Production is Only Half the Battle

There’s a problem with the video production industry today. It’s that there are so many great videos that don’t get viewed. Why is this? Because there’s a disconnect between video producers and marketing teams. A company may have spent the time and money on making a compelling and informative video, but if they haven’t spent the time to properly optimize the video and make sure they’re driving traffic to it, it disappears into a Youtube black hole. At Blueforest Studios, we’ve developed a system to bridge this gap. It’s called BlueBoost – a 27-point proven process that’s guaranteed to get the phenomenal video we’ve made for you viewed online.

maxresdefaultTake our client Edmund Villarreal for example. Edmund came to us for help marketing his product, the All-Weather Firestarter.  When we first started working with Edmund, he had his own Youtube channel and a video produced by a different Raleigh studio. Though informative, his video only garnered slightly over two thousand views and nine likes. Here you can see the video we made for him. We created a new Youtube channel and optimized the video, gaining nearly thirteen thousand views and forty-eight likes. We also added his original video to the new channel and optimized to achieve over quadruple the amount of views and likes he first received.

Edmund is just one example out of numerous clients we’ve helped get the results their marketing videos deserve. It’s important to us that we make the most out of your investment, which means preventing your video from getting lost in the vast internet wilderness.

 

Video SEO Done Right

I love learning!  There I said it – it’s no secret.  I have attended 7 institutions of higher learning and I’m looking to attend another as soon as I can!  But while I love the institutions of higher learning not every single class provides knowledge that you can apply right away.  To gain practical knowledge – especially in a somewhat new field I rely on workshops, articles and meetups.  Thanks to my friend Phil Buckley who organizes the local SEO Meetup I have been able to learn from experts in the field of Video SEO – people who have had great successes for themselves, like Gregory Ng or for their clients, like Bob Walton.  So I’ve been using all the tips that they’ve provided – some of which are included on our 27-point checklist that we use for every client who requests video SEO help.

So as you might have gathered, I’m a bit of a geek.  I don’t get to see immediate results for the operations work that I do so when I get positive results for my efforts I’m thrilled to share them.

The screenshot above is a sample of excellent Video SEO.  All but one of the recommended videos are produced by Blueforest Studios so if the viewer has time and wants to check out more videos, I am not sending them to my competition – I am sending them to see more videos by our team.

This is not the most important part of Video SEO but controlling the message – including what comes up after your message or video can be very important.  Depending on your viewers YouTube knowledge they may assume that the ‘recommended’ videos are related to you anyway so don’t you want those videos – or at least the thumbnails to reflect positively on your company?

Stay posted to learn more about Video SEO or reach out to our team to see how we can help you!

Kathy Langfield

 

In Video Marketing, Brevity is Key

Feeling good about your new video masterpiece? Think you’ve done well describing the ins and outs of your business and why prospects should choose your company? Most viewers will tune out of online videos after only fifteen seconds. That might make you rethink your 45-second musical intro.

It’s not breaking news that our society’s ever-shortening attention spans prefer visuals and sound to text. Neither is the idea that there’s a lot of bright and shiny “noise” tempting your viewer down a different path. So how do you hook the viewer despite these challenges?

1. Be Concise

To engage the viewer it’s important to get to the point. We know how hard it is to condense everything your business has to offer into 90 seconds. If you’re knee-deep in it every day, it’s hard to weed out what’s pertinent to the client. Try to avoid the temptation to cram everything in. Talking heads delivering wordy explanations turns viewers off big time. If this is a training video your employee will be forced to watch, then you can get away with a lengthy re-enactment of the company’s 100-year history. Otherwise just hit the main points.

2. Use Terms that are Easy to Understand

In short, don’t confuse your prospect. They are considering your product or service because they don’t know how to do whatever you do themselves. Our clients trust us to conceptualize, produce and optimize their videos. I don’t expect them to know an f-stop from a frame rate. Using complex terms to describe your process will make the process itself appear complicated, and therefore worry your future client. Unless this video is targeting other experts, kick the tricky terminology and keep it simple.

3. Don’t Just Say it With Words

Here’s the how and why of video’s effectiveness, whether it’s an award winning feature-length drama or a Vine video about your automotive shop. (It also happens to be why I personally fell so in love with the art of film.) It’s not just the voice over doing the talking. There’s the lighting, how the shot is set up, what’s going on within the frame, what may be happening outside of the frame, music, sound effects, the pace of the editing, the movement of the camera… I could go on forever. All of these factors can be arranged to convey a strong message in a short period of time.

Brevity is the key to a successful video no matter the chosen platform. Before embarking on your next video, take time to really consider your audience and why they’ll be watching. Keep the dialogue concise and simple, and make the most of all video has to offer. If one is picture is worth a thousand words, then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million.

