7 ways to level up
your videos & your business
Hello! Anna Boyter here, CEO of Bear Hands Media,
a Houston based video advertising agency.
I’m going to go into this with the assumption that,
because you’re here, you know how valuable video is for scaling any business. Video is the best way to capture the largest possible reach
for the least amount of effort. So whether you need lead generation,
the right fit candidates to apply, reputation management,
or market share dominance, video is the most effective way
to accomplish those goals efficiently.
AND I’m going to give you more than I promised –
because I’m an overachiever like that.
The first 7 tips are for those of you who plan on generating
your own video content with your phone or computer.
The next 7 are for those of you who are working with a video
production company, video ad agency or plan to take that step.
So here we go!
First up, the Do-It-Yourselfers:
1. Authenticity. I get it, sometimes it’s better to write your script out first. If you’re recording your own video content reading from a teleprompter it cannot sound as if you’re reading. Have your content memorized and use the prompter only as a guide. There are apps for this, check out Teleprompter on your App Store, there are a ton of options.
2. Background. Make sure you’re not right up against a wall. This feels intense and uninviting
to a viewer. Instead, put your screen against the wall facing out so your background is the open room. This gives a nice, what we call in the industry “depth of field”. It feels more warm and inviting, like you have nothing to hide and you’re welcoming people into your world.
3. Lighting. If the room you plan to shoot in is dark, invest in a ring light, you can get them on Amazon for $20 – they make ones that clip on your computer or some even come with a stand
to hold your phone and the light. That said, choose natural light over artificial light almost always. Open up the windows and let that beautiful natural light in. If you’re doing this video stuff yourself without lighting training, using natural light is the biggest pro move hack.
4. Graphics. I see some of you out there adding way too much information on graphics and trying and failing at motion graphics. Keep graphics simple or don’t use them at all – save the additional information for the caption. Bad graphics is one of the quickest ways to lose viewers (and believe it or not, credibility) even if everything you’re saying is vitally important.
5. Audio. Please, I beg of you, be in a quiet room. If you have to use the phone or computer mic, it’s fine, if you can invest in a microphone, email me your budget and I’ll recommend a good mic for you.
6. Don’t over-edit! You are not a producer, people don’t expect you to be, it will look inauthentic if you try and fail, just keep it simple. Jump cuts (when a cut jumps from one shot to another
in the same framing) are fine for self-produced content. People are comfortable with it –
just be cool. None of the cross dissolve nonsense.
7. Keep your content way shorter than you think and use story pillars.
We are a story species. We love listening to storytellers. Have a clear beginning, middle and end. Keep it short so the payoff, the ending, the reward for watching, comes quick for your viewers. Sometimes it’s better to say less in 30-60 seconds than to say it all in a long dissertation.
Leave your fans wanting more.
And just like that. You leveled up DIY friends! I hope this helps give your videos
a little pro finetuning, without having to invest too much money.
Remember to be authentically you – people want to connect with real people.
Send me examples of the videos you’re creating!
I left my contact info below.
Next up, my I-hired-a-pro-people:
Okay so DIY is not for you or you realize you need to make bigger advertising moves
to really push your business to the next level. But what’s the best way to get the
most out of all the money you’re spending with a video firm. I got you!
1. The size of your budget matters. If you’re going to allocate funding to an agency, as an agency owner myself, I can tell you, bigger budgets don’t make me more money, they make your campaign bigger. People like to ask me what gear I use, my answer is always, how big is the budget. I can rent and hire camera operators at any level. If you want commercials that compete with Star Wars’ trailers, we can do that. If you give us access to a bigger budget, it opens up bigger resources. Whether it be in cam ops, writers, directors, actors, audio production, staging, we want the end product to be the best, most effective commercial campaign so my job is to basically triage services based on the budget I’m given. So keep that in mind when you’re setting a budget.
2. That leads us to an ad spend budget. Yep! A different budget. Isn’t this fun! Ad spend budgets are used to buy media placement for all the great commercials you’re producing.
We place on all major TV broadcast and streaming platforms as well as social channels and DOOH (Digital Out Of Home – think bus stop digital video kiosks). Where we place your ads will depend on the strategy map we create in partnership with your marketing team. That budget will depend highly on that strategy and what the objectives are we’re all looking to achieve.
As a good starting point, your ad spend budget should be around 2x the cost of your production for one commercial / placement / in one market. Next time you’re ready to launch a campaign, tell your video agency “my production budget is X, my ad spend budget is X, I’m looking for
X outcomes – can we make it happen?” This will save you so much time and energy.
