Video

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Picking an Interview Spot that Doesn’t Suck

You know those interview/testimonial videos where you can’t hear anything? Or see anything because it’s too dark or super pixelated? Or that are just really distracting because it’s on a train track or something?

Those videos suck.

Wether you’re using your iPhone or professional video equipment, an important factor you can control to improve quality of your video is the location. When choosing the best interview spot for the shot, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Reduce Noise

Reducing “noise” – both audible and visual – is key in finding a great interview spot. Make sure to choose a place that is relatively quiet without a ton of loud activities occurring around it. This will make it more difficult to hear the subject, which is the entire point of the video.

Also, a shot with a ton of visual “noise” – random objects, people walking in and out of frame a bunch, piles of trash in the corner – is distracting to viewers and should be avoided. You want people to be fully engaged with your video content, and distractions could draw them away from the message you are trying to convey..

We know sometimes it’s unavoidable to shoot in a noisy area – like when you’re shooting interviews at a horse stable – and in that case, you would turn to some quality audio equipment, and a whole lot of patience, to help out.

interview at Sonny Brooke Stables

Light it Up

When picking a location for an interview, try to find an area where you have some control over lighting.

Indoors: Rooms should have shades over the windows in case of harsh sunlight, and you should have the ability to turn off any overhead lighting.

Outdoors: Consider shooting during the “Golden Hour” – either the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset – when sunlight is more soft. This could prevent harsh shadows on the subject from direct sunlight. If you can’t shoot during that time, an overcast day works great as well!

Lighting is a huge reason we LOVE shooting in our new studio. Complete control of lighting makes for a beautiful shot, like this one of Kelly:

3to99 studio interview

Choose a Space with Options

The best interview locations are spacious areas with plenty of options for various angles and set-ups. Larger areas allow for a shallow depth of field – keeping the subject in focus with the background blurred. You don’t want a massive, echoey room, but there should be enough space for your entire set-up and team.

You also want the ability to change set-ups, especially if you’re interviewing multiple people in the same video. Changing angles keeps the viewer engaged and allows for a more dynamic flow.

Knoxville Chamber interview

Knoxville Chamber interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These three simple things can drastically affect the quality of your video interviews, and keeping them in mind during pre-production can ensure your final product is stellar. Picking the right location with minimal “noise,” controlled lighting, and plenty of room for options can truly take your interviews to the next level.

Want to work with us on your next testimonial video or use our studio space for an interview? Hit us up!

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Big Slate Media Team
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Measuring YouTube Success: 3 KPIs That Matter

So, you’ve built your YouTube channel, populated it with some organic content, and dove into the world of advertising – so you’ve done it all right? You’re now a YouTube advertising master?

Not quite.

In order to fully understand the quality of your content and how well it engages your audience, it’s important to monitor certain data within YouTube Analytics. This is integral in learning how to best optimize your videos and positioning your efforts for success.

Here are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that we recommend monitoring:

Watch Time Reports

Use the Watch Time report to see data about impressions, impressions click-through rate, views, and how long viewers watch your content. This is significant as all YouTube algorithms are focused on watch time.
Impressions: How many times your thumbnails were shown to viewers on YouTube through registered impressions.

Impressions click-through rate (CTR): How often viewers watched a video after seeing a thumbnail.
Views: The number of legitimate views for your channels or videos.
Average view duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.
Watch time: The amount of time that a viewer has watched a video. This gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch (as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon).

Audience Retention Report

You can use the Audience retention report to get an overall measure of how well your video keeps its audience.
Average View Duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.

Average Percentage Viewed: The percent of each video the average viewer watched. Anywhere above 60% is a really good.

Traffic Sources Report

This report shows the sites and YouTube features that viewers use to find your content. It’s great for understanding and evaluating which marketing channels are working for you.


