Author Archives: Nina Froriep

Storytelling for Video: How to Create Authentic, Consistent and Value Driven Content [updated February 2019]

FROM EVERYDAY TO BUSINESS STORYTELLING

We tell stories, we invent stories, we share stories, and we make stories up. It’s how we communicate and relate to each other on a daily basis.

So, why are so many business owners petrified of telling their company’s story on video? We’re just sharing what we’re up to, right?

This is what gets in the way:

  • Overthinking the story
  • Cramming too much information and detail into ONE message
  • Getting tangled up in industry jargon
  • Talking about concepts rather than sharing stories
  • Being attached to looking good, rather than being real, like-able, and authentic
  • Packing too much content into one video
  • So, how do you remedy being stuck on telling your story on video?

    1. Be clear on what you are saying to your audience

    This is where your previous work determining your audience and your strategy come in handy – if you have a no clue what I’m talking about – read our “Video Marketing Strategy” blog post.

    At which step in the buying cycle are you addressing your audience? What do you want your audience to do when they finish watching the video?

    Your video marketing storytelling should lead to a single goal. Which is yours?

    • Are you introducing your company and your motivation for what you do?
    • Are you offering a time-sensitive special?
    • Are you explaining a new feature or product and why it is superior to your competitor’s?

    2. 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 what you sell).

    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, then you are the product! People are buying working with you. Show them the product: You! And, tell them your story.

    3. 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.

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

    • The Classic: 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. Here is mine:
      https://youtu.be/qkUN6bqpHpM
    • Expert Tip Series
      I love this kind of video for a small business, especially if you are a service provider. 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.

      For instance, I did a 22-video series for Clock Wise Productions called “Nina’s Top Tips to Survive DIY Video Marketing“. Here the first video in that series:
      https://youtu.be/ec4Qvu_X8hQ

      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 I’ve been doing this for a while (decades…).

    YOUR AUTHENTICITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PRODUCTION VALUE

    Over the years, I’ve looked at hundreds and hundreds of videos produced by fellow small business owners and “internet sensations” and what good videos have in common isn’t that they are perfectly produced, but rather that they have a sense of authenticity.

    The most successful videos display energy, personality, sincerity, and a value proposition that resonates.

    Keep in mind that even the most authentic videos will inevitably have their critics. You cannot please everyone, there will be those who are attracted to your (video) personality and those who are not.

    When digital marketing and social media giant Gary Vee speaks, some people just roll their eyes and others soak up each word. 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 Mega Vlogs fun, sometimes messy, and – although casual on the surface – very well produced. He’s real, authentic, energetic, and mesmerizing to watch.

    And 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.

     When I started with my own video marketing efforts it took me a moment to catch on. I originally produced “perfect” videos with backdrops and teleprompter and it took me a day and a nervous-breakdown to shoot two short videos.

    Then I started to shoot my own Vlog (video blog) with my iPhone, unscripted (but prepared!), casually sitting at my desk, no lights (just daylight from a window), and guess what! I got feedback, I go reactions, I got clients… Because I was authentic, myself and natural.

    WHEN CREATING YOUR SCRIPT, KEEP TO THE POINT

    Scripting is the hardest part of the video marketing journey to get right and unfortunately, it’s the part you need to nail for the rest to fall into place, especially when it comes to storytelling for video.

    I asked my friend, playwright, and corporate scriptwriter Joni Fritz (her clients include AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, and USA Networks) about what she focuses on when writing for corporate video. She explained:

    “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.”

    The hardest part is finding the balance between telling a compelling story and keeping it moving. When talking to someone in person, I like to lengthen or shorten a story as needed, taking cues from my listener’s body language.

    But when it comes to video, you have no feedback loop and so it’s best to keep things short and to the point.

    When I write a script for my videos – and I RARELY write scripts – I read them out loud about 10-15 times to make sure they sound “real” even after a lot of repetition. I often cut more than half of my text out and still get the message across. 

    For my expert-tip-series I have up to three (no more!) talking points on one topic (and a narrow topic at that!) and I will shoot as many times as it takes until I say it “perfectly”. Why? It saves me headache and time in editing.

    And, consider this: On social media, or your website, no one wants to watch a video that’s longer than 90 seconds, and you need continuous content, so make what you have to share into as short as possible single pieces to give you more videos to put out there: Win-win!

    I did that with my 22-video series Nina’s Top Tips to Survive DIY Video Marketing“. Here the link again:

    CONSIDER: SHOULD YOU HIRE A COPYWRITER?

