Video Marketing Myths

pen writing text on paper

With over 300 hours of video sent to YouTube every minute (on average) and millions watching these videos everyday, how do you know what to do to be effective when it comes to video marketing? It seems a very small amount of businesses actually know how to take advantage of these actions. People are starting to catch on and businesses increasingly are using video to connect with customers and potential customers. They are finding that video is a highly effective tool to illustrate their personality and authority in their industry.  So, what myths do these businesses sometimes believe?

Which of the following about video marketing are myths and which are facts?

  • View Count – “We are successful if our video goes viral,“ or “Our video is a success if we have over 1 million views.” False. While this may be true in some respects, views do not equate to action taken by your customers or purchases by customers. If views were your goal, we would have to ask why. Why are views important? If you have a new product or app that no one knows about and views will help educate people who didn’t know your app existed, then maybe viewers is good…but it shouldn’t be the only measure.
  • The appearance (quality) of the video is more important than the message.  Myth. While we believe quality is very important in video, it is not what generates sales. The message is just as important. We’ve seen some videos that are a little poor on quality convert more sales than a flashy video. That said, if your goal is to show people that your business is trustworthy and professional, appearance is very important; however, the message must compete with competitors (both direct and indirect).
  • My video should sell to the viewer – Myth. There are all kinds of reasons to create and post a video…and only one of which is to sell. Many times clients contact us to create videos for other reasons, such as, recruiting video, office tours, professional expert video, and the list goes on. The client often wishes to tell their story, not sell it, by taking an approach of, “We’re experts in this. Watch us, listen to us, and let us help you when it’s time.” This is a much more useful tool to use than, “Buy! Buy! Buy!”
  • We must have actors in our video – Maybe true. Maybe not. While you can add actors and actresses, typically this just adds costs that may not be needed. It really depends on the video. For instance, if an employee or the president of the company can speak on camera about the topic rather than a paid professional, then why spend the money? On the other hand, if the topic needs a bit of an expert (like a doctor when you’re not), then an expert actor (actress) might be required. We can help with that.

We hope this helps you decipher and navigate through the video production process a little easier. We are always willing to help and answer questions. It’s OK to call us, even if you’re not ready to decide. In fact, we welcome it. We’d rather you go in with both eyes open than guess.

4 Tips to Maximize Your Fundraising Efforts

YMCA sign

Video is fast becoming the most useful tool in getting your message out. We feel that people have moved from, “Let’s try video,” to “We have to have video.” It has become a mainstream medium and nonprofits and for-profit organizations alike. How do you maximize your efforts (hint: this works for both nonprofits and non-profits)? Waaaaay back in 2014, a study about trends in fundraising technology described the profile of a successful fundraiser. Here they are:

  • 3+ Software Management Tools
  • 5+ Communication Channels
  • 3+ Web-Based Tactics
  • 3+ Payment Acceptance Methods
  • Online Donation Acceptance
  • Contributions Management Software Usage
  • Video Content Sharing, and
  • Blogging.

Most nonprofits do some of these, but most do not do all. One that we feel nonprofits are missing is the use of video.

  1. Tell The Story. Tell it Vividly. Fundraising is tough. You have to find the likely contributors, deepen the relationships with current supporters, stand out from other nonprofits…and among all of that, find new, creative ways for fundraising. The story you must tell, however, is your unique story. The story of your success and the awesome work that your organization does. Video will ultimately do this and provide the viewers with content they can relate to, share, and improve the awareness about your organization’s efforts.
  2. Please Share! It’s interesting, people like to share stuff. We don’t know if it’s because we were taught to share when we were kids or if we just think something is so cool and awesome that we want to be the first of our friends to show it off… What we do know is that people share. This is where a strong video makes all the difference. It must show the viewer your story and end with some form of call to action…It can be a “Call Us” or a “Donate Now.”
  3. Short is Sweet. With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, etc., people only have a short amount of time to determine if they want to continue watching. It’s also important to remember that most viewers now watch video (from the services above) on their smart phone or tablets. They want quick videos to get the message and move on.
  4. Front-load the Message. Adweek’s article about Video Trends suggests front loading the message. No one wants to watch a 30-second video commercial on their iPhone (but most will on their computer when researching you)…so if you’re creating a short message for social media purposes, front load the message. Let them move on if they’re not interested. They aren’t your type of customer.

