Welcome to our digital marketing blog. Here you will find free advice discussing all the tips and tricks you need to make and promote the very best online content.

From practicalities on set to the latest digital marketing trends, we’ve learned—sometimes the hard way—what does and doesn’t work. Here we hope to impart the methods and techniques we’ve come to know and love.

Video Production Explained: Working With Celebrities

By Video Production Explained

Our 10 Tips For Working With Celebrities

As a video producer you may occasionally (or often) be required to work with a celebrity. This is usually the case where they act as the face of a brand or ‘brand ambassador’ but can also be for a variety of other briefs such as ‘behind the scenes’, or their own projects.

However if you’ve not worked with a celebrity before then the process can be very daunting depending on the stature, popularity and personality of the celebrity at hand.

Yes, there’s always an element of jumping through hoops and ‘playing the game’ when a celeb is on set as they are not just anyone, but that’s not to say you should be intimidated by the prospect of working with them. You’ll also need to remember that they’re not just another member of the crew and therefore their presence will require more of your budget.

So here’s a few things that we’ve learned over the years that may act as a useful heads-up for any project you may be producing with a celebrity on board.

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They’re Not Presenters!

In fact they can be quite rubbish in front of camera. There’s an understandable expectation that just because someone is in the public eye that they will automatically be great at giving lines to camera. Wrong! We once spent two hours with a ‘trained actress’ who was struggling to deliver four lines to camera even though it was on an autocue! People who watch our finished product are thinking how great it is – they’re not thinking about the 35 takes it took to get it.

Allow for this when planning your shoot and liaise with their management as to whether they require autocue for all lines (unless they’re a presenter as their day job they often do!)

Go Through Their Manager

Don’t expect to be given a mobile number so you can exchange texts with the latest reality star! It’s usual (and to be honest, much safer) to send all communications to your celeb through their management. This ensures that they will actually be on set on time and on the right day.

Get Them a Nice Car

You’ll get more from them if you go that extra mile to make them feel special. So if you need them on set at certain time, send a car to pick them up (you should have factored this into your initial budget). And don’t just send any old car. In the past we’ve gone for an executive car with driver in uniform to really ensure that the talent feels appreciated from day one.

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Allow For Extras In The Budget

As indicated above, there can be some unusual extras costs when working with a celebrity so allow some fat in your budget to accommodate this. I was once called at 4pm by a celebrity who want me to book her a different hotel as the one we’d put her in didn’t have goose down pillows. This apparently was going to be a deal breaker so by having a budget that allowed for such nonsense allowed the next day’s shoot to proceed as planned (thanks to the pillows!)

Show Them The Shot

Do let the celebrity you are working with see the shots you’ve got planned before you turn over. This will help you much more than you know. They will know their best angles and getting feedback on your shots before you turn over can save time and help capture them in their best light. It also fosters the relationship you have with them – if you show them you care what they think, they’ll warm to you and become easy to work with.

Give Them Something Of Yourself

So getting celebrities on-side like this is a key part of a successful shoot. A journalist once told us that one of the best ways to do this was to give them something of yourselves first. For instance when chatting, volunteer up some information about yourself that you wouldn’t normally tell anyone. It’s a great way to establish trust as you’ve already shown that you are willing to confide in them.

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Be Discreet

I’m sure this goes without saying but instantly uploading a photo of you and the celeb you’ve just worked with to social media isn’t always the wisest thing to do. Many productions need to be kept under wraps until launch and by tweeting your latest star selfie you may cause some serious problems. The people bankrolling the production will have a plan for drip-feeding excitement for the project through their own social media channels so if you want more work like this in the future, make sure you know what’s appropriate before you get your celeb trending on Twitter.

Vet All Your Crew – Even The Runners

Seasoned crew members will probably have seen it all before. However for the younger crew (usually the runners) its important to ensure that you not only select them carefully but fully brief them on what is acceptable. Runners are normally newcomers to the industry entirely and can get very excited about working with celebs. We’ve been burnt in the past (one young runner simply couldn’t stop asking the celebrity questions) so take it from us, getting the right crew for the job is useful.

