Storytelling For Video: Finding Consistent Content

Happy Friday the 13th… I know it doesn’t mean anything, nor do I find the combination of a random day of the week paired with an equally as random number scary.

What is however a tad scary, is that I entered into a 30-day video challenge.

My challengers and I are all producing a video a (business) day for the month of October and posting daily to our YouTube channels. So that’s 22 videos in 30 days.

I’ve survived videos one through 10 so far and have made some discoveries for myself. Notably:

  • Routine makes things easier (duh)
  • Organizing upfront pays off later (double duh)
  • Plans to re-invent the wheel (i.e. the video style) every week NOT going to happen if the task is 22 videos in 30 days and not winning a beauty contest.
  • Finding video content is the easiest part
  • If you’re sloppy with ANY step of shooting, organzing files, editing, rendering, and uploading to YouTube you’ll pay for it dearly during the following step(s)

Here a link to video #8: Storytelling, Finding Content. Find out how super easy it is to get to content consistently!

And, since you’re at it, please subscribe to my YouTube Channel!

I have another challenge going with my nephew as to who will have more subscribers by the end of the year. And although, currently ahead of the curve, I don’t trust those digital natives. One viral video and I’m toast!

Video Tech Specs:

All videos are shot on my iPhone 7 with a Sennheiser clip-on microphone, edited on Adobe Premiere. The graphics are produced in Adobe Photoshop and then imported into Premiere.

 

10 Tools I Can’t Live Without as Small Business Owner

I’ve been in business with my video production company, Clock Wise Productions, for over 20 years (so yes, I started it when I was in my teens 😉 ). 

Needless to say, the “tools I can’t live without” have drastically changed over the years.

Gone are the days where I would crawl under my desk, twice-daily, to switch my phone service to the internet line and then wait 30 minutes for my emails to download.

Gone are the days where I would get into arguments with the local drug kingpin over the use of “his” phone booth on a street corner where I had set up office during location shoot days and needed to make phone calls to keep the show going.

Gone are the beepers with panicked 505 texts (read SOS), the Filofax, the Blackberries that didn’t synch with anything, and the printers that consistently jammed on endless paper.

Today’s tools are all digital, or allow access to digital tools (smart phones anyone?).

So, here is my list of things I can’t imagine being without, at least until the next shiny new app, platform, gadget, or tool comes my way.

Out of the ten tools listed here, there is only ONE TOOL that hasn’t changed since the day I opened my doors, June 1st 1997. If you guess correctly which one it is, I’ll give you a full hour of free video marketing advice!

Here are my 10 Tools I Can’t Live Without as Small Business Owner (with emphasis on small business owner, not video marketer, filmmaker, dog-owner, or cyclist, etc.

1. Trello is a collaboration tool, but I use it mostly to organize myself, my ideas, my time, and my tasks. I love the backgrounds, which I always keep related to the topic of my to-do-list (I use it for all areas of my life) and inspirational.

My days and tasks would be a mess without Trello.  And yes, it’s also a fantastic collaboration tool. I use it with the awesome Lauren Adleman, who’s my social media manager (and theatre director) and also, to stay on track with a community project that I’m involved in. It keeps everything easy to edit, in real-time, and all in one accessible, organized place.

2. Dropbox organizes your files and keeps them not only automatically saved to the cloud, but also available on your desktop. So, even when traveling without WiFi, you’ll still have access to all your files. It also makes sharing files and folders of any size painless by sending links instead of bulky attachments.

3. QuickBooks is full-featured, yet easy to use, accounting software. It’s keeping my money-house in order, the taxman happy, and my bookkeeper and me sane. I’ve used all of its irritations since 1997, and it’s not only kept up with the times, but also with my growing needs.

4. OwnersUp is much more than a tool or an online platform. It’s where solopreneurs team up and grow faster, by setting goals, supporting each other, and being held accountable. Since I joined, my productivity has doubled.

I value both the daily task time keeping and the regular goal-setting with the online platform. As a small business owner (or solopreneur), it’s easy to get sucked into the day-to-day and forget about the bigger picture. 

5. VA Staffer is a virtual assistant company that offers a huge range of services, which is one of many reasons why I love them. They have an easy on-line platform to set up tasks, and they do it very well! I mostly use them for lead prospecting on LinkedIn, client research on social media in general, video transcribing, and data entry and management.

6. Contactually is an easy to use, fun and intuitive CRM [customer relationship management] tool and it integrates with many other platforms. I love using it and it keeps me on the ball with my most important contacts.

My favorite feature is the “bucket game” that allows you to assign each contact to a ‘bucket’ and then tell the software to remind you every so often to reach out. My buckets have titles like: “active prospect”, or “long-term lead”, and, yes “fired clients”.

7. LinkedIn we all know and, probably, all have a profile (or two). For me, it’s become a great resource for many kinds of networking (finding great new talent, leads, and thought leaders).  

I also use LinkedIn to connect with collaborators, verify information, and get business news to keep a pulse on what’s going on in different industries.

