We have just completed another short SEO video for a client – this time for Infinity Gazebos.
Not just one SEO Video
In fact, this ended up being five short SEO videos. This includes the full 60-second version shown here – plus four additional 30-second micro-films showcasing the key features of Infinity Gazebos’ Premium range. These SEO videos are being used by the client on their website, social media channels and digital marketing campaigns.
This is a great example of how we can provide exceptional value to clients through detailed briefing and efficient shooting and editing. This entire SEO video commission was completed in three days (budget information available on request) – with filming finished in just a few hours.
Why SEO video works
As a completely new start-up business, Infinity Gazebos were advised by their website developers and marketing consultants of the value of commissioning SEO video content. Hosting these videos on their YouTube channel enabled greater coverage on Google search results. Additionally, each micro-film will be used in future social media advertising campaigns to further increase brand awareness and website traffic.
On a more practical level, the additional micro-films were created to give their customers a greater appreciation of the moving-parts of the gazebos. Whilst there are plenty of competitor products on the market, the vast majority rely purely on still imagery to demonstrate their range. The key features of Infinity Gazebos is their mechanised features which are far better demonstrated using video.
This is a major advantage of video. If your product moves – it’s best demonstrated using video. Likewise, if your business is about people and personalities, still images simply can’t compete with the impactful qualities of the sight and sounds of SEO video.
I was tempted to title this blog ‘Creating a Quick Promotional Film for Free!’, but that is really not possible if you put any value at all on your time (or the time of a company like Video Artisan!). If you are serious about business, then I am sure you will understand this. And, if you have ever tried to create a professionally looking promotional film yourself, you’ll understand that it can be VERY time consuming – especially if you have got to shoot lots of original footage in order to tell your story.
However, this article will reveal how to you can take a big slice off that time commitment and get your story out to your audience a whole lot quicker – and often a whole lot cheaper! I will cover how you can start creating a quick promotional film using purely stock footage and images and share a case study which epitomises this approach.
We are all aware of the growing influence that video content has on SEO for your website and social media marketing, but the recent social distancing restrictions have made the challenge of creating a quick promotional film a little harder. We are still shooting original footage for clients, and sometimes that’s the only thing that will work, but these restrictions add a layer of complexity and logistical demands that might put some companies off the idea. Do not let that happen! Adding video into your marketing mix is essential these days (If you are still not convinced read our in-depth article here).
Case Study – ‘Haynes Group – The Core of your Connected Future’
This case study is an excellent example of how we helped in creating a quick promotional film – exceptionally quick in fact. The Haynes Group, who are a structured cabling company, approached Video Artisan at the end of May and 10-days later the final version was signed off and in use. It does not include a single second of originally shot video – and we did not spend a single moment in face-to-face meetings with the client (or anyone come to that) – so a perfect example of observing social-distancing when it was at its height.
The initial enquiry came about through the MD of the Haynes Group spotting a short promotional video we produced on ourselves called, ‘Local Films for Local Firms’ (watch here ). This was distributed on our Facebook page (among other platforms) and within an hour of its release generated the enquiry from the Haynes Group asking if we could do something for them.
We then studied website content to get a feel for what they were all about, and then followed this up with a Zoom meeting with their MD to talk though exactly what they wanted the video to achieve.
As the Haynes Group worked on projects throughout Europe, with the COVID travel restrictions in place it was obvious that we were not going to be able to acquire footage of their current projects. Even without the COVID situation many of their structured cabling projects are within extremely sensitive server centers so it was totally impractical to film anything original within a reasonable time and budget.
Everything about this project was calling for use of stock footage so we set about researching what was available that would enable us to tell their story. Thankfully, Shutterstock gave us all the answers and the solution to creating a quick promotional film. We did look through some of the free stock libraries, but nothing came close to the selection and quality available through Shutterstock.
We made the client fully aware of the costs involved in licencing this and our fees on top for bringing it all together and we were still under what they thought they would have to spend. And even after adding a voiceover and royalty-free music it brought the overall budget to around £3,500.
Getting Stocked up for Creating a Quick Promotional Film
Though we were unable to tap into free stock images on this occasion, we often do. Another film created around the same time illustrates just how effective free stock can be and how it can add to the story you are trying to tell.
For the ‘Smiths of Loughton – At your Service’ film created for a local retailer (watch the film here) we blended original footage with free stock video clips from www.pexels.com. This is another library which I turn to often and has a useful array of more generic footage. A search on Pexels will also show what is available from paid-for libraries which I guess is how the site is funded. It also has a great selection of still images too.
