The content marketing checklist

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Let’s get one thing straight… if you are new or not to marketing getting down to the basics makes for a strong case to the people you report to.  Let me help you hit 5 key points to consider.

1. What are the Business Goals

Keep the corporate business goals close at hand when being delegated a content marketing strategy is important.  Too often I hear people say “I want to go viral” or “I need to make a video” but I too need to make sure I understand your business goals.  Once I have a grasp of this our collaboration becomes more on point.  Content can serve different purposes within a company, and the best content marketing programs define the role of content beforehand, not after the fact.

2. Considering Strategy

Let’s talk focus.  Why is this content to be created?  Who is this content for?  What call to action are we shooting for?  Are we doing this for hard or soft ROI?  These are the next meeting we will have as we consider the next steps.  Ultimately when we go to create this visually we want to make sure this is all laid out.  The architecture of your story telling eco-system is another key element here and we want to make sure your content is wrapped appropriately so your audience is engaged and make them want to share your content.

3. Time for Production

While this is the fun part for people like me, there are a lot of logistics involved.  How many days do we have at any one location.  Don’t forget to allocate time for b-roll.  I repeat… don’t forget to allocate time for b-roll.  If you want people to get tired of talking heads then schedule back to back interviews without b-roll.  Nothing kills a video faster than not being able to cement the talking points with visual representation.

4. Amplification & Exposure

You must market your marketing. Let’s get serious just because you create amazing content doesn’t mean people will find you.  More than likely your company isn’t able to go out on a limb and create content that shocks, so let’s get back to the basics… what is the amplification strategy.  This is a multi-pronged approach including internal employee distribution to reaching out to influential bloggers to press releases.  Know where your audience is online and focus on driving conversation with your content, as a matter of fact in the strategy part of the design it is great to know what pain points your customers have and address them in some way with the content without sounding like a propaganda piece of course.

5. Measurement

Content isn’t inexpensive. It’s just different expensive. I always get asked about cost or “I have a budget of this” but let’s be honest good content is well thought out, well produced and measured. Measurement is the key to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice, hone your content to address the shortcomings and keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.  ROI comes in a lot of flavors, so be sure you know exactly what you are being measured on and get those analytics.  Anything above and beyond that is the cream that might just surprise your supervisors on how well your content is performing.

What length of video should I make?

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slateI think the majority of people when they first start thinking about doing a video they think short.  Perhaps it is cost, perhaps it is pretty engrained that today’s attention span is short and they want the most of of the attention they will get.  The question to ask yourself is do you want 8 out of 10 targeted viewers that you know understand your business or product and will see the value or do you want 50 of 100 random viewers that may have no desire to ever purchase your product, but saw the video?  Views doesn’t necessarily equate to ROI, but now lets get back to length.

Length of video depends on just how much message you can pack into a visual.  Are we needing to share with the world why you are in business?  Or are we on a simple mission to demonstrate the use of a product?  While usually shorter is better,  shorter is also harder. Shorter seems riskier because you necessarily have to leave things out and narrow down your message to a very few key ideas. That’s tough to do. As online attention spans continue to shrink, ‘shorter’ should definitely be the target. ‘Shorter’ is a guideline not a rule, however. If you are creating a product demo, a training video or something else for someone much further along the sales cycle – then these audiences may want more information, they may want more detail. The length of your video then really depends on the motivation of your viewer. A good rule of thumb for promotional videos (targeting the ‘awareness’ or’ interest’ phases of the sales cycle) is between one an two minutes in length. Your video needs to be succinct, it needs to include targeted, relevant information and it better be interesting. Answer this question: How long do you need to get to the point of your video?

Being a brand ambassador

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You can be brand loyal or brand agnostic, not care about the job or be the OT king.  We all at some point will represent a company, a sports team, an area of the world and this could be a positive or negative impression we put off. When was the last time someone praised a product or service and actually researched it?  Or how about learning about a brand because of their steadfast commitment to giving you a different experience?  In terms of consumers we are creatures of our relationships and the feelings we get when connected to certain brands.  When we begin to develop a relationship with someone of an organization we start to feel loyalty, devotion, willingness to look beyond the little things they don’t do for us.

I’ll share an example of someone I met from Sony. I connected with @SonyProUSA on twitter which was run by a guy named Jason Eng. Once Jason Eng was hired as their Social Media Manager I was skeptical.  How could a huge company like Sony do well with connecting with their customers?  Will this only be a 1 way conversation? After multiple conversations it felt more like a personal relationship was forming.  I didn’t believe that even hiring someone that understood social media could break the barriers of old corporate mentality and the connection that needed to be made with the consumers, but he has allowed me to feel connected to an organization in a way no other organization their size has done.  I am now a Sony Ambassador as I own a Sony F55 and blow up twitter and facebook with my productions and images of their product.  Is my being a Sony Ambassador important to Sony? Did Jason Eng change my perception of Sony?  Hell yeah he did and I hope Sony continues to appreciate how he has changed perceptions around the world about their company.

