I came across this neat little GIF that I’ve nicknamed “The Production Proposal Assist Device.” In most cases when I’m asked to bid on a job, these three elements come into play. The client gets to choose two of them…I get one. The truth is that everything is negotiable these days, but this made me smile, so I thought I’d share.
Avoiding these common mistakes will help you create a video marketing strategy that will connect, resonate, and engage with your target audience. This will increase traffic to your website and improve sales.
1. Excessive “hard selling”
When you apply the “hard sell,” it is much like asking your first date to marry you. There is a very remote possibility, but you increase chances by building a relationship step by step. By creating teaser videos, you will intrigue potential clients and establish a continued relationship.
2. Videos are not part of a campaign
You may only get one chance to make a first impression, and as a result, many companies tend to overload their customer base with info. Pace your message and leave something to the imagination without exhausting the rather short attention span of your viewer.
Campaigns are the way to go. Rather than creating a single five-minute video, entrepreneurs should focus on a multi-faceted approach to creating a two-minute video in concert with six 30-second segments. That still adds up to a total of five minutes. The attention span of viewers is now so short, that short, informative, entertaining, and to-the-point videos are required.
3. Poor title and SEO
Interesting titles and effective tagging are essential in maximizing your SEO and harnessing your views. Having a great video no one can find renders all production efforts useless.
4. Disharmonized content
Video marketing is not just about visual images. Effective videos all harmonize the images with the best use of voice and text. Take these components into consideration when producing your video. Everything needs to be deliberate and intentionally planned.
5. Focus on products, not people
If facts tell and stories sell, then do not make your video a list of facts about your products. Focus on telling stories about people using your products and the benefits that they derive from using them. If your story is well told, people will seek out more information.
6. Not harnessing the power of video
If a picture paints a thousand words, just imagine how much a well-crafted video can communicate. Just make sure that your videos portray the right content and in the right essence. Videos are all about style, and style is actually more important than content. The style needs to be authentic to your brand, elevate your message, and make it resonate with your target audience.
7. Under-using available social media platforms
YouTube is great, but it is not the only game in town, as shown above. Maximize both your reach and your SEO by publishing your videos on all platforms. This does not mean pasting a YouTube link on the other platforms. When you load your video into platforms natively, you get twice as many views. In addition, do not forget email. As the infographic above showed, including a video in your emails will increase click-through rates by 200 to 300 percent. If you want to know how to do that, either ask Sean Sloan (our resident SEO/SEM expert) or me.
8. Videos are too long
We live in a world of immediate gratification and societal ADD. Therein lies the magic formula to capture your audience in a comprehensive, entertaining, yet limited stage. As you can see in the descriptions above, sometimes 10 seconds are all you have, and even TV commercials are being produced as 15 second spots!
So get out there and create! Just know what the critical success factors are, and you can be wildly successful. And if you need any help, just give First Impressions Video a call!
**AUTHOR’S NOTE** I first wrote this article in September, 2014. Having now done hundreds of interview videos since then, the 6 points I detailed in 2014 take on even greater meaning, so I thought I’d “rebroadcast” the post. I would also add a seventh point: When speaking in front of a camera, it isn’t necessary to try to remember a long passage or thought! When you get to a point where you’re not sure what you want to say next, just pause–while still looking at the same spot–collect your thoughts, and continue. Seasoned pros know this neat little trick and now, you do too! Your editor will love you because editing your session will be much simpler when there are pauses that can be easily put together, creating a nice, cohesive interview!
About a year ago, I wrote on my blog about giving a great interview, in which I tapped into my friend Steve Cooper’s article (hitchedmag.com) for some terrific insights. Recently, I shot interview-type videos for a number of corporate and non-profit clients and it sparked a few new thoughts that are worth sharing, for the next time you are asked to be interviewed on camera.
- Get comfortable! Make sure that—while attractive to the camera (viewing audience)—your clothing is comfortable. If it’s too tight or binding, it can contribute to your voice sounding constrained. If you’re nervous in front of a camera, an overly snug outfit will only compound the nervousness.
