Video production 101: Creating compelling video content

While video has always been a compelling medium, the demand for engaging video content is greater than ever—driven, in no small part, by the ever-increasing popularity of short-form video content on social media.
TikTok, Reels and YouTube shorts have essentially taken over our attention spans. This isn’t surprising given research that shows users retain 95% of a message they watch on video compared to only 10% they read in text.

Of course, the value of video extends beyond social media. It can be used for a variety of purposes—tutorials for employee education, promotional presentations for websites, product demos for sales meetings or trade shows, anthems for a brand launch…the marriage of motion and audio is a compelling way to get just about any message across.
Because of this increased demand, a lot of marketing teams are tasked with video projects, even if they’ve never produced a video before. Here are some useful tips we at McGuffin Creative Group have learned from experience.

Create a strategy for the video and stick to it

Like any other marketing campaign, you must start with strategy. It may not be as in-depth as a research report or national advertising campaign, but you should outline the following to ensure you’re aligned with your partners before diving into creation: 

  • Define your target audience(s).
  • Define your objective(s) – is the video promoting a new product or service? Is the purpose to increase overall brand awareness or drive clicks to a landing page?
  • Establish a budget; even if there isn’t much of a budget to work with, it’s helpful to outline where costs will go if there are any.
  • Determine the media where the video will be featured. (A LinkedIn audience is different from a TikTok audience.)
  • Identify the type of video you want –a 30-second live clip? animation vs. live action? instructional or entertainment?
  • Identify partners who can help facilitate the production, whether that’s a third-party or in-house team.

The clearer you are going into the project, the better your chances to stay within budget   and end up with a video that meets your goals.

Develop a storyboard

Mapping out images, words and sound effects frame by frame beforehand will save you time and provide clear direction for shooting and editing. You can use free tools like Miro or Canva to get started. At this stage, it’ll also be helpful to write a draft script. Even if your video isn’t fully scripted, sharing talking points will allow you to nail down what you want to say in each frame. Pairing your copy with your storyboard sections will allow you to make sure you get across what you need to and cut what you don’t.

Source: StoryBoard That

When filming content for your company’s social media channels:

It’s now pretty common to see the inside of a company’s board room or even an employee’s own home office on company social media channels. Filming your own videos is a great way to create meaningful, authentic social content with a low budget. It’s important to invest in a few essentials for a quality at-home or in-office setup:

  • High-quality camera – to ensure your videos look great. (Your iPhone camera is high quality!)
  • Microphone – if you’re doing an interview or audio is important to the content, most built-in microphones aren’t sufficient to deliver a clear sound for a brand video. Get a separate microphone to ensure high-quality audio.
  • Tripod – to stabilize your camera while filming.
  • Lighting kit – to ensure adequate lighting in various settings.

There are also tools for editing like that offer an extensive video template library that makes it relatively easy to create social media and video content that meets your objectives. You can also rely on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube’s own editing software for simpler edits.

Use your smart phone to shoot live videos

For video footage that’s real and relatable, use your phone to record. Today’s mobile devices have excellent quality cameras and are ideal for capturing both planned content and in-the-moment content like at a conference or event. If you use an iPhone, your camera has tons of built-in editing software. Or you can transfer the video footage to an app like CapCut or Filmora that offers resources for editing, video effects and audio soundtracks.

When you’re shooting, try to use natural light whenever possible. Not only is it free (and eliminates the need to invest in additional lighting equipment), it lends a sense of realism to the footage. Windows, skylights, entryways and doorways can be used to create dramatic effects at no additional cost.

Make your video easily discoverable

  • When posting to different platforms, make the title and description of your video accurate, succinct and engaging to help people find it. SEO plays an important role in gaining traction for online video. A well-crafted title and descriptive introduction help to create visibility on sites like YouTube.
  • Always add captions to your video. Some 80% of viewers report they are more likely to finish a video with subtitles. And 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Most platforms auto-generate closed captions for you or allow you to upload a separate text file with your own captions.  
  • Utilize hashtags and video tags. While the rules vary from platform to platform, utilizing hashtags and video tags are still a great way to help your target audience find your videos. Do some hashtag research on each platform to ensure you’re using popular hashtags that will improve your reach.

For other video projects, like a brand anthem video or employee education video:

Choose the right resources if you need outside help

If you don‘t have an affordable video production company you work with—or referrals from colleagues—sites like offer resources that can help with video production. The internet also has excellent sources for stock music, voiceover talent and more.

Keep it short and simple
Being clear on what you’re trying to communicate—and not trying to accomplish too much—will help you stay focused on the right content and the right amount of it. It will also save you money and headaches in the long run. Most social media users today have limited attention spans and patience, anyway. A recent study found that video engagement drops sharply once it exceeds 2 minutes in length. It’s best to target a much shorter presentation—30-or 60-second videos are optimal.

Get team buy-in

 A lot of effort will be put into getting to the final showing of the video. Get shareholder’s approval along the way. From strategy, storyboard and script to voiceover talent and music choices, run your choices past all stakeholders. This will seem like a lot of extra work at the time but will save days of time and money if you need to re-record or re-edit after you think the video has been completed.   

Are you ready to be a video producer?

With the right planning and the proper tools, you can create impactful video content you can be proud of—and that will meet your marketing objectives. With so many resources available to you online, you can have a promising future in video production.