Five levels of user-generated video
Updated: Feb 12
What brand does not want to be big on YouTube? By now, we all know that YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-olds than all cable TV networks combined. But video production is costly, and budgets never seem enough to produce all the content we need to keep a YouTube channel feel alive – or to make content that's engaging enough to draw audiences.
Because of this, savvy content marketers turn to user-generated video (UGV), produced by consumers who would love to be part of the brand story. UGV can be authentic, engaging, trustworthy, fun ...and definitely cheaper to produce.
But even fans who love a brand – and like the idea of making a video – may have limits to how much time and energy they are willing to spend. So before launching a campaign to collect user-generated video, consider what level of effort you can realistically ask for from your customers. It does depend on your product and the level of engagement of your brand fans. And possibly also on what kind of award people can get out of it – apart from the glory of appearing on your YouTube channel.
When writing the creative brief for potential video makers, Reeler recommends to keep in mind this scale of difficulty from 1 to 5 – from the easiest to the most advanced:
Effort level 1 – Already existing videos
To make it really easy, keep it simple and be very open about what content can be submitted. Don't require lengthy videos. A travel company could ask for a 5-10 second clip of "the best moment of your vacation," and a pet food company could ask for "the cutest shot of your pet."
Effort level 2 – Just visuals
Even if a somebody loves to film and edit, many people prefer to stay behind the camera, capturing their vision of the world – or the brand. To make it easy to produce user-generated video, allow people to record a simple, visual video – maybe with some music. Don't require that they get in front of the camera a whole lot, and don't require any speaking. For example, a nursery garden could ask their customers to film in their garden at home, and a travel company could ask for travel footage.
Effort level 3 – Vlog style
When speaking is needed, the easiest is to allow either a voice-over or – more commonly – a vlog style video, where one person sits or stands alone in front of a camera, speaking into it. This way, one brand fan can go ahead and make a video without having to engage other people. Somebody who is not good at editing may even try to shoot the entire video in one take. For example, a beauty brand could ask fans to make a short vlog with their best beauty tip, or a food brand could ask for a food vlog.
Effort level 4 – Advanced vlog
To make a vlog more engaging and fun, one option is to be two people in front of the camera. With two presenters interacting, a video feels more lively and engaging. Since the presenters don't move much, the camera can be attached to a tripod and sound recording is fairly straight forward. Another advanced option is to use cutaways. While the presenter is talking about something, the video cuts away to show other footage illustrating the topic (like on the news). Cutaways requires more editing, and more footage, which is why we call this an advanced vlog.
Effort level 5 – Scenes with dialogue
Here we start to get advanced, because potential video-makers need to engage other people, and those other people need to act in front of the camera. The person behind the camera needs to take the role of a film director, and typically the camera needs to move between the different characters in the room. Sound will be more difficult unless every person in the room has a microphone. Only a semi-pro can pull this off well, because the next level up would be to make a "proper" short movie.
Whatever effort level you go for, if you want to start collecting user-generated video content for your brand, get in touch with Reeler for a free trial.
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