Media, in general, has become far more important for all businesses. In fact, blogs, social media profiles, and email newsletters are standard for most companies. But no platform has grown more during the past several years than visual media.
While once reserved for the few companies that had the marketing budgets to afford it, visual media is quickly becoming mainstream. In fact, it's estimated that by 2019, 80% of the content we consume online will be video-based. Even more telling is that video received nearly three times more inbound links than other forms of content, while landing pages that contain video content see 86% conversions.
What exactly does that mean? That we're all media companies, whether we like it or not. We can no longer simply 'tell' our story; we have to 'show' it instead. We also have to be visually fluid as an organization because media companies are always in 'production mode.'
Are You In or Out?
While video content has plenty of plusses, there's one major question keeping some companies from making the jump: Should you outsource it or do it in-house?
Many organizations decide to outsource video production for a variety of reasons. They think the equipment is too expensive, believe a full-time videographer costs too much, don’t see video content as a priority, or simply think outsourcing is just the way it's done.
But for every hesitation to creating in-house video content, there are countless other benefits. For example, you can create more video content and ultimately lower your costs (especially as your team learns more and becomes more efficient at it).
You'll also create content that feels more personal and realistic, because outsourcing to someone who doesn't know your team can feel uncomfortable and awkward. Plus, the adage of 'practice makes perfect' will kick in: As your employees grow more confident in front of the camera, they may discover hidden strengths.
Having an in-house video team also allows for spontaneity. When you get a spur-of-the-moment idea, you can grab the camera and roll with it rather than schedule a session with an outside video entity.
Besides simply keeping up with the times, becoming familiar with the visual media space has a wide variety of benefits. For example, you become more of a teacher, educating your customers about things they want to learn. This also helps you and your employees become better communicators as they become familiar with explaining certain subject matter on camera. As you might imagine, better teaching and better communication equal better sales every time.
As a media company, you're also forced to see yourself as 'viewer-centric.' You have to create content viewers want to see, which in turn keeps them coming back for more. You may be forced to refine your company voice, tone, and style in the process, but it’ll help you become much more connected to your customers, and you'll certainly stand out from your competitors, whose voices often come from a 'me, me, we, we' mindset.
Video content also helps companies prepare for the future of digital media. The industry is moving at an incredibly fast pace, and before you know it, all companies will be creating virtual reality content. If you're already ahead of the game on video, you're more likely to be ahead on future opportunities as well. But if you struggle with video today, no doubt you'll be lost with VR tomorrow.
Create Your Vision
Integrating video content into your content marketing strategy doesn't have to be difficult, but it does require commitment. Here are a few things executives can do to encourage a culture of in-house video:
1. Get the teams together. Nothing great gets done if everyone is working in silos. Encourage different departments to regularly meet and go over what's coming down the pipeline, to discuss new ideas, and to address any issues that arise.
It's especially important to get the sales team and other subject-matter experts together with the content team and videographer. Salespeople often have valuable insights about what customers want, and the content team will know how to turn that insight into something tangible. Frankly, when it comes to video ideation, your sales team involvement and buy-in is absolutely essential.
2. Coach them up. Your team may be hesitant about moving into new territory with video content. This may be especially true for the subject-matter experts who are stepping in front of the lens.
But even the people who don't think they can develop on-camera chops may discover they have natural talents for it. We've seen time and time again that providing training and encouragement can build a culture of video that enables multiple team members to excel on camera.
3. Set the tone with leadership involvement. You can't expect your teammates to jump in if leadership doesn't get involved. The higher-ups of the organization should kick off your video content efforts by getting in front of the camera themselves and engaging with the video production process as subject-matter experts.
Once the executive team proves it's committed to producing video content, it will be easier for the rest of the staff to get acquainted and take it more seriously.
Video content has exploded over the past few years, and it's only expected to grow. By getting involved now and truly making a culture around video, you'll stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the changes — beating the competition and attracting dramatically more customers in the process.