Why creating a great video isn’t enough

Youtube. A platform that now has 1.5 billion logged in monthly users. It’s an absolute powerhouse for online video content, and has probably single handedly contributed to the growing decline of TV, especially for young people, who use it for everything, from finding new ideas and music, to learning about who they want to be. (Check out this fab interview with Casey Neistat on the way we consume visual media).

With the news this week that Whatsapp will be allowing Youtube videos to play directly within chats, making sure your video is not only good, but seen, is vital.

As a branding and content strategist, video is a key part of many of my client’s activities. However, creating a good video just isn’t enough.

In the past, there were just four channels on the TV (back in my youth!), and you had a very limited selection. What’s more, you couldn’t pause, fast forward, or skip to something else if you didn’t like it. Now, that’s no longer the case - you can curate your viewing content exactly to your tastes and preferences.

Therefore, it’s incredibly important in a sea of content that you get yourself noticed. The viewer has more power than ever before. That means, if you don’t grab their attention quickly, they’re off - onto the next video. That’s part of the reason why Loreal is changing their strategy to create more 6 second ads.

You can create an amazing video; but there’s no point if you don’t also focus on maximum visibility. Here’s a few things to bear in mind.

A great video description: I’m a big fan of the gorgeous Christina Sutra on Instagram. She creates art, and she’s recently started creating Youtube content. There are definitely more opportunities for her to utilise her description to include her social accounts, include SEO keywords, and links to her online art shop.

Optimise your content: This follows on from your description, but needless to say it’s vital that you’re using the right keywords for your business and include them in your video file names, annotations, and tags.

An eye-catching thumbnail: Pictures speak a thousand words, of course, and creating a thumbnail can allow you to stand out from the crowd. I like Digital Nomad Girl’s thumbnails. This kind has become formulaic along many vloggers, but next to ordinary thumbnails, they certainly stand out.

Teaser clips as adverts: This can be 6, 10, 30 or 60 second clips of your video, to spread on social media. Preferably sponsored, if you have budget to put behind it.

Create content around your video: Something like a long-form blog post on your website to go with your video will not only attract organic traffic but will increase the commitment your user has to your product or service.

Pin it to your pages: If your video is part of a large ongoing campaign, pin it to the top of your social media channels. That way, even passing visitors to your Facebook or Twitter page will be able to view your content. You can even make your Facebook cover image a video, like Carrie Green from the Female Entrepreneur Association has.

Include it in your communications: It can be something as simple as a link in your email signature (i.e. have you seen our latest video?) to an integration in your newsletter. Social feeds are easy to miss, so you’ve more chance of gaining visibility by including video in your regular communications.

Creating a great video isn’t enough. Don’t let your content stay in a bubble; let it be seen as many places as possible.
 

Need help with your #videostrategy? Get in touch with me for more information.

Marketing for Millennials - Are you connecting with the ‘connected generation’?

If you’re in the marketing game, you want to be directing your efforts towards the ‘millennials’. Basically, millennials are the people that make up a large percentage of the market, those 35 and under who have adopted digital technology, and consume often.

They’re highly influential, and consume very differently from their parents generation, or their grandparents generation. They were never born into a world with war, or rations, or lack, so their outlook is fundamentally different. I would fall into this bracket, and I think that by analysing the key values of our incredibly powerful demographic, you can make significant wins in your marketing strategy!

Millennials approve of authenticity and creativity 

If you think back to your parents and grandparents generations, they usually bought from large retailers, right? There wasn’t a huge amount of independents around, like there is now.

I believe part of the reason why Innocent Drinks struck gold when they launched, is because they tapped into this market at exactly the right time. There were very few brands out there that did away with ‘marketing speak’, and spoke with authenticity and creativity.

Millennials admire those who speak from the heart, who are real, raw and natural. Brands like Talk Talk know this, and create a series of campaigns that aim to engender trust by being as real and as authentic as possible.

The media and government focus on the promotion of positive mental health has also changed the way us millennials consume.