Don’t Push Them

Unfortunately (and this only applies to some and not all) there can be similarities between working with a celebrity and looking after a bored toddler. Some celebs can be strange beasts and you certainly shouldn’t expect to get a 12-hour shoot day out of them! Tantrums and tears are sadly not just the stuff of tabloid tales so handle the talent with kid gloves and you’ll ensure they stay focused and friendly.

Expect The New Ones To Be Trouble

Finally, and this continues from the last point: you should expect the newer celebs or people who have only recently found fame to be more trouble than the ones who have been there for decades. Our experience has taught us that most times the more established the celebrity the easier the process is. They seem to know what’s involved and appreciate that you are there to make them look good. However the new or more recent celebs (think reality TV here) can be or are generally a nightmare. Ensure that your director has a long fuse and get a good night’s sleep before the shoot!

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.

Video Advertising Explained: Get the Apple Look

By Video Production Explained

Stylish Video Advertising

We’ve all seen those Apple talking heads featuring Jony Ive or some other leading Apple light telling us about their seemingly monthly announcements of new phones! (lets face it, they make great video advertising!)  They are shot against a perfectly white background, which ensures they feel clean, professional, and above all… Apple.

So many companies would benefit from presenting talking head or interview material  for their video advertising in this way. As mentioned is slick and clean but it also focuses the viewer on the person talking without any distractions. I’m always slightly disappointed when I see a corporate marketing video talking head shot with an office background. It’s hardly pushing the edge of creativity is it?

So being able to create this look for your corporate video is really useful. Here’s how to do it.

Essentially the key here is to treat the background and the subject separately in terms of the lighting plan. You will therefore need to light the background first, and then the subject.

video advertising

Now, your background can be formed in many different ways. You can hire a pop up white backdrop, use polystyrene boards, or even simply hang up some large rolls of white paper (although this will require time and delicacy). However, once you’ve got your background lighting it is pretty simple. Using a couple of large soft sources such as a couple of 2K lights with diffuser or softboxes on them, you can cast an even light on the surface then adjust your exposure accordingly until you get that brilliant seamless white look you require.

Next up you need to light your subject. It’s generally a good idea to place them as far away from the background as you can. Obviously you will be limited by the size of your shooting location and if you place the subject too far forward the edges of the backdrop may start to appear in frame, but this shouldn’t be much of an issue if you’ve lit it well enough with a nice flat light. You can easily add in extra areas of white in post to fill up the frame if needed though. Just make sure that the subject doesn’t encroach on the area you’re adjusting in the edit, or you’ll have some lengthy rotoscoping to deal with!

So light the subject as you wish safe in the knowledge that they are now presented against that beautiful, clean, white Apple-style background. This will provide you video advertising with that desirable high end, professional feel.

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.

Professional video editing tips – Editing Interviews

By Video Production Explained

Cut to the Chase

Many briefs in corporate video and professional video editing require the cutting down of long interviews to find the essential soundbites and answers. Hardly a project goes by when we are not faced with taking 10, 20 or even 30 minute interviews and finding the right selection of 10 second quotes to efficiently convey the message we want.

In some cases we can simply send a timecoded transcript to our client and they can select the best lines, but this is sometimes misleading as what may look like the best line on paper may lack conviction and credibility when delivered to camera. This is something that can’t be communicated when simply reading words on a page.

So sometimes the role of professional video editing is to trawl through the interview content and make the call on the best final soundbites themselves. But doing this can be time consuming and complex. So here’s our approach to cutting interviews down.

professional video editing

First Cut

Firstly, create a sequence/timeline and chuck every frame of the video on it. This is our starting point. Now this example assumes that only this interviewee will be used in the video and that the interviewers questions will be cut out. This is generally the case as we don’t wont to waste viewers time when watching the film having to listen to the questions being read. Hopefully the answers are delivered in statement fashion and can stand alone in conveying the message as opposed to simply being a yes/no answer.

So the first task is to edit out and remove form the timeline all the interviewer’s questions, pauses in the interview recording, and false starts/outtakes etc. A quick way to do this is to use the audio waveform as an indication of when the subject is talking and simply trim everything else.

