Video Video content tips

5 reasons why you should stay positive about making video content during 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly tough for people across the world. It’s not just the health crisis itself, it’s the general sense of doom and gloom and uncertainty. As a marketer or business owner, you might not really feel like putting video content out there right now. Maybe you feel like nobody will care what you have to say. Perhaps you’re being extra careful with your marketing budget, which is understandable given where the economy is headed. However, when it comes to video there are so many reasons to be optimistic about the year ahead! So here are 5 reasons why you should stay positive about making video content during 2021.

1. Video is more important now

Don’t forget that consumers are still spending, we still love watching good video content, and people generally have more time on their hands. Here are some reassuring stats about the state of video content marketing in 2021:

Video remains a key priority for marketers with usage and spend both, overall, increasing slightly throughout 2020, and plans to increase again in the next 12 months.

91% of marketers feel the pandemic has made video more important for brands.

Marketers feel more positive about the return on investment offered by video than ever, as it continues to strongly influence traffic, leads, sales, and audience understanding.


2. This is the time to try out new creative ideas

So we can all agree that video is still a really valuable marketing channel. But budgets are still incredibly tight, and video costs a fortune, right?

The pandemic has impacted the video marketing landscape in contrasting ways – while video is generally seen as a more necessary tool by both marketers and consumers, many have seen budgets restricted and plans shelved.


Actually, maybe it’s not time to stop doing video, but simply to change the way we do it. Now more than ever is the best time to try out new creative ideas for videos, such as new styles of filming and editing. We should strive and thrive during these tough times in our artistic approach to making amazing video content.

If we’re on a budget, maybe there’s still a creative way to get the results we need. In the same way, if restrictions cause our filming plans to be shelved, is there an alternative approach that doesn’t require any filming? 2021 is the year for new video content creation ideas to shine.

3. Consumers are watching video content more than ever

The average person will spend 100 minutes each day watching online video in 2021.

Zenith Media

The pandemic has overwhelmingly increased the amount of online video people watch.


Write this one down, it’s a good one. As the quotes insist, consumers are watching video content MORE than ever. This is inspiring for video creators out there, we are in demand!

So let’s grab the opportunity with both hands like we did in 2020. We saw creators and marketers completely revitalise their video content production and strategies as the consumer wanted more. A great example of video content reaching the consumer would be TikTok, which exploded into popular consciousness in 2020. Consumers are craving more in 2021, so let’s give it to them.

4. Video is exploding with new trends

More than 99% of current video marketers told us they’ll continue using video in 2021, and 96% plan to increase or maintain their spend (again, up slightly from 95% last year.)


In 2020, we saw an amazing rise in creativity of video content, with new trends creating a buzz over all social media channels. As a market, video content has become more creative than ever!

You only have to look back over the last year to see how different ideas have helped push new video content out there to the audience. Examples such as user-generated content like mobile phone pictures and videos from the general public being used in advertisement. Or iconic scenes from nostalgic films being implemented into advertisements. Animation has been another massive area. Not to mention Zoom events and the various other types of live stream.

5. We have more time to learn

Here is the last key point to take away from this blog. In these unprecedented times, we have the opportunity to develop ourselves as individuals in the skills we know and the skills we don’t.

Now is a great time to try something new, get out of your comfort zone within video production.

As creatives, we all know there is always room for improvement. Video production is an art form and takes time to master. Whether making short form content on your phone or filming on location with your camera and equipment, you always want to improve on your video skills.

Thankfully the internet is here to help us out. Phew! There are thousands of online educational videos, articles, blogs, books you can look at to develop your expertise in video production. Check out this brilliant tutorial video as an example.

You can even binge watch a Netflix series and take notes of the creative approach of filming, framing, storytelling and editing. How good is that! Netflix can be your homework.

You can even set aside an hour a day to dedicate yourself to learning about cameras, editing software, lighting, audio, directing or producing, pre-production, social media video trends or many more techniques…the possibilities to learn are endless and you will thank yourself in the long run!

So, despite the adversity we’re facing at the moment, we hope these 5 quick points have helped you stay positive about your video content plans for 2021. Right now, the level of creativity all around us is astounding. Time and time again, we have pushed aside boundaries that we had always assumed were there. At times we have had to strip back, and at others we have strived forward with bold new approaches.

If you found this blog insightful, and you’re looking for a bit of unique creative spark in your video content, please get in touch with us!

Video Video content tips

How to get great music for your video content

This might be stating the obvious, but music can make or break your video! It is essential that you use good quality music in order to enhance what’s happening visually and maximise the audience’s emotional response.

However, sometimes it’s hard searching the web for the safest sites to source music. Many people make the mistake of using commercial music, which puts you at risk of your video or channel being taken down. Others settle for free music, which can often mean compromising on quality.

In this blog we will show some of the you a number of subscription-based, one-off licence and free music libraries that supply incredible music content. We will also look at the importance of double-checking the licences involved when sourcing library music.

5 of the best music libraries

So here are 5 of the best music libraries out there: Soundstripe, Music Vine, PremiumBeat, Artlist and Epidemic. If you are a frequent video creator and want consistently great music in all your videos, it’s well worth opting for a subscription, which all of the above offer. This lets you use as many tracks as you need, for a fixed monthly or annual fee.

However, if you’re working on a one-off project or you want to use music tracks from different libraries, you generally have the option to just pay for one track. The choice is yours!

All these libraries supply a brilliant variety of music genres, from hip-hop to punk, from classical to rap, and from jazz to acoustic. You will be amazed by the number and variety of tracks on offer to help push your video to the next level! 

My personal favourite is Soundstripe. With a user friendly website and plenty of information on the creators and musicians, it is a user-friendly music library that covers all of my video needs.

If I want to source a low tempo track for a wedding video edit, or a high tempo track for a corporate video, hundreds of songs appear.

Soundstripe even has its own personalised, favourite and newly released collections for its users to grab. It’s not just music either; Soundstripe also has a video and sound effects section, full of really good stuff. In theory you can make an entire video just using material from Soundstripe.

Overall, for most video creators, these music libraries are by far the most used and effective tools for video content, as they hold thousands of diverse and engaging music tracks and sfx. If you want to highlight your creative style and take your videos to another level, for the monthly or annual price…it really is worth it!

Free music libraries

But what about if you’re on a budget? Well no problem, there are also free music libraries out there too. Audio Library is the most popular free music library with over 3.73 million subscribers on YouTube.

Audio Library also has plenty of genres to sink your teeth into. It’s probably the best out there, although there are other free music libraries out there such as Bensound and Purple Planet.

However, it is important to remember they do not offer the same level of choice or quality in the tracks they release on their sites. This may or may not suit you, but the choice is always yours. Another thing to bear in mind is that some of these options might be free for personal use, but require you to pay if you’re using the music for commercial projects. Which brings me to the next point…


Okay, so now you have the music library of your choice. Now let’s talk about licensing. 

Music copyright designates legal ownership of a musical composition or sound recording. This ownership includes exclusive rights to redistribute and reproduce the work, as well as licensing rights that enable the copyright holder to earn royalties.


The vast majority of music is copyrighted and the reason you need to license it is because it is someone else’s property, not yours. In order to use the desired music track, you must have a license to use it legally. If you don’t, you can run the risk of having your video taken down, your company’s reputation damaged, or at worst, being sued. You really don’t want to go down that route. 

So what’s the best thing to do? Get the licence and save yourself the trouble! When you sign up to a subscription on Soundstripe, for example, getting the licence is simple. All you need to do is pick your desired music track then click the licence button. Then you will be asked what your project is called and what sort of content it is (e.g. a wedding, a movie, a live stream, etc.)

