Category Archives: Video Marketing

The Story About Storytelling

Storytelling is as old as language.

We tell stories, we invent stories, we share stories, and we make stories up. Some stories are small others epic, but they all are a constant in our everyday lives.

So, why are so many business owners petrified of corporate storytelling, especially when it comes to video marketing?

We’re just sharing what we’re up to, right?

This is what gets in the way:

  • Overthinking the storytelling process
  • Getting tangled up in industry jargon
  • Talking about concepts rather than telling a story
  • Being attached to looking good, rather than real, like-able, and authentic – there, I used the “a” word
  • Trying to pack too many stories into one video

And the list goes on.

So, how do you remedy being stuck on telling your story on video?

If you’re selling a product, show the product while you tell the story about why you are selling it.

If you’re selling a service, you are the product! People are buying working with you.

Show them the product: You! And, tell them your story.

Most of my clients are service providers and when they ask me what kind of story to tell, I recommend a couple kinds:

There’s “The Classic”: i.e.This is my passion and this is my business. Chances are, that you have the content for that video already. It’s what you talk about when you meet new people and introduce yourself.

Blow a sample: And a note to reader: if you have any samples of your own, I’d love to feature it here and replace the below video!

And here a video that talks about finding content for those kinds of videos:

I also love any kind of expert tip series, especially if you are a service provider.

For instance, I’m just finishing up a 22-video series “Nina’s Top Tips to Survive DIY Video Marketing“.

Here the first video in that series:

I was hugely worried about coming up with content, but once I found a chapter structure for the 22 videos, it was so easy to come up with expert tips, because I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping small business owners.

And, if you sell a product you can even do a tip series on that product: how to take care of it, use it, and work with it. Or you can talk about something related to the product.

So, if your product is road biking gear, you could talk about bike maintenance tips, race training tips, and bike routes.

No matter what kind of video you’re putting together, my advice is:

  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it short
  • Work with what you have
  • Stay clear of jargon
  • Be yourself, and
  • Have fun!

What are your storytelling-challenges? I’d love to hear from you!

Storytelling: Curated Link Pack

  1. How you speak to your audience is just as important as what you are saying. This brilliant blog post breaks down how Language, Tone, and Content all go into making an effective video… https://wistia.com/blog/successful-videos-respect-intelligence
  2. Do you love data and analytics? These seven successful companies do too. Plus, they all smartly use it to craft storytelling for their marketing… https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/data-driven-storytelling-brand-examples
  3. In video marketing, many lead with the solution and forget to set up the story. But the story is what is going to make your client connect to you and your business… https://wistia.com/blog/kindra-hall-strategic-storytelling
  4. Video lends itself to high impact (especially with today’s short attention spans). These videos prove you can create fantastic stories with only 6 seconds of content!… https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/youtube-bumper-ads-six-second-storytelling/
  5. Strategic storytelling is just as important for a business’ sales team as it is for the business’ leader… https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/how-to-train-salespeople-to-tell-stories

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.

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.

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”:

Video Content Within Context, or Why Sleeping with A Helmet Doesn’t Make Sense

We all understand the words on the page, but sometimes SHOWING drives a message home. Here a modest example:

For more words on Video Content and Context read our previous blog: Why It is Completely Irrelevant Which is More Important: Content or Context [updated with Curated Link Pack]

I’m also — for the first time — adding production facts: What I shot with, how long it took me, what it cost me…

Video Production Facts for Above Video:

  • Total Investment Summary: 4 hours, plus a few hours “content think” time, and $0
  • Camera: Shot on an iPhone 6 in selfie mode (lesser quality lens)
  • Audio: “Chair lift” scene: in-phone microphone. “Indoor” scene: Sennheiser mic (~ $200 Amazon)
  • Mount: “Chair lift” = handheld. “Indoor”: Joby mini tripod
  • Total shoot time: ~ 30 mins: Chair lift scene 3 mins (fingers froze ;-)). Indoor scene about 30 mins with prep and shoot.
  • Edit Software: Adobe Premiere CC
  • Graphics: Adobe Photoshop CC (templates I created beforehand)
  • Total edit & finishing time: 2 hours
  • Total upload & distribution time: 1.5 hours upload to YouTube, tagging, transcription, captioning, posting, distributing

Why It Is Completely Irrelevant Which is More Important: Content or Context [updated with Curated Link Pack]

Bill Gates famously quoted “Content is King” in 1996. Since, the quote has been altered so many times it’s hard to keep up: “Content is King and Context is God”, or “Content is King, and Context is Queen”, etc. The world has changed. In what relationship are content and context today?

Maybe it’s the Swiss in me (we love consensus so much so we have seven ministers run the country), but I think there is no need for a “one over the other” in terms of importance. Neither content nor context survives without the other. Content and context are equally as important.

Think of video marketing as a strategic board game where context drives content, and content excels within proper context.

The most amazing content goes “poof” within the wrong context, and all the context in the world can’t save bad content. Period.

Continue reading

Continuous & Consistent Content: Three Companies Who Get it Done!

In continuing with our blog: The Three Must Have “C’s” Without Which no Video Marketing Campaign Will be Successfulwe set out to see who does continuous and consistent video marketing content well.

Herewith our three top choices (and we’d love to hear from you with more examples!):

Combs & Company, Insurance Broker:

Susan Combs, CEO of Combs & Company, has an extensive video library; from CEO interviews, to white board explainers, and meeting coverage.

What’s interesting is, that she has all her video series bulk-produced. This not only saves time and money, it also gives the videos a look-, tone-, and content continuity that speaks to the commitment she has made to being a likable expert in her field.

It’s sets her apart from her competition, opens doors far beyond pulling in additional leads. Have a look at her different video series and you’ll get the picture.

JacksonFuller Real Estate:

Matt Fuller of JacksonFuller Real Estate and his residential real-estate team of five started blogging in 2006 and video was always on their radar but never used consistently until last fall. But then they went all out. Check out their Vimeo channel.

They produce the videos themselves and they quickly found out that “keep it simple” is the key ingredient. I’m amazed they figured out the green screen over editing!

They have a good mix of funny, light, and seriously informative content, and it’s consistent!

Boutique Accounting Services:

Richard Greco, founder and owner of Boutique Accounting Service does a great job with his videos. I love the clean, white background and the simple but elegant graphics. I’m still not a fan of side-angle shooting for a second camera, but it makes it easier to edit content.

I just wish I could a) embed his videos here and b) he had not announced (scroll all the way down on the link given below) all these other videos to come in 2016… It’s 2017, dude. I hope he continues.

Who do YOU KNOW who does video marketing well? We are looking to interview (for a quick 15 minutes) companies that are engaging in video marketing regularly to help us develop and fine-tune our video marketing services for small businesses. Any help is much appreciated.

The Three Must Have “C’s” Without Which no Video Marketing Campaign Will be Successful [updated with Curated Link Pack]

How convenient: All you need is “Three Cs”, you get videos that attract, engage, and convert like crazy, you make money, retire, sit at the beach sipping Pina Coladas (and you’ll be bored out of your mind after about a week).

Seriously, for video marketing to work – in my opinion – you need three things:

  • Commitment
  • Consistent Content, and
  • Continuous Content

Hold your thought: I will make a clear distinction between “consistent” and “continuous” content. They are two very different things.

It sounds scary, I know. Commitment is scary, period. And, when you pair continuation with commitment, and consistency it gets REALLY scary. But actually the opposite happens: It gets easier. Let’s have a closer look: Continue reading