Why You Need Video Brand Guidelines

Things have changed. It doesn’t work that way anymore. These are two phrases that get tossed around a lot when it comes to marketing. Both are true – especially when it comes to video marketing. No marketing medium is more impactful, and that’s because video is the preferred way the world wants to consume information on our computers and mobile devices. Forbes recently reported that 1 million minutes of video will flow through global IP networks every second by 2021.

Statistics like that might make you think that video marketing is a nuclear option. It’s so powerful that you just can’t miss. Especially when you hear that 92 percent of mobile video viewers share what they’ve watched with others.

For all its potential, video marketing can easily fall flat on its face. Sure, you’ve got the video platform gorillas like YouTube, where more than 500 million hours of video are watched daily. Internet video traffic may account for 80 percent of all consumer traffic, but it’s spread out across a growing number of platforms.

As a brand, how do you push a signal through the noise when more video content will be uploaded in the next month than what the major US television networks have created over the past 30 years?

The curse of diversity

Things have changed.

30 years ago there were only three major television networks. You weren’t watching video on your computer. If you had an Internet connection, it used a dial-up modem. You might have gotten speeds of up to 9,600pbs.

That left broadcast television. Video marketing was interruptive. Look how far we’ve come.

The challenge for any brand today is how to communicate a uniform identity across multiple platforms? In the days of broadcast TV you created one commercial. One message worked for everybody. Today, what works on YouTube could very well be inappropriate for Twitter.

And yet, many brands today still apply the broadcast TV approach to video marketing. Distribution is the final stage of their content marketing process. The initial focus on finding an interesting concept.

It doesn’t work that way anymore.

At one time, a single video – or any type of marketing content for that matter – did have the ability to capture attention with just search results. Social media still offered organic reach. Those days are gone. The majority of the Internet’s traffic is concentrated on social networks or search engines who don’t see a business case in sharing the traffic.

Audiences have caught on, too. They’re not who they used to be. Your “audience” is actually a different group of people each day. In email marketing, these groups are called dynamic segments. In video marketing, your “audience” is comprised mostly of people who need help right now.

The ecosystem has changed. If you’re a marketer using video, your distribution process has to change, too.

One video, one channel

Successful brands have discovered that distribution has to jump from being the last step in the process to being the very first. Ideation and creative are not the starting points.

You end up with a 1-2-3 process that looks like this:

  1. Distribution – identify a specific platform.
  2. Ideation – develop a concept uniquely tailored to the audience using this platform to consume video.
  3. Execution – produce the video marketing.

Lather, rinse, repeat. For each platform you’ve identified. It’s how you create video content at scale.

Remember when?

Once you move past the outmoded strategy of using the same video creative for multiple platforms, you quickly discover the challenge that awaits us all today. How do you maintain consistency for brand recognition when you’re creating unique video content for multiple platforms? You have to determine the edges of the box before you can think outside it.

It’s time to take a cue from those good old-fashioned days we thought we left behind. There should be no doubt whatsoever about your brand identity. Anybody responsible for coming up with creative needs to live and breathe it, of course – but everybody who will select your video distribution channels has to connect those platforms with the visual, psychological, and emotional appeal of what your company stands for.

Successful video marketing is a series of conversations where the viewer is able to fit your brand into their worldview. Your brand and your mission – the reason for your company’s existence – are interdependent. This message won’t ever change, which is why it should be at the core of the documentation you prepare to establish your brand identity.

In many ways, it’s like a litmus test. Once you’ve selected your distribution platforms based on their resonance with your brand identity, does the video you’ve produced also successfully communicate the “why” of your company? That “why” must be consistent, and the best way to generate this continuity is with video brand guidelines that hold the course across all platforms. People retain 95 percent of a message when they consume it in a video, as opposed to just 10 percent of what’s retained when reading an article. That means you’re only going to retain a tenth of what you read here – so go back and read the previous sentence again.

Establishing your video brand guidelines allows you to hold true to your mission, which in turn helps you to create a strategy that takes advantage of efficiency. The strategy starts with distribution. You’ll have different requirements for each platform. For example, you’ll have to rethink the way a product is presented going from the vertical aspect of IGTV to the landscape aspect of YouTube.

Knowing these production-related requirements up front will guide your creative direction so you’re able to create assets that can be used to create visual continuity across all platforms, even when those platforms are remarkably different.

We’re not going back to the good old days. Video marketing will continue to be fragmented even more than it is now. That fragmentation and the need to communicate different value propositions to specific audiences makes it easy to lose consistency and lose brand recognition. Avoid these obstacles with a video brand guideline. We can help.

The post Why You Need Video Brand Guidelines appeared first on True Film Production.

What Statistics Can Tell Us About Video Strategy

It keeps going up, and it is unlikely to go down. Brands are increasing their video marketing budgets, and not because they think it’s the right thing to do – they are spending more because they see a return on the investment. Businesses that say they can see a good ROI on video has risen 5 percent to a total of 83 percent in the past year alone.

There’s a downside, though. More companies are seeing a measurable cause and effect by adding video to their marketing mix, but 9 out of 10 of them also say that the level of competition has made it difficult to stand out from the competition. Why?

HubSpot reports that more than a quarter of the companies that produced marketing videos in 2018 did so for the first time. It’s not an exaggeration to say that practically everybody’s doing it. Only 1 percent of current videos marketers say they plan to stop, while 74 percent of those aren’t yet using visual storytelling – AKA video marketing – plan to start doing so this year.

What they’re measuring to see the ROI

There’s nothing left to guess about marketing. Digital platforms have made measuring reach and response a precise science. When used appropriately, you can create an accurate business case for video marketing. It’s why digital marketing has become a $135 billion industry in the United States.

That’s too much money to leave up to a “we get a good feeling about it” approach – and there’s plenty of validation. 93 percent of businesses surveyed said they’ve gained a new customer as a result of a video posted on social media. Companies using video marketing also have measured website traffic increases of up to 76 percent, resulting in conversion rate increases of up to 66 percent.