You can then generate a one-time licence, which is your proof that you’ve got the right to use that track for the project you specified. After this, you are able to download the track and it’s yours – for that video only. You need to generate a licence each time you use a track for one of your videos, regardless if you have already downloaded the file. Don’t forget this!

Remember this is similar for all types of music licensing. When you decide to source a song from a music library or get in contact directly with a musician or creator, you need to have written permission to use it.

Not only this, but different music libraries offer different types of licences based on several factors, such as where you’re posting the video and how many people it will reach. So it is very important to read through the licence and double-check whether it’s suitable for your needs. 

For more information on licensing music, I definitely recommend this video created by Soundstripe.

We hope you found this blog useful as you go on the hunt for that perfect track. If you get the music right, you could significantly alter the audience’s response, and ultimately the success of the video. If you want help producing video content that looks and sounds amazing, please drop us a line.


Moving to Stockport: the best of both worlds

Together with my almost-two-year-old and Ellie, my wife and co-director, I moved to Cheadle Hulme at the end of 2020. This leafy suburb in the Greater Manchester’s Stockport borough is a big change from Moss Side. Still, that area was our home for just over 10 years and will always have a place in our hearts!

We’re not saying goodbye to Manchester – far from it. Our registered address and main base will still be the wonderful Colony Piccadilly. We have a lot of clients and partners based in town, so it makes sense to keep those relationships up and keep accessing all the great events and resources that the city centre has. It’s only 20 minutes away by train, but I’m enjoying the longer cycling commute too.

Ben and Ellie Horrigan outside their old house in Manchester before moving to Cheadle Hulme, Stockport
Naturally, Babs (our company cargo bike) helped with the move!

That said, moving to the Stockport (SK) area has given us chance to get to know the very friendly and welcoming business community down here. Earlier this week I posted on LinkedIn asking if anyone could help me build relationships with the businesses in the area. Immediately I was being invited to all manner of networking events and virtual coffee meetings. It was such a warm welcome! It was so lovely to chat to people who have never met me before but were totally open to giving me advice and introducing me to their contacts. We’ve already got a few Stockport-based video clients, including St Ann’s Hospice in Heald Green, but we’re hoping to pick up a few more in the coming months.

So now it feels like we’ve got the best of both worlds. One foot in Stockport’s tight-knit local community, and the other in the heart of Britain’s second city*. We’re excited about what 2021 will bring, hopefully including meeting some new people in person!

*Apologies to any Brummies who wrongly think they live in the second city

Case study Charity Video

Video memorial service for St Ann’s Hospice

We’re really proud of our work with St Ann’s Hospice, one of our longest-standing Stockport video production clients. It was an honour to produce their annual Light up a Life service. Every December they help people remember and celebrate their loved ones in a really beautiful way.

Normally there would be multiple live events in different parts of Greater Manchester. Given the pandemic, the charity decided early on that a pre-recorded video format would be the best alternative. It meant the service could be available to anyone who wanted to access it, but would hopefully feel as special and important as it would in any other year.

We first got involved with St Ann’s Hospice in 2019 – sometimes filming and editing, sometimes repurposing existing footage. The Light up a Life service was a mix of both approaches. It combined pre-recorded video messages with professional footage shot in the Haven, a multi-faith chapel at the Heald Green hospice. The pre-recorded messages came from various public and religious figures, including Andy Burnham and David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester. There were songs from amateur choirs, and carols sung by a chorister in Manchester Cathedral. In the beautifully decorated Haven, I filmed video messages from the chaplain and hospice staff. As always, I grabbed plenty of ‘b-roll’ shots to help me piece the whole thing together.

“You’ve captured the feel so well”

I’m really pleased with the resulting video, which you can see below. Here’s a lovely bit of feedback I received from the St Ann’s team after they watched my edit:

Thank you SO much for bringing our service to life. Everyone who has watched it has absolutely loved it – there’s been quite a few tears! You’ve captured the feel of our Light up a Life service and the hospice so well, it feels really Christmassy and warm but also poignant and a special time of remembrance, whilst still being hopefully and looking ahead. 

Everyone has asked me to pass on their thanks to you, and Pete, Jo and Rachel especially for making the filming so smooth and making them all feel a lot less daunted than they thought.

Head to this page to watch the service or join in with the appeal:

Video Video content tips

3 ways to create video content on a tight budget

In 2020, the demand for video and other digital content is huge. At the same time, however, budgets are extremely tight for many industries. Fortunately, that doesn’t necessarily have to put a stop to your content strategy. Here are three ways to create video content on a budget, courtesy of our Junior Video Producer, Will.

1: Strip Back 

First of all, strip right back to the essentials and gain a perspective on what you really need compared to the budget you have. There is no denying that the higher the price of equipment, the more likely that the results will look and sound more professional. But that rule only applies if you already have a good knowledge of the equipment and how to properly use it. You can’t give a monkey an expensive spanner and expect him to fix a car! 

We live in an era where you can film quality content from your phone and turn it into a professional piece of art! If you look at social media content, ask yourself how much of it is done off a phone? The lens and audio quality on your phone is always worthy of trying out and is also very quick and easy to use. From your phone you can develop the skills such as framing, lighting and more. There’s more info on this blog about how to get the best results when filming with a phone, and here’s a list of great video editing apps you can download. Instead of looking at what you need, look at what you already have.

Much of what you do when filming content starts in your head before going on screen. You need to develop that creative eye before you go about buying the new kit. So focus on the content you are creating, not the equipment you are doing it with.

2: Look Local 

Just like the price of equipment, the price of locations to shoot are varied and you have to be responsible when going about picking your locations, especially when you are on a tight budget.

To overcome this challenge, simply look local, call in favours if possible, and use your creative eye to visualise locations within locations. Just like location, search locally for talent and try to go through existing contacts. Make sure you pay people what they’re worth and don’t rip anyone off – but be willing to compromise in order to take up less of their time and therefor save money.

3: Be Prepared 

Creating video content is an art that takes time to get right. This is something people often don’t realise going in. It requires a lot of responsibility as there are many stages and elements involved in the process that require your full attention, but the end goal is always worth it.

You should go over every shoot you do and look at what you did wrong, or could do better next time, even if it was something others wouldn’t notice. That is how you truly develop your craft.

Take advantage of all the free resources out there to teach you the basics of filmmaking. YouTube is a great place to start.

So in conclusion, strip back, look local and be prepared. These three tips will give a surefire kickstart to helping you create video content on a tight budget. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any advice on this subject, or you’re interested in bringing us on board for your next video production project.


What is the future of video content marketing?

In recent years we have seen a drastic surge in the advancement of video technology and social media. We asked our Junior Video Producer, Will, to take a look at emerging technology, new social media platforms and how both of these have an impact on consumers’ behaviour.

By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017


Emerging technology

Take a moment to think about the influx of technology rising around the world, from AI to commercial space flight, we have very come far in the last few years. The same thing can definitely be said about the increase in video technology. A very quick example of this can be done by just looking at the picture and video quality on your cameras, mobile devices and desktops! 4K quality is now so easily attainable for young people.

However, the new and true remarkable features of 360 degree, virtual and augmented reality are the future of video content and will no doubt be trending globally.

These immersive types of video technology are well on their way to becoming possibly the most important video content marketing we could come across, it may completely revolutionise the way we live as humans. Just check out some of these videos below, they will blow your mind!

Rising social media platforms

We all know about the main social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc. Now in 2020, TikTok has emerged globally with it’s 100% video content based app. The crazy rise of TikTok highlights to us the demand for this type of medium. After all, it’s all video content! Just check out this statistic below.

