When managing a company is your responsibility, a lot of important detail work gets put on the back burner.
So what’s simmering on your back burner?
Updating your web site with fresh page content?
Better utilizing social media?
Updating the navigation of your site?
Making sure your web site if properly protected?
Preparing trade show materials for your soon-to-be-released product?
Or maybe it’s larger than that. Perhaps what you don’t have the time or energy left to do is revamp your marketing strategy to bring in new business.
Interestingly, what’s relegated to your back burner can have a huge impact on the very thing that’s stressing you out right now. Such as your last quarter ROI.
That’s because when your marketing is taken care of strategically with a practiced eye towards your industry, your job gets a little less intense as your ideal customers begin to take notice of what your company can actually provide to them.
What you do
Carve out a 90 minutes to meet with us when the time is right for you. Tell us what you don’t have the time or the people to do, and what results you’d like to see. Give us your parameters, financial and otherwise.
What we do
When you say go, we do the work, providing you with feedback, details and a few fine-tuning decisions along the way. We don’t make assumptions. We research your niche and come up with several positioning approaches that tell your story to the right people — in a compelling and memorable way. We also adjust to your budget and your timeframe.
What we do is eye-opening. Don’t be surprised if we uncover a few fascinating things about your own rapidly shifting marketplace that raise your eyebrows. Or help you determine how your company can make the most of its sweet spot through well-placed ads in carefully researched places you may not even be aware of.
If done right, they can engage, entertain and educate an audience like nothing else can. That’s because using visuals, spoken voice, music and good editing, videos can break through to your audience intellectually and emotionally.
Videos forge a connection and built rapport.
Or – not.
It’s just as easy to miss your mark, losing an audience by packing in too much information, boring them with nothing new, or coming across as out of touch.
Finding the right mix of intellect, humor and emotional appeal is a delicate balance. The magic is difficult to explain, but — you absolutely know it when you see it. And when a video hits the right mark, making you laugh or want to watch it again, your impulse is to share it.
And that’s when you know you’re onto something – when a video gets shared. That’s the goal.
So, how to create a video with super powers?
It starts with clear vision, a great central idea, and excellent writing.
Then the magic really happens in production. All the elements come together; music, sound and narration, timed perfectly with effective visuals.
In a world where even thoughtful articles are skimmed rather than read thoroughly, videos should be concise and on point. And off-beat, funny, irreverent …or charming. Humor can be very effective and memorable.
What’s especially great about video today is that technology is making video more accessible than ever. You don’t need a six-figure budget to create a great video.
How to make your video affordable:
Talk with us, for starters. We do our video work in house.
Use simpler video formats. Videos don’t have to be movies with actors and special effects.
Animation is compelling and can be very simple.
Includevideo with other marketing services such as websites, landing pages and enhanced listings. Use it or versions of it in lots of places. That can help keep costs down, too.
Yes, Virginia, videos really do have super powers. So by all means, consider a video as a part of your marketing strategy. Consumers like video, use video, share video, and remember video. And that means video brings marketing power to your site’s SEO.
More than a few famous poets, authors and songwriters have waxed poetic about the point along the road where one has to decide which direction to take.
At FocalPoint, we think the key to making the best decision about the road less travelled, the road not taken, or the fork in the road is NOT the crucial part of your journey. We think that first you have to SEE the fork, and recognize it for what it is.
That’s a huge thing in marketing and communications strategy. Many, many organizations misstep by failing to see that there is a critical decision to be made at a particular juncture — and do not understand the importance of the fork in the road.
How does one develop the insight to take the right path? At FocalPoint we set out these reminders for ourselves:
Stay focused on shifting currents
Be open to change and stay nimble
Be accessible and approachable
Consult with others and listen
Understand the way it always was is not the way it is
Recognizing the significant, life-altering twists in your company’s path is difficult. It helps having a company by your side to help you anticipate change.
Together, we can decide which new direction to take to forge ahead.
Why Are So Many Video Productions Missing This 1 BIG Thing?
