Business Survival 101

The world throws us a curveball sometimes. But, as my old mum would say, “every cloud has a silver lining”. We aren’t going to state the obvious, we all know it’s tough right now. So be proactive and focus on what you can do from home, and with the tools at your disposal. This is our Business Survival guide on making video content without leaving your home…

Business Survival 101

The world throws us a curveball sometimes. But, as my old mum would say, “every cloud has a silver lining”. We aren’t going to state the obvious, we all know it’s tough right now. So be proactive and focus on what you can do from home, and with the tools at your disposal.

Pink Triangle
Yellow Triangle

Stay visual. Stay Strong.

Here’s your silver lining… With the majority of the nation in lockdown, we’ve seen data suggesting screen time has significantly increased. Early reports by Nielsen suggests that media consumption during the Coronavirus lockdown is up by a whopping 60%.

So take advantage. Make content and get your brand in front of people while people have the time and are hungry for content.

By doing nothing and simply hitting the pause button on your marketing and communications is only going to make it even harder to get going again when things return to normal. We anticipate brands opting for this choice to have to a heavy investment in the amounts of time and funds to start the leads rolling in again. Competition will also be fierce as all brands vie for business.

Instead, we suggest reminding your clients now that you’re still here with your sleeves rolled up, with a resourceful ‘can do’ attitude. If you wait until post lockdown, they might have forgotten you.

There are lots of cost-effective things you can do yourself. However, it might be worth enlisting the help of a professional production company as they have the experience, ideas and equipment to make it better and quicker. Don’t be afraid to tell them your budget and see what they can come up with – don’t forget, we’re all in this together.   

Business Survival Visual

What can I make in lockdown?

Business Survival Filming

Many production companies are still open and can help you create content without having to set foot outside. 

Using post-production techniques such as animation, motion graphics, VFX, stock footage or re-purposing your own old footage still offers the opportunity to make fresh and engaging content. Often it’s quicker to turn around as it doesn’t involve live filming or travel.

Production of this nature isn’t limited to life online. An experienced production company can make high-quality content suitable for broadcast. Many production companies, like ours, have the in-house capabilities to guide you through the full clearance & delivery process and get your brand in front of many through the power of digital or linear TV.

Client or customer meetings cancelled? No problem – setting you up with a bespoke experience via a multi-media webinar to reconnect should also be relatively straightforward for a production agency. Why put it off?

If you want to have a chat about different ways we could help you carry on, feel free to drop us a line.

DIY - Making your own content

You may feel unable to spend anything external right now. That’s completely understandable. But like opting for the cheapest quote to repair your leaky roof, cutting back on your marketing is a false economy. The next time it rains, you might still need to get the buckets out.  So what do you do? 

Don’t panic; there is a lot you can do yourself. At a basic level, all you need is a smartphone and some ideas! Throw in a couple of lamps, a quiet space and a nice background and we’re really talking! 

Remember each platform is different, so either focus on your primary channel or consider how you might adapt an idea to create multiple versions. BUT don’t get carried away with an idea. Make sure it relates to your brand.

Think about what you can achieve on your own. This probably isn’t the time to teach yourself to be an animator. However, with a couple of filters and some simple editing software, you can make or take some great shots or videos for Instagram.  

Whatever you decide to make, the first thing you need to do is make a plan.

Business Survival Set up

A cunning plan

Business Survival Planning

A plan doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Spending too long thinking about the details can be counter-intuitive. It can be as simple as making notes on these four key points:

  1. What do you want to say?
  2. Who do you want to talk to?
  3. How will they see it?
  4. After they have seen what you have to say, what do you want them to do next?

Make content that works best on the platform(s) that your customers use. Benchmark data on each platform is continually changing so do a little research. 

Don’t forget to think about your tone of voice. Does anything need to change to reflect the present situation? Has your customer’s priority changed? What is your business doing to meet the change?

At this time, messaging may need to be softer – more of a hug and a smile than the firm grasp of a business handshake. Be empathetic, understanding and helpful.