A/B Testing

After reviewing your reports, it may be time to make some adjustments. Don’t try to change too much at first. Work with what you have for a few videos and then, after gathering a decent sample size, make your adjustments by changing some of the these variables.

YouTube does not yet have an A/B testing feature, so you’ll have to use a third party if you really want to dive into this. Also, be sure you’re tracking and linked up with as many analytics tools as you can across all platforms (Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel especially).


We hope this YouTube blog series provided you with enough information and actionable items to start a solid video ad campaign. We know it can feel overwhelming at first, but once you get going, you’ll be thankful for all the hard work you’ve put into it.

As always, if you have any questions about it you can reach out to your friendly, neighborhood content creation agency.

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Big Slate Media Team
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Getting Started: Paid Advertising on YouTube

We’re on a YouTube advertising kick.

In case you haven’t heard – at the beginning of this year we spoke at the Knoxville Chamber’s Digital Marketing Series about YouTube and we’ve been sharing all that content right here on our blog! (If you missed the first two installments, you can click here to see the 8 Things to Get Right on YouTube AND click here to learn all about organic content on the platform).

If you’re ready to take the leap into paid video advertising and make it a regular part of your content marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to driving organic traffic to your content, there are also several paid options for promoting your videos on YouTube to expand your reach. We’re covering all of them right here.

Begin with the End in Mind

Your advertising goal is the foundation of your entire campaign, and it affects the types of video ads and bidding strategies available to you. So, before setting up your video campaign in Google Ads, consider what you want to get out of it:

Leads: Generate customer leads and conversions with video ad formats designed to encourage people to express interest and take action
Website Traffic: Bring interested people to your site and get more conversions with a compelling call to action and other features that encourage people to take action after your video plays
Product + Brand Consideration: Get more people to consider your products or brand with video ad formats designed to encourage engagement.
Brand Awareness + Reach: Increase awareness for your products or brand with video ad formats designed to get more views and expand your reach

The Five Ads Types

Keep in mind – there are other ad types that can be placed on Youtube (like graphic ads); however, we’re going to focus on the video ad formats you can utilize. The video ad content is hosted on YouTube and managed through Google Ads.

1. TrueView Discovery Ads

These ads show up on Youtube via the homepage, search results, and related videos based on targeted keywords, chosen audience or placements. The ad consists of a thumbnail image from your video with some text, and it invites people to click to watch the video. The video then plays on the YouTube Watch page.

2. TrueView In-Stream Ads

TrueView In-Stream ads show up before, during or after other videos on Youtube. They are your most malleable video ad type, and there are three subgroups:

Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads: Only offered to a high percentile of spending users. They are no longer than 15 seconds in the US, and the viewer has to watch it entirely.
Skippable In-Stream Ads: Sometimes called Standard Video ads in Google Ads. Really, you have the most flexibility with this ad type as there is no limit to how long these can be.
Shopping: Allows you to put up to six cards on your skippable TrueView ad to drive consumer action. You must have a Google Merchant Account to be eligible.

In both skippable and non-skippable in-stream video ads, we recommend keeping ads between 60-90 seconds and having your logo or business name show up in the first five seconds.

3. Bumper Ads

These are short six-second ads that are non-skippable. They should be catchy, simple ads that make a viewer want to visit your website. That’s right, you only have six seconds to catch someone’s attention – go watch some Vines (RIP) for inspiration.

4. OutStream Ads

OutStream ads are mobile-only video ads that play on partner websites and within apps. It includes a logo, description (with a CTA), a link to your Youtube video, and a link to your website. These are great for driving traffic to your already existing Youtube account or website.

We recommend only using this ad type when you have a Youtube page that is updated consistently with content, and as for your title – keep it catchy, creative and clear. People may only see it for a moment, so make them stop dead in their scroll.

5. Ad Sequence

This is a pretty impressive ad type because you can actually send a consumer on a step-by-step journey using different Youtube ads. Each step has a distinct goal and can have different bidding strategies. In short, you can use In-Stream, bumper or a variety of both to take a consumer on a trek to purchase.

