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5 Video Business Marketing Mistakes

So you’ve decided to integrate video into your marketing plan. Great! Now let’s make sure you do it right.

It’s easy to recognize a great video, but making one from scratch? That’s a whole different beast. There are tons of tiny details that separate the greats from the… not-so-greats. We’ve learned from making some greats in our day, and wanted to share our tips. Here are 5 things to avoid when making videos for your business.

A Bland Cover Image

The fixed image that displays before your video begins is also known as a cover image, and it will be your viewers’ first impression of your video. They say you only get one shot at those, so you have to make it count. Customize your video’s cover image with an exciting, aesthetically pleasing screen grab of your choosing instead of relying on the snapshot that your video hosting site picks for you—those defaults are chosen at random, usually blurry and often uninteresting. When you add your own (awesome) lead image instead, viewers won’t be able to resist hitting play.

Not Posting Your Video on Social

You’ve gotten this far and made a great video—now it’s time to show it to the world! Gone are the days of just posting it on your YouTube channel and watching the views roll in. You have to share it across all your social accounts, and not just once, but several times over the course of a few months to build momentum. If you’re going to put the work in, you shouldn’t be afraid to show it off.

Making Video That’s Meant for TV

People aren’t interested in online video that feels and sounds like a TV commercial. Don’t try to shove everything you want to say into a 30-second time slot in an advertise-y way. Instead, focus on creating strong, visually creative videos, like this spot we made for Adidas. Keeping those two goals in mind will put your business on the fast track to creating content that attracts viewers and keeps them wanting more.

Forgetting to Focus on Results

Creating excellent videos for the pursuit of artistic fulfillment is great and all, but you’re running a business, so it’s time to get yourself some leads. Use text or better yet, animated video to end your video with a clear call to action. The request will flow seamlessly and your viewers won’t be able to stop themselves from falling for your brand.

Trying to Tackle the Project Yourself

Don’t buy some high tech camera equipment and editing software and expect to become a video expert overnight. Instead, partner with an experienced production team that knows the ins and outs of creating stellar content. They can handle all the details while you focus on making your business grow.

If you’re looking for a video team to help you make some great content—and in turn, some big sales—you’re in the right place. Contact the crew at Bottle Rocket Media to learn how we can help you make your company’s first video a “do.”

How To Build Your Brand With Educational Videos

Your viewers want to learn why you do what you do: teach them and they’ll feel more connected and valued

Educational videos are a powerful tool for connecting with your audience. Videos that focus on sharing your organization’s knowledge with viewers offer many benefits: They help people understand your group’s mission, raise awareness of your cause, and make your audience feel more invested in the work you’re doing. When done well, they also mobilize those supporters to help. Sharing educational content without feeling like a professor during lecture means walking a fine line, and we know how to do it well. Unlike a promotional video, an educational video doesn’t focus on the “why” of your brand, but instead, on the “why” of your mission.

Contribute to Broad Awareness

For a mission-driven organization, you likely have key strategic goals to meet—but step one is spreading the word about your cause. Educational videos raise awareness of the issue you want people to care about. Make Every Vote Matter wants people to support their work to educate the voting public, but their core goal is simply to educate. We helped them create a fun yet deeply informative video about how the U.S. Electoral College works that combined motion graphics with clear, impartial information. The video helps viewers understand the history of the Electoral College—a valuable lesson for anyone—while also demonstrating the importance of making this information easily available—which is Make Every Vote Matter’s mission. By first establishing the importance of voter engagement and then offering viewers the tools to achieve it, you’ve energized them and then offered an outlet for that energy.

Showcase Your Expertise

Educational videos provide the perfect platform to showcase why your organization is uniquely qualified to advance its mission. Put your strengths on display while teaching your viewers something new that speaks to why your work is important. During Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we helped ASPiRA Labs produce informational videos about the prevalence and severity of ovarian cancer. One of ASPiRA’s strengths is their broad network of survivors and advocates, and their commitment to emphasizing the scope of ovarian cancer and the people it affects. Their videos combined statistics with firsthand accounts from ASPiRA partners to highlight the devastating effects of the disease, while also demonstrating how ASPiRA’s person-first approach to advocacy sends a powerful message.

Offer an Outlet for Action

An effective educational video will rile up your viewers. Once they’re energized, provide them with options to support this mission that now matters to them. Our ASPiRA video’s primary goal was to educate, but its secondary goal was to mobilize viewers to spread the word. That’s why it ended with a call to action urging them to use the hashtag #WhoYouKnow to honor someone who has battled ovarian cancer. People took this chance to pay tribute to their loved ones on social media, spreading awareness of ovarian cancer first, and secondly, highlighting the work ASPiRA Labs is doing to improve women’s health. Educational videos deliver value to your audience in the form of new information, making them especially engaged with your message. The more engaged they are with your group, the more likely they are to support it.

Educational videos can help your organization develop a strong connection with your audience while increasing awareness of your cause. Contact our team at Bottle Rocket Media to get change people’s minds today.