Video marketing makes dollars and sense. Brands using visual storytelling to engage their customers report growing revenue 49 percent faster than compared to those that still do not use video marketing. Watching video increases purchase intent by 97 percent, and turbocharges brand association by 139 percent.

There’s one big challenge to all this video – and it’s that there is all this video!

Visual overload

More than 5 billion videos are viewed on YouTube alone, every single day. They’re watched by nearly one-third of all the people on the planet that have Internet access – over a billion people. Meanwhile, over on Facebook, people watch 100 million hours of video each day, while 82 percent of Twitter’s users are doing the same thing.

It adds up to the average consumer watching more than 16 minutes of video directly related to marketing each month, or about 4.6 billion views.

These are encouraging statistics. They paint a pleasing picture for video marketing. But there’s trouble afoot. The demand for video is causing an accelerating number of platforms to be created. The United States managed to get by with just three major television networks until the 1980s.

Currently, there are at least 15 video platforms that can deliver at least 5 percent of the viewers in the United States. And while YouTube remains the king of the video platform mountain, a growing number of marketers have expressed their concern about its effectiveness. HubSpot reports that the percentage of marketers who feel that video marketing on YouTube is working for them dropped from 90 percent to 80 percent from 2018 to 2019.

Why? The reason is simple. People don’t just pick a platform to watch a video. They select a specific platform to watch a particular type of video. And that means even the YouTube – the 800-pound gorilla of video – is seeing a percentage of its audience depart for platforms that cater to niche audiences.

Where are they watching?

Yes, video is an effective marketing tool. The statistics you’ve read so far are proof. Your challenge, however, is knowing where to place your video, and what type of video will work best for that specific slice of your target audience.

You need a plan. And because you are a business, you need a business plan – because somebody somewhere, and it’s likely to be your stockholders, will demand to see a return on the investment that you’re placing to create and place this visual storytelling.

Did you listen to a radio station on your way to work this morning? It currently reaches 93 percent of the population in the United States. Think about the top-rated radio station in your market right now. They didn’t get there by playing a random assortment of music. They have a carefully planned strategy that plays the right content for the right people at the right time.

Alas, you can’t model that concept for video, but the analogy does hold true. YouTube has become much like a radio station. A really popular one. Your videos might work well there, but you’ll fare better by taking a strategic approach.

The basics of a video strategy

The common misconception is that video marketing strategy is all about figuring out the creative the resonates with prospects and turns them into customers. Can you strike gold and find your version of the rainbow-pooping SquattyPotty unicorn? Can you catch lightning in a bottle and recreate the 22 million view virality of DollarShaveClub?

You’re putting the cart before the horse – or the rainbow-pooping unicorn. The creative isn’t your strategy. It’s defining your measurable goals. What behavior do you want to occur as a result of your video?

Access to history will help you forecast the future. What is the net profit if a customer purchases a product or service you market in a video? How much will it cost to put your visual storytelling in front of these prospects? There’s a business case to be built. Assembling the information presents the scenario for a profitable return on investment.

You need measurable goals and a clearly defined audience that will exhibit a specific behavior. When you’ve got these three elements in place, now it’s time to take a look at the creative approach. And no matter what your creative approach, it’s going to be powerful because our brains prefer to consume information visually. An astounding 90 percent of information transmitted to our brains is visual – and we retain 80 percent of what we see as opposed to just 20 percent of what we read.

And then there’s the train of thought that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.

Start with strategy

Yes, everybody is using video to turbocharge their marketing. But today’s most successful brands that are using video decided what they wanted to achieve with it long before they got around to working on the creative.

They selected a specific target audience. They determined measurable behavioral modification. They researched and identified the optimal place to find this audience. And then they researched the most efficient way to present their visual storytelling in a way that takes advantage of the platform. Every part of this is a strategic effort.

Here’s the additional ROI for these brands. Because they did all this homework before they even reached the point of a creative brief or decision about how to tell the story, they also created a proactive model that will allow them to produce video assets that can be used on other platforms. Efficiency is generated by strategic planning.

Creativity makes you stand out. It is the ultimate objective of good video marketing. How do you know what that creative should be if you haven’t first determined what you want it to do? Start with strategy. It’ll make finding your creative unicorn easier. We can help.

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Take Control of Your Personal Brand’s Search Results

What is a simple, but effective way of taking control of search results for your name?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Claim Your Business on Reviews Sites

Most often when you search for a business name on Google, Bing, etc. the first thing you see is the business’s website and a few important links from that website. You’ll also notice many review sites below the main website links such as Trustpilot, Glassdoor and the BBB. Make sure to sign up and claim your business on those sites to help control what shows in the search results. – Jared WeitzUnited Capital Source

2. Turn on Google Alerts

Use Google alerts to notify you whenever your name shows up in search results. Then if your name shows up for a negative incident, you should first send a takedown notice and then potentially do damage control by sharing your side of the story or also creating content to override and drown it out. – Cody McLainSupportNinja

3. Optimize Your LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn profiles typically rank high in search results, so you want to make sure your profile is as complete and as polished as possible. Specifically, create an eye-catching headline and summary. Make sure your profile includes at least a few recommendations. It also helps to personalize your URL (make sure it includes your name), and set your entire profile to “public.” – Shu SaitoGodai Soaps

4. Take Blogging Seriously 

The thing about Google is that people don’t often look further than page three. If you want to control the search results to your name, you want to focus on creating blog articles and images that are on the first few pages. Create an in-depth “About Me” page as well as blog posts while researching keywords to focus on writing content people will be searching for. – Jared AtchisonWPForms

5. Create Detailed Profiles on All Relevant Social Media Platforms

Have a comprehensive profile on social media to dominate search results for your name — sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr and Flickr. If you have a common name, include your middle name. This all may be simple, but it will require time and effort invested, good SEO and backlinks to rank these pages. – Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors

6. Start Guest Posting on Credible Sites

Guest posting on credible sites and publications will allow you to take control of search results for your name. The guest posts you write for credible sites will rise to the top of search results so that when people search for your name, they’ll see that you’re associated with the best, most high-quality sites. – Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

7. Discover How People Are Finding You

Do prospects search for your product or service by its name? Or, do they search for their problem and possible solutions? If you want to show up in more search results, create content that search engines determine to be relevant and useful. – Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

