9 min read

A Complete Guide to Video Production Management

In a video first world, you have to be able to scale your content production while maintaining quality and lowering costs. It’s rarely… Video production management is essential to scaling video content while maintaining quality and lowering costs. Here’s a complete guide to how you can build this v
A Complete Guide to Video Production Management

In a video first world, you have to be able to scale your content production while maintaining quality and lowering costs. It’s rarely easy, and if you’re new to producing video content, it might seem daunting. However, building a video production management workflow is essential if you want to compete with other brands or publishers.

The key to scaling is to come up with a standard production strategy for your internal team. This strategy should allow you to expand your team by hiring freelancers through a video production marketplace. Armed with internal guidelines and an external workforce, you will be able to consistently produce high-quality videos. And you can scale production up or down according to your budget. Here’s a complete guide to why and how you can build this video production management process.

Why You Need a Workflow

It’s hard to stay competitive without video marketing. Both big brands and media companies are building internal video production teams and studios. Just look at Hearst Magazines. This past fall, they opened their own 26,000-square-foot video and multimedia production studio in order to ramp up content. Even before the studio, they created around 150 videos each week across their brands. That’s a ton of video!

Hearst Studio. Source: Adweek. Photo Credit: Allie Holloway

Unless you run multiple digital media platforms, you probably don’t need that many videos. But you do need to have a regular production schedule to engage your audience and see a return on investment (ROI). Tubular Insights found that 48% of marketers at companies with at least two videos in 2017 created four or more videos every month and 27% created six or more. This level of consistency is almost impossible to maintain without internal guidelines for video production management.

Your videos can’t be one and done. Audiences need to see consistent storytelling from a brand in order to establish trust. You should have a continuous strategy where your videos fit into a larger narrative that tells your brand’s story:

Storytelling is not a one-off exercise but a matter of consistency and adapting to evolving human needs, although sometimes specific actions and initiatives can seem to have that one-off dimension. However, everything you do, always fits in that broader narrative: from events and content to campaigns. — i-Scoop

Video production management is the best way to ensure high quality content as you scale quantity. When you publish more content, or target different audiences, both storytelling and production quality must align with your brand image. Building a workflow for video production will let the quality of your videos drive the quantity. Doing it the other way around will usually result in high quantity, but low quality content. This may mean that you invest the same amount into producing two stellar videos a week that you would for ten mediocre videos that do nothing for your brand.

Starting with Strategy

Before you even begin thinking about actually shooting a video, you need to have a content strategy. You should have a solid understanding about why you want to produce videos and how they will help your brand. Video content should fit into your overall content marketing strategy. And each video you publish should have its own strategy behind it as well. Your strategy should align with your business goals. In fact, every piece of content that you publish — whether it’s a video, white paper, or blog post — should help you achieve those goals.

Having a strategy is essential to scaling video production and proving ROI. For every video you want to create, ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s the goal, and how does it relate to my overall strategy?
  • Who am I targeting?
  • What will I create?
  • Where will I distribute the content?
  • How will I measure whether I am achieving my goals?

With video and other marketing content, ROI can be difficult to assess. Plus, each company has a different way to measure it. To get the most out of your video campaigns, your company will need to set its own definition for ROI. For example, if you want to measure the number of leads a video is bringing in, you have to keep track of those leads. If they will create enough revenue over time to cover the cost invested into the video, then you can call it a success. Of course, goals related to brand awareness are more difficult to measure and might require more thought.

Thinking Long-Term

When creating a video production management strategy, consider how the content will work for your business in the long-term. Every piece of content that you produce should be linked to a wider campaign that is consistent with your brand. This means that the videos you produce could be a series that establishes interest and trust in your brand. Series can also provide additional opportunities for brand promotion once you have your audience’s trust. Even if you produce a one-off video, develop it in a way that’s consistent with your brand voice and image.

Source: Marketing Land

To achieve this consistency and strategy, you will have to put more thought into the production process. This process has to be both seamless and ready to change in case things go wrong or your team decides to shift focus. The foundation of this process is your team infrastructure.

As they produce more content in more and different formats, marketers are recognizing that the creative and production functions need more than ever to be seamless, agile, and adaptive in partnership in order both to ensure consistent cross-channel brand messaging and to control costs. — Ed Powers, AdAge

Building a Workforce with Freelancers

Successful video production management depends on whether you have the right people to produce content at scale. Even if you have in-house producers, freelancers can help you cost-effectively scale the amount of videos you produce. The best way to build a reliable workforce is to find, hire, and manage freelancers in a global video production marketplace and freelance management system. You will save money if you hire freelancers in places where you would otherwise have to fly out your production team.

