www.bluetruck.tv

The Blue Truck Blog Site


Leave a comment

Using Technology to Teach: Will Pokémon Go Lead Children to Van Gough?

PokemonVanGogh1_supersonic

Image courtesy of Zach Tutor http://www.supersonicart.com

 

What do Pokémon Go and Van Gough have in common? Absolutely nothing – but the game’s developer Niantic, Inc., hopes their new technology will inspire a connection.

The latest innovations in interactive entertainment have people wandering around on a mission to collect creatures from a backdrop of virtual or augmented realities. I admire the technological advancement. I grew up playing Pong. Need I say more: Gaming has come a long way. I like the idea of immersion in that it moves players off the couch and out to explore the world. It’s a nice aspiration that gaming will lead one to discovering the local art museum or admiring a National monument. I just hope no one fails to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa or misses Van Gough’s Starry Starry Night in his or her effort to grab Mankey or Staryu.

The whole concept has given me pause to reflect and discover a new appreciation and perspective on what I learned from “the good old days” where we were not only entertained but we learned from interacting with technology through classic television and literature—media that continues to ignite my passion for developing inspiring content.

Before Pokémon Go, children’s hands gripped books instead of mobile devices. And I never once heard about a young person with their eyes fixed on a book falling off a cliff. When I visited the Aztec Ruins, it was to learn history not to find a Graveler.

When my generation plugged in, it might have been to a stationary television set with a rabbit-ears-antennae enhanced with aluminum foil, but it engaged us as much as mobile device. And granted, we had to get up to change the channel, only to find a handful of options, but our prize was found in what we learned from watching and interacting.

I realize now how fortunate I was to grow up in the “Sesame Street generation,” where a cast of lovable characters engaged and entertained while imparting education and values. I fondly recall eating a big, juicy apple in front of our first Zenith, box-style television and counting along with Count von Count while learning about numbers and math, spelling and vocabulary and moral character.

Mr. Snuffleupagus’ unique persona engaged my imagination. Big Bird showed me compassion. Oscar the Grouch taught me to be kind. Through Burt and Ernie I realized the value of friendship. My love for the color blue (and cookies) most likely was inspired by my favorite puppet, Cookie Monster.

I grew up in the generation where entertainment and learning went hand in hand and were balanced and supported by the summer reading programs that encouraged a love of reading. We actually went to the library and book fairs in pursuit of literature instead of wondering, mindlessly in search of Poke’ Eggs.

I grew up in an era rich with quality, wholesome, instructional and entertaining content. I was a beneficiary of mindfully creative producers and writers. I learned from watching television programs such as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, School House Rock and The Electric Company. I absorbed the messages of authors such as Dr. Seuss and A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh) who gifted audiences with allegory – stories with subtle but life-enriching meaning.

It was a time of thoughtful content that gave me and countless other children a head start in school and role models with values worth emulating. That was – and still remains – the wonderful and valuable quality that is inherent in “classic learning television” and good old-fashioned books. They subtly teach while they entertain.

I challenge the great innovators who are developing today’s amazing technologies to keep the player’s mind, top of mind. When programming gaming technology and immersing children into virtual worlds, be mindful of your influence and create content and characters that will have a positive impact on our world.

###

Blue Truck Media, Inc. based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, specializes in the writing and creative development of original screenplays, television programming and books, and offers customized marketing and video production services to corporations, worldwide.


Leave a comment

Visual Storytelling – What’s Your Story?

What's Your Story?

What’s Your Story?

Say it in Video.

Visual storytelling is a compelling way to share the heart of your company with current and potential customers.

Every company has a story to tell beyond the products they sell and services they provide. Visual storytelling allows you to tap into the unclaimed potential of your company, product or service to build relationships and gain market share.

Ask yourself: What makes your company uniquely you? What differentiates you from your competitors?

OK, so you know why you’re special.

But do your customers understand this concept as well as you do? If not, maybe you’re telling the wrong story—or telling the right story using the wrong media.

Effective storytelling doesn’t have to center around just the product or service. Your story can include the hands that make the company what it is today, or the brains that thought up the company many years ago, or a customer with a unique and compelling story. More about that later…

Find the faces that tell your story

So who are the interesting characters that make up your brand?

