How to Star in Your Own Video

We talked before about how video has become such a popular medium for marketing and social media recently. Smart phones and other technology have made producing video even more accessible than ever. And if you want to take it to the next level, there are so many video professionals out there that have incredible capabilities for producing top of the line video for your marketing purposes. (Ahem, have you checked out our stuff?)

So you may be thinking, “Simple! Let’s get started!” And that’s great! But one little roadblock that stops many people from actually hitting that record button is actually themselves. Yeah, camera shyness is real, and if you want to create some truly impactful and inspiring videos, you’re going to need to learn to get over your fear of being on screen!

I initially wanted to interview Pam about how psyches herself up to be on film, because I thought she was such a natural. To my surprise, it turns out Pam had major anxiety about appearing in her own videos. So this just goes to show, you’re not the only one. So, Pam shared some tips about how she overcame her fear and went on to produce some great video content.

  1. Know your subject matter. Talk about things you know about, and if you aren’t so sure about your subject, do some major research. Pam said, “I was very sure of what I was explaining. After all, marketing is my passion, and my career. But I still had to brush-up on the bullet points of what I wanted to say. And I always memorized my scripts. I never read from a teleprompter, which always makes it see more natural.”
  2. Find your own voice. Don’t try to sound a certain way. Sound like who you are, Pam advises. “When I did my very first video blog, I wasn’t happy with myself because I wasn’t being me. So I started changing up my scripts, and I started changing-up my clothes and hairstyle. I just became me and that helped make me much more comfortable and relaxed.” If you try to act like someone you’re not, people will figure you out in a second. When you’re speaking on camera, it’s best to take on a conversational tone, as though you’re talking to someone sitting right next to you. Don’t fake your inflection or toss your hair in a way that’s not natural; just be you!

 

3. Practice makes perfect. Don’t expect to get it perfect in one take. Practice in front of a mirror several times before you even try to film. Or sit down in front of a colleague or friend and practice in front of them. This will help you get over your self-consciousness and also help you remember your lines before going in front of the camera

4. Hire a coach. If you want to produce quality content, it may be worth it to invest some money in a coach! “I took one look at the first production I did and I knew something had to change,” Pam said, “I am not an actress; and, in fact, have no desire to ever be on any kind of stage. However, I decided to hire an acting coach. His name is Tyson Sears and he worked with me, gave me new ideas, new ways to try things. It actually became a lot of fun! The value I got from my coaching experience was well worth the investment. Tyson is great at it; I give him all of the credit!”

5. Hire the right video team. You can have great delivery and impressive content, but with a terrible video team, your video is going to look cheap and amateurish. You don’t have to blow your budget, but don’t cut corners when it comes to finding a quality videographer. Someone with the right talent and know-how will put together a professional video that will reflect well on you and your company. “My team includes Harry Giglio. While I handle the concepting and writing, he and his crew are true pros at bringing an “art” to the process that I haven’t seen matched anywhere else,” said Pam. “Be sure you work with a team that brings something different and special to the project. And that should begin with the concept and the script.”

6. Speak to the videographer, not the camera. Those big hulking cameras, coupled with the big umbrella lights can be intimidating! Pam suggests speaking directly to the videographer, NOT the camera. “When I do my marketing video blogs, I literally had to block-out the cameras and lights and just pretend I was talking directly to Harry in a conversation,” Pam explained. “This made me feel much more at ease and natural. This is one of the best tips I can give to people who are in front of the camera. It’s a tough place to be; but if you apply these tips, it makes the process less stressful and downright enjoyable!”

Do you want to take your promotional videos to the next level? Reach out to CommuniTech for more information!

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United Airlines Sky-High Trouble

Wow, maybe we should do a blog series about PR disasters! Because that seems to be all that’s in the news lately. Let’s talk about what happened with United Airlines, how they handled it, and what could have been done differently. Let’s also talk about who benefited from this disaster.