    We all write – most of us actually quite a lot, between emails, newsletters, content creation, text messages, and social media posts.

    As we search for our business’ stories and best ways to share them, I wanted to call attention to the mechanism of actually WRITING down those stories. My advice has always been that there are two positions to consider filling with professionals even if you’re totally bootstrapping your video marketing efforts. One of them is a creative helper, a CD (creative director) sometimes known as a copywriter.

    I once hired a company out of London called Creative Copywriter to help me with some of my writing for the website and two introduction videos.

    Although I do all my own writing when it comes to content creation (blog entries, email marketing, and workshops), I felt that the website and the marketing videos needed a copywriter for several reasons:

    • Writing short-form copy is hard and when you are selling with CTAs (call to actions) you need to be very precise in your communication.
    • I was too close to my own material to see what potential customers would understand and what would make them seek more information about my business. A fresh set of eyes, or a fresh brain was very helpful.
    • I had been putting off working on my home-page for far too long, so hiring and paying a writer was going to be my ticket to end that procrastination.

    But, with every “pro” list, come a few “cons”. To make sure your “cons” list remains super short, here a few things to look out for when hiring a copywriter:

    1. First and foremost: Writing for video is a specialty skill. Make sure you hire a writer who has experience and ask for completed video samples. If you don’t love them, don’t hire them.
    2. Allow enough time (and budget) for a copywriter to get to know you and your business.
    3. To speed up the process, hire a copywriter who either has experience writing for your niche, or is your target audience.
    4. Don’t be shy to interview several copywriters. If you go with a company over a freelancer, make sure you interview the writer who will be assigned to you before you make a commitment.
    5. Set enough of your time aside to go through what the copywriter has written and give detailed and extensive feedback. Having someone else write for you is not necessarily a time-savings. It’s an outsourcing of skill, not time.
    6. Similarly, allow enough of your time to write a full brief to make sure your writer knows where to go with his or her copy.
    7. Finally, don’t be shy to redirect a writer. They want and need your feedback to do their job well, so tell them what works and what doesn’t.
    8. Let the copy ‘marinate’ a bit. I like to sit on it for a few hours, or even a day or two to let it sink in. You might very well have some ideas or feedback that needs time to emerge.

    FINALLY, PLAN TO KEEP YOUR CONTENT CONTINUOUS & CONSISTENT

    If you want REAL success with your video marketing, make a commitment to be consistent and publish continuously.

    Consistent content will make you part of your prospects or existing clients life – you publish reliably and consistently, and they will share your content, recommend you, and when they’re ready to buy, you will be at the top of their minds.

    Continuous content will give your prospect something to come back to and continuously learn from you. Be that reliable source with great advice, funny anecdotes, or fast tips. Be that expert voice and show them why they would absolutely want to work with you.

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

    (Note: The following video is from 2015 – do NOT spend 14 seconds on graphics upfront, go right into the meat of things – you only have 3(!!!) seconds to catch your audience’s attention).)

    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 becoming 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.

    Of course, there are many different styles of videos out there. Not all of them are “talking-heads”. You might want or need a different style video for your business.  Here a few fun examples:

    Giaco Whatever: “I make things” is his tag-line. He creates really awesome to-do videos – consistently, and it pays off: He’s super close to 500K followers!

    Channel Link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYH-XXUE2QDaWKvABsWJh8w


    Upgrade to 1st class documented by Casey Neistat: Hysterical: And don’t be fooled – it’s expertly shot and edited.


    Liz Benny: DIY, super easy to reproduce. Just images, footage, music. “KAPOW” as Liz would say


    Quynh & Jeff Hunter: Super DIY, down-and-dirty but effective

    At the end of the day, storytelling is always going to be the hardest part of video marketing, and we often make our lives harder than need be.

    Follow the advice above and you’ll be well on your way to great storytelling for your business.

    To end this post, here is short video giving you my top advice when it comes to telling YOUR STORY:

    Template

    We use the word template a lot, here at Clock Wise. The Wiki definitions are many and the one that would get the closest to what we are talking about is a boilerplate template, or layout template, or design template.

    But don’t be fooled, there’s nothing “boilerplate”, as in boring or uncreative about our templates.

    We use templates to facilitate the process of getting videos that have a similar structure done quickly and reliably, so we can offer them at pricing that is suitable – or palatable – to small business owners.

