Content Production in a Pandemic: 10 Things You Can (Safely) Do Right Now

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  • 6/12/2020


    The impact of COVID-19 has led to strange times for marketers. We’re seeing new paradigm shifts every day, and at thunder::tech, we are working hard to help you navigate its impact on your business. This content is one of many resources we are creating for marketing and management in the midst of the coronavirus.
     
    As things continue to change, we’re helping by providing marketing advice, fresh perspectives and strategic planning for companies during and after the pandemic. For a full list of our COVID-19 resources, click here.

    Roughly three months ago, our world changed. As stay at home orders went in place, video shooting on all levels virtually came to a halt. Or did it? 
     
    It has been said countless times in countless contexts, but COVID-19 forced all of us to pause and rethink. With a pandemic in place, how can you continue to produce engaging and relevant content?
     

    Adapting to a digital era

     
    As we tend to do, humans adapted. We’re seeing news broadcasts from the living rooms and basements of reporters homes. We’re seeing video content produced with smartphone cameras. And we’re “virtualizing” pretty much everything you can think of from conferences, to happy hours and even concerts. 
     
    It’s 100% possible to stay safe and healthy and still create video, photo and podcast content during COVID-19. Here are ten simple ideas to get production going in the age of social distancing.
     

    1. Live webcasts

    Trade show canceled? Make that big product announcement via live webcast. Live roundtables and webinars are a great way to share news right now. They’re also great for showing thought leadership from your best and brightest employees and affiliates. Setting up a live stream with multiple remote guests is easier than you think.
     

    2. Animation

    Can’t shoot? Consider an animated approach. Much more than just cartoons, animated videos offer many stylistic approaches to achieve your video marketing goals. 
     
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    An example of an animated product video thunder::tech’s in-house studio, thirtysix::thirtyfive,  created for PSS.
     

    3. Motion graphic video posts

    In a similar vein, consider simple motion graphic video posts to enhance your content. Use these graphics to share tips and tactics with your customers and potentials. A little motion helps posts stand out on a crowded feed and can be done with minimal cost and effort. 
     

    4. Filming remotely

    With the current limitations on travel and in-person filming, consider recording remotely. This can be done with user-recorded videos or remote interviews over Skype. A good video producer can even direct talent remotely to ensure you get the right shots. 
     

    5. Stock video

    In times like this, it’s tough to shoot new, clear footage. Stock video can provide a wide range of options to help you keep content fresh. Add in music and motion graphics and you have a whole library of new and engaging visuals.
     

    6. Content audit and cataloging

    Got some spare time? Audit your existing content library and identify pieces that may be outdated or stale. Older content may still be relevant and with minor updates it will still be fresh! Be sure to also catalog content that is still relevant and organize it into an easy-to-access system.
     

    7. Podcasting

    Suffering a content drought? Start a new podcast! If you already have one, consider modifying the format or frequency to fill any new needs. Podcasts can easily be done remotely.
     

    8. Content studios

    Been thinking about starting a content studio? No better time than now to get your brand assets organized to streamline content creation on the fly. Getting your assets together in one space makes it easier to create content at the drop of a hat. (You can learn more about content studios and their development in one of our 2020 magazines,  Marketing Trends vol 12!)
     

    9. User generated content

    Encourage ambassadors and champions of your brand to send in their own user generated content. Start a social campaign to get as much content as you can, then compile it with your branded graphics to create authentic and engaging social content. 
     

    10. Plan for the future

    Most video shoots are on hold for the moment. Now is the ideal time to work on pre-production for future shoots so you can be ready to go once it's safe to meet again.
     
    Need more proof it can be done? thirtysix::thirtyfive is currently conducting socially distant shoots with minimal cast and crew with strict safety guidelines in accordance with the CDC and local governments to ensure the safety of our crew, clients and talent. You can view those guidelines here and adapt them for your own needs! 
     
    We recently conducted a socially distant video shoot for a client that involved interviews. What did it look like?
     
     
    We abided by a few key principles and policies to get the shoot finished quickly and safely for everyone:
     
    • Only one crew member came to set wearing a mask. The interviewer stayed safe working from home and asked questions via Zoom.
    • Interviewees came in one by one on a predetermined schedule. In between interviews, the chair they sat in was sterilized according to CDC guidelines.
    • Same with microphones. The crew member did not put the mics on interviewees, but rather talked them through the process of setup and removal. Mics were sterilized in between interviews.
    • The crew member and interviewee stayed six feet apart at all times and the interviews lasted 20 minutes at most. 
     
    Even with a pandemic looming, the content creation train keeps rolling! By communicating these precautions in advance and enforcing them on set, the shoot was conducted quickly and efficiently and the client will have a lovely video to commemorate their organization’s anniversary.
     
    At the risk of sounding cliche, we’re truly all in this together. thunder::tech & thirtysix::thirtyfive have been busy (mostly from home) producing engaging content for clients that stays engaging, relevant, appropriate and safe. And you can, too!
     
    We’re here to talk about how we can help your business thrive in this new reality. Click here to get in touch with the thunder::tech and thirtysix::thirtyfive teams and keep your content fresh and exciting. 

    About the author::Matt Stevens is the Managing Producer of thirtysix::thirtyfive, thunder::tech's in-house production studio. He supports a team that brings brands to life with engaging video, animation and other multimedia content production. As a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer & NASM Certified Personal Trainer, he also whips our staff into shape as our in-house fitness trainer.
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  • Episode 125: Marketing Trends Vol. 12: Insights to Advertising in 2020
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  • 25 Ideas for Marketers During the Coronavirus, Part 2
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