It’s not always the CEO or CFO who make the best storytellers. Look around you. Don’t overlook the cashier at the store who’s made friends with all his customers. Or the employee working to put herself through college and be the first member of her family with a college degree. What about the bellman at the hotel, or the night shift worker at the warehouse. How do they complete the story?

Get to know the hands and feet of your company and you’ll find stories your customers want to hear. Get to know your customers and you may find more than just a testimonial. Who knows where a good customer story can drive your business?

No matter the nature of the story, profiles put a face—and heart—to your company and make a connection with your customers.

Voice your values

We’ve been talking about heart. But what about the soul of your company? What about the values that guide it?

Values often get lost on company websites and in staff manuals, yet they can be a differentiating factor that forms a personal connection and lasting relationship with your customer. But remember—if you use video storytelling to describe your values, you’d better stick to them when push comes to shove!

Take your customers behind the scenes

Your customers want to understand what makes your company tick. They want to know what’s “under the hood.” Video is the perfect way to show the inner workings of your organization or company. So invite them in!

Show how your company makes its top-selling candy product. Let them experience the behind-the-scenes frenzy of introducing your new product—the one they’re going to love when they try it!

Video is a great way to explain hard-to-understand products and service. It’s easier to show than to tell. Many people are visual learners, which means the complex concepts will click once they’re put into motion.

Make the customer the star

Customer reviews are a great way to showcase your product or service in a unique way. People are more likely to trust a genuine endorsement than an actor making a pitch. And if you have a customer with a compelling story to tell about your product or service, you can rev up the impact of your marketing dollars by using value-added tactics to reach consumers. Remember what we said earlier? 72 percent of consumers are more likely to buy or use a product or service when a video is present.*

Take it one step further! Encourage customers to submit their own videos for consideration showing them using your product or service. By making the customer part of the story, you create personal connections that can grow into lifetime, loyal relationships.

Fueling your business

The potential opportunities you have for telling your story through video are almost limitless. No matter what approach you choose, visual storytelling can rev up your marketing with a high-octane impact. Your messages are more likely to connect with the audience, giving your company a face and a personality and building a relationship. When that happens, you’ll leave your competitors sitting at the starting line.

Remember the compelling story we talked about earlier? Check out our next blog to learn more about great customer stories.

For more information about how video directly affects your influence and SEO, please see our article titled,“Boost SEO with Video: The Shift to Visual Content.

About the Author:

Kristin A. Pelletier is an award-winning writer and executive producer with more than 20-years of experience in script-to-air television production and is the president of Blue Truck Media, Inc. Blue Truck specializes in the writing and creative development of original screenplays, television programming and books, and offers customized marketing and video production services to corporations, worldwide.


Leave a comment

Visual Story Telling—Why a Picture Really Is Worth a Thousand Words

Yes, a picture speaks a thousand words, but "action" speaks even louder.

Yes, a picture speaks a thousand words,
but “action” speaks even louder.

What’s your story? We all have had events and relationships in our lives that helped shape who we are today. Our personal stories connect us to others, provide context and affect how others perceive us.

We call it our reputation—and a good reputation is golden.

The same is true for companies. By sharing your corporate stories, you are opening the heart of your organization for others to see. This kind of storytelling presents valuable opportunities to connect with your existing customers and harvest new relationships.

While it may be hard to decipher a company’s storylines, every business has a wealth of stories to share.

Each organization began somewhere with someone who believed in a product or service. Your story includes where you are as a company today and where you’ve been. It can include anything from philanthropic efforts to the challenges your organization has faced and overcome.

Cutting through the clutter

While there are many mediums a company can use to tell its story, how do you cut through the clutter in a culture inundated with information and sensory overload? People are more likely to be drawn to a video that captures their attention and engages them versus words on a page.

Remember, 72 percent of consumers are more likely to buy or use a product or service when a video is present.* The take away? When you use visual storytelling, you increase audience, and that can increase your bottom line.

How does visual storytelling work to connect you with customers?

Visual storytelling puts a face to your company. No matter how large the company, you can connect individually with customers through your story, finding a way to strike a chord that causes them to pay attention to your message.

