Get to know Jake a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hi! My name is Jake Richard. I grew up bouncing around from Southern California to the Bay Area and in between but decided to settle in the Bay. I have attended classes at the Academy of Art and City College of San Francisco.
What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?
I am the Post-Production and Camera Manager which means that I am responsible for all of the footage and projects we take on, making sure it is safely ingested on our systems and that it is prepped and ready for an editor to begin work. I also manage the company’s equipment making sure that it all remains in working order and is ready to use on the next shoot. I always had a love for filmmaking and wanted to get a deeper understanding of the full processes it takes to make something great.
What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?
I started at Slow Clap as a production assistant with no experience and did my best to work my way up. My main goal was to learn something new every day when I started to work here, and I couldn’t imagine where it has led me to today. My interest in Slow Clap was always how authentic and human the approach to storytelling was.
Favorite Film? What am I watching?
It’s always so hard to pick a favorite film, but a couple of my favorites from childhood are Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Currently, I am watching the Sopranos for the first time.
I am a fan of going to the movies and I try to stay up to date on the latest shows. I also enjoy relaxing with my friends and playing video games. Most of the time I can be found training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in my off time. I have been doing it for almost 8 years and have recently received my brown belt.
Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?
This is hard because I love all of our videos. Some of my favorite projects I have worked on are the Building the Future videos we did for Github which was one large scripted video and 3 doc-style videos. The scripted video was the first big production I had worked on, and the doc-style videos were all fun to travel and work for. Others include the Juror Orientation video which I think has the biggest audience (albeit a captive one) of any video I have worked on and Earl’s Story for Blue Shield which was one of the first projects I had worked on. Most recently, I am really proud of how the Freemark Abbey videos turned out for Jackson Family Wines which we have already won a few awards for.
At Slow Clap HQ, we’re (obviously) always trying to deliver the best content for our clients so that more audiences clap…more…slowly. But it’s deeper than that— we want to inspire viewers to act, whether that be sharing, subscribing, or signing up. In order to do that, we need to pay attention to more than just beauty shots and captivating storylines. We need to think strategy, we need to think trends— we need to be ahead of the curve.
And it’s quite a big curve to get ahead of. Video is, quite simply, exploding:
And despite the global economy taking a hit, 64% of marketers expect their video budgets to increase in 2023.
So here’s our two cents on what’s coming up in the industry and what to look out for:
BE A SHORT KING – Now this isn’t necessarily groundbreaking news that short videos can be more successful than longer ones. Maintaining audience engagement is one of the hardest things to do when making a video, so keeping a piece of content short and sweet can be instrumental in achieving it. As a video production company in San Francisco, we’ve known this for a long time and there are ever-more data to prove it:
64% of marketers surveyed claim to say the optimal length of a short-form marketing video is 20-60 seconds.
Leveraging the power of short-form content is essential to any video marketing strategy. As long as it stays true to your brand, there’s no reason to shy away from it. It doesn’t have to be all about TikTok, but keeping your videos succinct and to the point will increase messaging and access to your audience.
It’s important to note, however, that this is not a blanket rule, and the length of a video should also be discussed in the context of the platform it’s going out on.
BE HUMAN – In a nutshell, successful videos are informative but also relatable. A recent study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that half of the respondents create videos to raise brand awareness and nearly 40% said one of their primary goals was also to create a human connection. There are multiple ways to do this— you can use real employees or customers over hired talent or delve into the world of UGC (user-generated content):
75% of brands feel that adding UGC to their marketing mix makes their brand content more authentic.
Not only do user-generated videos provide more value in terms of authenticity, but they also drive higher engagement and are often a good way to save time and money.
STRATEGIZE THIS – Creating content is all well and good, but if you don’t have a strategy to lead it out into the stratosphere and support it while it’s there, then you might as well stand on a hill and watch it roll down.
Setting a video strategy is essential to provide direction and focus for your videos. If you publish a video without a strategy, and it doesn’t get seen, that’s not the fault of the video— it’s the fault of your strategy.
Put your money behind the videos.
And that’s it! Good luck with all your video marketing dreams for 2023.
As the Slow Clap team gets ready for 2023 (wow, we never thought we’d make it but here we are), we took some time to reflect on 2022, the busiest, craziest, most fun year in our company’s eight year history of making videos. Take a look at our year condensed into one minute:
Our first assignment of the year got us out of the office, and into the water. We partnered with the Port of San Francisco, a longtime client of ours, to produce a video highlighting the fisherpeople of Fisherman’s Wharf, who recently started selling live crabs right off their boat. Tourists and locals alike really enjoyed gaining access to the “working Port,” and getting to talk directly to the folks that catch the crabs. It’s like an open air farmers’ market on the wharf.
Glide is one of the coolest clients you could think up. Their no-code platform lets anyone turn spreadsheets into mobile apps, whether or not you’ve ever seen a line of code. How cool is that?
We’ve been lucky enough to partner with them to tell their customer success stories for several years. This time around, we got to go big, featuring the PGA, who used Glide to develop apps for the Ryder Cup. We captured interviews at PGA’s Texas and Florida HQs, plus even got to film some product shots and reenactments at our Oakland studio. But most importantly, this customer story video is surprising and entertaining.
Our client at Glide said it best: Their team doesn’t create videos that are off the shelf. They create something that engages the viewer emotionally.
