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Serving Up Fresh Content in the Restaurant Industry

Serving Up Fresh Content in the Restaurant Industry

Here’s a great question that recently made my radar detector go off.

“I am curious about what ideas you can present in order to help us increase our restaurant business?”

So glad they asked! Here’s what I told them.

There are a lot of options that can help increase exposure/drive customer awareness in any business. In that regard, restaurants are no different. But unlike many businesses that have online access, for a restaurant campaign to work, the customer must be motivated to jump in their jalopy (or a shiny, Blue Truck) and physically seek out the place of business.

Driving the Customer to Your Business

What drives the customer to take that action? A gangbuster campaign that includes a hefty serving of video content is a prime motivator! If the product is good (they LOVED the menu!), you’ll have repeat customers who’ll also help drive new customers through your front doors.

So let’s talk about what makes great video content that boosts your search engine optimization (SEO) to the top of the page, builds brand awareness and drives consumer interest and engagement.

Using Video to Boost Your SEO

Producing, curating (obtaining/licensing from outside sources), sharing and uploading video content is an excellent way to boost SEO. (More on how to curate video in a later blog.) As the saying goes, “Content is king.”

Statistics indicate that a video message is more likely to be viewed, shared and remembered by the viewer—and also increase your brand’s value and trust factor. Plus, video is a highly effective form of communication that provides a great reason to reach out to existing and new customers via social media (“Check out our video/commercial, etc.”). We call it the “soft serve” approach. You can even see how well you’re communicating using venues such as YouTube and Facebook, which have built in tracking and reporting mechanisms that allow you to see the results of your campaign.

Besides social media and website distribution, you may want to consider a commercial for cable broadcast or online paid advertising placement. There are many unique opportunities in today’s media-rich environment. One of our clients even places their commercials in movie theaters. While waiting for the movie to begin, moviegoers can munch on popcorn and get a heaping helping of your message at the same time. If you are investing marketing dollars in broadcast-quality video production, you can get the most bang for your buck by exploiting all distribution avenues. (To learn more, read my blogs about getting the most bang for your production buck, part 1 and part 2.)

Video content for your restaurant (or any business) may be anything from a commercial spot to behind-the-scenes vignettes (i.e. meet the staff/chef; learn or share a cocktail/food recipe; customer testimonials etc.). You can use video marketing to promote events or specials, which could be designed around your slower times, days or seasons. Who can resist the chef’s preparation and presentation of a mouth-watering menu item that tastes as good as it looks? Not me!

There’s another natural benefit of featuring your staff, products and customers in video—it goes a long way toward personalizing your brand. Putting faces and personalities to the name puts the “social” in social media.

Get the Customers Involved!

Besides the end product – the master video in hand – the process of creating a short film for your company can become a newsworthy topic to your audience. It gives you something exciting to tweet about, and opportunities to engage your audience. At Blue Truck Productions we help clients build a whole social media campaign around the pre- and post- production process.

For instance, in pre-production, we may hold a casting call for a customer to “star” in your commercial. Let’s make it a contest and get customers psyched and engaged. Ask them to submit a “video audition” and voila we’ve just curated more shareable content with a trail leading back to your company. A recipe for SEO success.

During production building up to the video’s release, we can share behind-the-scenes photographs, clips and production updates. And in post-production, we may cut two versions of the commercial and ask people to vote on their favorite. Get the picture? The ideas are endless–a veritable buffet of options!

I often consult with clients to build video production campaigns that may include a variety of professionally produced videos coupled with in-house content (which I help design/train staff to produce) and curated content. It’s just one of many services Blue Truck Productions offers its clients.

Let me know if I can help you in this way.

In the meantime, check out my Blog for information about using video in business, SEO, budgeting and more. There’s lot of good stuff in the blog archives with lots of new content heading your way. Subscribe at https://bluetrucktv.wordpress.com/.

Kind regards,

Kristin

About the Author:

Kristin A. Pelletier is an award-winning writer and executive producer with more then 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.

