Why your video team needs Retrospectives (and how to run them)

To start, a quick disclaimer. Retrospectives are an Agile thing and while I’ve worked at places that used bits and pieces of Agile, I am far from an expert. This write up is for noobs like me looking for a way to learn from their mistakes rather than repeat them.

So, you wrapped a big project. Deliverables delivered, clients happy, all the hell of actually making the thing behind you. At this point, you’re eager to move on to the next challenge. At this point the last thing you want to do is litigate that difficult conversation with the client about budget, or the unintended consequences of that last minute timeline shift, or how you really should have stuck to your guns on that script revision.

It’s natural to want to get on with things, but if I could impart one lesson as a moderately seasoned video marketer, it would be this: always do a retrospective.

What’s a retro?

A retrospective (or if you’re goth, a post-mortem) is a follow up meeting directly after the end of a project. At this point, your memories are fresh and it’s the optimal time to take stock of how the project went and most importantly write that assessment down for posterity.

Why do I like them?

Firstly, I believe that one of the keys to creative success is self-reflection. Looking inward and examining our process is the first step to improving it, and practicing this idea as a group can be revolutionary. Regardless if you’re freelance, in-house, agency or non of the above, we all have times where we feel stuck. The same (bad) outcomes keep happening and we don’t know how to improve them. Well, fixing those things can be hard but if you can’t identify them in the first place it’s nearly impossible.

Conversely if you don’t identify your successes, you can’t lean into what you do best and figure out how to do more of that.

Retrospective meetings combine this idea of self-reflection with the idea of being actionable. The goal is to come out of the meeting with a better understanding of what happened, and insight to help you and your team do an even better job on the next mission.

For video teams especially, we do a lot of different kinds of work. Throughout the course of a project your team is not only doing creative things like concepting, script writing, filming, animating, and editing… they’re also doing managerial things like scheduling, budgeting holding meetings.

Because the team has so many things to think of and production has so many moving pieces, when it’s all done it’s so easy for potential insights to get lost without a formal process for immediate review. Doing a retrospective as a team right after you finish a project ensures you gain as much insight as possible before memories fade, and you make changes collectively as a team rather than dictate changes from above.

How do you run the meeting?

Despite all this lofty talk about introspection, retros are easy. The way I run them is based around what I learned from the excellent team at my very first agency, Sculpt. We’d pick a project and answer the following questions as a team:

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go so well?
  3. What things did we learn?
  4. What new questions do we have?
  5. What action items do we have moving forward?

That’s it. It’s really not hard.

What’s important is that people have time to think about these questions and discuss them as a group. In a larger team, it can be helpful to put these questions on a whiteboard or have folks come prepared with thoughts in advance.

The most important question in the retro is the last one: action items. Talking about what happened is great, but learning from it requires making changes and being able to articulate next steps is the key to make retrospectives empowering and actionable, not just a forum for commiseration.

When the meeting is done, make sure you’ve captured everything in your notes, share them with your video team, and put those insights to work. Continuous improvement is a powerful motivator and creativity multiplier, retros are an essential tool to achieve that.


Read more posts about the business of video here.

Have more questions about running video teams? Let’s chat.

The ultimate live streaming checklist

Whether you’re trying to reach prospects, customers, or internal stakeholders, live video provides a powerful, engaging way to get your message out into the world. But if you don’t have any live streaming experience, the process can seem a little daunting — especially if you’ve ever witnessed any live streams gone wrong. I mean, no one wants to be remembered for that live stream when the audio went out or the camera stopped recording.

So, you may be wondering: Where do I even begin? And how can I ensure my live stream goes off without a hitch? Well, fear not! We’ve got you covered.

Our team has pulled together the ultimate Live Streaming Checklist — outlining all the tools you’ll need and the steps you should take to ensure your live stream runs smoothly.

Get the guide over at the Brightcove blog.

Inbound Video and the Death of Impersonal Marketing – Digital Summit/Revolve Conference 2018

Every marketer knows doing things “the old fashioned way” is unsustainable yet most people still don’t think this same way about video. Agencies and brands alike keep getting stuck viewing video through the lens of the “deliverable,” meaning a snappy 15 or 30 second spot that you make once, then syndicate across platforms. 

That’s no longer good enough. We’ve seen email and social marketing thrive on the notion of personalized content that resonates with a hyper-specific audience, and we have to approach video in the exact way.

V

Guarantee video marketing success with this pre-flight checklist

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

When you’re making a marketing video, it’s easy to focus completely on production and lose sight of making content that not only looks great but actually has a positive impact on the brand. Whether you’re working on a large campaign, or a single video this is the pre-flight checklist I always go back to in order to ensure our project is 100% aligned with our marketing goals.

The checklist is divided into three sections with a few questions in each. If I run through this list and don’t have the right information, I know I need to course correct or at least get my facts straight.

If I can answer these questions confidently however, I know I’m on the right track to build a successful campaign and I have a solid vocabulary to communicate my plan to others.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

How to make your YouTube videos interactive

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

YouTube is an attractive platform for video marketers. It has a massive built-in audience and it’s designed to help viewers discover content. However, the allure of the platform is hampered by the fact that ultimately YouTube is designed to keep viewers watching any video, not just your videos.

So if you want to use organic YouTube videos for marketing, it helps to use whatever tools you can to help keep your audience engaged with the content you want them to see. An important tool for this was Annotations, clickable links that added interactivity to videos. This was an awesome feature, but had some flaws (like not working on mobile) so YouTube killed them last spring.

Google has now fully replaced Annotations with two lesser known tools: Cards and End Screens. These tools go way beyond their predecessor’s functionality and finally work on mobile. You can use these tools to add interactive elements to your video and build clear pathways to action for your viewers.

YouTube Cards and End Screens are pretty easy to use, but it can be tricky to connect the dots between their functionality and where they fit into your content marketing strategy. Let’s go over both features and talk about how they work and what they do.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

How to build a yearly video marketing budget

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

Putting together a comprehensive video budget is a daunting, but important, task. In this guide, I’m going to run through my own template to provide you a starting point for your own yearly budget.

This template is designed to cover typical marketing video productions including on-location shoots that are typically budgeted between $5,000 and $50,000.

Structure

A yearly budget is primarily a forecasting tool and it’s likely your individual project budgets will change as priorities shift and things come into focus. So don’t worry if you don’t have all the information before getting started.

structure

The total budget is comprised of two parts: a master spreadsheet that includes ongoing activities and your project budget templates.

You should build enough project templates to cover the different types of projects you’ll be taking on. Again, things will change and no two projects are exactly the same, but if you’re building a yearly video marketing plan it’s likely you’ll have project types like testimonials or case studies or other serialized content that’s build around a templated format. To start, let’s go over what these project budgets include.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

The guide to stress-free client revisions

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

Post-production can get confusing (and frustrating). Clients aren’t sure when things will be delivered or if what they’re looking at is supposed to be a polished draft or just a rough cut. Creatives are confused about who’s supposed to give feedback or what revisions are within scope and what requires additional fees.

In short, the approvals/revision cycle can be a mess. But like many things, it’s a mess that can be fixed with better communication. These are the things you should think about (and talk about, and write down) when you’re scoping out your next project.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

The Videostrategy Guide To Video Marketing KPIs

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

For the longest time, everyone was obsessed with view count. Clients were focused on making that number as big as possible and every video maker was fielding requests asking them to “make a viral video.” These days, video makers have a better understanding of what metrics really matter to determine if their video content is working. Similarly, brands are spending loads of their marketing budget on video and are more analytics conscious than ever.

So, as a video creator, how do you make sure your content has a positive Return on Investment (ROI)?

It’s easier than you think. Just set goals based on marketing objectives. Answer the question, ‘What is your video trying to do?’ Increase sales? Drive website traffic?

Once you answer this question, connect those goals to specific metrics to keep track of your progress and prove that you’re delivering results.

The metrics you focus on are called Key Performance Indicators and in the world of video marketing there are a handful of numbers that we use to measure success. Many platforms will give you some of the KPI’s you may be looking for and any platform designed for business should give you all of them (and then some).

Let’s run through the basic 5 metrics you should keep handy during your next campaign. After reading, download a cheatsheet with the basics.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

How to build an analytics dashboard to measure your video’s success

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

Strategy is more than just executing a smart gameplan, it’s also about measurement and optimization. Today I’m going to break down a small internal sales project at Animus and show how we designed a dashboard using Medialytics to keep the team informed.

This simple tool gives us instant insight into whether or not we were acheving our goals and ultimately helps inform how we produce similar projects.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.