Marketing

8 ways to stand out on social media in 2018

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You know how many people practically live on Instagram, right? Maybe you're one of them.

To stand out on social media in 2018, it’s all about following the golden rules - building a trusted community that:

  • know who you are
  • like who you are
  • love what your business is about.  

Here's some stand-out tips to attract more followers to your tribe in 2018:

1. Consider your visual marketing strategy

The growth of Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat means that beautiful photos are likely to get more engagement. Have you developed your brand moodboard, and made your brand beautiful?

2. Hire a photographer

It doesn’t have to be anyone expensive; just someone to record moments of your day. They can follow you around with a camera and record or snap some of the most interesting moments (unboxing new products, having a business meeting, speaking at a corporate event). Just don’t allow them to become your Instagram Husband…

    3. Document your unusual experiences

Did you go for a flotation tank session after work? Meet a business contact who knows someone famous? Had a funny moment on public transport? Whatever the story, by sharing something unusual, it not only connects you to your audience but provides an interesting story. The more humorous the better!

    4. Relate

On social media, it pays to share your innermost thoughts and opinions on something when posting a photo. This works well on Instagram stories or Snapchat as you can write your text over the top. For example (‘I’m loving that ladies boots. Wonder if we can sell them online?') It helps build a connection as it gives your audience an insight into the way you think. Here’s some of the most hilarious snapchat stories from Bored Panda.

   5. Follow hashtags

Now you can follow hashtags on Instagram, it’s worth compiling 15-20 hashtags relevant to your brand that you’d like to follow. Comment on their media and start a conversation. For example, I follow #remotework #digitalnomad and #nomadlife on Instagram.

 6. Be positive, but realistic

Everyone likes to get a little boost in their day by reading a positive story or seeing a picture of something uplifting. Don’t make your imagery TOO perfect though, as you may be at risk of being inauthentic. Emma Stone made a very valid remark about the ‘facade’ of social media, and how we need to keep that in mind.

7. Give knowledge

Always give more than you receive when promoting your business online. It's a really great idea to share some knowledge and added value, so that the person sees you as someone who is genuinely trying to help them. I love how Boho Utopia share their positive ethos and knowledge with customers on Instagram.

8. Utilise themes or content pillars

Content themes or 'pillars' as they are also known, are related to the themes behind your business, and are useful when deciding what to post. For example:

Educational, Behind the Scenes, User Generated, Influencer Takeover could be a few different ways you categorise your content. Here’s an example of a great Behind The Scenes post from WeWork.

 

Whether you're just starting out or have had channels for a while,  there's always more we could be doing on social media.

It can be all consuming. So always remember to pause, and breathe.

 

 

 

Have these tips helped you in your business? What's the best engagement you've ever had on social media? Share your stories below!

Don't sell, connect

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Last night I was relaxing in the bath watching one of the lovely Annie Tarasova's Youtube videos, and an ad played halfway through it.

'ARE YOU LIVING YOUR DREAM LIFE? I've had twenty years on the corporate ladder and I managed to escape the 9-5. You can do it! I've created a webinar which will show you how!' (Yadda, yadda, yadda).

These kinds of salesy ads just don't inspire me to buy the product or service.

Why? Because they are trying too hard.

Imagine if you were looking for a relationship and on your first date you heard something along the lines of: 

'I was in a bad relationship, but now I have turned my life around. I have a really great job, lots of friends, I'm not bad looking, I do LOADS of hobbies and activities, my family are really nice...'

You'd probably run a mile, right? As much as we are interested in buying a product or service and seeing it's results or benefits in our lives, if we are solely focused on that when we share content then we lose the connection to the customer. Why? Because we've lost the human connection.

The old style of advertising is dead. Kevin Roberts, former CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi agrees, noting that business is now about creating a movement of people with shared values. (He calls them 'lovemarks.')

Here's some tips for connecting more with customers:

1. Focus on what you love

If you're running a business you hate, you're not going to connect with your audience, because you're just doing it for the money. The infamous and beautiful Desiderata poem by Max Ehrmann includes the line 

'Especially do not feign affection.'

If your hearts not in your business, then no one else's heart will be either. 

2. Share your values and enthusiasm

Sian Conway, founder of Ethical Hour, and Jennifer Lachs, founder of Digital Nomad Girls Community, have successfully built an online tribe by focusing on their values and enthusiasm to help others who are passionate about the same things as them. It's not easy building up a tribe, and consistency and integrity are key, but constant momentum means you'll eventually reap the rewards.

3. Find others that think like you

Carrie Green, founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association, gives excellent advice on building a community on social media. To build a community it starts from connecting with others that have had the same problem as you.