We hope these suggestions help you maximize your fundraising efforts and bring in even more dollars. We suggest that if you are a nonprofit, follow the links above to do the research on what you might be able to improve. We’re always looking for ways to improve, so we hope you don’t mind us sharing!  

Source: HandCrank Films, 2015, http://handcrankfilms.com/5-tips-to-improve-fundraising/

How to Dress for a Video Shoot

red shirt

How to Dress for a Video Shoot

One of the last questions we get, and usually the day before the shoot, is “What do I wear?” That is an important question…so much so, we’ve created a PDF helping our clients with this problem. We thought it might also make a great blog post for those who haven’t hired us for video production but still want to look good on camera!

What to Wear on Camera

  • Bright & Warm Solids. Bright, warm, solid colors are the best. If you wonder which colors work best, think teal, coral, purple, even orange. These colors pop on screen and make you look your best. Pick colors that pop rather than light colored tops that may blend in with the background. Here’s an example of just the right colors:

  • Avoid Wearing Black, Bright Red, or Bright White. If you have ever seen an interview on television where the person was wearing black, you might remember that their clothing became difficult to see or define…such as a jacket lapel that disappeared. Wearing white usually washes out too much, especially if you’re shooting in front of a white screen. Red bleeds on screen. In person it looks nice, but the screen and the color red are not friendly together. If you’re going to be in front of a green screen, you MUST avoid greens, or you’ll disappear with the rest of the background!
  • Avoid Patterns. Patterns that are busy like checks and herringbone do not do well on screen. Much like the color red, a busy pattern will look like it is ‘buzzing’ on screen. You don’t want your clothing to take away from what you are saying, so avoid these items. A lot can be fixed in post production, but this is one area we cannot. Keep this in mind.
  • Dress as if You Were Meeting an Important Client. If you are a banker, that would mean a suit. If you are a plumber, you might consider a golf or polo shirt. Think of your most important prospect and assume they’ll be watching you.
  • Jewelry. Avoid jewelry if you can. Dangling earrings, necklaces, or bracelets often make noise. You’re used to the noise, so you probably don’t even hear it any more; however, the camera will pick it up. It will sound annoying to the viewer, so avoid it if you can. You can wear stud earrings or a flat laying necklace…but avoid bracelets.
  • Hair and Makeup Should be “You, plus 10%.” This means wear just a little more than you normally would. Additionally, lipstick is a MUST even if you don’t wear it everyday. Wear makeup you’re comfortable with, but add that 10% for the best look on camera! Remember to consider your skin tone and if you have questions, ask your producer.
  • Bring Options. Not sure if what you want to wear will work? Bring it with you to the shoot. Your producer can help you make a final selection and ensure you look your best. If you’re doing multiple videos, consider wearing a couple of outfits so it doesn’t look like you shot all of them at the same time. However, if you are shooting video that you want to keep a consistent look across every video, feel free to wear the same thing.

These tips should help you determine what to wear when you have to be on camera. If you know you’ll be in front of a camera, use this post to help you decide what to wear. Remember, video is a little different than real life. By following these rules, you can look your best on every video.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly or post your question in the comments below.

4 Suggestions to Hiring a Video Production Company

video camera used at a football game

We get called frequently to create videos for potential clients. We are asked many of the same questions. But when it comes to hiring a video production company, asking the right questions and investing a little time will be worth the effort. You’ll end up with a much better resulting video that will professionally position your company. Choosing a production company can be a delicate process because, many times, you’re asked to pay up front for something that doesn’t even exist yet.

What to Consider When Hiring a Video Production Company

Listed in this blog posting are a few insider tips to finding a production company that can produce the high-quality video your business deserves.

