How to Maximize Views for Your Video Content

A step-by-step guide to high-engagement videos.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to plan and market your video for maximum views, watch-throughs, and sales.

There’s an old thought experiment that goes like this: deep in space is a comet. Nobody has ever seen, heard, or thought about this comet. Nobody has any memory of it.

So, does that comet exist?

We don’t actually know the answer. But if you swap “comet” for “video,” and it’s your video, then we do know the answer: you’ve got a video that exists, but nobody is watching.

YouTube hosts over 500 hours of new content every minute. Some have big production budgets. Most don’t. But only a handful of videos of any budget get big-time views.

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 platforms serve 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:

  1. As a search result
  2. In their feed, through a recommendation or a follow
  3. 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:

  1. See if it comes up in Google Search autofill
  2. Compare it to similar keywords for free in Google Trends
  3. Find its CPC cost through tools like Keywords Everywhere
  4. Use Answer the Public to search your niche, and see what questions people are asking

After you begin using a keyword, you can track its effectiveness in several ways:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Plan ahead. Design the thumbnail during pre-production. The thumbnail imagery and story needs to integrate with the video itself. Don’t improvise later.
  2. 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. 
  3. Use human faces where possible. They connote feelings. 
  4. But if you can’t use any human faces, consider a simple graphic that explains a relationship.
  5. 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.
  6. Sketch it, but leave it to a graphic designer or video editor to make the final product.
  7. Brand it. The usual colors, fonts, and other graphic assets.
  8. 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.

Source: swipefile.com.

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?” 

According to The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert Bly, a good headline does four things:

  1. Gets attention.
  2. Selects the audience. This tells people who the media is for, and not for.
  3. Delivers a complete message.
  4. And draws the reader into the body copy. Or in this case, the video.

Sometimes your video title completes the thumbnail, like this:

How to track an effective title:

View count. As with the thumbnail, you can try A/B testing to find out what works best.

5. Hook ‘em in the first ten seconds of the video.

David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy and Mather, said the first ten seconds of a commercial are, in fact, its headline.

Ogilvy died in 1998, and did not live to behold the digital age. But even in an age where people have more control over the videos they watch, statistics bear out Ogilvy’s viewpoint. If you don’t intrigue your audience in the first 10 seconds, you’ll likely lose them.

If you’re not sure how to do that, write up a script, and evaluate it according to these criteria:

  1. Do the first 10 seconds give a clear clue that this video is about a problem your audience can appreciate? 
  2. Once you fully define the problem, is it easy to understand?
  3. 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?
  4. 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.

Sometimes you don’t realize you’re off on a tangent.  This is why Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch coined the phrase, 

“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:

  1. Start with the platforms where your audience spends time
  2. Make it relevant to things they search and read about
  3. Make sure they know it’s relevant in the thumbnail and headline
  4. Make sure they know it’s relevant in the first 10 seconds
  5. Cut all the fluff and extra time. People are busy!
  6. 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


Further reading:

Headlines account for 50% of a blog’s effectiveness

How to Write Headlines: A Step-by-step Guide

23 YouTube Stats that Matter to Marketers

A Complete Guide to B2B Video

500 Hours of Content are Uploaded to YouTube Every Minute

Social Media Demographics that Matter to Marketers

10 YouTube Stats Every Marketer Should Know

How to Create a Great Video Thumbnail

The Optimal Video Length

How to Grab a Viewer in 5 Seconds

YouTube View Metrics

Video Marketing Trends for 2021

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 Productions is 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?

HOW TO USE IT

  • Use platforms with data management and analytics, like Wistia, Google Analytics, Brid.TV, or Hubspot
  • 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, video marketing, social media influencer

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

Online webinars, virtual conferences, Online events,
Ironclad Virtual Conference, Winter 2020

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:

And some applications not yet created:

  • 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, ipad shopping, video marketing with AR

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:

  • Teaching anatomy and medicine – like Case Western Reserve University
  • 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
augmented reality shopping with smart phone,

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:

  1. It positions you as a thought leader
  2. It creates value, which builds trust
  3. 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

Holding a smartphone with social media apps open

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

CEO of Blue Shield of California, Paul Markovich, uses private video to speak to his employees.

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
  • Get lights of a matching color temperature
  • Consider what’s the best space to chat, for both noisiness and light

Shoppable video will be assessed for effectiveness

shop through video, shoppable video screen, ecommerce through video, ecommerce video marketing, online shopping,

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:

Get started. Today.

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.

But most video is better short. Your audience will stick around if you don’t waste their time. Executives prefer shorter video, too.

Don’t use autoplay in your ads

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.

Further Reading

Personalized Video Marketing: The Next Revolution in Content Marketing

The 7 Most Creative Uses of 360 Video by Brands

25 Predictions for Social Media Marketing in 2021

The Best Video Production Companies in the San Francisco Bay Area

How to Make Videos While Sheltering in Place

A Complete Guide to Understanding, Planning, and Creating B2B Videos

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 Productions is 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

What proof do they need to hear and see?

According to Harvard Business Review, emotional purchase decisions are still rational – but in a complex way, where the intuition processes data faster than conscious logic, and then offers up its judgment as an emotion.

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

Testimonials

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.

Ironclad x Asana Testimonial Video

To create a great testimonial:

  • 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:

  1. Who are they, and what does their business do?
  2. What was their problem?
  3. How did they know that your product had the answer?
  4. What was the result?
  5. Do they recommend you?

Explainer Videos

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. 

Stampli: Effortless Invoices Explainer Video

To create a great explainer video:

  1. Use an avatar that is familiar to your customer like Tony in our Stampli videos.
  2. Start with the problem. And really make them feel it.
  3. Explain the advantages of your solution.
  4. Show results with your strongest data.
  5. Target your audience with ads – be it through Google search, or through ads on specific problems.

Webinars and Live Streams

As an alternative to meeting in person, video conferencing is still rising. There are big advantages, too, beyond safety and lack of travel. 

  • It’s friendly. You’re not some faraway company in a tower nobody can enter. 
  • Customers get to learn and learn about your brand at the same time.
  • You can answer specific questions. B2B video marketing is largely about concrete answers, and you probably won’t be able to answer all of them in your other marketing. 
  • You get content you never knew you needed. Customers will raise concerns you never thought about. 

Slack Frontiers

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.

La Crema Brand Story as an interview with experts

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:

  1. Contact the expert with full disclosure about who you are and your intentions
  2. If they’re unwilling to host a film crew, ask them to record in a quiet area, preferably with good lighting
  3. Send them your questions in advance
  4. Set up your space for high-quality recording
  5. Respect the expert’s time and thank them

Educational Videos

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.

RepairPal Educational video

But beyond that, educational video can add value to your brand by creating industry-specific content. For example, SEO juggernaut Moz creates how-to videos on every aspect of SEO and search. And RepairPal collaborated with us to create content about commonly asked car maintenance questions.


How to choose what videos to create

If you have no video content whatsoever, this is the B2B video marketing strategy we recommend:

  1. A great explainer video. Your customer must first understand how you help them through a problem.
  2. Testimonials. Even when filmed on a phone, testimonials can build trust. But capturing them professionally demonstrates your success and reliability.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 


Further reading

Building a Brand Voice with Video (Slow Clap)

A Complete B2B SEO Strategy for 2021 (Backlinko)

Understanding the Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing (The Balance – Small Business)

2016 B2B Benchmarks Report (Content Marketing Institute)

Four Best Practices for B2B Marketing (Uberflip)

Six type of B2B video and when to use them (LinkedIn)

The Best B2B Social Networking Channels To Grow Your Business (Shane Barker)

What is the Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment?

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

Results

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

What is the Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment?

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission: Community Benefits Outreach

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

Approach

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.

Execution

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

Results

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.

Misty, Eli, & Turtle: Our San Francisco Neighbors

Sonia’s CityWorks Internship Story

Best Practices for Filming at Home: A Slow Clap Brainstorm

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.

Video Content In Quarantine: A Slow Clap Brainstorm

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:


Want to make a remote video? Reach out.

How to Make Videos While Sheltering in Place

We know many of you are working remotely and thinking of new ways to communicate with your communities during the COVID-19 public health crisis. And that’s great because 80% of consumers say their content consumption has increased since the outbreak started. Now more than ever, people are turning to brands for helpful information and inspiring stories as we all navigate a strange, new normal.

At Slow Clap, we’re inspired by the challenge of making videos to help our clients connect to their customers and communities. We want to share a few of the “distant storytelling” tools that we’re using that don’t require on-site filming. And, we’re open for business if you need help with execution.




Animated Explainers:


An animated explainer video is an engaging way for you to quickly and easily break down complex information through beautiful visuals. Using motion graphics, bright colors, and a simple voice-over, you can create a beautiful animated video that will continue to attract current and potential clients. We recently created this video for States Title.







User-Generated Content:


Native content is one of the most authentic formats for storytelling because everyone has a camera in their pocket. When you can’t send out a professional crew, it’s a great way to capture original, unfiltered content that people crave in a world where so many try to be picture-perfect.







Educational, Instructional Content:


Nobody ever liked to read instruction manuals. That’s even more true today. Enter the instructional video. For software companies, a simple screen-sharing video with great voice-over can provide a step-by-step guide to help customers learn to use products and services. We love how Slack uses this approach in their product videos.







Brand Anthem Videos:


Whether you combine stock footage with a voiceover, like we did for Workato below, or marry narration with text and powerful music like Sutter Health, anthem videos are a feel-good way to share who you are and what you stand for as a company. That can be an important message for your community to hear, especially at a challenging time like this one.







Repurposing Content:


Recycling existing video content saves time and money and makes the most of resources. Dig into your content library, pull footage from different video projects, and cut them together to create a montage video or social content. Need inspo? Check out the Instagram video we recently did for one of our favorite wineries, La Crema.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Slow Clap Productions (@slowclapproductions) on

There are so many possibilities when you get creative about making video marketing content; whether you’re trying to jump on the latest TikTok trend (we’ve been practicing the “Don’t Rush Challenge”, or simply trying to tell a good story.

Need some ideas? Reach out and we can chat.

Blue Shield of California: Oakland Headquarters

As a company, Slow Clap is always striving to improve the quality of the work we produce for our clients. In November, we worked with our long-time client, Blue Shield of California, to highlight their move from downtown San Francisco to a new, state of the art facility in downtown Oakland. The video was designed to serve as both a general announcement of the move and also a recruitment tool to encourage talent to join the BSC family. It’s now the lead video in their employer brand campaign and was produced with the slickness and high production values worthy of this new office space.

“Any time you undergo a big change in an organization, you run the risk of people leaving. We hired Slow Clap Productions to create a video that would make sure that didn’t happen.” – Mark Hornung, Employer Brand Manager, Blue Shield of California

Approach

BSC wanted to feature their new facilities as a reminder of their cutting-edge workplace, but they also sought to capture the culture of the company, with an emphasis on making a positive impact in the communities that the company serves, as well as making an impact in their new home, Oakland.

Slow Clap kicked off the work on this video by conducting in-depth pre-interviews, a location scout, storyboarding, and a visual shot list to ensure our creative brief was a perfect reflection of the final product.

“The most important aspect of making a great documentary-style corporate video is casting people whose authentic stories and lives align with the key marketing messages of the video. So, pre-interviews to identify the right voices are essential. We took calls with at least twenty employees before settling on the three we featured in the video.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director & Founder of Slow Clap

BSC wanted a more polished look for this video than much of the doc-style content we produce for them, so we crewed up with a Director/Producer (Daniel Lichtenberg), Director of Photography (Alan Sanchez), Gaffer (Elani Ferri), Grip & Assistant Camera (Jake Richard &Sarah Wells), Associate Producer (Nicole B Wilson), 2nd Assistant Camera (Naomi Pasmanick), Make-up Artist (Laura Yamasaki), and Production Assistant (Kai Nealis).




Execution

Our team filmed over the course of three days. Like all productions, we had several challenges to work around, but we didn’t let it slow us down. The weather, of course, is always an unpredictable factor. We were unable to fly our drone for the first day of filming due to fog and high winds, but we did manage to capture some powerful interviews from executives and employees, such as CEO & President of BSC, Paul Markovich.


Post-production spanned several weeks. Our editor, Mike Kuba, worked with Daniel and the BSC team to craft a story that brought everything home. The dedication to serving the community, the shared sense of purpose amongst employees, and the great place to work all came front and center.

To put the final touches on this project, Slow Clap collaborated with Bay Area colorist and founder of Color Gatherer, Will Smith (no, not that one). Will and Daniel took a dramatic approach to the look and feel of this film, using the C-Log 3 footage’s high dynamic range to give a larger-than-life feel to the highlights and darks, but crunching the mid-tone contrast to give our characters a sense of authority and purpose.

