Storyboard or Script?

Which is better? Does it matter?

While we don’t get this question often, it’s a valid question. A more likely question we get sometimes is, “Can we create a storyboard so we can see what the plan is?” The answer is usually yes, but there are times it doesn’t make sense. First let’s start with what a storyboard is versus what a script will do.

Storyboard

A storyboard is developed to show a client pictorially what may be shown on screen. These usually work well when we do product videos, especially when the finished video will need to be approved by a third party. Third parties to a product video might be QVC or the Home Shopping Network. Usually when one wants to create a product video to be featured on one of these channels, it’s a good idea to make sure the video matches their specifications and needs. It becomes costly to re-shoot or re-edit a video simply because it wasn’t approved prior to shooting. For instance the video below required a storyboard so it could be approved by management and shown to the retailer. The retailer had some input as to how it featured certain components that might help the product sell faster in their stores. They know their customers, so get them to help!

Here’s the video:

Here’s the storyboard that went with it:

Scripting

So now that we’ve discussed storyboarding, let’s shift over to scripting. Scripting is when we take what you do, how you do it, and/or why you do it and convert that into a spoken script that highlights the points your video needs to create. Spoken script can be you (or someone you designate from your business) on camera reading from a TelePrompTer, or it can be professional voice over. We have hundreds of professional voice over options to choose from and several languages. It’s important to choose which voice best represents your business. We can help with that as well.

One question that comes up when dealing with a script is, “Who should write the script?” Our recommendation is most frequently that we should write the script. We say this because we know how close you are to your business and sometimes we find people close to the work have a hard time formulating the correct message for the audience. For example, we’ve had some clients take a stab at their script only to include industry jargon and technical information that their target audience didn’t care about. What the target audience needed to know was, can you do what I expect of you, on time, and on budget? Those were the questions that needed to be answered, not the technical stuff. Sometimes the client is best suited to write the script, but most times, we can boil down the problem-solution for you making it less stressful during the shoot. Keep in mind, no matter what, the client has the last say in the script!

Here’s an example of a script for another product:

The concept is, tell the story, give someone the reason to buy your product or service. You’ll also notice that there are two columns in this script: a description of what you’ll see on the screen and the actual spoken words. This was a relatively straightforward script, but you get the picture. Here’s the finished video:


Wanna buy a Tator Gator now? We did!

If you have any questions about your video project, feel free to give us a call. We’re happy to help! Follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook.

Top 5 Questions To Ask a Video Production Company Before You Hire

When it comes to deciding which video production company is the best choice for your idea or project, there are several key questions to keep in mind. There are most likely a thousand questions you might have about video and the company you’re about to hire. We find that these are some of the good questions we’ve received over the past several years…and thought you’d like to know. Even if you don’t hire us, these would be good questions to have in your back pocket. Here they are (hint, number 5 is the most important):

  1. How long has the company been in the industry?  This question has a few meanings. Are you asking about longevity of the company or the people creating the video? How much experience? A good production company should be able to distinguish the two by also asking you a few questions. Sometimes hiring a company with 20 years of experience is important and sometimes this give you outdated ideas and concepts. It’s important you know what you’re looking for in this question. If you were to ask us about experience, you’d know that Jenn has many years of experience working in the video field. She’s worked at television stations and video production companies and started Plum in 2009 when she realized it was the time to do so.
  2. Are they creative?  Tough question because that’s a subjective question. What is creative to you may not be creative at all to us or to someone else. Here’s how you get past that. Find out if they are they able to provide examples of videos that took a dry subject and made it interesting? This is the sign of a strong creative. Ask them to tell you the story about how they created the idea and improved the story.
  3. What types of videos does the company produce?  Start with what you’re looking for. What type of video do you want? Interviews? Testimonials? Tours? Property? The list goes on. Once you know, ask them to show you some examples.  When you ask, keep in mind if you’re looking for a custom made video or a similar video to one they’ve already created. There are subtle differences and they should be able to distinguish between the two.
  4. What are some of the companies they have previously worked with?  Again, this begs a few questions. Are you looking to learn about what sectors they can operate in or are you looking for a fresh outside approach to marketing in your sector? If you’re looking for a company that specializes in your sector and wish to have a video that looks like everyone else in your sector, make sure you communicate that up front. If you’re looking for a fresh look that only someone on the outside would be able to create, communicate that up front…and for the same reason. You don’t have time to waste if the video production company doesn’t fit the requirements.
  5. What are some of the companies they have worked with previously? Same question, different reason for the question. You might be looking at this question and thinking, “No, I want to know what companies they’ve worked with…can they work with us?”  Also a good question. If you’re a larger company, concerns come up  like, can they be flexible, can they meet our deadlines, can they convert our message to an effective video, do they have the capability to meet our branding guidelines…and a bunch of other concerns. Have those questions ready when you start your interview.
  6. Bonus Question? How quickly can my video be completed?  Often there are specific deadlines that need to be met. Communicating that early is important because if they can’t meet your timeline, you’re wasting your time. Can a video be completed in a week or two months? That depends. It depends on the complexity of the project and a good video production company will be able to communicate with you a realistic and an aggressive timeline that you can work with. They should be able to tell you pretty quickly a general timeline and what is required to hit it. We’ve scripted, shot, and edited videos in a variety of timelines, including 6 days to 5 months, but each had requirements of the client and Plum to hit those deadlines. We find this to be the most important question one can ask when interviewing a video production company.

Need help picking a video production company? Call us. We can help. You might think we’ll just tell you to use us, but we won’t. If we’re not a good fit, that’s good to know…you’ll have just ruled out another company…we can certainly point you in the right direction.

How Should I Measure Video Success

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to determining the success of a video, views aren’t everything. Crazy right? It’s true, there are other contributing factors to consider such as: getting and setting the right key performance indicators, what are your overall marketing goals, and what is the best way to track progress on a brand’s unique goal. Here are a few examples of how others are measuring success when it comes to video posts. The first step is to determine what the primary marketing goal is for the campaign. Typically, companies want their video advertising campaigns to increase awareness, consideration, and ultimately influence their online or offline sales. When trying to market to a target audience, consumers typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. “I’m ready to make a purchase,” or “I’m ready to give you a call to discuss;” or
  2. “I’m not very familiar with your product, but I’d like to learn more;” or
  3. “I’m undecided as to what to do…should I call you (or purchase online) or should I move on?”

The trick is to know where your target audience is when they connect with you. Viewing their actions can solve this. Set up a digital funnel and use video to help them. Could you walk them through a series of steps via the initial video? Or should you set up a series of videos that tells them what to do at each step? Only you can make that decision.

Next, what are the indicators for each marketing goal? For example, if your goal is to raise Awareness, the number of views, impressions, and unique users are important. You might also consider how well your marketing increased awareness and how well people can remember the ad they viewed afterward. Each indicator, if measured properly, will help you determine if the video/ad was effective. This is an important initial step because it demonstrates the impression your business is portraying or is begin perceived via it’s marketing efforts.

If Consideration is the measurement, then the indicators to measure are: view-through rates, watch times, favorability lifts, consideration lifts, and brand interest lifts. All these measurements illustrate how the brand is being perceived when viewing (positively or negatively).

Finally, the third measurement is Action. What happens after or during the view? Here are some measurements to consider: clicks, calls, signups, sales, and purchase intent lifts. When looking at these measurements through the lens of video, you must consider all brand marketing activities because video is typically not a standalone item that drives a sale. For example, many people will receive a mailer, see an ad in a flyer, visit the website, and view the video. The individual may or may not recognize that the video helped them make the sale or if it was something else they saw along the way.

Measuring the success of video is a little tricky…but we like to think that the number of views, frequency of views (same person seeing the same video), watch time, favorability lift and clicks/action taken to contact are typically sufficient items to measure to begin. If we can help you with this in any way, please don’t hesitate to ask!

 

Source: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/how-identify-right-kpis-online-video.html

Best Platform to Host Video

When we create videos for our clients, they often ask, “Where should I put this video?” Unless they’re creating their video for a commercial to run on cable or broadcast television, this is a very good question. Yes, the obvious answer is to place it on their website, and this is often where it starts, but should it be hosted somewhere else? There are a few schools of thought on this. The SEO companies of the world say to host it on YouTube because it’s owned by Google. Some like to host it on Vimeo because it plays much cleaner and give you options not easily set up on YouTube. Both might be right, but now there are many other players entering the arena.

YouTube just celebrated it’s 10 Year Anniversary and much has changed since it’s inception. YouTube was first started in 2005 and later purchased by Google in 2006 for $1.65 Billion in stock1. Most of the early users were the general public…but not so much by businesses. Since then, many business host their videos on YouTube. In fact, checking Internet Live Stats, as of 11:30 AM on September 23, 2015, there have been over 2,481,613,747,000 YouTube Videos Viewed today! Think of that…from Midnight to 11:30 AM. Mind boggling!

So…Where SHOULD I Post My Video?

YouTube

While YouTube is one of the most often used locations to post your video, it’s not the only one. A couple of pros and cons to YouTube. First, YouTube is easy to embed into your website (or anywhere else), they have highly reliable servers, you can analyze your data from multiple angles, excellent search capacities and search results are viewed as you search (even in a Google search). One of the main cons to YouTube is that content can often be hard to find. Unless someone stumbles upon your video or it’s embedded into your website, most people may not find it easily. YouTube doesn’t lend well if you’re looking for your audience to find you accidentally.

Vimeo

There are many similarities between YouTube and Vimeo; however, one of the most noticeable differences is design. Vimeo is used by many who are very conscientious about design elements and visual components important to their brand. You might have noticed a lot of professional filmmakers listed on Vimeo for this reason. Also, one of the drawbacks to Vimeo is the number of people registered as users. It is a significantly smaller community that YouTube.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the newest members of the video hosting companies. We all know Facebook in a social way, but now they are offering the ability to host a video within your feed…while giving it priority over posts without video. The current algorithm improves your post to be seen if it has video (especially when uploaded to Facebook directly, not hosted elsewhere). With one of the largest audiences on the planet, Facebook will soon be one of the larger video players in the near future. If you already have a Facebook fan base, using video will improve your engagement with your fans. They key is to have a large enough fan base. Without the base, your video will only be seen by a few. One other thing to keep in mind is that people usually log into Facebook to get updates about their families and friends, not learn about your business…so be tasteful in your post quantity!

Wistia

Wistia is a relatively new video hosting website that is a paid site. This might be for you if you wish to embed video and get extreme analytics on the backside such as how long someone watched the video, at what second did they leave (or stop watching), where viewers skipped to, where viewers rewatched, etc. They have a feature called Heat Map that shows you a timeline with color coded action points. You can also integrate email programs with Wistia. This is a little more complex, but worth it if you’re into data.

We know there are many more places to host your videos, but these tend to remain at the top of the list in terms of popularity, ease of use, and providing embedding capabilities with some analytical features. Do you have any sites you use to host your videos? Do you have any better options that we don’t know about? Post them in our comments section. We’d love to learn about them!

1 Wikipedia – History of YouTube

If You’re a Nonprofit, Here’s How We Fit In

Nonprofits Are Essential To Our Communities. If You’re a Nonprofit, Here’s How We Fit In.

Every nonprofit has a story. Nonprofits usually fill a very serious need in our community; and one of the biggest challenges nonprofits face is the need for money. Money that helps the nonprofits satisfy the need and pay its employees. When we talk to Executive Directors of nonprofits, they share with us their frustration of telling the story effectively and efficiently so as to bring in as much money as needed to fill the gap. This is not an easy task.

Imagine if you could tell the story without having to sound like it’s been told a hundred times. What if the story could be told using the faces of those who benefited by the nonprofit? Wouldn’t that be the best way to tell the story? It would…In fact, a video can do exactly that.

The person(s) who benefited from the nonprofit would be the best person to tell the story. It’s a first person account of the difference the nonprofit made in their life. Without the nonprofit, where would they be? By having them tell your story, a possible donor can see the how their donation will help make a difference. Powerful stuff.

But, Plum Productions doesn’t just do the video; we help you reduce the cost of the video by working with your corporate sponsors. We all know companies that want to help their community, but they also want the community to know how much they impact their surrounding area. One way to work together is to let Plum Productions work with your Corporate Sponsor(s) to off-set the cost of your video.

A powerful, emotional video can bring in donations beyond expectations. We fit in because we want to tell the story. The story of how you, the nonprofit, helps our community. Below is a sample of just one of our nonprofits we’ve highlighted. Take a look…and try not to cry.

Office Tours – Showcase Your Space!

Looking For a Video Idea?

If you work in a field where customers come to your office, you probably keep it looking pretty spiffy.  The level of comfort your clients have in your space is likely important to them, and in turn, you. Virtual Office Tours have become really popular on websites for this exact reason.  A potential client can have a look around the office before they schedule an appointment.  If you run a hotel, medical facility, or even a spa, virtual tours are a really valuable selling tool.  Today, most virtual tours are created with still photos and software that “seams” the shots together giving a 3D effect.  It’s a great tool, but we at Plum Productions think it’s a missed opportunity.

A Video Tour Can Do Everything a Virtual Tour Does – With a Much Greater Marketing Impact.

  • Firstly, they’re narrated.  The viewer can actually hear information about the space they’re seeing.
  • Second, in the narration, they can also hear about different services that are provided in the different spaces.  It’s a marketing video and video tour in one.
  • Lastly, if you feature someone prominent from the office, it also becomes a “Meet the Doctor” or “Meet the Staff” video.

Recently, we created a Video Tour for a local medical office. The video was hosted by the doctor, so patients got a look at his beautiful office, and an idea of who would be providing their treatment.  You’ve have to take a look:

Every business looks for ways to save money, and combining an Office Tour, Marketing video and Meet the Staff video is a great deal. Happy Video Marketing! Jenn

What Can TV Teach Us About the New Video Revolution?

TV went through a revolution some years ago. Remember when cable first began? Remember when people were asking, “Why do we need a channel just for weather?” or “Why do we need a channel with 24 hour news?” 20 years later, we know we can’t live without the 24 hour news cycle (well most of us). Given this, what can we learn from history when it comes to video? Here are a few things we can pull from the history playbook.

TV History – A Big Lesson

In Video, Content is King!

Throughout history of television, there has never been a shortage of ideas. Television went from sitcoms to reality TV and back to sitcoms. Television has gone through drastic changes, only to come back to where it began. Not surprising. People like stories. People like to watch reality and sitcoms. They’re very similar in nature.

What does that mean for you? Since content is king, you’ll need to focus on how to create content. Think of Google as the masses (the millions of TV viewers)…constantly looking for something new, better, and entertaining. Your goal should be to continue to come up with new material to share. Whether it’s a marketing video, an informational/testimonial video, demonstration video, a training video, or just a recording of an in depth discussion about a topic relevant to a specific niche, new information (content) is king.

Your Action Item: Take approximately 30 minutes to play on YouTube. First, develop a list of keywords to search. See what you find. Watch 5 videos, but only for 30 seconds each. Write down notes about what you learned from each video. Next, search through the most popular videos and channels. Do the same thing, watch for 30 to 60 seconds. What did you learn/experience? Keys to pay attention to are the format each used, the techniques they used (sales), the techniques they used (production), the length of each video, etc. Use this information to come up with new approaches to video and to content.

Got an idea for a great video? Let us know. Want help coming up with one? Let us know.

Simple Video Blog Ideas

You’re probably reading this because you want to improve your website’s SEO. You’ve heard that video on your website can help SEO, but you’re looking at your computer and decided, you need a topic. You could write about your topic, or you could do a video. While we’ve given tips about How To Set Up Your Video Correctly, coming up with the topic can be a little difficult. This blog post is about picking a topic and running with it!

The How-To-Video

Videos that describe how to do something can be very helpful for your potential customer. After all, they need help. Why not be the solution? For example, about 4 weeks ago I needed to learn how to hang a flat screen television to a wall. The directions that came with the hardware wasn’t helpful, so I Googled it. I found hundreds of videos, but I selected the one that was titled correctly and after a few seconds began to teach me how to successfully hang the TV. (Side note, the TV is still hanging on the wall — Success!)

ScreenCasting

A different version of a video How-To-Video, but an important one. If you have something to show or describe on your computer screen, use ScreenCast or CamStudio. They capture what you are doing on your computer screen. I have used this program when I need to show someone how to set up an account on a website or how to make changes to a computer setting for better video viewing.

Video Interview

This is where we can come in to compliment your activities. Conducting interviews of clients or important people in your field of business can add value to your website. We’ll help you make the interview look professional and insightful. We’ll make sure you stay on topic and relevant to your audience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do you have a list of questions that potential clients ask frequently? Or do you have a list of questions that existing customers ask? Put together a list of frequently asked questions for them to refer to before sitting down with you. For example, a dentist might answer questions such as, “How do I prepare for my root canal operation?” or an Estate Planner might do an FAQ video about, “What documents do I need before I meet with my Estate Planner?” These can assist in SEO as well as help your customers/clients.

These are just a few options when deciding on what type of videos you can use for a blog and how you can use them. If you would like us to help you plan some of these out, simply give us a call.

How Long Should My Video Be On My Website?

Length of Video

Did you know that 50% more people will complete a 1 minute video than a 2 minute video? That’s significant considering most businesses want to post longer videos. We tend to recommend that if you want to post a video, that it be under 1 minute…and if you have more to say, let’s find a way to break it into smaller, bite-sized pieces. This allows the viewer to continue to click through the important portions of your videos (education) while also identifying what is important to potential customers…or what is not said efficiently somewhere else on the website.

So, I Shouldn’t Post A Long Video?

Not necessarily. It really depends on the type of video.

  1. Commercials. Many companies need to education potential customers about what they do or the benefits of the product. This can usually be done within 30 seconds.
  2. How To. Some companies need to educate current customers about how to use a product, such as how to assemble it or how to use it safely. In these cases, the length of the video is less important; however, it is important that the video get to the point quickly or the viewer will think the video will be a waste of their time.
  3. Testimonials. Testimonial videos can be up to 2 minutes. People like to watch other people give testimonials before they buy to help them determine if they are making a good choice. By providing sufficient time for multiple testimonials, the potential customer can watch as many or as few testimonials as needed to help them make a decision.

We hope this helps you make an educated decision on how long your video should be. Whether we produce it for you or someone else, make sure the length of the video is correct for it’s use. Contact us if you have any questions.

 

3 Tips from a Video Production Pro

Want some lessons from a professional video production pro? With years of experience and hundreds of videos created, we can provide some insights into how you can better create a high-quality video on a shoestring budget. Since it would be nice to have an unlimited budget, it is unrealistic. We realize that. So here are a couple of tips that can help you improve your DIY video. Remember, nothing beats a high-end camera, high-quality lighting, and the right audio components; but, you can get some decent video for your video blogs by following a couple of tips:

Know your angle. This doesn’t mean the angle of your story, this means the angle of your camera. So many people use their iPhone to shoot some decent video. With the addition of HD video to many mobile phones, many people believe this provides the best there is. It simply doesn’t; but, it can provide enough for some websites. If you’re going to hold a phone to do a video, please hold it the right way. Think about your TV. Is it taller than it is wide, or wider than it is tall? That’s the way you must hold your phone. In fact, most computer screens are shaped the same way. Shoot your video accordingly.

Steady as she goes. Even the pros use tripods. Holding a camera or phone steady is very difficult. Don’t fight this fact. An expensive tripod isn’t necessary, only something that will hold the camera steady. Remember, people want to watch your video, so make it appealing by making it steady.

Video isn’t all.Lavlier, Audio, Video While it is usually referred to as video, one other important component is the audio. The audio can turn people off very quickly. If it’s difficult to hear, has a strong echo, or the audio is muffled, you’ll want to add a lavalier microphone (or lapel microphone). These are relatively inexpensive (less than $50 at Amazon or Best Buy) and well worth the expense. We like to say that “A professionally produced video can draw clients in just as easily as a poorly produced one can drive them away.”

If you must do your own video, we hope these tips help. Every single tip listed here was inspired by at least one DIY video that we’ve been exposed to when sitting down with potential clients. These are the things that they don’t like about their video and call us to fix. Video is more difficult than it seems, so don’t be afraid to call us for some other tips!