So your company has decided to invest in video to take your marketing and sales to the next level.
The decision was made because, as a leader in your company, you know that video is the medium in demand right now; 54% of consumers want to see video content from a brand they support, and this year (2022), it’s expected that 82% of internet traffic will come from video streaming and downloads.
The problem is, you know you need a videographer, but you’ve never managed one before. If you fail to manage this person correctly, then that could mean failure in the most important medium in business right now.
What makes managing a videographer different than other positions?
Let’s face it, video production could be outsourced, but you hired a videographer in-house because you understand the importance of producing video content consistently, with the same look and feel, and you also know it’s important to regularly revisit your videos.
The challenge in managing a videographer is balancing the demand for video with realistic expectations for how much they can produce, and continually showing the value of the medium and how it’s impacting the bottom line.
The consequences of managing this videographer poorly can mean poor delivery times and poor video quality, or worse, the loss of faith in video overall in your company.
It could even mean the loss of confidence in you as a manager to lead a successful team spearheading a new business philosophy. So, clearly, if you’ve never managed a videographer before, the stakes are high.
As a manager of an in-house videographer (especially one with a They Ask, You Answer mindset), you’ll be evaluating their practical skills (making the actual videos), as well as their ability to receive feedback and deliver high-quality video that achieves your goals, manage multiple projects simultaneously, and contribute as a thought leader and teacher to the rest of your company.
Evaluating video marketing quality
One of your most important duties as a manager is reviewing the content the videographer makes. You may not be the only person reviewing the video content, but even if others in your company review videos as well, you’re likely to be the person — or one of the people — who will be giving final approval on the video content before it gets published.
Knowing that’s part of your responsibilities, you may be thinking: Am I qualified to review videos? How do I even know if a video is “good”?
Well, do you have a favorite movie or TV show you watch? What do you like about it? What about the storytelling compels you? How do you feel about the characters? What makes you feel that way?
Also, think of movies and shows you don’t like and the reasons you don’t like them.
This gives you a great starting point for reviewing video content, but of course, there are some nuances when it comes to evaluating videos for sales and marketing.
Let’s break this down into two main areas of consideration: content and production
When it comes to storytelling in a TV show or movie, it’s a clever device to leave a cliffhanger at the end to keep the audience coming back for more. In sales and marketing, it’s the exact opposite.
A great sales and marketing video should clearly lay out the question being asked by the customer and be up-front about how to solve that problem, leaving no additional questions unanswered. In short, the big questions you should be asking yourself when you’re reviewing a marketing video your videographer submits are:
Is this video unbiased?
Does this video address a clear question and offer a clear solution to a problem?
Do I have any questions after watching this video?
Answering these questions will help you determine what may or may not be missing from the content of the video.
From a production standpoint, your finished product does need to look and sound perfecgt, as a great sales and marketing video should be simple.
Too many moving parts in a video can be distracting for the audience and can take away from the goal, which is to better educate the customers in your industry. Typically, a one-camera shoot will get the job done, and simple graphics and b-roll (or secondary footage) can help better tell the story.
When you’re evaluating your videographer’s production on a high level, ask yourself:
Does the video look good?
Does the video sound good?
Does this video look and feel sufficiently professional and on-brand for my business?
Note: Some of the questions about content can also lend themselves to production changes. For example, if you do have questions unanswered after watching, perhaps adding some b-roll or information visually on-screen could help clarify.
With all this in mind…
Let’s do a practical exercise.
Below, you’ll find a video created by an IMPACT client. Go ahead and open that video in a different tab and watch it.
As you do, use this Video Evaluation Checklist. Once you’ve finished watching the video, come back to this article, and let’s compare notes on how we evaluate this video.
Before you click on it, keep in mind that this video is around six minutes long, so make sure you have adequate time to watch it and take notes.
Now that you’ve had time to watch this video, let’s break it down. Starting with the content evaluation. A reminder: We’re using the Video Evaluation Checklist. The checklist breaks down these basic categories of a video:
Video Content Evaluation
Video Talent Evaluation
Video Production Evaluation
Video content evaluation
When we talk about video content evaluation, we’re referring to the story that the video tells.
