How To Prepare To Film – You NEED To Do This!

When you’re working with us we try to nail down a film date so that. If not, your project may take a back seat. The other reason is so that you and your staff can get ready to film. Preparing is key. When the time for action arrives, the time for preparation is past!

So how do you prepare? What things should you check or practice? That’s why we created this handy video. Here’s also a handy checklist for you to use.

Preparing

  • Several hours before you film, please insert your camera batteries to ensure they are completely charged.
  • Ensure all previous footage from your microSD card has been uploaded to your computer and format the card so that you have the maximum amount of space.
  • Double check that you have all your accessories in your kit.
  • Review your shot list and gather any remaining props.
  • If you’re filming outside, check the weather to make sure it’s appropriate for filming.
  • Remind those that will be filmed to dress appropriately.

Practicing

  • I have filmed myself or someone else while walking with the OSMO.
  • I have practiced keeping someone or a prop in the shot following the rule of thirds.
  • I have assembled the tripod setup.
  • I have filmed someone speaking using both the lav and shotgun mic.
  • I have checked the audio levels of what I’ve filmed to ensure that the audio is not too loud or too soft.
  • I have looked at the lighting that I’ll be filming in and avoided mixed lighting situations as best as I can.
  • I have looked at some unique perspectives that I can film and made note in my script.
  • If needed, I have practiced speaking with the teleprompter app.

You Should Use A Teleprompter!

One of the biggest challenges our clients face is knowing what to say on camera. We’ve created several worksheets and scripting tools to help! You can find these on our home page, next to our example videos.

Once you know what you want to say, now let’s talk about a tool that can help you focus on how you say it! When we have clients come into our studio we always recommend using a teleprompter. Initially we were against using them because we didn’t want people to sound scripted. Maybe that’s your fear.

If you just read the teleprompter once on camera then yes, you will come across as robotic. However, if you practice and follow the tips outlined in this video, you’ll not only be more natural but also say what you want to say on camera. Remember that you have to get and keep your audience’s attention. If you start babbling or rambling then they will jump before you know it!

The app we recommend is called Parrot Teleprompter. Best part is it’s a FREE download!

The Power Pose – How to Keep Your Energy High While Being Filmed

Did you know that the camera literally zaps energy from you? I’m not exactly sure what’s going on but something happens when the camera captures you. It takes your energy levels down a notch or two. So what do you do about it?

High energy is important because if you don’t come across as enthused about your topic then why should your audience be? Viewers like to be entertained and hum drum boring doesn’t do it.

Also, keep in mind that when you film for periods of time, you naturally wear down. The tip I’m about to share not only helps pep you up at the beginning but also draws back the energy needed to keep going after a while.

First I want to say that this tip works! In fact I just used it today at a client’s film shoot. The owner watched us as we filmed one of his employees and we had the employee do this. The owner was skeptical until he was in front of the camera and was struggling. He turned to me and asked me to teach him this trick.

The Power Pose

You may have seen this at a TED talk or on the Dr. Oz show. It’s called the “power pose.” Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist explains that when we get into a high pressured situation which is often how people feel when being filmed, you should use this power pose.

Stretch your arms all the way out to your side making yourself “large.” Puff your chest out. A great way to envision the pose is think of a runner winning a race. What do they do when they win the race? They throw up their arms in victory. Do that and consciously think that you’ve got this! I like to also take a few breathes in and out.

Now Cuddy says that you should do this for 2 mins or more to get the real effects however, with my client’s they’ll see a benefit when only doing it for a few seconds. I’ll have them do this when they’re just starting out after I’ve given them a few instructions about being on camera. It helps them not get overwhelmed when starting.

If I noticed that over time they’re starting to get frustrated or self conscious, I’ll have them stop and do it again. It becomes a healthy reminder to refocus on what they’re trying to say.

I’d love to hear from you! Try this out and let me know if it works next time you’re in front of a camera.

Maximize Your Video Viewership! Remember These Simple 3 Tips!