So now we have a timeline containing just the stuff we want to choose from for our corporate video.

Powerful Comments

Next up, copy this sequence and rename it as ‘Interviews 2nd cut’ or something along these lines. We’re now going to watch this timeline through and remove any answers that feel too long, off topic, or generally not ones that feel powerful. As we’re doing this we keep the film’s message in mind and will usually label ‘killer quotes’ on the timeline so that we can easily navigate back to them later.

Once we’ve been through this second cut we should be left with our shortlist of useable comments.

Now we repeat the process by copying the sequence again and re-naming it as ‘Interviews 3rd cut’ or similar. This is useful in case the client comes back to you once they’ve viewed the draft edit and requests a comment about a topic not in the draft you sent. To quickly scan a sequence and say “yes, we’ve got it” rather than trawling through all the footage again saves time and it’s a very common request.

So now you should have ‘Interviews 3rd cut’ and this is really where you’ll find your narrative and identify the strongest quotes. A key part of professional video editing is not being afraid to be ruthless. You may still have 10 minutes of great comments and a target duration of only two minutes, so go with your gut and if you’ve any doubts about a particular quote, delete it from the timeline. You can now also play around with chronology and try a few comments back to back or in different orders to see what flows well and works best.

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Be Ruthless

If you’re cutting B-roll over the top of these interviews (and lets face it, we hope so as 2 minutes of a talking head isn’t going to light anyone up!) you’ll have some flexibility to cut into the actual quotes and answers. This is great for removing “ums” and “errs” from video marketing films that don’t sell what they’re saying, but can also be useful if you’ve got two takes of one question and you like the start of one and the end of the other. As mentioned, being ruthless here is the key, and if you are then you’ll find this third cut starting to feel like a powerful corporate video with a strong message.

If you’re not using B-roll but need to cut a portion of one answer there is another option open to you. You can scale down the timeline to allow you to create a two-camera look. This is only possible if you know that your client will accept a 720p delivery and you’ve shot at 1080p, or a 1080p delivery and you’ve shot at 4K. By downscaling the size of the frame you can use the footage at 100% scale as a ‘punch in’ and then scale the footage down to match the dimensions of the frame for a mid shot. Even though it’s the same shot and we’re essentially just zooming in on it, it’s a cut that audiences will tolerate and won’t look odd. It’s a useful professional video editing trick and one that we use often.

So that’s about all there is to it. The keys are to keep the first and second cut timelines to allow you to quickly respond to amendment requests, and secondly to be ruthless with your cutting. As mentioned, going with your gut is almost always the best way to choose the right quotes as you’re acting on emotional instinct and will be drawn to the quotes that connect with you on an emotional level. As we know these are the type of quotes that always form the most engaging viewing.

To find out more about us and our services, please click here. 

Digital video production explained: 10 Things That Will Surprise You

By Video Production Explained

10 digital video production facts every business should know.

Digital video production doesn’t need a big budget to create big impact!

Big ideas don’t always need big budgets, and effective video marketing can be produced on limited resources. Be flexible in your approach and make sure you hire a creative producer to give you the most bang for your buck!

Don’t expect a crew of 100s

Many corporate videos or pieces of video marketing content can be shot with a small crew (often just 2 or 3). The demands of these type of productions mean that kit is lightweight, portable and easy enough for a small crew to operate. However do be wary if just one person turns up with a camera and intends to direct, shoot, and record sound. Unless your budget is extremely limited and you can only stretch to a one man band then you should expect a crew minimum of two so as to maintain quality control.

The shoot days can be very long

The standard day for most crew working in corporate video production is 10 hours. This is what you’ll have been quoted on. However a 12-hour day is very common and 14 and even 16-hour days are by no means unusual.

digital video production

The work starts long before the actual filming starts

If you’ve found the right producer they will be busy behind the scenes way before the shoot begins. They will be doing their homework on the subject matter and checking out any and all possible variables that could affect the shoot day. See our guide to pre production for more information on this.

A video producer will know more than just how to produce video!