8. Spread Your Digital Footprint With Backlinks to Your Website

When anyone searches your name, ideally your website shows up first. A few ways to assure that happens: buy the domains for your name, backlink all your social media sites to your website, backlink your name and get some coverage via podcasts, blogs, radio and other outlets and have them backlink your website and name to your main site. This will ensure your website ranks for you name. – David EhrenbergEarly Growth Financial Services

9. Use a Tool to Monitor What’s Being Said About You Online

Use a tool to monitor what’s being said about you online. While you can’t control what other people say about your company, you can control how you respond and handle the situation. If someone left a bad review of you somewhere online, you can discover it and reply to them in an attempt to reach a resolution. – John TurnerSeedProd LLC

10. Google Yourself in Incognito Mode

First, you need to see what comes up when you search your name. Sign out of your Google account or open an incognito window and search for your name. Look through the results and see what comes up. You might find that years ago you’ve created online accounts that you no longer want to be associated with. When you do discover those unwanted results, delete those accounts or remove your info. – Chris ChristoffMonsterInsights

11. Be Selective With Your Media Interviews

To effectively manage your public image, including the search results for your name, be selective about the media interviews you give. Work with bloggers and reporters who understand your accomplishments, ambitions and values so they can articulate those well. It’s easy for audiences to misinterpret things, so just be mindful about how others present information about you. – Firas KittanehAmerisleep

12. Flood Google with Information

To own the SERP for searches of your company name, you must flood Google with information and make it believe that you should be at the top. Do these by getting PR, creating profiles on high authority sites like Crunchbase or Wikipedia, publishing guest posts, adding schema to display the Knowledge Graph and creating a Google My Business listing. – Colton GardnerNeighbor

13. Turn to Professionals for Help 

If your personality attracts more and more attention and it’s not always positive, the good news is that you can fix that. There are lots of strategies you can use to take control of search results for your name, but the most effective ones take a lot of time. If you don’t have any, hire a reputation management company and let them take care of all this for you. – Solomon ThimothyOneIMS

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Improving Engagement: Nine Strategies For Customizing Your Presentation

The best presentations are those that connect to their audience, really pulling them in and getting them to invest in what you’re saying, whether that be by thinking about it, discussing it or even investing money in your product or service. In order to connect, you need to tailor your presentation—a vague, sweeping topic generally won’t resonate as well as a specific speech grounded in real examples. You also need to think about audience size, demographics and venue space.

Of course, if you’re giving the presentation or speech at multiple locations then you can probably keep the content the same, but tinker with elements that would draw the audience in, such as a funny, anecdotal or local opening, followed by specific data points and nuanced audience interactions, among others. To find out more, we asked entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council to share their best advice on what elements to look for when determining how to fit a presentation to different settings. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Most Urgent Issues

The first and most important thing to consider is what people frequently ask about or what their most urgent or most challenging issues are. When you can pinpoint these, it becomes easier for you to create the flow of your discussion. Another factor to consider is what people can get from your presentation. People expect to gain information that will help improve their work processes or earn them more profit, and your audience will be satisfied when you can give them practical and efficient solutions. Lastly, a fresh and innovative approach is always welcome in the intense rat race of an industry where there are many thriving businesses. Your presentation is more valuable if people get to carry information that can push them to be creative, to stand out and to outperform competitors. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

2. Beliefs, Principles, And Values

We make presentations on a daily basis to potential clients. We are in the insurance and finance market, so it is difficult to not focus on the numbers and logic of a product. I remember when I first started selling, my mentor and I presented to a high-profile client. I presented first and delivered a 20-page slide show on the financial viability of our products. When I was done the room was silent. It did not go well. Then my mentor stepped in. He asked the client if he loved his family. Then he told him if he were family, this is what he would recommend. That is what the client wanted to hear and they started the paperwork. My mentor taught me that people seek out that which aligns with their values. This is a sure way to bring out the emotion in those you are presenting to. – Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

3. Education Level

Tailoring to your audience is really more about making sure they will properly understand you. It can be cultural as well, but at the same time you don’t want to sound like a Harvard graduate in front of a conference of retail store owners. It’s important to come to an audience at their level. The goal of that is to act and communicate as you would with the general public. Avoid too much lingo and don’t make up new terms. Be authentic, be true and above all, try to be a bit entertaining as well. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting

4. Demographics And Psychographics

Doing your homework on the demographic profile of the audience is key before deciding on the topic and preparing a presentation. I want to know the make-up of the audience; if it’s a business audience I want to know their titles, roles, responsibilities and who they report to. This is important because every presentation should be tailored to the interest of the audience. If I want to create a presentation that truly resonates with them, I need to give them information that can be used in their day-to-day jobs. For example, I may give information that improves their performance or makes them look like the hero in their organization; information that will help them receive a pat on the back from their boss. Without knowing the audience, you may present something that is not engaging. – Andrew Kucheriavy, Intechnic

5. Level Of Experience

There’s nothing worse than sitting through a presentation that’s too basic for your skills and experience or so advanced that it goes over your head. Find out in advance what the audience’s level of experience is with the topic that you will be talking about. You can do this by having the organizer conduct a quick survey that they email to the attendees beforehand. This information will help you create a much more informative presentation that your audience will surely appreciate. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

6. Pain Points

What do you have in common with every audience? It’s not your solution. The connection is the shared problem or pain point. The information a specific audience needs depends on where they are in their journey of discovery. If they’re just starting, they want relevant information and education to help them with understanding the problem. This won’t come from presenting your solution. In fact, at that point in the journey, it’s frustrating. Understanding where an audience is in their buying cycle helps you provide them with the appropriate information that will move them forward. Your product or service may be the right solution, but that’s their decision. And they won’t make it until you’ve helped them clearly see the problem. – Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