This will take the most forethought out of any of these ad types.


Yeah, we know that was a lot.

So, we made a chart to help you out!

Keeping all this information in mind, you’re off to the ad races! However, it’s not enough to simply run these campaigns, you’ll want to actively monitor them…

We’ll cover that next in the fourth and final part in our YouTube blog series.

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Big Slate Media Team
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Organic Matters: YouTube Content that Doesn’t Suck

What do you think of when you hear the word “organic?” Healthy? Fresh? How about natural?

That’s exactly what organic content is. Content that people find naturally – without needing a boost from advertising dollars.

If you’re just getting started on YouTube and want to dive into some advertising options, it’s important to first fill your channel with some organic content that supports your brand – and once you’ve done these eight things, your organic content will be a lot easier to find.

As a small business, you may be wondering what types of content people want to see from you… we’re glad you asked.

Customer Testimonials:

Have a happy customer that is willing to share their experience with the world? Have them say it on camera! If a person is considering engaging with your brand or purchasing your product or service, seeing one of your customers raving about you will definitely peak their interest in the best way possible. 

S&S Testimonial

A testimonial for Sword & Shield Enterprise Security that lives on their YouTube channel…and yeah, we made this. Click on it to watch!

Product/Service Demonstration Videos:

Show people how your stuff works – especially if it’s a unique or exciting technique or technology. 

Tutorial Videos:

Beyond just showing people how your stuff works, you can actually teach them how to use it! This is a bit more thorough than a demonstration video. You can also give tutorials on products or software necessary in your particular industry that others may be interested in learning about. This can help promote you as a thought-leader in your industry. 

FCPX Tutorial

FCPX Tutorial

Thought-Leader Interviews:

Is there a shining star in your industry? A person or brand that you admire and want to engage with in a big way? Interview them. Others interested in your line of work will likely be dying to hear from this person, and they’re on YOUR channel! 

Project Reviews/Case Studies:

People love a classic “behind-the-scenes” look. Show potential customers how you’ve helped some of your clients! Once they see your process, they could feel more inclined to work with you. 

YouTube Case Study

YouTube Case Study

Vlogs:

This type of content is quickly growing in popularity. People love to see what others are doing throughout their daily lives. Turn your camera on selfie mode and show people what you’re doing in your office, at a networking event or even on a staff outing! This can really add a personal touch to your brand, and that’s what potential customers want to engage with. 

Event Videos:

Hosting or speaking at a conference? Record the sessions and put them on your YouTube channel! If it’s a particularly hot topic, this could once again position you as a thought-leader in your industry. Also, quick recap videos from events can be used to help promote your future events. 

Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk

Knoxville Chamber’s Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk recap video… yeah, we did this one too. Click on it!

YouTube Live:

Much like Facebook Live, you can go live online from anywhere. This works particularly well at events or for exciting company announcements. 


Hopefully this gives you some awesome ideas for YouTube content you can start creating for your brand. The best thing about these types of videos is that they don’t have to be super produced – but we can totally help with that if you want – you can use your iPhone and simple video editors to make it happen!

[This post is part two in our YouTube blog series. Stay tuned for future posts diving into the crazy fun world of PAID YouTube marketing… coming soon!] READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
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8 Things to Get Right on Youtube

We’re all trying to be found online. The best way to do that? Optimize your online content for the top search engines – Google and its subsidiary, YouTube. Google determines who can see you and how easy it is to see you, and Youtube is a huge part of that algorithm.

It can feel overwhelming to get started on YouTube. However, once you’ve created your channel and want to start uploading videos, just keep these few things in mind to ensure your videos rank highly on both search engines. 


