Web Video: As Crucial As The Website

A new user just landed on your website homepage. Scratch that, a POTENTIAL CLIENT has just landed on your website homepage. Timing is critical, you have about 5 seconds to capture their attention, once you have their attention you need to hold onto it as long as possible. Best case scenario, “as long as possible” means only about 2 minutes on average. In that amount of time you need to convince them that what they’re looking for, is exactly what you offer.  Not to mention that you’re the best option around.

I’m going to cut right to the point here because you already know the answer is video. Your best chance at explaining what you do in a way that is professional and engaging is with video. Right on your home page. You know this because you’ve used websites with a video on the homepage and websites without and you always gravitate to that video. That’s because it can say far more in less time plus we retain information in a video at a much higher rate than text.

I don't need a website, customers can find me in the phonebook. 

- said no one since 1999

Riiight... You would probably agree that not having a website for your business is a bad idea. Think of all those missed opportunities when customers search for you online and go with your competition instead. Well we’re at the point now where not having video on your website is just as crucial to your marketing material.

For the user, it’s all about efficiency. They are far more likely to stay on your website longer if there is video because it means they will find the answer they’re looking for much faster than digging through text. Side note: typically you want to keep your video around 2 minutes or less as that is what users will expect.  Search engines know that users are more likely to engage with video and that’s why web pages with video are more likely to land you on page 1 of the search results.  

Aside from delivering your message quickly, a video on your webpage adds professionalism and personality that can really set you apart from the competition.

Examples With Cost

Simple Backdrop

In this approach, you can introduce the company owner or the whole team. The simple backdrop is just a canvas for many different styles. It is often fully scripted but can incorporate unscripted elements and even outtakes if you really want to make your viewer laugh. 

 This is a cost effective approach to a website video because the shoot itself can be very efficient, lasting only 1 to 4 hours. Aside from the talking head, other ways we can make this video interesting and engaging is to include things like existing photos or video clips as well as text on screen.

Cost: $800 - $1,400

Factors that increase cost:

  • One or two cameras
  • Size of team or Length of shoot
  • Text or graphics
  • Many editing revisions
  • Video Length

 

Video Examples:

Video Examples:

Your Story

This approach usually involves an on-location shoot, not only to introduce yourself and/or your team but your work setting as well. The simple backdrop approach is professional but this added look at your space shows the viewer what they can expect when they step into your place of business.  That added professionalism can reduce uncertainty by showing that you are the real deal.

Generally this can take 1 to 2 days of shooting to capture all of this footage. Especially if multiple locations or customer testimonials are involved. Again, a scripted or unscripted approach can be taken here. 

Cost: $2,000 - $3,500

Factors that increase cost:

  • Multiple locations
  • Size of team or Length of shoot
  • Text or graphics
  • Many editing revisions
  • Overall video length

 

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Lip Dub project with NDDLH in Collingwood

I get asked a lot, “what makes a video go viral?” Well the answer is “a lot of things” but often it just takes a creative idea and little hard work to put it together.

Now granted, this particular video didn’t go viral globally but given the size of the school and surrounding community (school of 100 students in a town of 22k) it certainly did better than most other video advertisements shared by local busineses. And don’t be mistaken, this is 100% an advertisement for Notre Dame de la Huronie.

This video advertisement was created to show off the brand new school and help grow enrollment for the fully French school. Yes we could have done a real estate style tour, but where’s the fun in that? The “fun” part is why it was shared over 60 times. Plus the blooper reel at the end made it extra special. See for yourself, the end result that took a lot of creative planning, coordination, and practice.

So how did we do it? Well a huge credit goes to the Art teacher Mme Nalisa (my amazing wife) who planned the entire video with her grade 5/6 students. Together they mapped out where the camera was going plus the where and when all the students and faculty were to be. They even choreographed that dance and taught it to the whole school. How amazing is that?

We chose the lip dub style because it would be easier for me on the back end. This approach is done in one single take from start to finish so the editing process is very simple. I just dropped in the song and did a little bit of colour correction.

