Tools

Five Tips for Producing Your Own Video Content

Video tips from Convening Leaders' Media Studio.

Many organizations can benefit from adding video content to their social media channels, but simply don’t know where to begin. But according to, Amy Guth, WGN Radio host and president of Association for Women Journalists Chicago, the hardest part of do-it-yourself videoing is actually the act of simply starting somewhere. “There is really a lot of power in starting,” she said in her Convening Leaders Media Studio session, Video DIY. Here are our top five takeaways from her session:

1. Producing video content does not need to be costly… Many are under the impression that shooting video content is an expensive undertaking, but according to Guth, that’s a myth. “Don’t feel like you need to have a giant investment and a lot of equipment and a huge studio to get started,” Guth said. “I think that mindset is a huge barrier to video.” Guth suggests starting small by shooting video with a smartphone. “In fact, getting comfortable with shooting video with a smartphone and then leveling up to more equipment and investing as you go and as your skillset develops is a great plan.”

2. …but invest in a quality microphone. While smartphones produce high quality video, when it comes to audio, Guth says investing around $100 in a microphone will go a long way in making a video appear more professional, according to Guth. “Skipping on sound is one of the quickest ways to make something look like super-amateur hour,” Guth says. “You can have a beautiful shot, you can have the most dramatic sunset behind somebody saying the most brilliant things, but if the sound sucks, the sound sucks, and you can’t really fix that.”

3. Distribution is key. Content distribution is one of the most important parts of video, says Guth, but it’s also “where most people drop the ball.” It is crucial for organizations to examine the social media channels that their audience uses the most, and distribute accordingly. Once an organization chooses which channels to distribute video content, it then must be mindful of what type of video content fits each channel. For example, Facebook videos should be under one minute to keep viewers’ attention. YouTube videos can be longer — two to three minutes for promotional videos.

4. Don’t forget about search engine optimization (SEO). While it is tempting to give video content clever titles, videos with simple, to-the-point titles are far easier for viewers to find organically. “Make sure your keywords are in [the title] talking about exactly what the video is,” Guth says, “to help make it more discoverable.”

5. Be accessible. Be sure to add captions to your video content for easy access to all types of viewers. “That can help your content be very findable to search engines, and it also opens you up to an entire, different audience,” Guth says. “If you don’t offer captions on your video, there’s a lot of people who simply will not be able to access them.”

Casey Gale

Casey Gale is associate editor of Convene.