Why The Scout Association's Simon Carter hired professionals to produce video content
When I put in a budget that contained a line about hiring a cameraman/editor to support the PR for this summer’s World Scout Jamboree, I was challenged to justify the return on investment (ROI) that this budget provision would generate.
I remember saying to the chief executive that spending £2,000 on hiring professional camera and editing skills would prove value for money; when the budget got approved I needed to make good my promise.
Why did we invest in professional camera and editing skills?
Firstly, I knew that the world Scout Jamboree in Sweden was a great story and would provide lots of content for local and national broadcasters back in the UK.Secondly, I know that in the UK news budgets are stretched like never before – yet the pressure on news editors to generate interesting, attractive coverage that reaches out to their viewers is still there.
My aim was to generate interesting coverage that contained our own messaging, could be provided to broadcasters at no cost and that it would be easy for them to plug into their editorial stream.
How did we get a return on investment?
We secured the support of Fluid HD, a great production company with experience of shooting footage in the style of news reportage (ENG style – electronic news gathering). Technology these days also allowed material to be edited in the field, so the whole process could happen on site.We then developed a few story lines that would appeal to national and regional broadcasters.
For national broadcasters we offered the opening ceremony (featuring Bear Grylls and 40,000 Scouts from almost every county). For regional broadcasters we developed an approach based around "local people from this TV region join in with the largest youth gathering the world has ever seen".
ITV East Midlands was keen on the package we pulled together. We shot material that covered Scouts from their region taking part in the event and gave them a shot list of the content of the package. The regional news editor pulled together a script and edit of the material, and it went out on ITV regional news in this format. All the transmitted content was shot by us, so we were sure it contained our messages.
We also sold the story to BBC World, who had their own reporter at the event. The journalist produced their own material, but we provided additional content. The item ended up running longer and more frequently than it would have done had we have not made extra stock material available to the broadcaster.
So was I able to make good my promise? The regional TV piece was seen by 700,000 viewers, and the BBC World piece was seen by over 30 million viewers. It ran a few times that day. I was able to point out that the advertising value equivalent of both pieces was well over £200,000; the ROI was 100 fold. We then also had video material we could use internally to show our membership what was happening at the jamboree, increasing ROI.
Tips on using your own video to support TV coverage of a story
- Make sure you have a good story to tell. There is no substitute for a good story.
- Make sure the material you provide to the broadcaster is shot ENG style – that’s how they expect it.
- Use a good supplier who know what they are doing (eg Fluid HD). Sound, focus and format must be up to broadcast standards.
- Provide a shot list with the material so the broadcaster knows what they are getting.
- Invest time in the selling-in process. The broadcaster needs to feel comfortable they are getting good quality material they can put to air.
- Get the material to the broadcaster quickly (by bike or FTP download). In news, minutes matter.
- Deliver material in HD as many newsrooms can’t edit the material yet.
- Over polish the material. The journalists do want to do some editing to make the material you supply their own.