Video shows that you do more than just make X widget or offer Y service. It makes your brand more human. It helps buyers develop a personal connection to your company. Video makes a consumer more likely to be invested in your brand and compelled to search for and choose your product or service – even over less expensive brands.

Telling your story visually also can be a big help in the event you suddenly are faced with a crisis. It’s something we don’t like to think about, but corporate crises can and do happen. When something goes wrong, the true character of a company is revealed in the how the issue is resolved. Visual storytelling can be an effective way to communicate and reposition a brand out of tough situations and back into the hearts of your customers.

Fueling your business

Want to make your business take off? Then fuel up on high-octane marketing with visual story telling. Video adds more horsepower to your business engine, so you can pass up your competitors and drive home your message in a unique and engaging way.

Learn how visual storytelling can make your company stand apart from the others in next month’s blog.

About the Author:

Kristin A. Pelletier is an award-winning writer and executive producer with more than 20-years of experience in script-to-air television production and is the president of Blue Truck Media, Inc. Blue Truck specializes in the writing and creative development of original screenplays, television programming and books, and offers customized marketing and video production services to corporations, worldwide.

Reference:
Stelzner, M. (2014) Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos and Social Media to Market Your Business. Social Media Examiner. Retrieved May 5, 2014 from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/visual-storytelling-with-ekaterina-walter/

 


Leave a comment >

Boost Your SEO with Video

Video continues to gain favor in the business landscape for its ability to effectively deliver messaging to key audiences. This is especially true as research develops surrounding search engine optimization (SEO) and the importance of a strong digital presence in the marketplace.

In brief, SEO relates to your company’s presence on Google and other search engine sites when someone searches keywords that relate to your business. So, for example, if you are a plumber in Fort Lauderdale, you want to be one of the top results when someone searches “Fort Lauderdale Plumbers” or “clogged drain help Miami” (just throwing those out there for the purpose of the example).

Search engines are today’s yellow pages.  Most people thumb through Google and other sites to get guidance on where to eat dinner or who to call when they need a handyman. So, how does video drive traffic to your site?

To paint the picture of how video provides a leg up in the race for search engine positioning, lets drop some statistics thanks to Brainshark’s 2013 article, “6 Cool Stats about Video SEO (and What They Mean to You). 2” First of all, Google owns YouTube and, consequently, “62% of Google universal searches include video2” (80% from YouTube). In addition, “video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results2” for two key reasons: people prefer video over text and videos are less prominent than written content. Therefore, video provides potential to climb page ranks due to a less is more scenario combined with user preference towards visual delivery of content.

Now, let’s take it a step further – as more people find and watch your video, the likelihood that your video will appear high in search rankings above other videos improves. How does that happen? Sharing.

Shareable content is a major driver for video’s effectiveness for search engine optimization. The term ‘shareable’ is self-explanatory – give people visual content they want to redistribute. While we previously established video is naturally preferred over written content, you still must create something that they deem worthy for the eyes of friends and family. Especially when someone publicly shares a link via social media, such as retweeting on Twitter or sharing on Facebook, they are putting their name and therefore their reputation and judgment behind the content.

Vision House described the power of sharable content in their article “Does Web Video Marketing Impact SEO?” with this comparison1:

“Each one of those shares creates a virtual road for your company that leads back to the company website.  Google likes those roads.  They make Google spiders happy, and their happiness means better rankings in Google.1

Best of all, it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Check out this simple and affordable animation style video, which is quick and effective in getting the message across.

Take it from expert opinions or statistics, but it is very apparent that companies who utilize video in delivering their messages are capitalizing on a huge potential in the digital marketplace. Could video be the factor that takes your company to the next level?

Blue Truck Productions offers broadcast-quality programming design and production.  We specialize in developing original content for corporations for use in marketing and social media. For more information visit www.bluetruck.tv.

Written by Chelsea Watts, PR Specialist and Staff Writer, Blue Truck Productions

Sources:

1Milton, L. (2013). Does Web Video Marketing Impact SEO?. Vision House. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from http://visionhouse.pro/does-web-video-marketing-really-impact-seo/

2Cournoyer, B. (2013). 6 Cool Stats about Video SEO (and What They Mean to You). Brainshark. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from http://www.brainshark.com/Ideas-Blog/2013/August/6-cool-stats-about-video-seo.aspx


Leave a comment

The Gift of Giving

Giving is good for the heart and soul.