7. Whenever Possible, Send Out A Survey

I recently sent out a survey to a group of 40 professionals to access what they wanted to learn during a one day gathering my company was organizing. The results allowed us to see tremendous needs and consistent requests, and then we created an agenda tailored exactly to topics they wanted. There was no way we’d be able to nail the desired topics without their input. Similarly, we often send a short survey to any potential client in order to gauge exactly what they wish to cover on an initial call. From there, we make our presentation precisely targeted to their requests. This helps a potential client know we listened to what they want and deliver to it. – Beck BambergerBAM Communications

8. Call And Response At The Start Of The Presentation

To get to know more about the needs of your audience before a presentation, use the “call and response” technique. The call and response technique is where at the beginning of the presentation, you ask carefully prepared questions to understand the experience of your audience. Before your presentation, you could say for instance, “Raise your hand if you’ve made your own website before.” You’ll then be able to see how experienced or inexperienced with that particular topic your audience is and cater your presentation accordingly. Of course, in many audiences it will be a mix, so spend time addressing the needs of both groups so that everyone walks away learning something. – Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

9. Open The Floor To Questions

Whether you are making a sales pitch or presenting to your internal team, having an understanding of your audience is critical. While background research and tailored presentation content are important, a great way to understand your audience is to solicit real-time feedback during your presentation. Your audience’s interest and attention may shift during your presentation and what kept them engaged in the past might not resonate with them in the future. As you present, your audience will have questions come to mind and may also need clarification or a repeat of information. Tracking their live experience by regularly opening the floor for questions and feedback can help you keep their attention and also help you improve your presentation for the future. – Daniel GriggsATX Web Designs

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11 Onboarding Strategies to Help New Hires Feel Welcome

When you hire a new employee, their first month on the job often determines how well they will end up fitting in and succeeding at your organization. As their manager, it’s your job to ensure they have the tools and support they need to feel like a true part of the team.

To help you with this process, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:

Q. What are some specific steps to make a new hire feel welcome and ensure their success during their first 30 days?

1. Set up their technology and orientation schedule prior to their arrival

On their very first day, welcome them by having their work area set up with their computer ready, necessary accesses granted, email set up, and anything else they need to get to work quickly. Schedule their day so they meet key people become oriented to their projects. Most importantly, make sure they know what success looks like in the first 30 days and how they can achieve it! —Monica SnyderBirdsong

2. Give them a mentor

A great way to make a new hire feel welcome and ensure their success with your company is to give them a mentor. Pair them up with someone at your company whom they can shadow and learn from. Starting a new job can be intimidating, but giving a new hire a mentor they can look up to and turn to anytime they have a question or concern will make their first month more comfortable and successful. —Chris ChristoffMonsterInsights

3. Arrange a team lunch

When a new hire starts, we will usually arrange a team lunch so they can get to know the team outside of the office. It’s amazing to see how people loosen up and open up when they aren’t in the office. It gives them a chance to connect with colleagues on a personal level. They end up finding commonalities and interests with their peers, and those connections help them when starting out. —Joel MathewFortress Consulting

4. Set up individual meetings with their new colleagues

Any account and equipment should be ready for them before they step into the office. After a short welcome meeting with you, they should be introduced to each team member, and depending on the size of the team, have short one-on-ones to get a better understanding of what team members do. Having happy hour on their first Friday also can help them to get familiar and comfortable with the team. —Michael HsuDeepSky

5. Communicate daily

Check in with new employees every day during those first 30 days to see how they are doing, ask questions to let them know you are interested in getting to know who they are, and share some tips on things you have found are good to know or make work easier. —Angela RuthCalendar

 

6. Create a schedule for the entire month

New hires are often confused about what to do and when, so make them feel welcome and ensure their success by creating a schedule for them. Create a schedule for the entire first month on the job. Pencil in tasks they are to complete with due dates, one-on-one meetings with team members, training sessions, review or feedback meetings, and so on. They’ll do better when they know what to expect. —Blair WilliamsMemberPress

7. Ask big questions to get to know them

There’s a lot going on during the first 30 days, but aside from the business stuff, get to know the person. You can do this by asking big questions—not just “where are you from” or “what’s your favorite football team,” but those that prompt them to share their experiences and who they are. Share your own answers and be a little vulnerable so they feel comfortable opening up. —Dan GoldenBFO (Be Found Online)

8. Create a welcome package

Put together a welcome package that includes some fun knickknacks for their desk, company swag, and an information packet to help them start things off on the right foot. It is fun to put a package together (the last hire is usually a good candidate for the job) and it makes the new hire feel like part of the team from day one. —James SimpsonGoldFire Studios

9. Let them know you have an open door policy

Like most things, communication is key. I like to schedule weekly meetings with new hires and their supervisor to ensure that they feel like they have all the help they need to get acclimated. Additionally, my door is always open. I don’t like the idea of being a CEO who is not accessible. Fostering a personal relationship with new hires makes us all better as team members. —Justin LefkovitchMirrored Media

10. Customize their onboarding process

You need to take a holistic approach. It’s essential to let your new hire know this is their chance to assess your business. By making it equal, you’re creating an environment where they can feel comfortable. The onboarding process should be customized to their specific role and department. Ensure they are given space to learn and ask questions. —Ismael WrixenFE International

11. Provide opportunities for questions and feedback

A new hire will almost always be hesitant to ask questions. By setting aside time at least once a week during their first month to ask questions and get honest feedback, communication will be high and there will be little room left for error later on. —Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

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Video Strategy: Getting Through to the Why

This is where we’re supposed to lead with jaw-dropping statistics about how we’re only a year or so away from the point where video accounts for more than 80 percent of Internet traffic. You already know this.

What you’re struggling with – and what we want to talk about instead – is about how you can set yourself up for success as you enter into the slipstream of content marketing with video. Yes, you need video. But do you know why?

It’s not time for “how” or “what” yet.

Want to know the top way to drive up costs while at the same time diminishing the effectiveness of video marketing? Approach it with a “one-off” mentality. Coming in a close second is the fallacy that investing big bucks to get high production value gives you a leg up on your competition.

