Top Five Tips for Managing Vertical Content Creation

Video Creative Producer
Published 6/1/23
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Considerations for capturing the imaginations of visitors in vertical video

The moment at which the smartphone reached ubiquity was much like the Big Bang itself; the seismic magnitude of its impact stretched far and wide changing the world as we know it. And while some effects of this evolution were obvious and intentional from the outset, there were other manifestations whose profound influences we never saw coming. I mean, who could have guessed that the pure mechanics of holding a screen vertically coinciding with the growing popularity of online video, would spawn a global shift in how video is consumed and in what format – even that is putting it mildly. As someone who’s spent the better part of two decades (cue midlife crisis) ensconced in all things online video – this is MAJOR. And if you haven’t hopped on the vertical video bandwagon, my bet is that you will eventually. That’s not a threat, that’s a promise.  

But change is good! There’s no need to fear the shift, and we’re willing to give away some of the secrets to vertical video success in order to help guide you into this next phase. This is only the first of a handful of blogs coming that are dedicated to the subject, let us be your vertical video guides on this journey.

For this first offering – I’m going to get straight to the meat. Can we skip to the good part, as it were. Here’s five things to consider when diving into creating vertical video and tips to help you manage content creation.

  1. Be Authentic – Viewers across the most popular vertical video platforms (TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels) tend to be drawn to authentic, real experiences. Real stories and solid storytelling should be central to all vertical video content. With audiences clamoring for authenticity, this means vertical video creators can get away with less production value – it’s a more forgiving medium. Using your smartphone to capture content is more than fine if not gold standard depending on the content you’re creating. Yes, even we shoot with cell phones here at Odyssey Studios, the Content Studio at Miles, when the video calls for it! This viral video has over 7 million views, 1 million likes and counting and it’s…shot through a dirty windshield – would the views have been even higher had the creator Windex’d the glass before? The world will never know, but what we do know is people love getting a feel for the real experience. So, if the epic view still looks epic through a dirty windshield, then it is probably mind-blowing in real life. Consider my flight already booked.
  2. Brand Lightly – Avoid overly branding your vertical content. There are ways to still communicate brand messaging without slapping a bunch of logos on there. It’s about nuance – your content should speak the same language as your brand but do so in a way that doesn’t feel obvious. Subtle ways this can be done? Music, fonts, color grading, visual style, editing style, etc. Check out this example from Long Island.
  3. Recycle (with care) – In an ideal world, every video you create would be shot in vertical and customized based on which platform you’re posting to.  Nobody’s got that kind of time (at least unless you’re making a full-time go of it). With that being said, feel free to repurpose vertical content across platforms – what performs well in one place may perform differently elsewhere. Feel free to experiment. Additionally, if you do decide to reuse existing horizontal footage for vertical, it’s a good idea to employ an editor skilled in creating vertical content to get the most out of your assets. Taking a social-first approach can do a myriad of things to help you deliver great vertical content with existing footage. Check out this stellar example that Odyssey Studios created for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater – from the nicely framed shots of talent to the custom social-friendly graphics, this video does a great job of reusing existing content and taking a vertical, social-first approach to the fresh edit. 
  4. Use a Content Calendar – Using a content calendar and pre-planning your videos in advance will make everything easier. This bird’s eye view of the months to come will help you consider events and other timely activities that you may need to plan to shoot during a specific timeframe as well as align deployment with seasonality in mind. As you would on other platforms, you want to be posting messaging that aligns with the time of year travelers typically book, with seasonally-appropriate content. It’s also a good way to ensure cohesion with the rest of your multi-platform content strategy. As with any other social platform, you want to develop a posting cadence and post often – having a repository of video ideas and completed edits in the bank helps keep that cadence going and ensures your audience is consistently satiated with a diet of your destination’s content.
  5. Experiment – Follow our advice…but also, don’t be scared to try something and see if it works. Every destination is different and as such, no one audience is exactly the same…even across your own channels. Try the trends, get creative with different styles of content; review your data and try to notice what’s working and what’s not. Visit Chattanooga took a risk by trying out a trend – with over 7.6 million views and 82k likes, I’d say the risk paid off.

So, perhaps the best advice I can give you (for now) as you start your journey in vertical video is an oldie but a goodie – don’t be afraid try! Post with regularity, keep an eye on your analytics, make modifications as you go. You’ve got this!