TikTok is the Most Downloaded App on the Apple App Store

However, TikTok isn’t the only video based app on the rise. Social media platforms such as Twitch, Reddit, Zoom, Giphy, Skype, Yubo, Houseparty, WeChat, FlipGrid and Vimeo are all rising up the charts in their popularity around the globe. Most of these apps are predominately video content based and all have large followings. The increase in popularity of Twitch livestreams is a strong example of young people immersing themselves within the video world. Also, I am sure most people reading this article are familiar with Zoom in 2020!

Consumers’ behaviour around video

Now we have covered the new types of video technology and the social media platforms that could eventually showcase them, let’s take a look at how consumer’s behaviour around video suggests that the future of this type of marketing is only going in one direction.

Video content marketing is having an extremely influential effect on it’s consumers, who can only ask for more. If you don’t believe me, just check out these crazy statistics below.

90 percent of consumers said that watching a product video helps them make purchasing decisions.


When asked about how people would like to learn about a product or service, nearly 66% of them said that they’d prefer watching videos. 

86% of people said they’d like to see more videos from brands in 2020


50 percent of users say they’re more likely to read email content if it includes links to a video.


This shows us how powerful of a tool video content marketing is, it attracts people in. Other types of content marketing just can’t create this amount of online traffic, which emphasises the future of video content will advance, with the help of the technology and social media platforms available. It crushes the marketing competition.

We hope you found this blog useful and has positively influenced your two cents on the future of video content marketing. We can indeed work out from this blog, there is promising future, aided by the rise in technology, social media platforms and consumer interest.

Keep yourself updated on the future of video content marketing and the rapid rise of technology along with this. If you are looking to market video content for your business and are interested in our video production services, then please get in touch with us. Thank you!

Video Video content tips

How to create video content for social media

This article was first written in March 2019, but we gave it a spring clean in September 2020

…without going bankrupt.

You already know that social media is one of the most effective forms of marketing available. You already know that when your potential customers are scrolling through their news feeds, the thing that’s going to grab their attention – and satisfy those pesky algorithms – is video content. But on a limited marketing budget, how can you create decent social media video?

This guide will go through the reasons why video is crucial, some options for creating video content on the cheap with no prior production skills, some best practices and some examples of excellence. I’m assuming a basic working knowledge of the key social networks and how they operate. If you’re not particularly social-savvy, there’s lots of free courses you can do through people like Udemy and the Google Digital Garage. This guide is primarily aimed at small businesses and non-profit organisations, but the information is relevant (and essential) to any person or organisation that doesn’t have the budget for a full-time social media video producer.

But first, a quick disclaimer.

What follows is a write-up of a social media video masterclass I ran in March 2019 at the Google Digital Garage in Manchester. All the information was correct at the time, but the nature of the digital landscape means that some of it will become outdated in the coming months and years. The basic principles will remain more or less consistent, but the facts and figures may not. Either way, I’ll try to keep this page updated from time to time. By the way, I’ve linked out to some products and third-party apps but there’s no incentive for me if you sign up.

Somebody at a music concert filming social media video content on their phone.
Photo credit: Noiseporn/Unsplash

Why video?

86% of businesses are now publishing video content, compared with 75% in 2018


Marketing is about telling your story, and video is the most popular form of storytelling.

It’s no secret that online video needs to play a part in any serious social media strategy. Facebook and YouTube have an ongoing battle for dominance. There are new formats like Stories and live video. LinkedIn is increasingly interested in video content. Silicon Valley is KEEN to push video, to say the least. Here are a few quick stats, to illustrate the current state of play:

  • 86% of businesses are now publishing video content, compared with 75% in 2018 (Source: Buffer)
  • Half of customers get most of their video content from Facebook (Source: Forbes)
  • Tweets with video attract 10x more engagement than without, and LinkedIn posts with video get shared 20x more (Source: Twitter and Buffer)

I suspect that if you’re reading this, you already knew this stuff. But maybe you don’t know where to start. Maybe you’ve had a few quotes from video production companies and they’ve been prohibitively expensive. Maybe you’ve tried creating social media video yourself and you felt out of your depth. If any of those statements is true, keep reading because this guide will really help you out.

Three myths about video content

Before we get stuck into the nitty gritty of social media video production, I want to quickly address three big myths around video content. By the end of this blog post you will understand why they’re not true.

Myth 1: You need to buy expensive kit

A phone camera is no match for a professional video camera, but in most cases it’s totally fine. In the right conditions (which I’ll go into later) your phone footage will look and sound great. Trust me, I’ve produced news VTs containing large chunks of iPhone B-roll, which have gone out on BBC World News to millions of people. I’m also going to look at some of the best apps for quickly editing social media video on your phone, in some cases automatically. There’s a place for beautiful cinematography and deft editing, but in practice the content of the video is the most important thing.

Myth 2: You need to hire a professional

OK, if you need to create social media video content with real polish, then yes. You should speak to a professional videographer or video production company. Preferably one that will help you develop a creative idea, rather than simply churning out a bland corporate video. Take the hint – drop us an email and let’s chat. However, remember that on social media it’s important to deliver good content consistently. I’m not saying be sloppy. I’m not saying quantity is better than quality. But I’m also not saying every post needs to win awards.

Myth 3: You need video footage to make a video

Even if you’ve not currently got a social media video strategy, you’re probably posting content using images and text. At least I hope so. I’m going to show you some really easy ways to turn those static elements into compelling video content. This adds value to your images and copy, and makes them more attractive – both to the casual scroller and to those pesky algorithms.

Three examples of great social media video

Now you know what video production ISN’T, let’s look at what it should be. When you think ‘corporate video’ you think of bland footage of people smiling at nothing in particular, bland voiceover, and bland slogans. That’s not how it has to be – not if you want your content to be successful, anyway. Let’s look at some examples of where brands have got it right. I don’t have exact figures for how much these campaigns cost, but I’m confident that they could all be delivered on a super low budget.

Example 1: boohooMAN – Cyber Monday balloon

The concept is simple. A poor innocent team member. A giant water balloon suspended over his head. Every time someone comments “pump”, a balloon inflates, inevitably bursting after enough pumps. That’s fun enough on its own, right? But to spice things up, there was £500 worth of boohoo vouchers up for grabs for whoever’s comment finally popped the balloon. This campaign is the work of Social Chain, a social media content agency based in Manchester. It clearly involved some technical wizardry on Social Chain’s part to hook the comments module up to the balloon pump, but can you think of a way to do something similar on no budget?

?COMPETITION TIME ?Every time you comment "PUMP", the balloon will automatically inflate. Whoever's "PUMP" explodes the balloon over wins £500 worth of vouchers!To celebrate Cyber Monday, we're giving 50% off EVERYTHING at with code "SPECIAL50"!

Slået op af boohooMAN i Mandag den 28. november 2016

Example 2: Wholesome Culture – tofu scramble

Wholesome Culture is a vegan store in New York, which posts simple recipes on its Instagram page. This looks like it was really straightforward to put together; they’ve simply cooked the food, filmed it with a phone, done a nice quick edit and added some text. This whole thing could be done in an hour or two with nothing but a kitchen and a phone – including the edit. It puts their product front and centre without being overly salesy, which is arguably the best kind of branded video.

Example 3: Dollar Shave Club – Our Blades are F***ing Great

Incredibly successful despite its tiny budget, this viral hit reportedly led to 12,000 people signing up to the subscription razor service in its first 48 hours.

Social media video: best practices

Now that you know what sort of content you should be making, let’s explore how you’re going to do it.

First, let’s deal with the weirdly silent elephant in the room.

