How to get the Most Value & Exposure with Branded Content

How to Get Exposure

When producing branded content for your brand and you need to stretch your dollar to the maximum, consider making multiple deliverables for different networks and audiences. Although this may cost more than a single video, you’ll get to use your material in multiple ways. Consider your audience and how you’re going to reach them on each network. Is your audience the same everywhere? Most likely not, but possibly so. Are all social networks the same? Definitely not. What works on Facebook might now work on Twitter or Instagram. You probably don’t want to post something to Instagram and share it via Instagram to all your other social networks for a couple of reasons. 1). Your audience will get tired of seeing duplicate content where it’s obvious that you just hit one button and hoped for more engagement and 2). you’re not playing up each networks strength. Having your fans share your content has intrinsic value. They’re putting their name behind your brand and sharing it among their peers. Read X X’s blog post on what this is important.

If you’re creating any kind of branded content or a campaign, first define your audience and how you’re going to reach them on each network. This may take some trial and error on your end but I’ve found that people on your website will watch a longer video (meaning 2 minutes). Facebook is next in terms on time allowance. Instagram tops out at 15 seconds and Vine at 6 seconds. Let’s say you want edits of the following length: 2:00, :30, :15 for your campaign and how you can create value from each of these.

Deliverable Options
The 2:00 edit is going to be your most thorough of them all and should live where you have the most captive audience, which is most likely your website. Your audience either went straight to your website or was interested enough to click their way there. You clearly have someone who is eager to consume your brand’s content, and this is the perfect opportunity to tell them everything they need to know. However, 2 minutes is still pretty quick, so you need to decide exactly what material makes the cut and what doesn’t. I recommend keeping this video top level and not getting too granular. The stats don’t lie on how we interact with video online. You have a much greater chance of keeping and converting that visitor once they’ve engaged in your video. Let your audience search your site and read for all the little details, or find your contact info and have them reach out directly. Your 2 minutes is still very precious, so use it wisely.

The 2:00 edit can be shared on Facebook, but there are many other distractions on Facebook. Your audience will be getting chat and other notifications that can immediately take their undivided attention and then you’ve lost them for good. This is where I recommend a :30(ish) edit. It’s short enough that you have a much better chance at getting them interested in clicking through to your site and can still let them know there more good stuff if they follow your call to action.

The :15 edit is pretty much made for Instagram. It can, too, be shared on Facebook (more on this later) but you really don’t have a lot of time. It’s quick, direct, in and out without any fat or sides. :15 edits most likely are not going to drive sales directly but they’re great for branding and awareness. No one will buy from you if you’re not present and top of mind. The advantages here are that you can create a few :15 second edits without being redundant. If your campaign was produced properly all your material will look & feel the same and your audience will be cognizant of this fact.

One thing to watch out for with any branded content is redundancy. If someone watches 4 different :15 edits and ultimately end up at your site, will the 2:00 edit offer anything new? It should. You need to let them know this material is related, and they’ve come to the right place for more, without boring them or turning them off. You need to continue to offer more and lure them in with new visuals and information. You need to give them a reason to share a video and buy a product from you. This will encourage your audience to share to their network of trusted friends and potential brand ambassadors. Having them watch 4 :15 videos allows for 4x the sharing opportunities.

Shooting on very high production cameras, such as the RED Dragon, will allow you to pull 19 megapixel stills from the video files. These are very high resolution and this technique is becoming increasingly popular. Using stills from video is nothing new, but there have always been limitations as to what you can use them for due to the relatively low resolution. The RED Dragon was recently rated as the best still camera by DxOMark, surpassing dedicated professional stills cameras from industry leaders such as Nikon and Canon. These still can not only be used as part of your digital social media campaign, but also in print applications if you have a need for that as well. Remember, there are several perfect cameras out there for the specific need.

This all comes back to the beginning, pre-production. If you plan it right you shouldn’t have a problem. But shooting vast amounts of material hoping that your editor will come up with something good is a waste of your precious resources. You can do better!