I have been on a bit of a video marketing kick lately. Being a full service digital marketing agency that provides video production in Indianapolis and surrounding areas, it seems only natural with all of the emphasis on video in social lately that I’d have some thoughts to share. Yet, with all of the advancements in technology and new ways to reach people through video, it always seems there’s one BIG thing that comes up missing time and time again.
So, what is the one thing – a call to action (CTA). Better yet, an effective call to action. So often the ball gets dropped when it comes to this highly important piece of the video. Ok, I’m a website visitor and I just watched your video…now what do you want me to do? This question must be answered and it must be really clear. I’ve seen so many YouTube and website videos that just end with a company logo, some credits, or even worse…they just end! It doesn’t matter how many people watch a video, if they have no idea what to do next the whole point is lost.
There are some amazing videos out there that just leave something to be desired when it comes to the call to action. Even videos that nail the 5 key factors for an effective video production I discussed here, but miss the mark with a when it comes to a CTA. So why does this happen? I think the simple answer is that it just gets overlooked. In the process of planning every other element of the video production, the last thought (if a thought at all) is the CTA. Often times the video production company just get engrained in what they’re doing, getting the right shots, adding the right music, etc. and they leave the CTA up to the client. This needs to change if your video marketing efforts are going to be effective.
Yes, all of this video production call to action talk was leading up to something. Something that I think is a big deal for anyone involved in video marketing. YouTube recently introduced its YouTube Cards feature in the video editor and this could be a game changer.
Why are YouTube Cards a Big Deal?
YouTube cards are a big deal because they are easy to setup, look way better than annotations and will perform better on mobile. This will make it easier for marketers and video production companies to create clickable graphics that appear at just the right time to drive visitors, leads and sales from YouTube videos.
What are the Types of YouTube Cards?
Merchandise (like Google Play and iTunes)
Fundraising (think Kickstarter)
Associated Website link back to your company website
How To Set Up YouTube Cards
Go to YouTube Video Manager, and click on the “Edit” button. Or click on the down arrow next to the button.
Click on “Cards” in the top navigation bar, then click on “Add Card.”
Use the video timeline to get to the point in the video where you’d like to add a card. This is where the teaser/title text will cue in the upper right corner of the video for five seconds, then revert to just an “i” icon in the same position. (Note – you cannot change the amount of time the card displays)
Click a blue button on the right called “Add Card” and it opens up a creation window.
Select the card type you want to add.
The card can be customized with your own image, text and URL.
More cards can be created within the same video if you’d like to do so.
Click “Create Card.”
2 Quick Tips for Using YouTube Cards
Keep the Text Short & Sweet Remember, many people will be watching this video on a phone and space is limited in the YouTube card. Be sure to preview it multiple times to see how your text displays. Rely on the video itself to do the explaining and the YouTube Card text to be action oriented and to the point.
Timing is Everything Unlike annotations, you cannot display YouTube cards throughout the entire video and each card you place in the video production will display for 5 seconds. While you can place multiple cards in the video, they need to be spaced out. Think about the points in the video where it makes sense for there to be a call to action rather than hammering the viewers over and over.
Ready to discuss how YouTube Cards fit in your video marketing strategy?Contact me here!
This list is not any particular order, however, I feel like audio does need to be at the top for a reason. A video with bad audio is unbearable. That’s really the bottom line. I don’t care if you are using an iPhone to shoot video or hiring a video production company like Focal Point, great audio MUST be a top priority. There’s nothing that will make someone abandon watching a video faster than poor audio. Do whatever you need to do to get this right. The investment is worth it and anyone with a video production background will tell you the same.
2. Lighting Every type of video production will involve some sort of lighting. You can make a video without sound, without camera movements, but you can’t make one without light. This means getting the lighting right is critical. When it comes to products, correct lighting techniques are extremely important to capture the features. When it comes to shapes and textures, proper lighting can be used to create just the right mood for the video production. Knowing how to correctly light a scene takes practice and certain skill set. If not done properly, bad lighting can mean more time in the video editing room and more cost to the client.
3. Storytelling In order for your video marketing efforts to be effective, a story must be told. Instead of thinking about how the “sell” is going to happen, start with a plan for the story that needs to be told. Often times, the most memorable video marketing pieces barely mention or show the product. Certainly if you want your video to be one people will share, the story must be compelling and well thought out. Outline the story first and if you get that right, the rest will fall into place naturally.
