October 5, 2015

How to Make Employees the Perfect Stars in Your Videos

Need a star for your next marketing video? Look no further than your company’s own employees!

Now, you may be thinking, “Ya sure, that might save some money, but those people can’t act! We don’t want our video to look amateurish!”

Well, well, let me tell you three big reasons why using employees in your videos can be really beneficial. And after you’re convinced, I’ll give you some useful tips on how to make those employees shine on film, including some awesome advice from our very own Video Production Manager here at Vidyard. Let’s get started.

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The benefits of casting employees

Employees put a genuine face to your brand

Employees are perfect for showing the face and personality of your company. Using employees in videos gives your audience an inside look at the company and its culture, and helps you relate to them on a more personal level.

And because the stars of your videos are real employees, a video’s message can feel more genuine. Audiences respond to this sincerity, so these videos can perform better and engages more viewers.

In this fun video, for example, the stars are the employees themselves, giving viewers an inside look into the hardworking and fun company.

Employees are the authority

An organization’s employees are the best people to ask how and why things are done at the company. They live it and breathe it, and hopefully, it’s their passion. So why not put their expertise on film?

Whether you need your video star to talk about products or procedures, or actually perform complex tasks on screen, employees can do it with ease. And, because your coworkers perform these roles every day, you won’t need to train them on how to perform these tasks when filming (that could mean less takes, and less time shooting)!

In contrast, using actors can be like playing the telephone game – they’re reciting a script and trying to convince the audience they know the intricacies of the topic, but those very in’s and out’s may be lost on the actor who doesn’t actually perform the job for a living.

Instead, your own employees’ sense of ownership and pride of what they do can help your video convert more viewers.

Employees are the story of your company

Telling a story is one of the most powerful ways to engage and convert audiences. And, while you may think actors are great for telling stories because, well, that’s what actors do, right? Well, actors typically tell scripted, fictional stories. But employees…well, they’re the real, powerful story of your company. They are who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

Employees can bring your viewers into your company’s story, help them relate to you on a personal, human level, and guide them through a journey so they wish to become your customers.

Want an example? The TOMS shoe company, who gives a pair of shoes to a child in need every time a pair of their shoes is purchased, created a video to tell that story in a powerful way. The brand could have done a flashy campaign, but they kept it real and relatable by telling a story that includes a company employee. You can’t help but feel the employee’s pride of what he does. Makes you want to be a part of the story too, doesn’t it?

But people can get shy/awkward/uncomfortable on camera…

True. Your company’s employees may be awesome at what they do, but talking, acting, or performing tasks on camera probably isn’t part of their job description. So here are a few tips to make your non-actors shine.

Use volunteers from different roles and levels

That’s right. Don’t try to talk people into starring in your video because they’re in a certain role or at a certain level of the company. A video needs to feel authentic, and someone who isn’t comfortable on screen will only make it awkward. As Mat King, our Video Production Manager at Vidyard says, you don’t want always the person who “looks good” for the part, you want a mix of the right look and the right personality, because “you can’t polish a turd.”

Well…now that we have that covered…But really, be willing to use employees at different levels of your organization. Your CEO or other executives may be recognizable by the public, but sometimes that can work against you – preconceived notions of who someone is and what they do can be hard for your viewers to shake. And, showing the dedication and passion of people across the company can be a powerful brand message.

Consider having them not speak

If your employee stars aren’t comfortable with speaking in front of the camera, well, they don’t have to speak! How can you have a video with stars who don’t speak? Simple. Consider using a voiceover. Then, employees can perform tasks on film, and look natural doing it, while a voiceover tells the story. The voiceover can be done by paid talent, or even by the employee, who may have an easier time sounding natural when off camera. Here’s an example:


Simple: practice makes perfect. Help your employees practice what they should say, how they should stand, the tone they should use, what they should wear, and even simple things like what they should do with their hands when standing or sitting. How to behave on camera may seem natural or common sense to you, but it’s probably not a typical thing for your employee star to think about. Help them figure out what will work best on film by taking a few practice runs.

As Mat advises, talking with employees beforehand can help them feel comfortable with you, and build a sense of familiarity. That why they’re more likely to feel more like themselves on camera, and take your notes easily.

Go off script

Say what? Scripts are created for a reason: you need to make sure the message is clear and well conveyed. But don’t be afraid to allow employees to make the script their own. You can’t put words in someone’s mouth and have it sound natural, so as Mat suggests, let them use their own words. Let them have some fun with it, and show their own enthusiasm, passion, and depth of knowledge (they are the expert in what they are talking about, after all!). It will look much more genuine and sincere, which can only help your viewers connect more easily with you.

So there you have it. You may not be able to hire Tom Cruise for your next video, but you have a ton of people in your very own company who could be the perfect star to share your message.

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Emily Ross

Emily Ross

Emily was previously the Brand and Creative Manager at Vidyard. Today, she's a UI writer at Intel. Emily loves creating interesting and unique content oh, and food...if you haven't already noticed, she loves food.

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