Let’s say you’ve realized how powerful of a tool online video is and finally decided video marketing is for you. You’ve begun creating content that sets yourself apart from competition, and you’ve also found ways to creatively innovate your videos. Your content is great, but the viewership can use a little boost. What do you do?

In this infographic created by Kissmetrics and Wistia, they share video marketing best practices to ensure that your content gets maximum viewership.

In a nutshell, there are 3 things to remember:

ONE: Keep Users Engaged

Bear in mind that because technology has allowed us to receive and process information so much faster than before, our attention spans have become significantly shorter. We get distracted very quickly, or grow impatient when we’re not given what we expect. And because there are millions of great content on the Internet being published every day, it’s easy to “lose” a potential customer if we fail to capture their attention, even if only for a few minutes.

To keep your target audience engaged, create video content that’s short and simple. After all, not a lot of people have ten or even five minutes to spare watching a marketing video. Studies showed that keeping your videos to a minute or less will yield the best results.

Furthermore, providing your audience something fresh and useful is a great way to hold their attention. Do you have something awesome they definitely need to see? Put it in the beginning of the video. This way, you will be able to convey your message before your audience gets bored and decides to do something else.

TWO: Take Note Of Video Length

According to Wistia’s data, shorter videos get more engagement than their lengthier counterparts. For example, an average 30-second video got viewed 85% of the way through while only 50% of an average 2-minute video was viewed.

You can’t fit all your content into 30-second videos all the time, of course. But in cases where you find it necessary to produce longer videos, make it as short and punchy as possible to guarantee maximum engagement.

THREE: Keep Track Of Play Rates

First of all, what are play rates?

Play rates are very much like the open rate for an email. It is the percentage of unique visitors that click the play button when they are presented the video. If the play rate for your videos is low, don’t worry. There are several factors that affect this, and you can always alter them to see which works for you.

These factors include:

  1. Video thumbnail – The first frame a viewer sees when they open a page with a video.
  2. Video placement – Where the video is located in terms of a page layout.
  3. Video size – How big the video is (can affect the speed by which it is streamed/loaded).

As you can see, these details can easily be changed according to audience response. This is why tracking play rates is important–so you will be able to tweak around these factors after understanding what works for you and what doesn’t.

Take a look at the complete Kissmetrics and Wistia infographic below:

wistia-video-viewership

Are you considering marketing your products and/or services using video? Cocoa Productions is here to help! Contact us today and ask us how.

What’s So Great About Instamate?

instagram marketing

According to Instagram’s press release dated June 21st, there are now more than 500 million Instagrammers around the world, 300 million of whom use Instagram daily. Looking at these numbers alone, it’s no wonder companies are taking their businesses to Instagram and expanding their market there.

But wait, even with the recent upgrades to the popular photo app–thank goodness for the multi-user function!–certain limitations still remain.

Like posting content from your computer or scheduling posts, for example.

As someone who helps keep businesses thriving in social media, these limitations can be a roadblock. Yes, these limitations could be considered minor setbacks, but they are still something that hinders us from putting out the best content in the most efficient way possible.

So what if I tell you that we have a game changer in our midst–a nifty tool that doesn’t only enable us to create and schedule posts straight from our computers, but can also be used to find viral content, edit them, and monetize your posts? You’re probably thinking “No way!” and I thought the same too, until I started using this awesome tool called Instamate myself.

PRETTY COOL TOOL

What exactly does Instamate have to offer? Here’s a quick list of things I personally found extremely helpful.

Create and schedule posts from your computer.

Let’s be practical. Social media managers don’t usually handle ONLY ONE account. And even if you are, you might also be using Instagram for personal purposes. Using Instamate is a great way to manage your professional/business accounts and separate them from your personal account as well. Never post personal photos on your business accounts ever again! The best part: Instamate can SCHEDULE your posts for you! You can automate an entire week’s worth of posts, or even longer, if you wish!

Find top viral content and repost/schedule to post them.