85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound


These days we love to watch video without any sound. I find that a little bit infuriating as someone who loves good music and sound design and puts a lot of effort into making my projects sound beautiful, but that’s the way of things!

So how do we get our message across in spite of this? Ideally, the video should be visual enough that it would make sense without text (think about the format of Tasty videos) but in most cases you’re going to need subtitles of some sort. We’ve got another very helpful blog to help you create your own subtitles for little or no money.


The biggest publishing platform on the planet has been in a battle with YouTube for years over who has dominance in the video space. And, depending on which metrics you look at, it seems Facebook has won. Forbes claims that 47% of customers say they get most of their video content from Facebook, vs 41% for YouTube.

Basic principles:

  • Be consistent
  • Create conversation
  • Analyse the data and adjust accordingly

Best aspect ratio: portrait or square

The main thing to keep in mind is that Facebook is looking for meaningful social interactions. People think that just means they favour personal posts over page posts. Yes, that’s true, but there’s also an opportunity to create a conversation around your content. It’s not enough to make nice videos, it’s not even enough to make videos that people want to engage with your brand on social media. You need to be creating conversations between people around your content and your products.

Examples like the boohooMAN water balloon stunt will become less effective, because people commenting “PUMP” does not constitute meaningful interaction. I recently posted a video telling the story of a dad who went above and beyond. He couldn’t find bedtime stories that reflected and affirmed his daughter’s black heritage, so he took matters into his own hands and wrote his own. This resonated well beyond the tiny audience (approx 100) of my fledgling page, and was shared 341 times. Compare that with the boohooMAN video, which received hundreds of thousands of views but was only shared 422 times.

How long is a Facebook video/piece of string

I often hear people say that videos need to be as short as possible on Facebook, around 30 seconds. This isn’t strictly true any more. Naturally, if you’re wanting to put out video content on a daily or weekly basis then you might want to keep it short for the sake of your own time and resources, but your Facebook videos don’t have to be short. If your content is good quality then there is an appetite to spend upwards of three minutes watching it. Facebook Watch has a heavy focus on longform TV-style content (content you can stick ads in the middle of) although the jury is out on whether people are ready to watch TV on Facebook.

Audience retention stats for a Facebook video.
You can learn a lot from the analytics tools Facebook offers.

Pay attention to the audience retention stats in Facebook Insights. These will tell you where in your videos people stop watching, and potentially pinpoint specific shots that are causing your audience to tune out. Chances are, most of your viewers will tune out in the first 10 seconds; don’t be disheartened, that’s the nature of auto-play!

Remember to add tags to your video and to put keywords in your title and description, so that your content comes up in search results. Ask questions in your title/description, preferably ones that allow for a wide range of responses.

Be prepared to shell out for ads/boosted posts

Ultimately, to get decent numbers on Facebook, you need to consider paying for the privilege. I would especially consider boosting video if you’ve paid a video producer to make it; John Lewis wouldn’t spend millions on a Christmas ad and then not put it on TV. I really like Hubspot’s approach to boosting Facebook posts; they only boost posts that are performing brilliantly on their own, so they can make their budget go as far as possible. They make the valid point in that blog post that ads and organic posts should always be thought of as two completely separate marketing strategies, even though they’re on the same platform.


Instagram is a strange beast, in that it started as something very simple (nothing but square stills) and is now three very distinct social media platforms: Stories, IGTV and the regular feed.

Basic principles:

  • It’s not essential to have video in the feed
  • Stories don’t need to be polished
  • Use IGTV for longer content

In the feed, stills are *still* king

Videos do attract more comments on average, but get less engagement overall than photos. So by all means experiment with posting videos in your feed, but only if they fit in with your grid in terms of style and quality.

Stories are a place to have fun

The 24-hour disappearing posts are set to be a big growing trend in the coming months and years, and it’s clear why. Vertical video is the most natural way to view content on a smartphone, so there’s no wonder it’s so popular. Stories works well as a standalone video production tool, without the need for other apps unless you want to fine-tune the edit.

You’d think this would go without saying, but think about how you can actually tell a story. You could show how a product is made, or take your audience on a tour of your workplace. Having one member of the team take over the story for the day is a great way of communicating your team’s personality. Whitworth Art Gallery recently let their work experience person take over; I loved seeing the gallery through fresh eyes, and how this young person was experiencing the art.

The most liberating thing about Instagram Stories is that they don’t have to be polished! Buffer ran an experiment to see how well professional-looking Stories ads would perform compared with DIY ones that anyone could make. They found that the results were as good, if not better, with the homemade-style content.

Brands are underusing IGTV

Buffer’s ‘State of Social 2019’ found that just 12.2% of marketers are currently using Instagram’s longform video platform. There’s a big opportunity here to create more polished vertical video content that reaches a younger audience, but beware that IGTV has yet to take off in the way that Instagram were hoping.


Probably my favourite platform for social media, although still not ideal for video, Twitter specialises in short content that is pithy and timely. Twitter itself offers a host of video best practice resources which are well worth reading.

Basic principles:

  • Short and to the point
  • Include faces where possible
  • Use video as part of a balanced diet

Best aspect ratio: square

There is nothing fancy here, I’ve literally just pointed my phone at something interesting and hit Record.

Twitter users want to consume a lot of content in a short space of time. They’re not willing to dwell on one video for a long time like YouTube users do (and Facebook users to some extent). For that reason, it’s crucial that your videos are succinct, impactful and draw people in in the first few seconds. Personally, some of my most successful video tweets have been a single shot, unedited, that simply takes people somewhere they’ve not been before or shows them something they haven’t seen.

A nifty trick is to make sure you include human faces in the first few frames. This has been proven to increase view rates and drive 2x higher retention.

By the way, don’t just do video on Twitter, use a mix of different media. Sometimes the best way to start a conversation is with a simple text tweet.


The professional social network is really ramping up on the video front, with videos reportedly shared at least 20 times more than other content. Don’t miss out on this very effective marketing platform, particularly for B2B brands.

Basic principles:

  • Find a personal angle
  • Tell your brand’s story
  • Provide context in the post copy

Best aspect ratio: square or landscape (portrait videos will be cropped in the feed)

The LinkedIn algorithm is unusual compared with other social networks, in that content gets reviewed by actual humans in order to decide whether it’s worth showing to more people. Right now they’re very keen to promote personal stories where people honestly open up about their work. So why not do that in the form of a vlog?

Don’t forget to provide context and hashtags in your caption. Try to minimise the amount of information you need to get across in the video itself.

LinkedIn recommends these four approaches to video content: teach us something, share a project, take us somewhere, or go behind the scenes. Focus on one of those things, and get started.

Other platforms

YouTube is obviously still a huge player, but be prepared to be working at it for a while before you see any traction. If you already have an audience on Facebook, start your social media video efforts there instead. Pinterest remains firmly focused on links and stills for the time being, although don’t be surprised if it’s the next big frontier of digital video.

Snapchat and newer platforms like TikTok are something you may want to experiment with, but I wouldn’t bother unless you’re specifically wanting to target a younger audience. And by younger, I mean “has only lived in one century”.

Screenshots of TikTok, a social media app focused on shortform video content
Credit: TikTok. TikTok merged with and is huge with young audiences, now at 1 billion downloads.

How to produce video content with a mobile phone

A phone on a tripod, filming video content of a city skyline
Photo credit: Thomas Russell/Unsplash

As far as social media video is concerned, your phone is the only production kit you need.

There is so much you can do with just a mobile device. If needs be you can complete the entire video content workflow – shooting, editing, publishing – on a phone. (Provided your thumb has enough stamina.) I’m going to go through the basics of mobile videography, then list some great apps that are available for editing video for social media.

