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6 months ago) are big-picture still relevant, but the details, such as video length and format, are already helplessly outdated (see links below).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:
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
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.
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:
The option to exchange video while keeping the URL and embed-code
Serious privacy settings
Great integration features into third-party platforms
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”:
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:
As an iPhone user I’m very partial to iMovie. It’s a no-gimmicks, full-featured app and is adding features constantly! My only gripe is graphic placement: There aren’t many options.
For in-phone (both iPhone and Android), as well as cloud-based desktop editing try ANIMOTO and MAGISTO.
Animoto is based on the traditional editing module and super easy to learn. Their phone app offers split screen videos which is amazing for “how to videos”.
Magisto is AI based and does the editing for you. Not my favorite thing, but very powerful for mood pieces and in particular for use with music – it synchs the photos/videos to the music. If you’ve ever edited a video to music you know that that can take hours. Their AI does it in seconds.
I’d love to hear from YOU, what in-phone edit apps you’re using! Please share.
My very first client sent me on this crazy journey from big corporate video productions into video marketing for small business, and he is still my poster-child for the pitfalls of DIY video editing. And he’s by far not the only one.
I taught him what equipment to use (his iPhone), how to set up a shot (not against his window), what to look out for during the shoot (eye-line).
We had a great shoot and the video clips all looked awesome (despite the fact that we DID shoot against his window). We uploaded the footage to his Dropbox. I showed him how to organize his clips and start a project in iMovie.
He’s an engineer by training and he was very hands-on during the shoot. I was sure he had it all under control.
I checked in with him a few days later to see if he had any questions and how the edit was going: It wasn’t.
I checked in a week later: Still nothing.
I checked again a week after that, eager to see the results, a rough-cut maybe? Nothing.
So, what happened? And why so early in the process?
He was overwhelmed: That’s what happened.
Video footage can be daunting. There are so many clips, and they all sound and look more or less alike. I’ve been there, I know.
Typically there is a 20:1 ratio from shot material to final video.
That means you have about TWENTY 30-second clips to go through for a 30 second video. It doesn’t sound like much, but much like a wine tasting, unless you’re a connoisseur, it all becomes an indiscernible mish-mash very quickly.
25 years of being a producer has taught me that an editor who can sift through footage fast and pick out the raisins, is worth her weight in gold.
Don’t fall into the trap of footage overwhelm before you even start editing:
Be realistic about what you can handle: Keep clips super short. Stay with a single clip
Do an edit “dry-run” with a sample video clip. Try a few apps and see what you like (For guidance & inspiration: I’m posting “apps to make videos with” soon)
Take notes while you shoot & identify each clip (see photo below)
If you have a longer, or complex story to tell: Hire an editor
If you have little, or no time: Hire an editor
If you’re not patient and don’t love figuring out “things” (aka software): Hire an editor
For real-hands-on editing advice check out the Curated Link Pack below: The first two articles by Wistia will set you on the right course
For in-depth video editing learning I also recommend Lynda.com
Ralf from LenditApp with a “slate” – simple numbering (and corresponding notes) can save an edit
Curated Link Pack:
Editing Apps and Software change at a rapid pace. Your best bet is to Google: BEST (or TOP) VIDEO EDITING APP (or Software). You can add the words “FREE”, “2017”. And, make sure to set your search to filter articles no older than a month.
How to Edit Video for Social Media by Wistia (August 2016). I love Wistia’s resources: Always fun, always on point. This one is no exception. If you ready anything additional before you jump into editing, it’s this article.
Editing Basics for Business Video by Wistia (2016). This will set you on the right course. It’s a great walk-through of basic video editing steps and has a glossary and great video examples.
Video 101: Editing Basics by Vimeo (2010). Although a bit older, still relevant. Step by step video guide through basic editing. It’s cute and well done, if a bit slow at times.
Top Rules for Video Editing by Lifewire (August 2016). Ten easy steps to keep in mind while shooting your video that will set you up for a simpler editing process.