A sensible approach is to write your script according to the stock footage available – especially when the budget is limited. You might find that you have to tweak your script to make the pictures work more effectively for you But don’t go too far with this otherwise you will lose the story you are trying to tell.
You might even find that searching through these libraries inspires you to create even more stories. I certainly found this when we create a series of short social media video adverts for our own business. With a bit of imagination, and some skilful editing and use of words, you can craft a whole new meaning and life into otherwise inert stock.
And do not rule out looking in your own archives. If you have created videos before there is a surprisingly good chance that some of the footage could be used again – especially if your story tells something of your history or how things have changed over time.
Feel like Creating a Quick Promotional Film?
If you are interested in seeing what could be created for your company or organisation from stock footage – or maybe a blend of original content combined with stock – then please get in touch. We will work with you on developing your story and creating it in the most cost-effective and creative way.
Creating a Quick Promotional Film can be an extremely rewarding and profitable experience – and we would really love to help you along the way.
Hear how Video Artisan is demonstrating the power of local video production as an effective marketing tool.
What is the benefit of using a local video production company? The answer, pre-COVID, was, “not a lot, really!”. We were all used to travelling, casting our marketing nets further and looking beyond our local business community for business and services. I dare say some of this was price driven. We all believed we could, “get it cheaper elsewhere”, and that “elsewhere” could be many miles away.
I think it was deeper than that though. We had all broadened our horizons and travelling habits. We had become entrepreneurial globetrotters – and loved it! Then COVID lockdown hit and our world collapsed. Many companies in our industry were, and still are, extremely nervous and could not see a future for local video production. Now we must.
No hiding away – Local Video Production is here to stay!
I will mention this now as it must be mentioned. There are many businesspeople that see it as poor publicity to even mention the word ‘COVID’ in any marketing material or conversation. It is a bit like Harry Potter’s Voldemort – ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’. Well, here you go… COVID, COVID, COVID! Writing about it and talking about it is not going to make you get it. It is a fact of life that we must deal with. The alternative is to roll over and play dead – and we are not going to do that.
I too was a bit in shock for a while after seeing about 80% of our business disappear almost overnight. Our two main areas of income were derived from the corporate events industry and large-scale military exercises. Both gone – in the stroke of a pen. We soon realised it was time to go back to our roots and serve the demand for local video production services. It is there; you just have shorten your sights.
Moving back home
When we started Video Artisan back in 2012, I spent some time looking at what businesses were in my local town – Loughton in Essex. I trawled through local business directories, drove around all the local business parks and commercial zones noting down address and company names (both physically and virtually using Google street view) and built up a database of local marketing targets. I drafted a letter, addressed to ‘The Busiest Person in the Company’, because I didn’t have an actual name, and posted out about 250 letters announcing the offerings of my new local video production company.
Within a couple of days, I had picked up a handful of clients that kept the business going through the first three years. I am not claiming to be any kind of marketing guru, but that one single activity got me through what are often the most challenging years for any new business. It was my ‘zero-to-hero’ moment and the COVID crisis has brought my focus back to my local community today.
Local films for local firms
Within a few weeks of lockdown we was starting to plan our return into the local business community. Of course, we had never really left it but all our marketing efforts up until then been on a much wider scale. That made sense pre-COVID, but like any marketing the wider you spread your message the thinner it becomes. Local video production marketing is a lot more intimate and directed – and relatable to your intended targets on an otherwise difficult to achieve level.
Our first task was to make sure all our online efforts had a strong element of “local” about them. In practice this means you’ve got to make sure your website content is location centric. In the longer term, when we are all dashing about the globe again, this will not be wasted effort as your location is still an important part of your business make up.
We also made sure our Social Media content and connections were inline with our local targeting. If you are selling local video production services, you want to make sure any search engine results include you when the term “near me” is typed in by a user (a very common thing users type into Google… “XYZ near me”). Google My Business settings, the Facebook and LinkedIn Groups you belong to etc all should reflect your local ambitions and interests.
Local Video Production Show and tell
We then needed a piece of marketing collateral to hang our ‘local video production’ message on and the only logical medium we could use was a short video entitled ‘Local films for local firms’. We had to put our money where our mouth was, and it was less than 24-hrs after releasing this through Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter that we had three strong enquiries.
At the time of writing this blog two of those enquiries have been converted into completed films (turned around in a week). The first was for a local retailer, and the second a local structured cabling company (see two videos below). The third (a prospectus for a local school) starts in production at the beginning of July.