How To Create a Storyboard

There’s nothing worse than sitting down to edit a video after weeks of shooting only to think, “I wish we’d shot THAT!” Planning a project well in advance lets you avoid those head-desk moments, and the key to this is a comprehensive storyboard. A storyboard is a sequence of descriptions, drawings and notes that map out all the scenes you need to make the video you want. The more thorough the storyboard, the better it will serve as a cheat sheet that will ensure you get all the shots you need with maximum efficiency.

How to Create a Storyboard

1. Nailing Down Your Vision

The first step in crafting a storyboard is identifying your video’s mission. Decide who your video should target, the message you want to send and the goals you hope to accomplish by sharing the video. This is also a good time to nail down the project’s budget and what your priorities are: even the most gorgeous venue on earth won’t look good if it’s shot by a low-budget or inexperienced videography team. Once you’ve established your video’s mission, brainstorm with your team and collect a broad range of ideas, then narrow them down together. Next, spitball key moments that should be included in your video. You’ll use those as anchor points and build a more comprehensive outline around it—that’s your storyboard.

2. Essential Details

An effective storyboard isn’t just a collection of sketches: it should be detailed and include notes about the video’s scenes and overall message. The four key elements every storyboard needs to address are a video’s scene, action, tone and technical effects. The scene is the where, but it’s more than an address: if you have a time of day, a type of lighting or other specific visual details in mind, nail them down during storyboarding so your film crew can plan shoots around them.

The action is what’s happening in the video, and depending on the style, there’s a lot or a little you need to nail down. A straightforward, sit-down interview only has one focal point, but a 360 degree video has action everywhere. Explain what will be happening in the foreground and in the background, and where you want your audience’s attention to be focused.

The tone includes both the way a subject is speaking and the overall mood the scene should convey. Your tone guidelines will help your film crew choose lighting, music, camera angles and more to deliver exactly the vibe you want. If you want any additional technical effects, like motion graphics or stop-motion animation, describe what you want in detail in your storyline.

3. Creating a Storyboard

There’s no one “right” way to craft your storyboard, and your team might go through several drafts before you solidify exactly what you want your video to look like. Some people draw stick figures on Post-it notes, paste snapshots into a PowerPoint or sketch on a whiteboard wall in a conference room. There are computer and mobile apps you can lean on, and if you’re not visually inclined, feel free to create a “prose storyboard” that describes the action, camera angles and other details you want for specific scenes.

What all effective storyboards have in common is that they are detailed, built around a timeline, and each scene is distinct, with notes that will guide how each moment should be shot and what key elements need to be included. The goal is to communicate clearly with your video production team, and if you partner with an experienced crew like us, you can be sure all these important details will be top-of mind from start to finish. We’d love to help you develop the perfect video project—and the storyboard that shapes it—for your brand. Contact the Bottle Rocket Media team today to get started on your story.

Double your video’s reach with Gifs

Why the internet’s favorite looping video clips are awesome for promoting your business

A gif is an animated image—think video, but shorter and without the player. You can share a gif almost anywhere you can share a picture, making it ideal for companies looking to build up their presence online. Since gifs are made from videos, any video your company creates can work twice as hard for you if you share it in video AND gif form.

People LOVE Gifs

Every day more than 100 million people use Giphy, an online database of gifs, to search for the perfect animation, according to Forbes. They’re so beloved that people who use gifs even get more responses on dating apps like Tinder—and brands get a higher response rate when including them in emails or in social media posts.

How Gifs Are Made

Most gifs are made by clipping a small section of a video, so if your company already has a  video in the works, include a plan to make and share gifs on your social media channels. You can turn that into one or several gifs to make your message even more shareable.

How You Can Use Gifs

Gifs are ideal for sharing in places where people are often short on time, space, and attention—like in emails or on social media platforms like Facebook and Tumblr. Gifs have proven wildly popular (and profitable) in email newsletters: Computer company Dell led an email advertising campaign where it featured gifs of its products and saw its revenue increase by 109 percent, according to a case study.

Gifs are also a powerful tool on social networks, where companies need something that can catch a fan’s eye while they’re scrolling through their feed. Starbucks recently created 21 gifs highlighting its Frappuccino so customers could share the gifs on social media, expanding the coffee company’s reach organically.

Why Gifs Are Awesome for Business

There are so many reasons why videos are a powerful tool for businesses, from showcasing your products to recruiting top talent. Gifs can help support the work those videos are doing. They can bring people to your video by making them want to see more, or they can do complementary duties, like show someone in an instant how mouth-watering your bakery’s cookies are.

Here’s an example from Bottle Rocket Media’s video for Carol’s Cookies.

Gifs like these don’t just make you want a cookie—they make you want to see who’s making such a delicious, gooey cookie and how you can grab that exact one.

There are so many ways videos can enhance your business profile, and a well-produced video also pays dividends in gifs. A smart video production company will do double duty with a great video that’s infinitely gif-able. Bottle Rocket Media can help. Get in touch with us today!