The Scenario:

United Airlines overbooked a flight. An airline employee came on board the flight, where passengers were already seated and announced the flight was overbooked and that four people would have to volunteer to get off the flight. The volunteers would be rewarded with a monetary voucher. When no one volunteered, four people were randomly selected and asked to leave the flight. Three of them left without a problem, the fourth, David Dao, refused to leave. A physical altercation resulted, police were called in and Dao was physically removed from the aircraft, to the dismay and shock of many of the passengers. This was all to make room for several United employees who needed to get to Louisville. None of this was interpreted, it was all caught on video by several witnesses.

The Fallout:

With today’s technology and social media, it wasn’t long before the video of Dao being bloodied and dragged off the United Flight was spread around the internet like wildfire. And it wasn’t long before people were making their own speculations as well. Did the police have a right to be there? Did United do the right thing? Were the employees only following orders? Was this man selected randomly? Or was it because he was Chinese? Is it unethical to oversell a flight?

Shortly after, United CEO Oscar Munoz offered a statement on the event and essentially defended the actions of the employees. It was met with harsh criticism. A few days later he backtracked a little and apologized to David Dao. Too little too late, said many.

What could have been done differently?

  • First of all, it’s not too crazy to think this situation could have been anticipated. People unfortunately get bumped from flights all the time. I’m willing to bet that they’re not all happy about it. If there was not an amount of money that Dao was willing to accept to leave the flight, there probably was someone else on the flight that would.
  • Adhere to your values. United’s motto is “Fly the Friendly Skies”! Sure, they were still on the ground, but I think this still applies! As a company, you should always stick to your core values and your policies should always reflect that, no matter what. Physical violence should never have a place anywhere, especially in the service industry.
  • Take the blame. When something happens to one of your customers, particularly a physical injury, the first thing out of your mouth, before even your next breath, should be an apology. Even if it’s not your fault, even if it’s not your employee’s fault, even if it was an act of God. You need to take blame because it happened while the customer was under the care of your company.
  • Take adversity as an opportunity for greatness. Do the right thing. Make a good impression.

Who Benefitted?

Well, no one truly benefitted from this experience. Except the internet, as usual.

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Pepsi’s Cringeworthy Marketing Moment

You know your marketing is bad when you take attention away from politics for a moment. Even our president couldn’t top Pepsi’s latest bomb of an ad that was received so badly, it had to be pulled almost immediately. Check it out.

Pepsi tried so hard to be hip and of-the-moment with their ad depicting a a protest/march that they totally missed the mark on their message, actually suggesting that peace could be achieved by offering a soft drink. This suggestion offended a lot of people. Twitter exploded in the aftermath.

But for me, the biggest question this raises, is how did this commercial get off the drawing board? How did it go through rounds of pitches and approvals without someone stepping up and saying, “Wait a minute…”?

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel pretty much nailed it: “The fact that this somehow made it through, I can’t imagine how many meetings, and edits, and pitches, and then got the thumbs-up from who knows how many people is absolutely mind-boggling.”

The major problem may have been that the ad was created by Pepsi’s in house team. Pepsi may have had their own blinders on and not been able to see the content from an outsider’s perspective. This is precisely when outsourcing your marketing comes in handy. Plus, out outside agency would have had the resources to test the concept with a larger group of consumers.

The lesson here? An outside opinion is always valuable!

 

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Tools We Love: Hootsuite

hootsuiteManaging various social media accounts requires major organization. And while it’s possible to keep a list of all your account usernames and passwords and log in to each of them every day and post messages, it’s a huge waste of time and resources. Luckily for us, and for you, there are several different resources available that will allow you to manage all your social media accounts from one central hub. While it’s certainly not the only option, we have the most experience with Hootsuite, so that’s what we’re talking about today!

Hootsuite is a social media management service that’s available as a website and also as mobile-friendly apps. The basic version is free, and it does offer a lot of options. However, we decided to upgrade in order to manage more accounts. It’s modestly priced and gives you some more power and tools to use.

Hootsuite’s layout is made out of tab views. You can view your various social media “streams” in tabs along the top. You can add a limited amount of tabs depending on what you want to monitor. For instance, we have a stream that shows us all of our feed activity, another stream that shows our scheduled tweets, a stream that shows every time we are mentioned, a stream that shows every time a certain hasthtag is mentioned. And you can do this for each account.