While you have to decide who you want to hire, you don’t have to handle it all manually. Video production marketplaces do a lot of the work for you. Forget spending hours Googling freelancers and vetting their quality just to find out they’re busy on your shoot date. Video production management is a complex process, but the technology to streamline it is quickly evolving.

If you’re already working with freelancers, your production process is probably scattered across multiple platforms — spreadsheets, emails, payments, analytics, etc. This slows down your work and makes organization difficult. It’s time to bring your production process into one cohesive place. In a video production marketplace, a curated pool of talent will apply to your projects and you’ll be able to hire the best people. And if you repeatedly work with the same freelancers, you can foster solid, reliable working relationships.

A freelance management system like the Storyhunter platform, brings video content production into one spot. These platforms do the heavy lifting for you. They vet production companies and freelancers as well as handle contracts and payments. For each project, you can post a video production brief, ask for story ideas, search for freelancers, send them messages, save your contacts, onboard your existing workforce, view and leave freelancers reviews, see financial reports, and more. They will also help you nail down individual project management by showing you what stage your production is at.

The freelance workforce is growing and it’s time to take advantage of that — non-traditional talent is expected to represent over 45% of the overall workforce within the next few years. Because of this, freelance management systems have emerged to help companies streamline the hiring process and manage their teams. With video becoming more important to marketers, it makes sense to turn to these platforms for video production management.

Source: Entrepreneur

Finding Your Story

Deciding what stories you’re going to tell is essential to the video production management workflow. This can happen before or after finding freelancers, but make sure that your strategy is committed to creating great stories. If your brand commits to quality storytelling, your audience will keep coming back for more. And the data shows that branded storytelling sells. Just using the word “video” in the subject of an email can boost your click-through rates by 65%.

What you should really hone in on with the ideation process, though, is how to create a story with emotion. Make your audience feel something. Emotion drives engagement and sales, as well as brand perception. In order to create a powerful story, it has to provide value to your audience beyond just selling your brand. It should feel authentic, original, and resonate with your audience. Otherwise, it will just feel like an ad, which viewers reject in today’s digital world.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what story to tell, turn to your freelancers. Post an assignment on a video production marketplace or message your workforce. Ask them for story pitches around a general theme or topic related to your brand. For example, Nike had a branded short documentary series in 2016 around the theme “unlimited.” It was about different athletes around the world who overcame their limits to pursue their dreams in a sport. If they had needed help finding stories, they could have asked their freelancers to pitch them about athletes overcoming challenges.

It’s also important to note here that Nike never mentions their brand in this series. Instead, they prominently feature their athletic gear while letting their audience empathize and emotionally connect with the athletes. When viewers enjoy the storytelling in a branded video, they associate that feeling with the brand.

Mastering Pre-Production

After you’ve decided on your perfect story idea, you have to write a script or a video treatment. Many freelancers can do this for you, but you won’t be able to start planning the shoot without it. The treatment should include what the story is, who the characters are, what audience you’re targeting, where you need to film, and a breakdown of the scenes or storyline.

Great videos don’t just happen — they’re the product of serious planning and budgeting. Video production requires drafting contracts, scouting locations, booking crews, making schedules, choosing film equipment, getting film permits or licenses, and collecting release forms. If you’re working with a large crew, the shoot will be smoother the more you plan things out. Pre-production helps minimize the risk that something will go wrong during a shoot.

One way to stay on track during production is to keep a checklist for everything that needs to be done. If you’re working with freelancers, communicate with them frequently throughout production. Also, request more footage than you think you will actually need. This is where a freelance management system can help as well. It will allow you to coordinate the production and facilitate communication from pre to post-production in one platform.

Completing the Project

Whether you’re using freelancers, a production company, or internal producers, video production management is integral to success in post. Establish a post-production process that includes how you set deadlines and the number of rough cuts you expect to review. Working out these details before hiring an editor will help you save time and money on the project.

The last part of managing a production is having a distribution strategy. In your production workflow, you should decide when, where, and why you’re distributing a video to your audience. Your distribution plan should depend on the goal of your video and the audience you want to reach. Assign members of your team to be responsible for the distribution and promotion strategy. Or communicate your needs if distribution belongs to another department of your company.

Video production management isn’t about trying to do everything yourself. Spread out the tasks. Freelancers can help with creative ideas, or your content team can focus on ideas and creative strategy while outsourcing the actual video production. If you don’t have large team for content production, it will be hard to produce both creative concepts and compelling videos at a consistent pace and at scale.

Want to build your workforce with a video production marketplace or need a better way to manage your freelancers? Storyhunter can help.

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By D. Simone Kovacs, Storyhunter Editor