You set up your business or service for a purpose - what is that purpose? By knowing your 'why', you'll be able to seek out others that are looking for the same thing.

4. Don't be afraid to be different

If you get ridiculously excited about something that some other people find bizarre, then take heart that they are not your tribe of people. You'll do better business when you show more of who you are, because likeminded people will resonate, and those that don't will fall away. I've found this difficult in the past but am now recognising the value and power of being different when it comes to creating content.

5. Help others selflessly

If you're posting on Quora purely to get a link or promote your business, people will sense that. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but you'll attract a more loyal, consistent following if you genuinely go out of your way to help. I love Andy Lopata's approach to this. He's a really nice guy and really wants to see people do better at growing their business.

Here's one of Annie's beautiful videos.

The elements of a successful marketing project

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When working on any marketing project for your business, there might be several people involved or on hand to help. Even if you're flying solo as an entrepreneur, you'll most likely be needing assistance from agencies, freelancers or contractors.

Marketing projects can be something as small and as simple as creating a new logo, or as complex as delivering a lengthy campaign or an overhaul of a website.

Whether your project is small or large, there's a few elements you need to consider to make it successful and as headache-free as possible:

Resource: When thinking about your project and developing the brief, work out how much resource is needed to fulfil your project by your expected delivery date. Who will be involved, and for how long? What about you- how much will you be involved in the project? If you've commissioned the work, you may have a vested interest, but you might want to employ a project manager to oversee the detail if it's a big piece of work.

Budget: What's your budget? Research the market first by knowing what you should pay for your piece of work. Think about potential amends you may have to the work along the way and how this may impact on budget. Ask questions about budget upfront to your freelancer or agency, and determine how they would like to be paid, so you're clear from the beginning.

Timescales: Depending on the size of the project, a good project can get turned around very quickly - as long as all the other elements are in place. If they're not, the project may lose time because things aren't clear on either side. Have you got a specific date in mind for a book launch, campaign or video release? If so, get some initial ideas of timescales from those in the know, so you can accurately predict how long things will take.

Brief: Have you clearly defined the scope of the project? A good brief should communicate exactly what's required, and by when. That's because the person responsible for delivering the project needs to understand the purpose and function of what you're asking them to create. Whether they're a website builder, copywriter or a graphic designer, agreeing on the brief and scope of work right from the outset will avoid questions and delays further on down the line.

Accountability: By defining clear roles and responsibilities, members of the project team will know exactly where they stand with decision making. For example, if you are happy for a copywriter to be more creative with content, by outlining this at the start they'll know they have the freedom to utilise their skills on your project. Similarly, if you mention to your graphic designer you'd like three iterations of a logo before proceeding, then you're both clear on expectations before the project begins. Who has power to make decisions? If you want to make your team accountable, let them know what you need to know, and what they can just get on with.

Project Plan: If it's a big project, it's helpful to set milestones along the way. Using project management software like Basecamp, Flow or Asana will help all members of the team see how progress is going, adjust the goalposts if necessary, and see where the project may have setbacks or challenges. Tracking a project in this way is not only useful for the lifetime of the project itself; it's also useful to look back on as a historical record.

Communication: Once everyone is on board, regular communication is a must to avoid confusion or miscommunication. This can be anything from a daily or weekly call to a fortnightly email, outlining the project progress and status. By communicating your part in the project to all people involved, you're helping to build relationships, as well as a solid project team committed to your project success.

Do you have a question about project management or need help with your marketing projects? Get in touch for more information.

Bringing more of 'you' into your business

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Gone are the days of corporate, formal relationships when it comes to marketing yourself.

When we buy from a business online, we don’t just want to know what services and products they offer - we want to connect with them.

We want to understand their brand, their story, and their reason for existing. We want to feel their passion, learn about how they got started, and ultimately understand them. 

That’s why in the last ten years, particularly with the advent of social media, our business relationships have changed. They’re no longer purely transactional.

More of us are seeking out business from those who understand and match our values. We buy from people who we feel we can connect to on some level. We feel like they just ‘get us’, or we just ‘get them’.

You can see this in the way marketing is changing. Communication on social media is moving towards being more emotionally expressive, and emoji laden. Photography is no longer a forced cheesy smile in a business suit; it’s relaxed, natural, and ultimately authentic.

Websites are now more about the experience rather than the sales - in short, we’re making the connection first, the business second. And that’s the way it always has been, we’re just now valuing the importance of the relationship over its monetary value.