1. Keywords

Keywords are the foundation of an entire YouTube channel. These are the words you want to be found with. Include them everywhere: the title and description, within your video content, or even in the name of the thumbnail file you upload. Sneak them in wherever you can! Do some research to see what viewers are searching for. We recommend using Trends.Google.com and the Google Ads Keyword Planner, but there are a ton of keyword resources out there!

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Google Ads Keyword Planner

2. Title

Of course, this is what your video is called. You need to keep it clear, compelling and concise – less than 60 characters to ensure it won’t be cut off in search results. Also, be sure to include your most relevant keywords first.

3. Description

This is the copy that drives views and engagement on your videos. Always include relevant keywords and CTAs within the first 100 characters, because after that users will have to click “show more” to see the rest of your description. Something most people overlook is including a transcript of the video in the description; however, this drastically improves the video’s SEO as the video content is typically full of the keywords you want to be found for!

At the end of the video description, you’ll include your default channel description, including links to your social channels, video credits, or video-specific timestamps.

YouTube Title & Description

Title & Description

4. Tags

Highlight your primary keywords in the video tags. Tags associates your video with similar videos, broadening its reach.

5. Closed Captions + Subtitles

Utilizing closed captions and subtitles on your YouTube videos further optimizes your video, as well as helps viewers that may need assistance understanding your content. This is yet another opportunity to include the keywords you want to be associated with. There are several ways to add this significant text to your videos: upload a text transcript or timed subtitle file, allow YouTube to automatically time the subtitles, type the subtitles yourself while watching the video, or hire someone to do it for you!

6. Cards + End Screens

Cards and End Screens take your YouTube content to the next level by providing viewers the chance to really engage with your videos. Video cards are rectangular notifications that appear over videos, and you can include up to five of them. End Screens extend your video 5 – 20 seconds. Utilize both of these to poll viewers, link to external websites, or direct viewers to your YouTube channels or other videos. This allows people to continue engaging with your content beyond the first video they watch.

Cards & End Screen

Cards & End Screen

7. Thumbnails

Along with the title, a video’s thumbnail is what gets people to watch it. It is the small, clickable image that represents the video. A good thumbnail can instantly grab people’s attention and differentiate your brand on a platform clogged with standard thumbnails, so always be sure to upload a custom one rather than the auto-generated ones from YouTube. Thumbnails can affect your search ranking on YouTube, too. Since your video’s click-through rate is one of the most important ranking factors in YouTube’s search algorithm, an eye-catching thumbnail can make a huge difference in ranking high in searches. The YouTube Creator Academy reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails. 

Thumbnails

Custom Thumbnails

8. Engagement

Once you’ve uploaded a video on YouTube, you’re not finished there. You need to also actively manage engagement (likes, comments, views, etc.) on your videos. YouTube’s algorithm follows the audience, paying attention to engagement signals such as video likes and comments. It’s important to encourage and nurture these for a higher search ranking.


BSM Team

BSM Team at Knoxville Chamber Digital Marketing Series

Follow this eight-part checklist for all your organic YouTube content, and you’re off to the races! Your videos will be heavily optimized, and more people will likely see them because of it.

We recently spoke at the Knoxville Chamber’s Digital Marketing Series. Our presentation, “Push Play on Growth,” covered all things related to YouTube marketing. We’re going to be taking a ton of that information and turning it into several blog posts, so be sure to stay tuned for more content in this series! If you have any questions related to YouTube content creation or advertising, drop us a note!

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Big Slate Media Team
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YouTube Marketing – That Was Easy!

Youtube is a home for both the inspired and the strange, a place where viral videos plant their seeds; and of course, the global archive of first steps, big fails, and cat videos. But that’s not all. Youtube is also a highly effective place to market your business, and it’s easy! You just need the tools.

As a digital marketing agency in Knoxville focused in video production, we work with both small and large clients on creative content and we’ve learned that businesses sometimes devalue how Youtube could help them. So, we’re here to tell you that it can help you and definitely should be part of your 2018 marketing plan.

