journey has at least begun. I know a little more about video production than I did this time last year and I’m looking forward to creating more video content in 2018 (although perhaps working with a team of more skilled video operatives than myself).

I must say a huge thank you to our tutor Gary and the i3 team at Southern Regional College for making this happen and making the course so enjoyable. I must add that it’s a very cost-effective solution for SMEs on tight budgets as it is heavily funded so I’d definitely recommend that you get in touch with Margaret McNamee to find out when the next course is starting! Special thanks must also go to my client, Osmond Gurgan, MD of Universal Meat company for agreeing to be my ‘guinea pig’, taking the time out of his busy schedule to participate and for his patience while we carried out the filming.

Finally, if you’re interested in a good Digital Project Manager who can help you to plan and execute your video marketing or content marketing plans, look no further! PM me, email denise@digital-den.co.uk or give me a call on 07736067608.

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