Again, if you’ve hired the right person you’ll find that they have a great deal of knowledge of target viewing habits, sector idiosyncrasies and sector history. They should have done their homework on your brief and be able to offer some valuable insight into how the film can connect with the intended audience based upon their research.

Not all cameras are equal (HD is not just HD)

In the early days of HD digital video production, ‘high definition’ used to mean the resolution was either defined as 1280×720 pixels (the lower end) or as 1920×1080 pixels (full HD). Today, we have cameras capable of shooting up to six times the quality of what we used to call ‘full HD’.

The majority of online video marketing content is delivered at 1280X720 but this will change as 4K becomes commonplace in the home and online. So think about how much longevity you need from your film in case you need to future proof it by shooting in 4K or above.

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The director will actually say “Action”

That’s right, the director is going to call “Action” and “Cut”. Aside from making it feel like it’s a Hollywood movie, it does have practical applications – it lets everyone on set know when it’s time to start the action and time to finish, especially for the on screen talent. Separate calls will be made to actually start the cameras recording (“Turn over”) as well as the microphones (“Sound speed”)

A small tweak when shooting can take hours

A good producer will anticipate as many issues as possible when overseeing the shoot, but inevitably there are some things that will just happen unexpectedly and everyone will need to take that on board. Small changed such as camera angle, lighting etc come with knock on effects so dot expect things to happen quickly when shooting.

A small change when editing can take days

Digital non linear editing is powerful and much quicker than the old analogue approach. However don’t confuse the software used with other applications that you may be familiar with. Changing a logo in photoshop can be a quick process but in video it will require rendering, exporting, compressing and probably uploading before you will be able to view the small change you requested.

You wont be able to email your final film

In the world of video marketing it would be great to be able to attach a HD video to our emails and simply send this straight out to our viewers. But sadly, this is just not going to happen. Even with todays powerful compression methods video files will usually be far too large to email (especially if they are HD).

A better practice is to email links to the film once you have uploaded or embedded it onto an online platform (see our guide for tips).

So there you have it. Hopefully you’re now either slightly more enlightened about the process of digital video production than before. But do email us if you have any questions about the process as we’re always happy to help out.

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.

Video Production tips for location shooting

By Video Production Advice

10 Considerations to make when filming on location

Event Videography and location shooting comes with a particular set of challenges that can, if not managed correctly become a nightmare and unravel your shoot. Here are a few thoughts on key factors you need to consider when filming on location, and how to deal with them.

Power

Whether you are in a field, in an office or in a studio,  for event videography you need to know what power options are available. If you want to run lights and charge batteries, knowing the availability and type of power supply that you can tap into is key.

Weather

If your location is outside then obviously weather is going to be a factor. Too much rain and you simply can’t shoot, too windy and you’ll struggle with sound, too sunny and you could get more light than you want or presenters who squint! Always check the weather 48 hours in advance and always have a back up plan!

event videography

Transport/Parking

If your location is in the middle of nowhere you need to factor in the logistics of physically getting your crew and equipment there. Likewise if you’re in the middle of a major city then parking, congestion and road works are something you’ll need to have thought about.

Also make sure you can actually get your kit to where you want to film. If you’re in a business location check to see what floor you are on. If you’re high up make sure there is a service lift to get all the shoot kit in. If you are outside check the ground condition (especially if some of your kit is on wheels).

People

One thing’s for sure, people can be the chaos theory element of location shooting and event videography– especially if you’re outdoors in an area that has public access. We once spent hours setting up a shot of a fitness model running through a beautiful field only to have a family decide to have their picnic right in the background of our shot! You can’t control people who are not part of the shoot and they can cause physical and audible issues with your filming.

Permissions

You’ll need some sort of permission wherever or whatever you are filming. Make sure you’ve cleared all land and buildings that will be appearing in your shots.

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Noise

If you are outside then noise problems can come from anywhere, but don’t think its always plain sailing if you are shooting inside. Here’s a short list of noise problems that have impacted our event videography in the past:

Building work (even though we were inside)

Filming under a flight path!

Very loud air conditioning units!

