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Outsource or Stay Internal? Developing Videos for Higher Education Marketing

The EvoLLLution | Outsource or Stay Internal? Developing Videos for Higher Education Marketing
With so many channels and media available to connect with prospective, past and current students available through the internet, deciding how to leverage video—and doing so effectively—can be a challenge, but it’s one worth tackling.

One of the biggest challenges with a content marketing strategy is having enough high-quality content.

This is especially true with video, where production can be expensive, complex and time consuming. As video distribution channels have expanded, all with their unique best practices, the need to produce additional types of visual and video content has ballooned. Add the ability to customize video campaigns based on data and real-time feedback to the equation, and the demand for creating, testing, and tweaking video deliverables is nearly endless.

Despite the challenge, this investment of time, energy and money in video is worth it because video drives engagement across channels and delivers real results. As one example, over the past two years, Berklee Online’s increased investment in the Berklee Online YouTube channel has not only driven a 45-percent increase in channel subscribers (pushing us to 111,000), but also shown a 286-percent increase in student leads from YouTube from 2015 to 2016. As of September 2017 we are already exceeding leads from 2016 in 2017 by 110 percent. As you can see, there’s a lot to be gained from an effective video strategy combined with high-quality content.

The increased value of video and the paradigm shift in how video is created and consumed has led many schools and companies to bring video production in house, and for good reason. Traditional creative agencies and video production companies often operate on a fixed deliverable model and have difficulty responding to rapid change outside of the scope of work. The ability to iterate on creative deliverables, to improve them, based on data after a project is complete, adds additional cost, for example.

As part of our video strategy at Berklee Online, we often produce four slightly different versions of the same content for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and our website to take advantage of each platform’s unique strengths and minimize their limitations.

We also optimize content based on what we see performing well, or poorly. All of our videos on YouTube utilize an end slate—something that wouldn’t make sense on the other video distribution platforms—and text is often added to videos on Twitter and Instagram to take into consideration that most people will be watching the content without audio.

As we add these small tweaks across a volume of videos, our pipeline of deliverables for a campaign rapidly expands. Negotiating, paying for, and ensuring consistency across these updates with an external agency would be possible, but also expensive and time consuming. We’ve found that there are a number of benefits to managing these new video distribution models and our iterative approach internally. Keeping production in house we see:

  • Increased consistency and quality of work
  • Ability to quickly iterate on ideas based on viewer data and feedback
  • Easily develop different versions of videos for use across multiple channels
  • Connect marketing campaigns and video distribution strategy more directly
  • Efficiencies in repurposing content across channels
  • Fast turnaround when needed to take advantage of opportunities
  • Ownership over all creative and video content
  • More integration of video across platforms as opposed to a silo approach
  • Lower cost to maintain team and equipment once you reach a high production volume

There are no doubt challenges to keeping all video production in house and there are certainly reasons to work with an external agency, or vendor as well. We often look to do this in the following situations:

  • To bring in new ideas, or visual styles
  • To create channel-specific campaigns
  • To supplement the internal team during times of increased work
  • To add specific skills, or unique abilities to projects

Creating great video content is hard. Managing the production of this content, maintaining quality, brand standards, flexibility around distribution, and creativity is even more challenging. The reality is that as distribution channels have expanded and data has become more abundant, demand for video content will always exceeding the supply. The goal is to figure out how to best manage the production pipeline across both internal and external video teams to meet this new challenge. In the past, video was often treated as a solitary deliverable. You made it once and never thought about it again. Today, one piece of content can live across multiple channels, in multiple versions, with multiple definitions of success. This creates exciting opportunities for the future of video distribution, but also adds a lot of work that has to be properly managed internally and externally to ensure success.

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