Turning the lens 180

The simplest thing you can do is to film a message directly from you to your customer, team or suppliers. Some people make a full-time carer from filming themselves. How hard can it be?

As we’re now reasonably familiar with Vlogs, it’s easy to get away with this type of content – LinkedIn is full of people in their running kit, aimlessly wondering around their own house. BUT is that the image you want to portray to your customers or colleagues? With a little more thought, you can make something which will help you stand out. Here are our top tips for filming yourself:

1. Nothing on screen is an accident. Someone planned it.

2. Think about what is in the background or your shot. Think about what you are wearing. Us a substitute subject to play you and look through the camera you will be using. Adding a little colour to your outfit, avoiding fine stripes and adopting a “less is more” background will make you stand out. Also, everyone loves a plant.

3. Lighting. Now you have looked at yourself in the camera, can you see yourself? A simple desk light or 2 can help. Move them around and see what difference it makes.

 If they are LED’s, throwing a light cloth over them can soften the light. Setup your camera so you are effectively looking through it to see out the window.  Natural light is generally always good. Avoid natural light on cloudy days – the light will constantly change, Equally too much sunshine can make your picture overexposed. Spend some time to find the best configuration.

4. Sound. Do a test. Can you clearly hear what you are saying? If not, move closer. Consider buying a lapel mic that can plug into your phone. They can be bought from Amazon for as little as £10.00. Also smaller rooms with soft furnishings work best – bring on the scatter cushions. This will help dampen the sound and make it sound less echoey. 

5. Plan what you are going to say before you press record. Rehearse. 

6. Relax. It’s ok to do more than one take! No one but you will know how many goes you had before getting it right. Interestingly, recording without the screen facing you will remove the awkward mirror-like view as well as increasing the quality. And look at the webcam, rather than the picture of yourself. This way you’re addressing your audience directly – look them in the eyes!

Getting creative

You may have ambitions to be a little more creative than merely filming yourself in your kitchen. Using some 3rd party apps on your smartphone, you can make some really engaging content to fit with your cunning content plan. Have a look at Luma Fusion or iMovie. Below are our top tips for creating creative content: 1. Draw a storyboard. If you’re not an artist, writing a description or using screen grabs is fine. Keep it simple. Spending too long thinking about it will restrict your ideas; there’s nothing quicker for creative development than the humble pencil. Don’t be too self-critical; you won’t be as quick as a professional company, so be realistic. There’s no point planning something so complicated that it will take you 12 weeks to make! 2. Use graphics such as images, simple transitions, zooms or animated text. 85% of people watch social media content with the sound set to off. It’s worth giving some thought to how your ideas will work without sound when you’re storyboarding. 3. Stabilise your camera. Even if it is a phone camera and you don’t have any grip equipment. Prop it against something, clamp it to a shelf or tape it to a broom handle! 4. Use some simple lighting. Lamps and fairy lights can really help. 

5. Think about your background. Is the colour right? How does it look ‘on camera?’.

6. Understand good composition. Google ‘the rule of thirds’. Most phone cameras have the option to ‘turn the grid on’ – this will help you setup up your shots.

7. Experiment with different shots. Should it be recorded from the top down, or should it consist of close up shots to show detail? 

8. Think about your sound. Try this when recording voice-overs – put two chairs on top of your bed and drape a blanket over the top to create a den. Climb inside and record; its the perfect make-shift sound booth. If you want to up your game, add a music soundtrack. There are lots of online music libraries where you can get free or cheap music. 

9. When it comes to the edit, watch, look and listen to your content and then edit again, making small tweaks. If you feel major changes are required it might be worth making a second version so you always have a clean copy to go back to. Don’t just publish the first thing you make. Ask for some feedback from colleagues or friends and don’t be afraid to make changes.

 10. Wherever you decide to publish your content, don’t forget to track it. If it isn’t getting the traction you had hoped for, consider what aspects could be improved, make the changes, and try again.  

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