Then along the left side are various tools. “Publisher” shows all of your past and scheduled posts, so that you can collaborate with your team. You can create campaigns and contests directly within Hootsuite, gain more insight into your followers, etc.

Hootsuite even has its own analytics feature that can show you how your social media initiatives are working. Gain insight by looking at different numbers and statistics and tweaking things week to week.

We love Hootsuite and how it helps us keep our social media plans organized and intuitive. What social media management programs are your favorite and why?

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Tools We Love: Piktochart

tools

When it comes to marketing and running a business, we would be lost without our toolkit! And what kind of tools do we use? The answer is many, many different ones. The cool thing about technology is all the options that are available that make life easier for a busy entrepreneur. From scheduling social media posts to assigning tasks to team members, theres a program out there that is perfect for what we need. We love anything that helps us get things done quickly and efficiently.

Today we’re talking about Piktochart, the graphics program we use for some of our blogging and social media graphics. You can check Piktochart out at www.piktochart.com. They have an awesome free version available that may be powerful enough for your needs. But if you need a little more customization and power, you can upgrade.

Piktochart can be used to create infographics, presentations and even printable graphics. They offer really impressive pre-designed templates that you can fill in with your own data, or you can create your own design from scratch. We’ve used Piktochart to create graphics for our blog posts that can be easily viewed on different social media platforms.

Infographics have become increasingly popular, for good reason. They can convey a lot of information in a short amount of time, in a visually appealing delivery. This makes the information easily digestible for today’s tech-savvy generation. Let’s face it, today’s audience rarely will stop scrolling a web page long enough to read a few paragraphs. An infographic delivers the important information quickly and efficiently. It also looks great.

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A few of Piktochart’s custom templates

We also love Piktochart’s selection of backgrounds, images and graphics available. All their designs are very clean and modern, making everything you design look professional and beautiful. Of course we still use the pros when we’re designing for clients, but Piktochart is great when we want quick graphics for a blog post or social media.

We love having Piktochart in our toolbox. What tools can’t you live without?

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The Versatility of Video: Customer Focused

Our final installment of our “Versatility of Video” series is all about your customers! We’re talking about how to use customer-focused marketing in video format. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well it’s certainly not complicated to focus on your customer, but there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Customer-focused marketing is the process of determining your customers’ needs and wants in order to drive your marketing initiatives. What needs and desires drive your customers to make their buying decisions? Well, let’s take this promotional video we did for American HealthTech for example. AHT had recently been acquired by another company, CPSI. This caused some chatter in the industry, and AHT wanted to address their clients’ concerns that AHT would be disappearing. They used the tagline “We’re not going anywhere but up” to help quell any fears and to represent the acquisition as a positive change that would facilitate growth.

The primary customer-centric marketing technique that we employed was gaining the customer’s trust. We wanted AHT’s clients to feel like the people on the video were speaking directly to them, so we did just that. The people that we had speak on the video looked directly into the camera and addressed with client as “you”.

This video served as a way to nurture AHT’s relationship with their customers. In the middle of a huge corporate transition, it made a promise of trust.

How have you used customer-centric marketing to gain or maintain the trust of your clients?

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How to Say “I’m Sorry!”

sorry

Everyone makes mistakes. Whether it’s in your personal life, professional life, or the life of your brand, it’s hard to avoid messing up every once in a while. But it’s not really the mistake that matters, it’s how you deal with it. Do you make excuses? Pretend it never happened? As it turns out, the most powerful way you can deal with a mistake is also the most humble way: Say you’re sorry.

However, apologizing as a brand can sometimes be dicier than apologizing as a human. We know, sometimes it’s really hard to say you’re sorry, especially if you feel like part of your actions were justified. However, if you have truly made a mistake and it in some way hurt someone, you have to own up. Let’s take a look at a few major marketing snafus and how the company dealt with the aftermath.

  1. McDonalds Compares a Big Mac Craving to Clinical Depression

In 2013, McDonalds released an ad featuring a photo of a woman, head in her hands, seemingly distraught. In large font, it said “You’re not alone.” In smaller type it read, “Millions of people love the Big Mac.” Yes, they tried to make a Big Mac ad look like a PSA for mental illness. We’re cringing right along with you.