Spaces like The Canvas Cafe in Shoreditch aim to foster emotional wellbeing by allowing guests to write on their wall - it’s real, it’s quirky, it’s interesting, and highly creative.

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(I totally agree on the Spice Girls, by the way).

Millennials are well connected

We now have more social channels and ways to express ourselves than ever before. Using social media millennials share how they are feeling, whether positive or negative.

This means brands should consider that their social channels are also their CRM channels. If you piss a customer off, don’t be surprised if they tweet and post about the experience they’ve had with you. More than ever before, brands can no longer hide. It actually pays to be nice.

Millennials are well connected online; but also crave rich and meaningful relationships in our every day life. We want a human connection as well as a virtual one.

Nescafe’s idea of the ‘hello bench’ is an experiential marketing technique that plays on our notion of virtual relationships, and encourages us to take these offline.

Millennials love visuals

With the rise of visual channels like Instagram, and it’s increasing popularity (it’s currently the top social platform for engagement), visual content is becoming more important to millennials.

One main reason for this is that unlike previous generations, we live in an Information Age - we literally have thousands of bits of information to process from the internet and from our lives, every single day. It can get exhausting. So we consume information in little bits and pieces. And images and video are an easier and faster way to tell a story than text.

Photography is important to the millennial. They love beautiful visuals and making things look pretty. They document their life in terms of visuals, not text. It’s all about the aesthetic, so when it comes to your brand make sure you don’t slip back in time.

Documentary or reportage style photography is where it’s at, and it needs to look as real or as natural as possible.

- Not like this.

Millennials embrace community

Unlike our parents and grandparents, millennials have a totally different approach to sharing. Our grandparents probably often relished the thought of having their own home, and would be horrified if they had to share, reminding them of days gone by when times were tough.

Today, we see sharing as a way to make money, and meet new friends. We are more attracted to social enterprises and ethical brands like never before.

We don’t mind sleeping on someone else’s bed, nor renting our own. Airbnb is our new norm. We meet new friends, in new places, all over the world. Benita Matofska believes that sharing is fast becoming our new economy, and we’re becoming ‘Generation Share.’

Millennials embrace community online too, and they use social media as a force for social change and to change cultural opinion. The recent attacks in Manchester show the power of social media, when Youtuber The Life of Bako posted a video entitled ‘I’m a Muslim standing in Manchester blindfolded, offering free hugs. Do you trust me?’ It was shared far and wide, by the UK news media and currently has over 1 million views on Facebook.

 

 

Finally, we love being a part of a ‘tribe’.  When you market to millennials, you want them to feel part of a community. That’s why you’ll see so many ‘join the tribe!’ buttons when you sign up to a newsletter or online site.

 

Millennials are experiential

 Millennials are experiential - they’re all about the experience. We want to feel, rather than own.

In stark contrast to our parents generation, we don’t save for years on end to buy things.

There is such a proliferation of ‘stuff’ out there, that the things we own, we have very little attachment to as they’re not a huge investment that we have saved years on end for (I remember my grandma telling me about the concept of a ‘bottom drawer’ - when she was engaged to save for household items).

I believe this is why festivals and music concerts are so insanely popular right now - we as millennials want to experience a shared, connective experience (Did you know the electronic music market is now one of the biggest in the world, valued at $7.8 billion?)

The image below sums up their ethos:

 

Hopefully this gives you a little window into the mindset of the most powerful consumers out there. 

Millennials are changing the world as we know it, and it’s changing fast.

 

 

Can you make your brand more beautiful?

 

I like to write a blog once a month, and I don’t worry about what I’ll write about - I just let the idea come to me. I’d half written one for this month, but it didn’t feel right. So I let it go and focused on some other work.

It was only when I was coming to do some brand research that I realised that my first impressions of a business were very much visual first, copy second. (Yay! I’d found inspiration for my next blog.)

We all like beautiful things, and showcasing your brand in the most beautiful way possible should be one of your key goals when looking to extend your reach.

To be honest, creating beauty in a brand is something I’ve always overlooked (and am still getting to grips with), but Steve Jobs wasn’t wrong when he obsessed over the typography in the Apple branding  - something as small as this really does matter.