4. Pacing Video pacing and rhythm can have an incredible impact on the audience. The pace of a video typically falls on the shoulders of the editor. The same shots can come together a different way and give the video an entirely different feel. Consider questions like – should the video production have a quick pace to evoke a sense of excitement and action? Or does it make more sense for a more relaxed, slower piece with longer shots? Answer these questions and make sure the video editor or video production company knows exactly the feel you’re looking for.
5. Shot Composition Understanding the right type of shot for the right situation is a very important aspect of any video production. Should a close up or medium shot be used? How should the person or product be framed? If you’ve spent any time around video, you might have heard of the rule of thirds. This is a method for creating shots and one that takes times to understand and perfect. Knowing all of the shots that must be captured and getting it all right the first time is huge. No one likes to do a retake, especially the clients.
When It All Comes Together
When everything comes together, the result is a very powerful video production that captures the audience, tells a story and compels some time of action. Once piece that I am particular proud of that the Focal Point team produced is this video for Shiel Sexton telling the story of the construction process for the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana. Now that we’ve covered the 5 key ingredients, notice the audio, lighting, storytelling, pacing and shot composition used to make things come together. This is an absolutely beautiful building and I hope you’ll agree that we captured that beauty along with a compelling story in this video.
On of Focal Point’s core services is video production. We’ve been able to work with some great clients in the Indianapolis area and beyond. Take a look at some of our videos on Vimeo here to get a feel for the quality of work we’re able to achieve. Let us know if we can help you plan and product your next video production by contacting us here.
Soon you’ll start to notice that the “Videos” tab on Facebook brand pages everywhere is looking strikingly similar to YouTube. From the featured video section to the ability to organize videos into playlists, Facebook is going to be implementing some of YouTube’s organization features. Truth be told this is long overdue, but the timing makes perfect sense as Facebook is investing more in video lately. As you might have noticed, the auto play videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge filling the news feed have transitioned full steam ahead to videos highlighting brands everywhere. From McDonald’s using Facebook videos to set the record start about what’s actually in their food to Jerry Seinfeld posting video sneak peeks of his hit series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, videos are only going to continue to show up more and more.
As I was thinking about this trend (it’s not just Facebook), I thought more about the reasons why video just makes sense for every business. I really think it’s as simple as this – the majority of people don’t want to read. Your potential customers, probably don’t want to spend a great deal of time reading about your business. And if given the choice, they’d prefer to watch a 2-3 minute video instead of reading all about your company history.
Here are 2 really good reasons to think about doubling down on your investment in video.
Videos Can Easily Be Repurposed
Let’s say you’re in charge of managing the company blog. Things are off to a good start and you’re publishing 3 posts a week. Traffic is increasing, then all at once it happens….
You hit a dry patch. Suddenly you feel like you’ve already talked about the 3 points of difference over and over. No matter how long you stare at the computer screen, the words just don’t want to come to you. Then you start to think about that great story the CEO was telling just the other day about how the company was started by his dad back in the 1920’s. Knowing that his time is limited and you’d be hard pressed to get him to sit down to write a blog post, you start thinking about what to do. Then the thought dawns on you…it’s time to add some video!
Suddenly the 2 minute video you record of your boss telling the story is not only your most viewed video on the website, it’s the top performing blog post. Because after he told the story on video, you were able to write it all out, add the historical photos and create the connection to the company through words as well.
Sometimes video is just easier. And once the video is created there are so many ways to repurpose it – including creating a blog post or multiple blogs. That same video could also be turned into a podcast. Now you’ve got another way to reach customers on the go. Come to think of it, the YouTube Channel sure could use some love lately. Now you’ve got a video to feature when someone visits your channel. There’s so many ways to go with video once it’s created. Video really is the ultimate piece of content to repurpose. Invest the time and money to have the video content created by a professional once and think about all of the ways to get extended mileage.