Apparently, the ad was never officially approved by McDonald’s, and they were quick to note this in their public apology. They explained what occurred and apologized sincerely. The ad agency that put out the ad without pre-approval apologized as well. They were honest, sincere, and also addressed steps that they would take in the future to make sure the mistake wouldn’t happen again.

2. Coca Cola Changes its Formula

In 1985, Coca Cola made a terrible mistake . . . they changed. After 99 years of sticking with the original flavor, Coke decided to introduce the New Coke. This decision resulted in public outcry, and a flood of complaints. People seemed to take it personally, holding every coke employee, from the janitor to the CEO, responsible for the mistake. There were even protest groups!

Just three months after New Coke was released, public pressure won out. Coca Cola held a press conference announcing that they would be bringing back the original drink. Though the new Coke had performed better in taste tests, what they didn’t take into account was customer loyalty and the emotional attachment you can have with a brand.

Coca Cola’s apology, though subtle, was sincere. It gave the customers what they wanted.

You can read more here.

3. Apple Music

In 2015, Apple released a new streaming music service. However, there was trouble even before the official launch. Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to the music service complaining about their policy to not pay artists royalties during the three month trial period. She reasoned that this policy penalized struggling artists.

Less than twenty-four hours later, Apple executive Eddy Cue issued a public statement via Twitter apologizing for the policy, agreeing with Swift and announcing Apple’s decision to change this policy so that the artists would be paid.

What we like about this is Apple’s quick response. They recognized the urgency of the situation and made a decision to apologize immediately. We also liked that they were humble and open to change. They decided to immediately change their policy rather than launching into a big PR battle.

* * *

So if you find yourself in a situation where an apology is warranted, don’t panic. We think it’s best to be genuine, specific and timely in your apologies. The public is watching to see how you react under fire, and dealing with a mistake in a humble and respectful way can keep your company’s reputation afloat.

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The Versatility of Video: Event Promotion

eventpromoWe’re willing to bet, that no matter what industry you’re in, you have plenty of events to attend. Whether you’re taking part in a trade show, hosting a conference or throwing an opening night celebration, there are plenty of opportunities to use video to promote these events.

You may think of event promotion only in terms of pre-event planning, but we prefer to think of even promotion in three phases: pre-, during, and post. Events give your company visibility and you should utilize every phase of event planning and execution to show off your strengths.

So you may have plans for promoting your event plenty of time in advance in order to draw more attendees. But what about those second and third phases?

During the event, you’re going to have countless opportunities to gather content for your blog, website, videos and other marketing tools. We always make sure we take advantage of these opportunities. Your biggest asset is the people, so we like to take this time to talk to as many people as possible, ideally in front of the camera.

A few months ago we attended the AHCA Annual Convention and Expo with our client, American HealthTech. This was one of their biggest shows of the year and we wanted to make sure we got plenty of content for video promotions. To promote during the show, we thought the obvious choice was Facebook Live. We went live from the expo hall floor for a fun Q & A session with different attendees. The broadcast was lively, informative and best of all, accessible.

We decided to take a fun an organic approach to the post-event promotion, filming real conversations with people at the show. What we got were honest opinions from real clients and prospective clients and AHT key personnel. We put all of these together in an upbeat highlight reel, that not only showed off AHT’s presence at the show, but also appealed to prospective clients. You can check it out yourself:

Want to rock your event promotion with video? Contact us today!

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The Versatility of Video: Customer Testimonials

custtestimonialOne of our favorite ways to utilize video is to show customer testimonials.

The customer testimonial is a very important and powerful marketing tool that everyone should have have at their disposal, as long as they’re doing a great job. As a potential client, nothing is more convincing than hearing about a current customer’s experience, straight from their mouth. We trust the opinion of a non-biased person way more than we trust what the company itself is saying. If a current or past customer had a great experience with a company, chances are we will too.

When we’re marketing for a great product or service, we often prefer to let the customers do the talking. With video, you can do that quite literally. It’s much more powerful to see the person talk about their experiences than to read a quote off of a website or print. It also creates a sense of familiarity and feeling of trust.