“Dan and I used DaVinci Resolve Studio’s toolset to create a light and clean environment while tilting the subjects toward a more dramatic feel with more contrast but brighter mid-tones, helping them to stand out from their backgrounds, achieving the larger than life feel, and demanding the viewer’s attention” – Will Smith, Colorist & Founder of Color Gatherer


Results

Blue Shield of California posted the video to YouTube on January 14, 2020. The three social media shorts were shared shortly after that, smartly leveraging a serialized content release strategy that leads to a higher rate of engagement.

“Slow Clap Productions is a creative organization, but they also know they’re a business. Their team is cognizant of achieving a purpose, working closely with us to guarantee results.” – Mark Hornung, Employer Brand Manager, Blue Shield of California


Blue Shield of California: Oakland

 

Social Shorts

Maria’s Story: Aligning values working with Blue Shield of California

 

Isabella’s Story: Creating a community to serve our communities,

 

Alvin’s Story: Making an impact while helping your friends and family



At the time of writing, the video campaign has several thousand combined views. Considering the limited audience of these recruiting efforts, our client Mark calls this a “slam dunk.”

La Crema Winery’s 40th Anniversary

Over the past few years, Slow Clap has grown a partnership with Jackson Family Wines that began with small, one-off projects for the company’s different wineries, such as Kendall-Jackson, Nielsen, Vérité, and others. In the Summer of 2019, that relationship got serious. JFW asked us to create a marketing video that celebrated the 40th anniversary of La Crema Winery, digging into the history books and origin stories of Pinot Noir in California.

Approach

The JFW marketing team wanted to approach this video from both the historic and educational perspectives but also wanted to ensure the video was entertaining for wine enthusiasts. Dan Sutton, Brand Manager of JFW, knew the exact voices that needed to be featured in this video, such as Rod Burglund, the founder of La Crema, and Jenny Jackson Hartford, Co-Proprietor of JFW. To round out the story, we recommended adding a third-party perspective. We often suggest adding the voice of an industry expert, to create a sense of weight and objectiveness in the story. Dan Berger, a top wine critic, was more than excited to talk about La Crema’s place in history.

 


Execution

Pre-Production

Forty years is a lot to cover in a three-minute video. In addition to a surplus of research, our team conducted pre-interviews with the video’s subjects to pinpoint key moments in La Crema’s history that would speak to the two different target audiences of this video. Using this background research as a guide, we developed a mood board, a shot list, and a creative brief.

Crew + Equipment

Directing and producing was Slow Clap’s Dan Lichtenberg, and logistics were managed by associate producer Nicole B Wilson. Leading the camera department was Alan Sanchez, and working as our assistant camera and grip was Jake Richard and Tomaso Semenzato.

We wanted to create a larger than life feel for this forty-year story, so we decided to use a motion control camera system to add some drama to our interviews. To achieve this, we used the Rhino Arc, which tracked our subject on loop, keeping her or him center frame with a fluid, buttery camera move.

 

During this marathon three day shoot, we filmed in several locations, including La Crema’s production facility and barrel room, the Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard, and La Crema’s Healdsburg tasting room. Each location provided a richness to the history of the winery, as well as a variety of elegant backgrounds for interviews and b-roll.

 

Like all productions, there were challenges, and one of the major challenges we encountered on this production was time. We filmed on-site for three days, spread out over the course of several weeks. But unfortunately, the grapes were not hanging from the vine… so, we had to use several shots from our archive of footage shot with JFW to create some movie magic. Another major snag was the drone footage we needed to capture. The vineyards are in the flight path of the regional airport, so we actually had to get FAA approval to fly in a “no-flight zone.” Thankfully, the results of these efforts were worth it.

We worked with our editor, Natalia Lopatina, to begin editing the video in between filming in order to create the story, select broll, and start figuring out music and tone. Once our crew completed their second day of filming our editor work meticulously alongside our Creative Director, and the La Crema team to complete the video.

“The feedback from the organization was very positive… this video has given us a ‘north star’ on the story for the brand.” – Dan Sutton, Brand Manager, JFW


Results

The video premiered at a general sales meeting event in late July 2019. In early August, Safeway, one of JFW’s biggest retail partners, decided to feature the video in the wine aisles in their California stores.

“The video was really well received at our GSM event. It hit all the marketing and selling points, and recieved lots of applause.” – Dan Sutton, Brand Manager, JFW

Collaboration, flexibility, and trust are the keys to any successful partnership. Over the past few years, we gained the trust of the JFW team and got to know the people behind the brands. We fostered that relationship and were able to really show them the value of working with Slow Clap. As a result, we were able to craft a beautiful story to celebrate 40 years and beyond.