Currently, large segments of the workforce are clocking in from home, which is affecting the ways our workdays are structured and the ways we interact with content.
Video is uniquely positioned to facilitate this shift. It’s a medium that allows for delivering complex information, adding an element of humanity to corporate communication, and standing out amidst a sea of digital content.
However, the changes of the last few weeks have impacted the way video is consumed. It turns out that taking people out of their offices (and production studios) has had significant implications for content creation—and content consumption. The best practices you might have applied to production last month don’t hold true today, so we’re here to fill you in on the new standards and what they mean for your content. Check out the six trends we’re seeing below, and apply them to your videos if you’re striving for maximum engagement.
1. Lower Expectations for Production Value
If you’re new to production, now is a great time to give it a try. Anyone sharing video content right now is likely doing so without the benefit of a studio, state-of-the-art equipment, or a production crew to help make the content look more professional. What does this mean for you? Audience expectations are low, so your at-home production will more than suffice.
Stephen Colbert showed us this shift when he recently delivered his late-night show from his bathtub, fully clothed in a suit. Check out the clip below:
If professional TV hosts are filming from improvised studios and taking a “let’s do our best” approach to putting out content, you’re absolutely allowed to do the same.
For your average content creator, this means that you don’t need to worry about providing professional-quality audio, optimizing your background to make it look like you’re in a studio, or anything else that you might normally do to spice up your content. High-quality videos are difficult to produce in a makeshift setting, so most people are deemphasizing those technical elements for the time being.
2. Audio is Back in the Spotlight
With audiences working from home, audio is reclaiming its spot in the limelight as videos start to incorporate more sound. This change is important, and it’s relatively unprecedented in our digital era. For the last several years, video experts have all been giving the same advice: Don’t rely on audio to make your point. They cautioned content creators to remember that audiences are quick to hit the “mute” button, and that many platforms actually auto-mute posts by default.
Open-concept office spaces have long contributed to this trend. Employees often have to grab headphones to listen to audio in the office, and that extra step is enough to keep many people from opting into the noise.
Now that many people are at home, more videos are being consumed with the sound on. Use this to your advantage by making your audio pop—but do still add subtitles and make sure your message is clear sans audio, just in case.
3. Keep It PG
Much of the video content you interact with online is probably already family-friendly, but not all of it is. Some edgy production teams making corporate videos will throw in a curse word here or there, especially if the company’s culture is more casual. We’d advise against this for the time being and keep all video material PG.
At home, many people find that their temporary remote work setups are within earshot of children. Rather than forcing those people to try to prevent kids from hearing your content, hold off on the adult language for a while. Chances are it’s not critical to making your point, and eliminating it makes your videos more accessible to a larger audience.
4. Captive Audiences
As continued calls to #flattenthecurve keep consumers at home, many people are shifting to digital devices for entertainment. What does this mean for you? There are captive audiences on virtually every online platform waiting for content to engage with. If your videos fill a need for those people (whether that’s informing, entertaining, or anything in between), now is a great time to share them.
This may also mean that video content can be longer in duration than we might typically recommend. Again, because many people are spending more time in digital spaces, they might be more receptive to videos that last minutes rather than seconds. If you have a longer video you’ve never distributed for fear of boring your audiences (or an idea for a longer video you could film), consider sharing it now and measuring results to decide whether the long-form content is proving to be effective.
5. Incorporate Human Touches
One element of this situation that has been a pleasant surprise for most people is the introduction of human touches into videos and video calls. If you’ve been on a video conference call in the last few weeks, you’ve probably seen someone’s dog, cat, child, spouse, or roommate make an accidental (or not so accidental) cameo once or twice.
While these brief appearances might seem out-of-place during a corporate video call, most people don’t mind (or actually very much enjoy) the brief window into your “real life” that’s not usually on display at the office.
Celebrities aren’t immune to this either, as Jimmy Fallon has found with his kids interrupting his attempts to film his late-night show from home. In the clip below, his daughters climb all over him while he tries to get through his segment. Rather than drawing criticism, the Internet has decided that this was a win for viewers who got to see a glimpse of a very relatable family moment.
So, embrace the humanity that you might be able to incorporate into your video content right now. Whether that means letting your cat walk across your keyboard on a Zoom call or displaying your art and knick-knacks in the background of a recorded or live-stream video, these personal touches are welcome.
6. More Live Streams
If you feel like your social feeds are full of live streams lately, you’re not alone. Some examples lately include John Mayer going live with a mini-talk-show to ease collective anxiety, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen taking song requests and running a pretend telethon to keep us entertained, or any number of businesses sharing thoughts, tips, and other informative content.
This outcome relates back to the fact that there are captive audiences on these platforms right now. While live streams might not usually get a lot of traction, many people are saying “why not?” and tuning in. Expect more of these live broadcasts to pop up in your feeds in the coming days and weeks.
While these dynamics are important to note as video best practices shift, we expect that they will continue to evolve. Watch for examples of these trends in your daily life, and think about how you can adapt your own content plans and viewing habits for the changing landscape.