This will save you so much time and energy.
3. Creative. Your video ad agency is on your team. If their campaigns aren’t successful for you, they’re failing. So when they pitch certain concepts that may seem off the wall, pause and consider why they’re presenting it – because they have reason to believe it’s going to work,
and by work, I mean attaining or exceeding the goals and expectations set for the campaign.
So be open minded.
They’re considering all the things – they’ve done the research, they’ve pulled the comps, they understand your brand voice. Sometimes it’s easy to say we “want” something like “this” but that “this” may not get you where you’re trying to go. Creative is important to be open minded about. A lot of video agencies will ultimately let you do what you want if you push hard enough,
but what YOU want and what YOU like may not attract the people you need to respond to your ads. Be careful of that. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies. We don’t want to leave anything on the table because we missed the mark on creativity.
4. Campaign consistency. Marketing and Advertising are the ultimate power couple.
If you’re working with your marketing agency separately from your video ad agency, there can
be miscommunications in the direction and ultimately a mismatch between video ads and
social posts, website initiatives, email marketing etc. Instead, put them all in a room together,
shut the door and let ‘em hash it all out. Then you’ll end up with nice, consistent campaign launches where everyone is on the same page and working in concert. That’s when the
real magic happens.
5. Minimize hold ups. Okay this one is huge because timing is imperative in most cases.
You likely don’t want to begin launching a bathing suit campaign in August. So when there are long pauses in production for approval processes, it can damage the entire strategy map.
We actually have a 3 day approval rule (some agencies do this, some don’t). We do it because
it’s in the best interest of the campaign. We say clients have 3 days to approve or we’re moving forward as if it is approved, and we mean it. Because the show must go on, baby. You’re spending all this time and money and we want the decision makers to be involved in the process,
so jumping on approval processes quickly will alleviate a lot of potential complications.
Alternatively, you can assign someone on your team or if your agency is someone you trust,
you can assign “power of approval” to a member on that team and they’ll act as your advocate during approval phases and keep you apprised. Having two contacts with “power of approval” during production will help keep everything on track. You will assign “power of approval” during the initial kick off meeting – that person needs to know they have power of approval from the beginning so they pay close attention throughout the entire process. Keeping in mind
“power of approval” also means this person can approve budget adjustments, change orders
and other expenses so be sure it’s someone you trust to make the right decisions.
6. Hire people you like. If you haven’t already hired a video ad agency, let me tell you,
hire someone you like, trust and enjoy working with. Let’s work under the assumption that everyone can do anything. Gear lists are stupid. You can own all the gear in the world and be
a disorganized disaster of a team to work with. At the end of the day, if the truth is anyone can do anything, then all you need to worry about is choosing the agency with a team you like as people. Pick a partner, not a vendor. Set a meeting, meet them in person or a video call at least.
You might say, wait a minute Anna, I care about my business development, goals and outcomes. Yes, but do they?! Or do they steer the conversation to talk about gear and their previous work and their style. See the difference? If they don’t focus on what they can do for you,
not themselves, move on, they’re not your people. Not all clients are the right fit for all agencies, we turn down clients all the time. We’re particularly selective because we know who we are
and what types of brands and brand personalities we can help the most. You have to find the partnerships that mutually fit.
7. Reinvest or twist. Let’s say you’ve run your campaign, you loved your agency, they attained
or exceeded expectations, and they accomplished outcomes. Stick with that agency on the
next round. If the alternative negative occurred, twist. Don’t stick with what you’ve been doing because it’s more comfortable than finding someone new. Don’t be the “I wish I did this a long time ago” type. Move now. You’ll thank me for that advice later, I promise.
8. Bonus tip: If you meet with an agency that is not the right fit, ask them who is.
It’s okay to ask for recommendations and referrals. If you know it’s not a good fit, we do too.
And if recommendations aren’t automatically offered up, ask for them. Agencies all know
each other. And there are some rockstar agencies out there. An agency that cares about your business will want you to succeed even if it’s not with them. Have that open conversation,
“it’s not going to work out for XYZ reasons, can you refer me to someone that might be
a better fit.” It could be the difference between 6 more meetings and an immediate set up
with the perfect team.
Boom! That’s all she wrote, folks!
Let me know if this was helpful
& if you have any questions or comments,
email me directly – firstname.lastname@example.org