And this success has not stopped there. We are now talking to a further three companies about their local video production requirements.
Your turn to look more closely at Local Video Production
If your business is local to Loughton – or anywhere within Epping Forest and the surrounding areas – and want to explore ways we can help you to raise your profile through video, please get in touch. We are sure we can introduce ideas into your marketing that will help you do more business locally too. See our showreel here.
Videotape to DVD/USB conversion service during COVID-19 period
First of all, we are very appreciative of the continued interest in our video conversion services during the current COVID-19 pandemic – and for our customers’ patience during the stricter lockdown period where we have had to temporarily withdraw this service.
To maintain the safety of our customers and ourselves, we will be introducing some additional measures to help ensure we avoid any contamination and unnecessary close contact.
Our system for processing this work for the foreseeable future is as follows:
Step 1 – Dropping off tapes, cine film, slides and other media
Customers should at first contact Video Artisan by phone on 020 3602 3356 to arrange a suitable time (which can include evenings and weekends if required). This will be to our home office address at 174 Roding Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 3BS.
Please bring your tapes or films in a carrier bag, box or other suitable container – and include your name and contact details inside – and a brief note on what you want them converted to.
Once at the drop off location please call 020 3602 3356 and we will personally accept your package – observing the government’s 2m social-distancing advice.
If customers would prefer to send in their media by post or courier, please ensure these are sent to 174 Roding Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 3BS – and include your contact details as mentioned above.
Step 2 – Quarantine
The scientific advice suggests that the COVID-19 virus can remain active on some surfaces for up to 72-hours. We will therefore hold your media in storage for this period of time before handling and carrying out the conversion. We will also take additional measures to clean external surfaces of media (ensuring this does not damage recordings) and use appropriate PPE wherever practical or advised by the authorities.
Step 3 – Completion and Payment
Once your media has been converted, we will contact you to arrange collection, and include a digital invoice that will include our online banking details. Unfortunately, we will not be able to take cash during this period.Once we have received confirmation that your payment has been made, we will contact you to arrange collection or postal delivery back to you.
Step 4 – Collection of DVDs/USBs and your original media
Collection will be carried out in the same manner as dropping off – in that we will observe the same 2m social-distancing advice. Collection will be from Roding Road address at a mutually convenient time.
We hope our customers will appreciate our approach to reintroducing this service during these difficult times. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 3602 3356 or by email to email@example.com.
Podcasting is on the rise, and for good reason. There are all kinds of trends going on in digital marketing now; some are old hat; some are cutting edge, and some are no-brainers. Podcasting fits all these descriptions and is something that most businesses and organisations can incorporate into their marketing mix.
Our eyes are constantly bombarded with social media feeds, binge-TV subscriptions, roadside advertising hoardings, print adverts, digital displays on escalators… the list goes on and on. And whilst all these promotional tools are all potentially valuable and effective, the space they occupy is congested and often overwhelming. That’s not a great place for any marketing message to be.
The Podcasting Edge
To consume visual content, and this includes video, it requires the recipient’s undivided attention. You can’t, for instance, watch a video clip or browse your social media feed whilst driving your car. Some people do, especially the latter, but that often ends in misery.
The consuming of a podcast can be carried out in a much wider set of circumstances and environments. In fact, listening to a podcast whilst doing things like driving a car, jogging, gardening, changing a wheel or any predominantly physical activity is wholly possible. Moreover, audience engagement levels might even prove to be higher when the audience is engaged in such activity. Unlike your eyes, your ears can be engaged on more than one thing at a time.
What audio has over video
It goes deeper than that too. Video and other visual platforms provide the audience with a complete story. They really don’t have to think about it – or use their imagination to conjure up the images for the narrative. They’re dished up as a complete plate for them. As nice as this is from time to time, like the written word, Podcasts or radio content require the consumer to fill in the visuals. This means they must be more engaged – and in this condition your business story has a better chance of sticking in their minds.
Think ‘Podcasting’ – think ‘Radio’
Having mentioned ‘radio’ I can’t move on without commenting on its history and its relationship with TV and moving images in general. Commercial radio broadcasts started around 1900, and some thought that the advent of film, then television and finally video, were all going to make radio obsolete. This phenomenon was highlighted by the Buggles song “Video Killed the Radio Star” – ironically the very first video that was played on MTV in August, 1981.