As you can see from the blooper reel however, there were several rehearsals before the final shoot. Because of the large colourful banner that gets destroyed and the silly string mess at the end, we had one chance to get it right and I think they did a pretty amazing job.

For businesses thinking that they want to create a viral video this is just a sample of what that takes. It may require you to step outside of your comfort zone for the sake of creativity and do something that viewers would not expect. Yes, it is more expensive than your traditional advertisement as we would take care of all that extra planning and coordination but that’s the price of creating buzz. That’s what it takes to get people talking about you and sharing your video. There is risk involved absolutely, but it is often very calculated and the payoff can be much better than any traditional advertising approach.

So when someone says to me “I want to make a viral video” my response is: “great, but do you have what it takes?”

 

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Why I’m Installing Theater Seats In The Studio

I’ve always been service oriented. To me it is important to make sure clients and customers are comfortable and well looked after. I feel like there are very few jobs and professions where this should not or does not apply. Maybe that’s my nature but I believe that this approach has helped me succeed not only as an employee but even more so as an entrepreneur.

In my agency days, the client was king. We would wine and dine clients like it was their birthday. We would jump through hoops to make them feel special and want to work with us. Now for the record, I’m not a fan of trying to make people like me by throwing money at them. That’s not the point. I actually did forge some great relationships because we just had a lot of fun together.

Now I’m at a point in my life where wining and dining and especially late night partying on a Wednesday is not really my thing. But there are still ways to go above and beyond to make clients feel extra special and welcome.

Here’s where the Theater Seats come in. When I was originally planning my studio, the concept was just a couch and and a TV. Somewhere to comfortably screen client videos that was not on my tablet or computer screen.

Well my Wife went searching and found these theater seats which seemed too perfect. And just like that, the simple and modest client screening area snowballed into a mini theater with authentic seating and a projector screen.

Currently I have most of the platform built. It is also on wheels so that I can move it around by myself and turn it to face whatever wall necessary. I have a few more boards to cut and lay down for the flooring and then I need to permanently bolt the seats to the boards. Like some of my projects in the studio, it is still a work in progress but I wanted to show it off and see what people think. is it too much? A little over the top? you be the judge.

Stay tuned for more progress as I finish it off and install the the projector in the next few weeks.

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What is BFresh.Studio?

BFresh.Studio is in full swing but the main question I still get is: “what is it?”. Is it a video studio? Mostly. Is it a Photo studio? sort of. What about a recording studio? ya we do a little bit of that too.

The answer is that the new Collingwood studio is all of the above. It is everything that we offer as BFresh.Media, now all under one roof. I call it a content creation hub because it’s really designed for content marketers. So if you have a YouTube channel or a podcast or you need lots of product photography and video for say your social media channels, then this space is for you.

It is important to note that we still offer regular video production services. So single video advertisements, shot on location, event promos, as well as motion graphics, and design are all still within our service offering. However, we now offer 3 new membership levels for those who need content on an ongoing basis. Basically if you need 1 video per month or 4+ videos per month, we have a membership package for you. Check out our rates and Membership details here: http://bfresh.media/studio/.

The studio is located at 1 First Street, suite 206-B, Collingwood Ontario. We are here from 9-5 Monday to Friday so come check us out!

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BFresh.Studio – A First Look

It has been a few weeks since getting the keys to the new studio so I made this video to show off the progress and kick start my own content marketing strategy.

So far, the walls have been painted, we blocked up a window and covered a door that is not needed.

In terms of soundproofing, we secured rigid foam insulation to the back of the main door to block out as much sound as possible when recording. Not to mention the window and alternate door coverings contain a lot of foam to reduce the amount of noise coming into the studio.