Playtime! (when shooting in schools, this is very noisy!)

Marches and parades!

Do as many checks as you can to ensure you’ve checked for every possible noise issue.

Sun Position

If you are shooting outside check the position the sun will be around the scheduled shoot time (you can actually get an app for this that makes it easier). Low sun can give you hard, flat light, and the noon sun wont do any presenter or interview subjects any favours due to the ugly downward shadows it produces.

First Aid

Accidents do happen so if you are planning to shoot somewhere remote than ensure you have a good first aid kit with you and a trained first aider. Taking the “it’ll never happen to us” approach WILL catch you out one day so make sure you’re prepared.

Facilities/Toilets/Food

Finally, crew need to eat and go to the loo now and then so factor this into your event videography planning. Again if you are remote consider whether you need to bring in toilet facilities and make sure you keep your crew well fed! Hungry crews get tired and tired crews make mistakes!

So there you go. 10 simple things that can leave your shoot in ruins if not considered and factored into your production.

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.

Business Marketing Lessons Learned The Hard Way: My Tips For Start Ups

By Digital Marketing

Business Marketing Tips For Start Ups

I’ve been running a business producing video for just over 15 years now and over that time I’ve learnt some pretty crucial business marketing lessons (usually the hard way!). So I thought I’d share them here for any start ups or new business owners as I’m sure many of these lessons transcend industries.

So here are a few of these lessons to save you the pain of having to learn them yourself the hard way!

Forget your Ego

Nothing can potentially threaten your business like your own vanity or ego. Over the years the worst business decisions I’ve made have been the ones where my ego has over ridden my common sense. Whenever a business decision is required, do keep this in mind by asking yourself “what would my competition do?” – This is usually a good yardstick for checking your thought process and verifying whether your ego is affecting your judgement.

Evolve

This applies to everything from internal systems to external marketing activity. Technology moves at a frightening pace in video production (as in all industries), but it usually moves on in a good way and provides some real benefits. So make sure you move with it! Getting left behind can be a big problem for any business so evolve with the technology, don’t fight against it

Adapt

The demand for video production (or any service supplied by a business) has changed shape over the years, as has the type of client who requires our service. The way in which we find new clients and market our services has had to continuously adapt to keep pace with our ever-changing client base. Don’t be afraid to adapt your approach if its clear that your existing methods aren’t working.

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Have a Clear Plan for Scalability

Being able to quickly and painlessly upscale when demand increases is key to growth. We all want to grow our businesses but when that critical opportunity to upsize arrives, you don’t want to drop the ball due to not having a clear plan of how you’re going to meet the increased output smoothly. The worst-case scenario can be that you fail to service existing clients due to internal problems caused by overstretching your resources.

Step Back

It’s so easy as a business owner to become bogged down by the day-to-day jobs and not take time to step back and see the bigger picture. Allowing yourself the time and opportunity to step back from the whirlwind from time to time provides you with a platform to assess what you do, how you do it, and discover what’s not quite working.

Use Expert

If you run your own business you will probably have the mantra that “anything is possible”. With that usually comes a feeling that you can easily “up-skill” to fulfil any requirements that your business develops. However, in our experience, paying for and listening to the advice of experts has been one of the most productive decisions we’ve ever made. This was especially true when it came to online business marketing. Outsourcing is something that a business owner should not hide from as it allows the key people within the business to focus on their strengths and do what they do best.

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Have Fun

Running your own business can be overwhelming, all-consuming, relationship damaging and slightly depressing (when things aren’t going well), so make sure you remember why you are doing it and also how lucky you are to get the chance! Above all, have some fun. Weirdly enough it may actually increase your success. Many businesses benefit from having a figurehead who displays a joy in what they do as this filters down to everyone who works within the organisation.

Be Honest With Yourself

Another psychological pitfall is kidding yourself that things are working when they aren’t. Being brutally honest with yourself is a key character trait in favour of becoming the business owner you want to be.

People Don’t Care That Much About Your Logo!