You need a plan. The action steps of your plan should follow a policy. The results should be measurable. Notice we’re nowhere even close to talking about scripts production yet? Those are action steps. First you need to identify and implement the decision-making that determines these action steps. Start by coming up with confident answers to these questions:

  • Why do you want to communicate with video?
  • What do you want video to accomplish for you? Get past epic objectives like, “increase brand engagement,” unless you also will implement a way to specifically measure it.
  • What are the explicit pain points or problems that you want video marketing to help you with?
  • How will you hold the reins on consistency, so your videos are in alignment with the rest of your marketing material?

The brainstorming you do to come up with answers are in service to a video marketing mission statement. Aim to distill it all down to a one-liner that explains what you want to accomplish, for whom, and why.

Our company will use video for [your target audience] to [the behavior or action you want your target audience to do].

You may discover that you’ll want video to help you with multiple target audience that drives them to do a variety of things. Identify this and get to the point where you have your collection of one-liners. But, don’t break out the champagne yet. This isn’t your strategy. It’s the mission statement (or statements) that will determine your strategy.

Focus on your own pain points

Visual storytelling is unparalleled in its ability to educate and offer perspective because it allows you to show a product or service in action – or it helps people put a brand into their worldview. No other type of marketing does a better job of communicating the end state – the WHY – of a product or service.

Successful video content pays particular focus to pain point or problem before then moving the visual storytelling along to share a solution. This focus on pain points is an effort you will need to perform on your own organization. You’ll have to look inward as you look outward. It’s at this intersection where the traction happens.

Over time, we’ve identified a series of common pain points many organizations share as they seek to integrate video into their marketing. As we’ve worked with companies, we’ve discovered that establishing a video strategy removes these pain points. They aren’t obstacles, by the way. Each one will challenge you to search for the WHY. Ask yourself these questions.

Are you reactive?

It often comes down to bandwidth and resources. Research, product development and launch are priorities. Then it’s time to get a handle on how video can be used for marketing. To be fair, you might already have decided upfront – during the preliminary stages – that video will play a part in your upcoming marketing.

Strategy that includes a proactive approach allows for the process of visual storytelling to develop in tandem with a new branding effort, or with a new product or service. As you’re determining its relevance to your customers, your visual storytelling preparation has time to find the right approach.

It’s not an afterthought. One example where this frequently occurs is an event. Video simply captures the event when it’s an afterthought. An effective strategic approach allows video to actually be a part of the event itself.

Do you give yourself enough time?

This might sound like an echo of the afterthought concept. That’s reactionary, while this is more about deciding you have insufficient time to develop and produce video to complement your marketing plans.

Not enough time in this case means you think it will take too much time and resources to create visual storytelling that’s on par with your brand. This is certainly true if you haven’t strategized your plans for video. A planned approach prevents the need to start from scratch with each video project. The pain point dissolves when you move away from the one-off view of what’s to be accomplished with visual storytelling.

What’s your plan and how will you measure its success?

How far would you get with the CFO or decision-maker at your company if you presented a plan that had no demonstrable return on investment? Developing a video strategy puts a business case in your hands.

The rest of your inbound marketing already accompanies customers along the buyer’s journey. Your video content strategy should do this, too.

  • At the awareness stage, you’ll need educational videos that raise your visibility as an expert that understands the problem prospects are trying to solve. Explainer videos are highly effective for this purpose. You’ll embed ways to measure the impact on new visits to your business or digital presence.
  • At the consideration stage, it’s time to educate prospects about solutions for the problem they’re trying to solve. How-to videos are highly effective for this purpose, showing the process for a solution and increasing their trust. You’ll embed ways to measure online conversions, or qualified leads for your business.
  • At the decision stage, it’s time to show potential customers that they’re not alone. This is the push to help them fit your brand, product or service into their worldview. Customer testimonials work well for this purpose, as do company stories. People want to know the humans behind a brand just as much as they want to watch a video showing a product or service solve their problem. You’ll embed ways to measure sales that are a direct result of this visual storytelling.

You can manage what you measure. You also can calculate a return on investment. Obviously, the one-off approach to creating a video wouldn’t give you the specific types of visual storytelling you’ll need to use video marketing to accompany people on the buyer’s journey.

Defining their path and where you want video to meet and accompany them helps you to create a strategy that rewards you with efficiency. You transition from thinking there’s no way you could afford to create all these videos to realizing that you are planning the process of video production that will result in an array of messages.

What are you really measuring?

Let’s talk about measuring success. Overall views is a strong key performance indicator for a video created to accompany people who are at the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. But that’s likely not what moves the needle when you’ve got people who are at the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.

Before you even get to the creative direction and aesthetic values, you must determine how you will know if this particular video is shepherding people toward the behavior you want from them. What’s your goal? How will you measure the outcome? Don’t confuse these measurable goals with your strategy – which the approach you’ll take to achieve those goals.

Do you understand the cost?

Video production is expensive, but probably not for the reason you might expect.

In a perfect world, you’re just like Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dublin, and produce a low(er) budget video that goes viral.

A decade ago, Slate Magazine investigated the chances of a video going viral. It’s only become because of the explosive growth of user-generated content (UGC) on social media platforms. As StackAdapt concludes with their infographic, the odds of video virality have become so great that organic distribution has given way to paid strategies to reach relevant audience.

There’s no longer any correlation between production value and popularity – but there is a direct association between cost and objective. Video creation becomes expensive not so much because of production, but more because the lack of an overall strategy limits the ability of a production company to efficiently capture the visual storytelling elements that will be used as foundational building blocks for entire campaigns.

This forward-thinking approach also helps video production crews capture what’s needed for the growing number of platforms people are using to watch visual storytelling. Expensive is when the ends don’t justify the means. Video isn’t too expensive when you incorporate efficiency.

Beware of the justification that one or two videos with multiple messages for multiple audiences is a way to increase the focus on production value. It results in beautiful confusion.

Before the script

Video marketing is a strategy, but in some ways it’s also a goal. The pieces of visual storytelling you create represent a deep dive into understanding ways to engage prospects and transform them into customers. You have to know why you’re creating them before you can get to how you’ll create them.

Video marketing doesn’t begin with a script. It commences with a strategy that helps you reach the goal of creating a cohesive and measurable way to use visual storytelling to move different people along their journey from discovery to purchase, while keeping in mind that you’ll meet them on that journey in different places.

