Getting Rid Of Black Bars – Good Views Season 2, episode 2

A few times each year, I get a call from someone wanting to know how to get rid of “black bars”, that annoying unused space around an older 4:3 aspect ratio video. This little trick is very easy. And if you’re putting videos on your website, it is essential for any video published before 2008.
This is episode 2 of my series “Good Views” and I plan to feature the kind of information and tips you can start using today. I hope you enjoy it. Don’t have any videos yet? Call me. I’d love to talk with you.

Watch Time (4:30)Link to transcript
Guest: Black Bart

License Sense – Good Views season 2, episode 1

It could be your favorite song, or maybe it’s a movie theme that perfectly fits your video.
Don’t Use It. Just don’t. If you don’t have the rights to use a piece of music, you could be fined hundreds of dollars, or your video could be removed totally. And that’s not fun.
But YouTube has a library of music that’s free for you to use in your videos, and it’s simple to work with.
I’ve renamed this series “Good Views” and I plan to feature the kind of information and tips you can start using today. I hope you enjoy it.Don’t have any videos yet? Call me. I’d love to talk with you.

Watch Time (4:30)Link to transcript
Guest: Adam Mathews: Dearie, Fischer & Matthews
Location: Gary Rasmussen Farmers Insurance

HOW MUCH DOES A VIDEO COST TO PRODUCE?

How much does video cost to produce?
Businesses can spend $300 a month to have a coupon on the back of a grocery receipt. They can spend $2,000 on a newspaper or magazine ad. A successful broadcast campaign can run five figures. These are the folks who have not yet discovered the power of online video.

How many ways are there for a business to communicate, market and entice its prospects?
Basically, there are only three: Broadcast, Print, and Online. Each medium has its own advantages and limitations, whether intrinsically or monetarily.

Broadcast is radio and television. Companies buy advertisements. Those ads take up a finite amount of time in the broadcast day. The more successful the outlet, or in many cases the daypart, the more expensive the ad. Nighttime radio in a small town can be had for a few dollars, while a 30 second spot on the NFL Championship game could cost upwards of a half million dollars. Many local broadcast stations produce their clients’ spots for free. National campaigns can have a feature film budget. And in both radio and television, the clusters of spots have gotten longer. But the twelfth commercial in the set pays the same as the first.

For print, size matters. Full page, and 4 color display ads run into the thousands. But print can also cover the direct mail pieces, or the backs of grocery store receipts. Those vehicles tend to be more reasonable for small business depending on the length of the contract and the area of distribution. There is usually a setup fee for the printing.

Online banner ads and platforms such as Google AdWords have been around almost since the inception of the modern day internet. Advertisers pay each time the ad is clicked, or for a particular action (a lead or a conversion) and the rates fluctuate wildly. Production costs vary too, from graphic design to video production for “pre-roll” advertisements.

Here’s what many companies miss: you also must determine the shelf life of an ad and figure that into the cost as well. For radio and television, when your 30 seconds is over, it’s gone. For print, if the ad doesn’t catch the eye, the page is turned, the coupon is thrown away, the envelope isn’t opened, you’ve failed.

But what if there were a way to actually ATTRACT prospects to your message in a way that they found entertaining and informative no matter where they are or when they search? There is.

But it’s not advertising, at least not in the traditional sense.

Folks who search you out are aching to have their questions answered. To find out what you do, and how well you do it.

The CONTENT you put in your online presence is accessible 24/7. It doesn’t disappear like broadcast. It doesn’t get tossed in the garbage like print. So its shelf life is as long as it needs to be. And that decreases the overall cost.

The companies who advertise on the backs of grocery store receipts, or in the neighborhood value magazines, or in the direct mail coupon packs are perfect clients for me, because I can do a better job of delivering their message at about the same price they are currently paying.

Yes, there are video production services out there charging $1,000 per finished minute. In my world, that could be three months worth of compelling content videos.

Consider the message. Consider the audience you’re trying to reach. Consider the shelf-life of the message. One of my original clients just refreshed his video after seven years! It was working extremely well for him, but he wanted to use it on his mobile website, and the video was in Flash format, instead of MP4. This time we shot two specialized pieces and testimonials. His clients love his service, and now he’s poised to grow the business even more.

For video, Facebook Live, Periscope, and other apps can bring an immediacy that other mediums can’t touch. DIY video can be alright, depending on where it is going to be used. If you’ve invested a thousand or more into your website, you may not want your brand to be represented there with an amateurish video.

Professional video can be added to your website or blog for just a few hundred dollars. If you’re looking to build a content video library, regular monthly or semi-monthly shoots can lower that figure even more. It’s an investment that will pay off. It’s an investment you want to make in your business before the competition does.
— That’s a wrap.

Baseball, The 30 Second Pitch, and Sigourney Weaver

It was a glorious summer day, the first Friday of July, 1941. Almost four thousand fans filed into Ebbets Field to watch their beloved Brooklyn Dodgers lose to the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4. But there was another bit of history taking place that day. For just as many fans were able to watch the game elsewhere – thanks to a new piece of technology called Television.

The baseball broadcast began with a map of the U.S.and a clock, as an announcer intoned, “America Runs On Bulova Time.” History’s first TV commercial.

It ran for only ten seconds. Bulova paid $9.00, about $130 in today’s money.

Within seven years, advertisers flocked to the new medium. Entire TV shows were sponsored by one company, and those businesses could often dictate the content of the shows. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that one man changed the way TV and advertising did business. Actually, he changed a LOT of things on TV: he invented the Today Show, and he invented the Tonight Show, too. Pat Weaver can lay credit to many of the ways television works today.

A side note: Pat Weaver was once a guest lecturer in my college broadcasting class. He’s one of the more fascinating men I’ve been privileged to meet. A couple of years after he had been in class, his daughter got a bit part in a Woody Allen movie. Yep. Pat Weaver is Sigourney’s dad.

Anyway, Pat figured out it was more cost effective – both for TV and for advertisers to sell that sponsorship to more than one company, and suggested one to two minute chunks of ads within the programming. In an hour, they could sell nine minutes of commercials. Cut those in half, and there are EIGHTEEN 30 second spots. Cue the cheering salesmen.

I did not achieve as much fame or significance in broadcasting as Pat Weaver, but I have written and produced thousands of 30 second spots. And I’ve learned this:

  • They are very difficult to write …and
  • Thirty Seconds Is For Broadcasting

Ever since I started Videos On Your Website, folks ask if I will do a 30 second video for their website. I won’t. Maybe the message takes 47 seconds to get across; maybe it takes two minutes and five seconds. Whatever it is, you don’t want to be constrained to a specific length. Studies have shown that folks will watch a video of about four minutes, IF it is compelling enough.

In the online playing field, Vine and its 7 second video platform is gone. Instagram’s limit is now 60 seconds, but I’m not thoroughly convinced that makes good content. It might make a commercial, but people don’t search for commercials.

Sixty year old factors should not determine the length of your message. Just get out there and tell your story.

— that’s a wrap.
(note: this post originally appeared on LinkedInJuly, 2015. I brought it back because of the World Series.)

Don’t Forget Hashtags On YouTube

YouTubeHashtags

Within the past few weeks, YouTube has added hashtag capability. Hashtags can now be used in the YouTube search box, but more importantly, they can also be used in the Description field, and in the Title as well. This is a great addition, because not only can you search with YouTube in the search box, but you can click on an included hashtag and get some of the newest and most popular videos on the channel.

What does that mean for Cincinnati businesses with video? It means that you should immediately add hashtags wherever you can in the videos that are already on your channel. Early adapters will likely see good success. I also encourage you to invent your own hashtag and use it everywhere. I believe that you will get a lot more engagement from new viewers if they find you via a hashtag. Since this a new feature to YouTube, a lot of folks don’t know about it yet. So get the jump on your competition and move ahead in search. Make it short, simple and memorable. And do some research before you commit to an invented hashtag.

If you need help, have questions or would like a free YouTube audit on your channel, get in touch.
–that’s a wrap

The Trick To Using Videos On LinkedIn

I’ve been reading an article from a LinkedIn expert of why your profile should feature videos. I agree with his concept. However the video examples that he uses are not so good. Here’s why:

Example video #1 shows the subject seated, and looking off camera – a standard “interview” technique. But, he’s looking off camera when he introduces himself and says, “Welcome to my LinkedIn profile.” That should be addressed directly TO the camera and the viewer.

Example #2 shows a confident person asking questions of the viewer and introducing himself. Great opening. But he’s standing in front of what looks like cabinets. Is he in his garage? His kitchen? Furthermore, his video is over seven minutes long, and it’s a sales pitch. How many times do we have to say that hard sales pitches don’t work on LinkedIn?

Video works great on LinkedIn, and it can help you close deals. But like anything else, you have to be mindful of the details.

1. LOOK AT THE CAMERA AND ADDRESS THE VIEWER. LinkedIn is a professional networking site. Do you look off to the side when you introduce yourself to a new contact?

2. WATCH OUT WHAT YOU STAND IN FRONT OF. Make sure your background is not distracting. Let it make sense to the whole picture.

3. TELL WHAT YOU DO AND SHOW YOUR PASSION. Leave the sales pitch for a face to face time when the customer is ready for it.

4. IF YOU’RE PUTTING VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE, rewrite the titles and descriptions. “LinkedIn Profile Video Cut 1, 1080p” is NOT a good title. Write more than one line in the description field, and start with your URL.

5. Be sure you have proper lighting, good audio, and a director who understands what you are trying to accomplish and can make suggestions.

No, you don’t need “Hollywood” production, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider hiring a professional to help you look more professional. Isn’t it worth it for your image and your sales?

–that’s a wrap.

In 30 days . . .

30 days
A lot can happen in 30 days after posting a video to your business website.

  • One of my clients booked a contract that paid him over 25 times what he had paid me
  • Another client received a 5 figure grant to grow her business
  • still another client was the subject of a local TV news story, AND won a Cincy Innovates award
  • And let’s not forget the million-dollar condo. We did a feature video, and it sold in 59 days. (ok, it was a slow market.)

Where will YOU be 30 days from now? I’ll keep saying it: If you’re using video, and the competition isn’t, You Win.

— that’s a wrap.