Many start ups (me included) spend hour and hours developing their logo when in truth this time could be spent in a much more beneficial and productive way. The lesson I learnt early on was that my logo was NOT my brand. Build a strong brand and instil your beliefs in it, and what your logo looks like will be the last thing a customer cares about. Focus on real business marketing and don’t assume that a fancy logo will do this for you!

I hope some of this may be useful or of interest to you if you’re piloting a start up venture. Above all keep going, I know you’ll have heard this a million time already but the first few years WILL be tough. So keep pushing, keep working and best of luck!

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.

How to create a Marketing Video – Timescales

By Video Production Explained

Production Timescale Explained

The first think you’ll need to know about how to produce a marketing video are the timescales involved.

Depending on what your brief requires, production of video marketing can take anywhere between a few days or several months. If the video marketing you’re producing is intended to sit alongside a range of other assets then getting the timing right may be key so you can release your materials on schedule.

Let’s assume that your project follows the lines of a pretty common brief in video production and that you are aiming to produce a 2 minute video highlighting the product, people and purpose. This is along the lines of something we are asked to produce quite often and will usually feature action footage of the product/service/brand in action, talking heads from either customers, staff, or both and maybe a voiceover added on top to tie the message together.

Now all projects are different, so the timings below won’t apply to all but in general they should be a good indication of what you should allow for your production.

how to create a marketing video

So once the brief has been delivered here’s a breakdown of what may happen and the time it will take:

Video Production Company Meeting – 2 hours

The video production company you have selected to work with will (and certainly should) want to visit your location/office to chat to you further and get a feel for your brand. For us, this is one of the most important parts of any video production. Getting face-to-face with our clients allows us to understand them, their brand, and most importantly their customer.

Brief Response – Half Day

Whether the video production company comes to meet you or not, you should certainly expect a full and detailed response to your brief. This will usually take about half a day to produce and should contain all the key information that shows the video production company you have selected has understood the brief. The response should also go into more detail about the production and cover areas such as logistics, film content, tone and style, and scheduling.

Pre-Production 1.5 Days (actual time but this may be spread over several weeks)

Further to the brief response the next stage of the project will be the “pre-production”. The actual time required to complete the pre-production on a typical video marketing project is between 1 and 1.5 days. However, due to the nature of what can be involved, this may be spread over several weeks. This is because pre-production includes elements such as scheduling and logistics, which can depend on responses and availability from 3rd parties to complete. For example, if the video production requires interviews with existing customers to generate testimonial-type quotes then the contacting, scheduling and managing of these interviews will require feedback (on availability etc) from the intended subject. Other parts of pre-production include scripting (for voiceover), shoot day planning and scheduling, and even casting (to find the right voiceover artist or possibly models).

how to create a marketing video

Shooting – 2 Days

Now we are certainly generalising here and there are many variables to this, but a typical video marketing production is usually shot over 2 days. Even a short 90 second film usually requires a great deal of different footage and capturing this footage is not something that happens in a few hours. So 2 days is really the minimum that we’d suggest for most typical video marketing projects.

Editing and Post-Production – 4-5 Days

Again this is a general guide based on the assumed brief we described earlier but we’d usually suggest allowing 4-5 days to get the project edited and mastered. This timescale factors in additional elements that are required in most briefs of this kind such as voiceover recording, making amendments to the initial edit, and mastering/compressing the video for final output (usually to a web-ready format).

So there you have it. Taking the brief described as an example, you will need to allow 9 working days as a minimum for a typical video production project. Although obviously these days will vary rarely be lined up in a row and may instead be spread over several weeks. In our experience we find that the usual timescale that forms a start to finish turnaround time for these 9 day projects is 4 weeks. This is typical of the window of time from receiving the brief to delivering the final project.

If you’d like more information about how to produce a marketing video then please do drop us a line as we’re always willing to share our knowledge.

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.

Should I use a Digital Marketing Agency or Freelancer for my brands online video?

By Digital Marketing

A Comparison Between Video Marketing Agency and Freelancer Productions

If you need to produce a video and it’s not something you want to do in-house then you really have two options. You could approach a video marketing agency, or you could find a talented freelancer to handle the project. Both come with their merits and drawbacks. Here’s a comparison of the two options.