- Know your subject material. Create a list of talking points. Notes (as opposed to a script) will allow the conversation to flow smoothly and sound more “normal.” Unless you have expertise working with a teleprompter, I recommend not using one. Also, this is NOT a “gotcha” interview, so I want my subject to be well informed.
- I typically recommend the “off camera” style, as if you were talking with someone you know. You’re just “having a conversation.” Plus, off camera interviews pull the subject’s attention away from the camera equipment.
- Practice starting your responses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to coach subjects to NOT start every response with ‘um,’ ‘uh,’ ‘like,’ and the dreaded ‘so.’
- Shoot with multiple angles and perspectives. Often, I shoot with two cameras to accomplish this. A single medium close-up shot can be a bit monotonous, unless you are going for a very specific look! Even if you only have one camera, you can (should) vary the angles and perspectives of the interview. It will be far more interesting. “60 Minutes” set the standard for this approach.
- Shoot “cutaways” (sometimes called “b-roll”) of other interesting areas that support the interview that can be edited into the final product. Again, this helps keep the interest level up and boredom to a minimum.
And finally, start with the end in mind. Even a short interview has a “story arc,” and by knowing where you want the interview to finish, it will simplify the presentation from beginning to end!
OK…that was probably an overly dramatic subject line, but if it got your attention, good! The truth is, everyone knows that video continues to gain in importance, marketing-wise, regardless whether we’re talking about a national or global brand, or a small “mom & pop” business–or anything in between. And while implementing video into your marketing mix may not be life-threatening, if your competition is doing it and you’re not, it could be!
Here is, arguably, the first infographic of the year, entitled, “2017: The year of video marketing.” It continues the theme I’ve shared throughout 2016 about the growing relevance of video. Props to UK based HighQ for its compilation.
In my May 21st blog, last year (“Can you give me a ‘ballpark’ quote?”), I broke down the elements of a video production to illustrate what goes into a bid for a project. In that article, I mentioned that post-production is a subject that should have its own story, so here it comes today!
To review, the components that play into how a job is priced includes:
So let’s unpack that last one: Post production. A simplistic definition would describe it as everything that happens after production wraps, leading up to the delivery of the finished video product. It’s only when we drill down further that we find out what that really means…
- Editing. The art of taking the raw footage—with its audio—and turning it into something useful. I believe too many on the “client side” have limited understanding of what goes into good editing, especially the time it takes to do it right. And there is NO correlation between the aggregate time of the source footage and a finished sequence. Even if the desired time for a video is one minute, it could take hours (or even days) to whittle a lot of raw footage into that really special promo/talking head/commercial piece! A good shooter will capture footage with editing in mind (especially if it’s the same person doing both tasks), but editing is still the process that can take the most time*.
- Audio. This subject actually has two definitions. The first pertains to adjustments that are often necessary to “sweeten” the audio captured with the source footage. Depending on the quality of that sound, it may not require much work—but it can! A good editor typically has an audio application just as robust as the editing program and I’m pleased to have the Adobe suite that includes Audition, in my workflow arsenal. Nothing can undermine a video like bad audio, so major attention needs to be paid to this crucial element. The second context pertains to the music bed that sometimes rides under the video. This sound track should complement the tone of the visuals and NEVER compete with it. We’ve all seen videos with the audio track WAY TOO LOUD (yes, I’m yelling!), and even with volume controls, an audio track should never overwhelm any spoken word in the video.
- Titles, Graphics & Effects. Call this the “glue” that brings everything together, “TG&E” make for a nice opening and closing to your video. Effects should never be so dramatic that they become a distraction; they should be an enhancement to your presentation.
I hope this addresses the point that creating a video is comprised of many moving parts. Make sure your video production company understands them all and can pull the “pieces of the puzzle” together into a cohesive, compelling video!
Happy New Year!
* I am often asked how long it takes to edit a project. And while there is no specific answer (no dodge here!), reputable sources (plural) say that it can take from 1 to 5 hours to produce 1 minute of finished video. The range represents the complexity of the edit; the more elements (footage, graphics, titles, music, effects, rendering, color correction and others) the longer it will take. In the context of the “ballpark quote” article, post production can easily be equal to—or even higher than—the cost of production itself.
As we close out the crazy year known as 2016, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a sincere THANK YOU to all the clients I served. And as we head into 2017, there is only one question: GOT VIDEO?
Let’s do something together in this next year and you can see what other clients have learned: Great video does NOT have to break the bank!
**AUTHOR’S NOTE** Originally posted on August 22, 2016. As we approach the new year, this article is particularly relevant to companies looking for excellent quality video. Hiring employees is expensive and I submit First Impressions Video for your consideration as an effective alternative.
Companies in Orange County (CA): If you are looking for an in-house video producer, give me a call! Why incur the expense of salaries and benefits associated with hiring production employees, when for less investment, you can have access to a video professional with thousands of hours of experience shooting corporate “talking heads,” conferences and seminars, training sessions and countless others.
Think about it: If you hire employees to do video production, you have to keep them constantly busy. Now for some companies, that may not be a problem, but for many that just want to shoot an occasional project, that can be more of a financial outlay than is necessary. In instances like that, a quality independent videographer can fit the bill quite nicely. By the way I can also take on assignments in LA, “Inland Empire” (including Palm Springs area) and San Diego County.
And non-profits, this applies to you, as well.
Is your project a destination shoot or out of the Southern California area? With travel expenses covered, this isn’t a problem either!
Great video doesn’t have to break the bank…call 714-979-3850 to set up your next video project!
First, my sincere thanks to all my clients who entrusted their video work to First Impressions Video! Whether a direct production or as a freelance contributor, 2016 was a very special year, and I am truly grateful! And as we head into 2017, just remember this important axiom: Rule #1…don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule #2…it’s ALL small stuff!
May we all be wildly successful in our respective endeavors in the coming year!
A blog entry I wrote earlier in the year was picked up on Twitter. In it was one of several infographics I’ve posted and commented about over the course of the year. These visual pictures tell great stories and are applicable to producers of video, as well as consumers of video. I thanked the Tweeter for providing a great idea on how I could share a few of these infographics, which I have compiled here. Thanks to L. Scott Harrell ( @lscottharrell ) for the motivation to do this!
- “21 Video Marketing Ideas for Small Business Budgets” http://wp.me/p2YaU5-gL
- “31 Must Know Video Marketing Stats” http://wp.me/p2YaU5-gm
- “5 Reasons Why Video Must Be Part Of Your 2016 Budget” http://wp.me/p2YaU5-e8
- “Anatomy of an Interview Video” http://wp.me/p2YaU5-ak
That last one was from 2015, but a few folks had asked me about it, so I figured, what the heck, and threw it in. And while the amplifying content around the infographics is likely mine, source credit for all of them goes to the respective creators.
Let me end the year with this one. Although intended to be humorous, all facets of video/film production require perseverance and resourcefulness. But for those with both, this can be a fascinating and gratifying endeavor. Just ask me!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year
Although I haven’t done one of these in a while, it is not for a lack of wonderful compliments from satisfied clients, which can be seen on this site, on Yelp, Thumbtack, Google+ and elsewhere. This one was neat because it represented the second instance in which I’ve served the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors’ Group, videotaping their City Council Candidate Forum. Here are those comments:
“This is the second time we have used Terry’s services for our Candidates’ Forum. Very professional and friendly. We had absolutely no worries with Terry taping the event. What a find – and trust us – we tried taping our own event many years ago only to realize this required a professional at the helm. We anticipate that we have many more years of business with First Impressions Video.”
Thanks to Syndy, Kerry, Denise, Jeff and others at ECMNG for those kind words! First Impressions Video is standing by to make a happy customer out of YOU!
P.S. If you’d like to see the Forum video, click here.