Finding popular content on the Instagram app can be a little time-consuming, but Instamate has made it a whole lot easier. You simply type in a keyword, and watch the software work its magic. You’ll find the most relevant, viral posts in no time, and you’re given the function to quickly repost or schedule them. Pretty neat, don’t you think?

Drive traffic to your account/s for free!

Sure, sponsored content gets your content to a wider audience, but before you spend several extra dollars to boost your content, consider this: Instamate has this cool little function where you can find the top hashtags available per niche. Simply copy and paste them into your posts, and voila! Watch your posts earn more likes and start getting more followers. No extra charges. With Instamate, you might find you’ll never need to spend for ads again.

Keep an eye on your competitors.

To be able to stay on top of your game, you need to know what your competitors are up to. Instamate can help you do just that. Keep track of the movers and shakers in your industry, and make sure you’re up to date with what works for them. And what doesn’t.

Undergo full training.

Logging on to Instamate can be overwhelming for new users, but you don’t need to be extremely tech-savvy to be able to run this software smoothly. Luke Maguire, the brains behind Instamate, doesn’t scrimp on providing instructional videos that will help you maximize the software’s full potential.

What else? Advanced features of this software include an image editor that allows you to edit your posts with call-to-action buttons and watermarks, a link cloaker that monetizes your posts, and VIP training.

BUT IT’S NOT PERFECT… YET.

While I highly suggest that you give Instamate a try, I found a couple of things that may be limiting for some. Are they deal breakers? I’d say no, but just some details that may be improved in the future.

It needs a Google Chrome extension for it to work.

Not that that’s a limitation, since I work with Google Chrome as well, but this only means the Instamate software only works on the said browser. If you’re not a Google Chrome user, this might be a con for you.

Scheduled posts page should be up and online at the time your scheduled post should be published.

Say you scheduled a post for tomorrow at 10:00 AM, but you shut your computer down after that. For your scheduled post to be posted on time, you will have to turn the computer on again and go to your Instamate scheduled posts page before 10:00 AM the next day. Because I’m online most of the time, this is a minor limitation for me. However, for others who might have to go offline, this might get tricky.

You need an IFTTT account to automatically share Instagram posts to other social media platforms.

On the Instagram app, you can instantly share your posts to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media platforms with the push of a button. For you to be able to do that on Instamate, however, you will need to create an account via a third-party website called IFTTT (“if this, then that”) and link your Instagram to other social media platform. Yes, it’s an extra step and an extra account to manage, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to share your content to a whole lot of other places. Still a win in my book.

If you’ve been thinking of bringing your business to Instagram, I highly recommend you give Instamate a try. Not only does it help you organize and manage your posts, it can also help you understand Instagram trends, increase your reach, and earn income while you’re at it.

Start using Instamate today! Visit their website.

Change The Way You Sell With These 19 Surprising Sales Stats

Just when we thought we knew everything there is to sales, we get surprised by new developments brought about by the ever-changing technology around us. Social media has definitely become a game changer over the past few years, giving us marketers interesting and effective alternatives to how we sell.

Don’t get me wrong: Relying on a tried and tested marketing technique isn’t bad. But in this day and age, it’s also important to consider using multiple methods to achieve certain goals. If you’re a marketer, this infographic from Bizness Apps has both surprising and impressive pieces of information you absolutely need to see.

Take a look:

19 shocking sales stats

Do you use these methods to further your sales and marketing efforts? If so, are you tracking how effective they are for you?

If you’d like to talk about incorporating new digital marketing methods to your campaigns, give Cocoa Productions a call today.

3 Surefire Ways To Avoid Becoming A Sporadic Marketer

sporadic marketer vs. strategic marketer

It’s pretty much human nature to be impatient, much more, perhaps, when we’re talking about returns on investment. In the past, I have personally handled sporadic marketers, or clients who have quickly jumped in and out of certain marketing efforts or strategies simply because they weren’t seeing results after a few weeks.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I completely understand why clients would drop one thing and dive into another in the hopes of achieving their marketing goals. However, what they don’t know is that this may hurt their business in the long run. This is because when you market sporadically, you spread yourself too thinly, and it makes promoting awareness or establishing influence over your target market difficult.