I am the proverbial “Polly Anna.”  My glass is always half full.  I see the silver lining in every cloud.  However, a few years ago, I encountered a season of very gloomy, gray clouds. We all go through seasons of sorrow, but the stressors of life were weighing more heavily than ever.  I began to find it very difficult to keep my chin up.  In fact, I was feeling depressed.

I have always subscribed to the belief that through prayer, exercise, counseling and healthy living that one can overcome any obstacle.  However, the weight of sorrow I was feeling was not responding to a holistic approach to physical and mental wellness.  I found it increasingly difficult to put on a happy face, and put one foot in front of the other. Something was missing.  Then life gave me a gift in the form of a conversation with a friend.

Over coffee, my friend Rod was talking about the joy he experiences in volunteering. A sound byte from the conversation resonated in my soul. “The best way to feel good is to make other people feel good.”  Rod claimed that finding ways to serve others, volunteering and doing good deeds is the best way to increase joy in your life.   I took his words to heart. 

I began to look for more ways to serve and give.  I volunteered at more events.  I secretly placed flowers on stranger’s doorsteps.   I responded to the charity mailers. I left small gifts for people to find.  I covertly mowed my neighbor’s lawn.  I visited with elderly people.  I took dinner to a friend.  The giving feeling was addictive.  I began performing random acts of kindness at every opportunity I could find.  My blue feelings rapidly faded.  I suddenly felt happy again, even elated. 

Being the analytical type, I had to know: Was I simply caught up in the cliché: It is better to give than receive? Or, was there scientific evidence that something biological was happening to me?  So, I did what every good researcher does, I Googled it and found numerous research studies.  The feel good feeling I was feeling from giving was actually related to a release of endorphins – the feel good hormones – in my body.

When it comes to giving, I had always been told that you shouldn’t expect anything in return. That couldn’t be further from the truth.  By giving, I was not only creating joy in my life and the lives of others, I was actually improving my health and well-being. The act of giving was having a positive chemical reaction within the cells of my body; similar to the benefits of exercise.

Yet this key health discovery hasn’t made it fully into mainstream thinking.  Like exercise, it may take some time for everyone to adopt “the act of giving” as integral part of a holistic approach to health and wellness.  It all starts with awareness.  To that end, as a television producer, I feel a new calling to use my gifts and talents to produce a new kind of reality show.  

The Kindness Effect will be a 30-minute, hidden camera, reality program with a unique twist.  Similar in format to programs like Candid Camera; Betty White’s Off Their Rockers; and Punk’d with one major difference.  Instead of using the programming budget to play practical jokes on people, The Kindness Effect will “prank” people “for good” and change lives along the way.  Learn more here.

The gift of giving is not only something you give others, but something you give yourself.  It is no cliché. It is actually good for your health.  My journey in finding this truth was a difficult but extremely rewarding and enlightening breakthrough in my own life.  I hope you, too, find healing through giving and that the act of giving is a gift you give yourself this holiday season.


Leave a comment

The Big Picture: Scripting for Success

Once upon a time, a writer sat down in front of her computer with the goal of creating a powerful…no…meaningful…no…inspirational…informative…? Ah!  An excellent script.

No. An award-winning script!

How does one script for success?  It depends on how you define success. If you are writing a book, you may define success as finishing the manuscript, getting published, or winning a prestigious literary award.

In the world of video marketing, a script’s success is defined as meeting a very specific program objective (see the article on Content Development).  If at the end of the program your objective has been met, you have scripted for success.

The objective not only serves as a guidepost for success, it functions as checkpoint for content and drives the outline of your program.   Once you set the objective, you can create a basic outline that will help you organize the content and flesh out the script.  Even if you plan to hire a marketing or video production firm to help you with the project, this is a valuable and key exercise that will move you in the “write” direction.

A basic video outline consists of, not surprising, the beginning, middle, and end.  You will add more details as you develop the script, but this will give your video story-structure, which will help engage and hold audience attention.  Everyone loves a good story. Even in marketing.