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An Amateur’s Guide to Create a Promotional Video on a Tight Budget

Have you ever viewed a promotional video and thought to yourself, “I wish I could afford to do that”? You’re not alone. Countless companies are not taking advantage of video production simply because they assume it’s unattainable. If you’re one of these companies, the truth is video production is, in fact, an option for you. By committing to a strategy and formulating a plan that’s right for you, your video could make someone else envy you.

Video production is obviously more complex than simply picking up a camera and pressing record, therefore it requires a more complex plan than many other promotional mediums. If you’re looking for a quality video on a tight budget, focus on these three important points to find success.

When to cut corners

To achieve a high-quality finished product, you will need to spend some money, but there are several elements of video production that you can accomplish with little-to-no additional spending. Here are some of the most easily avoided production expenses and easy alternatives to maintain quality on a budget.

  • Talent: While professional talent is always preferred, finding a confident employee, colleague, or friend is always an option when maintaining a budget. For promotional video, in particular, it is often better to hear about a company from the source–you. Skip the excess cost and tell your own story, after all, you know it best.
  • Location: Many frequently used locations will charge a fee to film, however, if you’re in a city like New York there are hundreds of untapped spots that would love the free publicity that a shoot would bring them. To save even more, consider using your own space to film.
  • Crew: Having an experienced crew is beneficial for a successful shoot day, however not all crews come with the same price tag. Freelance filmmakers and even film students are always seeking experience to add to their resumés and will often work for cheap. Explore and utilize freelance job boards and you may just find the right fit for you and your budget.

When to invest

  • Equipment: You can’t fake quality. Using lower-quality equipment will be obvious, despite how much you’re willing to spend during post-production. Invest in a rental or find a crew that will provide their own equipment and sufficient work samples. You’ll get what you pay for, it’s up to you what that will be.
  • Post-Production: Professional film editing is not something you can learn overnight and a good editor doesn’t just charge for a finished product, they charge for the product you envision–in a timely manner. If you want a quick turnover rate and minimal revisions, find an editor who knows what they’re talking about from the start.
  • Promotion: Once you have a final, polished piece, it is worth nothing if it doesn’t gain viewership and traction for your company. That said, it will be worth dishing out extra money to promote your video. This can be as simple as boosting your posts on social media or consulting with a marketing professional to integrate your video into your existing brand strategy. Either way, it will be worth it to get your views.

Strategy is key

  • Know Your Budget: You know you need to save money, but taking the time to develop a breakdown of your budget and sticking to it is the most essential key. It will be tempting and easy to throw money around during the production process but without a fiscal strategy from the start, you will end up with a negative outlook on the entire production process.
  • Repurposing Content: When planning your video production, be aware of the kinds of content you can use over and over again. Making your video too pointed or timely will limit its long-term relevance. Evaluate the kind of content your company hopes to share within the next year and focus on finding those reusable shots and audio, saving you time and money on future productions.
  • SEO and Social Media: When posting your promotional video, you must know your audience, develop a schedule, and take advantage of good SEO practices. Research videos and companies similar to yours and find what is and is not working. One of the best ways to learn and succeed is to note the successes and failures of your competition.

With all of these tools, you’re ready to begin planning your first low-budget production. However, everyone can use a little support. Reach out to a capable production partner for insights and assistant throughout your process to make sure your promotional video is exactly what you want.

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Improving Outreach Online: 12 Approaches Your Brand Can Use

While brands continue to tap into mediums like newspapers, billboards and magazines to share news and build recognition, outreach online remains vital for companies looking to establish what they stand for in more detail.

But brand building online isn’t simple. Many companies look to online spaces like search result pages, online reviews or well-designed company sites in order to develop their brand and following. While these can work quite effectively, they aren’t the only ways out there for building outreach. Below, members of Young Entrepreneur Council share some of the common — and less common — approaches brands can improve their outreach online, along with why they work so well. Here’s what they said:

1. Podcast Marketing

Expanding the reach of your brand online has become tantamount to the success of digital companies today. There’s an endless amount of potential customers online that you can potentially reach and you need to figure out the best possible ways to get in front of them. One strategy that can be extremely effective and that I think is overlooked by many business owners is podcast marketing. Podcast marketing is the strategy of researching niche podcasts within your industry, reaching out to the hosts, and landing an interview to speak to their audience. With podcast marketing, you gain immediate exposure to thousands of potential customers within your niche. It also opens the door to build a relationship with the podcast host to get them a part of your referral program. Highly recommended! — Connor GillivanFreeeUp

2. Highlight Loyal Followers and Customers

An easily overlooked but effective way to improve brand outreach online is to look to the people who have been with you all along: The people who love your brand, have had great experiences with it, and are eager to share it with friends and family. You sincerely appreciate them, so reward them. Give them the attention and love they want. If someone likes your page and posts a lot of comments on your page, then reply to them. Learn their name. Comment on their page in return. They will be more eager to become a free spokesperson for your brand and will help spread the word better than any influencer could. — Shu SaitoGodai Soaps

3. Use A Segmented Email Strategy

Having a segmented email strategy will help you in your outreach because you’re sending out more targeted communication. For example, if someone signs up to your email list from your press page, send them press releases with news about your company instead of your marketing newsletter. This will provide them with the emails that they are looking for and may even feature your company in a story. If instead you start sending them coupons and marketing emails, they may start ignoring your email and end up completely unsubscribing. Email segmentation is not more commonly used because it is time-consuming to create different targeted emails for all the different interests, but it’s worth it! The more segmentation, the stronger the results. — Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

4. Publish Guest Contributor Posts

One consistent way I’ve managed to increase our brand awareness online is by securing guest columns in high-traffic sites where my audience spends their time. Then it’s just a matter of being disciplined enough to contribute regularly. Done right, you’re basically sitting at the cool kids’ table in the lunchroom. And everyone (read: your target audience) who passes by can see you there. This approach works very well, but it’s not more commonly used because it’s hard to secure guest columns. Not only do you have to be a pretty good writer with something engaging to say on a regular basis, but you also may need someone to write your pieces for you (if you don’t have the time or willingness to do it yourself). You also have to make sure you and your editor stay in a happy, committed relationship. — Han-Gwon Lung,Tailored Ink

