4 Essentials for Building an In-House Video Team

Video is no longer an option when it comes to content marketing. With over 86% of online marketers utilizing video as a form of content, if you’re not creating consistent and thoughtful videos for your content mix, you’re in the shrinking minority.

Most understand this, but the biggest barrier I see in creating video? Cost. Even as video equipment and editing software have become incredibly inexpensive, the time & energy cost and necessary creative expertise to actually make meaningful video content can become overwhelming for the average marketing department. Instead of hiring the best video production company to create a large quantity of videos, many corporations are opting to build out internal video production teams to assist in their content marketing efforts. If done right, this move can make your video content results much more profitable.

So from my experience here are the 5 often overlooked essentials for building an in-house video team:

  • Hire a Video Producer, not a Marketing Manager

Where I see most companies go wrong with in-house video is assigning it as an add-on to a marketing manager’s role. While a good idea in theory, due to the complex nature of video, it usually becomes a “when I get around to it” part of the job.

While you might luck out with a marketer who has video experience, the most practical and sustainable way to build a video team is to hire a video professional who can be dedicated to that function. From an investment standpoint, the most ideal hire is a younger professional to start at $15-20/hr and who can build into a salaried $50-75k per year, and beyond individual.

There are pro’s and con’s to hiring experienced professionals, but the video professional market is a buyers market. Due to the sexy and fun nature of the work, there are an incredible amount of young professionals who are very skilled and would be eager to join an organization and work full-time on something they have passion in. Being networked, constantly searching for a video freelancers who might be open to full time work, asking local production companies and colleges for referrals, are all ways to find that golden full-time video hire.

  • Practical Processes & Tools

Unless you’re Facebook, who has a full time film director on staff – your videos will probably not be huge productions, at least to start. Because of this, I recommend you you search for individuals that understand corporate video production, not just film production. If you hire someone off the street and ask them for recommendations of what they need from the equipment and process standpoint, they’ll most likely request and recommend tools that are “fun” to work with, and not necessarily right for the job.

While you might want to budge every now and then to keep them happy (see #3), you’ll want to be equipped with the right process and tools to output the type of content you’re aiming to make. Below are my three highly recommended tools that are practical and allow for

  • FCP X Editing Software: The two main softwares on the marketing for video editing and Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X. Final Cut, an apple product, made a shift in 2012 to become much more user friendly and optimized for speed over complexity. Because of this, it is ideal for most in-house marketing teams. It will save you time, and unless you’re editing the next Blockbuster hit, FCP X is the way to go.
  • Wipster / Frame.io: Creative input & revisions can be a slow process especially if there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. Using Wipster or Frame.io avoids lengthy email threads with timecodes, Google Drive, constant revisions back and forth.
    1. Prosumer Camera & Lighting Tools: You don’t always need the biggest, baddest, and best of the video tools. For most companies, you need good enough equipment to create content that represents the brand and doesn’t get in the way of speed. Always get two or three opinions before just buying what your video guy recommends but use the above link for a good starting point.
  • Employee Engagement Strategy

If you thought turnover in your marketing department was bad, try video staff. People who get into video production almost never do it to be apart of a corporate marketing team. In general, they enjoy film, music, and highly creative & collaborative processes where their work can shine & be seen. Not empathizing and encouraging this can leave you hiring again pretty quickly. While there are tons of general employee engagement tips, here are a few that are especially vital for video staff:

    1. Creative Input: Do not hire a video professional and tell them what to do. Hire them and allow them the freedom to give creative input both on the content but also the creative elements of the projects they are working on. Monopolizing this process will only leave them feeling “controlled” and not listened to. Even if you disagree with their assessments, give them the chance to pitch video ideas and ways to approach things. Give them a sandbox to fail, and be there to provide coaching if and when they do.
  • Feedback Practice: Be very intentional on the culture you have around giving revision and feedback. Video people can be emotional creatures who put a lot of passion and energy into their work. When they present something to you, always acknowledge their effort and reinforce the positive elements before trashing or providing feedback. Even in the mix of things when you get comfortable with them, pausing even for 20-30 seconds to give your appreciation can make a huge difference. Not practicing this can sabotage your ability to keep your video staff excited.
  • Annual Passion Project: Find creative ways to combine your video staff’s natural passion and the business goals at hand. Everyone in video production loves doing something within their work; whether that be narrative filmmaking, documentary production, music videos, or something else. Finding what this is and allowing them to unleash this energy on the company’s time seems like working backwards, but it’s not. Let them pitch you something original that they would be passionate about, and let them run with it. A documentary about your industry, a music video about a new product, or a really creative narrative training video. Even just doing this once a year can help them feel motivated and creatively free, which is key.
  • Conference Trip: Video people love gadgets and they being around the latest and greatest. Budgeting a few thousand dollars a year for NAB or another production or marketing focused conference could be incredibly exciting for your staff.

In general, you must understand your role as an employer when building a video staff. They are not here to please you. You give them a platform to do what they love and encourage them, you’ll give you good work in return. When it comes to working with video people it’s not Wall Street, and a cut-throat or high-pressure environment will be very costly for you.

  • Cohesive & Scheduled Content

While you want to encourage creative freedom, don’t just hire a video professional and totally let them run totally loose. Your video efforts should work in unison with your blogging, podcasting, or other content. And just like any content marketing initiative, it should be scheduled, planned, intentional, researched, and purposeful.

Create a consistent and open thread between your video staff and your marketing leaders and other marketers on staff. Know what content is being created and when, what the messaging is, when it will be released, and how it will be promoted. Building a video content calendar will help your staff know what’s coming up and how to appropriately budget their time. But don’t go overboard, allow for creativity and a level of spontaneity. Budget time for creative ideas; don’t push everything until the last minute. The second you turn the team into a video factory is the day everyone will be browsing Indeed for a new job.

So with that said, hiring video staff is just like hiring anyone else; it takes practice and empathy. But in the end, putting in the work to find and hire the right video staff can take your marketing output to a whole new level. Give it your best shot, and never give up!

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.