My wife and I are die hard Michigan fans.  Good, bad indifferent we are who we are and the price that comes with loyalty isn’t always easy, but as a brand ambassador you understand what you stand for and don’t have a problem when times get tough.  Does this matter to the University of Michigan how I represent their college?

Where am I going with this you may ask?  I want nothing more than an opportunity to change the world, it may be small, it could be huge, but I have never felt so motivated to change the world in my own way through filmmaking… Being a brand ambassador requires commitment to the cause and for you to understand that when you hire a company like Setla Films we become your Brand Ambassador…. When we take on a project we will scream your name from the roof tops because that is what brand ambassadors do!

What is the budget for video?

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“I know I want to do a video, but I don’t need a huge production out of it, just something I can throw on youtube. How much will it cost?”

This is one of the most common question I hear from people when they first approach me about doing a video, “How much will this video cost?”.  As much as I hate to talk money it always comes up in the beginning of the conversation even before knowing what the heck we are about to produce.  So you ask for a budget and I have to ask “What’s the idea?”.  This conversation while important should come after you have a sense of what style and type of video you want.  If you are new to video this is a good starting point to give me a call so I can walk through the process and help with an understanding of time, costs and the process.


Answer this question: Find a video similar to what you are thinking about and ask video production companies ‘what would a video like this cost to make?’ You will find that one of two things will happen.  They will either try and get to know who you are and help guide you through the process of the production or they are solely focused on making a buck and will guide you through the “send us a deposit” phase and there will be nothing other than a transactional relationship.  What is your preference? 

#ContentMarketing #VideoMarketing

Saving money when producing corporate videos

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When I first starting thinking about this post I remembered about 10 different conversations with people from marketing departments from all over the world.  When I mean around the world I mean just that from Germany to San Francisco, from Australia to New York.  Each of the conversations began with their desire to use video more in their marketing efforts, realizing how impactful video is and seeing the importance of story telling in their efforts to connect with their audience.  I was extremely relieved that I didn’t have to go through the education process of helping them realize this importance.  The conversation went from ideas on subjects to cover to content architecture and how it all fits together.  From using social media and branding to a complete long term messaging platform our synergies were amazing and we appeared to be on the same page until we started talking budget.

Every time budget talks come to the table it is clear that all the other important and relevant information we just discussed almost becomes a fleeting thought.  I began to explain that when it comes to content creation and architecture there are a couple of important key factors that companies should consider.  When you hire a film crew to cover your event, create a video or two or have long term content goals that crew becomes part of your organization, or at least they should.  For many corporate shoots I have been on there are multiple interviews, a lot of b-roll shot and the direction of that content could go anywhere.  If that video crew knows you, knows your company’s soul and is able to bring out the sincerity and authenticity in those interviews, see opportunities with content that may not have been in the scope of the work you initially slated.  The right video crew knows this and are much more than a hired camera man for your shoot.  They become content partners, the architects of your content and help you understand how to use the content more effectively and efficiently to meet your needs.  What does this have to do with money?  When you use different video crews all the time they won’t be looking out for additional content opportunities for you and will absolutely not look beyond the scope of work you hired them for.

In the end the benefit of establishing a good relationship with video content creators is seen both in the content itself and the savings of getting more out of your corporate shoots that originally planned.  The question I ask myself is this…  If the company plans on using me for multiple projects and I can see opportunity to create additional content why wouldn’t I grab it?  I want my clients to know I am looking out for them at every corner.  It’s about being a great media partner and creating value add in everything I do!

 

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Traveling with Camera Gear

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I recently went on a trip to Germany with some camera gear.  The first question was whether or not I should have an ATA Carnet (Definition of a Carnet) or should I just carry my backpack into Germany?  Since I have never been to Germany I thought it to be safe and purchase one.  For about $60,000 worth of gear the carnet will cost you anywhere from $600 – $800 depending on who you go with.  This is just insurance to make sure you are not coming into the country to sell your stuff and not pay the taxes.  A few years ago I went to South Africa for a documentary and I purchased my first ATA Carnet.  Once home I forgot about it until I got an email from the South African Government telling me I owe them $15,000 in taxes.  WTF?  After many days of searching around and finally finding the carnet I sent it over to the carnet office and it was rectified, but this does happen.

I also made the mistake of placing 6 of my Anton Bauer Dionic 90 batteries in the checked in baggage in Germany.  To my surprise I found a nice little note that 4 of them had been confiscated at the Frankfurt Airport.  There is a travel no no when it comes to checking in Li-ion  batteries and the limit is 2.  You can carry on any number of Li-ion batteries under the 8g of Equivalent Lithium Content or ELC which equates to about 100Wh or less.  If you are between 8g-25g ELC then you are allowed 2 loose batteries and one attached to the camera.  I just purchased 3 of the IDX Duo-150 batteries which are at 11.5g ELC and will travel carry on nicely.

