Tag Archives: video content

Moving Pictures: Storytelling on the Web

Humans are social beings, and we have an inherent need to connect with others to create a sense of belonging and acceptance. You may have not thought about it in this way, but a large part of Facebook-Videothat connection with others is telling stories – everything from your uncle’s hunting tales, to reminiscing with college [studying] buddies, and even the “I remember” conversations you get by looking at your old family photos.

All of these examples are stories that build history, value and connection between people. Stories are so ingrained into our existence as humans that no matter how far you look back into history, every culture’s beliefs, artistry and writings are really just a collection of stories about hope, fear and knowledge that are passed from one person to another over the course of time. Our need to use stories as a connection and communication tool has not diminished with the onset of technology – not by 35mm’s, or even a pixel. The film industry alone is at $88 billion per year, only rivaled by the essentials of modern existence – power, construction, medicine … and Wal-Mart.

Do you have a story to tell? Video is a format that changes how a story is told. We live in a spectacular time when the tools to create video are more accessible than ever before. You don’t need an $80 million blockbuster budget or a 30-person crew either. Quality cameras are affordable (every phone has one), and powerful graphics and animation software is cheap (or even free!). The audience doesn’t have to imagine what you are trying to say, because you are not just telling your story, you can show them. You can easily have your own web video channel about parenting, how-to series about car repair, watch product demos, or have your own web cartoon – and place it in the palm of anyone’s hand.

As our culture changes, the way we consume information and tell stories will follow suit. Thanks to the Internet and smartphones, your story is now only a click or swipe away. The days of text-heavy websites – overflowing with tables, paragraphs and bullet points – are long gone. Everyone is busy and on the go. Statistics say 40% of us are engaging other people on our tiny, handheld portals to the Internet. Since time and accessibility seem to be the issue, I know I would rather experience a story in 30 seconds, with full-screen video and audio, rather than try to absorb the same story across four screens worth of 10-point Helvetica. I certainly do believe in the power of the written word, being a creative writer (and now blogging here on TKGenius!).

Writing in general will always holds its value with expanded explanations, imaginative narrations and abstract thoughts. A novel will always have greater depth and details than its movie counterpart. Unfortunately, I can’t process the novel-version of that same story in the same hour and a half with my fourth-grade reading speed. Video lends itself to the modern web because you can use focused storytelling to rapidly engage audiences with a complete story that can easily be shared on any web page, social media forum, or sent through email.

If you have a very clear message to convey in a short timeframe, consider video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but video is worth a thousand words twenty-four times per second – and has its own soundtrack. We all have a little time for a great story. How are you telling yours?

How to Plan a Great Video: 5 Easy Steps

You already know that video is one of the most important content marketing pieces to consider for your business. You’ve read the stats and figures, and maybe you already have a few ideas of the types of things you’d like to show your customers.

Planning a video can be as easy as grabbing your point and shoot and clicking record. Some companies are very successful with this method and can quickly produce regular videos with this kind of content.

5 Easy Steps to a Great VIdeoIf, however, you are like many organizations that often need to plan around budgets, promotions or busy seasons, here’s how to produce a great video in 5 Easy Steps.

1. Mine Your Current Marketing Calendar: Take a look at your current marketing calendar or planned promotions. How can you show part of your business in a way that fits with what you’re already doing? For example, if spring is a big push for your garden center business, you could show videos that:

  • Show current products in store, or show how your business is preparing for spring
  • Highlight an employee’s work anniversary, and have him or her give the best tips for spring planting
  • Film a “how to” video on the best way to prep a lawn for spring

Remember, streamlining your overall messages across all your marketing efforts actually makes producing content that much easier. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with video…just make it work with what you’re already doing.

2. Pick Your Concept and Key Message: Once you’ve looked at your calendar, pick the overarching concept and key message that you want your video to convey.

For example, returning to the garden center business, let’s say you choose to show a quick how-to video on preparing a lawn for spring. While you’re producing value-added content for the customer about lawn care, the key message may actually be:

  • Our business is knowledgeable: we know everything there is to know about lawns
  • Our business is trustworthy: you can trust us to help you with every aspect of lawn care
  • Our business offers the best in value: the products we use in this video are affordable when you purchase with us

Narrowing your key message allows you to not only clearly convey to the customer exactly what he needs to know, it helps you know what parts of your video to keep, and which parts to edit.

3. Create an Outline, Script and/or Storyboard: Even if you’re only creating a 60 second video with your iPhone, a brief outline helps to focus production time. Your outline can be as simple as:

  • Intro–John says hello, mentions he is from ABC Nursery, and says, “Today I’m going to show you how to prep your lawn for spring.”
  • Tip 1–John shows how to clear lawn of old debris from winter
  • Tip 2–John shows how to cut any old buds or dead branches from bushes
  • Tip 3–John shows how to spread first layer of mulch
  • Outtro–John says thank you for watching, invites viewers to visit in-store or go to www.abcnursery.com, end with logo and website.

For videos where you’d like to add more detail, or if you’re using an outside vendor to help edit or produce your video, a storyboard that uses both desired images and a script or outline helps to give an exact vision for the project. Again, this step doesn’t have to be super high-tech. Celtx is a free software that allows you to put together quick and easy storyboards, or there are lots of free storyboard templates to download, as well.

Either way, this step can save time and headaches during the shooting and editing process when you already have a clear vision for the project.

4. Think Like an Editor: Whether you’re editing a video in-house or you’ve hired someone to help, do your best not to get too attached to every minute of content. It’s incredibly easy to fall in love with footage, especially if you have an emotional attachment to the subject (e.g. a favorite customer, or special project).

Unfortunately, a ten minute video that includes seven minutes of outtakes, or every single nut and bolt of a new machine is not only going to lose the audience, it’ll lose the key message.

Think “short and sweet” as well as big picture when going through the editing process. 60-90 seconds is plenty of time for a quick and easy how-to that gives bare essentials and points viewers back to your website or asks them to call for more details. Content should always be a driver to push viewers to do something about your message. That action gets awfully tricky to take if they’re seeing only the footage you love, and not the footage that actually matters to them.

If you did film lots of footage that you can’t bear to part with, consider breaking it up into a longer series of videos, or using some of those smaller snippets as “drip content” for your Facebook page or Twitter account.

For example, maybe the overall “How to Prep Your Lawn for Spring” video is 90 seconds long, but you got several candid moments of Jon giving tips that didn’t make the final cut. Package each tip into a 15-20 second snippet that you can add a title to, and a quick logo and call to action at the end. Three or four of these will make fantastic Facebook, blog or newsletter content pieces.

Anytime you edit, though, keep your initial key message and outline in mind. Cut parts that don’t speak directly to those guidelines…don’t worry, you can always use the footage that didn’t make it at another time.

5. Optimize and Promote: Once your video is edited and ready to go, you’ll likely want to publish it to YouTube. YouTube is the number two search platform right behind Google, so it’s a smart place to gather your video content.

The title of your video is extremely important on YouTube. Avoid overly clever or creative titles, and instead opt for a title that speaks plainly to what the content is and what the viewer should expect to see. “How to Prepare Your Lawn for Spring” or “Three Spring Lawn Care Tips” are far more searchable and relatable titles than “John and Spring, It’s a Thing!”

Keep the first part of your video description very short (one to two sentences), and add a URL to a unique landing page or your website. Use related tags to also help your video rank well in search, and choose a thumbnail that shows clearly what the video is about.

Optimization, however, is only part of the post-production puzzle. Promoting the video is also important, so include it in your Social posts, newsletter and blog. Embed it on a page of your website that includes other how tos or promotions. Or, use it as part of your digital sales or media package.

YouTube not only looks at how well a video is optimized when ranking the video in search, it also looks for how often and how recently a video has been viewed. So be proud of the work you’ve done, and don’t just share once…keep pushing it to all your Web outlets to rack up those views and rankings.

These five easy steps should guide the overall process of producing great video content on a regular basis. If you are looking to create something more in depth, like a mini-documentary, music video, or animated infographic, you might need to call in the pros to help you with hiring talent or adding snappy edits.

