Checklist: How to Plan Your Video Content Creation

video content creation checklist

In the past we’ve talked about the value of video content for your brand, and how it’s important to addvideo content to your social strategy, but when it comes down to the actual video content, it’s not simply a point and shoot situation.

It takes time to plan your video content and produce something of actual value and so when you distribute it, your audience will be excited to engage with it.

Step One: The Big Picture

  1. Will this be a one-off video or a series of videos?
  2. What is the direction of the video: interview, how-to, documentary-style?
  3. Is it long form or short form?
  4. What is your budget for the video production and editing?
  5. Do you have all the proper paperwork and rights for distribution?

Step Two: The Content Strategy

  1. Will the video be connected to a larger campaign such as an event or a launch?
  2. What will be the overall theme of the video?
  3. What are you trying to communicate?
  4. What is the takeaway for the audience? What do you want them to do or feel or think after watching it?
  5. How many formats will you need?
  6. Where will it be distributed? How will you get it out there?

Step Three: The Story

  1. Have you written a script for your video?
  2. Have you created a storyboard for it?
  3. Have you cast the people for the video?
  4. Have you found a location for it?
  5. Have you created an “alternatives” plan for location and cast?
  6. How many different ways can you shoot the video to keep it interesting?

Step Four: The Shoot

  1. Can you take photos and social video of behind the scenes while you’re there? (i.e. periscope with your iPhone while you’re shooting).
  2. Can you re-use the same location and cast a few times? (i.e. make the most of it?)
  3. Can you shoot extra footage? Having more is better than not enough (you can always edit later).
  4. Do you need to shoot something again? Don’t be afraid to do this, it’s your brand.

Step Five: The Editing

  1. Have you watched the B roll for extra content?
  2. Can you edit some extra formats? (i.e. short form clips for social posting)
  3. Are you there with the editor during this process? This is how the story can unfold, so be there to help.

Step Six: The Distribution

  1. Is everyone who said they would distribute playing their role? You’ve put time and money into this video so don’t be afraid to follow up and confirm their help.
  2. Do you have a social media distribute calendar ready? Make sure to post your video more than once on certain channels (i.e. Twitter, Instagram), as not everyone will see it the first time around.
  3. Can you let people see the full picture? (before, during, after)

Step Seven: The Afterwards

  1. Have you learned anything from this process?
  2. What worked well and what didn’t?
  3. What would you do differently in terms of the team, the story, the editing, or the distribution?

And something to keep in mind during the entire process is to be mindful of opportunities to extend the budget, especially when you’re on set. For example shooting extra shots such as B roll and taking photos will be worth it when you can extend that content later.

This post was originally published on Startup Fashion. 

FIVE THINGS 2015 TAUGHT US ABOUT DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital marketing changes quickly. We’ve known that forever. But lately, it’s changing even more quickly. Our current social media channels are evolving everyday. New competitors are rising through the wood works even faster, but what does that mean? What should our brands care about? What should we takeaway from 2015?

There are five areas, which will impact brands the most. They are based upon the content we create, the ways we disseminate the content, how we amplify it, and the money we are able to put towards it.

CONTENT IS THE WAY

Without great content, not much else matters. The content our brands create must be agnostic of channel and device. It needs to be able to travel the web when being shared, promoted, and shared again. People need to be able to interact with the piece of content on whatever channel they choose and prefer.

SOCIAL IS A BEHAVIOR

Many consider social media a channel, but social has become a behavior. It’s a way of living. We, as consumers, consume content in an instant. We purchase through mobile while we are commuting. We swipe left before we have a chance to engage because we make our decisions in an instant. In turn brands need to be able to grab our attention faster, and keep it before we swipe away. We share when it’s entertaining or informative. We care about what’s shared, because it’s a perception of our personal brand. We wouldn’t share something that’s uncool or boring. As brands, we need to be in tune to these behaviors.

AMPLIFYING ACROSS WEB IS A MUST

Brand have to realize that it’s valuable and important to promote across the web today. Gone are the days of focusing on channel by channel, because as discussed content needs to live everywhere. When a consumer shares a video from YouTube, it can go from Facebook to Twitter to email to Apple TV. Brands must optimize and promote across the web and across devices.