Statistics on visual storytelling show that visual is the most preferred form of content; it engages, and inspires, and keeps your attention. It’s no wonder why Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are so popular. Here’s a rundown of the visual trends for 2017.

I’m a self confessed Pinterest addict - it's my life's vision board. I love nothing more than feasting on beautiful images, and allowing the feelings they evoke to wash over me. (It’s why I chose the picture for this article - it made me feel great when I looked at it.)

Images feed the right side of our brains, which are linked to creativity, intuition, big-picture thinking and our emotion or pleasure centres.

We go all out when it comes to styling our home or our hair; so why don’t we take the same care over our brands?

Here’s some practical tips to beautifying your brand:

  • Use the best graphic designers you can afford; with a simple, clear design

Look at the brands you love and follow on social media. What is it about their design that appeals to you? Collect 3-5 examples. Find out who designed their brand, if possible, and get in touch! If you can’t afford them just yet, then save! It’s far better to wait and launch with something stunning than have a poorly executed design.

  • Use the best photographer you can afford; with authentic shots

Photography is ever changing, and in the world of business we’ve seen a clear shift from forced ‘posed’ photography, to a more authentic, documentary or reportage style. It’s now ‘cool’ to be as authentic as possible, as if the camera wasn’t even there, and just happened to take a great shot of your product or service.

  • Define your colour palette; and carry your design through to social media

I’ve seen so many brands have a great core colour palette on their website (say, brown, gold, and purple), but then you look on their social media channels and they have all manner of different fonts and random colours that just don’t go with their brand, and makes the whole thing quite disjointed. Be consistent in your approach; if you want to say something, create a post in Canva using your brand colours and font.

  • Be consistent

This is the most important one of all. I think the franchise HotPod Yoga do this really well - all franchisees adhere to strict brand guidelines. When you’re short on time, it’s easy to just stick a post on Twitter or Instagram without really thinking it through, but the more you keep beauty in the front of your mind, and the more you ask ‘Can this be more beautiful?’ the greater engagement you’ll get.





 

Getting the most out of your video budget: a guide

Have you ever seen an amazing video and think 'it looks so good, if only we could afford something to do like that!' Costs for video are not always as high as you think, and there's several ways to minimise expenses and get the most out of your budget. Here's a little guide to help you plan your next video campaign:

 

Pre-production

Before even getting the cameras out, a lot of behind the scenes work is vital. In fact, I’d say you ideally do about 50% of the work before you start filming or editing. If your pre-production is effective, the rest of your project (should) flow smoothly!

What’s your story?

Deciding on your message is a crucial thing - don’t just make a video about something just because you think you should. What do you want to say? Are you giving a unique perspective on a topic, or are you telling your story in the way that reflects your brand? Use your budget to focus on key pieces of content, like the narrative around your brand and your core user journeys.

Have you structured the narrative?

Scriptwriting is an essential part of video production, and is important even if you’re not having a voiceover and on-screen text. Structuring your narrative by way of a shot list (what you’ll see and when during your video) will give your message impact. Give it a strong opening, middle and end. Structuring the narrative will help to avoid costly mistakes later on in the edit. Interview questions may form this structure if your video is an interview; make sure the questions are well formulated and that they’re open-ended.

What’s your budget and timescale?

Believe it or not, this is something that can be overlooked. You can’t get big budget production value from a tiny budget. What you can do, however, is seek to maximise that budget however possible - maybe seeing if you can rent a location space cheaply, or hiring family and friends as actors or extras. Your timescale is vitally important too - start from the launch date of your video and work your way backwards to formulate a film production schedule.

Where will the video go?

Is your video for your website? For Vimeo, Youtube, or Instagram? Utilise your budget so you can work all forms of edits into the costs. For example, for a 3 minute Youtube video, you might also want 6 short 10 second looped clips for Twitter or Instagram, and a ‘behind the scenes’ or ‘making of’ edit as well. Think about maximising your video and breaking it up into shorter pieces of content for social media.

