If you make your living by dragging video equipment through messy hotel kitchens or up the back stairs of an old church to cover a wedding, you are most likely a videographer. If you stand at the back of a conference room all day video recording meetings just so they will have a record, you may as well be a court stenographer. If you want to cruise into a prosperous 2016 using any of the above video approaches, you better up your game because it will get ugly. Wait! It is ugly!
Your re-education process should start immediately, because what your existing and potential clients don’t know diddly about the benefits and effectiveness of a well produced corporate video could fill the state of Montana. My advice to you: pull that word “video” out of your marketing, your company name, or at least don’t lead with it. Lest you open yourself up to some of the dopiest scenarios even Fellini couldn’t dream up.
Like the time I had to go to Elkhart Indiana and film 3,000 pontoon boats on a huge lot. With a few exceptions, they were all identical. (Full disclosure: I gave them a tape with two hours of footage of the same boat and they were very happy) Draw your own conclusions on who the moron was.
Now, if you don’t give a shit how your talents get utilized and you’re still getting paid, feel free to stop here and maybe jump over to Drudge or The Onion. Nothing to see here. But if you want to get in the game and make a living you better get target specific, (that means small businesses and up) and educate yourself about what matters to them, how their business runs and how you can get them get some ROI. Kick it up a shitload of notches.
ROI is return on investment for the uninitiated. You need to go where the money is. Yes, you need to start dancing in the minefield of the corporate world.
Hint: Stay away from the really big companies. (Like you’d get in anyway) They are so fractured they don’t even know what they don’t know. Layers, levels and loners who are glad to be in from the cold.
There you will find yourself in a maze of miscommunication, silos, petty jealousies, decision processes that feel like eternities, drifting focus and a net 90 to top it off. You better know what your doing in that arena. I read a book recently, “Selling To Big Companies” by Jill Konrath that would be a good starting place.
And stay away from networking meetings, no decision makers spend their time rubbing elbows with the unfortunate. It’s like “The Walking Dead” with business cards. Following you around trying to chew your ear off.
The main take away is you have to show them how to get that ROI thing happening or else they’ll only call you for the company picnic. If you have to help set up the tent, charge extra.
You have to get at what keeps them up at night. How to reach and move their target audience. You need to be brutally honest about some of wacky ideas their “teams” have cooked up. You need a deep empathy and understanding of what their issues are, where their stock is and how to keep their board happy. In a word, it’s all about the money not the company fluff. It’s the money, honey. Never mind the “employees are our most valuable asset nonsense”. (Gag)
For years I have been branding myself as a video producer, when that wasn’t the whole story. Sure, I do lots of video but with my blogging, graphics, photography, web, e-marketing, live streaming and comprehensive on-line knowledge, I painted myself into a corner. I can assure you, when the word video comes out of your mouth first, you leave a lot of opportunities on the table. Like ideas and strategies. It’s the communication, stupid.
People like to categorize. They have to, video is too big a terrain to be explained in a word. What I am and always have been is a content producer.
I also have a background in music, comedy and business, especially in sales, marketing, in-house multimedia and have written and performed in outlandish and inappropriate product skits (got that shit killed quickly) and written songs for meetings, product launches and even released an audio CD on driving safety. (And I wasn’t using no ukulele and a kazoo.)
You might think music and stand up comedy don’t count for much in the business world but you would be missing the point: rhythm, timing, relevant content and an unmerciful audience. You cannot lose with the stuff I use.
I wrote newsletters, News From The Left, (meaning the left side of the country) before anyone knew what a blog was, had a gossip column that even HR didn’t know how to handle and had my own corporate web site which worried the home office sick. Life is rhythm baby!
And I never, ever, saw a live mike I didn’t want to fondle. Hey, is this thing on?
See you on the battlefield.