 

– Meredith Duncan, Account Manager

Using Case Study Videos to Shape Brand Perception

Guest Blogger Dane Frederiksen

You’re on your way to interview for your dream job, so obviously you’ve donned your favorite sweatpants and ripped tee shirt. You’ve got the skills to do the job, so the way you present yourself shouldn’t matter at all, right?

Mmm. Maybe. Or maybe you should suit up in something a little less Saturday morning. Stand out for the right reasons. Perception matters. And the same applies to your branding efforts.

Let’s get back to the job interview scenario. Suppose you could walk into the hiring manager’s office and show him this. Not only do you look great, but you’re telling a compelling narrative with real-life characters, dramatic images, music—the works.

In their “interview video” above (call it a case study if you must), architecture firm Quinn Evans doesn’t just show off a series of standard portfolio images. Sure, they absolutely have a portfolio worth showing off, but their video marketing strategy goes deeper. They’re showing their value, not just their capabilities. They’re bringing more than diplomas and blueprints to the table; they’re bringing real-life impact, community involvement, and a narrative of who they are. I think it’s fair to say that, with this piece in their video marketing arsenal, they’ll ace the interview and get the job. Or, to break from the metaphor, they’ll be generating lots of online leads with this video.

There are a number of things to know before rushing into any project; video marketing is no different. Before you get started, here are a few tips and thoughts to take into consideration.

Find your focus. Decide what you’ll be using this video for and produce it accordingly. We’ve been talking case studies, but there lots of video marketing options: promoting a new service or product, recruiting, recording and sharing a live event. Whatever your topic, stick with it. Our rule: one video = one goal.

It’s not all about shooting. You can supplement video with cutaways to graphics or slideshows of images set to music or with voiceover. Not only can this lessen the expense and length of shoot times, but it offers some variation to the viewer. A single static shot of an interviewee, however sincere, rarely holds your audience’s attention.

Budget. This one’s tricky. Until you’ve found your focus and come up with a strategy, it’s impossible to determine your budget. And of course the production value comes into play here as well. A short, quirky video done by a start up could likely get away with a self-shot video—maybe even done on a phone. But a larger company or one with more gravitas will likely need the works: a high quality camera, lighting equipment, and professional editing tools. The best way to determine your budget is to find a partner with experience in the realm of video marketing or film production. Let them help you flesh out your focus and your concept, the length of your project, and the various logistics. Once this is done, your budget will be clearer.

Appeal to the heart and the head. There’s no one single way to succeed with case study video marketing. In the end, though, making something that both conveys information and tugs a little at the heartstrings will go a long way to convincing your potential clients to work with you. Video, with it’s ability to convey lots of info quickly is a great way to convince audiences of your qualifications; add the emotional elements: heartfelt testimonials, non-verbal cues, dramatic imagery, music… and your viewer goes from convinced to compelled.

About the Author: Dane Frederiksen owns Digital Accomplice, a Bay Area digital media company focused on creating video content for the gaming, tech and marketing industries, as well as partnering with developers to help produce and market their apps. Dane has been creating content for over 20 years and has worked with clients across the world, including Google, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Adobe, Verizon, Nokia, Microsoft, Sony and many more. Over the past decade, he has produced hundreds of video-game-related features for game developers around the globe. His work has won several national awards. A big idea entrepreneur with connections across the games/tech/geek media and marketing communities, Dane specializes in helping creative and technology businesses tell their stories and grow.

 

30 Seconds or Less

One significant element to consider when shooting a commercial is how long the spot is going to be. Longer productions require more filming and a greater amount of editing, so it would stand to reason that they would be trickier to produce, right? Not necessarily. We have found that it can be quite difficult to communicate an idea in 15-30 seconds. When you think about taking a complex message and stripping it down to the bare bones in order to fit time constraints, you can understand how greater thought and effort might be required to create a comprehensible and entertaining message.

If that’s still not making sense, let me use an analogy to elucidate. Think about a sonnet, which is generally fourteen lines, and condensing it’s message to a haiku, which is just three lines.

This is an example of an Italian Sonnet:
Within the warmth of home, I sit amazed
at the gentle fall of snow through window pane.
Cup of tea in hand, my layered thoughts unchain,
and tumble from the tip of tongue unfazed
to land upon a pristine page appraised,
aided by the silent fall through snowy pane.
Oh, the soft white wintry glow ‘pon the lane
leaves a graceful drape, Lord be praised.
Within the warmth of home, I muse on themes
of days to come and those gone bye and so,
I thank the Lord for all of nature’s schemes,
for the gift of time, for peace, and for the snow.
Oh, make the blanket deep, I wish to dream,
may all my days and ‘morrows have this glow.

