December marked one year working for AccuQuote. I was hired as a video producer and editor, but I also developed a video production studio, workflow, and program at AccuQuote. I have learned a lot for it being first real job out of college. I wanted to reflect and highlight some of those things for people just starting out in the corporate video or those just getting into the workforce altogether.

Before I begin, a bit of background on AccuQuote. It’s a life insurance brokerage company, I know – sexy stuff over here. We’re based out of the Chicago suburb of Wheeling, IL. When I was hired they were using a outside freelancer for a couple of videos, and they had a YouTube channel but the green screens we’re horrendous and the audio sounded like it was recorded by Edison’s Phonograph.

When I began, I created a studio using a unused training room, painted a wall green, added lights, microphones and tripods. I uploaded the first few videos to YouTube and 12 months later here is what I have learned.

  1. Sometimes it’s going to be boring. And that’s okay. 

Life Insurance is not fun, when you think about it’s sad. It’s death. So how do you make it compelling? With people. Let people tell the story of a product. I film agent spotlight videos that highlighted each of our life insurance agents, told their story and let them tell about the importance of life insurance. They made the product compelling, let your PEOPLE tell your story with passion, don’t try to sell it with just images or animation, use real life stories about people who it has affected.  At the end of the day, the videos to most are boring because they are about a boring topic, but they tell the right story for the customer and that’s all that matters.

2. View counts aren’t everything. 

Everyone is always focused on view counts, but that does not tell the whole story when seeing a video’s performance. What we focus a lot on is retention rate, minutes watched, and if anyone called in from the special phone number we use on all of our videos to track leads. When looking at video analytics, YouTube judges minutes watched, which is that total amount of time spent on your video by all of the views combined, as one of the top ranking factors. So we strive to make our videos 2-5 minutes, but also engaging so people will watch it until the end, and ultimately call to get a life insurance quote.

3. Editing is important. 

When dealing with non-actors it’s always good to shoot for maximum editing flexibility. We use a green screen because it would be boring with the same white background, and it’s hard to shoot around the office because we are an active call center with a lot of noise going on. Editing, giving intros, outros, lower thirds and clean graphics help the video come along way and will always help sell a product or service when given the viewer a visual (video) way of learning more about it, in this case life insurance, which brings me to my next point…

4. Video quality goes along way, and shows credibility.  

Using a tripod, lights, and a off-camera microphone and really help your video stand out from the crowd. We use professional lights, microphones and I have a different graphics package for each type of video we do. Our YouTube channel is well maintained, organized and each of our videos have a description written by our copywriter and my good friend, Donnie Bryant. If you have a blurry shot video, bad sound quality, shaky footage or awkward edits, people will not take your videos or brand seriously.

5. Tell them what you told them, and tell them again. 

When selling a product or service on video, message and a call to action is important- otherwise your viewers will just hop to the next video without taking any action. In our videos, when I do videos with the CEO in them, we always end on a call to action to contact us for more information. When I film an agent spotlight we show their direct phone number at the end urging them to call. In our video descriptions we mimic the script to drive them to our website to get a quote. When filming your own videos, make sure each video includes a clear call to action.

It’s been a fun first year, and I cannot wait to continue my profession here in Chicago and wherever I may end up. Also, thanks for reading my first blog post, I hope to blog a few times a month to give tips and insight on the creative industry.