www.bluetruck.tv

The Blue Truck Blog Site


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

“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


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.


Leave a comment

The Big Picture: Content Development

Picture the Audience

Picture the Audience

The Big Picture – Content Development

So you read my series on Video Marketing and now you are amped up and ready to go. You want to produce a video. Now what? This article provides three questions that will help you see the big picture and provide a roadmap to content development

Know Your Audience

1. Who is the intended audience?

Begin the planning process by thinking about your viewers. To whom do you want to speak? Will the video reach new and, or existing customers? Or, do you have a message to communicate to employees, investors, donors, or fans? Understanding your audience will drive the voice behind your content.

Dial-in on a Channel

2. Where will the program be viewed and, or distributed?

Knowing how the video will reach its intended audience is another crucial element to planning the production. The distribution medium helps to drive the length and content. In most cases, if your primary distribution channel is the Internet the video should be short and to the point. If your video has entertainment value or you have a captive audience such as presenting in a live seminar, the program may be longer. Understanding where and how your audience will interact with the video is all part of fine-tuning your content.

Set a Program Objective

3. After viewing the program, the audience will ___________________ ?

Once you know who is watching and where they are watching, the next step is to establish the program objective. Consider what you want your audience to learn, feel and, or do after watching your video. The program objective becomes the checkpoint for script content.

Here are some examples:

  • After viewing the program, the audience (customers) will have a better understanding of our product(s) and service(s) in order to help facilitate a buying decision.
  • After viewing the video, the audience (employees) will have a better understanding of our products and services in order to help customers and increase sales.
  • After viewing the video, the audience (public) will have a better understanding of our cause and mission and be compelled to act by volunteering or making a donation.
  • After viewing the video, the audience (fans) will be entertained and more connected/loyal to our show/brand.

In order to see the big picture, first picture yourself sitting in the audience watching your own show. Looking through the eyes of a viewer before the lens of a camera will help you develop meaningful content that is well received by viewers, who hopefully become your biggest fans.


Leave a comment

Video Marketing: Putting You on the Tube

So far, in our video marketing article series, we talked about why video is a choice medium for sharing your message and how video appeals to the senses and the masses in helping you build a sticky brand. That’s our perspective. We produce videos. Of course we will continue to tout the benefits!

iStock_000015898585Small

Share Your Message in Video

What about our customers? Why do they choose to earmark precious marketing dollars to video production and what exactly are they having us write and produce? Ah, the inspiration of this article. More justification for video! Why and How our customers are utilizing video and the top three reasons you should, too.

When it comes to why, though we hear a lot of variations to this answer, we find they can all be boiled down to the following three key reasons.

Why Customers Use Video Marketing….

 # 1  “I have important things to tell people.”  

When you have something really important to communicate, say it in video. Video gives your message time to think before it speaks. The simple act of writing a script and crafting the precise language is a valuable exercise in and of itself. The script requires you to hone and sharpen your message until it is clear and concise, and can be readily understood by your audience.

Once the script copy is polished, matching the words with eloquent visuals will make that message come to life and, once on tape or in digital format, the master program ensures that message is delivered perfectly every time.

# 2  “I want to stand out from the crowd.”

If you want to stand out in a forest, don’t wear camouflage. If you want to be found, wear something fluorescent.  The same is true in marketing – it’s all about differentiation. Video allows you to communicate the unique properties of your brand to encourage consumers to choose you over your competitor.

Those “unique properties” become the identifiers of your brand, allowing consumers to identify you without a second thought, or brand awareness. Awareness is the first phase in the buying process, which can lead to brand loyalty and hopefully – provided you deliver on that message – a lifetime of happy customers (and their referrals).

# 3  “I want our company to have a prominent online presence.” 

Bottom line, you want your message where your consumers are – online. Video takes your messaging and makes it visual and sharable, which is appealing for our digital culture of consumers. While video can be shared through traditional means such as DVD’s, having an online presence with a video can instantaneously reach a large amount of customers and prospects with just a click.

Now that we established the “why” from a businesses point of view, we can shed light on the ever looming “how” that turns theory into motion, literally. While this list is in no way all-inclusive, it can get your wheels turning as to the functional uses of video.