As we all know, video didn’t kill the radio star. In fact, radio has not only held its own but has continued to flourish and is still increasing its share of global advertising spend. According to the latest report from The Interactive Advertising Bureau, radio has now surpassed newspaper advertising revenues and, according to the trend, will soon overtake magazine advertising too. [see here] Market and consumer data provider, Statista, claim that worldwide radio advertising is expected to reach over 35 billion dollars by 2021. [see here]
Producing your Podcast
So, having whet your appetite for podcasting, how do you go about producing your first one? As a business, to test the water properly you should look at producing a short series of maybe three episodes of up to 10-minutes each. Think of three short stories you can base your podcasts on and write a script for each – keeping in mind that 10-minutes of dialogue would be 1,800 words as we generally speak at 3-words per second.
There’s a pretty good chance that you’ve already written suitable material within your brochures or website. Look for story-driven content – such as a customer case story or a press release about a new development within your business and how this is going to benefit your customers.
As for style, whilst one person telling a story is fine, it’s often easier on the listener if the podcast is recorded interview-style with one person acting as a host and another answering questions. This conversational style will often sound more natural and relaxed.
DIY or Pro Route?
Once you have your stories set out on paper you’ll need to decide whether to attempt to record them in-house or bring in some expert knowledge and equipment. I would of course recommend the latter – but for good reason. Firstly, unless you have professional audio recording facilities then the end product is going to appear amateurish – and that’s the last impression you want to leave your audience with. Secondly, whilst there’s lots of free audio editing applications out there they are not that easy to get your head around. An experienced editor, using a professional edit system, will not only save you time but will undoubtedly help make your podcasts as polished as possible.
Furthermore, it’s not just a case of outputting your podcasts to a suitable audio file format such as MP3. We will come to this next, but you’ll also need to create an MP4 video file of your podcast for distribution on social media platforms. However, if you’re just going to dip your toes then have a go at recording your first podcasts on your smartphone and use one of the many free apps that will enable you to edit and produce it. It’ll probably convince you that going down the pro-route is a much easier and better solution.
Getting your Podcast heard
You now have your first series of podcasts; how do you get them out in the world? There are essentially three means of distribution you should consider. The first and most simple way is to embed your MP3 audio files on your website with a simple ‘click-to-play’ controller and brief text explainer of what the audience will be listening to.
However, you really want your podcast to go further than just those who happen upon your website and spot the link. You’ll therefore need to get your podcast distributed and then listed on the key podcast platforms. These include the likes of Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Breaker and Deezer – among others.
Get in with the in-crowd!
The best distribution platform I’ve found so far is Anchor.fm. Apart from being free, Anchor’s intuitive desktop interface and mobile app will have your content hosted and distributed wherever it needs to be in a matter of moments. Whilst Anchor will automatically list your channel on various platforms, others will require manual authentication. This is no great shakes and is simply a matter of creating accounts on each platform (such as Apple Podcasts) and submitting the RSS feed which Anchor provides. This is a one-off process and, once set up, every time you add a new episode Anchor distributes it to all. This RSS feed can also be included on your own website negating the need to upload individual episodes.
You can record your podcast with Anchor via your laptop mic or smartphone, and add music within the app, but my preferred choice is to upload an already edited podcast in MP3 format. You’ll also need to create a piece of artwork which will act as your channel logo.
Social Media Distribution
The third and final means of distributing your podcast is via your preferred social media platforms. These are obviously important, but the process of sharing your podcasts here is straight forward once you have created your MP3 audio files.
Because of their visual nature, to get people to notice your podcast within a social media feed you will need to create an audiogram. These are essentially your audio file converted into a video file which includes a picture or graphic (with your logo and maybe a short description of the podcast episode), an overlaid animated waveform (to show the post has live audio) and possibly a transcription of the spoken word. This is all about capturing attention within a crowded social media feed and enticing your audience to listen in.
Thankfully, there’s a few great apps that do all the donkey work for you. Probably the most widely used and heavily featured is www.headliner.app. Just upload your MP3 file, add your picture or graphic, choose your waveform style and position it – and then let Headliner do its job. After a short while you’ll be given a link to download your video clip in MP4 format which you can then share on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.
Whilst there’s an annual subscription for Headliner accounts, you do get the first ten uploads free to get you going. You could also have a look at www.auphonic.com which is free for a basic account.
Hopefully you’ll be a little more informed as to what the benefits of podcasting are and whether it’s for you or not. If it is, but you’re not that confident about the production process, then please do give Video Artisan a call. We have a growing experience in providing the complete podcasting process. Recordings can be created at our Loughton studios or we can bring our mobile recording booth to the comfort of your own premises.