    We use templates in two different ways:

    • Video Templates, and
    • Edit Templates

    Video Templates we use in our PROMO VIDEO PACKAGES

    Video templates are different pre-determined video blueprints where length of clip, interface with graphic and music are pre-defined. All we do is choose the appropriate template for a client, put in the footage or still images, come up with the words and determine the color scheme and fonts. It sounds like a lot, but it saves us coming up with the animation of graphics, timing, music, etc.

    Edit Templates we use in our VLOG PACKAGES

    An edit template defines in advance, where the graphics go, what color and font they have, how the video clips are being used. This speeds up the editing process AND gives the videos an unified look which will look great on your website or YouTube channel, or any other social media platform.

    Video Marketing 2019 – Best Practices for Small Business

    In 2019, it’s no longer an option not to have video marketing: But you knew that already, didn’t you?

    As I have the past few years, I keep an eye out for all the “trend” blogs and articles in December and early January to then put together my own best practices blog, and yes, some trends that are important to keep an eye on.

    This year – more than others – it’s been harder to nail-down stand-out trends for video marketing.

    It seems that previous years’ flashiest video marketing trend predictions have been slow to take hold.

    For example: AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) are still only emerging, drones are all over the place (at least where they are allowed to fly) but haven’t hit the mainstream.

    Thanks to YouTube’s popularity, horizontal video format is still prevalent. That said, square and vertical video formats are slowly taking a stronger foot-hold.

    “I find best practices to be actionable and much more sustainable over trends, especially for small businesses that have to plan extra carefully with their limited resources.”

    Nina Froriep, loose quote from Why I Stopped Caring About Trend Predictions
    Continue reading

    Interactive Video

    Check out this interactive video! Viewers can purchase directly from the video – be it directly from you, or through an affiliate link! Engage your audience with a pop-quiz, or with background information on the video.

    Mouse over the video while watching to see the interactivity. If you take the cursor off the video you can watch it without any interruptions.

    Neat? You betcha! Find out more here.

    What Gives? Video Marketing in 2018

    The advantage to being late to the year-beginning trend-game is, that you get to wear the “hindsight-is-20-20” glasses and hold the “I knew it!” space.

    And, since I gave up calling video marketing trends last year in favor of talking about best practices my timing is perfect: Right after everyone else has posted their 2018 trend blog posts. So, what’s dominating trend predictions and what can we call best practices for this year?

    TOP DIGITAL- AND VIDEO-MARKETING TREND FOR 2018?   => MOBILE FIRST

    So, what does that mean for you?

    • Mobile First means that your content, i.e. your videos will be watched FIRST AND FOREMOST on mobile devices.
    • That means you should be creating video content that will display and play best on mobile devices.
    • With Mobile First, the best practice is to take mobile user and consummation behavior into consideration when creating your videos.
      • 90% of video content is being consumed on mobile devices: If you do produce videos, make sure they look their best on mobile!
      • Almost 50% of internet users are looking for video related to a product or service: If you’re not into video yet, you’re losing out on 50% of potential customers!
      • 75% of all video content watched on mobile is being consumed without sound: Make sure your video is still relevant if watched without sound, OR: give them a reason to turn on the sound!

    Of course, there are plenty more trends, some more obvious than others. I put the ones I found to be of interest for Video Marketing into categories for ease of navigation and ‘digestion’:

    Continue Reading

    Happy New Year from Nina and Clock Wise Productions!

    Happy New Year! May 2018 be filled with laughter, joy, love, good health, successes and all-round-awesomeness!

    2017 Blog and Vlog Roundup on DIY Video Editing

    I’ve written so much about video editing this year, that I am putting together Roundup of Blogs  & Vlogs I’ve written and produced about all things DIY video editing.

    The blog post below are up to date and I’ve included a fresh Curated Link Pack for in-depth reading and learning from trusted sources (other than me), to give you different perspectives.

    Blogs:

    Vlogs (Video Blogs):

    Curated Link Pack

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    The holiday season is upon us and with it, for most of us, general – and specific – holiday madness. I wanted to share a bit of news from this year with you, and put it – what else – into a video:

    How to Survive a DIY Video Marketing Shoot: When it Moves, Shoot!

    You’re ready to shoot! You know what to say, you’re wearing your power outfit, your hair and make-up are done. Now what?

    WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR A TALKING-HEAD SHOT?