VIDEO IS CLUTCH

With streaming video, video that disappears in seconds or hours, and Facebook profile pictures being able to be videos instead of just pictures, video is not just a choice. First it was visual, now it’s more than that. Consumers want to capture stories and experience things. It’s not about a product, it’s about the experience around it. It’s the brand story and what it stands for. And video is one way a brand can help do that.

HAVE A BUDGET

And the most important. Ensure your marketing team has a budget they can actually work with. Unfortunately, some brands give their marketing teams a little budget as an afterthought. This is no longer enough in order to grow awareness and engagement from a brand marketing standpoint. Without this, your content, your plans, won’t be able to reach their true potential. As you put together your 2016 plans, and you think where you want your brand to be, determine the amount of budget you’ll need to get there, and put an extra amount in (trust me, you’ll end up using it).

And now, let’s make it even bigger in 2016.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

The Five Social Media Channels to Keep an Eye on in 2016

social media channels

As marketers of our own brands, we know that there is generally a new shiny social media channel around every corner. But that doesn’t mean that our tried and true social media channels will disappear. What it does mean is that these channels have to stay on top of their game and ensure that they offer what brands and people want today and tomorrow.

Facebook

Because it is a media maven. This channel allows brands to target in a way that most other channels cannot yet. It’s because people give so much personal data to Facebook, and therefore Facebook can share this information with brands; you get to know more about your target than you expected to know.

In addition, with the rush of live streaming apps, Facebook is entering that game too. Their current streaming app is in beta, but by early 2016, people, and hopefully brands, will have their hands on it. Why does this matter? Just look at how many people already use Facebook. And with all the targeting, it’s even more intriguing to brands.

Instagram

Owned by Facebook, and with the opening of its ad services, Instagram is becoming another hot bed for brands. In addition (like Facebook) Instagram has a habit of releasing apps that can be integrated with its main app – such as the recent Boomerang (GIF maker).

Periscope

The app that is used by many consumer brands for live event streaming. From media brands  to fashion brands to publishers, this popular app is owned by Twitter and isn’t going anywhere soon.

Snapchat

Through its discovery network, Snapchat has made itself known to brands as more than just another app used by teenagers and millennials. It’s an app that allows brands to reach an audience who is hungry for exclusive cool stuff.

YouTube

Just because there are a ton of other video apps out there now, doesn’t mean that YouTube has lost its cred. It is still the #2 search engine on the internet. That says something. From famous YouTubers to thoughtful brand content, YouTube still has a lot to offer brands, especially through its partner and influencer networks.

What new apps will come out in addition to these? I guess we’ll have to see.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

5 Ways Owned Content Helps Your Fashion Brand

owned content

Content, nowadays, can come from a multitude of sources, which is pretty great as a content marketer (something you are as a fashion brand owner).You don’t have to rely only on your owned content. You can curate, co-create, and outsource third party content. With that said, if you want to have authenticity, build relationships, and create value through for your brand, you have to create some of your own content too.

Whether that’s sarcasm and wit, dramatized views, bold sensibility, creative avenues, dark and twisty, conservative and serious, or just plain playful. Your brand needs owned content.

With it, your market can be reached in creative ways.

You have the flexibility to get content out quicker if you are the one creating it. You aren’t dependent on another source and going back and forth on cuts and edits.

It’s yours and as the saying goes, it allows you to “get shit done.”

Owned content helps your brand because:

  • You can use it for as long as you want, and wherever you want. You don’t have a temporary license of rights to only use the photo or video for a certain amount of time or only with certain context. It’s yours – do as you wish.
  • It allows your brand voice to shine through (assuming you’ve set your brand voice/tone and content strategy for how you’ll approach creating and distributing content).
  • It provides variety. You can take an event your brand is having and create multiple varieties of content from it including short social video, long form video, photos, interviews, soundbites, and more.
  • It creates authenticity. Your brand is not just taking other people’s content and re-distributing. It’s taking the time to show your community what your brand stands for. A creative or unique side to your brand.
  • It offers an opportunity to engage. Consumers have a chance to learn and discover more about your brand.