Let’s look at the filming side first. This is just a very brief overview, but if you want to go deeper there are some excellent guides out there on shooting with a phone. I would particularly recommend Film Riot on YouTube. By the way, a common misconception is that you need the latest phone model with the best camera. It’s really more about using things like natural light to your advantage, putting thought into your framing, and possibly getting some accessories.

The basics of filming with a phone

Portrait or landscape?

Firstly, before you start filming, think about whether you need to be shooting portrait or landscape. That depends on which platform/s you want it to sit on. I’ll talk about the ideal aspect ratios for each platform later on. If you mainly want a square video, but feel you might also need a landscape version, film in landscape but be mindful of making sure everything will fit inside a square frame. Whatever you decide, STICK TO IT. There’s nothing more off-putting to your audience than a video that mixes different aspect ratios. You should be aiming to fill all the real estate available to you on whatever platform you’re on. Be aware that the video editing apps generally aren’t very flexible when it comes to aspect ratios, so check what’s possible before you start shooting your project.


A man records a social media video on his mobile phone, in selfie mode

No, I’m not saying you need to pay for a lighting kit, although I wouldn’t recommend filming in the dark on a mobile phone unless you have to. Usually, there is a perfectly good light source available if you know how to use it…it’s called the sun. If it’s too dark, move near a window or go outside. If there’s too much of a glare, try changing your position so that the sun is behind the camera operator.

Framing and eyeline

If you’re filming a human subject, a really good rule of thumb is that their eyes should be a third of the way down the frame. Think about where the camera is in relation to the subject: the camera should be roughly level with the eyes. It can be a little higher if you want the Insta model look, but having the camera lower than the eyes is never a good look. Where do you want the subject to look? In an interview setup, it looks good if the subject looks at the interviewer, to one side of the camera. If the subject should be looking at the camera, make sure they (or you) look at the lens, not at the screen.

Mix up your shots

This is particularly important for something like a highlights video of an event. You need to be getting close-ups, wide shots, shots of faces, any cool-looking objects, and anything else that catches your eye. Think about shooting from unusual angles so that you’re showing your audience an exciting point of view; e.g. is there a high point you can shoot down from; have you tried going low and capturing people’s feet; is there something you can shoot a bird’s-eye view of, like a plate of food? In an interview set-up, get “b-roll” shots that you can cut away to; these could include the subject  from a different angle, the subject’s hands, or the subject in a different setting that gives context to what they’re saying.

Slow motion

Most phones have great slow-mo built in, so use it! Not only does it look sleek and professional, it also makes your shots look steadier. Use it sparingly though, mixed in with full-speed shots, and be aware that if you’re recording slow motion then you might not be recording sound.


Avoid using the zoom, as you will lose picture quality. If you can, just move closer to the subject. Some phones (like newer iPhones) have 2x optical zoom, but if in doubt don’t zoom.


When it comes to filming with a phone, the right accessories can make a world of difference without costing the earth. Some essentials:


These are essential if you’re doing interviews or vlogs, and they’re perfect for shooting time-lapse footage as well. Either get one designed for mobile phones, or buy a regular lightweight tripod and phone clamp. The Manfrotto tripods and clamp are good but there are plenty of others available too.

Selfie stick

Yes, it’s the butt of many jokes and the favourite of tourists the world over. But if you want to move around while shooting selfie-style video (e.g. for vlogs, Instagram Stories) then you will look a lot better with a selfie stick than holding your phone directly in front of your face.


There are lots of good quality clip-on mics that can plug into a smartphone. Again, these are essential if people will be speaking in the content you’re making and you want it to sound good. Rode’s Smartlav is one of my favourites, despite unfortunately sounding like a high-tech Japanese toilet. It’s designed for phones but can also be used with a DSLR camera via an adaptor.


This is a generic term for devices that stabilise your phone (or any camera). They’re an easy way to get gorgeous smooth movement if you don’t mind paying a bit of money. I use the DJI Osmo Mobile, which you can pick up for £110.

Filmic Pro app

This is what I use for filming, because it offers a lot more control than the native camera app. It’s expensive as apps go, but well worth it if you’re planning on doing a lot of video. It gives you full control of your focus and exposure, rather than letting your phone attempt to interpret what it’s seeing.

Best apps for editing social media video

There are so many options out there for putting your video together. Some do everything automatically, others give you complete control. Think about how you want to strike the balance between having control of the outcome and the amount of time you can afford to spend.

Adobe Spark Video

Really good all-rounder which seamlessly combines an iOS mobile app (sorry Android users) with a desktop website. No vertical mode yet but great at switching between landscape and square. Adds a watermark in the free version, but the premium plan is £8/month on its own AND it’s included in any Creative Cloud plan (e.g. Photoshop CC). It’s part of the Spark suite, which includes things like Spark Post for making really nice social graphics on the fly.

Adobe Spark Video is great for combining text with images/video.

Adobe Premiere Clip

If you’re less bothered about telling a story with text, and just want to cut a quick highlights reel (e.g. of an event) this is a great option. You can drop in video or photo assets and create a video instantly, or you can spend time fine-tuning the duration of each shot. It comes with several free music tracks, which the app automatically cuts the video to. Landscape video only. Works on iOS and Android.

Apple Clips

Only available for iOS, and unfortunately only does square video, but it does that very well and with a very simple interface. It’s got lots of cool features, my favourite being the ability to film yourself speaking and add text automatically through voice recognition.

Stories Ads

This is a web-based service, specifically designed to quickly create professional-looking Instagram Stories using text and images. All you do is pick a theme, write a bit of text, and add an image. It plugs into free stock image sites like Unsplash so you can literally do the whole process in seconds. It’s made by Shakr, which also offers a paid service for video in general (not just Stories).


Available for free if you don’t mind the branded watermark, but their pro plans start at £6.99 which is brilliant value. You can also pay £1 to download a single video without the watermark. It works in an app and on the web, and all your content is shared across any platform you use it on. Works in landscape, portrait and square, depending on what format your assets are in – so again, make sure you decide on an aspect ratio and stick to it.


I tested Lumen5 with a blog post I wrote for my wedding band, and was staggered by the results.

If you write blog posts then I would 100% recommend this. It can take a web page or chunk of text and turn it into a really nice-looking video automatically. You can tweak it to your heart’s content, but honestly I was amazed by what it does on its own. The free plan is OK if you don’t mind the branded Lumen5 end card, and pro plans start at $49/month.


A very popular option, with similar features to Magisto but with more options for things like customising text. There’s no free option apart from a 14-day trial, but the personal plan is £8/month and the pro plan is £22/month.

Three quick wins for social media video

I don’t blame you if you’ve read all of the above and feel a little bit overwhelmed, unsure of where to actually start. Don’t worry, because I’ve got some solid quick-win ideas for you. They can all be done with no prior experience, no special equipment, and virtually no planning. They might not all apply to what you do, but at least one of them will be perfect for kick-starting your new video strategy.

Idea 1: Time-lapse

These always look awesome, get a lot of love on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, and involve very little effort. You could do a time-lapse of a product being made, setting up an event, a car journey, or just behind the scenes in the office. Lots of phones have time-lapse functionality built in, although you may want the extra control that Filmic Pro or a dedicated time-lapse app will give you. Also, consider getting a tripod; it’s either that or prop your phone up in a precarious position and risk it getting knocked over halfway through the shot. (Speaking from experience.)