We love partnering with our government clients like the San Francisco Treasurer. Telling stories of huge impact, like the Kindergarten to College (K2C) program’s success, gives us a chance to be part of something bigger, something that affects our community. The video we produced does just that, featuring stories of kids and parents who have taken advantage of the K2C program to save for college.
This educational video is seen by nine million jurors a year, and is used as the primary tool to make sure we have an educated jury of our peers. The video has a shelf life of ten to twenty years. At 100+ million views, that’s blockbuster status baby!
We were also excited to simultaneously launch a documentary about the history of Jury Service as a companion piece to the orientation video. We had the amazing challenge of condensing several hundred years of history into ten minutes, and we got to learn how essential juries are to a healthy democracy.
Another huge production challenge landed in our laps with Ironclad’s summer virtual event video. Ironclad has always been thinking outside the box for virtual events, but this was on a whole nother level. The theme was 80’s high school in the style of John Hughes films like Breakfast Club and 16 Candles. So we scoured thrift stores and local area high schools to put together an authentic expression of this fun theme. We rented a high school that hasn’t been updated since the 70’s, put together a classic gymnasium school dance scene, rented a 1980’s Porsche, and so much more. Our production design team had a blast with the 80’s period pieces. There’s enough in there to watch this video 10 times before you catch all the easter eggs.
We celebrated Slow Clap’s eight year birthday party in a big way at the Alice Collective in downtown Oakland. We’ve celebrated every Slow Clap birthday with a party, inviting our clients, our team, our collaborators, and their loved ones to celebrate another year of amazing video projects, and connect over some banging food and drink. 2022 was no exception.
In August, Katy Bailes joined the team as a producer, to help lead our increasingly complex and large body of work. Katy came from the Economist’s documentary films division before joining Slow Clap, and brings her top notch storytelling skills and can-do attitude to all our projects. She’s been a huge asset to the team, and to our clients, in the short time she’s been here.
We also added Keely Liles to the team as a camera and post-production assistant. Keely brings her fresh ideas and fun personality to all of our projects.
The Slow Clap team tackled a new challenge in 2022, partnering with San Francisco Bay Area regional retail chain Beck’s Shoes to create a brand story video about their unique approach to retail. Shoe cinematography is unlike any other challenge. These are fashion items that move at ground level. But of course, the most important thing is the look on a customer’s face when they find that perfect fit, which is right up our alley.
We always reserve a portion of our calendars to partner with cause-based organizations, offering below market rates. This year, we partnered with Public Advocates, one of the first public interest law firms in America, to produce this short documentary about their 50 year history. We worked with the folks at PA for the entire year to go through decades of archival material and film several new interviews. In the end, we produced a brand film that shows how Public Advocates “makes rights real.”
In addition, after three years of development and pandemic delays, we finished a five-part documentary brand film series for the iconic Napa Valley winery Freemark Abbey. From being founded by a woman in the 1880’s, to winning top prizes at the Judgement of Paris, Freemark Abbey has been redefining what great is since its founding. It was fascinating and exciting to get to be the team to bring this story to life.
Another one of our cause-based clients is Asian Law Caucus, who we’ve been partnering with for eight years. In fact, they were our very first client!
This year, we helped them celebrate their 50th anniversary by producing several videos. Our favorite among them was this moving montage featuring several of the best interviews we’ve captured with ALC clients over the years.
We’re used to being behind the camera, but in December, the whole team got to try something totally different: we turned the camera around, and starred in the Slow Clap holiday card video. It was a blast, and an opportunity for the team to poke fun at me, in the style of The Office.
Fortunately, we’re here to help with some ideas on how to increase views and watch-throughs of your video content.
To be clear, views are not the only marker of a video’s success. For B2B, the ultimate metric is the sale, which (without tracking) is sometimes hard to quantify. But views are, of course, the first marker that matters. No views means something is broken. And right after views comes watch-through rate. If the audience doesn’t finish your video, something else is broken.
We focus on views and watch-through because they are easily measurable. If you are using YouTube, Wistia, or many other platforms, their analytics will give you this data. And in some cases, you can use that data to identify the problem, and either fix it or do better next time.
So here is Slow Clap’s seven-step strategy to ensure your video gets the engagement it needs to promote sales.
1. The video lives where your audience travels
Let’s return to that comet. If your audience travels in a particular galaxy, and your comet passes through that galaxy, they are more likely to see it. In internet terms, each galaxy is a particular platform, like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Different platformsserve different demographics. It can be a challenge to select the right one. Age, buying patterns, and other factors will matter. YouTube began as a place of authenticity, so selling directly isn’t as common as, say, on LinkedIn.
It doesn’t hurt to use more than one platform. But when you know one works, put most of your promotion efforts there.
And one thing to know: upload your video natively to each platform. LinkedIn, for instance, will penalize your posting’s rank if it links to anything outside of LinkedIn, and other platforms use similar strategies to try to keep users on their platform longer.
How to choose the right platforms:
Hootsuite has a great article on which platforms attract persons of particular demographics. And, interestingly, on what devices they tend to visit those platforms!
Wherever you choose, invest in it, learn how to use it effectively (learning their tags, posting schedule, etc.), and make it yours.
And when you do use more than one platform, you can use hub platforms like Hubspot to compare results and automate posts.
