Expanding Your Business With Video Content – Tips from Expert Niamh Guckian

By gemmacreagh - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

When it comes to managing a business, it can be difficult to navigate the world of marketing and video content creation. How do you represent your brand? What is the best way to communicate with your customers? A seasoned filmmaker, Niamh Guckian has been creating iconic videos for Irish and International companies for years. Now, her company Go Motion Academy has taken the world of SMEs by storm. We got to chat with Niamh about her background, her training programmes and what advice she has for people looking to make their mark online.

So first up, how did you get into this field?

I’ve been obsessed with moving pictures and sound since I was a kid. I think having no TV at home when I was growing up had a lot to do with it! My parents wanted me and my brothers to study hard and TV was considered a distraction. So I had to steal opportunities to watch television elsewhere as often as I could, and going to the cinema was like a religious experience. And you know what, I did study hard – but mainly to get the points to do Communications at DCU, where I got to watch television and movies for three years!

Then shortly after graduating I got a job in RTÉ and had the time of my life for many years making television programmes for real. Somewhere along the line, I was asked to do some training, and I really enjoyed it. I had always paid a lot of attention to what I was doing in television, and I found I was pretty good at explaining the production process to people who didn’t know about cameras or editing. At a certain point I decided that this was knowledge I had that I could give to others, to help them to get to grips with video. Particularly people in business who don’t have the time or the need to go to film school, but who now need to learn how to film and edit simple social video.

That’s the essence of Go Motion Academy – it’s like film school for business!

Sounds excellent! When it comes to your own productions and campaigns, where do you get your creative inspiration from?

I pretty much consume everything creative, from big brand video content to micro Instagrammers, and lots of ad content. Every now and then I hit upon some inspiration I can really put to good use. Right now, I’m taking in a lot of content from female entrepreneurs in the States. I like to sign up to their email newsletters and then watch how the re-marketing happens. The tone of copy is hugely interesting to me, because we still rely on text to lead us to other media forms. So great website copy, with plenty of video material is something I like a lot at the moment.

Is storytelling a big part of this marketing process?

Storytelling is a word that I believe has really been hijacked by marketing! I mean, it’s a term that’s been taken, and gilded, and put on a pedestal, as if it’s something special. This has the effect of making people feel like, oh no, here’s something else I have to learn how to do and get really good at. But the reality is, we are ALL storytellers, we start telling stories as soon as we can talk, and as adults, we tell stories all day long. And we’re all very good at it. It’s a matter of getting back to the basics of it, and not over-complicating things. A story for your business needs a small surprise which will lead to a small transformation. And a beginning middle and end. The simpler the better.

In general, how important is creating video content for a business?

I’m not going to drag out the scary statistics around video for business. The whole area of video can be intimidating enough! It’s just going to get more and more important and prevalent.

An easier way to think about video is less as a form of entertainment, and simply a form of communication. So we’ll see sales migrating to video, video resumés for jobs, video emails – lots of situations where text and email will be replaced by video, for the simple reason that it’s more efficiently received than text.

This is the type of video that people in business need to up-skill for now – internal communications and social outreach.

That makes perfect sense. How have businesses you’ve worked with benefited from video training?

More than anything, our clients benefit from a huge increase in confidence around video. So they learn the technical skills to make their own simple video. But they also get the confidence to critically analyse what they’re seeing when they watch something -why something is good, why something is not so good. That new knowledge allows them to create their own material in a professional way – but also means they will commission with confidence when they work with a third-party. Instead of being wholly dependent on the opinions and vision of an agency for example, they can really get involved in an informed way with how their budget is being spent.

What advice would you give a client looking to develop a video strategy? 

