The constant demand for new social content continues to grow exponentially. The demand to deliver great content faster and cheaper continues to grow. It can be overwhelming for even the very fastest and best content creators. But tech has risen to the occasion to help social content creators meet this challenge: Backstage presents the Content Creation Stack, a one-stop collection of platforms that provide project management, production (including pre- and post-production), and distribution tools for companies producing video content. With these tools, companies can improve the quality of their teamwork, and their output by accomplishing:
- Efficiency. Eliminate the added time and stress of delegating tasks to employees that may not have the resources to produce quality content.
- Diversification. Build your content with a wide range of age, race, and gender demographics.
- High-volume content with few resources. The stack gives you resources without you needing to come up with new ideas all the time.
- Avoidance of content confusion. Let the stack be your guide from pre-production to distribution.
- Money-saving. Budget just for the expertise needed to complete the project and nothing more.
The full Stack can be found here.
The shift to remote work has made assembling large teams for video projects on big budgets more difficult, but the technology included in the Stack can lessen the need for it. A small crew can devote their time to the steps of the production process they do best and then use these platforms as a means of outsourcing, so some of the work will be done for them. Because these platforms can be accessed on an as-needed basis for each project, tailoring projects can be easier. A small production team won’t, say, have to hire an entirely new team member to do a job that only one of their projects requires.
“The emphasis of digital collaboration ingrained in the technology behind these tools promotes this shift we are seeing in production altogether, hiring out contractors for specific roles versus an agency giant,” producer Megan Soh says.
Quickly being able to access a tech platform, or multiple, that specializes in the specific tasks your company needs increases efficiency. In a world where a high volume of content is king, the Stack can help cheapen, quicken and ease the production process without sacrificing quality for quantity of content.
One area included in the Stack is project management. Most general project management software facilitates scheduling, collaboration and productivity that can help connect even the most far-flung production crews. The Stack also includes software specific to video production companies, including Studiobinder, Yamdu, and Celtx, that can act as a one-stop “mission control” for your project. Many of these platforms are available on computers and phones, so key members of the production team can oversee their work from just about anywhere, an especially valuable ability now.
The Stack’s array of pre-production tools cover storyboarding, budgeting, casting and crew assembly, location scouting and gear hire—a full slate to assist any crew’s needs. Like the project management tools, most of the pre-production technology is adaptable to facilitate remote collaboration. The script-writing software Final Draft, for example, now allows multiple users to edit scripts in real time. With on-location shoots still presenting challenges—finding a suitable filming location chief among them—the Location Scout software can help you in your search for that perfect haunted house or woodland cottage to shoot. And Backstage is the perfect hub for casting that eliminates the need to sift through hard copies of headshots or arrange live casting calls.
The production process itself no longer has to occur totally in-person, either. The Stack’s production resources aid with crew management, tech support, content production and legal needs. The major perk of using the content production software in particular is that past projects and versions can be easily stored for reference later should you need it. Adobe Spark, for example, is a content management software that incorporates everything you’ll need—text, images, and video—and options like Sauce, Wideo, Stencil, and Crello are all also available in the Stack. In addition, similarly to the project management software, much of the crew management software provides access to real-time production updates from anywhere. Celtx Studio, one of the video-specific project and crew management platforms, generates dynamic call sheets—scripts, schedule, and production catalog—that update on-the-fly as production schedules change.
The Stack has you just as covered in post-production, with tools for image and video editing, sound editing and mixing, hiring for audio, finding stock media, and storing and archiving content.
Once you’ve created all this content, distribution is key to ensure people actually see it. Of the five production areas, distribution has seen the most disruption now that there are so many channels to reach audiences on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and (most recently) TikTok only scratch the surface. Luckily, the Stack includes a slate of tools to facilitate distribution as well. There is a group of influencer marketing tools to help a company handpick the right influencer for its needs and craft a tailored media campaign around them. Companies without the budget for a full-time social media expert can make use of tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Loomly to manage their social platforms themselves.
A platform like Bamboo takes it a step further by facilitating the planning of events (virtual for now), campaign management, paid social, paid search, and creative services for paid social and paid search, and it is joined in the Stack by other platforms like Ladder and Juice for algorithmic content testing. The Stack also includes various types of content hosting platforms, such as Vimeo, WordPress, Mailchimp and Podbean; content creation platforms such as Quuu and Juicer; and platforms like Wyng, Sparkle and Taggbox for user-generated content.
All this is necessary because running a business in 2020 requires not only producing lots of content, but also knowing how to market it. Three-quarters of companies now use content marketing to build brand awareness, create trust, and educate audiences, and digital advertising is now a $30 billion larger business than television advertising. Social media and online video are the two fastest-growing channels by revenue growth, so brands need content for social media, including Facebook ads, Instagram stories, and Snapchat and Tik Tok content, to name a few. They need content for their website. And they need services to deliver the content into the right peoples’ feeds, to monitor success of said content, to ensure ROI, which the Stack provides.
Soundbetter, one of the audio hiring platforms featured on the Stack, is an example of a platform that has found success in this. Soundbetter gives content creation teams access to the world’s premier singers, songwriters, studio musicians, and mixing and mastering engineers. According to co-founder Shachar Gilad, the company has built a niche since its inception in 2012: “One of the profiles of clients that we’re seeing more and more of is marketing agencies looking for jingles. Even people come to hire voiceover, occasionally, on SoundBetter. We see people coming looking for backing tracks, for full songs for ads. They actually want them to record vocals and they want, really, a short song. Those jingles end up sounding less like elevator music and more like real tracks.”
Companies like Listen Lively have also made use of platforms included in the Stack; their purpose was to rebrand. As a direct-to-consumer hearing aid company, it wanted a lead image for its website featuring a modestly attractive person in their 40s or 50s to show that hearing loss is not limited to the elderly. The company used Backstage to cast the perfect talent.
“Over the past two years, we’ve seen tremendous growth in postings from brands and creative agencies looking for talent for their content marketing campaigns. Brands are turning to solutions like Backstage to directly hire talent and produce content at scale,” said Josh Ellstein, Backstage’s CEO.
Ultimately, though, these platforms are but support for a creative director with a strong vision; a skilled creator can produce quality content with any scope of monetary and technological resources. Many with limited resources resort to the DTC aesthetic—millennial pink and sans serif fonts—but it works, because such content is often made by and for millennials who know their target demographic. Creating polished content with such an aesthetic doesn’t require a large, expert team—just a core crew that can piece together additional services as needed by using the various technologies available.
Another way the Stack’s technology types aid creators is by helping to combat content fatigue. Helena Price Hambrecht, founder of aperitif company Haus, discussed how she took all her company’s photos herself at its inception, and while thousands were strong enough to use in ads and the like, they looked similar, which can lead to social users especially tuning out after a while if they’re not seeing anything new. Looking forward, she’s searching for partners who can create multiple different types of content that can be rolled out across the months to prevent content fatigue. She might do one larger shoot per year to set the direction and tone and augment the content from it with small production houses and high-quality user-generated content as a means of diversification.
The need for all this technology, especially as a means of facilitating remote production, was only accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. However, many of these technologies have the potential to remain relevant even when in-person shooting resumes. From remote viewing technology to online crew management, it will be harder for life or distance to get in the way of industry workers seeking opportunities.
For over 50 years, Backstage has served as the #1 resource for performers to find work while helping talent-seekers move their projects forward. Their 100,000+ members represent a powerful network of entertainment professionals who leverage their unlimited submissions, best-in-class casting tools, and more performance roles than any other casting service. Learn more at www.backstage.com.