For example, it your objective is to compel the audience to volunteer or donate to your cause, your basic outline might look like this:

I.         Beginning – Corporate mission statement and purpose
II.         Middle – Real stories, how we impact the world
III.         End – A call to action, why and how to get involved

As you begin to flesh out the outline and story visually, your outline might develop with notes on how you will convey the information, such as:

I.         Beginning – Corporate mission statement and purpose
  1. Interview with founder
  2. Archive photos and videos
  3. Timeline and successes
II.         Middle – Real stories, how we impact the world
  1. Heartwarming stories of lives changed
  2. Graphics and statistics, how many suffer / impacted
  3. Testimonials with clients or those served
III.         End – A call to action, why and how to get involved
  1. Interview with other volunteer(s)
  2. Describe the unmet need, what if the organization didn’t exist?
  3. Provide contact information and ask for help

With the objective and basic outline in place, you are ready to write.  Look at the outline and then ask yourself: What is our story?  Write the first rough draft. Don’t worry about typos.  Let the words flow naturally and tell the story as authentically as possible.  Save editing for the second draft.

If you happen to stumble over a writer’s block along the way, return to the outline and drill down the content. Try conducting mock interviews with your customers or employees.  What would you ask them and what would you like people to say about your product or service?  Write the responses or sample interview sound bites.  All of this material will help craft the final draft.

If you find writing is not your forte, you can always enlist the help of a professional writer to help polish the final words but having your outline and thoughts in ink will provide the backbone of your story and help advance the “big picture” that will develop into a successful script.


Leave a comment >

This is article two in my content development series entitled, The Big Picture.  In the first article I suggested three critical questions that can help you to define and understand your audience in order to craft targeted, effective video content.  Now that you have a good understanding of your audience, it’s time to pull out your keyboard and start pecking away your first draft script.  Or is it?  Novice or not, before putting pen to page, first consider the raw tools of the trade: the elements of production.  At a top level, that is sight, sound, and motion.

Sight Sound Motion

Before I ever begin to write, I start to form the big picture: how the program  will look, sound, and feel.  What is the message and what are the various production elements that can help convey that content in a dynamic and memorable way?  Of course, in the end, the specific elements will be somewhat dictated by the script content itself (and of course budget), but considering the production elements can help broaden the creative process in how you bring substance to the screen. The perfect mix of sight, sound, and motion all come together to form the big picture. But each of these elements also plays a critical and independent role, so dissecting them is a worthwhile endeavor.

Sight, what will be seen. 

Give some thought to how the program will look. As the old saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat. Fact is, there are even more ways to tell a vision. Will you incorporate on-camera interviews; use a host or moderator; incorporate actors; voice-over talent; photographs; tell the story completely with animated graphics; or use a combination of styles to create your own unique look?  Consider examples of videos that you like. What captures you about the way they are built?  Great. Now break the mold.  Use unique sets, environments, lighting, and composition to bring a fresh view.

Sound, like a plan. 

Never underestimate the power of audio.  Movies have it right.  The music and sound tracks are one of, if not the most important production elements responsible for how your program will feel.  Just try editing a serious piece of content with the circus music.  Or, put elevator music under a marketing video. You’ll immediately hear the obvious difference.  In planning your script, make notes about how you want the audience to feel throughout the program. Later when you’re selecting music tracks, use these key words to guide you in customizing the perfect music bed for your content to rest comfortably.

Motion, what moves you. 

What goes up must come down. What it comes down to on the screen is emotion. Motion evokes emotion. The way the program is edited is the motion behind the emotional footprint the program leaves on its viewer.  The pace and duration of the images and the use of transitions (dissolves or cuts, for example) all affect the motion of the program.  You can have a thirty-minute program that drags on and feels like an hour, or you can have the same length program that feels like its only fifteen minutes.  That’s the difference been “real time” and “feel time.”  No matter the content or the length, with the shortening attention span of today’s audience, you never want a program to feel like it drags on.  Before writing, think about how you will keep the pace – the motion – moving in order to bring your audience along for the entire ride.

Preplanning the sight, sound, and motion of your program prior to scripting is all part of The Big Picture in crafting engaging content.