We like to get testimonials from all different types of customers, from the CEO that is making the decisions, to the people who are dealing with the product or service on a daily basis. Check out this video we did for American HealthTech, utilizing a client testimonial from First Atlantic:

We talked to several key personnel, getting opinions from the CFO, Director of Accounts Receivable, an AR specialist, . Getting testimonials from these two different roles in the organization gave potential clients information from several different perspectives.

As long as you have satisfied customers, you should have people who are willing to provide a testimonial. Make a habit of checking in with customers and asking if they’d ever be willing to give a testimonial on film. When you’re running a successful business, you’d be surprised at the number of people who are willing to vouch for you!

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The Versatility of Video: Thought Leadership

versatility1We’ve been really utilizing Vimeo lately as a way to showcase our video capabilities, and that got us thinking about, well, video! We love video, and use this medium for many promotional purposes for our clients. In the last several years, video has been the number one trending social media marketing medium. And for good reason. It delivers valuable content in a way that’s easy to consume and entertaining. The possibilities of marketing with video are endless. We’re going to talk about a few ways that we utilize video in our new “The Versatility of Video” blog series.

Thought Leadership

Video is an excellent tool for establishing yourself or your client as a thought leader in their industry. It’s no longer good enough to tell your audience that your product is the best and your company is the greatest. People have become more and more skeptical of advertising and are requiring hard proof. Traditional marketing strategies are a thing of the past.

Thought leadership is a marketing tool that provides your audience with valuable knowledge, without any obvious promotion of the company or products. Instead, it demonstrates the knowledge of the leaders of the business. Instead of telling the audience that the company is the greatest, it creates trust in the company’s leaders’ expertise.

  1. Prove it, but don’t boast.

You may have a display cabinet full of awards, but that’s not going to prove how you achieved that recognition. Instead, point to specific cases, explaining how your company solved a specific problem for a specific client. Or demonstrate your expertise with a how-to video that is both valuable to the audience but also shows that you know your stuff.

A prime example of this is in the videos we produced for American HealthTech’s “Customer Success” series. We interviewed the administrator and nurses at one of the facilities that AHT serves. Instead of rattling off a list of awards and recognitions, we let this individual case do the talking.

 

2. Usable and Actionable

No matter how hard you try to disguise it, people know when they are being advertised to. With all the pop-up ads, tv commercials and junk mail we get every day, we’re inundated with advertising, and quite frankly, we’re getting sick of it! But if your content is something that is useful to your audience and elicits an actionable response, it will drive much more traffic to your site. We used this tactic in a lot of our Marketing Matters series. Check out this video as an example:

In this video, Pam provided a step by step how-to procedure for making deadlines. This video could be helpful for many different types of businesses and entrepreneurs. By providing insider knowledge “for free”, Pam helped to establish herself as a thought leader.

3. Focus

When you’re trying to demonstrate your thought leadership to others, don’t be tempted to provide broad knowledge. You may feel tempted to show that you have a huge knowledge-base, but you’re better off if you focus on a specific topic, showing that your expertise is also specialized. Say you want to show off your social media skills. We’re sure you’re a pro, but to be truthful, social media experts are a dime a dozen. Instead, an in-depth video about deciphering Twitter analytics would be more useful to others and would demonstrate your specific knowledge.

Check out this video that we did for AHT’s “Beyond Words” series. We could have had president Theresa Chase explain why AHT is the best at what they do and list all of the different services they provided. But we thought it would be more effective for her to focus on one specific aspect of healthcare management–revenue management–and really demonstrate her niche knowledge.

4. Talk with, not at

Don’t turn your content into a podium to preach from. Today’s audiences are more interested in having a conversation than listening to a speech. Collaborate with others, commend your partners and ask for input to keep the conversation going. Your audience will be much more likely to trust you and want to engage further.

In this promotional video for Caremerge, we took this approach. Instead of preaching about how great Caremerge is, we used interviews with actual users to convey the value. The video took on a conversational tone that makes the audience feel involved.

So what does your marketing look like? Are you stuck relying on traditional and dated marketing methods? Get in touch today and we’ll use video and other methods to establish you as a thought leader in your industry.

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