You don’t need a Hollywood movie studio to be a B2B video marketer. In fact, you already have a team of videographers at your disposal: your employees. And they already have access to a high-powered video camera in their purse or pocket: their smartphone.
After all, the best camera is the one that’s with you.
So why should AEC firms care about employee-generated video content?
Glad you asked.
Why AEC firms should care about employee-generated video content
Sure, the marketing department is in charge of promoting your brand and driving sales, but your project managers, architects, engineers and skilled craft workers out in the field are the lifeblood of your business.
Think of your subject-matter experts, the employees who interact with your clients, the people who actually perform the services your firm provides. No one understands your brand, value proposition and project successes like these people do.
These employees have direct conversations with your customer, understand their pain points and know what questions clients (and prospects) want answered because they get asked them repeatedly.
Think about these folks in your organization:
- Engineers assessing job sites
- Pilots flying drones to collect data
- Designers using virtual/augmented reality to develop 3D models
- Project managers coordinating the construction schedule of a building
- Architects collaborating with clients to realize their conceptual vision
- Tradespeople experiencing the opportunities and challenges on a job site
- Developers creating apps or coding solutions to complex problems
These people are getting their hands dirty, creating cool stuff and doing work that is often visually engaging. If you encourage them to capture some of that on camera, you’ll have video showcasing your company’s abilities and expertise (i.e., video marketing content).
You have boots (and cameras) on the ground — use them!
How to empower your employees to capture video in the field with their phone
Motivating employees to get on board with a new initiative takes time (and sometimes a little incentive). But you’ll likely find that your people are passionate and proud of the work they do and are happy to share it with others.
As you develop buy-in, you can equip your employees with these tips for capturing video on their phones effectively:
- Find the right story to tell — Are you working on a new project? Is this an educational moment that a prospective client may benefit from? Can you tell a story highlighting the company’s expertise or a unique service offering? Look for moments that tell a compelling story; when you spot one, whip out your phone!
- Be authentic — Don’t worry about fancy camera movements or being “salesy” with the video you shoot. Just capture a few simple clips that show off the work you’re doing. If there’s interesting audio or ambient sound, let us hear it!
- Clean your camera lens — We’re constantly grabbing our phones at all angles, and one fingerprint smudge on the camera lens can dramatically affect the quality of your video. Make a habit of wiping your lens clean before pressing record.
- Always shoot landscape (horizontal) — While vertical video has its place (see TikTok, Instagram Reels, etc.), most video content is viewed in the traditional 16:9 landscape format suited for computer screens and TVs. When filming, turn your camera sideways (horizontal, landscape orientation, so your shot fits nicely on any screen.
- Don’t use digital zoom — Zooming while filming can create shakiness and decrease picture quality. Instead, “zoom” with your feet and get close to your subject when safe/possible. (Remember to keep a steady hand so your video isn’t shaky.)
- Use the exposure lock — In video mode, tap your screen and hold it until the AE/AF box appears. Once it does, your camera’s focus is locked. This will keep your video sharp even if your subject moves around. (Be aware that you may need to unlock and refocus if you and/or your subject are moving around a lot.)
- Turn on airplane mode — This way, no phone calls, texts or other notifications can interrupt while you’re filming.
The critical caveat: safety
Safety is paramount — period. Especially on an active construction site, employees should always exercise caution and abide by proper safety protocols.
No video content is worth jeopardizing the safety of your people or those around them.
Secondly, if your employees capture footage of workers not modeling proper safety procedures or without the correct personal protective equipment, that video is essentially unusable. Your job site employees know the nonnegotiable safety precautions required on a job site; the presence of a camera only makes them that much more critical.
Remind workers that the first questions they should ask before capturing any video are: “Can I capture this video safely? And are the people and practices in the video demonstrating proper safety protocols.”
Cool, so what do I do with it?
Once you start collecting interesting video content from your employees, there are a lot of ways you can utilize it, for example:
- Consider if it could serve as good b-roll footage for a case study or testimonial video
- If it’s a behind-the-scenes look at your company culture, perhaps it could be a fun social media share
- If the employee narrates the video and is explaining a notable aspect of their job, maybe it’s suitable for your internal employee newsletter or intranet
As you establish an expectation and culture of employee-contributed video, recognize or reward those contributors to encourage their coworkers to follow suit. You should also develop a folder structure or other method for organizing the video you begin collecting to keep track of it all and easily find specific videos when needed.
No matter how you leverage your employee-generated video content, remember: it’s content you otherwise wouldn’t have had at your disposal. Plus, you didn’t have to hire a videographer to shoot it!