Cost

Yes, a freelancer will be the more cost effective option. If your project is budget-sensitive then hiring a freelancer to produce it will be the best option. They don’t have the fixed costs of premises and staff to cover and the cost benefit will be passed on to you, the client.

Reliability

If you hire a freelancer and they are unwell or unable to attend your shoot day then there’s not much you can do about it. They may know someone who can stand in for them but this won’t always be the case. If you hire a video marketing agency then they will have backup and crew options should a member of their team become ill and not able to attend the shoot.

marketing agency

Nimble is Good

Any business or company needs systems of work and operation. These systems can slow a company down at times. However, a freelancer can take a much more nimble approach and respond in much quicker timescales to challenges and developments. They are usually much more able to react and adapt to new styles of working and this can benefit your project.

Group Creativity

Many video production briefs require a degree of creativity to ensure that the final product stands out for the crowd. While many freelancers can provide fantastic ideas and creative solutions, they are limited by the fact that all these ideas have to come from just one source. In contrast, a video marketing agency will be able to pool and harvest a larger range of clever ideas and solutions for your video.

Hands on Personal Touch

One of the great things about using a freelancer is that they are a constant from start to finish. They will be also to factor in the key messages of your brief at all stages as there is no risk of any important direction being lost while it’s being communicated through an organisation. Having the same face at each stage of the production is also reassuring for clients and provides a personal touch throughout the production.

marketing agency

Jack of All Trades VS Experienced Experts

Whilst there are some incredibly talented freelancers out there, they still have the drawback of being an individual with limited experience. A video marketing agency will be able to bring a wider range of skill bases and creativity to the table. While a freelancer has to be ‘jack of all trades’, the production company will have experienced experts in each area of the production so that every project can benefit from the services of a specialist at all stages.

Quality & Approach

Many freelancers own and use their own camera on each project they work on. This means that they are certainly experts in using their chosen camera model, and it also means that they tend to use the same camera on every project. However, a video marketing agency will have the financial muscle to either upgrade their cameras more often or hire cameras to meet the requirements of each individual brief. This is what we do. With the advent of 4K ultra HD and the need for businesses to ‘future proof’ their video, the advantages of using a production company are valuable in this respect as they can ensure that your project is shot on the most appropriate format.

So there you have it! Hopefully this is a useful guide, but bear in mind that there will be exceptions to each point made. At the end of the day both routes come with pros and cons so shop around to find the right solution for you, your brand and your project.

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.

How Can I Make My Brand’s Web Video Clickable?

By Digital Marketing

Web video that viewers can click!

As a business, one of the most important things we need web video and video marketing to do is direct traffic and customers to our site. After all, that’s what we produced it for. However, there’s a small issue here. When maximising the reach of your video marketing by uploading it to YouTube or Vimeo, there’s the possibility that the video may be viewed in isolation on the Youtube or Vimeo page itself. Even if we embed the video on our own website, people should be able to find it independently online. If they do, we’re hoping that the viewer will click through to us (on the URL in the video description that you should ALWAYS include) so that we can receive the desired amount of traffic.

However a better solution is to make the actual video window a live clickable experience. This is very useful if we want to maximise the reach of our web video by embedding the video on numerous other web pages where the ‘info’ section of the YouTube video which would normally contain your hyperlinks won’t be shown.

This is where YouTube’s annotation function becomes very powerful.

Call to Action

Youtube allows us to overlay a text ‘call to action’ annotation containing a live URL link anywhere on the web video window itself. The best example of this would be at the end of a film where we usually have an on-screen CTA, by using this facility we can actually make the CTA a live clickable element providing a great way to direct traffic from YouTube to our own site quickly and more intuitively. If part of the video is asking you to ‘click here’, you’re more likely to do that than go searching for a link in the video description.