Idea 2: User-generated content

This is my number one recommendation if you already have a decent-sized customer base, particularly in the B2C sector. If you’ve got customers who love your product and identify with your brand, then the chances are they’re talking about it on social media, along with photo and video posts. All you need to do is repost! They are literally making your content for you, for free, and it’s more meaningful because it’s real recommendations from real people. That’s why UGC is a big part of the social strategy for big brands like Sharpie and Nike. It’s best to check you’ve got people’s permission before using their stuff, although most people are happy if you credit them. Consider actively pushing a specific hashtag that people should use if they want you to use their content.

Idea 3: Live video

I’ve not particularly touched on live video here, beyond the brilliant boohooMAN example, but it’s a hugely popular video format and definitely worth considering as part of your strategy. You could do a live Q&A, take your audience behind the scenes at an event, make a product live…there are so many possibilities, and the best part is that you don’t need to edit anything because you can’t! Live video works on Facebook, Instagram Stories, Twitter, YouTube and more. At the time of writing, LinkedIn are running an invite-only beta.

So, in summary…

It’s easier than you may have thought to publish good quality video content on a regular basis. Social media content doesn’t have to be perfect, but more polished videos should be used every so often alongside self-shot day-to-day content. Now go away, experiment with the various approaches I’ve explored here, see what works for your brand, and turn that into a viable sustainable plan as part of your overall marketing strategy. Create content that people will want to engage with, that encourages them not just to talk to you, but to talk to each other. Try and have some kind of call to action at the end of each video – not a hard sell necessarily, just something that nudges people towards your brand. Get in touch with me if you have any questions, otherwise…happy experimenting!

?? Ben

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for more tips like these.

Video Video content tips

How to add subtitles to social media video content

85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound


Like it or lump it, most social media video content is viewed without any sound. In most cases, that means some form of subtitles is absolutely essential if you’re hoping to get any reach or engagement. This handy guide will show you how to easily add captions to your video content. But first, there’s one thing you need to understand.

What is the difference between Open and Closed Captions?

There are two types of subtitles: the first is Open Captions, which are ‘burnt into’ the video. They are part of the video file itself, and cannot be turned off. The other type is Closed Captions, where they are attached as a separate file. Closed Captions are generally on when videos autoplay in the timeline, and off when a user taps in to watch the video with sound.

A screenshot of a Facebook video with subtitles, in portrait mode
Notice how the styling adapts depending on the size of the screen and whether it’s portrait or landscape.
A screenshot of a Facebook video with subtitles
This is how Closed Captions appear on Facebook on mobile.

Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn allow for Closed Captions, in the form of an SRT file. This file can be attached during the upload process, or added later. This is our preferred approach as it gives the user more control. If they want to watch with audio and not be distracted by subtitles, no problem. Another advantage is that the text size will adapt to suit the size of the video window. In other words, your subtitles will be easily legible on a mobile screen, but won’t be distractingly large on a TV or computer monitor.

Unfortunately, Twitter and Instagram don’t allow for Closed Captions. Instead, for these platforms the subtitles will need to be ‘burnt on’ to the video. Keep reading to find out the easiest way to add subtitles to your video, either as an SRT file or as Open Captions.

How to create subtitles as an SRT file

As with most things in life, there’s a fiddly way that costs you nothing, and a simpler way that you have to pay for. Fortunately, in this case, the fiddly way isn’t that fiddly and the simpler way is very cheap!

The free but fiddly way to create an SRT file

Or, if you like, friddly. I just thought of that. Good, right?

Step 1: Upload your video to YouTube

It doesn’t matter if you don’t want the video to be publicly available on YouTube. It doesn’t even matter if your brand or organisation doesn’t have an existing YouTube channel. Just create an account if you don’t already have one (a personal one is fine) and go to – you’ll want to do this from a desktop computer if possible.

You don’t need to add a description etc. if you’re not going to make the video public. The only thing you need to do is select “No, it’s not Made for Kids” and hit Next until you get to the Visibility screen. At this point, make sure you set it to Private (unless you do want it to be public). Then hit Save.

Step 2: Transcribe

After clicking Save, click Subtitles on the left sidebar, then on the video you’ve just uploaded. Then hit Add on the right hand side. On the new screen that comes up, select “Transcribe and auto-sync”. Now you can either type out everything that’s spoken, or paste in a script if you have one.

Click Set Timings, and YouTube will automatically match your transcript to the timing of the dialogue.

Step 3: Adjust timings and download

Click on your new captions under My Drafts, then watch the video on the next screen to proofread your subtitles and adjust the timings.

Now click Actions in the top left, then Download.

Step 4: Convert SBV file to SRT

Just to make things difficult, the file YouTube gives you will be in SBV format. This is similar to SRT, but won’t be accepted by the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn in its current form. The easiest way to switch it to SRT is using a free online caption converter, of which there are several.

Facebook requires a specific naming convention for the SRT filename. This is filename.[language code]_[country code].srt – for example, You need to change this before adding your subtitle file to Facebook, otherwise it won’t be accepted.

Step 5: Attach subtitle file to your social media

That’s it, you’re ready to go! You can now easily add your Closed Caption subtitles to your video in Facebook and LinkedIn.

The cheap and simple way to create an SRT file


If you don’t fancy delving into the slightly convoluted process described above, there’s a better way. It’ll cost you money, but not much, and is our preferred process when creating captions for clients.

Simply sign up for an account with and upload your video file. One of their army of transcribers will add subtitles for you, at a cost of $1.25 per minute of video. Then you can proofread/tweak the captions if necessary, and download them in your chosen format – we recommend ‘.srt (Facebook)’. That’s it, you can skip straight to Step 5 above.

Rev also offers a cheaper option, using automatic voice recognition rather than a human transcriber. This is dirt cheap at $0.25 per minute of video, but will of course require some tweaking on your part. They claim this method has 80% accuracy, although it does depend on the quality of your audio and whether the speech is fighting with a music track.

How to create burnt-on subtitles (Open Captions)

Sometimes your subtitles will need to be burnt onto the video itself, especially if you’re uploading it to Instagram or Twitter. These platforms don’t currently have a way to add separate subtitle files.

If you need both Open and Closed captions (for example if your video needs to be on LinkedIn and Twitter) then we strongly recommend using Rev and ticking the ‘burned-in captions’ box at checkout. For an extra $0.25/minute, you’ll get a copy of your video with burnt-on subtitles as well as the separate SRT file.

If you only need Open Captions, one cheap and easy way to do it is with the MixCaptions app. Available for iOS and Android, it automatically transcribes your video and adds subtitles. You can then edit them (chances are, they won’t be right first time) and add customisable styles. The app is free to try, but you’ll need to purchase credits (at a very reasonable rate) if you’re using it a lot.

Happy subtitling!

A mini-documentary for BBC Philharmonic, with branded subtitles

Hopefully the prospect of creating subtitles for your self-shot video content isn’t too daunting. Trust us – it will be well worth the boost in reach and engagement that your content will receive. Every time you add subtitles, the internet becomes a little bit better and a little bit more accessible, and an angel gets his wings*.

When we’re producing video content for our clients, subtitles are something we can take care of. Not only does this save you time, it also means we can add Open Captions that complement your brand. Get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more about our video production services.

*We make no guarantees as to the accuracy of this claim.

Charity Video Video content tips

How to devise a video content strategy for charities

We often find that charities and non-profit organisations struggle to justify spending time and money on content marketing, video included. After all, you and your supporters rightly want to maximise the amount of resource that’s going to where it’s needed most. They don’t want to see donated money wasted on half-hearted Facebook charity videos. However, when video campaigns have the right planning and creativity behind them, they can work wonders in terms of engagement, awareness and conversion. We asked Will, our Junior Video Producer, to unpick what makes a solid video content strategy for third sector organisations.