5. Go Offline To Improve Online Outreach

Conferences and other industry events present many opportunities for outreach. Encourage your team to attend industry events and give conference talks, enhancing both the company brand and their personal brand. Offline outreach translates easily into online engagement, with links from conference sites to your site, social media promotion, guest blogging opportunities, YouTube posts and more. — Vik PatelFuture Hosting

6. Give People Information To Share

More times than not there are already people using, loving or boasting about your products or services. Maybe they are doing it by word of mouth, maybe it’s social media or even on your website. Identify and reach out to these key consumers, making a consistent point of engaging with them, giving them things to do and interact with. People love being able to tell their friends about new products, places, and things. Arm them with this valuable information so they can spread your message organically, proudly and excitedly to all of their friends, followers and family members! – Kim Kaupe,The Superfan Company

7. Make Short, Simple Videos In Your Area Of Expertise

The fitness industry was one of the early movers here, mostly because video is a platform that lends itself well to visually appealing industries, but the concepts can be applied to nearly any vertical. It can seem daunting to create and launch a video, but it really has gotten much easier in the past few years due to mobile devices with better cameras and mics, and platforms with huge video reach, like Facebook and YouTube. The simplest way to start is to simply ask yourself “what questions are on my customers’ minds?” Write down a list of those questions, and then film simple 5-10 minute videos, using the technology available to you, answering them using your industry expertise. Now is the time: Unlike traditional SEO, these video platforms are not yet saturated with content. — Tim ChavesZipBooks Accounting Software

8. Create Infographics

Creating eye-catching, interesting infographics is a great, lesser-used strategy for improving brand outreach online. If you create a great infographic and make it available for others to share on their websites or social media, you’ll get a ton of links pointing back to your website. Many people don’t use this strategy because they think creating an infographic is difficult, but there are a number of free and paid tools online that will help you make an awesome infographic in no time. — Blair WilliamsMemberPress

9. Use Influencers And Facebook Groups

One of the best ways to improve brand outreach today is by using influencers and Facebook groups. At the beginning of 2018, Facebook switched up its algorithm to begin promoting more organic content from family and friends while downgrading the content from brands. These changes elevated the power of influencers to reach and maintain authentic organic connections directly with consumers. Facebook groups provide brands a closed environment to directly engage their mega-fans. By inviting an influencer to your group to do a live Q&A, provide exclusive video content or help launch a branded contest, you get the best of both worlds and are able to massively improve online outreach. The key is to focus on creating value and not always trying to sell or by spamming with too many offers. — Joe StoltePurpose First Project

10. Let Influencers Use Their Voice

Let your influencers decide how they’ll tell your story. It’s not commonly used because organizations tend to be overly protective of their brand identity. They’d prefer to tell influencers how to show it and want to say about it. We have to remember that we do not own our brand. It exists in the minds of our customers. They own it. Influencers have followers because there’s a sense of connection that happens through communication. If an influencer truly believes in your brand, let them tell its story from their perspective. They already know how to connect to their followers. What they say about your brand may not be the way you’d choose to say it, but does it matter if it prompts others to seek out your product or service? — Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

11. Increase The Odds of Getting Referrals From Existing Customers

A strategy we’ve found massively effective is something we call “Referral Amplification.” Professional services companies, in particular, rely on word-of-mouth referrals as their primary lead generation and sales strategy. However, they then stop there — thinking that by servicing their existing clients well, they’ve already done everything in their power to grow their business. This just isn’t true! Take those satisfied customers, and conduct a high-quality photo shoot and professional interview that does a deep-dive on their story and their success with your product or service, and then post it to your company blog. Then buy targeted media and ads in that person’s geographic region, so that those who know them ask them to learn more about the success they’ve had. Prompt new referrals this way! — Keith ShieldsDesignli

12. Volunteer With A Local Charity

Find a charitable cause you believe in and donate resources to a local charity. Charities will certainly welcome monetary donations, but for this purpose it would be best to donate your time by volunteering or your company’s products. Afterwards, use social media to educate the community on your company’s charitable donations. This will help the business in multiple ways. First, it helps to build goodwill and improve your reputation in the community. Secondly, it can help your business gain exposure on social media. Users are more likely to share your charitable donation than they are your company’s products. A picture of your company’s employees actively volunteering in the community can gain a lot more traction than a bulletin about a new product or sale. — Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

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Video Brand Identity: A Blueprint For Effective Marketing

All marketers today face a quintessential challenge: How can a brand spread its message on diverse platforms and talk to different audiences through unique content, while also clearly capturing the brand’s voice, look and feel? Most companies fail by either producing one batch of visual content that goes on all social and digital platforms or by tailoring the content to different audiences without maintaining consistency and brand recognition.

Instead, what your company needs to do is take your visual content strategy a step further and create a video brand identity system. The first crucial element of this system is your brand identity, which makes up the visual, mental and emotional appeal of your company and what it has to offer. This includes the following:

Your Brand’s Visual Impression

In order to create video content at scale, a strategic approach is required to nail down visual identity guidelines for your brand. In my experience working with dozens of medium-size companies and brands on creative ideation and content opportunities, I’ve noticed two recurring problems — first, the problem of limited resources to produce content for every medium, and second, the challenge of maintaining consistency, both in the frequency of publishing content and in the branding itself.

To solve these problems, create concrete guidelines for all content. These guidelines act as the DNA of any content that represents your brand, helping to ensure that every project captures your brand’s specifications. In order to create these guidelines, audit what you are currently doing and identify the gaps and inconsistencies in the content you are currently presenting to your audience.

Some of the things to be identified in this comprehensive guideline document include: cinematography style, lighting, colors and palettes that ought to be used or avoided, the composition of the shoot, graphics layout, music and the voice, tone and style of your brand’s messaging. All of these elements contribute to how your audience feels and reacts to your brand when viewing your content.