First, how big is Youtube, really? (2018 Youtube specs)

  • Over 1 Billion users (one-third of internet population)
  • More than half of total Youtube views come from mobile
  • More 18-49 year olds reached on mobile alone than any cable TV network
  • One billion hours watched daily

Youtube is a massive database that entertains a diverse and vast audience. If done well, your business will see a huge increase in Google search rankings, social engagement with customers, leads, and brand exposure overall through Youtube. But how?

 

Local Youtube Marketing Examples:

Mike’s Golf Shop (Chattanooga, Tn):

Time spent: 40 seconds; Views: 700,000

So, you’re telling me that if I’m looking for golf clubs, this is the wrong place?

  • Mike is a character. His brand is who he is, which is one of the most important tools of Youtube. We can show our brand, our company culture, or be informational. In this case, Mike did all three.
  • The viral nature of Youtube has sprouted out of the social media integration abilities of it, making it easy to target a specific audience, especially if you are already using other social platforms (ie. boosted posts on Facebook).
  • Youtube is owned by Google so your Google Search ranking is affected by the title and keywords in the description of the video, as well. Mike’s Golf, for example, is the first organic results on Google in his area.

Let’s take a look at another example, even closer to home for us.

 

Crawl Space Ninja (Knoxville, Tn):

Time Spent: estimated. 1 – 2 hours; Views: 1,000+ (Some videos have over 100K views)

Crawlspace Ninja does some really great stuff on Youtube as well. As you can tell, it’s more information based than Mike’s. Goals are the same, but the path is different.

  • Both wanted to grow sales by way of brand awareness. They stuck to their own brands and used social media.
  • In this case, Crawl Space Ninja brands themselves on Youtube as a “self-help” channel with videos that will build them a returning customer base that trusts them.
  • They can continue building loyalty while finding more customers along the way by using Youtube pre-roll and SEO tactics.

 

These two guys are just a couple examples of how you can grow your business through Youtube. Block out a day and create some engaging content. Youtube is a huge marketing gold mine and you need to be getting your share!

Give us a call if you need help and check out our most recent work!

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Big Slate Media Team
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Set the Tone with the Drone

When it comes to promoting an event, showcasing a large area or simply dazzling an audience with a landscape shot from an aerial position – the quality of video a drone can provide goes uncontested. If you’re a real estate agent trying to sell a house, a drone would be perfect to showcase the entire property. The usual photo found on a real estate site just doesn’t convey the size. It doesn’t deliver the big picture. If you’re an event planner – you can convey the vibe of your event with an aerial video. Just check the clips below for an example. With sweeping shots, awesome landscapes and seamless footage of an event, home, etc. – it’s going to draw attention, and hold it. Drone event coverage is becoming more and more popular for marketing purposes. If you’re looking for that competitive edge, you just found it.

 

The Blount County Partnership

Of the various events we’ve covered for the Blount County Partnership, two of our favorite drone videos came from the Tour de Blount and The Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon events. Both events involved fast-paced participants – bikers and runners – and we wanted to be able to catch all of the action with our drone. At times, the drone could barely keep up with the cyclists (its max speed is about 35mph!) but we ended up getting some awesome footage. Blount has some pretty diverse terrain, too, and we managed to capture and incorporate some unique footage that we shared with the Partnership and Vacation Races (they hosted the events).

Tour de Blount – Maryville, TN 2016

The Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon – Maryville, TN 2016

Charlotte Fair – Charlotte, NC 2017

Southern Expo hosts several fairs throughout the year. We created a short video that could showcase all of the rides and attractions, and this footage ended up in several TV commercials in Charlotte, North Carolina, Huntsville, Alabama, and Bristol, Tennessee. With a smooth flight and a view of all of the rides, people from all around could see just what these fairs were made of.