While the content of your video is likely to be decided and strategized long before it’s made, this is when you ensure it comes out as expected. Use the following sections to help you judge whether the video’s content is good based on the evaluation checklist mentioned above.
Is it a Selling 7 or Big 5 video?
From a They Ask, You Answer standpoint, this is always the first question we ask as we want to know if the video accomplishes a standard marketing purpose (typically The Big 5) or sales purpose (typically The Selling 7).
This particular video would not be considered a part of either bucket; however, it could be used in sales and in customer service. There are clearly a few scenarios where a video like this could be used:
A potential customer is on the fence about buying leather furniture.
A customer purchases new leather furniture and is thinking “now what”?
So for this evaluation, we could still say the video is fit for publishing.
Is there a clear story?
For this phase of evaluating the video, we’re going to be looking at the actual content itself and analyzing that. You’ll notice on the checklist a mention of The Video 6 — or the six elements that the most engaging and effective videos usually include. If you’re not familiar with it, this video breaks it down for you:
The Video 6 is a formula for telling a complete story to be used in your marketing and sales videos.
To keep it simple for this evaluation, think of this question: did the video capture your attention? If you weren’t assigned to be watching this, would it still hold your attention?
My feedback to the videographer here would be to emphasize the stakes of not properly cleaning the leather furniture at the beginning of the video.
They do a good job of emphasizing this after the teaser, but I don’t feel compelled to stick around after the first 10 seconds of the video.
One way to keep their audience’s attention would be to portray the emotions experienced when you first see this furniture in your home and what goes through your mind at the first signs of damage. It could sound something like this:
“You just got new leather furniture, you’re so pleased with the way it looks in your home. But then, the inevitable first spill happens… What do you do? Your mind is racing and you’re asking yourself, how do I even clean this? Well, by the end of this video we promise you’ll be empowered with the knowledge you need to protect your furniture for the long haul.”
Then we dive into evaluating the segments. They do a good job of holding up examples of products and examples of fabrics and textures to help guide the person watching this video.
The one thing I’d like to see more of in this video is a dedicated segment on where someone could buy the products needed and how much someone could expect to spend on these products for leather care.
Finally, at the end of the video, we have the call to action. The video does a good job of breaking down who could be contacted with questions about leather. Since this video lives on YouTube, I would recommend asking for more engagement directly, meaning asking for comments on the video and urging viewers to like and subscribe to the channel for more tips like this.
Does it answer the question our viewers are actually asking?
This video does a great job answering the initial question and thinking of additional questions that the viewer might have while watching the video. The best example of this is introducing the different types of leather cleaners and where you could find them.
Video talent evaluation
Another element you’ll be assessing is the performance of the on-camera talent in a video. If the person “starring” in your video is not believable, likable, and trustworthy, then your audience will not be able to connect with that person, thus leaving an unfavorable impression of your business.
One of the questions you may be asking yourself is, how does this reflect the performance of the videographer? The videographer is responsible for prepping and coaching the subject matter experts within your company to give their best performance on camera every time they step on the set.
On-camera talent within your company could be your sales and service teams. They are the team on the front lines, interacting with customers on a daily basis. They already have public speaking skills, which makes them a natural fit in front of a camera. They’ll just need some practice in talking to a lens instead of a person.
Does the talent come off unbiased and likable?
Overall, the content is unbiased and thorough, but to answer the last question — does the talent come across as likable? The performance isn’t offensive, but does that automatically make this performer likable?
When I’m watching this video, I feel pretty neutral about the presenter. I don’t dislike him, but I also don’t necessarily have a particular affinity toward him after watching this video.
What would change that for me? If Nick more clearly articulated that he knows and understands the feelings at stake when it comes to improper care of leather furniture, I would have had a stronger emotional connection to the content.
Empathy and connection go a long way toward winning over the audience. If they get the feeling that the talent truly sees and understands them, they are more likely to judge the performance as likable.
Does the on-camera talent convey a feeling?
What feeling do you get while you’re watching this video? While I’m watching the video, I feel a sense of assuredness — I’m assured of the fact that Nick could help me solve this problem of caring for leather furniture.