Your Brand’s Unique Voice

If you want your brand to make an impact on your audience, it has to be completely aligned with your company mission and reinforce what your company stands for. Effective branding ensures a consistent and identifiable feel to your company’s content, and once your brand’s language and essence resonate with a wider audience, it becomes easier to grow and scale.

 

Many organizations don’t have a defined strategy when it comes to brand messaging, and oftentimes that’s because they either don’t know their core values and why they exist, or they know but have not communicated that to their audience. What you stand for and why you exist are the cornerstones that will help determine your voice.

If the core values of your company are centered around teamwork, collaboration and having fun and the purpose of your company’s existence is to bring people together, then you have to show this cultural dynamic in action. Involve your audience in the experience as if they are a part of your company’s environment; being able to communicate the same message internally (among your employees) and externally (among your customers) contributes to your marketing momentum.

Your Brand’s Identity Standards

For easy brand recognition, every piece of content you put out has to adhere to a set of concrete standards. Think of your brand identity standards as a manual or a style guide for your brand. Having a clear vision and road map for how your brand voice should be represented will make all your future branding efforts easier and more cost-effective and will enable your team to have a better understanding of your target audience, brand personality and core values.

Here’s a quick test to see if your company is doing a good job at this: Gather samples of all the content your company produces across all corporate functions — communications, talent acquisition, training, sales, product marketing, etc. — and take stock of the look and feel of each one. Do they all point to the same brand identity? Are all the designs, texts and formats anchored to the brand guidelines?

If you see that each piece of content goes in a different direction, then you need to abide by “rules of play,” where all future communications of your company are held to the standards and criteria established by the video brand identity system.

Your Brand’s Consistency Across Channels

One issue that cannot be dismissed is the multitude of platforms where your brand can be showcased: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. Each platform requires content that communicates your brand identity in a different form. But it becomes a challenge when you cannot have the same video for all the platforms you work with and don’t have the budget to make a tailor-made video for each platform.

For example, in my experience, the content that performs best on YouTube is long, in-depth videos. Facebook, on the other hand, is best for driving website traffic and sales from video, so videos should be tailored to the commercial opportunity that Facebook provides.

The takeaway here is that video brand guidelines are an efficient and cost-effective way for you to create consistent content, and to adapt your content to multiple platforms. The guidelines serve as a “video playbook” — a branding toolkit that leaves no room for uncertainty when it comes to producing and editing your content because they clearly outline the specs and requirements for each platform and a strategy for repurposing content to different platforms.

A video-based brand identity system is something that requires a small investment up front, but that provides a sustainable blueprint for all your video production needs. The result is saved time, saved money and success in maintaining the overall look and feel of your brand.

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4 Factors That Inspire Raving Fans and Create Brand Ambassadors

Want to spark the power of word of mouth? Echo what Zappos, Nike and Southwest Airlines do.

Great brands don’t chase customers, they invite a loyal following. Creating brand ambassadors isn’t just a niche marketing function–it’s an effective way to drive business growth. And it starts with creating your brand voice and the message it communicates.

There are many factors at play in creating raving fans and brand ambassadorswho will market your product or service without you asking them. Here are four of these critical factors:

1. An extraordinary product

There are at least 45 brands of athletic shoes sold in the United States, but only a few are well-known to the mass market. What is it that Nike does to differentiate itself from the 44 other athletic shoe brands?

Adidas was the dominant player when Nike entered the US market. Adidas, however, was neither as nimble nor as connected to its customers. The founding team of Nike was on the ground, listening to its core audience―runners. Nike asked for feedback on the running experience and discovered something that the existing shoes on the market did not provide.

Most running shoes at the time had flat soles, making it a challenge for athletes to maintain grip and traction. Inspired by a waffle maker, the Nike team transformed the bottom of its sole, giving athletes an edge in running performance. Waffle-soles are something we take for granted today, but it was tremendously innovative and put the brand on the map when Nike first came out with the idea in 1974.

2. Human-centric customer service

Product innovations are not the only factor in brand differentiation. Many successful brands have functional, but relatively average products or services. What is above average, however, is the culture that these brands inspire. Southwest Airlines is a prime example.

The company puts “employees first, customers second and shareholders third.” Southwest’s counterintuitive model for applying its focus works.

They’ve created a culture that is inclusive and fun, where employees have freedom and take pride in their work. Their core values motivate employees to do their best, which trickles down to happy customers and translates into business success. In the words of Southwest Airlines spokesperson Brad Hawkins, “We hire rock stars, ask them to be themselves, and then support them in everything they do to take care of our customers.”

Some companies tackle customer service head-on and focus on that as a marketing strategy. Take Zappos, for example: They invest their money in understanding what clients are struggling with instead of spending it on ad campaigns to force the brand on customers.

Zappos tracks customer behavior in an effort to create an emotional connection and then delivers a service that exceeds expectations. This creates brand ambassadors through the ultimate customer experience of convenience and personalized service. The result? People rave about Zappos to everyone they know.

3. Memorable experiences

Every experience that a brand provides affects how it is perceived and received. I discovered this personally with Club Med. During a video shoot about their unique company culture, they converted me into a customer myself!

I got to know the employees personally and formed an emotional connection with the brand. I shared the experience afterward with people I know. That is the power of word of mouth. It turns happy customers into brand ambassadors.

4. Storytelling

Storytelling helps people understand how brands fit into their worldview. I recently listened to a 13-hour audiobook called Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. David’s story begins as an abused child. His audiobook tells a tale of transformation from an overweight man with a dead-end job into a distinguished Navy SEAL. I was struck by the strength of his character, his diligence and his inspiring mission of being great.

The storytelling approach moved me so much that I have told at least 30 people about the audiobook. They’ve listened to it and shared it with others. We’ve become David’s brand ambassadors. Powerful storytelling creates an emotional state that is contagious and viral. It is the essence of good marketing.

These examples share a common element that goes beyond the concept of brand ambassadors. Aspiring to greatness inspires others. The impact is far-reaching. Mediocrity is a comfort zone and default-mode for many companies. They measure success only by sales, then wonder why everyone is talking about the competition.

It’s simple: Innovative companies don’t just sell to us. They foster inspiration within us. Once that happens, we can’t wait to share their story.

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