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Lyndsay Hoff, Producer

08 August, 2016

So you’ve finally decided on a partner to help your company create content. You’re super excited and impressed by their portfolio of work. Surely the work they do for you will be even better!

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Like any relationship, communication is essential for both sides. If you know how to speak each other’s language and understand the milestones of the project, you’re both going to be very happy with the final result.

So, here are five little tips to help you get the most out of your content partner.

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Define Your Voice

Think of your content partner as a master shape shifter. They can create any look and mirror any voice. But they need you to tell them the look you’re going for.

For starters, tell them what your brand sounds or looks like. Or, better yet, show them. Sound obvious? All too often agencies and content partners are not properly briefed on brand positioning and guidelines.

Find examples of other pieces of content that really resonate with you. Or share who you think would make a great spokesperson for your brand. Take a moment and meet with your content partner, tell a personal story that resonates with your company – a favorite client memory? An a-ha moment that kick started your project? Spend the right amount of time on this early on.

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Be Open With Your Budget Expectations

An animated video might seem simple on the surface, but trust me, there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes. At least there is if the partner you’re working with isn’t an amateur.

Whether your sights are set on a live action production, an animated video, or just something with simple motion graphics, be clear with what you expect out of your team but most of the time it’s best to leave the burden on your content partners to come up with style and creative method to solving your problem.

Speaking of creativity, the people behind your content are amazingly talented, but there are some things that just can’t be done if the budget isn’t there. Luxurious, James Bond-esque locations or Pixar inspired character animation demand more investment in the production budget.

Remember, a good team will always deliver the best content that suits your needs inside your budget. Sometimes that might mean a slightly altered visual direction or shorter length, but no matter what, our first goal is to meet your expectations. Give your partner the room to generate the most bang for your buck.

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Share Your Strategy

Many content creators are fine with just churning out “one-off” pieces of content.

But that’s not the most effective way to get a return on your investment.

If you have a written content strategy, share it with your content partners. If not, you can still help by considering where your content is going to go, who the audience is, and what goals you’ve established for its performance.

Your content partner has a lot of experience in not just creating content, but what types of content work best and where they thrive. The more information you can share about what your plan for the content is after it’s created, the better.

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Understand The Process And How To Guide It At Each Step

Not all content creators share the exact same process, but usually it looks pretty similar. The more you understand the purpose behind each step, the better you’ll be able to direct the process and end up with content you’re happy with.

Not every project has the same process, but for example, here's our process for creating a video.

1.   Discovery/Research - where we learn exactly what you and your customers are looking for.

2.   Conceptualization – How we propose to solve your creative problem.

3.   Scripting - the start of actual content creation where we bring the concept to life.

4.   Style Frames - It’s time to nail down the look and feel of your content. We present a range of styles and work together to develop a look that feels right.

5.   Story Boarding - This is where the script and storyboard say “I do.” The storyboard is the frame by frame plan of how your video is going to be animated.

6.   Design/Animation/Production - Our directors/animators take the boards and turn them into real, live video.

7. Audio/Finishing/Quality Assurance – Record and mix the voiceover, add and edit the music and clean up and polish the color and visuals. Last but never least, check and check again to ensure quality.

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Remember, Great Content Takes A Team

And you’re a part of that team, too! Content is a collaborative process and the more communication you foster between your team and your content partner, the better the final results will be.

Sometimes the best tidbits of information don’t come in project briefs, but in impromptu phone calls or in conversation with customers who love your product.

Those moments can be the difference between really good content, and content that communicates exactly what you need it to say. Namely, that your company rocks!

The next time you’re getting ready to kick off a project, or even if you’re in the midst of a project right now, I promise these tips will help you be more satisfied with the process. You’ll end up with a piece of content that will perform better and it’ll be something you love watching!

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P.S. I love to say hi and talk to people about what we're working on. If you want to learn more about these tips or how Hiccup could help with the potentially daunting projects you have on the horizon, reach out to me!

lhoff@hiccupny.com

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