 


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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/

 


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Video Production Budget (Part 2): Get the biggest bang for your production buck.

money_filmPart Two: The Lean Production Philosophy

You’ve decided that a product video is exactly what your company needs. You’ve found the right independent production company to help with the project. Now what?

If budget is a concern—and when isn’t it?— there are ways to lower your overall costs and get the most bang for your production bucks.

Rule No. 1 (there’s not a Rule No. 2, but this is important—pay attention): No matter who you hire to write and produce your content—and even if you self-produce your programming—don’t try to save money by “under producing.” This is a case where more is definitely better!

In corporate production, while it may seem counterintuitive, producing more can actually cost less. I always recommend to my clients producing (or at least filming) with more than one end product in mind. It is simply more efficient in the long run.

When a customer comes to me with a video project in mind, I always consider what other content might be useful. Not because I want to sell the client more production. I want to add value. “Added value” and “lean production” are business philosophies that were engrained in me as a young producer working for an independent a business television network.

One of my mentors instilled this idea in all his producers. He even wrote a handbook: The Lean Production Handbook, a guideline which outlined the most cost-effective ways to produce quality content and add value to every shoot. Among the time and money saving tips, we were encouraged to collect “bonus footage,” shoot “evergreen stock” and think of ways to “repurpose content.” These philosophies help me bring added value to the clients I serve today.

As a production manager and content developer, one of the first things I suggest to clients is to create a “programming wish list.”  We brainstorm a list of all the video programming that would possibly be needed or benefit the company over the next one to two years.

We consider content for marketing, sales, training and human resources. We note milestones, new product development and anniversaries so that we can take advantage of key marketing opportunities.

We discuss any inefficiency or pain the organization may be experiencing. Often we discover video solutions that can solve key issues, save valuable time or impart meaningful content.

In fact, some content can even provide a level of protection from potential lawsuits (a topic for another time.) Once we have the “wish list,” we prioritize the content, noting which videos will bring the most value to the organization.

Taking note of the big picture allows us to maximize production and to be forward thinking in planning and filming so we acquire footage not only for content at hand but also footage that may be relevant in future programming.

By carefully planning production, we are able to acquire bonus footage and clients are able to amortize their production budget over several video products. Maybe most important, we get ahead of the distribution game by developing a pipeline of content that can be edited and disseminated over time across various distribution channels. This approach saves corporations time and money and helps position them ahead of the competition.

Besides looking at video assets simply as video assets, I encourage clients to consider the other ways these assets can be used. For example, still shots captured from video can be used on social media channels and in print materials. Transcripts of interviews may appear in magazine articles and newsletters. Customer sound bytes could be included in radio commercials or appear as written testimonials in collateral materials.

In this way, video production becomes even more cost-effective because the content serves multiple purposes.

Keep this “Lean Production” philosophy top of mind as you contemplate video content. Big-picture planning and repurposing video assets helps corporations stretch their marketing dollars and get the biggest bang for their production buck.

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.

 

 

 


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Video Production Budget: Get the biggest bang for your production buck.

 

movie-money-film-reel.ju_.09Part One: Time is Money

There is a plethora of research touting the benefits, value and trend toward video marketing. Marketers are churning out online video content at an unprecedented rate.

According to EMarketer, online video was the fastest growing ad format in 2012 with a nearly 55 percent growth rate1. Still, some marketers are struggling to develop quality video content, stating time and cost as the most common barriers.

It is true that writing, shooting and editing quality video programming requires a lot of time, but the effort pays off. According to MediaPost, 57 percent of consumers say that product videos make them more confident in a purchase and less likely to return an item2. So producing video content can be time and money well spent. But here’s the caveat: Be mindful of how you approach production–or you risk wasting both.

In effort to save money, companies often attempt to take production into their own hands, only to be frustrated with the results, or—more likely—lack of results.  Unless there is a dedicated, in-house production team or at least a project manager with production expertise, the clock may tick ever so slowly and often the end product suffers.

The good news is there’s an easy solution that will get your project done in a timely manner. Hire a professional.

Production is truly an area where outsourcing to an expert pays dividends. Besides freeing you up to conquer other tasks, hiring an outside contractor provides a fresh perspective and an objective eye on your products and services.

As an independent producer with full-service production capabilities, I travel all over the world to help corporations produce broadcast-quality programming, often becoming an integral part of their marketing team. I have worked with some clients for well over a decade. Why? My clients say they enjoy working with our team because they can trust us to work in autonomy to delivery a turn-key product on time and within budget.

They’ve discovered through trial and error that they really can’t achieve the same quality results faster, better or cheaper on their own (or through their agency of record, which typically outsources production and marks it up at cost plus a hefty agency charge).

So what’s the best approach to procure a high-quality, well-produced, cost-effective production with added value? A good way to start is by talking to an independent producer – whether it’s me or someone else – about your needs, budget and timeline.

An independent producer, can help you determine your production needs, then work with you to meet your budget and timeline—delivering a high-quality finished product for your company. And with careful planning, can help you save on future project costs—bringing added value to your company.

With a pipeline of fresh video content, your company’s investment in production will pay dividends to your bottom line.

About the Author:

Kristin A. Pelletier is an award-winning writer and executive producer with more then 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.

Next Month: Part Two, “The Lean Production Philosophy.”
Sources:
 1EMarketer (2012). Video Top Asset Created for Content Marketing. Retrieved May 8, 2014 from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Video-Top-Asset-Created-Content-Marketing/1008927
 2MediaPost (2013). 57% of Consumers Rely on Product Videos by Daisy Whitney. Retrieved May 7, 2014 from http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/196791/57-of-consumers-rely-on-product-videos.html#axzz2OmAzPtJQ


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Video Production: How much will it cost?

clapperboard with Cost vs ROIThe most common question I hear regarding video production is: How much will it cost? Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple, one-size-fits-all answer to this question. And it may not be the most important question that marketers should be asking.

Producing a video is a lot like building a house. The price to construct a new home depends on the size, design, features, amenities and neighborhood, as well as other factors. As a general rule of thumb: the bigger the house, the lower the “cost-per-square foot.” With that said, there are exceptions to every rule. A case in point: the current national average to build a home is $125 per square foot. However, if you want to break ground on a high-rise in Manhattan or deck-out a waterfront mansion in Miami, plan to shell-out more than four times that amount.

In video you may hear “cost per finished minute.” And for many years, the average budget for broadcast-quality video production has been valued at $1,000- $2,000 per finished minute Again, this is a loose rule of thumb. There are exceptions to every rule. You can’t always produce a one-minute video for $1,000 and it isn’t always necessary to spend six-figures on a one-hour documentary.

Just like building a house, the architecture and design of each video project dictates resources and crew requirements − and those production elements dictate the budget. Will your video feature animated graphics or on-camera interviews? Will it be filmed on location or in a studio? Will it involve voice-over talent, music licensing or actors? There are a lot of variables to video budgeting.

The bottom line: asking how much a 3-minute marketing video for your website will cost is like going to a homebuilder and asking how much “a house” will cost. Clearly, a competent builder will want to engage in an interview and fact-finding session in order to professionally guide you in the right direction.

Similarly, in video production, a key first step is to meet with a producer who can guide you through the creative process and make suggestions on how to cost-effectively write and produce video content that accomplishes your communication and marketing goals.

A video budget should be evaluated just like any other marketing investment. Consider the return on the investment (ROI). What is the goal and how will you measure the success of the campaign? Simply put, if you invest x-dollars in video content, how many new customers will you need to acquire or how many widgets will you need to sell in order to recoup your video production investment and realize a profit?

According to EMarketer, “51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide cite video as the type of content with the best ROI.” 1, 2

With proper planning and production guidance, an investment in professionally produced video content will pay off.

At the end of the day, “How much will it cost?” isn’t the most important question. Rather, marketers should be asking, “How much will I gain?”

Next month:

Video Production: Getting the most bang for your production buck.

Sources:

1EMarketer (2013). Get the Best ROI? Retrieved May 6, 2014 from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Which-Content-Marketing-Tactics-Best-ROI/1009706

2CopyPress (2013). 2013 State of Content Marketing. Retrieved May 7, 2014 from http://www.copypress.com/White_Paper.pdf.

 

Written by Kristin A. Pelletier, Writer and Executive Producer, Blue Truck Productions

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.


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“Lights, Camera – Social Action!” by Chelsea Watts, Staff Writer

Blue Truck Productions can help your business harness the power of video in Social Media.

Blue Truck Productions can help your business harness the power of video in Social Media.

It is no surprise that social media is redefining the business landscape, breaking rules and forcing marketers to up their game. It seems that every day there is a new medium, some just reinventions of others, but nonetheless, social media is where customers spend their time, so businesses must spend their employee’s time and resources there, too, to be relevant in the marketplace.

Not sold on the viability of social media to promote brands? Digital Buzz Blog’s November 2013 article about social media use in 2013 may open your eyes to just how big of an opportunity you are missing if you don’t partake in social. For example, Facebook has more than 1.15 billion total users. Of those users, 23% of users visit Facebook more than five times each day. For Twitter, there are more than 500 million users and more than 400 million tweets are posted per day. When it comes to Instagram, a channel that relies on photo and video, this channel features more than 130 million users. Of those 130 million plus users, on average, each will have 40 photos. Instagram fields more than 1,000 comments per second on its users photos and videos. I could expound for the length of the article on the weight of these statistics – but I think you can draw conclusions on your own.

Amidst the expanse of channels, those that are most successful thrive because of one shared key element – visual content. Channels such as Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest, which were created purely to amplify this element, are now being pressured by existing channels such as Facebook and Twitter, who are stepping up their visual content. While it may have flown under your radar, Facebook and Twitter redesigned their sites to include photos and videos placed more prominently on pages. New channels, such as Vine, emerged on the social media scene, making it easy for amateur videographers to use their iPhones to create six-second videos. The digital landscape is evolving to ride the wave of visual content.

Social Media Today’s article from March 2013, “The Importance of Video in Social Media” provides statistics regarding online video. For example, in September 2012, 85% of Internet users in the United States viewed some form of video content online. In 2013, the article estimated “by 2014, online video could account for 50% of all internet traffic. 2” It also noted that as of March 2013, video was considered the sixth most popular content marketing tactic2. Knowing how many people use social media and “50% of social media users are likely to view a video posted by a brand they follow, 2” are you missing out on a lucrative opportunity to connect with your customers?

Photos and videos drive clicks and viewership, without them companies lose market share and deem themselves irrelevant. So what does that mean for business? Whether you are a large company or a small family startup, everyone has equal access to social media channels. While the budgets for sponsored posts (advertising) and personnel devoted to servicing profiles may be different, everyone has an equal chance of posting engaging content that catches the attention of potential clients.

So you know that you need photos and videos, but not just anything snapped with a smart phone will do. Content must be intentionally created to spark the attention of customers. This starts with knowing your customers, but that concept really deserves its own post. For now, let’s say that when you know your various audiences and what they are looking for in your products or services, you are able to better service them in the content you publish to social media (also, when you know your customer, you know which social media channels they prefer to use over others, so you don’t waste your time and content).

Shareable content is another important aspect of videos in social media. Social Media Today’s article also provides tips for engaging videos. They identify the importance of short videos, two minutes or less, that are easily sharable, meaning that your immediate influence will multiply every time a viewer deems the content worthy to be posted to their personal pages. The content should “be genuine” – draw the viewer in and let the “brand identity” shine2. The article also calls attention to the importance of story telling to make your brand relatable, be clear about the purpose of your video and finish with a strong call to action2.

Do not be afraid about the future of your company if you aren’t a video-curating genius, there are plenty of resources to help you create sharable content. Do not let the fear of the new and unknown keep you from maximizing your potential to attract and maintain a healthy customer base.

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

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.

Resources:

 1 Digital Buzz Blog: “Infographic: Social Media Stats 2013.” Nov. 14, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-social-media-stats-2013/

2 Social Media Today: “The Importance of Video in Social Media Marketing.” March 2, 2013. Retrieved from  http://socialmediatoday.com/monica-romeri/1265361/video-social-media-marketing-infographic


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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.