Skillman Video Group is a leading Boston video production company that services a wide variety of clients. We are considered experts in the field of marketing and recently SVG gave a presentation titled “Optimizing Your Video Marketing Strategy – Stop Wasting Your Video Budget” at the American Marketing Association’s Fall 2016 Workshop. The presentation provided many useful tips and techniques for improving digital marketing. We were selected to lead a discussion at this workshop because of her extensive skills and experience in the marketing world, she spoke about creating stimulating video content and how to promote it through social media, email marketing and SEO or “Search Engine Optimization.”
When is DIY Acceptable?
Today, everyone with a Smartphone has the technology to create a stunning viral video in the palm of their hand. It is becoming increasingly easier to make your own quality video content, edit and publish it all from your iPhone, and video marketing companies should take advantage of this low-budget technique. In her workshop, Christina outlined a few situations where it would be acceptable to use iPhone videos.
- Video blog posts are acceptable because they give the post a “hands-on” feeling, but make sure to only use good quality video or else it will seem too informal and unprofessional
- Personal messages from the CEO to employees and clients are acceptable because they make a human connection between management and staff to show that they care
- Internal video material including product reviews and customer testimonials are acceptable because they home-made quality will provide authenticity and be relatable to viewers interested in the company
Christina encouraged companies with a large enough budget and dedicated enough team to try to produce their own video content before hiring a video production company like Skillman Video Group. She warned the group that most of her past clients have shared that they struggle the most in the editing process rather than the actual video shoot. Video editing is very technical and can be very time consuming. For a busy company looking for premium video content, it is probably a better idea to hire a video production company and skip the DIY videos. Christina explained that video producers know best, and they always know when to “kill the baby.” This is a phrase that refers to situations when a team is developing ideas and projects that they love but do not have the skills to pull off, so they have to get rid of the idea.
Tips for Optimizing Videos on Youtube
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, which means that millions of Internet users are browsing the site every minute. At SVG we understand the importance of Youtube in the video marketing world, and in her workshop, Christina Skillman shared some important tips for improving video marketing strategies using Youtube.
- Make sure to include your company name or popular keywords to the title of your Youtube channel and titles of your Youtube videos, this helps with SEO
- Make sure that your web content is visible to the public by checking the visibility box that allows the channel to be seen by everyone
- Pick at least four relevant search teams or keywords to add to the description of your channel and the description of each uploaded video, also don’t forget to include contact information and links back to your company website and social media, create as much traffic as possible
- Stick with one theme, style, logo or color that compliments your branding when designing websites and Youtube pages, all branding must be consistent and logos must be original and recognizable
- Recently uploaded videos should appear in the featured content box on your Youtube channel page, always have at least one video selected as the featured video
- Include your company name and a relevant keyword in all video titles, it is also smart to add your website URL to the beginning of the video description, followed by your company name
- Adding video tags and choosing a visually appealing thumbnail for each video attracts more viewers and improves SEO
- Upload a caption file for a video so that Google can “crawl” your content, if your video doesn’t contain any speech then make use of the annotations feature, either option will improve the relevance of any video content
SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” is one of the most crucial aspects to video marketing according to Christina. A basic way to improve SEO for Youtube videos is to embed your company’s videos into blog posts and landing pages on your website. This will help drive search engine traffic to the site even when your landing pages are not necessarily visible from the navigation bar. Including the transcripts of these videos and keywords as explained earlier will also boost search engine traffic and conversion rates. If your company is active on Facebook, keep in mind that all video content shared to Facebook will automatically start playing the video within a user’s feed. This means that the “first impression” of the video needs to grab the viewer’s attention within the first three seconds, so make the beginning of your video engaging! No one will want to stop and watch talking bobbleheads for three minutes. Similar to Youtube, video marketing on Facebook, and other social medias, remember to post links back to your company website and any other important social media, make sure that potential clients know exactly how to find you.