But first, what exactly is SPORADIC MARKETING?

The word sporadic means occasional or infrequent. On a marketing standpoint, being sporadic means not having any solid plans or strategies. A sporadic marketer is someone who starts a marketing campaign but does not see it through. It’s also someone who launches too many marketing campaigns that they eventually lose focus of their goals.

Tim Grover, author of Relentless, once said: “Trying is an open invitation to failure, just another way of saying, ‘If I fail, it’s not my fault, I tried.’ Anyone can start something; very few people can finish.”

If you’re a sporadic marketer, chances are, your results may have more misses than hits. Perhaps you won’t even see results at all, because you didn’t finish what you started.

So how do you AVOID being a SPORADIC MARKETER? Here are three tips:

FOCUS ON YOUR GOALS

Goals are important. Whatever you want to achieve with your marketing campaigns should help shape them. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Do you want to introduce your brand because you’re fairly new in the industry? Are you launching a new product or service? Do you want to engage your customers and learn more about what they think of your brand?

When you’ve identified your goal, start building a marketing campaign that’s tailor made to achieve it. Focus on your goal to make sure you don’t stray from your objectives. This way, you will not only determine the approach you need for your marketing, but you will also know what to look for when analyzing results.

THINK LONG TERM

The truth of the matter is, marketing campaigns won’t return significant results until after six months or so. I know, you’re probably saying “I can’t wait that long!” and I get that. You’re investing a lot of money after all and would want to know if you are spending your money wisely.

But this mindset can cause you to be sporadic in your marketing. It can compel you to try one strategy after another without really seeing results. I want you to avoid that by thinking long term. Ask yourself where and how you can advertise the longest and get the most bang for your buck over time. It’s also helpful to develop a marketing calendar, so that you can plan “activities” you need to do to accomplish your goals.

BE CONSISTENT

Consistency can only be achieved when you decide on something and stick to it. Let’s say you’ve planned an educational approach to your marketing. You’ve produced several educational videos to achieve that goal. A way to be consistent in marketing these videos is to determine which platforms you want to publish them on and stick with them. Do you want to distribute them via YouTube? Facebook? Vimeo?

Identify which platform will work best for you and consistently do your marketing on it. Feel free to tweak your approach as you see fit, but stay focused on your goals and stick to the platform you chose. Over time, you will notice your momentum picking up, even without a specific campaign or special promotion running.

If you’re feeling a little lost about your marketing efforts, I have created a comprehensive course about planning and setting up your marketing campaigns in such a way that you’d be able to get an ROI. Click here to start today.

SWOT’s the Matter? | Why SWOT Analysis Is Great For Business

swot analysis

Starting and managing a business takes a lot of hard work, but there are some powerful, tried and tested techniques top marketing agencies use that you as a small business owner need to take advantage of. These techniques will help make running your business a lot less tedious and a lot more productive.

One of these techniques is conducting a SWOT analysis.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Determining what these four elements are will give you a clearer view of what your business is all about, and what you need to do to move forward in your marketing efforts. This is how you do it:

Build on your STRENGTHS.

Your business’ strength is your competitive advantage. This includes aspects of your business that are performing well and making you look good in the eyes of your consumers. Once you’ve identified your strong points, work toward making sure you say good at it, or get even better.

Note, however, that many businesses make the mistake of focusing only on their strengths and not much else. This is not what SWOT is about. Conducting a SWOT analysis will bring out a lot of issues to the surface, and as a business owner, it’s your job to make sense of your findings and create a bigger picture about your business.

Don’t stop here. Keep going.

Improve your WEAKNESSES.

Let’s face it: not all businesses are perfect. There will always be an aspect or two that you’re going to suck at, but that’s okay. What you do about your weaknesses is what’s important. There are businesses that let their weaknesses paralyze them. On the other hand, some businesses completely ignore their weaknesses.