People Are Watching Less Traditional TV
Odds are you or someone you know has cancelled their cable service recently. Like Netflix bringing about the end of Blockbuster, cable companies are headed for trouble. Why? More people than ever before are watching videos online. Well, that and people are sick of paying the high prices for cable service. But more than ever it’s all about watching what you want to watch, when you want to and on the device that you want to. With other low-cost services out there such as HBO, who will offer standalone streaming starting this year, Netflix, Hulu Plus and HD antennas available to get all the local channels – cable box after cable box will continue to get turned in.
What does this shift mean to your business? It means that since behavior is changing, there’s going to be more attention placed in online video. More people online watching video = more chances to be seen = greater opportunity for conversion.
How Are You Using Video Now? Is It Time To Double Your Investment?
I understand that for many marketing professionals, the whole thought of “doubling” an investment may seem a bit overwhelming. I’m not literally talking about money here. The point I am trying to make is that when looking at a marketing strategy, if there’s one type of content that I see paying the biggest dividends now and in the future – it’s video.
I’d strongly urge anyone reading this to take a moment to think about their video marketing strategy. Think about how one video could become a blog post, podcast, social media post, email topic, etc. Also, understand that not every single video needs to be a complex video production. In fact, I’d recommend a two prong approach. Think about what video content you can turn out quickly and consistently with limited setup, such as; video case studies, client testimonials or mini educational videos about your business or industry, now think about what other types of more involved videos would complement this content and allow you to extend your brand message.
But whatever you do start thinking about it now. Because I promise your competitors are.
Everybody wants somethings for free, but businesses need to make money to, well, stay in business. So what if I told you that giving away free information to your prospects actually results in better paying customers? Would you believe it? In fact, as a business, giving away free information might be one of your best content marketing strategies. Let me explain…
Your Customers Want To Feel Empowered.
They’re reading online reviews, watching how-to videos and listening to podcasts. And they’re spending more time doing these things prior to purchase than ever before. A large part of your marketing strategy when it comes to content development should be putting a plan in place to educate your customers by providing them with free information. The reason why is simple – if your prospects/customers don’t find you when doing this type of research, they’re going to find “someone else.” That “someone else” is going to be your competition. Let’s jump right into a couple of case studies to show you what I mean.
Case Study: Lowe’s Fix In Six
One of my favorite examples of a business that does a great job of educating its prospects and turning them into customers is Lowe’s. Just take a look at this Vine video…
Pretty cool, huh? Who knew that real mayo could help remove wood stains? Side note – I haven’t actually tested this yet, but I am taking Lowe’s word for it. Now that’s some pretty useful information. Information that doesn’t really directly make Lowe’s any money (last time I checked they didn’t sell mayo at Lowe’s), but indirectly goes a long way at establishing them as the authority in home improvement projects. While it’s just 6 secs in length, I am willing to bet a few hours (if not more) went into planning and shooting just this one video. This type of video marketing is clever and resonates well with customers. It’s no secret that people don’t like being sold to. But what they do like are helpful solutions like an easy way to remove water stains from wood and they’ll remember the company that published this info. Not only will they remember it, but they will share it with others. Furthermore, the types of people searching for and watching videos like this one are….BINGO….you guessed it….people who like to do home improvement projects AKA Lowe’s target market!
Case Study: Pampers
Let’s completely shift gears from home improvement to baby care. Pampers has a content marketing strategy that includes producing videos which showcase quick and easy baby tips. These short videos cover basic topics that new parents are sure to be searching for such as tips for traveling with a baby or how to get your baby into a sleep routine. While Pampers products are shown during the videos, there is not a hard sell. Again, it’s about being the brand that puts the information out there that your customers want and need – especially during a time when they might be establishing brand loyalty for a necessary item like diapers. Take a look…
Develop A Content Marketing Plan To Put This Into Action
Now, it’s time to put these tips into action and develop a content marketing strategy that will help move your business forward. Here’s how to get started…
Log into Google Analytics or whatever analytics platform you use.
Drill down to the report showing the keywords driving organic traffic (in Google Analytics it’s under Acquisition->Keywords->Organic).
Use the search feature within that report to find keyword phrases using words such as “how,” “what,” “why,” etc.
Write down the top 5 keyword phrases within each of these searches.