Skillman Video Group, LLC specializes in Boston video production. Please call 1-800-784-0140 to learn more.
Part 1 of 2 of Skillman Video Group at the American Marketing Association is available here.
The complete transcript of “Optimize Your Video Content Part 2 of 2 is available below.
Alright, so when is it okay to do it yourself? I personally just don’t believe that everything needs to be done by a professional company. If you understand why you’re doing your video content then it should help you backwards engineer what kind of content you should be doing. I think that there are situations where it is appropriate for you guys to be doing it yourself. Does anybody here have a blog? Anybody? Okay, if they decide that they want to start doing video blog posts I think that it’s acceptable to do-it-yourself. I know a lot of people who have built an audience on YouTube doing this kind of thing. If you’re in that kind of business then I think it’s ok to do a video blog post, just make sure that you still look good and sound good.
I think where a lot of people fall down doing video is sound. Video is not just a picture because there’s the audio component. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that then maybe you should bring up someone to help you in the beginning to get you off the ground. A lot of times, I hear from CEOs that as a company grows it gets harder and harder and harder for them to communicate with the whole company, so they create video messages from CEOs to employees and clients. Then I think it’s acceptable to do-it-yourself. I don’t know if it’s necessary to bring in a professional crew because then they show up at your door the clock starts ticking. If you can do it yourself then I think that that is perfectly acceptable. I think any internal video material is ok to do-it-yourself.
We also talked about product reviews, this is another example of a time that’s okay to do-it-yourself. I’ve had clients that want to do a ton of customer testimonials and they actually brought out a camera with lights and audio, so they did make an honest effort of it. Some of their testimonials, even though they looked to me like they were shot by an amateur, they’re some of their most watched videos. Customer testimonials are huge. People love to hear from their peers why they love working with you. Don’t feel like you have to have a professional video crew come out every time, I think it’s more important to get the content and to get the stories.
Sometimes we have companies that want to start producing a lot of video and they need to have a budget for the equipment. Equipment is not cheap, I’ll tell you that much. However, if you know you want to start doing it you have a large enough team that you can support it yourself. It will in the long-term be more cost-effective for you to do it yourself rather than to hire a video production team every time. I can tell that most clients face difficulty not in the shooting process, everyone seems to love the shooting process, but they tend to get really blogged down at the editing. That’s what takes a really, really long time and you guys have a million other things that you need to be doing. Sometimes we have clients that shoot their own video they mail us the footage and we try our best to make it look pretty.
Have you guys heard that expression “know when to kill the baby?” yes? Ok, good! I have to be careful where I use this expression. It’s an interesting term; I know writers use it as well. It’s the idea that when it’s your story, you love it so much that you can’t change it or abandon it. I think it is also helpful at times to bring in someone from the outside to kind of help you and tell you what is actually relevant and tell you when you’re getting lost in the weeds. Even for myself, for example next year we’re going to be redoing our website and I am considering bringing someone else in to interview me because it’s my story. I love it all, I think it’s all relevant and I think it’s all powerful, but someone else will disagree but I need that feedback, right? So, as business owners, we all tend to “drink the kool-aid” and that’s helpful sometimes if you have a hard time doing this internally, maybe you don’t but I know I do.
Ok, so now we’re going to get into some practical tips as far as how to optimize your video on YouTube. If you have any questions please don’t stop. This is a little more technical stuff. Were you guys here for his SEO talk? Ok, so hopefully some of this is not Greek, if it is Greek please stop me. As I mentioned earlier, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. That’s a pretty huge opportunity. Google is number one, as we all know and YouTube is number two so what a great opportunity to get your business out there. People who maybe haven’t heard of it can now hear of it and see you talking about it and learn more about what it is that you do. The only problem with YouTube is it that if it’s not done correctly it’s really wasted effort. The greatest video in the world, what good is it if no one’s going to watch it? That’s why I think video with SEO is a kind of a great fit together.
