advice

Why You Need To Hire Journalists To Make Your Company's Brand Video

If you are a company or a founder who needs to make a brand video, I have two words for you: Hire. Journalists. 

If you’re a founder who is scared of doing a brand video because you “suck on camera” I have two words for you:
Hire. Journalists.

If you’re a company and want to hire a production team to make your brand go “viral like that Dollar Shave Club video” I have two words for you:
Stop. It. 

Full disclosure...I used to be a journalist. So biased here..#guilty but for good reason (keep reading.)  

Having spent a chunk of my life as a TODAY show producer and prior to that holding stints at Bloomberg TV, Time and CNN, I am a journalist at heart who now runs a video production company. Even though most of my projects are for brand or commercial purposes,  every person on my team is a former journalist in one shape or another. 

From the editors to the shooters to the producers to the production assistants, we all have one thing in common on any given video project… a love of storytelling that runs so deep we had temporary lapses in sanity of trying to eek out a living in NYC as real-life journalists! In all seriousness, this is why you should hire a production team who used to be journalists to make your next company brand video:

In all seriousness, this is why you should hire a production team who used to be journalists to make your next company brand video:


We Naturally Think About Audience First
Rule No. 1 when you’re a video journalist or producer is “grab the viewer’s attention STAT!” There is no time to spare because your viewer has already turned off the TV or swiped to the next video unless you hook ‘em. So when we work with brands that give us grief over not showing their product, logo, or boring rambly sound byte in the first bit of the video we say, “YOUR AUDIENCE DOESN’T WANT THAT.”  We’re not natural marketers, but we promise you’ll have better video for it. 

We Are Naturally Curious
When you’re trying to get genuine responses out of company founders who typically have NEGATIVE ZERO on-camera experience, it helps to have a genuine interest in what they do. Good things us journalists were born being naturally annoying I mean inquisitive.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re a little kid and you keep asking your parents but WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY and then someone in your family goes, “You should be a reporter!”. This skill comes in handy when all of a sudden you’re just having a natural conversation with someone in the hot seat but really you’re getting the best sound out of them. We sneaky like that. 


We Know How To Tell Stories For Real
OK, so this whole story-telling thing is starting to fall in that cringe-worthy category where cool words go to die. Looking at you “disruptor, value-add, synergy, deep dive, ecosystem, leverage, etc.” ARRRHH. I’m getting angry just writing this list.

But every other marketing person who says they are “storytellers” we call your bluff. You’re technically not. But we are. Some of us even went to a lot of (expensive #sigh) school to learn the art of storytelling so please don’t toss this term around lightly. Not everyone is a storyteller just because you like to watch great stories or because you have a few thousand Instagram likes on some captions. There’s an actual art and craft to writing a story and having that translate into a watchable video. 

We Understand How To Ask The Right Questions
You know that reporter or writer friend where all of a sudden you’re spilling your entire guts too on personal issues YOU HAVEN’T EVEN TOLD YOUR SPOUSE?! Yeah, we’re that person making it rain words.

Because we know how to ask questions and we know how to build the delicate trust dance from “what did you have for breakfast” question to “what is your biggest regret in your life” and you’ll answer it ALL because you don’t even know what is happening. Those skills come in real handy when you need the founder to loosen up and be authentic on camera. 

We Are Always Operating On Deadline Panic Time. Whenever we do a project with a brand, most of us are thinking about the actual edit. Why? BECAUSE WE REMEMBER THE SHEER PANIC FEELING OF #THATDEADLINELIFE.

At the TODAY show it wasn’t uncommon to get an assignment and have to turn around an amazing video piece in hours, especially if it was breaking news. This makes us way more efficient on set because you are always thinking about how shots will be strung, the sound you need because we’re still nervous deadline disciples. We cannot leave the video set without the best stuff but we still act like we have 18 minutes to get all of that. Noone is more efficient...and scared than us. 


There you have it. Next time you need awesome and watchable brand video, do yourself and your audience a favor and hire people like us. Former news nerds. #werd.