5 tips for creating great internal video content

No matter the size of an organization, we all recognize the value of video content. Here are five tips that all companies can use immediately to leverage video for internal communication.

Be strategic about the effort

The biggest mistake that we see companies make with using video for internal communication is not defining a clear objective and plan for what they are aiming to achieve. Video is sexy and it’s easy to get carried away and try to address too many topics with an internal video.

The way that employees view the company is hugely important, which is why HR professionals have such a vital role to play in nearly every organization. As with any internal communication, the tone and presentation is important because it directly reflects your company’s culture. That’s why video assets for internal audiences should be created with the same thoughtful approach as any HR communication.

Allocate internal resources and staff to execute the video project

Creating video for internal communication is a brand new space. There’s no set process or playbook for how to do it correctly because it’s new to many organizations. But don’t let that deter you. In our modern world, it’s easier than ever before to create high-quality content.

The key to a fantastic result is delegating the proper resources to actually execute the project. You wouldn’t expect to launch a new product or break into a foreign market without adequate resources. Creating compelling content for your company is no different. The good news is that these projects are fun to work on and it’s not difficult to find team members to help make them a reality.

Find the right production partner

Most companies do not have the staff to create video content in-house. But that’s completely fine and outsourcing certain specialized roles is a practice that most companies are familiar with. I strongly recommend that you seek out a partner to help actually produce your video content. Look for experienced vendors who have a track record of working with recognizable companies and, better yet, experience in your industry.

Since creating video is an exercise in celebrating your company culture, look for vendors who align with your values and practices. For example, if your company runs on Google Docs, it may be helpful to work with a production partner who is also familiar with that platform.

I recommend inviting three vendors to create proposals to work with you. That way you’ll be able to see the differences in the approach, not necessarily just price. And I can tell you from experience that working with creative services companies, the lowest-priced vendor is not always the best choice. You’ll be best suited to select your vendor on what areas matter most to your particular situation and priorities.

Less is more

We live in a so-called golden age of content, with incredible shows and movies available across dozens of platforms. But you already knew that and have probably binge-watched a great show yourself. It’s important to recognize that content created for the company will not exist in a vacuum and will be inherently measured against the best shows out there. I don’t say that to make the task seem more daunting, but it’s a helpful perspective to keep in mind.

The best approach to create content that will resonate with your organization is to keep it simple. Whatever your video includes focus on doing it well and not overreaching. It’s tempting to want to emulate the big production value of the shows we all love, but it will actually do you more harm than good. Employees will always prefer a well-executed video even if it’s basic instead of a clunky attempt at doing something overly complex. It’s a great a for your internal videos to follow the K.I.S.S. principle: “Keep it short and simple.”

Make it a celebration

We’ve all heard the old adage for giving feedback is to praise in public and criticize in private. That holds true for using video as an internal communication device. Your company video content should be about highlighting and celebrating wins that can be shared across the organization. Indeed, your video content is a public display (albeit within the company) and should shine a light on exceptional work and projects.

The great thing about using video is that it can be produced ahead of time and does an excellent job in communicating complex ideas, oftentimes much better than a keynote presentation. All the mistakes can be fixed in advance so it doesn’t have to be performed live. This allows executives and stakeholders to spend their time celebrating employees and being present for what should be a great experience for all.

Hopefully you find those tips to be useful in your organization; of course take the suggestions with a grain of salt. Your company culture is unique and the best way to use video as an HR communication tool is a custom solution rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

No matter what you choose to do, the best advice I can offer is to do something. Producing video content can seem daunting and tedious but the truth is that it’s never been easier to take advantage of this fantastic medium and engage your employees in a way that will surprise and delight them.

Written by James Mitchell for CW Magazine

James Mitchell is the creative director at 4WT Media, a digital marketing and video production company. 4WT Media has grown to be an internationally recognized video production company with clients including Netflix, Google, AT&T, FullScreen, Warner Brothers, 3M and the Producers Guild of America. Mitchell has been instrumental in the creation and execution of projects in a wide variety of industries and platforms, overseeing all aspects of creative development.