8. Hootsuite is a social media aggregator and, at $10 a month, you can’t beat it. You create one message, choose all the social media platforms that you want it to go to, and send it out (or schedule it, into the future!). Easy to use, fast, and reliable.

9. Thrive Themes is a plugin for WordPress sites that allows you to create beautiful designs in minutes. With it, I was able to build my website myself (with the help of a programmer and an awesome designer, Jill Fiore, of course).

These days, using Thrive, I can make a quick change, add a page, or change a layout myself: all without having to pay or enlist a professional each time.

10. iPhone! Who can live without their smart phone? My iPhone is my camera and video studio all in one (I will shoot, edit, and host, all from my phone!). Plus, I can access all the tools above from my phone, and in general, spend a lot of time on it… ;-).

What are your “I can’t do without” tools?

And, which of the above tools have I used in my business since 1997? The first person to correctly answer in the comments below will get a full hour video marketing consultation! Take a wild guess (or ready the article carefully…).

Opening a New World for High School Students in the Bronx [Case Study]

You know that awesome feeling when you teach something and it totally lands? Yeah, like your dog finally sits without getting a treat each time you tell him to, or a swimmer finally puts a stroke together that you’ve been showing her for a while, or a student has that awesome “aha” moment.

That’s how I felt when I watched this video:

I had taught a class at a Bronx high school for an EDsnaps summer program run by Susanne Cappendijk, and her daughter Lisanne, listened to my class and then went off and made this video; from scratch. I love every frame of it. Continue reading

An Introduction to Video Marketing Strategy

A few years ago, as I started focusing on video marketing for small business, it all seemed crystal clear to me. There were only five stages of video marketing:

  1. Development
  2. Creative
  3. Pre-Production
  4. Production
  5. Post Production

As you can see, these five steps did not include strategy, distribution, or analytics! The above categories were what I knew as a filmmaker. I have come to realize, that what I knew about back then was video PRODUCTION, not video MARKETING.

The moment we talk about video marketing, versus video production, we also need to talk about strategy, distribution, and analytics.

Continue reading

What You Need to Know About Social Media Distribution When Planning Your Videos

Video Marketing Life-Cycle

Video marketing strategy really starts with the end of the video marketing cycle: Figuring out where you will distribute your videos. 

If your videos live in Social Media that strategy might change rapidly as social media usage, rules, and are constantly in flux.

To learn about the current top trends and tips, view the video below.

Video Distribution – An Ever Changing Game

In Video Marketing, distribution is part hands-on technical stuff and part strategy.

The technical part deals with the mechanics of getting the finished video out into the world, which is video hosting. It also deals with SEO (search engine optimization) and with analytics.

[Read the pervious blog post: Hosting Video for Small Business – What I Learned the Hard Way for in-depth knowledge on the technical aspects of distribution].

As you can see below, video marketing is a circular affair: Strategy starts with being clear on distribution channels.

The first question when you start with video marketing, is: “For which [social] media channel am I producing my videos?” – or at least it should be the first question, once you get over the fact that “Which camera shall I shoot with” is NOT the first question to ask.

The challenge is that the social media distribution channels change constantly. The blogs I wrote on this topic (less than 6 months ago) are big-picture still relevant, but the details, such as video length and format, are already helplessly outdated (see links below).

For instance, for SEO the former all-important key words no longer hold the weight they did only a few months ago and Twitter now allows for videos 140 seconds long, where before they capped it at 60 seconds.

This means, you will find yourself – most likely – re-doing, finessing, re-shooting, and re-editing the same content repeatedly. Reacting not only to channel changes, but also to overall trends, and consumer behavior. And you, as a small business owner, will need to pivot much more often with your content and offerings as well.

You might find in your analytics that your viewers jump ship at a certain spot in one of your videos and moving things around, or supplementing your video’s content with text, or a graphic is needed so the viewer doesn’t miss the most essential information.

Whatever the data may show you, the one thing that is certain is that video is no longer that one big investment asset that stays the same for a long time.

Video today is either built for a very short consumption time frame, or in constant flux.  And this is especially true for small business, and even more so, for content produced for social media.

So, what has changed since last fall? Well, first it’s all about Facebook and secondly, it’s all about mobile.

This means that small businesses (and big ones too) look for their clients on Facebook over Google ad words and over any other social media platform. And, video is the highest ranking asset on Facebook. Meaning, if you reach out with Facebook ads to prospects, you better have video.