2. The video shows up in Search, Feeds and Ads
On any given platform, there are three ways users will see your video:
As a search result
In their feed, through a recommendation or a follow
Or as a paid ad
You have the most control over #1 and #3, where the common denominator is using the right keywords. These are words that audiences search to find answers to their questions.
Understanding how each platform uses keywords and tags is the key to getting it to show up in searches. That’s not to say you’ll rank first right away – sometimes that’s a matter of promotion and engagement.
But you need to know what words people search so they can find your answer to their problems.
And when running advertisements, you need to know what words describe those audiences. Age range. Profession. Again, these vary by platform.
How to track a keyword’s effectiveness
Preemptively, you can estimate a keyword’s effectiveness in several ways:
After you begin using a keyword, you can track its effectiveness in several ways:
A/B Posts or A/B videos. Create two versions using different keywords, and use that platform’s native analytics tools to see which one gets more views and longer watch times.
Use a tracking platform like Hubspot to specifically follow that keyword.
3. The thumbnail makes your target audience unquenchably curious
Remember back when we had movie theaters, and you’d see movie posters in the lobby? A good poster could turn your head. A great poster made you hunt for the movie’s release date, because you had to see that movie.
Thumbnail images are the images that overlay a video before you hit play. And functionally, they are little movie posters. Through audience selection and good old curiosity, they bring in an audience better than nearly anything.
Here’s how to create a great thumbnail:
Plan ahead. Design the thumbnail during pre-production. The thumbnail imagery and story needs to integrate with the video itself. Don’t improvise later.
Your thumbnail should answer the questions Who and What. Let your audience know it’s about them or a problem they have. If you are a secure paper-shredding company, plan a visual of an employee buried under documents.
Use human faces where possible. They connote feelings.
But if you can’t use any human faces, consider a simple graphic that explains a relationship.
Words are the last thing you should add. Do as much communication with the visuals as possible. Words should fill in any context you can’t show.
Sketch it, but leave it to a graphic designer or video editor to make the final product.
Brand it. The usual colors, fonts, and other graphic assets.
Test it. Can somebody you know identify who it’s for and what it’s about after looking at it for three seconds? Does it pique their curiosity?
How to track an effective thumbnail:
View count is the primary metric. There are ways to A/B test different thumbnails – you could publish two copies of the same video, but with different thumbnails, and keep the one that performs better.
4. Write a title that can sell on its own
You can’t always depend on a thumbnail. Depending on the platform you’re on, you may not always be able to use one. On LinkedIn, for instance, videos autoplay in the feed, decreasing the utility of a thumbnail.
This headline without the photo would still get clicks.
Or maybe your topic is simply too abstract to explain in an image. If you’re a company that specializes in API’s (Application Programming Interfaces), you could try to show two pieces of software talking to each other in your video thumbnail. Or you could say “we build error-proof APIs” in a text title.
And even if your thumbnail rocks, you should still have a title, or “headline,” that can sell on its own. We use “title” and “headline” interchangeably, though in marketing speak, the “headline” is any piece of media that is seen first.
Great headlines won attention in printing-press pamphlets 300 years ago, and they still work today. A headline is the top text that answers the question, “what’s in it for me?”
If you’re not sure how to do that, write up a script, and evaluate it according to these criteria:
Do the first 10 seconds give a clear clue that this video is about a problem your audience can appreciate?
Once you fully define the problem, is it easy to understand?
Do the music, narrative, and visuals mirror the correct emotion? For example, do they show how frustrating it is finding an enterprise-level password manager?
If you watched just the first 10 seconds of the video, would you want to know more?
How to measure your first 10 seconds:
Use your platform’s Watch-Time or Watch-through metrics. If you’re experiencing a dramatic drop in the first ten seconds, the video should probably be re-edited according to the guidelines above.
6. Cut the fluff.
A problem in any story – be it a book, a film, or news from a chatty friend – is adding story arcs that don’t resolve or don’t matter. For example, you write a script about a pen that can securely and remotely sign contracts. You connect to Thomas Jefferson signing the declaration of independence.
Source: Ad Age
But attention spans are short. Jefferson’s pen better be relevant or your audience will raise their eyebrows at best, and more likely click away.
“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — wholeheartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”
This is best achieved in script revision. Cut, cut, cut as much information as is unnecessary. Cut as many words as you can and achieve the same effect.
Video editing also uses this process – to tell the best story in the fewest shots necessary.
How to track attention:
Use the Watch-statistics. Is there a point far away from the end that drops off? If so, you may be able to edit the video to be shorter and tighter.
7. End the video where it should end.
A strong finish is a predictable finish. Once the story arc is complete – once the problem and solution are fully disclosed – that’s where to stop.
In your call to action, ask only one thing of your audience. Don’t ask them to buy and subscribe. Don’t ask them to sign up for the email list AND don’t forget to check out our webinar. A video should have one CTA, as once it’s done playing, it’s done.
There is one kind of video that can shoehorn multiple CTAS into a one-hour runtime: the 3 A.M. sales video. The kind that accompany “funnel” sales pages that look the same everywhere. The kind that use gimmicks to keep you watching. “But wait, there’s more!”
But we don’t recommend you make one of those. Respect your customer’s intelligence. Respect their understanding of story. Be transparent by using a clear story arc. And end it where it logically ends.
OK, and there is one more exception: funny bloopers. But do run them by some honest (brutally honest) friends to see if they’re actually funny.
How to track a strong ending:
Watch statistics that make it through the end at least 60% of the time are a win.
The Slow Clap Hook ‘Em TLDR; Summary
When you need your audience to watch your content all the way through:
Start with the platforms where your audience spends time
Make it relevant to things they search and read about
Make sure they know it’s relevant in the thumbnail and headline
Make sure they know it’s relevant in the first 10 seconds
Cut all the fluff and extra time. People are busy!
And end where it makes sense to end.
And if you want help – a team to translate your understanding of a topic, process, or industry into compelling content – give us a shout.
Big data, 360 video and more: a preview of the biggest video trends of 2021
This is an overview of what’s new in video in 2021, what continues to improve from 2020, and how to use each rising technology.
Slow Clap Productionsis a San Francisco-based creative video production company that helps brands like GitHub, Blue Shield of California, and Capital One use video to its full potential.
2021 feels like the year of the comeback, but in video, it’s been an uninterrupted campaign of internet domination. While marketers continue to shout, “brands must use video today or risk everything!”, video marketing itself is not risky. Because in 2020, people consumed a ton of video, and data gives us a great picture into what will continue to work in 2021.
This means you have more data than ever to create the right video for your favorite audience. But here’s the twist: 2021 may be the year to let others tell your brand’s story, and get better results. And not only are influencers bringing audiences into familiar company – more brands will bring audiences into their world using relatively new technology, including one that used to just be for people who “gotta catch ‘em all.”
Here’s how that will look.
Artificial Intelligence will improve audience matching
In 2021, “big data” will continue to improve video effectiveness by showing targeted videos to the right audience.
With more consumer data available every second, algorithms can increasingly predict which videos will garner more likes, subscribes, and sales.
This is already the strategy for YouTube and Facebook ads – but how about emails, popups, or celebrities who show up in a 360-degree virtual space?
Create demographic tiers based on variables native to your audience
Create A/B versions of videos or CTA landing pages and see how they compare
But influencer marketing remains more trusted
Influencer marketing is still on an upward trend. With ads everywhere – and soon to appear in immersive 3D worlds (more on that later) – advertisement fatigue is massive.
But humans continue to know, like, and trust each other – even online. We also value authority. And that’s where everyday people become influencers – by being likeable and knowledgeable.
YouTube changed the face of video, from entertainment to news to yes, even marketing. It’s possible to learn to fix your own car, build your own computer, and know which boots will last the longest – thanks to helpful video content.
But the hard-to-replicate element is trust. Humans value free and helpful information, and they really value it from other humans who act, look, and think like them. And in this age, they earn more credibility if they have nothing to gain by sharing that information.
The future of credibility may be in “brand advocacy,” where ordinary (but trusted!) people make videos about your products and services. Their opinions are the difference between being the giant evil corporation and the community business people know and trust.
HOW TO USE IT
Make it easy for influencers to test and review your products and services
Offer partnerships with influencers
Don’t ask those influencers to exclusively use your products and services – they will lose their trust with the audience
Virtual conferences become a weekly event
Just as live streams are the influencer’s sold-out concert, virtual conferences are multiplying. You’ve probably been to at least one. A virtual trade show. A Q&A session with an expert. A discussion group.
But even in live streams, it’s good to step away from talking heads when you simply have to “show” your audience what you can do for them. Last year, Slow Clap made a testimonial video for Slack Frontiers 2020, showing the audience how fast and effortlessly they can both gain momentum and pivot with the right communication platform.
We also helped with Adobe MAX 2020, creating a fast and fun showcase of creatives empowered by Adobe – while staying focused on how accessible creative work is for anyone, anywhere.
HOW TO USE VIRTUAL CONFERENCES:
Choose a theme based on what’s trending in your industry
Build attendance with a full-fledged campaign
Protect the event with a great video and tech team
Bring in well-known experts as keynote speakers
Repurpose great talks and Q&As as content after the event
360-degree video grows more accessible
360 video is where the audience can move through and look in any direction. And like The Matrix, sometimes you just have to see it to understand what it means:
Virtual events: feel like you’re there with the live attendees
Movie promotion: let the audience explore the asteroid belt from a space pod
Education: learn to watch the pitcher’s tells in a virtual baseball training
Travel: Following along as explorers dive an ancient shipwreck
Health Care: Learning the layout of a hospital before you visit
Home Decoration: tour the house’s Christmas decorations
360 video is not new for 2021, but it’s reaching its adolescence, and it’s growing muscles. Once the exclusive realm of video games, 360 is now less expensive, and therefore more accessible to imaginative businesses everywhere. That’s because the technology continues to decrease in price. Though if you want super high resolution, you’ll want to hire a team like Slow Clap.
Augmented reality is now more than just a game
AR is the converse of 360 – instead of placing a user in the brand’s world, it places the product in the user’s world.
Augmented reality was, for most, seeing a Pokemon on their kid’s phone as they walk through the park. In 2021, it’ll be a lot more than cartoons, and many of us will see it through our glasses, too.
While not strictly “video,” augmented reality nonetheless brings products, services, and education into perception in a novel way. And for the B2B environment, this can mean ideas like:
Training employees, like where to place objects when a shelf is empty
Seeing if office furniture fits (and looks good) in a preview
Identifying an out-of-place part or product instantly – just point your phone at it and find out what department it belongs in
HOW TO USE AUGMENTED REALITY:
Start with an idea. What can you bring into your customer’s world that they want or need?