You guys all have YouTube channels for your company your business? You do? Ok, so make sure you add your company name or main search term into the title of your company video. In our case, all of our videos, everything is tabbed “Boston video production,” everything, because that’s one of our major search terms. This seems simple, but make sure that you checked the visibility box to make a channel visible to the public. We talked about keeping it private, the problem is that when you start setting it private it gets really hard for people to watch it and you don’t have as much control over who can see it. It’s just not very sophisticated, but it is free. What is so great about YouTube is that there is so much information. There are some numbers over here on the right-hand side of the screen backing up. YouTube is such a powerful medium for marketers, but what you gain with exposure you lose some of the control over that message unfortunately.
You have to fill out the description. I would say that the first thing should be like a link back to your company site, for example on our channel we always say Skillman Video Group please visit the site you know, Skillman Video Group.com and it is a hyperlink because we want people to be able to find you as soon as possible. The descriptions are incredibly important because if they are not optimized correctly it’s not going to come up in the search feed. Are you guys are familiar with keywords? Ok, good. You have to really be strategic and think about what people are searching and it’s not always the most obvious thing. What I love about online marketing is the amount of data we can get and we can know where they’re coming from, and where on you site they’re going and how they found you, what keywords they searched to find you. Take that data and use that to help optimize some of your video content. If you know you have certain keywords that are killing in or you have a couple of keywords you want to go after next month, that this is a great way to help you do that.
If you’re linking back to your site guess what? Google loves to see backwards. Also, add a link to this video on your Facebook or Twitter page, Linkedin page, whatever page. You’ve spent the money on the video, presumably, so get some mileage out of it. Obviously, this is going back to the channel, you want to try to brand it as much as you can. Use your company logo; make sure that people know it’s you. You guys know what the featured content box is? It’s on your channel: you can kind of control what video goes on there and really have some control. They really give you some nice fine-tuning control over making your YouTube channel look like your website now. You can go on there and choose which video you want to be featured and include your company name and keywords and all video types.
We already talked about that for the description, that’s also important for the video titles. In our case, for example that “how-to” video that you saw it says, “Boston video production company” first and then what the video is about second because our major keyword is “Boston Video Production Company.” You want to think about that in your title. You’ll also find it in the description of the video on YouTube. Always add video tag so use 3 to 5 keywords and separate them into quotation marks or commas, for example “video optimization,” “search engine optimization,” “youtube,” “SEO,” or “law firm video” or “trademark video” or something like that. I’d say anymore than 3-5 keywords and Google’s going to start to make it irrelevant and sometimes they’ll even start to penalize you, so I think 3-5 is this the target.
This is a nice functionality that YouTube just added now you can actually choose a thumbnail when YouTube first came on you had no choice over what the thumbnail was. For me the video would always come up with something awkward and it was so hideous! Unfortunately, because of an ugly thumbnail nobody’s going to watch your video. YouTube now gives you options, I believe you can even like post a photo so if you took a nice photo of whoever’s in the video put that over the thumbnail. The more attractive the picture is the more clicks you’re going to get so remember to set privacy to public by selecting the standard YouTube license. I would allow comments, comment voting, video responses, ratings of any specification.
On Vimeo, again understand where you put your video and why, I won’t allow anyone to download it. I can not allow anyone to comment, I have a lot of control over who’s seeing it, how they see it, when they see it, there are other systems out there that will even tell you who watched it and how far into the video they actually watched. It’s incredible, some of the data you can get out there. These are third-party providers you have to pay for it but if you’re serious about doing video marketing it might be worth the investment. On YouTube you don’t get any of that, but if you’re using YouTube it’s because you want to get it out to the widest possible audience you can and there’s nothing better than youtube for that.
Are you guys aware that Google can not crawl, do you know what crawling is? Google has their bots and that’s how they figure out your SEO ranking. They also called spiders and they crawl your site and they’re looking for certain things, which hopefully you talked about the last workshop, but they’re looking for the keywords. They are looking for linking; they’re looking for this kind of like ecosystem of great content relevant keywords. You can’t have a blog post come up that’s about, you know construction, but then you’re talking about shoes or something silly like that you know Google’s going to say forget it you’re done. Unfortunately, as of now, Google has no way to crawl your video but on YouTube you can upload a caption file. I strongly suggest that you do a transcription of all your videos if you’re putting in the money. If your purpose is to do marketing and your purpose is for SEO, then the purpose is to get people to click through and come to your site. I would definitely do a transcription and I would upload the closed caption files. They have annotations, they have cards, I use all those. The dialogue of the video is now searchable.
Now we’re going to talk about SEO. The transcription is also important for search engine optimization because you guys are spending all this money on video content, so you want to get as much mileage out of it as you can. Whenever we do a video for ourselves we blog about shooting the vide video, we blog about how we edited the video and then we actually blog about the actual video itself. Because the more content you’re creating in your site the more Google likes it. You want to try to embed this video in as many different websites as possible and always have a link back to your site. Google likes to see this kind of positive ecosystem between your site and other sites and that’s all of relative content your keywords so it’s just a good practice.
Whenever we create video for ourselves we will do a landing page within our website talking about the video and in that case I might also include the transcript there too. I could load up that transcript of keywords and link it do all the SEO stuff that you’re supposed to be doing and that’s just giving you more juice Landing pages are not visible from the navigation bar. If you Google “top ten Boston video production companies,” my website will come up because we did an article that we did not include ourselves in that but it is a landing page that we created specifically for SEO. We used “Boston video production companies” because that’s a keyword a lot of people want to know. Why not do that with videos? I think there are times where you might want your video on your home page and certainly your brand video should be in homepage. In my opinion but you’re just creating content for search engine and marketing purposes it does not have to be on your homepage it could be hidden elsewhere in social media.
Anybody here do Facebook marketing? Ok so there’s a whole science just to Facebook marketing and the in and of itself. However, I will just say that as far as your video is concerned, I mean there is really no greater share of content than video. I don’t know if you guys have found out to be true. Do you put video on your Facebook pages and do you see any response difference? Which is what you really want on a social media, so the thing about Facebook videos that you need to be aware of is that they do begin playing right away in their feed. You need to take that into consideration when you think about what kind of video you’re going to put it up on your Facebook marketing. Just doing a talking head probably is not going to get a whole lot of agent, so you really need to be strategic those first three seconds. You’ve got to grab their attention so that they actually click. A lot of times they come up with these fantastic video titles like “best dog video ever” or something like that. It’s kind of ridiculous, but that’s because they’re trying to grab your attention and get you to watch their video content. You’ve really got to stand out from the crowd. So “talking bobble heads” won’t cut it, you’ve really got to have something in those first few seconds that is going to draw them in because they can’t hear it, they just see it moving.
If you’re paying for this video content, you should put it on every single social networking website including Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram. I don’t know, if you’re b2b, how relevant that is for you. If you’re marketing to consumers it’s definitely worth looking into. I don’t know that I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Snapchat,, have you guys heard of Snapchat? For a business of my size I haven’t found to be particularly relevant because I don’t think, you tell me, are you looking for video company on Snapchat? But if you are a company that is marketing to millennials it might make sense for you to put content on Snapchat, if that’s your thing. What an awesome opportunity in history guys that we can have direct access for marketing and costs nothing other than our time. That is never-before-seen in human history, it’s a really unique time for us to be taking advantage of and using to get our story across. We can be really creative in different ways now too and I think that’s really cool.