I took it upon myself to convert this sonnet to a Haiku. Be mindful that I am not a poet, so my rendition is passable at best. Yet it took me near ten minutes to come up with these three simple lines – seventeen words – to sum up the essence of the sonnet:

Snow falls against window pane
In the warmth I muse nature’s wonders
Thanking God for ‘morrow’s glow

Now just imagine trying to turn an ESSAY into a haiku. That’s what it’s like when you have an extremely dense topic that needs to be simplified for production. To put it in different terms, think about how movie trailer producers have to capture the major themes of a feature length film in a very short amount of time. Usually, there’s one or more versions of the  trailer that are anywhere from one to three minutes that play in theaters, but there’s also an even more abridged version of that made for television. For example, take the various trailers for Wes Anderson’s 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel. The first is the official trailer which runs 2:26 minutes. The second is the television spot which is only 31 seconds.

Think about the creative decisions that had to be made in order to convey essentially the same message in a quarter of the amount of time. What did they include from the original trailer and what did they leave out? Were these wise cuts or could they have been better? If you’ve seen the film, how was the trailer as a whole? Did it adequately sum up the film? Did it entice you to go see it if you hadn’t already?

These are just a few of the many questions a producer has to consider when making creative choices about what to include and what to leave out in a short TV spot.

Alyssa Rudisill

Tackling Analogies Through The Art of Animation

In some of our past blogs, we’ve tried to highlight the benefits of using animation to deliver complex messages. You may think that what you’re advertising is too mature to be presented in an animated format, but you’d be surprised at just how potent a well-created animation can be. Matthew Johstone, writer and illustrator, recently joined forces with the World Health Organization to create a powerful video about depression, proving that animation is influential at any age, whether you’re five or fifty.

The video ‘I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression,” explores the debilitating nature of depression and ways of overcoming the condition that plagues millions of people globally. The story is delivered in a metaphorical context, personifying depression by representing the condition as a black dog, rather than alluding to a theoretical concept. The video really succeeds in bringing their message to life by using the dog figure to communicate the effects of depression. Trust me when I say this is no Clifford they’re presenting; it’s an ominous, dominant, pervasive figure that the subject can’t escape. He ‘chews up’ the man’s memory and prevents his concentration, ‘sniffs out’ his confidence and ‘chases it away.’

It’s difficult for a person who isn’t afflicted by depression to imagine what living with the disorder must be like. It’s not something you can feel for yourself or come to grasp fully unless it’s happening to you. In creating this anthropomorphic figure of depression, the black dog, the creators are able to illustrate visibly the essence of depression, rather than presenting a vague idea for viewers to grapple with. Animation is the perfect way to bring figurative messages to life. Imagine telling the story of the black dog in live action – viewers would see a forlorn dog and recall Sarah McLauchlan’s haunting SPCA commercials, rather than interpreting the analogy as it’s meant to be understood. Instead, Johnstone and WHO created a video that allows viewers to deepen their understading of a complicated issue by giving them something to visualize.

Blueforest Studios is experienced in creating animated videos to explain complex issues in a simple way. We’ve made videos for Tar Heel Tax ReformEvolvemint and Men’s Ministry. With each we have strived to use animation to tell a story and engage the target audience. Do you have a subject matter that might not be easily tackled using live action? Contact us today to learn more about our animation process!

 

Animation is More Than Cartoons

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months trying to elucidate on the advantages of using animation to promote your company. If you’re a conservative business, you may have turned your nose up at our previous blogs thinking that animation isn’t a suitable form of marketing for your brand. What I want to expand upon now is the fact that animation is not simply cartoons. Animation can be, and often is, a powerful tool for advertising across all types of businesses. You don’t have to be Disney to reap the benefits of a well-produced animated video.

There are many national businesses that have demonstrated creativity and entertainment while maintaining their earnest image and intellectual message through the use of animation. Ford Trucks advertised their 2013 F-150 model using animation, which enlightened viewers about the fuel economy and torque. IBM used whiteboard animation to describe how asset planning can increase productivity and efficiency.

Aside from being engaging and attention-grabbing, animation can add a lot of other useful features to your advertising message. Often, animation can show viewers concepts that can’t be filmed or photographed. There are no limits to what can be shown with animation. In addition, it often helps explain complex processes or ideas in a way that’s easily understandable for viewers.

A lot of production companies can offer animation services, but if you want an example of how we here at Blueforest Studios has used our animation skills to deliver messages that aren’t simply playful, but educational and informative, you can check out the web video we created for Tar Heel Tax Reform.

When you realize that animation may be just the avenue to spicy up your marketing campaign, we’re here for you!