Top Video Editing Effects by Lifewire (March 2017). With so many editing effects available on even the simplest platforms, which should you use? This article provides some suggestions on when and how to best use those effects. My take: Less is more!
And, herewith a link pack to all other blogs that cover video editing:
Scripting is the hardest part of the video marketing journey to get right and unfortunately the part you need to nail for the rest to fall into place. The rest being: Shooting, editing, distribution, and the desired outcome, like customer awareness, engagement, or conversion.
I’ve written a lot about storytelling in general and what to look out for when crafting your message, but today I want to focus on Storytelling for video.
I asked my friend, playwright, and corporate scriptwriter Joni Fritz about what she focuses on when writing for corporate video rather than writing for print, a speech, or (her passion) a play:
“Print and video are definitely two different animals. I find when I’m writing narration for video, my sentences are shorter and more dramatic. I get to the point faster. I read everything aloud to make sure it flows off my tongue easily. Print can be easier and free-flowing. Longer sentences with more description. With video, I’m always trying to make things sharp and concise.”
I find the hardest part of writing for video to be finding the balance between telling a compelling story and keeping it moving. I like to embellish and when I’m talking to someone in person I can lengthen or shorten a story as needed, taking cues from my listener’s body language.
With video, you’re hoping for that captive audience hanging off your every word, but you have no feedback loop.
I tend to err on the side of super short, then again, I also edit my own pieces and after the umpteenth time looking at myself and hearing the same thing I just want to cut it all…
Over the past year, I’ve looked a hundreds and hundreds of videos produced by fellow small business owners and “internet sensations” and what the good videos have in common isn’t that they are perfectly produced, but rather a sense of authenticity. That is, they display energy, personality, sincerity, and a value proposition that resonates.
Created by Freepik
When you go for personality there will be those who are attracted by your (video) personality, and those who will not.
But those in your audience who like you will really connect with you and your story and that’s what creates awareness, engagement, and ultimately converts them to customers.
The worst choice is, to play it safe and consequently be bland and then no-one really cares. At that point, why bother with video?
I hear, that when Gary Vee speaks, some people just roll their eyes and others soak up every word he utters.
He has a distinct style. Take it or leave it, but he is himself and he gives valuable information with each piece of communication he puts out. He has a huge following. Why? He puts out great value with each piece of communication AND he’s got a personality to boot.
Then there’s the incomparable Casey Neistat, filmmaker and YouTube sensation. Casey’s Vlog often exposes injustices, his videos are, fun, messy, and – although casual on the surface – very well produced. He’s real, authentic, energetic, and mesmerizing to watch.
But, not everybody has a bubbly personality. Some quieter voices, like Roberto Blake will appeal to a different set of viewers and maybe at a different scale, but they are still out there and getting traction. I like that Roberto offers reliable, and solid advice on all things digital creation. He has a consistent, quiet but engaging way of roping you into his world. And his channel is growing by the day.
Bottom line: Find YOUR voice, be friendly, and don’t forget to smile!
So, since we’re at it – keep these 5 points in mind when planning and writing your video copy:
Create VALUE with each communication you put out there
Even if your video isn’t “teaching” something, make sure your video has depth and resonance. Give your viewers a chance to connect with you and what you stand for (or sell)
Be clear who your audience is: Storytelling should lead to a single goal; which is yours?
Are you introducing yourself and your motivation for what you do?
Are you offering a special and talking about why the time to act is now?
Are you explaining a new feature or product and why it is superior?
Plan to your strengths – I have a writer friend Michael Katz, who insists on doing screen-recordings and voice-over. That’s his thing. I think he would look great on-camera, but he’s chosen that style because it plays to his strengths and admittedly, he does have a great voice.
For me, I’m a talker and I don’t mind being in front of the camera: And I produce my own footage without help, so I stick to talking-head videos and simple graphics (for now).
This Moz blog post is one of the best I’ve read so far on storytelling – no matter if the author focuses on web copy: It applies to video too: | Storytelling 301: Site Content as Story https://moz.com/blog/storytelling-site-content