 

When you’ve got footage like this for your event, people tend to notice. It’s not just a video that captures a lot at once – it’s fun to watch, too! If you’d like us to share your next big event, retail listing, or anything else, just give us a call at (865) 206-7296 or fill out our Contact Us form. Producing quality videos is what we do best!

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Big Slate Media Team
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Video Production – Is it Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

In the world of digital marketing, it’s important to cover all of your bases – and content is king. We’re talking about blogging, social media, sharing pictures, and posting videos. A lot more goes into that list, but today we’re going to set our sights on video production and how crucial it is for your marketing endeavors. Seriously – did you know that in 2017, videos will account for almost 70% of consumer traffic online?

Videos require some extra effort, but they’re absolute gold for an audience. Think about it – it’s instant gratification. Unlike having an article that elicits the “too long, didn’t read” response, a video can be more engaging and hold an individual’s attention longer. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is dynamic. A typical video is around 24 frames per second, so you’re actually getting 1440 pictures per minute! It can deliver a lot of valuable information in a short amount of time. Videos are gaining strength in the marketing realm, too, and the social media giants know it.

video production / marketing strategy

Ask the Right Questions

Before you get started with anything, you need to make sure you’ve got a solid game plan. That means asking yourself a few questions, such as:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What kind of voice do I want to take? The tone you use should be consistent throughout your videos.
  • What is my goal – is it fostering brand awareness? Selling a product or service? Or are you trying to establish yourself as the authority figure on a certain subject?

Once you’ve got the answers to these questions, tell yourself this – keep your focus centered on the story you’re trying to tell, not making the next conversion or sale. If you’re doing a good job, these things will take care of themselves.

Keep it Short and Fun

In other words, make sure your videos don’t suck. You’ve probably seen them before – the video that catches your attention for one reason or another, but shortly into it you find yourself scrolling on, wondering why the heck you wasted those precious seconds of your life. The longer the video, the less the engagement. That’s not true for every situation, but it’s pretty close. Ideally, a video that’s anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes long should do the trick.

Got a Hankering for Some Video Production?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware that video production is our bread and butter. At Big Slate Media, we do what we love and we love what we do. You might have some ideas for a video bouncing around in that brain of yours. We’ve got the means to give life to the dreams. Give us a call at (865) 206-7296 and let’s talk about it.

Check out our Success Stories or our YouTube Page to see some of our work.

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Big Slate Media Team
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Facebook’s Video Algorithm Change – What You Need to Know

Facebook’s video algorithm change will again be affecting the news feed and how videos will appear to users. Specifically, this update is going to focus on ranking and “percent completion.”

What does that mean, exactly? Essentially, longer videos will now have a higher chance to appear in news feeds, depending on a couple of factors. It’s not so much the case for shorter videos, but we’re told the change will be slight.

Facebook's Video Algorithm Change

The social media giant is at it again. Facebook’s video algorithm change will affect longer-length videos.

How to Make Facebook’s Video Algorithm Change Work for You

This is good news for the marketing world, because sometimes we need a longer video to say what we need to say. As the Facebook Newsroom post stated, “The best length for a video is whatever length is required to tell a compelling story that engages people, which is likely to vary depending on the story you’re telling.”

So, the gates are open for you to post longer videos, but they have to be engaging to the viewer. The length of the video itself won’t help, it still has to meet a certain amount of “watch time.” In other words, a percentage of the video must be watched in order to factor in to Facebook’s new algorithm. If people watch your longer videos and stay with them, their news feed is more likely to show other videos of similar length and material. This won’t just appear in the news feed, either, but in the ‘Suggested Videos’ section of the video currently being watched.

Let Big Slate Media Handle Your Video Marketing Needs

At Big Slate Media, video production and marketing is our bread and butter. Facebook’s video algorithm change only gives us another advantage to work with, and we’d like to use that to take your business to the next level. If you’re interested in making commercial, posting a video online or getting some sweet footage with our drone, give us a call at (865) 291-0005 and we’ll set something up!

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Big Slate Media Team