What helps me feel this way about Nick is his body language: he’s relaxed, his shoulders aren’t tense, and he handles the props with ease — he doesn’t fumble around with them. His voice is also steady, and he’s explaining this topic in great detail — it’s like he’s thought of every angle of this topic.
Does this come off as cheesy or forced?
Nick Daniels’ performance in the video about how to care for leather furniture does not appear to me as cheesy or forced. His posture is relaxed and it feels like he’s in control of what he’s saying. And while he’s not reading directly from a script, the video feels succinct and the speech has a clear point.
Using props could come off as cheesy, but in this video, the props help demonstrate expertise and feel appropriate. They assist the performance rather than distracting from it.
Is the video relatable?
When we hear the word relatable, what does that mean to you? For me, it means I feel as if I have a connection to the subject. It could be a shared experience or similar personal taste. I might also find that the person in the video reminds me in some way of myself.
In the case of this video, while I have not bought leather furniture before, I can relate to wanting to invest in proper care for a big purchase I just made.
Are you addressing a real concern?
This is critical. Our goal with every video is to answer a question, conquer a challenge, and/or put at ease concerns around a topic our viewers have. They’re looking to us to guide them, and if we aren’t addressing concerns they actually have, we’re not going to be relevant or grab attention.
Does this video address a real concern? Think back to pre-production and why you chose this topic. It was prioritized because your team identified the need to address this because they’ve heard it so many times while talking to customers.
If the video follows the parameters established in pre-production with your team, you have addressed a real concern.
Are you coming from a place of trust and authority?
How do you build trust and establish authority at the same time? In this example, Nick shares with the audience that he’s been working for Furniture Fair for 17 years. If you hear that someone has a breadth of experience in any industry, that must mean that this person knows a thing or two about what they’re talking about.
In this case, you can trust that Nick knows his stuff about furniture. He’s also in a furniture showroom and there’s tons of leather furniture around him, further driving home the message.
He’s at ease with the demonstration of the leather types and cleaning the furniture. Confidence builds trust and establishes authority, and Nick is able to do both with his performance.
It’s also clear from the content of the video that he’s not trying to sell you anything. This is truly an educational video coming from a genuine place.
So to answer this question, this video checks the boxes as it is coming from a place of trust and authority.
Video production evaluation
The last category of evaluating a video is the quality of the actual production itself. Simply put, this is where we evaluate whether or not the video looks and sounds good.
This is the core competency a videographer comes into this role with, and likely, the feedback you give will be stylistic rather than foundational.
This means you should be giving feedback that focuses on making sure the graphics are reflective of your brand rather than telling the videographer that the video looks slightly blue (which would mean they haven’t properly white-balanced the video).
Let’s dive in using the evaluation checklist to grade the leather furniture maintenance video together.
How does it look?
Looking at this video, the color grading and the interview shots are up to the standards of quality production. They don’t distract from the content of the video, and they don’t look strange.
A combination of original and stock b-roll is used. B-roll is the footage placed over the interview shot as the talent continues to talk. It adds visual interest and helps further illustrate the point of the content of the video.
At timestamp 3:34, we can clearly see that there is stock footage being used here to illustrate the product cleaning the leather furniture. For this segment, that b-roll is appropriate to the content of the video.
How does it sound?
The other component of evaluating production is sound. If a video doesn’t sound good, you’re likely to lose the viewer you’re trying to engage with the video. We can clearly hear what the talent is saying. The music doesn’t overpower the talent.
Is the music choice appropriate for the video?
I would recommend choosing different music. The first music track is almost like a lullaby. The second track is a better fit, and I would give the feedback to use that one throughout.
This is the last section of the Video Evaluation Checklist. Once you’ve checked the boxes in the criteria the video should be considered ready to publish.
The most important thing in the first few months of working with a videographer is getting them to publish. As long as the videos aren’t biased and they convey the information needed to completely answer the question the video is solving, then we should be encouraging the videographer to publish that video.
Evaluating your videographer’s overall performance
The other aspect is reviewing the videographer’s overall performance in the role itself — but how do you even begin to evaluate that?
If you’ve never been a videographer before, or even worked with one, what does an overall quality performance in the job look like? And how do you know your specialist is on track to have a great quarter?