How to use video in your marketing efforts….

Commercials, Infomercials, Marketing Videos…

The most widely recognized use of video is promotional. Business-to-consumer (B2C) promotion is a saturated market, so it is more important than ever to differentiate your brand through effective video and strategic messaging/imagery. Business-to-business (B2B) promotion also falls in this category; if you sell a product or service that helps other companies deliver their final product or service. Video, in this situation, can take a proposal or sales pitch to the next level.

Educational and Training…

While we often focus on the added value video can have on your marketing strategy − video can be purely internal. Use video to spice up meetings, to unveil new product releases or changes to the website. Save money and increase the efficiency of employee time by using video to train new employees or existing staff members on protocol changes or updated safety regulations. Video also makes employee training more flexible, allowing the person to go at his or her own pace and approach the content more thoroughly.

From a human resources perspective, video allows for recordable evidence that training has been provided and fully covered all issues. While this may seem minor at first glance, proper training is an important preventative measure against lawsuits and workplace malpractice claims.

Public Relations Efforts…

As the age of digital media continues to emerge, video news releases are more prominent than ever. Members of the media tend to prefer audiovisual content to the traditional press release style. With video, your words pack more punch and will better grab the attention of your intended audience.

Public service announcements (PSA) are another public relations tactic that translates effectively through video. Many times, PSA’s address more serious issues than typical press release and the serious tone is easily captured through the power of video. Product recalls and public apologies are often transmitted through PSAs.

Investor relations…

Maintaining positive investor relations is an important part of your company’s success. Video provides an avenue to communicate important information to investors in a sophisticated format that subconsciously communicates organization and sophistication. Video also allows you to capture and maintain their interest by providing visuals to support your numbers. You can also show your appreciation for their vested interest by using top company executives to communicate the information, showing them how much you value their investments from the top-down.

Creative brand building…

When creating and sustaining a recognized brand, you can’t be all business all the time. You have to find a way to be personable with current and prospective customers, which can be achieved in many ways. Philanthropy is one way to meet this goal and benefit others. Partnerships with charities and videos to promote that organization’s cause and your work with them are a great way to give your brand character. You can create awareness for a cause and your brand at the same time, without being too conspicuous.

Social media campaigns supplemented by video are another example of creative brand building. Engaging online followers to use a specific hash tag (#) on Twitter or post their own content to your Facebook wall allows company’s to make personal connections with their more important audiences. Kick off the campaign or program with a video getting viewers excited about participation.

Videos can, but do not have to be, completely calculated. While you always want a consistent message, videos can take chances and show the fun side of your organization. When posting sharable video content online, you touch on the concept of viral video. While this is considered a bit passé’ in the world of social media, there is definitely some merit to creating short, fun or meaningful videos that make people want to share across their internet presence.

Documentaries and docudramas are less recognized in the business world, but can provide historical value to your organization. Identifying important milestones can create an emotional connection to viewers that sparks interest in your product or service, thus building brand awareness.

Throughout the series, we established the what, when, where and why of video in a business environment. Don’t miss article one: Moving Messages in the Right Direction or article two: Appealing to the Senses. Appealing to the Masses.


Leave a comment

Video Marketing: Appealing to the Senses. Appealing to the Masses.

There is a lot of buzz in marketing circles about creating brands that appeal to all five senses.  “Brands have to be powered up to deliver a full sensory and emotional experience. It is not enough to present a product or service visually in an ad,” advises Martin Lindstrom, Author of “Brand Sense: Sensory Secrets Behind the Stuff We Buy.”

With that being said, one should never under estimate the power of a visual message in conveying that multisensory story. Here are the top five benefits to employing the motion of video in helping you create your own sticky, touchy, feely, aromatic and melodically awesome brand.

iStock_000009575940Small

Moving Pictures.
Don’t let the wrong medium,
steal your message.

1. Video is a Multisensory Experience

If a picture says a thousand words, video speaks volumes. Using video, marketers can create a multisensory experience that communicates their message in a dynamic format.