    Here’s your DIY video shoot check-list:

    • A quiet, well-lit place
    • A neutral and/or subject appropriate background
    • A fully charged, smart phone with enough memory for a few video clips
    • A way to prop up your phone – either with a phone grip and tripod, or a mini tripod, or even a stack of books
    • A microphone and double-sticky wardrobe tape to hold it in place (if you are using a microphone)
    • No microphone if you are shooting in a quiet setting and close enough to the phone (5 feet away or closer)
    • Post-its & a sharpie for notes
    • Powder and/or blotter, comb and lipstick if applicable to keep you looking great
    • A script or outline of what you will say
    • WiFi (to upload your video clips to your cloud storage)

    For equipment ideas, and further check-list items read: Accessorizing for a Smart Phone Shoot. And watch the following videos:

    Now that you have all your tools, it’s time to frame your perfect shot.

    FRAMING A TALKING-HEAD SHOT 

    As you choose your frame look out for the following:

    • Check if the lens of your phone on the same height as your eye line (for details see video below)
    • Check what is inside the frame: you can cut off the top of your head, but be sure to leave enough space at the bottom for closed captions and graphics (never frame a shot to be right on your chin, go to at least mid-chest)
    • Put yourself slightly off center in the frame, it’s a more pleasing composition
    • Make sure the light source is behind the camera. If there is a window in the room, you should be facing it – don’t have it behind you or the background light will make editing a nightmare. It looks even better if you turn on a 30-degree angle and have the light source hit your face halfway from the front and side
    • Don’t stand under a headlight – it will cause shadows under your eyes and nose
    • If you’re not comfortable with lots of editing, shoot until you have an entire run-through that’s good and can be used as is
    • Do not use a cheat sheet – the camera will pick up your eyes shifting back and forth
    • If you need to, make sure you powder or blot your face between takes
    • If you’re using a ‘natural’ background make sure there’s nothing weird: like a plant that appears to be growing out of your head or a book shelf with embarrassing book titles, etc.

    Find out more about framing by watching this video:

    SHOOTING A TALKING-HEAD SHOT

    Be patient and follow these tips and you should be all set:

    • This might sound basic but, don’t forget to hit record! I just recently did a GREAT shoot, only to realize that I never recorded it
    • Talk slowly and be aware of your filler words. I tend to go nuts on “ahems”… a nightmare to edit and tedious for the listener
    • Err on the side of authenticity and a longer natural shoot, rather than a fully scripted and prompted one or a stiff-from-memory-delivery
    • Record a first take and then immediately watch to make sure everything looks and sounds great
    • Between takes turn the recorder off and back on again it makes finding stuff easier later than having to slosh through a massively long take
    • If you take notes (and I suggest you take notes!) hold up a post-it with consecutive numbers for each take. Write down which takes are the best and refer to the numbers on the post-its – this will make editing later so much easier
    • Upload your clips immediately after shooting (I use airdrop – which is much faster than uploading to Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud)

    The following video has tips on how to look and sound your best on-camera:

    The videos above were all shot with an iPhone 7 using a clip-on microphone and edited on Adobe Premiere. The graphics were prepared in Adobe Photoshop and then imported into Premiere.

    Altogether, it took me about 50 minutes to shoot four 2 to 3.5-minute-long videos. That time does not include scripting beforehand and getting ready in terms of wardrobe and makeup – everyone has a different threshold for preparation.

    WHEN IT COMES TO B-ROLL

    Keep it simple and get lots and lots of coverage

    B-roll is the footage or the clips that support the story you are telling, often things like establishing shots of a building or the room you are in. So, if you own a bike shop, your b-roll might be interior shots of the shop, the mechanics at work, customers shopping, a cyclist pulling up to the store with her bike, etc.

    You might ask yourself what b-roll is for? Let’s say you give an interview and you’re talking about your bike shop it’s a hundred times more interesting to see images of the bike shop than hearing you talk about it. The principle is: Show don’t tell.  If you are a service provider this is – obviously – a bit harder, because you don’t have a physical product to show.

    • Don’t try to follow the action, let the action unfold in the frame (following action is for pros)
    • Keep the camera as still as possible (see above)
    • Get as close to the action as possible
    • Shoot in short concise spurts
    • Don’t attempt to “cover” the entire event or happening: Choose key moments and concentrate on those
    • If you shoot your product (i.e. bicycles) go slow and steady and keep camera movements to a minimum. You can always create movement in editing or jazz the footage up with upbeat music

    There are many variables to any shoot. If you’re starting out with DIY video marketing, keep it simple and short. Give yourself time to try out what works for you and what doesn’t.

    If there’s anything else you’d like to add to these lists, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments.

    Happy (video) shooting!