You're ready to pitch on a big project or new client and want to put your best creative foot forward. But how do you show them your best work in a way that makes them take notice? When it matters most, you want to show a reel that not only makes your company look great but can also be customized to the particular client's needs, even if it's on short notice. Here's how to make that happen.
What Matters When You're Building Reels In House
Keep It Together
Every additional step it takes to get your work samples onto your finished reel is another obstacle between you and your potential new work.
Think about all the disparate components involved in delivering a video showreel:
Cataloging and storing all the pieces of content you want to include
Choosing and finding the best ones for the particular reel
Gathering them from storage into your reel-building platform
Making sure they're all in the same correct format
Designing a template or format to showcase them
With all these steps, you must find as streamlined a solution as possible. Since the reel is your primary calling card (tailored, of course, to your prospective client), you'll want to make it possible to draw from the entire archive of your company's creative work samples, as well as any job-specific or client-specific creative references and illustrative examples you need. If you need to hunt them down in more than one place and move them to another, you've already lost time, and team members may overlook important pieces.
Choose a solution that doesn't require people to take the media out of various other systems and move it, transfer it, convert it or send it to another system. It should all be ready to go and easy to look through. Once you have a library of all your finished work and other elements uploaded, cataloged, tagged and easy to search, you can easily use it as a resource to create customized pitch reels whenever you need.
Many companies use a variety of different tools to present and share their work, but very few are comprehensive solutions and many require a significant amount of oversight and expertise to keep track of and run smoothly. The multi-tool approach requires numerous steps to collect assets and deliver a polished reel. It also means paying multiple monthly fees for different tools and multiple storage costs and licenses across those tools. It also creates more moving parts that can potentially fail when you need them.
Instead, look into building a setup that combines all of these functions in a single place so that everything is compatible, easy to find and ensures your presentations are consistent and reliable.
Keep It Simple (But Attractive)
You want tools that are simple enough that anyone can easily create a reel when prospective clients want to see one. And "anyone" could even mean a junior staffer who happens to get a reel request when everyone is out of the office. One of the main reasons to bring your reel-building in-house, in addition to cost savings, is the ability to turn things around quickly. Your responsiveness alone—along with your ability to turn around a beautiful presentation quickly—will make a strong impression from the start and potentially get you the chance to compete for projects you might have missed out on otherwise.
Make it easy for salespeople and technophobes to pitch your company's services by finding a solution with premade templates, customizable design themes, and drag-and-drop presentation-building features now available on many modern platforms. The most efficient in-house reel-building systems don't demand tech or editing skills, nor require you to hire someone especially to manage the solution. You'll save lots of money and time by choosing a platform that doesn't require heavy training, a systems background, coding knowledge or substantial IT support.
Use these features to create a consistent and appealing look, and then make it standard for all your presentations. A unified look is a sign of professionalism. The ability to simply plug in an asset and have it "just work" saves many nail-biting hours otherwise spent struggling with incompatible file formats, overcomplicated editing software, and painstaking creative guidelines. Since you're selling your creativity and taste, it's important to keep in mind that every presentation you send out represents your company's creative standards, even if it wasn't put together by an art director or designer.
If there's any caution that must be taken around allowing business development people, sales reps, producers, and other non-creatives to build effective creative reels, it's that you have to create firm standards for your presentations in advance. There should be fixed guidelines for what your materials look like and a system for making attractive showcases that consistently represent your company's brand while incorporating your prospective client's. You want to avoid forcing individual users into making their own design decisions on the fly. That's a recipe for quickly turning a potentially captivating portfolio into an embarrassment. Set up templates that fit the image you want, and then apply those templates automatically to any reels or presentations that go out for any purpose. It will make you look professional, regardless of your company's size.
Technology Is Your Friend
While the process of creating and sending out reels may be mired in the past, technology has provided a host of advanced tools that can help you make your reels work even harder for you. You can use tech to up your new business game if you take full advantage of the tools available.
Make sure your reel-building solution offers robust data reporting built-in, so you can make better, faster and more effective decisions about how to follow up on the presentations and reels you've sent out. The available resources these days go way beyond the basic Google Analytics codes used on the showcase pages of yesteryear. Beyond basic viewing stats, you can eliminate uncertainty around the business development process by knowing not just whether your reel was viewed (or wasn't) but also when it was watched, whether and how widely it was shared, which parts the client viewed, how long they spent on each part and which bits they viewed more than once. That definitely can help you decide what should go on each reel and if you're likely to get their business or at least attract their interest. You can even use it for A/B testing to determine what performs best and what to include on future reels. All of these types of insights can signal interest, consideration and the urgency of a decision. Finding this type of solution can help you make better, more profitable new business decisions.
The right technology also helps keep things under (digital) lock and key. All clients like to know that their valuable work is safe and can't be accessed randomly. Since you're usually using existing clients' work to attract new ones, you want to be respectful of your existing clients when you show their work to new prospects. By doing that, you're also letting your new prospects know that you'll take the same care with any work you create for them. Unlike showcase websites and traditional asset storage solutions, modern asset management and reel-building systems can also offer higher-tech security features, like watermarking and personal access codes. Once your materials are uploaded, you can make sure that only the people you want can access your files and view your reels. This allows you to show new work to potential clients even if it's not yet ready to be viewed by a wide audience. And it lets you privately and safely share your other clients' work without compromising their business. You also don't have to settle for old-school basic protections like passwords if you feel you need a higher level of security. Some platforms offer more advanced multi-factor security and even integrate it with their analytics so you can keep track of who is seeing your work in real time.
Make Your Next Pitch A Fast One
The arduous process of finding new clients and bidding on their work isn't going away any time soon. But with tools that let you quickly put your prospective clients front and center – using the beautiful work you've already created – you can get on the shortlist and possibly even short-circuit the process of winning more work.