Category Archives: Video Production

How “Tour the States” Was Made and Went Viral

In June 2014, Angie Seaman, E-Commerce Manager for Marbles: The Brain Store, shared with an IRCE video workshop audience how Marbles: The Brain Store’s Tour the States video was made and successfully went viral with over 2,760,519 hits and counting.

“That was basically a very low-tech solution to making a video.  We had the cartoonist actually come into the office, get a big white piece of paper, and he’s only holding a marker. It took him about a week to get the thing done and the video.  We were crossing our fingers the whole time that he wouldn’t make a mistake. We did have a couple things that we had to fix, but it wasn’t too bad and it took our video director about two weeks to edit all of the footage together and get it synced up with music.  It turned out great and was well worth it for us.”

As a parent who had to help a fifth grader memorize the states and capitals in the fall of 2013, I can tell you that there was nothing like it on You Tube at the time.  The song is catchy and it not only highlighted the states, but also the capitals in their locations, which was surprisingly unique for You Tube videos about states and capitals.  Marbles: The Brain Store found a need and fulfilled it for kids (and parents).

“It <the video> introduced The Brain Store as an authority on the product, which is important because these are people who don’t know our brand.  It makes customers more comfortable to transact with us and we’ve seen our conversion rate increase over time. Part of it has to do with video.”

To make a low-budget video, Seaman suggests budgeting time to experiment, picking a room with good acoustics, and finding talent who can do it all.  She says that you can get going with video for less than $1000.

“It took us a year and a half or so to really get everything.  We saw results right away, but our conversion rate has increased and actually doubled every year. Part of it has to do with other things we’re doing, but I think a lot of it has to do with video.”

From lighting and sound to editing and effects, how is your company using video this year?

~Jean at My Web Writers

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Filed under Capturing Audience, Conferences, Television Script Writing, Video Production, YouTube

Marketing Short-Clip Videos: Vine versus Instagram

By My Web WritersVideo Marketing new

Video clips are a heavily used resource for brand promotion and marketing. They are more interactive and captivating than images alone and have the ability to convey a message without words. While not everyone possesses the talent to create award-winning films, technology has provided us with a few key tools which allows us to come pretty close – at least on an amateur level. Two phone apps, Vine and Instagram have recently hit the market and are making quite a splash. Both allow for users to record short clips and make them go viral in seconds. While the uses of these apps may appear similar, their features and functionality make them quite different. With a closer look at each app, you’ll see that they have a core audience and key purpose in mind.

Let’s look at Vine…

Pros:

Through Vine, you are able to create video clips that are six seconds in length. The concept behind such a specific time frame is to create a clip that is easily consumed by viewers. It doesn’t require as much commitment or attention span as a video of greater length. Also, with only six seconds to capture a moment, you have to be more creative with what you shoot and how you edit it. Vine also allows for videos to be looped, giving them GIF-like qualities. Finally, Vine videos are able to be embedded which is ideal for sharing on social media and placing on your web site or in an email.

Cons:

On the other side of the coin, Vine does not give you the option of filters or editing for your videos. This means that how you shoot it is how you see it. Also, Vine videos can currently only be shared to Facebook and Twitter. Other social media sites like Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare and by email require extra steps to market your video.

To summarize, Vine is the best video app for someone looking to create a clip with a moving/GIF-like quality image that loops. It requires creativity to stick to the six second time limit, but the reward is that such a short clip will likely be viewed more times.  Vine is not for the masses. It appeals to a niche market of users who appreciate the talent it takes to create a short clip without editing or filter features.

Now let’s compare Instagram…

Pros:

In the battle of video apps, Instagram has differentiated itself from Vine by allowing users to create clips that are 15 seconds in length. This is a great advantage to the video’s creator who has more than double the time to tell a story. And telling a story is exactly what Instagram is designed to do! This length of time allows for a beginning, middle and end all within a quarter of a minute. Instagram offers filters to enhance how your video looks, image stabilization and the ability to delete the last clip. Unlike Vine, you can share your video to six different platforms including: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Email and Foursquare.

Cons:

Although Instagram has many advantages, it’s important to also consider its drawbacks. This app does not feature looping, meaning viewers must click to replay the video each time. Also, videos are not embeddable which limits how you can share and promote your work. Finally, the 15 second video length is a pro to the creator, but it can be a con to the viewer. With our ever-decreasing attention span, even 15 seconds can feel too long and you risk viewers tuning out or turning it off before your message if fully relayed.

To summarize, the Instagram video app is ideal if you want to tell a story in a brief period of time. The fancy features such as filters, stabilization and editing allow you to run a “mini cinema” from your phone and easily share it across your social networks. This app is made for the masses. But when trying to be everything to everyone, it loses its niche appeal. ~Stephanie


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Filed under Instagram, Social Media, Video Production, Vine, YouTube

How to Optimize YouTube Content and Maximize Hits

By My Web WritersYouTube-Official-Logo

YouTube stores videos of every genre imaginable. From inspiring, educational and serious videos to funny, cute and creative ones, if you search for something on YouTube you will likely find hundreds of results. But the videos that appear in searches are not as random as you might think. Rather, they are the result of content that has been properly optimized to maximize its visibility. Content optimization is a critical part of increasing search traffic, views, subscribers and ultimately hits to your web site. The good news is that you too can optimize your YouTube video content by paying special attention to these areas when uploading your next big hit:

Title

You video’s title is the first way it communicates with potential viewers. This means it’s critical that the title captures interest and compels people to not only click play, but to continue watching the entire video. First, be sure that the title accurately represents the content that is within the video. Don’t trick the viewer or use gimmicky language like “YOU MUST WATCH THIS NOW” which can make people feel as though they’re being solicited rather than informed or entertained. Next, incorporate the most important keywords from the video into the title first. Finally, be sure to include words that help promote your brand or business after the keywords. For examples of some optimized titles, simply check out YouTube’s homepage! These are the videos that have made it to the top for their popular content and optimization.

Tags

Pay attention to your tags! First think, “What are popular search terms people may use to find my type of video?” These are the general tags you should aim to include with every video you post. Examples may include: sports, news, events, funny, prank, educational, inspiring. In addition to these general tags, you will also want to add specific tags that are unique to your video. This is a good opportunity to include your business name or branding in the tags. General tags are great for including you in the big pool of search results, but specific tags will help your video get more visibility since its competing against such fewer results. Finally, be sure to place any phrases in quotations. This will ensure YouTube will read them as one term and will keep your tagging accurate and optimized.

Description

Your video’s description should tell a story, but not just any story. It should tell the most compelling story possible while strategically using keywords related to your video’s content. That’s right, the importance of keywords continues into the description as well. Keep the description concise and carefully craft the first sentence so that if viewers read nothing else, they would have a good understanding of what they’re supposed to take from the video. Finally, think of what call to action you want to leave viewers with. If the goal is to get them to visit your blog or web site, be sure to include the URL. If the goal is to get them to view your other videos or become a subscriber to your channel, be sure to include links to these videos and their titles. The description is an important opportunity to say with words what your video is showing with action. And don’t overlook the power of keywords!

In closing, it is important to remember that it is never too late to improve the optimization of your YouTube videos. You can put these strategies to use for videos that were uploaded two days ago or two years ago and achieve effective results. ~Stephanie


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Filed under Algorithms, Social Media, Video Production, YouTube

Five Video Perfect, Speech Opener Ideas

My Web WritersVideo Perfect Speech Ideas

If you’re not using video yet– you should be.  When using video as a way to communicate mass messages, these following five ideas will help you to open with strong and compelling calls-to-attention and to pique your audiences’ interests.

1. Start with a demonstration.

Video presentations can do what would not be nearly as effective in front of a large, live audience. You can open your speech with a hands-on demonstration, talent, or trick – especially one that can be zoomed in on. Many people learn by doing and so a speech that begins with an immediate action captures interest and improves retention. This makes the audience want to know the connection between your demonstration and what you’re about to say next. We like the Shindigz video collection because of the quality and quantity of helpful tips and the ways in which these party products are demonstrated by Wendy and Mary.

2. Add emotion.

A video speech or presentation is also a key opportunity to employ an emotional appeal to your audience. You can begin with a montage of photos with a voiceover, words or a story from someone else or tell a story that is personal to you. Music can greatly enhance the effect of this. Another important benefit of this speech opener is that it helps to create a relationship with the audience. Through video you can sometimes lose that “human element” that you get from a live presentation, but by incorporating emotion you ensure this important element is still present right from the start. We think the Dove Real Beauty Sketches demonstrate how to effectively tug at heartstrings.

3. Incorporate humor.

The use of humor is a tried-and-true technique for many different styles of speeches. Remember that with video, you have the advantage of zooming in on facial expressions to really emphasize the humor in a story.  Telling a joke is a perfect speech opener idea for this medium because it helps to break the ice and set a warm and friendly tone. Whether dry or sarcastic, humor like Apple Coasting will bring a welcome chuckle.

4. Reference another well known speech or video clip.

Countless video clips have risen to stardom overnight after going viral on social media. These have become just about as well known as classic novels, especially depending upon the generation you ask. Including a short clip from a well known viral video as the opener of your own video speech is a great way to capture an audience’s attention and to prime them for your message. Ideally, such a clip should be relatable to the rest of your speech. With the many, many viral videos to choose from, you should be able to find something that can be woven into almost any message.  We think this Cimorelli and Matty B spoof of Cary Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe is a fun way for up-and-coming singers to partner and credit a well-known singer.

5. Do something completely unexpected.

Finally, video speeches are a great opportunity to do something completely unexpected and harness this as an effective opener to capture your audience’s attention. You’re able to zoom-in, edit, add special features and use props much more easily than you could in front of a large, live audience. So stretch your creativity and really think outside the box for an unexpected opener like a special effects trick, goofy song or sound effect. This can be in relation to the topic of the rest of your video speech or it could be a complete contrast that will keep the audience guessing.

There are many great opportunities to open your video speech that will capture your audience’s attention, build your credibility and set the stage for a powerful message.  These are just five to help get you started. They key is to remember that you must tailor your message to your audience and your medium. A video presentation or speech has unique challenges and advantages of which you should be aware and take into consideration. With the right opener and ever-advancing technology, your message can travel as far and as fast as your viewers are inspired to take it!    ~Stephanie & Jean

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Filed under Giving a Toast, Introductions, Speech Openers, Speeches, Video Production, YouTube

How Video Helps Your Website’s SEO

by My Web Writers

On the Internet, video is one of the most sought after types of content and it can play a key role in increasing your website’s SEO. Video, more than any other content type, can keep viewers on your page for longer. As Google places increased value on how long visitors stay on a page, creating videos that browsers will watch is a critical, creative way to use content to your advantage.

Stickiness and Conversion

Video helps the stickiness of your page in a number of ways. First, as noted above, Google Panda looks for a difference between a short click and a long click. In a short click, the viewer clicks a link and then quickly clicks away, which indicates to the algorithm that the page is of low-quality. Videos increase viewer engagement with your page, so they help create long clicks. Further, according to comScore, an internet research company, videos are the fastest growing content on the internet. Using video content increases the likelihood that your page will be shared to other viewers or on social media.

 Embedding and Social Media

Shares on social media and links from other websites are an important way to boost your SEO, but they’re also the SEO component you have the least control over. The best you can do is create engaging content and set your site up for success, but you can’t make people share your content. To increase your video’s likelihood to get shared on social media, consider how you embed your video. If your video can only be embedded on your website, it inherently has a higher SEO rank, but allowing other users to embed your video increases the chances that it will be shared elsewhere, including social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest. Along those lines, make sure your video has a clear, engaging thumbnail picture to entice viewers to actually watch the video once linked to it.  For more information, see our post about Video Basics.

 Boosting Your SEO

As you create the video content itself, there are more ways you can boost your SEO through the video. First, make sure the content is interesting and high quality. Also, consider where you host your video. According to TechCrunch, hosting your video on YouTube means it will automatically get logged by Google, increasing your SEO.

The keywords and title you use are also important. When naming your video, choose a title that uses keywords that get more hits in search engines. A creative, informative title is most important, but those keywords help too. Then, when choosing keywords for your video, make sure the keywords reflect the title of the video as well as the content. Google is invested in making sure videos are about what the title says they’re about. As internet users increasingly search out video, optimized video content can help your site’s overall SEO.

Finally, SEOmoz suggests including the transcript of your video on the page in which you embed it. That way, search engine crawlers can find not only the video, but text that supports your keyterms and content. Combined with quality content, videos can be an SEO or social media jackpot, but you have to make the right choices to set your video up for success.

From script writing to editing, consider adding  video services into your site’s SEO plan.  ~Kasey

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Video Basics: Hosting, Sharing, and Content

By My Web Writers

Adding video content to your website, blog, or online store is a great way to generate traffic and audience engagement. Getting the most out of your video content require more than just a good idea and a camera, however. You’ll also have to make some key decisions about video hosting, integration, embedding, and more.

Image courtesy of Alviman

Video Hosting

A key decision for publishing your video content is whether you will host your video through a free service such as YouTube or through a professional third-party service. The majority of free videos on the internet are hosted through YouTube with another large portion on Vimeo. The major advantage of using YouTube is that your video will automatically be logged by Google, boosting its rank for your SEO. Plus, your content will be available to an enormous audience for free.

There are also advantages to using a professional service such as Vzaar or Wistia. The most obvious advantage is the higher quality of video you will get through a hosting service. Using a third-party service also gives you more control over the publishing of your video and where it is available. With customized services you can more closely link your video to your website so that, if the video finds a large audience without the help of YouTube’s base, your video will create a priceless link between the content and your company.

Video Embedding

Once you’ve decided on how you’re hosting your video content, you’ll need to consider how you will code and allow embedding of your video. One option is to restrict your video from being embedded outside of your domain or webpage. This strategy is strongest for SEO as it creates that solid, exclusive link between your video and your site. It also, however, reduces the likelihood of readers sharing your video on social media. Conversely, allowing people to embed your video outside your webpage increases social media viability, but decreases its weight in SEO. Therefore, your decision about how your video can be embedded hinges on whether you are counting on the SEO boost from sharing, +1s, tweets, pins, and Facebook likes or if you are relying on the content to hold its own on your site.

Further, little details can go a long way, so when you are considering how your video will be embedded, remember to choose a strong thumbnail picture. Thumbnail pictures should create an intriguing image of your content that also clearly captures the main point of your video. For example, if your video is a demo, your thumbnail could be a clear shot of the skill, craft, or food your video demonstrates. Thumbnails are important for earning clicks on Google as well as social media sites such as Pinterest.

Content and Integration

To make the most of your video, it’s also important to integrate video content into your website in a seamless manner that supports your other elements. First choose video content that makes sense for your site or products (Check out our tips for creative video content). For optimal integration, limit your videos to one per page and include the video content alongside other media, such as photos, as well as engaging text. For example, if your video is a demonstration, you could include step by step screen caps as well as a transcript of your video. That way, users can watch the demo as well as see and read highlights of specific steps. As always, the more engaging and high-quality your content is, the higher it will score in Panda and the more likely readers are to return to your site.

For your video content, writing, and production needs, My Web Writers has a range of services to help you create interesting, quality video content for your brand. Check out our samples and services to see if we’re a good match for your business.  ~ Kasey

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Your Content—Resolve to Include Video

by My Web Writers

Video content bolsters the usability of your website or blog and encourages customers to interact with your content and hopefully your products. This year, make a resolution to include more video content showcasing your company and your services or merchandise. There are plenty of ways you can create fun, innovative video content to draw browsers to your site!

Tutorials

Tutorials are among the most shared and most viewed videos on YouTube. Through tutorials viewers can learn recipes, crafts, sports skills, dance moves, even how to pick a bike lock. The internet has become a classroom, enhancing people’s hobbies and making DIY projects easier. If you have a skill or a product that warrants a demo, create it yourself! For example, if you sell sports equipment, provide demos or sample workouts. Tutorials are also a way to showcase individual talent. Amateurs such as Michelle Phan have launched careers on YouTube. Phan’s makeup tutorials became so popular she was offered a job as a spokeswoman for Lancome and was even featured in Vogue. A well-crafted tutorial on an engaging topic can do wonders for your web traffic.

 Your Business Image

Give customers an inside look at your business. Create short videos about fun traditions around the office. For example, Shindigz Party Supplies filmed their annual Turkey Bowling event, letting customers in on the fun. Give clients an idea of what your office and the people who work there are like and post it on the About Us section of your webpage or as a post on your company blog. If customers view your company as real people, not just a logo, they may be more likely to use your products or services.

Customer Interviews

Feature your customers! Interview customers about your services or how they use your products and showcase their response on your webpage. Filmed customer responses add extra credibility to the reviews you quote on your webpage, as viewers can put a real face to the response.

Video Contests

Hosting a video contest is a fun way to get customers involved in the creation of your video content. Choose a theme or a type of video and create a YouTube channel to display the entries. You can have customers vote on their favorite using the “thumbs up” button or comments or choose the winner yourself. Have entrants create tutorials about how they use your products, mini-documentaries about how your company helped them, or funny videos featuring your products. Find a theme that best showcases your company and let your customers get creative.

Mini-Documentary

Make your video content look like a real documentary. Film a day in the life of your CEO or a behind-the-scenes look at an event, game, or home that uses your products. With a combination of interviews and action footage, a documentary can showcase both customer reaction and your products or services in action. Plus, a documentary adds an edgier, more professional feel to your video.

 Not only is video good for your SEO, it also increases the likelihood your site will get bookmarked or shared on social media. My Web Writers video services including video script writing, video production, and video editing options. Check out samples of our work to decide if we can help you do more creative work with video. ~Kasey

Update: Video Was the Hot Topic at IRCE 2014

Several IRCE workshop sessions discussed creating video on a budget. If you’re thinking about adding video to your 2015 plan, read 17 questions you should ask before hiring a video provider.

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