Neither of these two are beneficial to your business.

As you consider your weaknesses, remember not to feel demoralized. This is your chance to make improvements, to keep these weaknesses from posing problems to your business in the long run. It’s always good to have a healthy dose of reality while being grateful for an opportunity to work toward progress.

Seize those OPPORTUNITIES.

Times are ever-changing, and what might not have worked for your business in the past may now be promising opportunities. These opportunities are usually results of external factors, such as technological advancements, shifts in consumer trends, or market changes.

Do note that it is important to think creatively when considering your opportunities, as they might not always be so apparent.

Word of warning, though. Finding great opportunities doesn’t mean you have to dive into them right away. This is where knowing what your STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES are comes to play. Consider them and ask yourself if you are capable and ready to take on these opportunities before making a decision.

Prevent THREATS.

Threats usually come in the form of marketing efforts done by your competitors, but they could also be caused by other factors such as market changes or new government policies. Again, depending on your business’ STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES, you will be able to come up with adjustments and other steps to counteract whatever threats come your way.

Performing a SWOT analysis on your business is also helpful in addressing business concerns such as employee performance, product development, business culture, operational efficiency, and more. And because many huge decisions may be derived from this exercise, here’s how best to do it: INVOLVE OTHER PEOPLE.

Brainstorm with your team. They will either implement or be affected by the decisions you will make, after all. Involving them in this process can also help create new ideas or identify potential threats you haven’t seen/thought of yet.

Reach out to your customers, or conduct a third-party research. An outsider’s perspective is good feedback in that this helps you avoid being biased in your analysis.

For optimal results, I suggest you conduct a periodical SWOT analysis on your business. Ideally, you make SWOT analysis every six months, but not all businesses have the same needs anyway, so sometimes you have to play it by ear.

Are you preparing to make a significant business decision?

Or are you perhaps restructuring your business model or launching a new product?

Could there be external factors that might affect the way you run your business?

If your answer to any of these questions is YES, then you will need a SWOT analysis, stat. Call your team in and start brainstorming.

Need a little help? Feel free to use this template I created specifically for this exercise. You’re welcome, and good luck!

Ten Creative Ways to Innovate Your Marketing Videos

creative ways to innovate your marketing video

Picture this: You have a brilliant concept for your marketing video in your hands, something you’re sure will work because you’ve seen other businesses successfully carry out a similar campaign. Unfortunately, certain limitations won’t allow you to pursue it. You find yourself looking for ways to innovate your marketing videos in such a way that you can work around those limitations.

What do you do?

You go back to the old drawing board, of course.

What has worked for other businesses may work for you, but when time and resources are scarce, there are ways by which you can easily produce effective marketing videos without breaking the bank. But before you go and conceptualize an elaborate production, take note of the following considerations:

Goal-setting

First of all, one marketing campaign’s goal may vary from another. Campaign A’s goal may be to introduce a new product, while Campaign B’s goal may be to aggressively push sales. A third campaign may simply want to engage customers.

Knowing your goals for each campaign will make it easier for you pinpoint specific ways to achieve them.

Feasibility

Time and budget constraints can cramp your style, so it’s very important to consider your timetable and budget when planning a video marketing campaign.

One good example of this is the marketing video we did for one of our clients, EcoLawn. The company specializes in caring for and maintaining lawns by using eco-friendly materials. In conceptualizing a marketing video for them, we initially thought to showcase their customers’ green lawns.

However, the client’s timetable didn’t give us the luxury of time. They wanted word about their brand NOW, and that meant we wouldn’t be able to wait for the middle of the season to capture the green lawns in their best state. We had to rethink our plans.

Finally, we decided on a writing a script for a graphic-based advertisement that highlighted their fast and reliable service, and this is what our end-product looked like:

Innovate your marketing videos

Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of creative ways by which marketing professionals execute their video marketing campaigns. In case you feel a little stuck, here are ten innovative ways to spice up your next campaign.

