Do-it-Yourself video is a lot like DIY plumbing. Master it yourself and you can save money, fail and it could cost you a lot more money in the long run.

Regardless of which option you chose, keep in mind there is still a cost, even when you do videos in house. For example, if you opt to do them in house, you’ll need the tools, the time, and the talent — and possibly the training — to produce effective videos. Consider the cost of that investment.

If your organization has those resources, then evaluate the video to ensure that 1) the ROI outweighs your internal resources, 2) your results are of a quality to reflect well on your brand, and 3) the potential impact or reward is worth the potential risk.

When DIY VideoWorks

Video is a great tool to educate, engage, and inspire people to action—if they are done right. DIY video generally is most successful for informal, low profile uses, such as internal how-to training, staff testimonials, in-the-moment and behind-the-scenes videos. For external audiences, DIY videos can be effective for minor social media, video blogs, and even some product demos.

If there is a lot riding on your video, call in the pros. If the business objective makes this video higher profile and it’s impact comes with higher stakes and higher risks, it pays to go with outside expertise.

When to Call in the Pros

To help you compare, we’ve prepared a decision wheel that ranks video types and uses, as well as distribution channels based on ratings of high and low profile, high and low impact, high and low stakes, and high and low risks.

Bottom line: The higher the profile, impact, stakes, and risk, the better off you are to hire pros to do your video. The lower the profile, impact, stakes, and risk, the safer you are going DIY – provided you have invested in the tools, training, talent and time it takes to produce a quality video. In other words, unless you have an expert on staff, stick to the basics – the faucets, flappers, and floats, and leave the more complex dishwashers, shower pads and water heaters to the pros.

Video Decision Wheel

I have covered more than my share of National Press Club events as a broadcast journalist and TV producer early in my career at CNN, WUSA-TV9, and others.  However, I had never appeared on a panel to present to a few hundred PR colleagues until recently at the 2019 PR Summit DC.

For the first time, I was invited to speak on a panel underneath that NPC sign. It was called Ready, Fire, Aim: How (Not) To Plan Your Next Video. Not surprisingly, the topic of video in PR was either the main focus or a big part of the discussion in at least three sessions in the daylong conference.

It was a new perspective for me. After my 25-plus years of work in broadcast TV news, PR, marketing, and digital video in DC, there was a lot to talk about.

I was fortunate to be teamed with other accomplished creatives to offer others insight across the agency, client and production perspectives.  They included moderator Glenn Greenstein, the creative director and founder of Mean Green Media; Mimi Carter, the US General Manager & SVP of Proof Strategies and a longtime local PR and marketing agency veteran; and Thorsten Ruehlemann, Chief Marketing Officer of Service Year Alliance and former Worldwide Managing Partner at Ogilvy & Mather.

Our goal was to help other PR pros like yourself get better results from the process of planning, managing and implementing video projects.  We met, collaborated and trade ideas for a couple of weeks to come up with our top ten list of best practices and tips to share.

Be Transparent

A good partner shares information openly with the team. We as clients must define the boundaries of a project. Provide your team with the freedom of a tight creative brief. Put it in writing. Articulate client goals clearly.

Be transparent about your expectations. Explain the business objective of your video. Share reference material/benchmarks (creative examples you like or do not like). Make budgets and internal deadlines transparent (e.g. board needs to approve concept in their meeting on this date).

Achieve Stakeholder Alignment Early

Ensure that purpose, scope and objectives are clear to all stakeholders before production begins. Video is a team collaboration requiring time and resources. Verify that SMEs, approvers, and key decision makers are committed and know when they’re needed and carve out time to participate.

Assign a single point-person to collect and control feedback-approval loop. Educate reviewers on what feedback you need from them. Keep them in their lanes. Avoid committee groupthink. Get individual feedback submitted in writing.

Make Video Part of Your Integrated PR or Marketing Plan

Think integrated video strategy upfront. Use your same APR PR process stages with video (Research, Plan, Implement, Evaluate). Think in categories of earned, owned, and paid media. Include the creative lead of the video team at strategy table early to help consider how to integrate video across your campaign’s tactics, platforms, and audiences.

Save money through economies of scale by planning and producing videos with overlapping content, shared assets, resources, and for multiple uses at the same time. Save time and money by re-purposing and re-versioning content across channels. Grow a video asset library.

Learn More

For the entire list, feel free to email me and I’ll send it to you, pete [at] petecouste.com

It was both a humbling and inspiring experience to try to give back a little of what I’ve learned that works best. I recommend it to all of you. Once you have logged enough time and feel you have something valuable that others want to hear, it helps to share it.

As an active member of PRSA, I felt as I spoke that I was in part representing fellow NCC members. It helped to see many familiar faces from our chapter in the audience as I spoke. Thank you. You know who you are.