The longevity of the video

Is this a reactive piece to company news or something that is time sensitive? Think about this when it comes to your budget. A ‘happy new year for 2018’ video may be a great idea, but it’s shelf life is going to be ridiculously short. If you only have a limited amount of video budget, focus on evergreen content - those pieces that don’t expire or run out of steam.

Where are you filming?

Location shooting can be one of the most costly elements when it comes to using your video budget. Depending on how many days you’re shooting for, moving from location to location uses up valuable time, and can cause delays if there are any issues with travel. Choose a minimum number of locations (2 a day works best), as set up and strike time (taking down a kit) can take up to an hour depending on the scale of your production.

Who are your participants?

Who will be in the video? Have a think about whether you’ll use real life employees or actors. Advantages of using your staff is that they have genuine, authentic stories to tell that come across well on camera; however if they suffer with nerves, you might be better employing actors who will do the job in an equally natural way.

If you’re looking to save costs and use people you know, ideally speak to them and do a ‘test screen’ with them - this doesn’t have to be on film, it could just be running through 5 minutes of your script with them to see if they’re a good fit. You can give participants something for taking part if they’re volunteers - refreshments and lunch is always a nice idea.

Production

Next comes the production - your actual filming day or days. Time is of the essence here; make sure you use every part of your day to the maximum!

Have you set up the framing?

There are so many things to consider when filming; that it’s nearly impossible to control everything. The weather may be a big factor. Ensure you have an idea of what the weather’s going to be doing on the day. Framing is important, too. Check your surroundings carefully (is that picture behind them straight? Is their button undone or a hair out of place?) before you start the camera rolling.

Have you checked the audio?

Whether you’re using lapel mics or using the mic from the camera, you’ll need to test before you start recording. Ask the participants what they had for breakfast; it’s the industry standard test of doing a sound check, and forms a nice ice-breaker. Ensure that weather conditions like wind won’t affect the audio output, and if you’re in a place that may have unexpected visitors ensure all phones are turned off and you have ‘FILMING IN PROGRESS’ signs outside the doors.

What about other footage (B-roll)?

If you have time, don’t miss out on the opportunity to get some lovely b-roll or cutaways. Sunshine gleaming on a stained glass window? Film it! Your participant doing an unexpected laugh and smile? Film it! All of these little moments may not make sense now or fit within your planned shot list, but they’ll be nice little additional touches when it comes to the final edit or cutting into social media clips.
 

Post Production

Now it’s the exciting part - putting it all into post for the edit!

How much time have you planned for the edit?

If you’ve done all of your pre-production correctly, the edit *should* be straightforward. You’ve followed a shoot schedule and a narrative, so the job of the edit should be to tell that story as effectively as possible. When confirming your budget, check the estimate to see how many rounds of amends are included. Hopefully a strong pre-production will minimise lots of amends, but you need to ensure you have enough money in your budget to cover additional amends.

What music will you use?

Music is such a contentious one, as it’s so subjective. I’ve worked on hundreds of projects where the client has loved the music, but I didn’t think it worked, or vice versa. Music should be thought about briefly in the creative stages, but you never really know what works until you’ve got the raw edit together. This is just the edit sequence without titling and music, whereby you can lay over different tracks to see what works best. When it comes to budget, check that royalty-free music is included, as music can be very costly. Places like Audiojungle are good cheap sources if you’d like to get your own music.

What about on-screen graphics?

Simple text overlays are fairly simple for an editor to do; when you involve animated elements the price skyrockets, so have a think if you’d like to combine your film with some animation. It definitely adds more of an impact to your film, but increases the post-production time significantly. Use your brand palette and fonts throughout, ensure you have given these to your supplier in good time, along with any logos or watermarks you might want to use.

Call to Action

Finally, no video is complete without a good call to action. You could be directing them to a site, you could be sending them onto another video, you could even have a really subtle CTA, but it should be there as it informs the viewer what to do next. Why not get a couple of different CTA’s produced for your end screen and A/B (split test) them to see which Call to Action elicits the most responses?

To find out more about best practice for your video project; get in touch and I’ll let you know how I can help.
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