Although owned content takes more time and resources, in the end, it’s more valuable. It’s yours. It’s authentic. It’s something your community will hopefully remember and correlate back to why they trust and appreciate (or at least think they might like) your brand.

Make it memorable.

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion. 

5 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Promote Your Brand’s Blog

 

Having a blog is awesome. Promoting it’s content is even more awesome, if done well. The below list addresses simple but effective ways for your content distribution strategy.

1. Share, share, share – It seems self-explanatory to say share your blog across your social channels. However, it’s not just about sharing, but it’s about the way you share. Ensure your blog is baked into your social content strategy for weekly and monthly cadence opportunities. Leverage pop culture opportunities to boost the presence of your blog’s content into relevant conversations. And of course, ensure that the blog link is easily available within your bios or social posts.
Example: Equinox blog and their Instagram Account.
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2. Sign ups on your website – The best way to increase referral traffic to your website and blog are by having the two within the same domain. Even if you have a blog hosted on tumblr, you can still have it within your domain too. So when you ask your consumers to sign up for your blog, not only are you getting your blog out to more people, but you’re collecting leads for your brand as a whole.
3. Email and newsletters – Just like you want to ensure you are promoting the awareness of your social channels within emails or newsletters, you want to do the same for you blog. Perhaps the content from your blog is the primary content within your weekly/daily emails. This allows for people to see your brand as not just another brand, but a content source for information, tips, news, and more.
4. Cross promote – Your brand most likely has some partnerships – whether it’s for the brand as a whole or content partnerships. Use those to help cross promote content for them, and in turn for you. It allows your content to get in front of extra eyeballs and hopefully traffic back to you on a regular basis.
5. Guest bloggers – You never have to create all the content on your own. And when you decide to allow guest “expert” bloggers to take a stab at your content – it not only allows extra voices, but a another way to engage new audiences. Not only will these bloggers be writing for you, but they’ll [hopefully] be promoting their pieces on social media and on their own blog. This allows for extra “free” promotion, and in turn traffic to your blog content.
What other ways does your brand like to share?

This post was origially written for social media club – see more here:  http://socialmediaclub.org/blogs/from-the-clubhouse/5-simple-yet-effective-ways-promote-brands-blog#sthash.55kCuOpZ.dpuf

 

Three brands who understand content marketing

It’s easy to focus on the negative, especially when it comes to the news, how we feel about brands who have mistreated us, the person who didn’t hold the door, etc. It’s especially true in the digital world, where marketers are competing for the next big campaign, and looking to see what another brand did wrong. It’s unfortunately too easy to be negative.
Then there are brands who try to bring out the positive, through their campaigns, their messaging, and their spirit. Those are the brands that are tough to talk badly about – mainly because they pull it off so well.
A few I’ve noticed (big and small) of all time and as of late are:
1. Equinox - Yes, a gym, but so much more than that. Their content game includes (but is not limited to) quality image content that is easy to consume on the go, and also highly shareable. Their hashtag, #equinoxmademedoit is enough to make you want to see what they’re about. Their gyms are not just welcoming from a comfort and active level, but their digital content encourages you to give a little more. The brand is making a name (even if it’s smaller than some) to kick your own butt, and keep kicking it. To encourage yourself to be a better fit, healthy you. And I see no problem with that.
2. The Tig - A content site by Meghan Markle, has inspired many females (including myself) to look at myself with a new lens. The content motivates one to appreciate oneself,  love who you are, and what you like in life. In addition, the brand encourages people to be ok with where they are in life – whether it’s married, engaged, having a baby, and/or single, such as in their latest Valentine’s Day post.
3. Dove - Known for it’s encouragement for inner beauty as well as loving your body (whatever shape), has a new campaign called#SpeakBeautiful. Instead of reading “mean tweets” or festering on the negative beauty comments that people are saying about themselves…Dove is helping change the story. The brand wants to inspire others to help “change their story” too.
These three do seem to have something in common. It’s inspiration and owning who you are, and focusing on being a better you. As marketers, we sometimes promote items that aren’t always about “the good,” but when they can be, it’s pretty great. Applauding those who have help put forth such great campaigns who inspire the rest of us to kick it up a knotch.
This post was originally written for socialnomics. 

