The Lean Method For Making Video Content
Over the course of my career, I have worked with and alongside CEOs and Presidents. Friends and content creators. Marketing managers, growth hackers, designers, film directors and (my skewed favorite) engineers. They all come to me, for whatever it may be, to help them with content / creative / social media /etc.
I myself, have made too much content to even know what to do with. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. Filming scary movies with friends at 8 years old and doing fashion shoots in my backyard with my mom for a site called Lookbook.nu.
Because of this obsession with creating content, I started a fashion blog when I was in high school. Which landed me a job in a start up called Le Tote, which landed me opportunities to speak about brand, UGC, tech and more on panels in New York City at Fashion Week. All the while, my blog continued to develop, being named one of San Francisco’s top blogs to follow, which gave me the opportunity to play host and experience designer with Brian Chesky when they were testing Airbnb Experiences. I got to work with Rebecca Minkoff, Coach, Levi’s and so many more. At my 9–5, I was making video content too. How it works videos, fashion tutorials, and so much more. I’ve made videos with $25,000 budgets and videos where I had to beg for $250. I’ve produced videos on a boat, managing 3 boats and a drone in a no-fly zone. I’ve made content in San Francisco, LA, NYC, Sydney, Italy, and Scotland.
I’ve made a lot of content. And I have optimised the process from learning the hard way. So, this is the best process you can use..especially if your goal is to start and build your online community / brand presence.
As I mentioned, I often have people come to me and ask me how to do it. Well, we know content is king (as long as you repurpose it for the right stages of your growth funnel), but I believe everyone is over thinking content. I’ve always been of the mentality that you should just f*cking do it / wing it / start / see how you go, and I still believe in that; the hardest part is starting.
BUT, winging it doesn’t always work. So, I have put together this quick and dirty guide to making video content…that works.
The inspiration came when I was writing a guide for my partner’s Cofounder of their startup (2MakeWine), when I realised it hits a lot of the Lean Methodology’s principles.
- If you’re not embarrassed of your product, you launched too late. Making content is never going to be perfect. Your voice will crack, there will be something in the background you don’t want, you’ll believe you’re not good in front of the camera, the list goes on…We’re not making the next Oscar winning film. The point is to get something up, see how it performs and optimise.
- Work Smarter Not Harder. If you have a small budget or you are bootstrapping, DO NOT (I repeat) invest in expensive video equipment OR a production company to get your content made. Large scale production companies are ripping people off left and right (bigger budgets just make things easier, I can vouch for this) But it can always be done cheaper than they say. If you have the budget, then go for it, your content will be top tier, but what if no one watches it? What if I told you people like low fidelity content? Audiences are like zombies, but instead of being hungry for brains, they are hungry for video…in any form they can get it.
- Develop an MVP. Okay, now we’re in production mode! This is the magic sauce I am talking about, get something made as quickly and as cheaply as possible. If your message is good, you are genuine, your story is honest, your offer or discount or USP is clear and kick ass, then you are ready! You don’t need a million dollar commercial. People will watch, especially with a tiny bit of ad spend behind it on Facebook. With a very targeted audience, you will find that they are hungry for the information. Alas, the true core of the MVP part of this story is making the content….keep reading, it’s coming.
- Validated Learning. Okay so let’s say you’ve made the content. Your experiment is up…you’ve posted the video to every channel (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and told all of your friends to watch), it’s on your landing page, it’s on your product page, now what? You need to follow the other steps of the scientific method; observe, analyse, and learn. Track the results, read the comments, try to deduce if the video performed.
- Build-Measure-Learn. Great, you learned from your first video test. Now you need to keep going, keep testing new styles of content, keep making videos. If it performed like crazy, start making multiple videos a week! Then 1 a day. Set aside a time each morning when you wake up, to make your video of the day. Make a routine of it, every day at 9am you make 1 video. Make (build) more videos, track the results (categorize the content and track results in a spreadsheet with date of post, time of post, type of video, etc). Learn what is working and make more! Or don’t. If it’s not working after several tests, video content in general or the content you’re making might not be right for your brand. (Try adding paid spend to a specific targeted audience before you give up, Facebook’s algorithms LOVE video). Optimise your strategy from your learnings, make more videos like the ones that work, and keep testing, and grow. Once you are growing, invest in better equipment, keep growing, hire a part time video editor, keep growing, hire a video production unit. You get the picture.
OKAY WE MADE IT. Now you understand that this video making method didn’t come out of no where. It’s strategic, it’s quick…it’s very dirty, and it works.
The Lean Method of Making Video Content
Transferring files from SD cards to computers, importing files into Premiere and Final Cut, colour grading…the list goes on. When you are starting out making video content, there is no need to try to create a feature film. Think LEAN, use your iPhone (hopefully 6 or above, but if you have an 8 or above than you are golden. P.S. an iPhone X is a better investment than a DSLR)
iPhones allow you to edit from your phone, VERY easily, and quickly. Less headaches transferring files and you can do the edits on the go. Editing on your phone is a great time to utilise your public transport commute time to your advantage. I think you see where this is going…read the rest of the steps below.
1. Shoot with iPhone
Make videos as often as possible
A. Even if it’s just an Instastory and you save it and post it to Facebook
- On insta-stories ALWAYS tag location, and a hashtag, so you potentially get featured on their respective stories.
- Try to use the same filter across multiple story posts
- Add a face to the brand (Talk to the camera in selfie mode!)
B. Fit it into your schedule and make a routine, pick one day a week or challenge yourself for a week to sit down every morning to make a video as the first thing you do when you get in the office.
C. Need some inspiration? Look up trending hashtags on twitter and trending topics on Facebook, see if you can create video content that syncs your brand with these topics and use that hashtag when you post
*Don’t feel like you have to make it perfect, people like genuine content.
D. Always have a CTA at the end of your video
- Subscribe for more
- Follow us on social
- Subscribe to our email list for a discount
- Shop our latest
- Comment / Share / Like
3. iPhone Accessories you need for lean video production
- Use an iPhone Ring Light (trust me)
- iPhone Microphone (better to choose wireless, but try a cheap one to start then invest when you see the content performs. Here’s a list of The Best iPhone Microphones of 2018)
- iPhone Tripod
4. Edit using your phone
- Forget wires, cords and transferring media. Again, just use your phone, its quick and dirty. I quite like to use the Clips app.
- Always add subtitles (I cannot stress this enough). No subtitles…no point in posting. Sorry.
5. Don’t be afraid to go live.
- Live streams have a great shelf life
- Tell your users to like the livestream so ‘You know they’re there!’ (helps Facebook see engagement and help the post get more eyes)
- Ask your users to comment if the sound is good. (helps Facebook see engagement and help the post get more eyes)
- Try to have an employee or coworker sit by to reply to comments
- Go for gold! The longer you can stream live the better.
- Be creative, have a live stream auction or sale on your clearance items, live stream an unboxing of your product, trying your product, etc.
- Invite another page or influencer to be allowed to livestream on your page…you can give them access to go live on your page but NOT have any other access to posting.
- Once your live streams are performing, spruce em up! Check out Switcher Studios , Go Lightstream,