The Magic of Motion Graphic Videos

Video projects have been limited to things you can see, shoot or reenact — until now

The beauty of videos is that they provide a million different ways to tell a story. One we are particularly fond of is using motion graphics to paint a picture for viewers that might not be possible with simple B-roll or on-camera interviews. In a nutshell, motion graphics are animated illustrations that tell a story. Motion graphics can provide a fresh, creative way to visualize information. Here’s how to get on board with the trend.

Why Motion Graphics?

Visualizing information helps strengthen your audience’s understanding of your message (in fact, 65% of people are visual learners). Sure, pie charts and bar graphs aren’t anything new—we’ve all snoozed through a PowerPoint presentation or squinted at a low-res infographic shared on Facebook. What sets motion graphics apart is their dynamic nature and their compatibility with multimedia projects. Rather than be restricted to static facts and stationary symbols, motion graphics allow you to combine kinetic text, voiceovers, moving images, and animated graphs to add impact and deepen viewers’ understanding of the information you’re sharing.

Are Motion Graphics Right for You?

Before you run off to start a storyboard, it’s important to realize that motion graphics aren’t necessarily a match for every application. But they are particularly good for expressing abstract or complex ideas that might otherwise be difficult to capture on film. City Year’s “Potential” video is a great example of how motion graphics can be used in an impactful and emotional way. Their nonprofit’s concept and the statistics driving their work could be difficult to convey in more traditional video mediums. But with motion graphics, they successfully create a moving and inspiring snapshot of what they do and why.

Cost-effective, shareable, and full of infinite possibilities, motion graphics have become a popular choice for nonprofits looking to differentiate their message. And there are countless other opportunities where they can work their magic to make a video pop. Motion graphics can be easily adapted to enhance educational or explainer videos, new product reveals, kinetic logos, and more. We mean it when we say the possibilities are endless.

How Do I Start Using Motion Graphics?

As with a standard video medium, you should always start with your audience. Think about who you are trying to reach and how you want to make them feel. When the video is over, what do you want them to remember? Using these questions as a starting point will help shape a strong overall concept for your video and will lay the groundwork for the rest of the project. Then you can move on to the fun and creative task of brainstorming and storyboarding your ideas, combining your script and visuals, and seeing the whole thing come together.

An experienced video production and motion graphics company can turn your ideas into polished animations so you can start sharing your story with the world. If you want to break into the wide, wonky world of motion graphics, Bottle Rocket Media can help you get started!

The Bottle Rocket Media Guide to Making Your First Video

A marketer’s guide: Top tips to create an amazing video

It’s no secret that we believe video is the best way to get attention for your brand. And the numbers don’t lie. A company video can increase your brand association by 139%. In fact, Diode Digital reports that 60% of internet users will watch a video before reading any text when arriving to a website. Okay, so you’re convinced. Now, you need a roadmap to get started. Here are five tips from our team to keep in mind when making your first video.

5 tips for making your first video

  1. Start with a Vision – As is true with most things in life, having a game plan will keep your video on track. Think about what you are promoting, your budget, and who is managing the project. If you have all of these pre-production boxes checked before filming starts, you will be off to the races.
  2. Identify your target audience – When you know who you’re trying to reach, where to reach them and what they’re into, figuring out what to say becomes much easier. A few other things to consider at this step: What kind of videos does your target audience already watch, and what would interest them about your product or service? Chipotle used video to show its stance on sustainable farming, a topic that has only grown in importance. Audiences ate it up (pun intended).
  3. Know what story you want to tell and find a creative way to tell it – This is going to take some brainstorming. We suggest focusing on what kind of story will resonate with your brand’s target audience. Here’s an example: Artifact Uprising, a company that sells photo books, tugged on its audience’s heartstrings with this beautiful story of a man who made a photo book for his grandchildren. It was perfect because people coming to the site were there for that same reason: to preserve memories and share them with loved ones. Have Kleenex on hand, guys.
  4. Show off your brand’s personality – This is how you set yourself apart from the herd and establish your brand as an industry thought leader. Chances are, there are dozens of other companies talking about the same thing you are, so an extra dose of personality will go a long way in grabbing your audience’s attention. It only takes one catchy phrase to hook someone, just ask the team responsible for the “Like a Girl” campaign at Always. Judging by its over 63 million YouTube views, it’s safe to say they did their homework.
  5. Find a team of experts to help execute the game plan – Invest in a video production team who knows how to operate all the equipment, get the lighting just right, and make sure everything runs smoothly in post production. Taking this small step will make all the difference to creating a stellar first video. You might be the savviest marketing team around, but when it comes to the technical side of making a video, you’ll rest easier knowing you don’t need to become a Final Cut Pro expert overnight. If you know this is the route you’ll take, make sure it’s factored into your budget when establishing your game plan.

Looking for a video production team who can take you from the storyboard to your target audience’s Facebook feed? Sounds like we might be able to help. Contact the crew at Bottle Rocket Media to learn more about our services and to get started making your company’s first video.