Five CTAs to Consider for your Brand’s Content Marketing

 

CTAs for branding and marketing content

When it comes to your website, email marketing, and social media, your content needs a call to action (cta). What is it that you want your reader to do? The CTA usually drives your audience to have an interaction with the content and engage (click, like, share) or potentially go somewhere else (such as your product page to purchase).

A great CTA can create responses from the audience and potentially convert them from a prospective customer to an actual customer (or a current one to a loyal one).

Here’s the thing though, not all CTA’s have to drive to a product or service.

Sometimes a CTA that leads to entertainment, valued content, or helpful tips is enough to make your audience excited for your product or service in the long run.

Here are 5 Alternative Calls to Action for Your  Branding and Marketing Content:

Email: Cross promotion between social and email is a great way to get awareness of your content. Perhaps include some of your Instagram favorites in your email newsletter and allow your readers to “share” their favorite with specific hashtag. Allow them to be a part of your community and potentially be highlighted in your email next time.

Website: Have them “subscribe now” to your newsletter for information on events or entertaining videos, not necessarily sales and promos.

YouTube: Instead of leading them back to the site to purchase a product from your videos, perhaps have a simple annotation to go to the next video. Let them enjoy more awesome content, because they’re obviously watching the video for a reason. They’re interested!

This post was originally written for Startup Fashion – to read the full list of CTAs including Facebook and tumblr, check out my full post here. 

 

Do Cats Really Rule the Interwebs?

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If you haven’t seen the collab between Friskies and Buzzfeed, you must be hiding under a rock (or actually doing your work).

 But, just in case you did miss it – watch right now!
The first two videos in the playlist are the two in the series (so far).  I have a soft heart for the sequel about the Dog. Especially the line about dogs being excellent marketers – “man’s best friend.” So true.

So as I was saying…Cats.

They have been kind of kicking marketing butt lately – from Grumpy Cat to other cute felines that have been making regular appearances in movies (Jinxie in Meet the Parents) to Taylor Swift carrying around her white furball on the street of NYC. And if you see a youtube clip of a kitten chasing that damn red dot, can you really not help but laugh? Or say aww? (Or perhaps you’re just not human).

The collab was a pivotal step.

Buzzfeed has been in the collaboration business for a while now and this branded content series with Friskies is a great testament to that. They made an advertisement, that is something people actually want to watch (over and over), and share out with others to do the same. I just played it at the dinner table with my family. When would you have done that about an advertisement in the past?
Visible Measures did a great job of capturing why these video content series are a success and how Buzzfeed is on top of its game when it comes to producing such shareable content. It’s not about the cat food or even the fact that the cats do eat Friskies in the commercial. It’s about the heartfelt emotion and connection that people can feel while watching the video content. Aka it’s content. I give credit to both Friskies for taking that leap and for Buzzfeed who has taken brands from thinking past the 30 second ad to creating content that is social gold.
Can you say that?
I can honestly say, I cannot wait for the next installment (please say there is another?) … and when did you say that about an advertisement? I repeat. Social Gold.
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

Four ‘Critical’ Considerations for your Digital Channel Approach

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It’s easy to get lost in your brand channel planning process. Pins, Tweets, Vines, and Snapchats, Oh My! So instead of jumping all over the place, let’s think about how they all work together. Focus on one channel that will be where your content stems from to determine your approach across the others. For example: A blog!