Another challenge that any studio will have is preventing echo but one that is easily overcome with some foam and cloth. You will see in the video that I’ve got a grey backdrop behind me (that still needs to be ironed) and this is stretched around a wooden frame that has a mattress cover pinned up behind it. This was not only a cost effective solution but one that is mobile and multi purposed. If I want to use only the dampening of the sound foam I can place the frame off to the side or I can hang other backdrops from the frame as needed. Just listen to the video and see how it sounds for yourself.

So as I said, the new studio is coming along but there is still a lot of work ahead of me but I hope to keep posting and keep everyone updated on what’s going on and perhaps inspire you to get out and get creating.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our youtube channel or like us on facebook to follow everything that is going on and stay tuned for more updates soon!

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New Video Studio Coming to Collingwood

Since I launched this business, I have dreamt about how amazing it might be, one day, to evolve into a studio space where we would have the convenience and luxury of a wide open studio. A space that wasn’t my living room or that of my clients’, which involves a huge transformation to set up a simple backdrop.

To me the benefits were clear: A studio would allow less travel, and shorter setup and take down times. Plus I could cater to wider range of individuals like youtube vloggers, content creators, and offer more services like weekly video, podcasts, product video and photography and even portrait photography, along with customizable sets and backdrops. It’s not changing the focus of my business but rather putting on a wider lense (camera metaphors, gotta love em).

Well by no other explanation than “the stars have aligned”, that dream is becoming a reality… and soon! The best part is, my address is not changing either. With the help of the Clever Office (the coworking space I operate from), we are only moving down the hall.

bfresh.media will be expanding into Suite 206-B, a soon to be studio space that is almost 500 square feet of possibilities.

I say possibilities because currently the large room is a blank canvas that will require lots of work to convert it into a professional studio space with good acoustics, a variety of sets and backdrops, and my favourite part… even more fun gear to play with.

So this is just the beginning. April 1st 2017 is the official launch so expect lots up updates including my own content strategy. Follow bfresh.media on facebook, instagram, and youtube for the fun stuff, plus you will want to be on the lookout for website updates soon. All the important things like photos, rates, membership packages, should be posted in the next few weeks.

That’s it for now, I wanted to keep it short because I get the keys next week and April 1st is just around the corner. I have so much work to do but I’m super excited and I look forward to sharing this journey with you every step of the way. Until next time!

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Newfoundland (in ten days): A Viral Success

Had I known the video I cut of our vacation across Newfoundland would be seen by so many people, I may have left out the part about making Mr. Noodles, using the hotel coffee maker, without a shirt on…

Aside from that slightly revealing scene, I think many fellow travelers and Newfoundland natives connected with the ground level, first hand perspective of our travel video. To me, it was a pretty typical excursion, getting “screeched in”, visiting popular destinations like Signal Hill, Cape Spear, and Gross Morne Park among many others. Basically we hit as many sights as we could in 10 days, but I believe it was that typical experience, with a bit of our funny antics, that struck a chord with people, propelling the video into viral success.

Within one week the facebook post had reached over half a million people. It had been shared over 5,000 times, viewed approximately 240,000 times and received over 500 comments, all of which were positive. Most notably, it was shared and tweeted by the official Newfoundland & Labrador tourism page and we were featured on the MUCH travel blog Far and Wide.

The video is just over 3min and contains 214 shots. That is an average of less than 2 seconds per clip. It is fast moving but the only way to fit as much as I could without the video being a full 1hr feature. And trust me, we had more than enough footage for a feature.

In case you haven’t seen it, here it is for your viewing pleasure:

So what was it that made this video more shareable than others? Up to this point, the most my work had been viewed to any viral extent was 13,000 times. I didn’t even obey the first rule of digital marketing which is keep it short. So what was it about this one that made it so popular?