  1. Take us behind-the-scenes.
    People are always craving for something more than what they usually see. Taking them behind the scenes is a great way to get them interested in a new product, service, or event.
  2. Take us through time.
    Reveal the progress of a new project by filming the entire creative process and creating a timelapse video. Just like a behind-the-scenes video, it provides an inside look at the project and some insight on how things get done.
  3. Usher in good news.
    Hint about the existence of a new product or service through several teaser videos released over a period of time.
  4. Show us a day-in-the-life.
    This works well for personality-based marketing (i.e. for brands who have endorsers). Shoot a day-in-the-life video of someone making use of a featured product and highlighting the significant ways by which life is made better by said item.
  5. Gratitude goes a long way.
    Whether it be for coming to an event, supporting a product, or continuously engaging with the brand, give thanks to customers through a quick video. It’s a simple way to let customers know they are appreciated.
  6. Answer the “How-Tos”
    Demonstrate how a product should (or should not) be used. This is a great way to introduce a product’s features and strengths.
  7. Do a Q&A session.
    Get a brand ambassador to answer questions about the brand, its products and services. Make it informative and fun at the same time.
  8. Get customers to talk about the brand.
    Conduct a quick interview with customers and have them talk about what they like about a brand’s products or services. First-hand customer testimonials are relatable and carry more credibility in them compare to their written counterparts.
  9. Animate a story.
    Nicely crafted animated videos with memorable characters and messages may take a little more time to make, but are more likely to go viral.
  10. Film a publicity stunt.
    This takes a lot more planning than the rest, but it has great potential to catch people’s attention. Think of ways to capture people’s attention in a public place and record everything on video.

No matter what video marketing strategy you decide on, goal-setting is of utmost importance. After all, what use is an awesome and cool video if it does nothing to help achieve your goals? With your goals in mind, try to innovate your marketing videos using any of the examples above and see what works for you!

With a Great Brand Comes Great Influence

brand influence

Previously, I discussed the importance of video marketing and mentioned how you can set yourself apart from the competition: Establish influence.

Don’t be mistaken. Being an industry influencer doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be some sort of celebrity.

How Do I Establish Influence?

So what do you need to do? Three things:

  1. Define your target market.
  2. Identify your target market’s “problems.”
  3. Help solve the problems.

Let’s say your brand specializes in producing and selling non-stick frying pans. While your products are already direct solutions for consumers who want a more convenient kitchen experience, you shouldn’t stop there. Why?

Because you want to establish your brand as a reliable, knowledgeable industry expert. Because you want people to keep coming back. You want your customers to know that not only do you sell great products, you also provide an added value to these products.

One noteworthy way to do this is through education. First of all, tell your customers about why your frying pans are so great aside from the fact that it’s a whole lot easier to clean. Is it eco-friendly to use them? What kinds of dishes can you cook in them? And finally, show them how to cook those dishes.

Are you getting the hang of this yet?

Let’s Give You A Hand

To further illustrate my point, here’s an example that’s closer to home.

Recently, we have started working with Heber Valley Medical Center for a series of educational videos that focus on healthy eating.

Simple and straight to the point, the core objectives of these videos are the following:

  1. Provide helpful content to the community,
  2. Remind everyone of the importance of having a healthy diet, and;
  3. Let everyone know that the Heber Valley Medical Center is open to assist them with their dietary requirements.

Through these videos, we are establishing Heber Valley Medical Center as a place that everyone—not just those that are sick—can rely on for their well-being.

Click here to check out one of their videos uploaded on their Facebook page.

Working on this project has been fairly easy considering the busy hospital environment. We made use of a small crew that could come and go without causing any disruptions to hospital operations, making the work process stress-free. In fact, we already have two months’ worth of content, and we are confident we could do a lot more in the coming months.

Did you like what you saw? Cocoa Productions is ready to help you get started with your company’s video marketing. Let’s meet to talk about how video will benefit your company.