Here are four [critical - sounds so extreme, but definitely helpful] things to consider when setting up your blog and distribution channels for success: 

  • A Hub, Not an Island: Your blog shouldn’t be the only place people can consume your content. It shouldn’t be all alone, like a deserted island. It’s part of your content and social ecosystem! For example, some people prefer to consume the majority of their professional content through LinkedIn, while others have a running stream through Lists on Twitter. While others may subscribe to blogs via email. Whatever the case, the blog can be a destination such as a “hub” which allows for inlets and outlets to lead to more interesting content. For example,Mashable Pins all of their infographics  from their site/blog on Pinterest boards, allowing people who prefer to enjoy their content on a fun visual app instead to consume it there.

Pro Tip - While infographics are hard to view on Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest allows for visual content to thrive, even long, complex infographics. Best part – great referral traffic back to their main content, demonstrating a way back to the “hub.”

  • Branding – Look & Feel: While your social channels lend themselves to being more “human” and “relaxed” in voice — the look and feel helps consumers to connect your channels. It can be as simple as having the same logo across channels. Having the same color scheme and background images can’t hurt – but those can alternate due to campaigns of course. For example, your Facebook cover image may change each week or month with your promotions, while your blog layout remains the same.
  • Creation vs. Curation vs. Co-Creation: Creating all your own content is a bear. Seriously. It helps to curate other content to supplement the content you are already kicking butt with. For example if your blog is on tumblr, it is as simple as discovering content in your topic category, finding influencers who write well, and reblogging them onto your blog. Then not only do they get credit, you have great content on your blog, but you have connected yourself with an influencer in the space who appreciates your support. And perhaps over time they’ll reciprocate the gesture and promote your content as well. Another benefit of reblogging and curating  is the increase of eyeballs on the content. Now who doesn’t want that?

Take it a step further: Consider hiring a guest blogger to take some of the work off of you. It benefits both you and the blogger! But what about your brand voice, look and feel when you hire guest bloggers? You’ll want to have a brand guidelines for your bloggers. Something simple for them to follow for tone and voice.

  • Be Consistent Across: It’s totally cool to be more relaxed on Twitter, and perhaps “sassy” on Instagram. However, if you have ten different voices, then people won’t really know what your brand stands for. Pick a direction your brand chooses to take – whether it’s chill and relaxed, the “give it to you straight” facts brands, the passionate advocate, or whatever suits your fancy. A takeaway for your brand team would be to remember that consumers will begin to build a relationship with your brand, and as in real life, you want to be true to who you are. Don’t fool them into thinking you are someone else. They’ll feel cheated and move on the next great thing. So instead, be honest, transparent, human, and and in a bit of entertainment and comedy when the time is right. Or all the time – if that’s your brand!

These directions may be broad, but I and we (our marketing on the rocks team) are happy to answer specific questions on branding, consistency, content creation, and curation, as well as specific channel approaches. Each channel is different, and in turn must be given different consideration. Additionally, what may work for a small startup, may not be what works for a large consumer brand. So let’s chat!

This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks and can also be found here.

Image source: pinterest / mashable

Know your Brand’s Audience With These Tips

Profile. Whether you’re a small business or a global business, knowing your audience is the backbone of selling your products and services. Without this knowledge, you’re basically throwing stuff at a wall and seeing if it sticks through your content marketing, social media engagement, and product marketing strategies. Does that sound effective? I didn’t think so. Here are tips your brand should consider to properly assess your audience:
1. Demographic Data – Take time to research genders, ages, geographical data, marital status, and household incomes. Even better is psychographic data including interests, attitudinal behaviors, lifestyle, including how connected they are (e.g. tablet users or desktop users). All of this data will help your brand carve your customer profiles with a larger picture to whom you are marketing.
2. Channels – Is your audience more apt to be on Flipboard vs. Pulse, or Twitter over Facebook, or perhaps they’re more into Tumblr and Instagram? Whatever the case, it’s important to understand consumption and sharing habits in order to know what content to put (so it’s right for the channel) and what channels to experiment with and dedicate time and money to in the long run.
3. Outreach Methods  Begin with your website analytics and discern the keywords used by visitors, which pages time was spent on the most, and where the bounce rates occurred. It is also helpful to gauge referral traffic and which pages led visitors to your website. For example, perhaps it was your Facebook ad or your fan page; or a Pictela unit that caused engagement to content on your site. It’s helpful to understand your audience patterns in order to get rid of the things that aren’t working, and/or fix things that you may not be doing great yet. Tweaking, in my opinion, is a part of brand management. Without constantly learning and tweaking, you’re not reaching the full potential of your audience.
4. Content Topics – This is where the lofty “editorial” calendar” is helpful in order to stay on top of the key holidays, industry events, and consumer mindsets, e.g. When your customer is more likely to be thinking of energy savings due to the cold temperatures where they live. With this calendar you can ensure that you’re focusing on the topics that are relevant to planned events you’ve thought ahead for, and also allowing your brand to be nimble to respond to things that pop up and are trending (and I don’t mean Beiber being arrested). As you look back on the past quarter you’ll assess which ones worked vs. could have done better – allowing your brand to “tweak” and focus on the topics that resonate best with your audience.
To read more on Content Formats and how to be nimble as a brand, check out my full post on Social Media Club !

 

How to: Start Fresh with 2013 Social Media Goals

This post on starting fresh for the new year in social media was originally written for Social Media Club and my original post can also be found here

Now that you have your social media resolutions on your checklist, why not consider some other social media goals to accomplish this year as you “start fresh.”

As we stated in resolution #5 it is important to set reachable goals, such as a greater focus on content. Many consider brands as publishers nowadays, is your brand one of those? Content has been deemed “king” by many, but how does your audience perceive your brand’s content? Do they find it valuable? Useful to their everyday life? Helpful for their needs specific to your brand? Or is it just fun and helps build awareness and create engagement?

Whatever the purpose for your content, it is helpful to create goals around your content strategy for your social media networks.

Here are a few to consider…

1. B.L.O.G.

If your brand doesn’t already have a blog or a part on the website to drive audience to for content, then it may be something to consider in order to demonstrate your brand is the expert voice in a specific arena. For example, if your brand sells fitness apparel, perhaps a blog on fitness, health, and matching apparel to fitness/health could be beneficial to your target audience. Link the content to the needs and wants of your audience through what they search for and consume on a regular basis.

2. Get VisualUnless your marketing team has been living under a rock, it must be pretty obvious that visual content has become more and more prevalent among consumers and brands.

Adding videos and photos to blogs, being on Pinterest (if your brand has fun visual photos), and/or sharing on Facebook can make your brand stand out.

Just look at Oreo - they rock this with fun, shareable nuggets of visual content.

3. Cross Promote

If you have a blog, and visual content – cross promote that amazing goodness. Depending upon where your audience consumes your content, you may want to share your blog posts on Facebook or on Twitter. If your brand is more suited on LinkedIn – share it there. If your brand utilizes the SEO perks of Google Plus – share it there. Just make sure you choose the social networks that work for your audience and your brand type.

Tip: Don’t forget you can cross promote in emails and newsletters too.

4. Personalize and Target It

Some of your audience may want to hear about tips and tricks, while others may want to learn deeper knowledge, and others may want on the surface fun with visual photos and videos that entertain. When you realize which types of content work best on a social network (through testing and learning), target your content to specific social networks more specifically. And to take it a step deeper – target your posts to different regions based on location and weather and events occurring. Another level deeper? In newsletters and emails, you can target your audience down to what they prefer. Personalize it! Make them feel like you are giving them exactly what they want and when they want it – and where they want it!.

5. Unite Offline and Online

Offline experiences have been washed away due to online engagement so we recommend you marry the two when possible for larger impact. For example, a brand likeLululemon uses localized Facebook pages for particular retail locations to promote clothing they have as well as in store events they will be hosting (like Yoga). You get the customer in the store to buy a top, you get them to fan you on Facebook to keep up with the latest news and updates, and then they come back to check out Yoga with their girlfriends and engage with the brand in a more personalized way…then perhaps they buy more clothes? And so do their friends? Awesome.

These are just a few of the goals your brand can consider to amplify your marketing and business goals. Determine the goals that fit your 2013 vision and will help build your brand’s presence and create deeper and more high level involvement with your fans.