Jingles All the Way

Imagine: you’re lounging on the couch watching the Panthers dominate in last Sunday’s football game. At the halftime commercial break, you hear the distinctive voice of your worker on television. Suddenly you realize…it’s YOUR commercial! That’s the experience our CEO, Russ Reynolds, had last weekend when the spot for the Leith Toyota came on. Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 12.40.26 PMLeith came to us with the request to include a jingle in their commercial that was catchy and would get viewers’ attention. So like a dutiful production company, we started brainstorming how to produce a commercial incorporating a memorable tune that would run through viewers’ heads and entice them to head over to Leith. We took our inspiration from other popular commercial jingles and eventually came up with an idea that we thought would appeal to consumers. Not only did we do the instrumental work and recording, but we even gathered up half our team and got them in the audio booth to start chanting. The vocals you hear belong to none other than a group of diversely talented Blueforest Studios staff. We even coerced our account manager, Meredith Duncan, into sipping pepsi and milk on-camera (it was supposed to look like an iced latte). This is one way in which we’re demonstrating how dedicated we are to producing the best possible product for our clients. We’ll go the extra mile to ensure that what you receive is the pinnacle of our creative abilities. Check out the Leith commercial below and let us know what you think! If you’re interested in having a video that features a catchy jingle, give us a call – we’d love to help you in any way we can.

The Newest Tool in Marketing: LinkedIn Video Ads

A source from Reel SEO recently reported on a blog from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions that stated the professional networking site would now accept video ads in order for their clients to market to other business professionals. All it requires is a YouTube URL to a video of maximum 30 seconds and some simple text to go with the video.

As we all know, the primary appeal for advertising on LinkedIn is its targeting power. Fortunately, video ads allow you to target by a wide variety of factors such as location, company, job title, school, skills, group, gender, and age.

According to the source at Reel SEO, LinkedIn’s establishment as a social network of professionals could ensure it’s suitability to reach the exact audience you want in the realms of company, job title, and skill set. Video ads could serve as the perfect targeting solution for products like business software and services, online video platforms, and video production services. Check out the article and see what you think.  Tell us what has worked for you!

Your next question might be who can create short effective ads for use on LinkedIN?  You might have guessed that we would be happy to help.  Check out this 15-second TV spot that we created.  If we can convey all that information in 15-seconds we can certainly help with LinkedIN ads!

How to Utilize Video to Make a Crowdfunding Campaign Successful

Have you built a great product that targets a specific niche market? Have a functional prototype that will knock the socks off potential customers? Then you’ve probably considered a crowdfunding campaign.

Here’s how you run a video crowdfunding campaign to discover if your product, idea or software apppeals to your target market or the public. There are many factors that determine if your campaign will become successful or just a flop. We’re here to tell you that your demonstration or product video is the make-or-break tool for your entire campaign. People are visual. If you have a product that you are asking them to support, they want to see it and see your passion for it. Without those aspects why would anyone choose to spend their time and/or money to back it?

Qualities of a Good Video:

We’re not saying that your video must be a $25,000 professional video decked out with intense 3D graphics – but in order to succeed, your video will need to focus on at least these four main factors:

  1. Subject
  2. Lighting
  3. Audio
  4. Passion

This should go without saying, but there also needs to be good quality content in the video. Essentially, you need to tell a compelling story in a very limited amount of time. To craft a great story, you’ll need authentic (or humorous) characters. You’ll need to demonstrate that there is a particular problem and explain how your product or service can solve it. And relying on well-informed data ALWAYS helps get the message across.

We’d like to show you three examples and discuss three primary concepts that make or break a successful crowdfunding video with regards to telling your story and the story of your product/service:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Human Aspect
  3. How does it work?

Some examples that have been fully funded:

  • Simplicity – People don’t want to hear a long explanation about everything that makes you different or every detail that goes into your business. Simplify it. Check out this company that offers cloth and compostable diapering alternatives.  They don’t have the most high-tech video, but they did a great job explaining who they are, what they do, and how it’s better than an alternative. This video isn’t perfect, but it describes the more emotional benefits of the company as opposed to describing what makes their services work.
  • Human Aspect – For the most part, people are interested in the human aspect of things, not the technical details. Check out this video. It’s a great product with an amazing purpose, but the execution of the video falls short. If they would have shown the human aspect towards the beginning of the video than the viewer would be more likely to become emotionally attached. They managed to reach their goal, but it was in the last few days of their campaign. A shark tank winner, Tiffany Krumins who created the AVA Elephant Brand explained this concept well when she said “I believe they can see the passion I have for children and that matters to them. They want to know they are getting behind a good cause.”
  • How does it work? – In this video, the inventors tell us how their product is going to help the world and also gave details of what it would cost per day to operate their manned boat. They claim this cost is the reason there are not many ocean-going boats gathering data. They talk about what uses there are for the data which makes the viewer more likely to commit to help fund the product.

So basically, incorporating subject, lighting, audio, and passion into your campaign through the means of a video has proven to help people feel more compelled to give which in turn can help you reach your goal!! What are you waiting for? Start your crowdfunding campaign today!

Laura Faughtenberry