Every company has a different answer to this question. So I’m going to refer to what we do at IMPACT for this section. Over the years, I’ve worked with a range of companies, from big corporations to a four-person social media ad agency.
None of these companies had a formal 1-1 process. IMPACT is the only company I’ve worked for where I feel connected to my manager and know what questions to ask her to help her help me in my role. This is why I’m recommending that companies follow this structure for meeting with videographers.
So how do we do it?
Bi-weekly 1-1 meetings
I meet with my manager for an hour every other week. Ahead of my meetings with her, I’m responsible for answering the following questions:
What’s on your mind? Any potential fires?
What have you been focused on over the last two weeks?
What are the top two things you need to accomplish over the next two weeks?
You might be surprised at how general these questions are, but what they do is give me the opportunity to open up and explain my experience in a thoughtful way.
If you’re working with a They Ask, You Answer coach, the last two questions can be focused on the work you need to do to hit 100% on your company priorities for the quarter, or they can be based on specific metrics the videographer would like to improve and score better on ahead of their next performance review.
How do you respond to some of the answers that might come from the questions? Well, the first piece of homework to read as a manager of these specialists is The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier. This book will help you frame your discussions around questions with your specialists to help them self-discover how to solve their own problems.
At IMPACT, everyone on our team gets evaluated quarterly. This evaluation helps us set personal priorities for how we can develop as professionals for the next quarter. For the areas you should be reviewing, I created the videographer performance evaluation template. It covers four categories of roles and responsibilities:
Company core values
Scoring each of these sections will allow you as the manager to determine where this specialist falls in terms of their performance. The goal is to get as many "A-players" on your team as possible.
Desired results are an accumulation of the end product of the tasks. For example, one of the desired results for a videographer would be publishing six to nine videos each month of the quarter. This is a tangible result that is easy to measure and is one of the basic duties of the videographer position.
Functional accountabilities are the key accountabilities of this functional role. These three to five key accountabilities are what this functional role owns. Here’s an example of what this looks like on the videographer’s scorecard:
The functional accountabilities of a videographer represent an effort to further the mission of creating educational and unbiased content to be used in sales and marketing to advance the use of video throughout a company.
Key competencies are the most important abilities/skills a person should have to be successful in this functional role. A person filling this function needs to be good at and/or strive to continually improve to fulfill these competencies. Let’s take a look at the skills that enable and empower a videographer to succeed in their role:
These are the skills needed for a videographer to not only make the videos, but also to manage their workload and be the most trusted voice for video inside of a company.
Core values define the company's culture and personality. Team members that share these core values can be trusted to make good decisions that align with the company vision. This section of the template is left blank because every company has different core values. At IMPACT, employees are graded on eight core values during their quarterly evaluations. A few examples of these core values include candor over comfort, feedback is a gift, and obsess over learning.
Conducting evaluations quarterly will not only give you insight into the specialists’ strengths and weaknesses, but it will also allow you as the manager to assess where you can best assist this person as they continue to grow and build the role for your company.
What does the future of video look like for my company?
You’re taking a huge step to improve your marketing and sales team capabilities by adding video because you know that this medium is so important for the future of your business.
And while you’re excited about this, you started reading this article because you were nervous: This is a position you’ve likely never managed before.
Thinking big picture, this videographer role is just a stepping stone to being one of the future marketing leaders of your company. I’ve worked with companies that have decided to hire a second videographer to pair with the first one. And before you know it, you have a whole production team, led by an executive producer role or a director of videography.
The sky is the limit for how you can grow your team, but it starts with laying the foundation for success with your new specialists.
Have consistent conversations with them about where they see themselves in the future. How can your company consistently be the place they want to stay? What can you do to help them realize is possible with your company?
I’d recommend reading Radical Candor by Kim Scott (or if you’re a podcast person, there’s a Radical Candor podcast). The principles in this book will help you dive deeper into leading your team down the right path, and give you tools to effectively give feedback to them as you have these conversations.
There’s a lot that’s about to change in your department, and that’s a good thing.
With your videographer in place, you’re ready to change the landscape of your industry, and these people are going to help you become the most trusted voice the world turns to when it comes to doing what you do best.