Welcome to the thrilling world of content creation, where creativity meets strategy, and imagination takes center stage. If you've ever wondered how marketing magic happens, you're in for a treat. Today, we're taking you behind the scenes of our very own content studio, where ideas flow like a river, and innovation knows no bounds.
Picture this: a room filled with buzzing minds fueled by caffeine and a relentless passion for storytelling. In one corner, a writer is crafting the perfect tagline to capture hearts and minds. In another, a designer is turning abstract concepts into visual masterpieces. And right at the heart of it all, a videographer orchestrates the next viral sensation. (This is the daily norm for the thunder::tech office).
But what exactly is a content studio, you ask? It's the secret ingredient behind every successful marketing agency, the place where dreams turn into pixels, ink and soundwaves. It's where the mundane becomes magnificent, where data dances with creativity and where your brand's voice finds its melody.
Sounds pretty nifty, aye? Well, grab your ring light and tripod and we’ll take you behind the scenes to where the magic happens, and walk you through exactly how you can build an equally stellar setup.
What is a content hub?
However, before we dig in too deep, we want to clear up any confusion between a content hub
and a content studio. A content hub is an organized collection of assets that a brand has on hand and ready to go. This includes logos
, color cheat sheets
, pre-made graphics with changeable text, landing page templates
and more. There’s no wrong asset to manage in a content hub as long as it fits your brand and can be easily edited for quick publishing.
While a physical content studio is valuable for capturing photos and videos, the content hub stores the “final” digital products for future use.
What is a content studio?
A content studio is a physical space easily accessible to multiple teams, allowing fast and efficient photo and video capture. It houses A/V equipment, cameras, props and branded physical assets.
Content studios can take up a corner of the office, an old broom closet or even an entire room, depending on what you have available. It simply needs to be reasonably quiet (or quiet some of the time) and should have a decent amount of space for storage.
With a content studio, team members no longer need to block out days to set up elaborate shoots for small bits of content. Need a gorgeous new product image for an Instagram post about your flash sale? Or a quick, posed photo of team members hard at work for your website? Head to the content studio.
Why make a content studio?
Pumping out a ton of content can seem like you’re sprinting on a speeding treadmill, trying to keep from flying off the back end. But a content studio gives you a way to grab pictures or video clips quickly with every prop and background already approved and on brand.
Today, it’s not quality over quantity; it’s quality and quantity that consumers are demanding. They want the on-brand, polished, elevated piece, and they want it right now. A content studio gives you the tools to deliver both of those things. It allows you to sprint on that treadmill when you need it.
What should a content studio include?
The final product depends on how much space you have, but your inventory should at least include these essential items:
: Cameras, stabilizers, ring lights
: Cameras, microphones, extra lighting
: Tables with different shoot surfaces, printer, backdrops
: Signage, logos, mascots, other branded props
: For the most aesthetic Instagram photos possible, don’t forget the fancy stuff, like cutlery, cutting boards, candles, books, etc. Details are everything.
The content studio is a functional space, but it should also allow for some creativity! Empower your team to mix and match approved props to create something new and exciting within the realm of your brand.
How to build a content studio
There are six easy steps to get started with your very own content studio. Whether you’re building from the ground up or have a tripod setup in the backroom, here’s how to bring it all together.
Sit down and make a plan before you spring into action. What do you need more of? Less of? What equipment, brand-appropriate props and backdrops do you already have on hand?
Then, think about your buyer personas or areas of opportunity in content production. What content do they respond to? What do you need to bring that content to life? Identify gaps between what you want to create and what you have on hand and note them so you can start filling them in in Step Two.
The most important thing you should leave this step with is a list of identified vital assets you will need to create and gather into one communal space.
Select a space for your content studio and dress it up appropriately. That may mean a fresh coat of paint, soundproof walls, better lighting, a storage system or maybe all of the above. Then, once all your props, backdrops and equipment identified in Step One are primed and ready, move them into their new home.
Maybe! But for most teams, this is likely the most time-consuming and complicated step - especially if you have too many cooks in the kitchen. Try to limit input to only crucial members of the content team and those who will be using the studio most often. Now is not the time to get bogged down in whether or not a branded stapler is a critical part of the operation.