So just some tips for video in email marketing, there’s some software that allows you to attach the video in the email itself. It’s tricky, not everyone’s email server is going to allow that. I would recommend against not doing it right now because you’re just increasing the odds that your email is going to bounce which defeats the purpose. I would embed the video on a landing page on your website and make sure you set the video to autoplay so that when people click from the email to your landing page it actually just starts playing. The least amount of resistance between you and your audience the better. Within the email include an image from your video, maybe put a big play button over the top so it looks like it’s a video so that when they click on that it’s just going to go to the landing page and the videos going to start playing. It’s my understanding that some email programs have a problem with gifs, so it might be worth asking because you don’t want to be pushed to a big blank spot where your video is supposed to be. Gifs are cool, certainly okay.
We talked about the length and I hate to say that everywhere across the board all video should be this length, but particularly in email marketing if this is a first touch for them your video should not be any more than a minute or two max. I promise you’re going to turn them off. If they are further down your funnel and they already had several touches from you I think that you could justifiably be longer. There are huge opportunities for email marketing, this isn’t an email-marketing seminar but you know but just make sure that it’s particularly targeted if you’re going to have video content. If you want to make sure that they’re going to the right people. You’re spending all this time and effort so if this is just going to bounce or go with their junk mail box, it doesn’t matter.
I have mixed feelings about calls to action on videos. When it’s a brand video in general I think its tacky to be like “call now!” “send us an email!” it should be fairly obvious when they’re done watching the video what they should do. I personally think that modern-day marketing, because of the web; it gives us opportunities to tell our stories. I think consumers today are very jaded, they know when they’re being sold and what you don’t want is for them to start pulling up those defensive “oh, now I’m being sold and I want to hear you anymore.” Right? So if your purpose is just to kind of be that first touch, for example, “we’re nice and friendly” whatever your goal is, I would say try to ignore that call to action altogether. As far as being in your physical video, I think maybe you could have a call to action on your landing page, a call to action in your email, a call to action on your social media page. You want it to be easy for people to find you. I’m not trying to say make hard on them, I just think its tacky to do it in your video itself. Website is fine, like you want it to be easy for them to contact you. I include our 1-800 description in YouTube so that if people like the video and they want to talk to me I’m gonna make it very easy for them to talk to me, but in any of my videos I don’t.
I just wanted to talk last point and then we’ll be done. The importance of telling a good story and to start I just want to quickly recap a story from my life about why storytelling, I think from my marketing perspective is so important. So way back in 2012 I was still working out of Somerville, MA which is where I live now and I had a kind of part time office and it wasn’t really great. I got this email from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and I used to be really involved with the Cambride Chamber of Commerce. They said this company called Regus was doing a small business of the year campaign and they’re giving away free office space for one year and “click here to apply.” I have to be honest; I kind of thought like “this is probably some kind of spam or fish because they just want my email so they can sell me crap”, well what the heck. I go on and of course one of the questions is, “why should we give you this office?” And I started with my usual spiel “Skillman Video Group is a full-service video production company and we can do…” and I just remember thinking “oh my god I’m really bored.” The thought came across my mind, “Christina, don’t tell them what you do, tell them who you are.” And instead I deleted everything and I wrote the story that I told you in the beginning of the talk about how I started the business working from home and if they gave me this office then I could expand and start bringing people and clients into my office and that was it, I hit send. Three months later who do you think they picked? Out of all New England I was their small business of the year! I asked their PR director because I was like “what part of my story spoke to you?” hoping to get that ego stroke and she said the VP of the company said in the meeting they were deciding who they’re going to choose was when they saw, remember right in the beginning when I said I posted on craigslist? He said, “we post to craigslist too!” and at first I was kind of disappointed, all that story that I shared with you the fact that I posted to craigslist was why you chose me!! But as I thought about it I realized that he saw himself in my story and he felt a connection with that. He felt an emotional connection with me and he said, “I want to help that person get ahead.” I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of sharing that story because someone can hear you never know what part of that story they’re going to hear and what is going to resonate with them. All these tips and tricks are only so good if the story you’re telling is something people want to hear, so don’t ever go too far away from your community no matter what you do.