Unlike a print ad that is visually oriented, or a radio ad that is strictly an auditory message, video has the ability to engage both sight and hearing simultaneously. With carefully crafted scripting, music, sound effects and visuals, video can paint an even bigger picture that expands into our senses of touch, smell and taste.

By virtually touching multiple senses of the viewer, the information is more likely to be retained. According to Geoff Crook, the head of sensory design research lab at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, “83 percent of the information people retain is received visually.” We can assume that by simultaneously engaging other viewer senses such as taste, the message packs an even more impressive punch.

For example, images of a glass of tea coupled with appropriate audio can make viewers thirsty. We have probably all experienced this at some point in our life. It starts with the senses, but can quickly translate to a deeper connection. Slow motion footage of a father and son reuniting at the airport can evoke tears in the eyes of strangers sitting in their living rooms.

2. Video Evokes Action

Beyond engaging the traditional five senses, professionally produced video messaging has the ability to affect not only emotion, but thought and action. The script, audio features and visual elements all come together to communicate a unique message or set of messages that engages a viewer on an emotional journey and leaves them with a feeling or opinion.

Such consumer engagement is vital when attempting to elicit actionable responses from your audience. An actionable response is anything from a visit to your website or purchase of a product to attendance at an event. When you present engaging audiovisual content, you have a better chance of getting a response than a simple email or printed advertisement.

This is true especially if your viewer makes an emotional connection to your product or company. If a personal connection is made, viewers are more likely to convert into customers and if they are pleased with their experience and still possess that emotional connection and vested interest—you are more likely to create a level of loyalty that multiplies your return on investment (ROI).

3. Video Delivers Brand Consistency  

Being mindful of brand consistency is just as important as creating the brand itself. Brand consistency translates into brand recognition and with recognition comes familiarity. With familiarity comes trust. Trust converts shoppers into buyers.

Utilizing video allows a company to deliver a consistent and compelling brand message. By disseminating the same clear, concise message to all constituents, corporations facilitate and build brand trust and equity.

Not only are videos a perfect way to humanize your brand; giving it an identity for consumers to identify with and make a personal connection, video is also the perfect medium for introducing your brand to employees and training them on how to deliver that same message.

As your video is an extension of your brand, you will want to put your best foot forward in terms of content and production value. If your content is sloppy or is even slightly a misrepresentation of your brand, it could cause major damage to your reputation, and eventually, your bottom line. Put on a good show, however, and build your audience while reaping the financial rewards of your investment.

4. Video is User-Friendly

Video is not only a consistent way to communicate; it is also a quick and convenient method for customers to receive sharable information in a timely manner. Given the time constraints of consumers in our culture, concise messaging is no longer just suggested − it is required. With video, you can pack concentrated messaging into variations of images and sounds to engage the senses and make a significant impact.
Lets turn our focus to the ‘sharable’ aspect of video. Video can be readily transferred across multiple mediums through email, DVD distribution, Internet channels and to broadcasted or live events, exposing broader audiences to the brand. This could even be less formal in the form of viral video sharing through YouTube, Vimeo or even through social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

There are important implications to ROI when content is easy to share. If a video is interesting, someone may post your company’s video to their social media pages for their followers to see, who may also post it to their page (and so on). Thus, multiplication of shares potentially turns into multiplication of sales as more and more consumers are exposed to your video, and thus, your messaging.


5.  Video Translates Globally

In an increasingly diverse world, it is important a brand’s messaging is delivered effectively despite potential language barriers for comprehension. Given the state of modern video production technology, video is easily translated and allows a brand’s messaging to be multilingual.

By translating a video into multiple languages, companies can reach into the global economy and welcome a community of new customers. To accommodate multiple audiences, subtitles can be used to reach various members of a single viewing audience, if necessary.

If we take a second to look past the actual words being spoken, there are certain images and emotions that represent universal themes, understood by all. The feeling of peace, serenity and freedom don’t require a specific language, but can be translated through the power of video to reach a diverse audience.

The need for actual spoken words in a video differs depending on the message, intended audience and nature of the product or service. In the end, one aspect of production is standard – effective video production can elicit real emotion and action that far surpasses any barriers that may exist despite language or location.