What goes into this step depends entirely on the list you generated in Step One.
Video, in particular, can take a long time to produce from scratch. Now's a good time to take some solid B-roll of your product, your environment and people using your services. B-roll is great to have on hand and goes a long way toward building video clips.
We can't forget about still product images either. Feel free to take a few example shots for social media here to show the rest of the team an example of what an appropriate setup looks like.
4. Asset Gathering
Party time! Now that you've done the heavy lifting, you'll want everything collected in one convenient location. You'll be creating a Content Hub
(we've got a whole other blog with step-by-step instructions on how to set one up)!
Invite all the brand new assets you created in your content studio over for a soiree, but don't forget about the assets you already had on hand, either. A shared Adobe Library or other cloud storage platforms are perfect locations to keep your content together. You can also use Canva to store certain photo-based templates.
One of the biggest tips to remember, but the easiest to forget, is naming conventions. Everyone’s brain works differently, and if you leave every person on your team to their own devices, you’ll end up with chaos, i.e., 100 folders when you need ten, mystery files with indecipherable names and files lost to time. Be sure to establish a folder structure and file naming system in advance to avoid confusion later.
Share the asset gallery with everyone on your team. No one should get left behind here, so we recommend sending a follow-up announcement or email to double-check that everyone who wanted an invite to the cloud got one..
5. Document your usage
Next, create a usage style guide detailing how to properly use the studio to ensure its efficient and effective operations. The document should include:
- Up-to-date inventory of all equipment
- Reservation system
- Setup and teardown instructions
- Safety procedures
- Maintenance logs
- Sample workflows
- Feedback system
The usage manual is like a brand style guide; it gives you the dos and don’ts of using the studio and creating content. Store it in your content hub for easy access.
Your content studio, like most things in marketing, is not a one-and-done situation. Set up a regular time to revisit your content studio and give it a little refresh. Make sure your assets are still updated and relevant and remove any props or decor you hardly touched over the past year.
This should be done annually at the very least, but we recommend quarterly. Your content studio check-in frequency really depends on the shelf life of your campaigns. If you switch campaigns every month, you should be checking in on your content studio more often. And you should always take stock of the studio after a rebrand, no matter how small.
What can you make in a content studio?
Quite simply, almost anything you can imagine! Be it social posts, video reels, product images, commercials, tutorials, advertisements... the list goes on! In fact, it may be easier to just show you a few ways we’ve recently used the thunder::tech Content Studio.
And these are just a tiny snapshot of all the uber cool projects our team has worked on recently. Follow us on social
to keep up with all the unique projects we get to work on!
How much time will this take?
When it comes to establishing your content studio, you have two main approaches: the "all-in" method and the gradual approach. Each course has its advantages and drawbacks.
Opting for the "all-in" method involves an initial intensive effort to create a comprehensive content studio. You identify all the necessary components, invest time and money right away to secure the required assets and then have a fully operational studio for the remainder of the year and beyond.
The downside is the substantial upfront effort and cost associated with setting up a physical space and acquiring all the needed equipment and resources. This can be particularly challenging for some companies, especially mid-sized ones, which may lack the internal resources and budget, especially while juggling their daily operations.
On the other hand, the alternative is a gradual and steady approach. You begin by organizing your existing assets, identifying any gaps and, as time permits, start to configure a studio space. You can dedicate a specific area to the studio and gradually accumulate the necessary equipment and props.
The advantage of this approach is that it involves less immediate effort and expense. Production costs are spread out over the course of the year, avoiding the strain on your budget in the first quarter. However, the downside is that you might not have a fully stocked storage room from which to create sets, but you can mitigate this by reusing props across multiple shoots.
As content studios become less of a “nice-to-have” and more of a “must-have,” putting a strategy in place and getting started is something you should be considering now if you haven’t already. But if building a studio just doesn’t fit into your schedule at the moment, that’s a-okay because that’s where we come in! Whatever you need, our team can capture it beautifully within our very walls. Send us a message, and we can get the film rolling!