Here are my thoughts and take away from the success of this video:

    1. I gave other businesses and people a reason to share. Don’t blink because you might miss them but featured in the video are several local businesses from breweries to cafes as well as international brands like ford and adidas. This was a bit of a strategic move on my part in the beginning, just to get the ball rolling. When I posted the video I made sure to tag those businesses in the hopes that they would share it to their followers and indeed most of them did. Some of them also tagged other pages involved in Newfoundland Tourism which helped even more.
    2. Travel is a big part of it. There are 3 kinds of people in canada, Those who live in Newfoundland, those who have been to Newfoundland, and those who want to visit Newfoundland. Well maybe not exactly, but I found those were the 3 largest groups that were leaving comments on the post. The largest response was from Newfoundlanders and I think a lot of it was recognizing places, and experiences… and that leads us to reason #3.
    3. It was relatable. One comment in particular I believe summed it up completely. Someone said: “This is the most realistic tourism video I’ve ever seen”. Unlike most tourism videos, I was focused on our experience right down to the very senses. As much as the scenery was breathtaking almost everywhere we went, I also captured the small things like touching surfaces, drinking beer and wine, to the point where you could almost feel, taste and smell the same things we were. And to me I think these are the more relatable experiences because as beautiful as drone footage is, I the tourist will never see a destination from that perspective.
    4. It left you wanting more. “The clips move too fast” was a fairly common comment. Not to be too harsh but I feel it is important to note that that feedback seemed to come only from an older demographic. Despite the comment, it didn’t stop people from watching it and I think it’s because they really wanted to see more. In other words, the one negative actually worked in its favour because you didn’t want to miss anything.
    5. It worked without sound. Now this is a facebook marketing tactic that I did adhere to. How often do you watch videos on facebook without sound? Probably more often than you realize. 82% of viewers watched my video without sound. That’s why when it comes to facebook video, It is imperative to try and catch someone’s attention in the first 3 seconds and be able to hold their attention without sound on. So subtitles and visual storytelling are huge. That would also explain my main demographic as the video started with the title “Newfoundland (in ten days)” and shot straight into recognizable locations and landmarks, and you didn’t need sound to follow along.

 
So what is my takeaway? Basically this video that I created for fun, more than anything else, serves as a great case study. The learning I have gained from this experience will go into every other client project moving forward in the hopes that we can recreate that viral effect. Before this, my bar was set at 13,000 views, now my sights are set on clearing that achievement of 240,000 views. And wouldn’t you want that to be your brand? I mean who doesn’t want, a huge increase in Page likes, engagment on a national or even global scale, plus a huge spike in website traffic?

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Social Stream Global: Client Testimonial Video

We have a strong connection with our friends Leon and his partner Lucy from Social Stream Global. That’s because both of our companies basically emerged from the same campaign.

video production and commercial photography by bfresh media productions

Back in August of 2015, we met with Leon who was extremely excited about launching his new company, selling streaming boxes to residents in the Georgian Triangle Area. This was even before bfresh.media was a concept I had given much thought.

Having done only a handful of independent productions prior to this, we both took a chance and got to work right away.

We shot over two days and produced a 90 second video, featuring the company owners, customer testimonials, as well as a family using the product. Additionally, we fit in a photo shoot of Leon and Lucy that they used for various marketing material.

See what Leon had to say about working with bfresh.media:

“We would definitely recommend bfresh.media because the video really gave our company that credibility, and people felt comfortable actually contacting us, even though we didn’t do any advertising or anything. Initially that was a big push for our company and then the referrals just kept coming in.”

As you can see, our clients were extremely happy with the end result that helped launch their company and give a lot of credibility and brand awareness to their new startup.

Since then, Social Stream Global has expanded far beyond a “local business”, shipping across Canada and offering other products and services such as home phones, and internet service. We are very proud as well that one of our latest product photography jobs ended up on their branded smart car. So we often get to see it, all over town.

bfresh.media productions, professional photography, commercial photographer, product and client photo

We cannot be happier for their success and look forward to a long relationship as both of our companies continue to grow.

Learn more about Social Stream Global:
website: http://socialstreamglobal.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialStreamGlobal/

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Why We Don’t Shoot Weddings, And Other Life Advice

Yes, I know there’s money to be made from weddings… but not by me. I feel the need to answer this question as it comes up often. Especially after producing a promotional video for Around the Bay Wedding Show in Wasaga Beach this past spring.

… in case you missed it…

Most people are perplexed that I don’t do wedding videos or photography and insist that I should because it’s “easy money”. Well, here’s the short answer; it’s not in the business plan. If you’re a fellow entrepreneur, I hope that should suffice. for everyone else, please continue reading.

You see, one very important lesson I learned while trying to pursue fine art as a career was this:

EVERYONE has an opinion of “what you should focus on”… but only YOU know what is best for you and your business.

I wish I had been better at ignoring that advice in my youth or rather, developing and sticking to a plan. Who knows, I might have been a successful contemporary artist by now, but instead I fell victim to pursuing the creative advice from random people, focused on easy money. Some call that being a “jack of all trades” or “selling out” and I guess I was a bit of a sellout but at least i drew the line at Pet Portraits… well damn, there was this one.

PetPortrait

Without going into a big long rant, the bottom line is that I don’t have experience producing wedding videos. I do have over 10 years of experience in marketing communications, and video production. I don’t even have a desire to start shooting weddings. I do have a desire to create professional advertising and documentary films. When it comes to bfresh.media, anything outside of that is simply a waste of time.

So that’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it. Because as much as I wish there was, there is no such thing as “easy money”.

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What is Direct Response Advertising?

Direct response advertising is very popular among retailers and not for profits because when done properly, it is a highly effective form of advertising. In my experience, most small businesses use this form of advertising without even knowing it. So what is DR? well let’s break it down. The term “direct” refers to the targeting nature of DR. Response is just that, a response mechanism that allows advertisers to track efficiency of the ad and the medium, in order to optimize campaign performance.

The best example to give you is direct response TV, otherwise known as infomercials. Infomercials popularized DRTV because they proved that you could sell a $20 product like “slap chop” during a $100-250 commercial spot and make a profit. And unlike conventional advertising, the results are instant and measurable. Meanwhile, other industries such as financial and not for profit have since come to rely on direct response as a valuable sales tool.

The key components of direct response can be applied to other forms of advertising under the “direct” umbrella that you can and should be using such as direct mail or direct response print.

Here are three components which differentiate a DR Advertisement from a conventional brand advertisement:

1. The offer

Everyone likes a good deal. This is most often the sale price, discount or GET A FREE _____ (often in full caps with excessive punctuation) anything you can offer that adds value will help to catch someone’s attention and get you that much closer to a sale.

2. The call to action

This is what you want your audience to do. Examples may include Call the number, visit the website, or basically buy right now before you forget how much you need this. The call to action is not always about finalizing sales. It can also be getting people to provide contact information like signing up for a newsletter. The goal here is to be able to say, each advertisement cost me this much, and I made this much in return. If your call to action is to have your audience sign up to your mailing list then you must ask yourself: “how much am I willing to pay per signup?” and aim to achieve that goal.

3. Establish a sense of urgency

This is to assist in that immediate response and what makes DR so trackable. Infomercials are notorious for their repeated announcements that inform you this is a limited time offer; that you must call now, or better yet, if you call in the next 5 minutes we’ll throw in this extra gift completely free!! They do this because they know that if people don’t call within 5 minutes; chances are they are not calling in at all. Adding the urgency does improve the rate of success and there are ways to add urgency without sounding like Billy Mays. For example using wording like “call now” or “visit the website today”, or wording like “limited quantities” will add just a little more urgency on the call to action.

Again, these three key components are part of any good direct response advertisement but they do not need to be applied to just TV or print. You can apply these principles to any form of advertising including online and social media or even one to one sales.

The most important part however is testing and optimizing but what most small businesses don’t do because of the complexity and time involved. DR is more of a science in the way good marketers test various media, headlines, designs, demographics to find that perfect storm; The right ad, in the right place, at the right time. It can take a lot of time and money, but when done right, direct response can have a huge payoff, and make it all worth while in the end.

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