This step, however, often comes after steps one and two. Some production companies can help with initial ideation and key concepts, but make sure you take the first steps to know what you want to say and when you want to say it. And if you are hiring professionals, make sure to look a few months ahead to allow for time to plan for right filming conditions, shoot times, editing and any other post-production work or development.

Have questions about creating great video content? Ask away in the comments!

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Using Video as Content

Did you know that by the year 2017, a Cisco study says 69% of all consumer web traffic will be to access video content? Here are three things you didn’t know about using video as content to help you prepare for the future of video.Video Content

  1. Customers are more likely to buy after seeing a video. A recent study from the Web Video Marketing Council and Flimp Media shows that video embedded in an email can be a very persuasive. Some stats from the study:
  • 88% report that email with integrated video improves overall campaign performance
  • 76% acknowledged that video generates high click-through rates
  • 72% believe that prospective clients are more likely to buy after viewing video content sent via an email.
  1. The concept of “show and tell” is still very much a part of who we are. If we see it, we are more likely to believe. Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to watch a video than read a report or a case study. Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report illustrates this concept in a big way by showing that most North American small businesses and big brands are focusing on video as the critical content marketing element for their future branding efforts.
  1. Human connection sells, and it sells well. People like to see a face, hear a voice and connect with the emotion of the person or people in a video. There is a reason YouTube gets over one billion views per month; even in this super tech world, we are still looking for that human-to-human connection, even if it is just on the screen. Showing the people or causes behind your company is a compelling way to differentiate yourself from your competition.

What are your favorite ways to use video content? Tell us in the comments!
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How to Create Engaging Video Content that Gets Results

You’ve probably watched more than your share of video content on the Web. What is it that keeps you coming back for more? We’re not talking about the endless array of cat videos on YouTube, though we’ve laughed at our share of those, too. We’re talking about videos that tell a story, share an experience or explain a new product.Engaging Video Content

Because of the way Google and YouTube measure traffic for video, (the viewer has to watch for eight seconds to be considered as one view); you must grab attention quickly, then continue to deliver compelling, watchable content.

Follow these tips on how to create compelling video content that will have your audience watching and engaging with you and your business.

  1. Understand your key message(s) before filming. Break up information into bite size pieces and deliver it in a fresh and relatable way. Whether you’re delivering straight to camera in a “video diary” format, or creating something more complex, the audience should walk away knowing exactly what you were trying to say or show.
  2. Add music for enhanced impact. Music can be an engaging addition to your video, and can help add an emotional appeal to your message. Websites like audiojungle.com allow users to search and purchase music affordably for video.
  3. Vary the view. Secondary footage, B-roll or even photos can really help keep your audience’s attention. Software like iMovie or Celtx allows even those with basic editing skills to storyboard a script ahead of time, so that it’s easy to “drop” images or footage into your video.
  4. Tell a story. Storytelling is a powerful tool in video. Know your audience well, and tell them a story that specifically relates to their interests and needs.
  5. Categorize information. Think in terms of main categories or “buckets” when planning your overall content strategy for video. Categories might include:
    • About videos, which convey who you are as a company or as individuals (e.g. a profile on an employee who has been with the company for over 25 years)
    • Demonstration videos, which showcase a product or service (e.g. a 30 second overview of how a new machine works)
    • Education videos, which teach viewers a new skill related to your industry or niche (e.g. a garden center would explain how to get a perfect lawn)
    • Testimonial videos, which would highlight great reviews or stories about your business from actual customers or clients (e.g. a happy family who has benefitted from your services)
  6. Include a promise or a benefit for your viewers, and then show how you deliver. For example, in a short video about excellent customer service, show how one of your agents went the extra mile for a customer.
  7. Keep it short! 15-30 seconds is plenty of time to deliver short information or snippets, 60-90 seconds can show a product in a new and interesting way, and three minutes is the perfect length to tell a story in a “mini-documentary” style. This is the Web, after all, so think in terms of easy-to-view, shareable content that anyone could watch during a lunch break or quick free moment.
  8. Create a series. If viewers liked the first video, they will come back for more. A series is a great way to create repeat traffic, as well as unique traffic from sources that have linked to your original video. Blendtec has been remarkably successful on YouTube for their “Will it Blend” series, which is widely considered one of the first uses of video content marketing on the Web.
  9. Use strong Calls to Action. Your content is great…but make sure it compels viewers to act. Whether you simply want them to view a unique landing page on your site, ask them to do so, both at the end of your video and in the description below (if hosting the video on YouTube).

So there you have it, folks…your recipe to video content greatness. We’d love to see your examples of your favorite videos…send us a link in the comments!

Why Aren’t You Using Videos in Your Business?

Chances are, in the last week you’ve viewed a video online. Maybe it was simply a baby laughing or a kitten having its first bowl of milk.

You’ve also very likely viewed at least one video recently created by a business to either tell you more about themselves, let you know more about a product, or sell you a story about their brand.

youtubeThat’s because these businesses know that using video is an incredibly smart and savvy way to engage consumers at every step of the sales process. They know and understand the numbers and facts, like that YouTube is the number two search platform (right after Google) or that data shows that humans can’t resist looking at things in motion.

But even deeper than the statistics is the fact that video can be an incredibly powerful–and even affordable–way to add yet another poignant touchpoint to your customers’ experience with your business and brand online.

Here are a few reasons to consider video for your business.

1. Easily Consumable Information

Many people report preferring to watch video rather than reading text, and data shows that when video is present, visitors spend more time on page than if there’s simply copy. Even more importantly, businesses can give a lot of information in a very short amount of time, which can:

  • Save time overall
  • Shorten a learning curve
  • Make better use of your staff’s time

For example, using video as a part of the sales process to demo a product or service not only saves time in verbally explaining a process, it allows your sales team to spend more time on building relationships.

2. Content Over “Quality”

Truly, there is no medium that favors the right kind of content over the quality of the production like video. Most YouTube videos, in fact, are taken with phones or point and shoot cameras. Even more interestingly, the top 100 YouTube channels feature mostly individual users–not brands–who typically don’t have huge budgets to produce video.

But they “win” by producing great content that’s relatable. The lesson? Even if you don’t have a Red Bull sized budget for video content marketing, you can do video content marketing.

3. Easy Multiple Device Viewing

We throw around the term “responsive design” a lot, to mean that websites need to be able to be viewed easily on multiple devices. Video is a great responsive tool that is consumable on mobile, tablets, laptops and desktops. Plus, with consumers using mobile devices more than ever to access the Web, forget them scrolling through endless amounts of text on a page to learn more about you.

4. Multiple Touchpoints for Conversion

Each video is an opportunity to extend a conversation with a viewer or customer, either through a Call to Action at the end of the video, links to landing pages a video’s description, or annotations in the video itself on YouTube. Other e-commerce video platforms, like Cinematique, allow viewers to buy a product directly from the video in which its being demonstrated.

Videos can be linked to or embedded in multiple places on multiple platforms, allowing you to reach your consumers where they are, and when they want to consume information. Each view is a touchpoint about your brand, service or product, and helps to build the overall experience with your company.

5. Enhanced Search Opportunities

Google really likes video, and makes it easier than ever for companies to rank higher in search with well-optimized titles, tags and descriptions. Video appears in around 70% of the top Google listings, and provides a more visual search experience for your customers when you choose compelling thumbnail images.

Video isn’t going anywhere, and, in fact, is being adopted more and more by companies as consumers demand more easily consumable custom content. And with studies showing numbers like a 70% bump in email click through rates when video is used, or a 44% increase in conversions when a product is demonstrated on video, it is a savvy investment for small to mid-sized businesses.

And the investment is really the main reason to use video in your business; it’s one of the most effective ways to easily “play with the big boys.” Everyone has a decent video camera these days, and even without a giant budget, businesses can use a little creativity and a little time to create a better overall experience for customers.

So…why aren’t you using videos in your business?