My content highlight: March

This month James Sullivan, deputy editor at Progressive Content, takes us through his favourite piece of content he’s worked on over the last few weeks

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I work on the agile division of the business. That means working across a range of clients and sectors on short projects, longer campaigns, all sorts of things, really.

That sense of hopping between roles is probably my favourite part of the job. One day I might be editing a white paper on financial services for a global recruitment firm, the next day I’m interviewing a care home manager and writing up a blog post.

Food(service), glorious food(service)

Ask any content agency, the appetite for video is growing all the time.

Typically, when it comes to creating video content, we choose to work with specialist video production companies. The combined expertise of the video agency and our own editorial insight results in a great end product.

But sometimes things work a little differently. As ever on the agile desk, stuff just crops up

In mid-February, the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM for short) held their biennial foodservice equipment and supplies show in Orlando, Florida.

At Progressive, we work closely with Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) to create their quarterly magazine Foodservice Consultant, plus all the content on FCSI.org.

As such, the NAFEM show was a big deal.

The brief

Our editorial director Mike Jones and commercial director Stuart Charlton were in attendance at the NAFEM Show.

Shortly in advance, they looked into ways of maximising value for the client. There would be so many expert and notable industry figures in attendance, with lots to say and unique insights.

Mike was hosting a panel event with two foodservice consultants, plus a senior FCSI figure. Why not film it and add a video element to the written event coverage? Equally, why not grab 10 minutes with one of the experts for some short, sharp, personality-led content?

We recruited the show’s resident videography team to capture the discussion, plus some extra footage of the event in general. They then sent over the raw footage and audio to me, here in London, to edit.

The output

I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

I edited the panel discussion down from around 25 minutes to a five-minute package, utilising lots of the extra event footage.

On a technical level it was quite a challenge: editing audio from a noisy conference room, counteracting the ugly strip lighting to make it look more visually appealing. A few months ago I took part in a video editing training course run by Adobe, and picked up some vital tips to help add some polish when the circumstances are less than ideal. You can’t always record in a well-lit, soundproof studio, after all…

But happily, all the speakers were eloquent and well informed – so there were very few stumbles to cut around.

You can read Mike’s event summary, with the video embedded, here.

Or here’s the video on its own.

Similarly, the second video – with the president of Irinox North America, Ronald van Bakergem – was a great example of the content marketing maxim we should all hold on to: “Let the people who know what they’re talking about do the talking.”

Add a couple of 20-second social cuts of each video, and we’re done.

What’s next?

It’s never been easier to make video content – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make good video content.

Just because an iPhone can capture a high-quality video file, throwing out some hastily-filmed guerrilla footage at industry events like this is liable to make your brand look amateurish. So it’s worth bearing in mind exactly how you want your footage to look, and what service it provides.

Want to build some social buzz around the event itself, to entice people to your stand or keynote speech? Some Facebook or Instagram Live footage makes total sense. Instant footage for an instant audience.

But here, we wanted to add value to the event summaries – video that would continue to be relevant for the foodservice audience for weeks and months to come, while also giving a flavour of the brand and event.

That requires a level of professionalism and quality. Is anyone going to watch more than 10 seconds of shaky, noisy, hand-held phone footage after the fact? We needed the video and audio to be properly captured and slickly put together.

On that point, splitting up the shooting and editing responsibilities worked well for us here. The video team were able to concentrate on capturing as much as they could on the day, while I was able to add a layer of objective editorial control at the editing stage.

Plus, you can pull it together pretty quickly. All the final videos were delivered within three days of receiving the footage. Perfect to bolster the post-event thinkpieces and summaries.

Finally, on a personal level, I enjoyed the process itself. This kind of self-contained brief is quite rare. Inevitably, projects tend to bleed over one another, deadlines move, or content changes tack along the way. It was very satisfying to receive a load of files, spend a couple of days with headphones on, picking through it all and building from the ground up. Then sending off a packaged final product at the end to be shared and posted. Plus, a happy client is always nice.

I look forward to more of the same at future events.

James Sullivan, Deputy Editor, Progressive Content