You’ll have to build an app – or integrate it into an existing app
You’ll need 3D footage or a 3D animated model of the objects
Education videos are still a tried-and-true video entry point
Educational videos continue to make up a huge portion of YouTube viewership. While it would seem that every “how” has been answered on YouTube, it makes lot of sense for any brand to find out what questions their customers ask most, and make content about it, because:
It positions you as a thought leader
It creates value, which builds trust
And it drives inbound traffic to your brand
For example, RepairPal created simple, professional how-tos that, frankly, anybody could have made with a shaky phone camera. But in both content for businesses and customers, they contrasted themselves as an organized and reliable source for repair.
HOW TO USE EDUCATIONAL CONTENT:
Find the most-asked questions about your product or service
Write a script – or consult a scriptwriter
Shoot the video yourself – or hire a production company
Upload it to the platforms your audience uses
Name, tag, and keyword it effectively
Public platforms continue to attract different audiences
Your platform is wherever your audience already is. But odds are you’ll use more than one platform.
YouTube remains the biggest host and curator for video on the internet. YouTube is largely about sitting down with people from around the world as they share their perspectives.
As such, traditional commercials don’t fare well unless run as ads – but educational content still makes up around half of YouTube views. And of course, reality shows and influencer vlogs are doing just fine too.
One more reason to use YouTube: videos hosted there can greatly boost blog posts on the same topic.
Tik Tok grew tremendously in 2020, in spite of legal restrictions. It is deliberately short-form and works well for younger audiences.
Tik Tok doesn’t yet have the filtering of older platforms (YouTube), which allows disruptive newcomers to kick down doors with clever and trendy ideas.
LinkedIn now has 700 million users. LinkedIn’s culture is deliberately workplace-safe, but if you can balance the platitudes with a dose of real emotion, you can build an audience.
If you’re a B2B brand, pay special attention: LinkedIn is the first place many businesses turn for their needs. It’s where their partners go, their audience goes, and often where it’s safe to spend a little work time visiting.
A note: share your videos by uploading them directly to LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s algorithm prioritizes natively hosted videos, and we’ve seen view counts as much as 4x higher just by uploading directly to LinkedIn.
Facebook video is worth prioritizing if most of your audience is already on Facebook. They’re more likely to see videos hosted on Facebook in their feed. And Facebook is, naturally, a more social platform than YouTube, leading to more shares and likes.
That said, Facebook’s video tab suffers from weak recommendations – geared more toward total views than the appropriate audience.
Instagram, an influencer’s best friend, lowers the bar to admission for brands of any size. But it remains primarily oriented toward B2C.
As video grows, private platforms help leaders inspire
Sometimes it’s just faster – and more impactful – to send a video to your employees, colleagues, or coworkers.
This is why internal platforms like Wistia, Brighteon, Vimeo, BombBomb, and others are strong options for keeping your messages away from prying ears.
Pants optional, but lights are now dress code
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, video chat, complete with screen sharing, grew exponentially in 2020. And while we can’t stay inside forever, it will take some time before in-person meetings become a regular part of life again.
For some companies that may never happen. That’s where having a video-chat friendly setup makes you look and sound as professional as you are.
A good web camera is nice – but bright and even lighting and a good quality microphone are better gifts for your audience and your personal brand.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT VIDEO CHAT EQUIPMENT
Search YouTube for options within your budget and technical needs
Shoppable video will be assessed for effectiveness
The fewer clicks between the consumer and a product, the easier – and more likely – it is for them to buy. So why not let them click right there in the video?
As more customers shop online due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as generational trends and preferences, this – and an integration with 360 environments – could become a major market share. And for those of us who live miles away from our favorite stores, this could be a new form of freedom.
But shoppable videos’ effectiveness is still a question mark. Big data will help with that, but given that this is standard in Instagram, there is reason to be confident that shoppable videos will continue to rise.
HOW TO USE SHOPPABLE VIDEOS
If your brand is a lifestyle, it’s a no-brainer to give tours of an iconic scene with products they can buy
If your sales lean on an influencer, let them showcase your products with affiliate links
Make videos about your best-selling products first
Principles that haven’t changed in 2021
Focus on your customer, not your company
The highest-ranking and hottest-selling videos – be it content or advertisement – are stories where your customer is the hero, and you are merely a guide.
This can be an ad about your customer saving the day with a better fire extinguisher, or content teaching them how to fireproof a garage. But videos about your company’s greatness should be saved for the people who make your company great.
Value is still king
As in, content that shares helpful information will outlast and, over time, outperform the best ads. You still need ads – but even those should focus on your customer’s journey.
So when you begin planning your videos, here are some highly successful examples to draw from:
Yes, earlier we insisted you have time to make good decisions. That’s true. But this next step should go into your schedule for this week.
If you don’t yet use video in your marketing, figure out what video your audience wants most. Then set that video in motion. And if you need help making it, contact us.
Hook ‘em from the start:
In your video thumbnail, show them what they can expect in the easiest to understand way possible. If you can, make it so a 4th grader will understand.
Then in the first 15 seconds of the video, make it clear that you’re going to deliver on the promise that brought them there. “Today I’m going to show you how to hook your audience” is a lot more trustworthy than an open loop (“later I’ll show you how to hook your audience, but first let me tell you about SuperCorp”).
Make your videos searchable
Google still can’t “read” videos, but it can read transcripts. And while YouTube provides automatic transcribing, it’s often inaccurate – which is a problem for Google and for your audience. To counter this, include captions whenever you can. Services like Rev make it easy and inexpensive.
Stay in the conversation.
In our crowded mindspace, people need constant and value-rich reminders that you’re great at what you do. So make a list of the rest of the videos your audience needs, and schedule them to launch at set intervals. And then, create a plan to repurpose your content.
Most of the time, keep it short
YouTube prioritizes long videos because they can then show more ads. And for some content, a comprehensive approach is best. Or when you want to hang out with your fans for a long livestream.
Google knows it irritates most audiences – and they continue to hunt and kill it. It’s better to blend your marketing into value-rich content than to shout at people while they look up dinner recipes.
Conclusion: try something bold in 2021
Whether it’s partnering with an influencer, or investing in Augmented Reality, or experimenting with 360 videos, or just creating good educational videos about your products and services, 2021 is a great time to start using video. And if you need help with any project, contact Slow Clap.
To make effective B2B videos, you have to think differently than B2C.
This is a guide to making B2B videos, or videos that sell from one business to another.
Is there a difference? Put simply, the B2B audience is small and practical. They are company decision-makers, managers and CEOs. They have strict budgets, stakeholders to please, and employee jobs to protect.
B2C markets don’t have to be so methodical. While a B2B software company may have 10,000 real-world prospects, a B2C software company may have 10 million or more. And their purchase habits can be guided by logic – but they can also be for curiosity or comfort.
Therefore, while all advertising requires emotion to sell, B2B depends heavily on concrete data to close a sale. Statistics, industry knowledge, and proven results are required.
Sounds daunting, right? Well, in a lot of ways, we’ve found that B2B video can actually be easier than B2C, because if you know the industry, you know precisely what the players need. And creating videos to position yourself as an indispensable guide can actually be fun.
Slow Clap Productionsis a San Francisco-based creative video production company that helps B2B brands like GitHub, Slack, Blue Shield of California, Capital One Small Business, and Insightly use video to its full potential.
This article will show you:
How B2B video is different.
The best types of B2B content to make.
How to choose which content to make.
And where to deploy your videos for maximum results.
So let’s get started.
Great B2B video starts with B2B marketing fundamentals
B2B video follows the same principles as any great marketing, but differs in the where and how the message is delivered.
Start by thinking about who buys. Are they the director of marketing? Purchasing director? Or field supervisor?
Next, what does this person want? They may have a large budget, but misspending can damage the company and possibly cost them their job. A B2C customer can suffer a broken hair dryer, but a B2B customer may not be able to survive faulty software.
Your customer’s first desire is safety (not to lose), but their hopes are pinned on products that go beyond “staying the same.” They do want software that really does save them an hour a day.
Because these are the stakes, the goal of B2B marketing is first and foremost to build trust.
To build trust, We suggest you demonstrate five things:
You understand their industry. You know their operations and supply chain. You speak their language, including industry-specific lingo. Our testimonial video collaboration with GitHub, for instance, targets a very specific audience interested in cutting edge cloud computing, featuring Spotify, Google, and the Apache Foundation.
You can prove your results. You gather testimonials from other customers – ideally recognizable brands, but at least companies in the same industries as your prospective customers. The video we made for NewVoiceMedia (now Vonage) about DoorDash does a great job of laying down the concrete benefits of their product.
You can show relevant data. This includes test data, like “our drills lasted 40% longer in an independent study.” And related data, like “tungsten has shown to outlast other metals by as much as 90%” Our animated videos for States Title, for instance, use data points to make a strong case for their solutions.
You know the culture of the industry. Like CRM, where sarcasm and color are encouraged. Or IT, where being efficient and correct are virtues. Or law, where reputation and power matter most. Stampli’s audience is Accounts Payable, one of the least sexy silos in a business. But they know their audience and know that AP teams love a good sense of humor. We made sure that shined through in our Stampli brand videos.
You have a clear message that wraps the first four together. “Suppliers who use HoverTruck pay half as much in mileage costs, and it’s trusted by brands like FedEx.” Blue Shield of California did a great job of this when discussing new emerging technology, Virtual Consults, in our animated video series Health Reimagined.
How to use this knowledge in your B2B video best practices
Video is arguably the most powerful marketing short of a friend’s referral, but it faces the same problems as every other type of online marketing, including:
How will we get them to find it?
How will we get them to click on it?
How will it resonate with the audience?
How will it persuade the audience?
To tackle these, answer the following questions.
Who is the hero of the video?
More specifically, who is your customer “avatar?” What are their demographics and gender? How do they dress? How do they talk? If using actors or animated characters, you’ll need to make these decisions so you can include characters with whom your audience can identify.
“To be good at sales, you have to be good at basically duplicating and mirroring the person you’re selling to and giving them the personality they need to feel comfortable to buy,” says Benjamin Denehy, CEO of The UK’s Most Hated Sales Trainer.
What story does your customer need to hear?
It’s a simple formula – your customer has a problem (X), so they obtain your product/service (Y), and get a specific outcome (Z).
Even in B2B video, most of your storytelling should be about your customer. This means skipping the office tour video unless it’s relevant – for instance, if you want to show that your employees all share a background in the same industry as your clients.
How is your customer searching for answers?
You solve a problem. Your customer asks about how to solve that problem in different and sometimes unexpected ways.
Promising these answers is the key to being found, being watched, and (eventually) being purchased.
This is first a problem of defining the answer, and then using keyword research to find out exactly how your audience is really asking it. For example, if you run a SaaS company, a frequent search is “software as a service vs. subscription.”
Source: Answer The Public
One way to begin is by using Answer the Public, which is sort of a reversed search engine. You type in a topic, and you’ll get questions and queries most frequently searched in Google that includes that search phrase. Be sure to try different search phrases – and consider comparing them in Google Trends to see which one(s) are searched most overall.
So maybe we don’t exactly “buy with emotion and justify with logic.” But either way, data is necessary to sell. Here are four easy-to-use forms of data for your B2B videos:
Before & after: Whenever possible, show the problem, action, and result
Testimonials: “I’m director of marketing at TechCorp, and video helped us grow tremendously.”
Primary data: “In our tests, video had a 20% higher conversion rate than email.”
Secondary data: “According to X, 90% of marketers say video brings them success”
During planning and scripting, consider adding every credible form of proof to your video. Rank them by how impactful they are to your avatar. Safety is always the first concern, with success coming second.
Where will they watch this video?
The last consideration in this set is choosing where to launch your video for best results. This involves some knowledge of platforms.
Start with these questions:
What platforms will you use?
Is that platform’s culture best for this content?
What are their size limits?
What are their runtime limits?
Should you upload the video natively on the platform, or embed it from another platform (e.g. Wistia, YouTube, or Vimeo)?
If you’re hoping to be found organically, ask these:
What keywords would bring your customers there?
Are the keywords found in the video? Or the video’s description?
Is your thumbnail eye-catching to your customer avatar?
And if you’re using advertisements, consider these:
Which platforms have the most professionals?
What keywords would target them best?
The best formats for B2B videos
A customer’s success story is worth… well, don’t tell them how much it’s worth, or they may invoice you. All the data in the world still doesn’t compare to a trustworthy recommendation. Even better: a human from a brand recognized in your industry.
For instance, our case study video of how Asana’s legal operations pros use Ironclad is worth its weight in gold. It describes a story of a company department (legal ops) on the cutting edge of an industry (business contracting) all powered by Ironclad.
Ask an outspoken customer who loves your product for help.
Film them in their native environment, using a professional production team.
Have them speak to an interviewer. It’s easier than talking to the camera.
And for basic interview questions:
Who are they, and what does their business do?
What was their problem?
How did they know that your product had the answer?
What was the result?
Do they recommend you?
Explainer videos aren’t always about animated characters facing abstract problems. They can be live action, too, with a company representative talking about their methods. The common element is that they sell by explaining their unique solution to a problem.
You’ve seen a million of them – but they don’t need a million views. They only need to be seen by the right people. So targeting and promoting is just as important as creating a clear message.
Webinars live or die on audience participation, so we recommend you devote a large portion of time to answering questions. Lecturing through a pitch deck is boring. Keep your presentation short and open up the mic as soon as possible.
Besides planning, spend time promoting your webinars. Use your email list and your social media. And offer value. Your webinar should be worth skipping lunch. Two great methods include offering answers customers can’t get elsewhere, and offering discounts on your product.
Lastly, make sure you partner with an event production agency, or have an internal event producer, who knows the ins and outs of attendee registration, and how to turn registrants into high quality vetted sales leads.
Interviews with Experts
Often in B2B marketing, the word of an expert can be as good as a testimonial. If you make medical-grade masks, talk to a microbiologist who can verify that some masks – like yours – can stop even the tiniest of viruses from passing through.
People understand that experts are busy and often live far away, so they don’t expect a full-scale production. Their first concern is getting answers. So your two priorities in expert interviews are good audio and good questions.
To create great expert interviews:
Contact the expert with full disclosure about who you are and your intentions
If they’re unwilling to host a film crew, ask them to record in a quiet area, preferably with good lighting
Educational videos naturally include teaching your customer how to use your product or service. If you don’t show them how, somebody else will, and you don’t know what they’ll get wrong, let alone what they’ll say about you.
If you have no video content whatsoever, this is the B2B video marketing strategy we recommend:
A great explainer video. Your customer must first understand how you help them through a problem.
Testimonials. Even when filmed on a phone, testimonials can build trust. But capturing them professionally demonstrates your success and reliability.
Webinars. These help you build email lists, meet people interested in your product, and find out more about what they value. It’s win-win stuff.
Educational videos. First, create some on how to use your product (if necessary), and second on heavily-searched topics related to your business. If you recorded a great Webinar, it can easily become an educational video.
Interviews with experts. They’re essentially more educational videos, but it’s harder to predict if the content will answer specific questions your audience has. Sometimes, though, you need somebody with more authority to prove your own credibility.
Choosing the right platforms
As always, go where your audience goes. But in B2B, that’s a somewhat predictable breakdown:
If you’re starting from scratch, build your presence in the top four platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube). You can use programs like Hootsuite to post to every platform on an automated schedule.
Remember that total views and total subscribers are nice, but they’re not the metrics you want. Your goal is engagement with actual customers. It doesn’t matter if you only get 25 views in a month if one of them is a major customer.
Tips for better videos and better outcomes
Start with a script. It’s a lot easier to change paths on paper than it is mid-filming or in post-production.
Add captions. Captions make your content friendly to hard-of-hearing and increase engagement from users scrolling down feeds. Some platforms offer them for free. Rev.com offers them at just over $1/minute.
Hire a top-notch production company if the video is going to directly impact your sales. Reach out to us to start the conversation.
Follow the 80/20 rule. Spend 20% of your time on creation, and 80% on promotion. Use it in ads. Put it on a social media schedule.
In 2018, the City & County of San Francisco passed a proposition to reinforce the Seawall, a barrier that protects the City’s waterfront from flooding. The Seawall is over 100 years old and is in desperate need of reinforcements to protect from earthquake and sea-level rise. As part of the project, Slow Clap was selected by the Port of San Francisco to produce videos on an as-needed basis.
Phase one of the Seawall was to conduct a series of tests to diagnose all the problems with the Seawall. This complex, wonky undertaking had to be explained in a simple, digestible format so that residents could stay informed about and proud of the foundational research that will eventually guide the multi-billion dollar project.
“We were really proud to have been selected by the Port of San Francisco to create video for the Seawall project, which will leave an impact on our city for generations to come.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap
Execution & Challenges
The Port collaborated with Slow Clap and communications firm Civic Edge to condense the Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment (MHRA) studies into a simple, easy to understand, short, animated video. These tests include laser measurements, drilling, seismic monitoring, traffic flow studies, and many other components. So, the challenge was to find the best way to condense all this info into something that San Francisco Bay Area residents would find welcoming and informative, instead of overwhelming.
“Through this work, I’ve learned about drilling techniques, data collection, and structures for taking care of our water system and sea. It was such a cool challenge to create these illustrations and help promote public understanding of such an exciting environmental initiative.” Rose Tully, Graphic Illustrator, Slow Clap
Slow Clap worked closely with the Port to identify the best way to visualize each concept in the MHRA. We chose to hand illustrate the whole video, in a style that is somewhere between a whiteboard infographic style, and a cartoon style. We felt it was the perfect balance to strike a tone that felt both official and educational, but also friendly and accessible. Our voice-over talent, a warm, welcoming voice, was chosen for similar reasons. The illustrated scenes were animated as though they had been hand-drawn onto the screen, to inject an extra sense of fun and curiosity.
The result is a short, accessible, engaging video that has several thousand views across the Port’s various social media platforms, and has been used at every community engagement event about the Seawall since its release.
“The Port of San Francisco loved the final video. They felt that the video captured the technical assessments conducted in a fun, visually engaging manner. It was even useful for other Port staff to learn more about the MHRA.” – Tira Okamoto, Civic Edge
Slow Clap has fostered a relationship with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and D&A Communications over the past five years, developing and producing video stories that highlight the SFPUC’s work to live up to its Environmental Justice and Community Benefits policies and good neighbor programs. As part of ongoing communications about this work, the SFPUC came to us to tell two community members’ stories, Misty Mckinney and Sonia Davis. Misty, one of the SFPUC’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) members, works with the agency to design, implement, and evaluate policies that impact communities. Born in the Philippines, Misty has a strong background in environmental justice and cares deeply about diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“This is one of those projects that reminds me why I love documentary-style video content so much. It was amazing to get to spend a day with Misty and her family, meet and hang out with her son Turtle, and learn about their story.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap
Our goal was to highlight Misty’s environmental advocacy and her role as a CAC member while educating viewers about the SFPUC’s community and capital investments. The key was to communicate all these important messages, while also humanizing Misty’s story.
To accomplish this, we told her story through the lens of family, and how when she was growing up in the Philippines, access to clean water was viewed as a privilege. But for her son Turtle and for her community, Misty wants to ensure clean water is a right for all. Although we had just one day to film interviews, we were able to capture several activities that told the rich picture of Misty’s life with her family.
“Dan and the team at Slow Clap always make sure to focus on the authentic story in their videos. That’s why our collaborations have been so successful.” – Darolyn Davis, D&A Communications
Misty’s story takes us for a “day in her life.” We learn not only about her responsibilities as the Environmental Justice Chair on the SFPUC’s CAC but also about her family’s participation in SFPUC programs. Through her story, we learn about the agency’s Adopt-A-Drain, Drink Tap, and CleanPowerSF Programs while getting a sense of how rewarding it is to take part in these initiatives. All the while, we made sure to feature the most important thing of all: Misty’s strong bond with her family, and how the SFPUC keeps them healthy, happy, and engaged local citizens. With her video, we told a holistic, human-driven story as best we could and it paid off. Misty’s story is one of the most viewed videos on the SFPUC’s social media channels, with several thousand views. We also created several shorter versions of the video for social media, and with Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog translations for San Francisco’s diverse audiences.
As we continue to navigate our “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Slow Clap team met up for another brainstorming session to discuss how to film content at home. Whether video conferencing on Zoom, Teams, WebEx, Google Meet, or any other platform, we discuss some of the best practices for filming at home, and how to make your user-generated content look great. We cover lighting, framing, recording tools, audio and microphones, as well as editing it all together. Check out the session below.
If you have any questions about what we discussed contact us here.
The days are blending together, but we’re still pushing our brains to the limits. As we continue to navigate the public health crisis, our team decided to get together (virtually, of course) to discuss the various forms of marketing videos our partners can produce remotely. Check out our brainstorm session: