UpCity spotlights the most trustworthy of over 70,000 B2B service providers. For Slow Clap to win the UpCity Local Excellence Award again in 2022 is really exciting for us. We love helping our clients tell their authentic stories.
Here are a couple of things our clients had to say about our partnership in our UpCity reviews:
“Dan and the Slow Clap crew were very professional, conscientious, and worked very hard to deliver a great production under budget and on time. They had to work with some difficult restrictions and they smiled through every adversity. I would highly recommend them.”
Mark Hornung, Employer Brand Consultant
“As someone who has personally worked with Slow Clap during the filming and editing process, they are wonderful to work with. Slow Clap are not just filmmakers, but advocates and storytellers as well. They are invested in helping you tell the best story.”
Casey Tran, Asian Law Caucus
Thanks to all our clients who have chosen us to help tell their stories. It’s your support that has made this award possible and helps us evolve as storytellers. Can’t wait to see you on our next project!
If you or someone you know is interested in making a video, let us know! We’d love to share our knowledge and help you get started. Share your ideas with us here.
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.
Get to know Darissa a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hello there, and thank you for stopping by! My name is Darissa and I’m Slow Clap’s Production Assistant. I’m from the Bay Area and graduated from University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics and a minor in Sociology. With my major, I wanted to gain knowledge that could be applied to the business side of many industries. Soon after, I also became interested in sociology and in finding a way to make a positive impact through my career.
What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?
As a Production Assistant, my role is to support the team especially in the pre-production phase of producing a video. I help with planning the logistics of a shoot, including managing legal documents and researching locations/equipment. Sometimes, I am also a PA on set for our shoots. I may assist with crafty set-up, camera/lighting set-up, and behind-the-scenes photos. Alongside helping with video production, I support company operations, such as marketing, company events planning, general administrative tasks, and anything else our team may need.
What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?
I have general experience in outreach, marketing, and HR. I have helped prepare informational interviews for different organizations, including a start-up social media app for college students and a podcast focused on diversity and social impact in the film industry called Rewriting Hollywood. I was in search of gaining experience as a PA since I was interested in storytelling in media. As I was looking for different opportunities, I was surprised to find a PA position with a company like Slow Clap. I was really excited about finding a company that really cared about different causes and shared values about diversity and fostering an encouraging environment where you are able to learn and grow. Slow Clap tries to partner with community-based organizations to help tell their story. I am so glad to be a part of a team that wants to make an impact and help people through the power of storytelling.
What am I watching?
Since I watch a lot more dramas than films, I think one of my favorite Korean TV dramas is My Mister. Watching it during the pandemic and without spoiling the story, I found My Mister to be very comforting and relatable in emotions to watch. It is a slice-of-life drama that is very understanding of different life experiences and can be encouraging to see how those characters overcome hardships.
In general, I like to spend time with friends and family, especially trying out the new foodie spots in town that we haven’t tried before. I also really enjoy watching movies/dramas and learning languages.
Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?
As it was one of my first times being on set, I’d have to say that my favorite project is the Judicial Council of California’s Juror Orientation Video. For Slow Clap, it’s one of our larger projects, and I think that’s why I found it exciting. Over at least eight days, we had a crew of about 20 people and over 30 people for talent. I even got to clap the slate! (Check out the BTS photos below!) Seeing behind-the-scenes of how so many different folks could come and work together to create this video was amazing. I had the opportunity to connect and learn from veterans in the industry who were kind and patient in showing me the ropes. I am so grateful that our team kept an eye out for me and guided me throughout my time participating in this project and the many more to come!
Although I haven’t worked on many projects yet, some of my favorite work from Slow Clap also includes:
Slow Clap is proud to announce that, we’ve been included in the 2021 Clutch 1000, a list of the top 1,000 firms worldwide on their B2B service provider platform. This is a huge validation for us, as a boutique San Francisco Bay Area video production company that’s been dedicated to delivering nothing but the best work for our clients since our founding in 2014.
Over the years, positive feedback from clients on Clutch has been our North Star. It’s how we know we’re meeting our mission, to help brands engage with their audiences through authentic video storytelling.
The insights provided by our clients motivate us to continually improve our collaborative and creative processes. Here are a few of our favorite nuggets:
“Slow Clap delivered a high-quality and professional video that mirrored our client’s production requirements. Their creative and orderly approach made each phase seamless, especially our location shooting. Overall, their team met our standards with their cost-efficient and timely deliverables.” – Polly Ikonen at Landis Communications Inc.
“Slow Clap was a team of dynamic storytellers and highly skilled writers. They translated our complex project into a narrative that was easy for the community to understand.” – Reuel Daniels, Community Engagement Manager at Brookfield Properties
“Their team doesn’t create videos that are off the shelf. They create something that engages the viewer emotionally. Professionalism and creativity are hallmarks of their high-quality work.” – Jack Vaughan, Director of Education & Video at Glide
We’re honored that Clutch has recognized us for this global award. A big thanks to all our clients for sharing their unique stories and collaborating with us.
In this post, we’ll explain what case study videos are, show you five great examples, explain why they work so well, and tell you how you can borrow their tactics to gain trust with new audiences.
When making a purchasing decision, reviews and testimonials are pretty much a requirement today. You can find a testimonial shot on a smartphone on nearly any kind of product. But in the B2B world, it’s still a challenge to easily find objective reviews of niche products and services.
Can you connect me to somebody who has invested thousands in this particular B2B product? I’d like to know if it’s worth our time, money, and reputation.
Thanks, Sally Shot-CallerBig Company, Inc.
Because the demand for this information exists, it’s a good idea to make sure your audience can see a testimonial of your product. And there’s no better way than to present that testimonial as a complete story, in the form of a case study video.
A case study features a real B2B customer discussing the impact a product or service had on their own business problems. The customer is the hero, and your product was the magic sword that shaved 20% off their overhead and got them promoted.
Good case studies don’t just shoot from the iPhone. They’re planned, produced, and edited to tell a real-world success story using your product.
But case studies are doubly powerful because they establish trust as they inform about a product. Instead of making predictable “marketing claims,” the video provides human proof. And with good production, they do it while entertaining, informing, and ultimately, selling.
So here are five great case study videos you can use to inspire and plan yours.
Slack is a multi-billion dollar company with clients worldwide, but it’s useful for the most agile organizations too. And in this case, that was part of the point: small and large teams can find success together, as evidenced by Masks for Docs and Frontline Foods.
The video really shines where it gets specific, with Frontline Foods hero Jacinth Sohi explaining how they got rid of email and used Slack instead – and how their impact multiplied as a result.
Another great point: it finishes strong. “I don’t know if we would have been able to do it prior to Slack being around.” Hard to beat that.
Built in Slack was produced by Slow Clap, and screened at Slack Frontiers 2020 to much community love.
02: #WhyWeWork – Duet
Duet Display is an app that lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac. While that sounds basic, users like Jared Erondu use these displays for top-tier design, making for a beautiful demonstration of how the app enables him to create any time inspiration strikes.
Duet Display used a subtle hero story in their #WhyWeWork series of case studies: feature somebody compelling, but show up in the background as the “sage” or “muse” who enables their growth. So Duet captured Jared telling his story, shot footage to match, and is invisible but present: they’re hidden in the screen he uses to design.
In selling supplements to gyms, Six-Pack Shortcuts uses NewVoiceMedia for live data on prospect and closing rates in its call-center. The video uses immersive visuals to bring the audience into the unique culture at SPS, and lets the narrative tell the success story. The result is an uplifting and straightforward success story.
04: Marriott is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Marriott is a Trailblazer is the story of real employees serving a family that is a stand-in for all vacationers. To give vacationers everything they dream about, Marriott uses Salesforce to organize tasks and communications.
The Marriott video is a good example of what Hollywood screenwriters call “A Story/B Story.” The employees do their jobs, and the family has the time of their lives because of it. It’s easy to put yourself in the shoes of both parties, so it’s easy to understand how Salesforce helps Marriott succeed.
05: Valpak is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Valpak is a national company with thousands of contracts around the U.S. They managed all of their contracts on paper. That gave them problems. Sometimes the paper process delayed a customer’s advertising. Other times, those contracts got lost.
So Valpak switched to the most powerful CRM in the world and has enjoyed an upward trajectory ever since.
This video gets right to the problem without unnecessary chest-puffing, and it keeps the pace with visuals that explain the client meeting process, and the relief that Salesforce provided for their complicated workflow.
How to make a case study video
Creating a case study video depends less on creativity than on research. The story already happened, but you must figure out who to talk to, what questions to ask your customer, how to visually convey the story, and how to arrange the story to be clear and powerful.
Find a champion
Creating a case study worth watching starts with a great client, a “champion.” You’ll need somebody who will tell the story of your partnership, and tell it with enthusiasm.
You can create case studies with just text facts, but the audience will know that you’re the one telling the story, and not an objective third party. So capturing an authentic interview with someone that’s going to be a great ambassador for your company or product is key.
Plan your story around your audience
Before you begin writing, consider your audience. Answer the following questions:
What do they believe is true about their industry?
What result do they want?
What do they need to hear to take action?
Write questions for your champion
With those answers in mind, you need to write questions for your champion. Here are good starters:
What problem led you to seek us out?
How was this problem affecting your business?
What did we offer that interested you?
How did our solution help your problem?
What was the result of working with us?
How do you feel now that we work together?
It’s a good idea to have a brief conversation with your champion before filming anything. Ask them these simple questions.
Estimate your audience’s reaction
Ask yourself, “Is this story believable? Is it too miraculous? If it’s a dramatic change, what will we need to prove it’s true?”
Get additional perspectives
Often the answer is corroborating testimony – which, outside of Law and Order, means another point of view. Somebody else to help tell the story.
Get data – even anecdotal data
Numbers are gold. If your client’s sales went up by 29%, that’s invaluable. But even a ballpark estimate can be valuable, such as “it used to take us half a day to load a truck. With the RoboGo, we can load one in around an hour.”
Choose the right music
The theme is already “success.” But music can provide the atmosphere and backdrop that makes the story enjoyable for your audience. While a software video may rely on Indie music popular with office jockeys, a cattle company will seem odd when paired with a generic version of The Arcade Fire.
Open with a hook
Get to the problem right away. “We sell copy machines, but they often broke during shipping.”
Give the solution a clear transition in the story
Sometimes the solution can get buried in your customer’s account. Don’t let that happen.
Give a pause before and after introducing the solution. “When we used PenguinPack, none of our machines broke on the trucks.”
The one thing you need associating with your brand is the solution. Your logo should be all over the place when the problem gets solved.
Keep the length just right
How long should a case study be? You may feel tempted to add too many details about your client. They may want to talk about their company mission. But this is neither the time nor the place.
If any shot, sequence, or sentence doesn’t support the story of how you succeeded together, cut it.
Don’t let them forget your brand
Use your colors and fonts in the video. Don’t use a sub-brand or anything confusing.
Include branding throughout the video, but only where it’s natural.
Finish with a result that highlights your brand. “If I hadn’t consulted Dr. Jaime” or “because we packed a RoboDog…”
Conclusion: you lived this story. Share it.
If you helped a customer, that’s a good thing. Others need your help to realize their dreams and potential. And a case study is often the right way to tell that story: you’re talking about a customer of yours, but done well, your audience will realize you’re talking about their success too.
For more than a decade, UpCity’s mission has been—and continues to be—to help businesses find B2B service providers they can trust. The UpCity Recommendability Rating was developed to determine a service provider’s credibility and recommendability, giving UpCity the confidence to recommend them to the more than 1.5 million businesses that visit their site.
Each year, UpCity analyzes and scores more than 70,000 service providers based on their UpCity Recommendability Rating and acknowledges the top national and local providers with an UpCity Excellence Award. The results are in, and we won!
We at Slow Clap Productions produce authentic, entertaining, and meaningful content to capture the attention of any target audience. We approach every project with a collaborative mindset and involve our clients every step of the way.
Jen Gadus, Vice President of Product & Design at UpCity, had this to say about Slow Clap Productions:
“Slow Clap Productions uses innovative storytelling techniques to create truly entertaining and moving content that resonates with large audiences. Their clients can depend on them to create content that is engaging, innovative, and powerful. Congratulations on the 2021 Local Excellence Award.”
This recognition has been driven in large part by our 5-star review rating on UpCity. Here are a few of our favorite pieces of feedback we’ve received from our incredible customers:
“Dan and the Slow Clap crew were very professional, conscientious, and worked very hard to deliver a great production under budget and on time. They had to work with some difficult restrictions and they smiled through every adversity. I would highly recommend them.” – Mark Hornung
“Once we selected SlowClap, they took us through their process. We shared with them our expectations, walked through the brief in more detail, and explained the logistics (timeline) which was tight. Once we were on the same page, Slow Clap put together an execution plan. Slow Clap utilized internal and external research to decide on questions for each interviewee – they then performed a pre-interview to get initial plot points for the video. From there, SlowClap developed a creative brief (acts of the video, questions, shot list, etc) for our review. We worked hand in hand with Slow Clap to get the logistics right. They performed the interviews, determined the best shots, and shot the video. Once they had all the footage, they edited together a first draft. We worked with them to get to a final video that everyone was happy with.” – Dan Sutton
Thank you to UpCity for this award, and thank you to all of our clients who have helped make it possible. We look forward to the opportunity for continued partnerships and are excited for what’s to come!
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.
At Slow Clap Productions, we believe in authentic storytelling. We believe all voices should be heard, and that everyone has a story. We stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement and with our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors of color who are sharing their authentic stories through protest, murals, social media posts, and conversation.
The injustices that members of the black community have suffered cannot be ignored. The only way we can grow as a community, city, and country is to acknowledge and address the systemic racism that black people face every day.
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: