THE ‘APS + C’ FORMULA
All great stories start very close to the end, and so it was at this point that I arrive almost an hour late to a talk by Owen Hemsath, a popular YouTuber, influencer, and video marketing consultant. I’m not new to video editing, in fact, I confess I have been editing videos since the late 90s, back when people used videotapes and the phrase “you’ve got mail” was still hip.
Today, however, brand messaging is more than just marketing to a specific demographic through a passive broadcast outlet. Videos today need to be attractive enough for people to want to share on social media; we have to be able to track performance, and most importantly, videos need to communicate effectively on any device.
With regards to our host, RLP, the office space is as cool as you’d expect from a multi-disciplinary creative shop. Unfortunately, by the time I walked in, all the seats were already taken, so I decided to keep a low profile and stand in the back.
THE VIDEO ENGAGEMENT FORMULA
Borrowing from direct response tactics, Owen has designed a three-step workflow that can greatly improve the performance of video campaigns. Similar to the ‘hook’ movies use to capture your attention during the first 10 minutes of a feature film, he explains how first we establish Attention Grabbers. This technique is also popular as a literary device used in novels or short stories.
First, use a question, a surprise, or a quotation to engage our audience. Immediately following we need to Expose a Problem. Being a film major, this concept seemed obvious; viewers need conflict. Set up a straightforward narrative and proceed with a few different Solutions.
Next, find opportunities to include Credibility Statements to build trust in the brand. Finally, a clear Call-to-Action at the end of the video; this works best if it can link to a dedicated landing page designed to close and capture.
Quickly, we shift focus to ways in which we can maximize the impact of our marketing strategy by adjusting specific qualities of our video. Recent studies show videos running 7 minutes or longer do better than short-form versions in social channels like YouTube and Facebook.
Consider the Skip button when filming and be careful not to cover up text or visual information when framing your shots. Brand your video in the first 5 seconds before the Skip is enabled. Recently, I saw a very clever example of how we can Rethink, the use of a Skip button altogether; check out this Weed B Gone pre-roll ad example. Owen describes how Pre-Roll and In-Display ads can be inexpensive ways of earning highly targeted audiences. Once we have qualified our prospect, we should end on a clean frame, leaving only a single Call-to-Action button that holds between 8-20 seconds for best results.
VIDEO OPTIMIZATION TIPS
Having worked at Ogilvy NY for a few years, you see many of David’s quotes painted around the office. One that stuck with me through the years goes, “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” Test your action calls, play with the length of your program. Building campaigns is hard work, experiment with at least 5 video options, each leading to a specific landing page and then proceed to analyze your findings.
In order to attract, retain, and monetize, we first need to set up measurable objectives. Build an audience by creating valuable content regularly and keep your branding consistent across episodes. According to recent research, HD resolution on YouTube rates close to 70% higher than videos of lesser quality. However, the craft of production requires a lot of practice and can be a very costly endeavor.
Details such as sound quality, lighting, and framing have to connect with sophisticated viewers in a fraction of a second. Seemingly little details, like the quality of logos, photos, animation, and copy are critical to conversion. When going straight to market, a product’s credibility is essentially for direct response to work. A poor quality logo or flawed copy can ruin you work and come across as fake or spammy.
Use a studio whenever possible, because doing so will provide more control over lighting, noise, and it’s ideal for filming green screen footage.
These days, YouTubers are seen as more trustworthy versus paid celebrities, because they are authentic and relatable. Watching a video doesn’t have to be a passive activity anymore when we consider the many tools available, such as comments, links, and close captioning, (even in different languages). Interactive engagement allows your audience to provide feedback and partake in the message.
Of course, public speaking itself can be intimidating, so if you are the spokesperson, spend a little extra time writing a script, rehearsing, and creating the right environment for your content will be crucial. It takes time to learn to be on camera. According to Owen, it may take about 25 videos by the time you gain confidence speaking into a lens and getting comfortable with your posture, voice, and personal style.
Remember longer videos perform better, so you may have to talk for at least 10 minutes straight in order to improve your ranking. When editing boring footage, try inserting slides, similar to those used in PowerPoint to spice up your shots, or adding b-roll shots. If using Facebook Live, make sure to interact with your audience. Assign someone who can help you reply to real-time comments and mention people by their username or handle.
THE IMPORTANCE OF VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE
Next, we broke down video editing software such as Screenflow ($90) for quick edits when using mobile footage, or Adobe Premiere for high-end camera footage and a more professional finish. Live webcasts are getting a lot of attention and Facebook and YouTube are the two best social media channels for marketing. However, consider that every platform is unique and so should your approach to storytelling. Owen recommends developing a multi-platform strategy.
Consider Voice Overs as essential tools for telling your story. At IMI, we use voice overs regularly and have been able to create strong relationships with VO talent and casting agents. Also invest in hiring a spokesperson, if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera. A good pitchman can take your brand to the next level.
Who can forget legendary Billy Mays’ signature pitch style? Good narration can be more effective and less costly than fancy graphics and animation to create something memorable. Adding a human to your campaign can also improve performance greatly. For example, choose custom thumbnail images that feature faces at eye level. Also, consider each social platform’s pros and cons. User data can help us understand the people who frequent specific channels and the type of expectations they will have.
Owen explains how a clear CTA button at the end of our videos can easily outperform YouTube Annotations. In turn, Annotations are generally more effective than YouTube Cards, (top-right icon on videos). It is always best if you can also provide a phone number or URL. A good rule of thumb is knowing YouTube viewers want clear, informative content, while the average Facebook viewer wants to be entertained.
Personally, I’m a control freak when it comes to my videos, but sometimes it is more beneficial to collaborate with people who are better than you at specialized services. Owen urged we consider investing in 1 or 2 powerful video collaborations with other media professionals in order to better establish your client’s credibility and produce high quality content that can set the tone for additional in-house spinoffs that follows the same format.
I may not have the most sophisticated understanding of attribution models and analytic metrics, but I recognize the value of having the right tools to help with these less ‘creative’ tasks.
During the talk, we covered software platforms that include Infusionsoft and Active Campaign. Both services, although not free, are well worth the investment when you consider the time they can save you researching user data and formulating effective strategies for your campaign.
In short, Owen describes how these tools are invaluable when you are looking to capture more leads, develop better email marketing campaigns, and send the right newsletter to the right customers. Most important is how these tools can help content creators find value in understanding user and behavioral data that can ultimately improve your ranking and conversion strategies.
Read on for Part II of Nick’s insight for use video for marketing and generating leads.