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On another note it is difficult to constantly keep up with how you should travel with camera gear, baggage, batteries etc, so I found this article that compiles most of the information to check on prior to leaving. (Flying Wombat)

Matching cameras – the Sony F5 with the F55

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I just got back from Germany on a shoot where we took a Sony F5 and F55.  This project had a bit of latitude in it in that we were able to film with any camera, at any resolution, with any lens and we also knew the editors… us.  So the goal was to take the first day out and walk around the town of Fulda and capture a images that we could take back to the room and begin comparing.  Let me set the tone with what we started with.  Both cameras had the Angenieux 30-80mm Optimo DP.  We set each camera SHOOTING MODE to CineEI and the COLOR SPACE to S-GAMUT3.Cine/SLOG3.  With both cameras using the same lens we were hoping for some extremely similar results.  We chose to use a look profile instead of creating our own 3D LUT to use for focus and we ended up burning the LC709A Profile setting into the image on the SxS Card (since we also knew there wasn’t a lot of money in the budget for color afterwards). We set the waveform on the LCD Viewfinder and we made sure that the 2 zebras were set at 50% and 60%.  We did not expose anything over 65% on the first day, but did find that we could push it to the 70% – 75% mark on occasion with absolutely no problems with the blacks or the highlights.  Here are a few images from each of the cameras and to see them in full 2k just click on them.  You will notice that they are a little dark in these images, but I found that the latitude with the image will give me so many options in post.

When you need more than video

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In crisis communications PR firms pride themselves on their reputation of providing this image rehabilitation service or assisting your audience in seeing the true soul of your company, but let’s be honest if they don’t have years of experience with your audience or your industry a one size fits all approach doesn’t instill confidence.

PR AgenciesI have been witness to many healthcare companies paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to PR agencies around the world to counter bad press or to drive a message of employee satisfaction with the company. What amazes me isn’t the amount of money that changes hands it is the decision making process to vet out those agencies and to make sure they understand your audience. As I create campaign after campaign for organizations looking for more than just video I see an opportunity for content to be architected around the company’s communications strategy.  While video is an extremely important part of the whole strategy the goal is to integrate very compelling video into the entire story telling eco-system.

My question for you now is the next time you want to create a video ask yourself… How can the producer of my video help guide me through understanding the whole picture?  Do they have a complete understanding of my audience, who they are, where they are online? Can they help get my video out? What extra value do they bring to the table? Don’t limit your production to just a video, there is way more out there to have a successful experience with video production.

Video Marketing, what it takes to do it right

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It is no secret that video plays such a huge part in today’s online strategy, but here is an average call I would get

me “Setla Films, this is Ted how may I help you?”

Potential client “I am looking to have a promotional video created that I can place on my website to drive people to my service”

me “Ok, how many videos have you done before?”

Potential client “None so far, this will be the one”

me “Ok, do you blog, or have other consistent pieces of content that your audience will see?”

Potential client “No, not at the moment”

me “Ok, well there are two pieces of content creation that I am a big proponent of, the content itself and the calendar. If you aren’t putting consistent content out there for your audience, then your competitor is and you may get some views and recognition, but unless you are able to get pretty crazy with this video you may just have a one hit wonder”

Ok, this is close to how it usually goes, but the point is that there are a lot of steps to making a video successful and it starts with your company’s soul.  A good production checklist can be found here to guide you through this process a little easier, but don’t forget in the end you will be judged on ROI of your efforts, don’t forget to have a plan to measure and benchmark your campaign.  This may be to drive discussion on a topic or as basic as number of views.  

An impressive list of “What is takes to get it right” was written up here by RealSEO.

 

The one mistake companies make with content marketing

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It is amazing to me that with all the information online about what works and what doesn’t in terms of marketing that companies continue to create videos that are ineffective and have little impact on the bottom line.  I seriously could not have resonated with BRUCE MCDUFFEE any more when he wrote this article. (Content Marketing Institute)

The one mistake companies continue to make when they decide on the creation of content marketing videos is the fact that they focus solely on their company and their product or service.  There is nothing wrong with having a few of those videos out there and in fact you should have a feature/benefit video created to give the information to people who are looking for it, but 60-70% of the content you create should include content about your customers, the success stories of others and the impact they have had for their communities.  Be that brand ambassador for your customers and see just how much further your content reaches. Just in summary…

  • Stop pitching your products.
  • Stop trying to be clever by masquerading a product promotion as a helpful piece of content.
  • Start giving away your expertise in the form of free education or interesting information — without promoting your product.
  • Start making a clear distinction between content that is meant to clearly define your offering and content that is meant to engage your audience by providing them with useful education or entertainment