So, what happens next? First you must realize that in just those few minutes you have uncovered the golden nuggets of your business. These are the questions or problems that people finding your site are trying to answer/solve. If you can help prospects easily find the answers and possibly even expand upon each one with other variations then you are establishing trust. And once you’ve earned their trust, it’s far easier to earn their business.
How do you go about answering these questions? Contact us and we will help you develop a content marketing strategy to do just that!
As of late, I have really been making it a point to focus on the content marketing strategy for my business. Having been in the marketing industry for over 25 years, it only seems natural to begin to share some of my thoughts, opinions and stories via my company blog. You see, for a long time I have been known to my network as the “video guy” and while video production is definitely one of our core services here at Focal Point, there’s so much more to the story. It has always been my passion to build an Digital Marketing Agency that is truly engaged in the success of each client.
Being a video production company in Indianapolis, we get a lot of questions about the latest technology and trends in video marketing. Here lately, there’s a very hot topic that keeps getting brought up – drones being used for video. It’s no surprise as drones are being discussed more in the media and showing up more at events as they become more affordable to the masses. Today, I am going share my opinion on the matter and offer some advice when it comes to video marketing.
Drones or Helicopters with Cameras?
First of all, let me just start by saying that I don’t particularly care for the word “drone” as it relates to video production. If you ask me, the word “drone” just has a negative connotation that comes along with it and I think that has led to much of the controversy surrounding the use of drones in the video industry. Once you start to think of “drones” as what they really are – remote control helicopters with cameras (unmanned aerial vehicles), suddenly the perception is different. You see, flying helicopters with cameras really isn’t that foreign in the video production industry. After all, news channels have been flying around capturing shots on video for years. The big change is that now these helicopters are unmanned and now they’re being offered at a price point that’s more reasonable to the general public. This is attracting more novice videographers and hobbyists thus leading to some of the drone controversy.
How Are Drones Being Used
One thing is for sure, drones (flying helicopters with cameras) are capturing some amazing aerial shots for video. Here recently, this video from a 4th of July celebration went viral on YouTube with over 9 million views.
While this is more of a “fun” use of a drone for hobbyist style footage, just stop for a minute to think about the potential for drones to be used for video tours of golf courses or for real estate development. It opens up a whole new aspect of HD video production that was previously too costly for many businesses.
But the more the idea of drones being used for commercial video production services is discussed, the more the regulations from the FAA are interpreted to mean that such use of drones is illegal…at least right now. While there is still some gray area, it’s understood that “the FAA states that any commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles — that is, use without recreational or hobbyist intent — is illegal.” So, what exactly crosses the line between recreational use or hobbyist intent and commercial use? Is it solely the ability to make money?
Here’s What I think About Drones
In my opinion, that’s where the FAA really needs to come up with a clearer definition and more realistic ruling that’s fair. I question how using a drone as a tool to produce an HD quality video for a business is any different than any other piece of equipment that might be necessary. Sure, there’s the concern for privacy and safety, but isn’t that a concern with real helicopters or other videos shot in the a public forum? It’s for these reasons things such as media releases, waivers and permits exist. I think the methods/tools for regulating the use of drones in a commercial setting already exist. It’s just a matter of the FAA making an informed ruling on how these apply to this new technology….and as one might expect I anticipate that will take far too long.
Photo of DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus from DJI.com
Photo of the DSLR Octo from Cinedrones.
So What Happens Next?
As this recent article on drone entrepreneurs suggests, the video production industry is not going to wait for the laws to catch up. As the technology continues to advance, the price points continue to become more affordable and the trend continues to catch on – drones are going to make their way into commercial video production. Eventually the laws will be forced to adapt to the technology rather than the technology adapting to the laws.
How Do Drones Fit Your Video Marketing Strategy?
I love new technology just as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest while losing site of your video marketing strategy. There’s a lot of buzz around drones in the video industry right now, but until some things are sorted out the risk doesn’t outweigh the reward for most commercial applications. What I mean by that is that if you’re struggling to get videos completed or measuring the results of a recent video marketing campaign – then trying to figure out if you should be investing in a drone for anything other than recreational use shouldn’t be a business priority.