I chose this cover image as it represents a big part of who I am and what’s important to me. I’m incredibly passionate about the power of music.

I’m also interested in personal development, and making the most of the precious time you’ve got here, so this combination really lights me up.

By sharing more of who you are in your business, it might help connect you more to the right kinds of people.

  • For example, a photographer could share their passion for vegan cooking as part of a content series, and this may help to secure more clients that want photography done for their restaurants or food blogs.
  • If you’re a travel company with a passion for reading, why not share some of the best books you’ve read as part of a video series? You could combine the two, by talking about which books have inspired you to travel. This not only sets you apart from other travel companies and adds an interesting element to your business, it also connects you more to your audience. You can also add in your call to action at the end.
  • If you’re a hairdresser with a love for flowers, why not incorporate more flowers into your photography and hair shoots, or even your branding? You can bring in more of your identity to your business without it being forced or feeling disjointed, it can be in a subtle way.

By bringing more of you into your business, your sales become a natural by-product of someone authentically connecting with you, and sharing the same passions as you.

Ultimately, our passions are what make us come alive.

By integrating your passions into what you do, you’ll not only become more excited about what you’re doing, but you’ll also gain loyalty from customers that you can personally identify with.






 

Making Time To Focus on What Matters: A Minimalist Approach To Marketing

I watched a great documentary last night about minimalism. It’s about how corporate America has sold us the American dream of accumulating more ‘stuff’, until it seeps into our consciousness, and we effectively live our lives ‘keeping up with the Joneses.’ We’re always on the ladder, improving our cars, our homes, and buying more possessions, in the belief it will make us happier, somehow.

Minimalism asks the questions ‘Does this add value to my life?’ ‘Does this free my time to focus on the important things, or is it an unnecessary distraction?’

I’m currently writing a book on living a more simplified work life, and it got me thinking about how this applies to our businesses.

When I wrote my last blog post, I posted it on a Business Growth Facebook Group, and someone mentioned that they would implement my YouTube tips when they have cleared ‘space’ for it.

I’m sure you’ve got lots of things you are ‘planning’ to do, too, and if you’re a business owner, you may have a marketing ‘to-do’ list that’s as long as your arm.

There are so many demands in the modern marketing world that it’s difficult to be laser-focused with your marketing. Do you focus your efforts on Youtube campaigns? Facebook advertising? Building your email list? Filming your Instagram Stories? Working on organic SEO? Writing an ebook? Improving your website conversion goals?

...Seriously, the list is endless. It can all be valuable, but without knowing exactly how valuable, you’re far less likely to have time in your business to focus on the things that make the difference.

Michael Gerber in the E-Myth notes that many business owners work in their business, instead of on their business. It simply means they can’t see the wood for the trees - they are so focused on growth and day to day tactical marketing activity that they rarely have time to look at the big strategic picture.

So how do you adopt a minimalist approach to your marketing, especially if you’re a small business or solo entrepreneur?

  • Simplify: Find one or two channels that your audience hang out on, and do them really, really well.

There’s no point spreading yourself too thinly if you’re a one man band or a small team. If you’re focusing on say Youtube and Instagram, find out all you need to know about those channels. Become an expert on them, and dedicate yourself to growing the platform. You can pick up other channels in time, but for now make sure you can grow a dedicated following on one first.

  • Create meaning: play to your strengths and values

If you’re an excellent speaker but a terrible writer; why not play to your strengths? Create a podcast or focus your efforts on public speaking. As your business and team grows, you can pay to outsource those bits of your business that you don’t like. You need to enjoy what you’re doing, after all, so your work becomes meaningful to you.

  • Declutter: Remove unneccessary distractors that eat away at your time

I use Facebook Newsfeed eradicator, and I have used Rescue Time in the past to check my productivity. There’s probably a lot of things that distract you away from your marketing time. You just need to keep tabs on yourself - are you going to fall into an Instagram hole when you tell yourself you’re just ‘checking out competitors?’

  • Do less: But be consistent

So many people have burned themselves out by simply trying to do too much (me included), and then not being able to keep a handle on all their marketing efforts. Think about whether certain activities could be scaled down, yet improved. You might not need to create a video every day, nor send out a newsletter every week, especially if you’re lacking the research time to do a really, really good job. Better to wait and gather up a lot of information and knowledge so you create an outstanding piece of content when it’s out there. It’s much like those music artists who spend time crafting their albums rather than just churning out lots of low-quality songs. Focus on quality; but be consistent.

 

Do you struggle with simplifying your marketing efforts? Have you tried streamlining your marketing activity in line with your strategy? What do you think about minimalism? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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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