  1. Demo Reel – Don’t Be Fooled! Many production companies create a great demo reel on their homepage. Usually it is just about two or three minutes long showing you snippets from multiple projects they’ve worked on. Looks cool. Looks like they can produce a great product…but the real question is, “What does the finished product look like?” Your video isn’t being created to just be pretty or cool, it’s created to effectively communicate a specific message you’ve created. You’ll want to dig a little deeper into the project to find out what the client was trying to create and the message they were trying to communicate. If you can’t find the finished product (red flag!), you might want to keep looking.
  2. Recent Projects. While we don’t always update our website as soon as we’ve completed a project (admittedly, we probably do this two or three times a year), if you can’t find a single recent project that was completed in the past few months, you’re probably dealing with someone who isn’t doing this type of work full time or isn’t very detailed in their business. Take a few minutes to visit their social media pages to see what their most recent works look like. Recent projects usually show you exactly what they can do and as well as show you their strengths.
  3. Get Quotes. While we don’t enjoy being shopped around, we also know that when we are shopped around, we’ll do well. Last year, we assessed our pricing to determine if we were in line with the market. We sent out a fake RFP (through a friend’s company) to see how other companies would bid on a project. What we found was shocking! We found that for the same project, bids were between $800 and $20,000! That’s a pretty big delta! When evaluating who to work with, think about the value you’ll receive (that doesn’t mean cheapest or most expensive) and the one with the best value is the one you should choose.
  4. You Usually Get What You Pay For. You can hire someone at any price to create your video. If you want to be on the upper end of the scale above ($20,000), you can find someone to charge you for that and probably wow you with their equipment and style. If you want to be on the lower end of the scale above ($800), you can find some college student or someone newer to the industry who is trying to build up his or her portfolio to produce your video. Keep in mind that professionals that require higher rates can do so because they are confident in their product and have enough experience to make your video stand out from the rest.

Keep in mind, these are recommendations we have when you’re trying to find a video production company. You may have other thoughts. If you do, or if you have questions, we’d love to answer them in the comment section. Feel free to post a question or comment below. Until then, good luck in your search!

Source: Jager, J. (2015). 4 Tips for Hiring a Great Video Production Company. Entrepreneur Magazine Online. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243236 on April 24, 2015.

The Three Types of Videos Your Business Must Have This Year!

video camera and lens

Make 2017 a Video Year – Stay On Trend!

First of all, we know that video has made a HUGE stride in this past year. You can’t scroll through Facebook, LinkedIn, or a site like CNN without seeing ads with video. Having the right kind of video for that medium is critical. This article isn’t about that type of video; however, it is about the three most important videos you should have on your business website. When reading the three types below, think, “What does my prospective client want to know?” Then ask yourself, “Do these three videos answer their questions?” I’ll bet they do.

Company Overview Video

Almost two-thirds of all customers shopping online find a video about the company helpful in making a decision whether to buy from you or not. It can be simple or complex, but it needs to be there. Talk about your mission, why you exist, a founder’s story, or highlight a key employee. This makes your potential customer relate and want to get to know you more. Here’s an example.

Product / Service Demo Video

An informational video about your product or service can be extremely helpful. Is your service a little complicated? Does your product need some explaining? These are questions you can answer very quickly with a Product or Service Demo Video. Support that logic with a full 95% of those making purchases feel that a video is helpful while researching what they should buy.

Customer Testimonial Video

Prospective buyers don’t want to feel alone. In fact, they want to see and hear from those who have already purchased from you. Think about the last time you made a purchase on Amazon. Did you read the reviews? Most people do. In fact, most people who read the reviews also make decisions based on what they read in that section. Just remember, don’t promote…let your customer do the talking. Let your prospect connect with your current customer.

Extra Credit!

And, for extra credit, we’d recommend the video blog series. This is one you have to be ready to put some time into. There are two ways to approach it: (1) Do it yourself using your computer, audio, and desk lamp, or (2) Do it professionally, but cost effectively. We recommend that if you’re going to do this yourself, you do so in batches. If you want to create six video blogs to push out over the next several months, book a professional for a half day and shoot all six. Then, once they’re edited, you can release them like clockwork, something Google and your followers will like. Here’s an example of one of those video blogs now…

Source: Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1BAq9tX

I Can Make Your Video For $5

studio setup for shoot

Video for Just $5

WAAAY COOOL!! You mean I can have a 2 minute video created by you, edited and everything for only $5? Awesome! Where can I sign up? So many times it’s the hook that gets us in the door. Unfortunately, a poor experience afterward can make us bitter and unhappy. We believe everyone should have video on their website or YouTube; but, we don’t believe it should look like your brother’s 9 year-old created it with their iPhone. We don’t have a problem with someone wanting to do it themselves; after all, that’s why we created MyVideo101.com, but we also believe it should portray the level of professionalism that the business and it’s owners portray in real life.

Getting stuff for cheap is rewarding…that’s why some people are addicted to shopping;kid frustrated by mistake but cheap isn’t always better. Imagine you found a deal…no a steal…for a brand new iPad while searching online. You found one for $20. Would you buy it? Some would say yes…the risk is low (after all, $20 doesn’t get you far these days). Others would say, “It’s too good to be true, it must be a scam.” While there might be circumstances that warrant the low price (estate sale, estate auction, etc.) many times the buyer gets what they pay for resulting in that bitter and unhappy feeling.

We also don’t believe in the mantra, “High price means better quality.” We think those who charge extra for a product or service just because they’re a little better isn’t right either. But it must be in reason. That’s why when someone asks us how much it costs to make a 30 second video, it’s tough to answer. Things we must consider before we can even remotely tell you what the price is:  Where is the shoot? How many people will be in the testimonial portion? Will there be paid actors/actresses? Will there be narration? …and many, many more question. Each item may add some cost, but the cost will often time result in a much higher quality product.

So, the next time you hear someone say they’re having their cousin create their website video, ask the following question:

  1. “Will the quality of the video reflect the level of professionalism your business requires?”
  2. “How long has he/she been creating videos?” Just out of college, see question 1.
  3. “How long will it take to have the completed video?”

If you or someone you know is looking for a high quality video for a reasonable professional price, let us know! Questions? Ask us in the form below.

How Do I Create An Event Video?

image of trade show

Event Videos: Not Just For This Year Anymore!

Here’s a question we get frequently:  “We have an event coming up and would like you to record the event so we can use the video to promote next year’s event.”  To that, we respond, “Yes! But why wait!?!”

When we get this question, we often suggest that they don’t have to wait until next year to get that promotional video. Once we know a little about the event, we can create a video that piques interest. For example, if the event was targeting business owners that want to know how to use technology to help them in their businesses, how would you help them understand that before the event? You’d use a video like this:

The first 0:34 seconds is the promotional video followed by the actual event. In this case,  there were three messages that were important in this video: Where you should market your business (mobile), where you must list your business, and what are the helpful mobile apps helpful in business?  The top three reasons you must attend the event.

Marketing an event is important. It takes flyers, postcards, social media, and word-of-mouth…Add video to the mix to help people explain the upcoming event more clearly. When the video is added to the mix in social media (or through QR Codes on printed materials) you give people the method to share what the event is without losing the quality of the message. It’s like that old telephone game… you tell me, I tell someone else, they tell someone, and before long…the message isn’t the same. Video prevents this by maintaining the message and providing the platform needed to share quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

If you have an upcoming event and need a promotional video, let us know. We can certainly help you fill the event with interested people!

What Can TV Teach Us About the New Video Revolution?

old time television

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.

Why You Should Never Let a Local TV Station Create Your Video

man frustrated

A common question we get is, “Will I get the video when it’s complete to use as I wish?” This seemed like a very odd question. Of course! Why not? You’ve paid for it and it’s yours once completed. This prompted us to ask, “Why are you asking this?” The answer will amaze you.

Should I Hire a Professional Videographer…or Just Go with the Local TV Station?

When we asked why they were asking, they said, “Because the local television station won’t give us our video now that we’ve paid for it.” You read that correctly, they paid for it…but didn’t get the video. That’s what they think! The truth is, if they had read the fine print, they would have known that what they are paying for is the commercial air time. That is what they are buying! The air time, not the video. The video was an extra bonus for signing up! The ‘client’ in this case, does not own the rights for the commercial/video. That’s ok, right?

So What? How Does that Affect My Video If I Use the Local Television Station?

The truth is, the station owns the video. If you were the one stuck in this situation and wanted to use the video on another medium (oh, let’s say something important like your website, an email, your YouTube Channel, your Vimeo channel, another television channel, or on a grouping of cable channels) you couldn’t. You’d have to hire someone to create another video. That’s ok if you want to spend money over and over for the same thing, but why do that?

Be productive with your money. Our suggestion: Create a professional video that is good for at least two years, usable in multiple mediums, and, if appropriate, create separate calls to action at the end of variations of the video to further measure the successfulness of your video.

Don’t Be Fooled! And don’t get frustrated like that guy! Got a question, let us know!

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!