Simply upload your video to Youtube, then go to the “Channel Video Manager”. Next select the video you want to add the link to and click the down arrow to the right of the Edit button and then select Annotations. Add your link and then select publish to finalise. Easy!

web video

Limitations

So adding this function to your web video on YouTube is simple, but there are a few limitations:

Firstly, it can take a few days to implement this, as the first stage is to notify Youtube that you are the physical owner of the video. Obviously this is to stop people placing live links over any and all of Youtube’s most popular videos, so you must own the content of film in order to place the live link on it. This part of the process is not instantaneous – Youtube takes a couple of days to verify this, so if you’re hitting a tight deadline you need to plan ahead.

Secondly, the fonts, colours and typographical options are very limited, so if you have very strong brand identification that is linked to your own font or particular colour then you may struggle to create the most “on brand” annotation.

Thirdly, the viewer has the option to turn off these annotations before they’ve even seen them. Some Youtube videos grossly overuse annotations which can turn many viewers off the idea, so make sure they’re relevant and not overused.

 

web video

That being said, the benefits to this are clear and until now this has been the missing element in many web video campaigns. Allowing users to interact with your content in this way provides engagement, credibility, and most importantly points the customer directly to your brand.

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.

How I got my small business marketing wrong (Part 2)

By Digital Marketing

When Small Business Marketing Goes Wrong!

As any business owner or director will confess that much of what we encounter in the daily working life requires a degree of adaptation and the ability to learn as we go. This is especially true in the case of small business marketing, and as I’ve explained before, this has caught me out on several occasions. But what happens when we get it right? When all the efforts we put into marketing our businesses pay off?

This is a short account of how we got our small business marketing right and also how this nearly caused us a problem that threatened to send the company into meltdown.

Firstly I should start by noting that if you ever wanted proof of the importance of digital marketing then this story should be testament to its power and effectiveness.

As video marketing experts it goes without saying that we employ video as a significant part of our marketing strategy. However we also have a robust marketing mix and utilise a wide range of ways to bring new clients to our door. In early 2013 we embarked on an ongoing campaign to attract as much new business as we could. We used a diverse spread of digital marketing techniques and allocated time and resources to the campaign on a monthly basis.

small business marketing

Small business marketing

We understood from the outset that successful small business marketing requires a slow burn effect and I’d therefore committed us to the campaign indefinitely. Right from the start our online visibility increased significantly due to initial SEO activity on our site, as well as our blogging and newly updated social media pages.

New customers slowly started to appear and we retained ones we already had (hopefully thanks to the quality of our service!). We stuck to our marketing plan and regularly updated our site, we blogged, posted video and also employed more traditional methods such as face to face and telephone marketing.

I should mention here that after 15 years of running a successful company, I possessed a degree of scepticism about the volume of new business we would attract. This led me to take an organic approach to growing our staff and my intention was to increase our core personnel once I’d seen a steady increase in business.

Demand For New Video Content

However what had initially been a steady trickle of new business quickly turned into a tidal wave with multiple new enquiries landing in my inbox daily and existing customers increasing their demand for new video content. The demand created by our digital marketing campaign had gone from a gentle start to an overwhelming surge in a short space of time.

As with many sectors, recruitment in video production is a lengthy process and because this surge in trade demanded all of my time to manage, I simply couldn’t find time to bring more helping hands on board.

small business marketing

This started a process where the business very nearly spiralled out of control, as our volume of work increased to the point where we couldn’t upscale to meet the demand. We were working literally day and night 7 days a week for a six-month period just trying to keep our heads above water.

To be fair, as business problems go this isn’t necessarily the worst, and it’s always better to have too much work than not enough. But the danger we faced was that the quality of our work would suffer as a result of running way above our natural capacity for an extended period of time.

Digital Marketing Does Work

The mistake I had made was to implement a robust digital marketing strategy but not put in place an internal growth strategy to ensure we could meet any new demand created. As a business we got close to meltdown through this period and ultimately the growth in sales we achieved could have all been for nothing if we had lost both existing and newly won clients by not providing the quality control aspect of our service due to stretched resources.

So there are really two messages to this story.

Firstly, yes, digital marketing does work. Very well!

But secondly, if as a business owner or director you commit to a robust digital marketing strategy you also need to commit in turn to a well-timed and considered process of increasing your resources to meet the increased demand you desire.

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.