Charity video content – why is strategy important?

As charities seek to raise awareness, increase engagement and encourage fundraising, many have caught on to the value of video production as the best way to drive those messages home. However, due to a lack of strategic thinking from charities, the return on investment has become difficult to measure and this is having a discouraging impact on engagement with consumers.

This gap between enthusiasm and strategy is highlighted in Raw London’s annual Benchmark Report on video content in the third sector:

While 94% of charities said they see video content playing more of a role in the next 12 months, only 28% said they had a formal strategy in place.

Perhaps this lack of strategy is contributing to charities finding it difficult to prove and measure ROI. Compared to 74% last year, only 50% were confident video provides a good ROI, while a staggering 41% said they didn’t know.

Raw London

With this current issue leaving the third sector in limbo, we thought it would provide a great opportunity to devise a video content strategy for charities. Here we will give a step by step guide on how to prepare and produce amazing video content to boost engagement, awareness and conversion for your charity. So let’s look at the game plan!

A brainstorm meeting in a trendy office

Step 1: What are the objectives for your charity video campaign?

Okay step 1, let’s gain some perspective. Charity marketing is ever changing and evolving as we have seen with the meteoric rise of video content across social platforms. As a charity you should think about your objectives and ponder the inclusion of video content in certain ways. You might ask, what would video content offer? It’s all about awareness, engagement and conversion.


63% of charities voted ‘Engagement’ as the most important objective for their video content. This is a significant change from last year, where the results were more evenly split between ‘Awareness’ (22%), ‘Engagement’ (35%) and ‘Conversion’ (39%).

Raw London

As we can see from the quote above, between 2018 and 2019, charities have now stated the impact of engagement has elevated above the other two elements in a drastic manner. For organisations within the third sector, building a relationship, trust and loyalty is crucial for your supporters. Engaging video content will help you achieve this.


89% of video marketers say video, in general, gives them a good return on their investment.


If you don’t stand out from the crowd, your organisation will struggle to survive, let alone attract new supporters. It is estimated there are 166,000 charities in the UK alone. Think about the competition and you will soon realise the importance of awareness. Raising awareness for your charity can be done in numerous ways such as making use of social media platforms, challenging audiences to competitions, fundraising campaigns and sponsoring live events. All of the above examples can work without the use of video, but they’re far more powerful with it. This will also bolster the engagement factor between marketer and consumer as more awareness garners more trust.


 90% of consumers claim a video will help them make a purchasing decision.

Social Media Today

Video is essential when it comes to getting supporters to go from casual awareness to genuinely buying in to your charity. Engagement and awareness are hugely beneficial on their own, but it’s difficult to justify video projects if there’s no change to the bottom line. Video content has the power to drastically aid a consumer’s decision on whether to buy a product, support a fundraiser or sign up as a regular giver.

Before you kick off any video content strategy, it’s so important to think about what you’re aiming to get out of it. Is it awareness, engagement, conversion, or a combination of the three?

Step 2: Plan, pitch, prepare and produce

Benjamin Franklin allegedly said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” That said, sometimes just grabbing your phone and filming what’s happening in the moment does actually work. You can create great pieces of content in the moment.

However, do not rule out the benefits of pre-production, it can work wonders! This is where charities may actually be struggling in the strategy department, they can’t jump the first hurdle!

Planning is vital in preparing for the best and worst case scenarios during the video making process. Pre-production can be at times a tedious venture. On the other hand, creative ideas are formed here and along with the help of brainstorming, pitches, storyboards, budget management etc, pre-production will only enhance the efficiency of your video content. It will also help you to think on your feet better, in those moments when you do need to create content on the fly.

Check out this video below of how to pitch and pre-pro your idea. Also, listen to old Benjamin.

Step 3: Get to know your audience

As a third sector organisation, you should work out your demographic. Is it primarily targeting old or young, a specific gender or perhaps a minority? A charity should gain perspective just like in the first step, and strategise how would video content appeal to their target audience.

It is also helpful to contemplate how this material would fit in alongside the blogs, articles and other campaigns made by your charity.

An audience likes a progressive flow of work which links together. Adding the medium of video content into their line of work can influence consumers to stay engaged on your website.. 

Engagement is paramount and content specified to your demographic can really work wonders. An example of this could be a charity who have a young male target audience. An effective way to generate engagement is by creating short form video content as young males want results quickly and generally don’t have much patience. P.S Sorry to young men out there.

Check out this video below as an example of video content being released to a certain type of audience. Dollar Shave Club launched in 2012 with a comedic video, completely different to the way men’s grooming products are usually marketed. The sweary, irreverent style drove 12,000 sales in 48 hours, attracted major press attention, and set the tone for all their content going forward.

Step 4: Use pre-existing charity video content as inspiration

Inspiration goes an incredibly long way.. An intelligent idea for charities to consider is to delve into pre-existing video content created by other organisations in the third sector. It is incredibly helpful to take inspiration from other work when first starting up. We all need a little help at times.

There is an abundance of charity video content out there for you to look at. We’ve posted another blog with some of our favourite examples. It can also be very beneficial to learn from the mistakes other charities make, whether that be the engagement, awareness raised and conversion of sales. So many factors come into play on the success rate of a video produced, so please don’t ignore these and upload a film at 1AM with a poor title and no description…

Looking at the pros and cons of video content production within a non-profit organisation can help you reach your goals. Remember, we all make mistakes. But we must learn from them to grow.

Here is an example of inspiring content during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unicef decided to step up and release a galvanising video to encourage children around the globe that they will not let the pandemic stop their mission.

Step 5: Originality is paramount in charity video content

Take note of the previous step, it is very important… but please don’t just copy. That’s easy, simplistic and boring. Stand out! Taking examples of video content as ideas can help but a charity should always thrive on being original. This is what will draw in more engagement.

If content is king, original content is the Holy Grail. In today’s marketplace, your customers are screaming for exciting, engaging and entertaining original content.


Think about who you are as an organisation, why you exist, what your tone of voice is, who you’re targeting and how could you could draw them in. Every charity can offer something unique, it may just take some time to find out what it is. But don’t worry, you’ve got past the first hurdle!

Let’s have some examples…

Here we have a ‘Chance to Win’ video created by UFC super star Connor McGregor’s alcohol brand, Proper Whiskey. This style of video is a mixture of primarily photographs and actually very little video content. However it’s quick, entertaining and engaging content. The competition also adds excitement and spark to the video. There has been a strategy put in place!

Let’s look at another example, this time within the third sector. This video is designed to create an emotion from the viewer in an abstract way. These sort of films highlight the importance of originality.

Step 6: Keep creating

By using the previous step as a marker, we can now look at the variety of ways we can create content within the third sector.

Introductory videos, case studies, volunteer stories, fundraising campaigns, highlight reels and celebratory videos are some of the best examples of films created by charities. Short and long form video content is also well received in the third sector and opens the door for you to create as many stories as you would like.

But first… it’s very important to think about planning out a roadmap for posting multiple pieces of video content. From logistics to locations, from cast to crews, the roadmap planned ahead gives you a much a clearer view for the journey video content producing can you take your charity on. For example, if you spend all your budget on one really amazing video, it might perform amazingly for one campaign, but then what’s your strategy after that? This can cause problems for future video content projects, as the logistics may not be the same, which may have a negative impact on the consumer in the long run.

What’s the worst that could happen?