Here the key take-aways:

  • The Facebook algorithm delivers relevant over recent content, prioritizes friends’ over page content, and prioritizes heavily shared posts over recent posts
  • Video should be posted natively (i.e. directly to Facebook, and not linked from YouTube or any other hosting service so it gets preferred treatment from Facebook (YouTube is Facebooks’ nemesis)
  • 90% of all FB users sign in on mobile, and 85% of those are watching videos on mute!
  • The video advertising platform default is for video to auto-play, on mute
  • This means: Use text overlay, captions, logos layered over footage
  • Show your brand or product within the first 8 seconds of video (this gives you 3x more engagement)
  • Keep your videos super short and “snackable”
  • Use hashtags as you would on Instagram, but don’t overdo it – it allows for easy search of your content by a few keywords as it does on other social media

For more in-depth reading about video for social media, video hosting and SEO check out these links:

Curated Link Pack – Strategizing for Social Media

  1. It’s 2017: Social networking isn’t just for millennials anymore and Facebook is angling for a total mobile experience. One thing remains crystal clear: Video is on everyone’s agenda.
    https://contently.com/strategist/2017/04/19/social-media-trends-2017/
  2. As major social platforms evolve to better accommodate audience demand for video, it’s even more necessary for video content to be built to succeed on each platform. This Wistia strategy guide with start you off right.
    https://wistia.com/library/social-video-strategy
  3. Video content on social media is not just about metrics, it’s also an essential part of your customer journey. Focus on posting on the social media that is best suited to your target audience.
    https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/which-social-media-post-your-videos
  4. Are you just beginning to incorporate video into your social strategy? These 10 steps are a simple start…
    https://simplymeasured.com/blog/10-actionable-video-basics-for-social-media-marketing/#sm.0006cgze119wper8vkq2h9f4lur55

 

Hosting Video for Small Business – What I Learned the Hard Way

A few weeks ago I was at a two-day conference about all things business video, hosted by Wistia (a video hosting platform). I got home with a notebook and head filled with new ideas.

The best part (other than the awesome parties), was to meet so many fellow video marketers and like-minded people, and to realize that I’m not the only nut running around teaching and coaching small businesses on how to create video marketing fitted for their needs!

But: Back on topic.

One big take-away from the conference also fed right into a pain point of mine: Replacing videos, but keeping the same URL/link intact.

The day before I left for the conference, I had to take down two videos from YouTube – where I host all my videos. A client asked me to take them down, despite having a signed agreement (and he had a good reason), and I felt obliged to do so. He had switched job and the videos caused turmoil with his new bosses.

The ramifications were awkward to say the least. Broken links mean SEO penalties and – far worse – potential clients with “oops – this video no longer exists” links.

Not good.

You see, YouTube doesn’t allow for a video replacement under the same URL, or embed-code.

And, this wasn’t a new problem.

I had faced this issue before in a different scenario: A few weeks after writing a guest blog, I created better versions of the explainer videos that I had originally, quickly thrown together.

But, it turns out the host of the guest blog didn’t have the manpower to embed the newer versions.

Had I used a full-featured hosting-service like Vimeo or Wistia, I could have switched out the videos in both scenarios, without having to inconvenience anybody, or creating broken links.

I host my videos on YouTube because it’s such a powerful search engine – and it’s free and easy to use. Turns out these are not good enough reasons if you are using your videos for business.

I will continue to host videos on YouTube, but solely as a social media platform.

For hosting my business’ videos that get embedded on my website or get sent to clients, I will start using a “proper” hosting platform. Vimeo and Wistia are the two most relevant choices:

What I’m looking for is:

  1. The option to exchange video while keeping the URL and embed-code
  2. Awesome analytics
  3. Serious privacy settings
  4. Great integration features into third-party platforms
  5. A growing, active and customer-support centric culture

My choice is Wistia.

Some might prefer Vimeo which is less expensive, but I have had issues with Vimeo videos not playing on my website, especially on mobile phones.

Here is a good article that looks at pros and cons of using YouTube vs. Vimeo vs. Wista if you want to dig deeper.

And, herewith a few links to other blog posts I wrote on the topic of “Hosting Video for Small Business”:

Nina’s Favorite Video Edit Apps

What software do I use for video editing?

A myriad of different apps: One for each occasion ;-).

Seriously, I do use a few different apps.

Some are great for a quick in-phone edit and instant upload to social media (iMovie).

Others are full-featured apps for longer pieces, or videos with more layering in terms of graphics, b-roll, or slides (Premiere).

Some videos need lots of “love”, like fixing color-, or sound-issues, or editing away lots of runaway sentences in an interview (Premiere).

And sometimes it’s just important to show someone how to edit in the most time-effective way possible (iMovie).

And sometimes there’s a very specific feature you’re looking for and it’s easiest handled on a certain app (Animoto: Split screens, Magisto: Music beat-synching to cuts).

Sometimes you want full control (iMovie, Premiere) and sometimes you want an app to put it together for you with the magic of Artificial Intelligence (Magisto). Continue reading

How to Hire a Video Editor: 5 Questions to Ask

If there’s one job to fill with a professional in your video marketing efforts, it’s probably going to be a video editor. Herewith the five questions to ponder and get answers to during the video editor hiring process:

  1. What makes a good editor?
  2. What do you look for in an editor?
  3. What do you discuss with your editor?
  4. Where do you find an editor?
  5. What does it cost? How long does it take?

Let’s jump right in: Continue reading