The critical starting point is audience. In television, audiences are targetted according to precision demographics, just like a customer avatar. As targetted as a Facebook audience. The mistake a lot of businesses make is not really knowing why they want to make video – and who they want to watch it. Depending on what part of the sales funnel the video lives in, the audience might be someone other than existing customers for example. This is not a difficult piece of work, it’s just that it’s often skipped to get to the production bit, which is the more fun piece for sure! But if the work on the audience is done first, the rest will follow. The creativity bit, the filming bit, none of that works properly if you can’t tell anyone who the audience is.

What are a few common pitfalls businesses should avoid?

I think video ‘for the sake of it’ is the biggest mistake that businesses make. Video is very time-consuming and builds a lot of expectation internally, so if there is no real raison d’etre apart from ‘we really should make a video’, it’s unlikely to yield results, and then the strategy withers.

When it comes to gear, roughly how much do people need to invest in to get professional quality videos?

I could say ‘nothing’, which is partly true! We teach people to get pro pictures and sound using just their smartphone and an app. But of course, it’s best to have a few bits and bobs, like an external mike and a tripod to help you along. Our training courses use equipment that we recommend and stand over, so I’d say a business can get started with professional looking video for around €200.

In that process, how important is the sound?

Sound is actually more important than pictures. I’ve seen so many excellent pieces-to-camera go in the bin because of poor sound. Distorted or very low sound is literally unusable. People filming without due regard for audio close their eyes and grit their teeth and pray that no-one will notice, but you know what? They notice! If you can’t hear it, no-one else can hear it. And if your ears hurt, everyone’s ears hurt! Sound is always forgotten about, so we put huge emphasis on it in the training.

Can you tell us about the training you’re running at the moment?

Our two most popular course at the moment are Camera Skills For Business and Video Editing For Business. We combine them also in a two-day Masterclass. They’re designed for total beginners or improvers, with a specific emphasis on social video for business. No experience or equipment is necessary, and we use apps and software that can be used straight away, without the need to invest in expensive gear.

What programmes will people learn?

For Camera Skills we work with the FilmicPro app, which is the gold-standard video app for iPhone and Android. Editing software varies, but is either free or very low cost.

What’s the average profile of people on these courses?

We work a lot with young digital marketing teams who are busy with their brand’s social channels.

We also work with educators and government departments, doing in-house training.

And our open workshops are attended by marketers, entrepreneurs, and SME’s.

That covers a lot – do you have anything new coming up?

We’re developing an online course at the moment called ‘Video Confidence For Women In Business’. This is a subject that’s close to my heart because after years of working behind the camera, I’ve had to put myself ‘front-of-house’ to create video content for my own business. So that has given me the inspiration to help other women in business to do the same. It’s a course particularly for women because we are notoriously reluctant to put ourselves in the spotlight!

Technology is always changing, can you spot any future trends on the horizon we should be looking out for?

I think the most fascinating development in video in the near future is going to be in the area of re-marketing videos. So, you know that if you leave something in a shopping cart online today, later on you’ll get an email, right? I do see a time coming soon when instead, you’ll get a video message in your inbox with a human saying “Hey, Niamh, I noticed you left without buying the jacket. Is there anything I can do to put it back in your cart? Maybe a 10% discount will help your decision?”

Those emails will become videos in your inbox, and that’s going to be a really interesting development. As a result, I truly believe that camera shyness will be a thing of the past – video communication will be such an intrinsic part of our daily lives.

Thanks for chatting with us, Niamh – definitely something we’ll bear in mind. 

About Niamh Guckian

Niamh Guckian is a highly-experienced television producer director, formerly with RTÉ and The Irish Times. Additionally, as a BBC-qualified trainer, she has been training content makers in video for social media for several years.

Her company Go Motion Academy is a ‘film school for business’. It’s founded on three key tenets: applying broadcast standards to online video, generating purposeful video content creation to match marketing objectives, and expert training with easy and available tools.  Her training courses respond to the challenges faced by businesses in sustaining the production of social video content, by bringing video skills in-house to save time, money and hassle.


Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist.
Tuning in: Interview with Musical Theatre expert Niamh Andrews Fraher