The worst case scenario could be, they believe the organisation has lost money since their great video content in the campaigns before. If a consumer has this thought, they will stop their interest in the charity. The key to remember is, balance between quality and consistency. This not only helps keeps logistics at a similar rate, but also benefits the charity’s reputation of development. Consistency of well made videos will enhance the charity’s reputation of growth as the consumer will be left to want to see more video content!

Please check out our latest blog on the best examples of video content created in the third sector to expand your thoughts on this step. This is also an example of putting step 4 into practice. See what I did!

Now you know your audience, purpose of content and variety of ways to make it come to fruition. Working out a budget for this medium will have an impact on the amount you wish to produce.

Video is also very accessible to anyone with internet access, both to watch and to produce. While there is certainly a trend towards higher quality video on a professional level, anyone can hop onto their laptop and create their own video in under an hour.

Digital Marketing Institute

The two sides of video production

There are two methods a charity can try, separately or together. First is quick video content, which might involve using your phone to shoot and edit. 

This is a relatively quick but incredibly effective method in creating short bursts of video. This can go on continually and there is no budget or planning necessarily required. Charities should take advantage of free and low-cost editing software like iMovie and Adobe Spark. You don’t always have to look externally for help. Many people within a charity can fulfil roles such as scriptwriting, interviewing, editing and camera operating with their phones.

The second option is to go with a professional production company. This may be more expensive, however in many cases it won’t break the bank and won’t involve a van full of equipment and Hollywood production crew.

A good example of a charity that uses both these methods is The Dogs Trust. They combine a mixture of phone recordings with professional production to generate video content. This charity demonstrates to us that both strategies can work together. Here’s a great example of cheap, quick content that does exactly what it needs to do:

Step 7: Where will you publish your charity videos?

A big question, where will you publish your charity video content? The sheer number of different platforms is making this decision a bit of a nightmare for marketers, however this statistic may help:

Facebook remains on top with a staggering 72% voting it the channel that offers the best results for charity videos. This is no surprise – according to the 2018 State of Social Video Report, Facebook was voted the #1 platform where consumers enjoy watching brand videos.

Raw London

However, this doesn’t automatically mean that you should put all your eggs in Facebook’s basket. Go back to step 3 and research your audience. Which platforms are they drawn to most? These stats give you a good sense of who’s on the various social channels:

62% of YouTube users are males.

62% of internet users aged 65+ are on Facebook, as are 72% of 50- to 64-year-olds.

72% of teens use Instagram.

Roughly 50% of TikTok’s global audience is under the age of 34 with 26% between 18 and 24.


It is also entirely possible to create accounts across all platforms as well as a dedicated website page. This tends to be the approach of larger organisations like Unicef, although their larger comms budgets mean it’s easier for them to maintain so many channels.

I should post my charity video on as many platforms as possible, right?

Wrong. It’s generally not a good idea to post the same video on each channel, as different types of content tend to perform better on different platforms. Think about the sort of video the feels ‘native’ to Instagram, vs what feels native on YouTube. At the very least, you should consider reformatting your video to make it fit better on each channel. Adding a variety of new content to different social channels will maximise your chances of raising awareness, and resonating with potential new supporters.

An effective idea to help the engagement process is by having at least one video on your website that explains what your brand, service or product is about. If you do, the average user will spend 88% more time on your site. Other videos can be spread out across social media platforms and your website blogs or posts to increase SEO.

Facebook and YouTube’s own in-built tools are great for insights like audience retention. This shows whether people are watching to the end, and where they’re dropping out if not. Often this can help you pinpoint a specific moment that people are losing interest.

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You’re good to go!

And there you have it! Go out with this game plan and use it to the best of your ability. Take these steps, and use them in conjunction with each other. This will help the process of devising your video content strategy.

Also, please remember to pay attention to your results and learn from them. A strategy doesn’t guarantee short-term success and it’s important to analyse your video content thoroughly. Get this right and you’ll see great benefits in the long term. Revisiting old content and use it as a stepping stone to produce more exciting and engaging content each time.

There are various ways we can help you achieve your goals – whether it’s producing content for you, training your team on self-shooting and editing, or helping you devise a content strategy. If you’re interested in working with us, please fill in the contact form or book a 30-minute meeting with Ben.

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Video content tips

10 main types of video content

We asked Will Wray-Lang, our Junior Video Producer, to distill the most important types of video that brands and organisations put out. Here’s a list of those types of content, and what makes each of them great.

Nowadays, the variety of types of video content marketing are growing exponentially! We are now able to jump between different mediums to create seamless video content that really appeals to different marketers and consumers.

If you are looking at ways to freshen up your brand or product and caught in limbo, check out these 10 main types of video content marketing that have had a great success across media platforms.

By 2021, the average person will spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos (a 19% increase from 2019).

Marketing Charts

93% of companies claim they got a new customer because of their video content on social media.

Small Business Trends


Vlogs have become one of the main sources of short and long form video content that can be churned out on a regular basis. A very productive and positive type of content that can be motivating, educational and thought provoking. It can also be cost effective. The vlogger can document their experience on their phone for a few minutes and upload it to social media, with minimal editing.


A great medium that introduces companies or their products and services. Tutorial videos give the chance for a marketer to showcase their product/brand and how to use it efficiently. This type of video content kills two birds with one stone: stylistic video content and helpful to the consumer.

Brand Films

Brand films have a powerful purpose, to make the audience see the marketer’s vision and values, as well what the brand wants to create. This type of medium is amazing in really building an emotional attachment for the brand and can be done through storytelling, visuals and sound.


Here’s a really cool and incredibly creative medium. Animated videos are an amazing way for businesses to create stylistic content. Both big and small businesses can use the same tools and software to create this content. Animation videos can be a really productive example of explaining complicated subjects easily to the audience. They are an eye catching medium and easily understood. Just check out the video below.


Interviews are just as strong as ever and are becoming increasingly more creative, rather than the usually talking head videos we used to see. Just go and look at the way that Netflix uses techniques in interviews. Along with this, Q&As have become a dynamic source of interviewee content that is being released across all of social media platforms. 


Testimonial videos don’t only show off all the positives of your product/brand, they’re a great way to build trust and credibility with the consumer. A testimonial video can use marketers and consumers from the company to highlight to the audience the great journey they have had with the product or brand. 

Live streaming

Live streaming video content is a great medium for marketers to showcase their human qualities to their consumer, which can have a great effect on their judgement of the product or brand.

Live streamers range from gamers and musicians, to lecturers and property investors. Live-streaming is a very raw and honest type of video content that allows for mistakes and realism. Very few types of video content can allow this.


Normally thought of as an audio medium, podcasts can be enhanced with video, opening up a range of new platforms and audiences. They allow for long form conversations between guests to discuss world subjects, personal lives, politics and more.

Podcasts are triumphant and have an overall impact on television news interviews. Consumers are now much less interested in the outdated television news content, as the entire production seems scripted. Podcasts have been the reason for this! They are genuine and rarely edited to have a negative impact on a certain character or subject just like live streams.

Video Documentaries

Very much a cross between brand films and educational videos, with a story-driven and creative style approach, video documentaries are a great type of video content to drive the consumer to engage more with the brand and product. They can have such a great emotional impact on the audience and leave them in awe, especially in the hands of a good cinematographer.

Thank you

A great type of video content that really does make the audience think twice about the brand. Thank you videos highlight the appreciation from the marketer to the consumer, or vice versa. They go a long way to have an emotional impact and can be very rewarding.

We hope you found this blog useful and can take away some information and creative ideas to put into your brand. There are many types of video content out there and these 10 types are dynamic and can set you apart from the rest, when done correctly. Let your creativity flourish, that’s what people want to see! If you are looking to create video content and interested in our video services, please get in touch with us. Thank you!