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“To See Oursels as Ithers See Us”

Sell without selling

Google Search defines Content Marketing as: “The creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”

In this blog post, the second of a two-part series on Content Media, we will focus on videos and vlogs.

 “…To See Oursels…”

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us,

To see oursels as ithers see us!”

When Scotland’s national poet, Rabbie Burns wrote the poem “To A Louse” in 1786, never did he dream that the power of the smartphone camera would make his dream come true a couple of hundred years or so later.

He should be careful what he wished for: video gives us the power to see ourselves from an external perspective, although the vast majority of people report that they hate seeing themselves on screen.

Perhaps surprisingly then, video blogging, or vlogging, is growing exponentially: 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Admittedly, not everyone appears in their own video, but it is a phenomenal statistic, nevertheless.

But the supply is only feeding demand: according to Google, 6 out of 10 people prefer online video to live TV. Admittedly a wee bit old statistic, but in 2015, compared to the previous year, 18-49 year-olds watched 4% less TV and 74% MORE YouTube!

Forbes Magazine gets the last word on stats: it reports that a one-minute video is worth 1.8 million words! (Although, videos with subtitles and a transcript are most successful, but more of that later.)

Big-budget Examples

Consider this: mostly, people try to find ways to avoid or skip over adverts, whether broadcast or online. I put the kettle on or do a little piece of work in between Duolingo lessons, as there’s occasionally an ad between them. However, I look forward to the annual John Lewis Christmas ad. It’s available online every December and I join millions of people to actually seek it out on Google. John Lewis are the ultimate in disruptive trends: they have reversed the process!

Have you watched any of The Lego Movies or their spin-offs? It used to be that movies would result in branded merchandise, as a secondary source of income. Now, we have a merchandise company making full-length movies, essentially very long and highly entertaining long feature adverts, and they get people to PAY serious money to watch them!

For the Rest of Us…

OK, most of us can’t afford to produce a Hollywood movie and develop it into a franchise. We might manage to fund a YouTube video that goes viral, or at least generates some interest, though.

Let’s be honest: if we knew how to make a video that attracted viewers in ever more exponential numbers, we’d have done it by now and we’d be talking from experience. So, we’re not going to bluff you.

First Steps

What kind of video should you shoot?

What subject matter, specifically?

Consider your audience (current and desired) and your products or services. Would a ‘How To’ blog work? ‘A Day in the Life of’?

Try looking at, or Quora. They will show you the most common questions people are asking about your specialisms. Then all you have to do is answer them! Use the question as the title of your video.

A ‘How To’ video, if you are in an industry such as construction, manufacturing, repairs, crafts, languages or a hundred others, is a definite option. People will be interested to see a demo of how to remove the cover from a PC and add a memory chip, or how to replace the switch on a shower, ask for a beer in Polish or sew on a button.

You could give product recommendations relevant to your industry: The 5 best power saws; The 7 best laptops; Which is the best eyeliner?

These sorts of videos can be fairly straightforward: just a demonstration with a voiceover. Free video editing tools exist, such as ShotCut or, for simple editing.

Just you, sitting or standing and talking to camera, perhaps answering some of those questions you have researched, can be very effective. Then it comes down to what you have to say. But if you are prepared and practised and know your stuff, that’s all you need.

Go Live!

If you feel confident, try a Facebook Live video – Facebook wants to encourage this medium and will enthusiastically promote your video for you. Release lots of leaders in the days leading up to your “spontaneous” Live Video, advising your FB friends and followers that you’ll be live at the time and day you have scheduled for your broadcast. You can alert all your subscribers via email and any other format you have.

But don’t forget to plan. Get your ideas down and practice. You’re going live, but you don’t need to be unrehearsed. If you take questions, that will add some excitement and value but make sure you’re prepared. Have fun!

Post your video on your website, or to save space, on your preferred platform: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, (Snapchat?) and link to it via all your social media channels.

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You’re the Boss

Pretty much all Content Marketing presents you as an authority on your subject. Handy to build trust and ultimately, make sales.

Two short thoughts:

·        If you feel the camera doesn’t love you, you might be just the right person to succeed on video. People respond to authentic, warts and all relatability.

·        Three qualities that a lot of these internet sensation videos seem to share are: quirky, unexpected and honest

Where is my platform?

Wherever you post your video, make sure you have a strategy to link to it from all your social media and website channels.

Perhaps you could upload it directly to your website. You run risks of technical problems of load speed, server space, bandwidth, etc., but if you are both technically competent and confident, give it a go.

Embed it in your website.  Upload it to a third-party video hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook or Instagram and post the link to it on your website. More reliable and less troublesome than hosting it on your own site.

Alternatively, simply post the link to the location on the video hosting service.  This works particularly well if you want to build an audience just for your videos. They can subscribe with one click.

On the move

More online videos are watched on mobile devices than on desktop PCs, so make sure your blockbuster can scale to mobile screens.

6 Top Tips for Making a Video

1.      Research, research, research! Even if you are talking about a subject where you’re the expert, do the due diligence. You want to be watched for the right reason, not re-tweeted around the world for a mistake you made in your facts.

2.      Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! You will become more comfortable and appear less ‘wooden’ the more you practice your script. Do it out loud, or it won’t work. Public speaking experts advise you spend 1 hour of preparation for every minute you will speak.

3.      Hey, you! Try to grab your audience’s attention early on. Apparently, people only need the first 10 seconds of video to decide whether they’ll keep watching

4.      Tone. Your speaking style will reflect your own personality. That’s good. But make a conscious choice about the tone you will use.

5.      KISS. Keep It Short, Silly! Aim for no longer two minutes for your first videos, unless it is a How To, and you are leading your viewers though necessary steps.

6.      Subtitles: Maybe your viewer is on public transport without earphones, or sneaking a quick look at your video at their desk: they don’t want to disturb others nearby or attract unwanted attention. Subtitles mean they can enjoy your wit and wisdom any time, any place, anywhere.

Ironic, really: reports all over the internet tell us that video is replacing text, but actually, videos with text are watched more!

7.      Provide a transcript online: Ironic again – but text will boost your video! Google can index not only the title and description but also the content.

8.      Sound it out: Invest in a clip-on mic, at least. So many videos are let down by poor sound and there really is no need, when a £15 microphone will transform your vocals.

Work, Rest, Repeat

Google loves to see fresh content appearing and will promote you for your efforts.

Aim for a regular schedule of videos, blogs or a mixture of the two, if you can, to build an audience.

Internet Creation Ltd. specialises in Web Design & Development, Graphics Design and Digital Marketing (SEO & PPC). For more information on how we can help your business, email [email protected].