Be sure to make it clear with your production company beforehand that you’ll be using this material in multiple ways. It’s standard practice to keep your content deliverables to the intended usage. Since video is a work of art, it often times can’t be altered or edited without permission. Any professional and reasonable production company will understand your need for additional usage, but there may be additional fees. Production companies, photographers and designers typically charge on value, not time.

Can I shoot this on my iPhone?

The world’s most popular camera

Luxury carmaker Bentley has produced a new short video shot entirely on iPhone 5S and edited on iPads. The video is raising a lot of eyebrows because of this and I thought I’d share my thoughts. For years now, I’ve heard “Can I shoot this on my iPhone?” from clients. To be honest, the photo and video technology has come a long way in mobile phones in the last few years and will undoubtedly only get better in the few years to come. The iPhone can shoot pretty impressive slow motion video and the stills it takes are good enough to replace even a pro-sumer camera for most of us. As of now, don’t get caught up in mobile phones shooting 4K video- this is purely a marketing gimmick and won’t produce breathtaking video that you’re most likely familiar with 4K video.

With that said, I don’t believe the iPhone is approaching the quality to replace professional dedicated video cameras just yet. In the Bentley ad above, you’ll be quick to notice that everything is in black and white. This was intentional as the camera can’t hold up against dedicated video cameras in color reproduction or latitude (the amount of the image that is properly exposed). The greater the latitude the better, the more pleasing and natural the image will be. Black & white images can easily hide this and let you focus on the car or the people talking, in this case. As an aside, I do find it odd that a luxury carmaker would want to hide details that make up it’s brand, but that’s another story.

If you watch all the way to the end there is a short Behind-The-Scenes on how they made the video. Look closely and you’ll notice that the production company outfitted the iPhone with specialized lens mounts to use higher quality glass lenses and focal lengths. While this will improve image quality somewhat, it still comes down to the weakest link, and in this case it would be the plastic over the iPhone lens. They also used a gyrostabilizer to provide cinematic quality smooth shots. This will do wonders for the production value and lets the audience focus on what they’re suppose to . With the small CMOS sensor that the iPhone carries this is really important as it can be very sensitive to handheld operator and shaky.

Having never ridden in a Bentley Muslanne I would only imagine it to be very quiet inside. With that said, since they used all kinds of special equipment for the video, I would guess that they used some kind of audio tools or microphones. There’s not a lot of background noise and it actually sounds pretty good- another important factor in the overall production value. They could have removed the background noise with filters a little bit but it’s hard to tell without actually knowing.

So, is the iPhone ready for broadcast production? In my opinion no, not quite yet. Although that hasn’t stopped Apple itself or Bentley. But then again, if Bentley shot this spot on proper cameras would that warrant a blog post? Not on this blog, or this one, nor this one either. Did it change the overall budget that Bentley put forth? I doubt it, since Bentley was most likely charged on the value of the spot, not what it cost to produce. But we are getting there. I’ve always been a fan of using the camera as a tool, and if an iPhone is the best tool for the job I’m all about it. The reason why Bentley chose to shoot this one on iPhones is because they wanted to show what you can do with their car (since iPads are installed in the back seat with keyboards) and what’s in your pocket. Apple, obviously, wanted to show off their flagship product. Overall, both spots look pretty darn good, and the accessory tools that went into making it are a huge reason for this.

Here’s a behind the scenes on Apple’s commercial shot with a ton of iPhone 5S’s:

5 Perfect Cameras

Each in their own way

The camera is a tool. The best camera in the world isn’t going to make your story better. Arguably it will, however, increase engagement and retention while decreasing stress among your audience. “The Best” is a hard thing to define, too. Here are 5 completely different cameras with a quick tidbit on where each of them shine. In certain situations these could be considered a perfect camera / tool for the job.

GoPro Hero 3

GoPro – small, waterproof, inexpensive, impressive recording codec. For the size, the quality is amazing & you can take these things anywhere- water, snow, cars, rope- there’s no limit. They’re not expensive so you can buy multiple and do some impressive bullet time effects, or use them as crash cameras.

Black Magic Pocket Cinema CameraBMPCC – Small and cinematic. Shoots impressive professional codecs with plenty of information for post-production color grading, in addition to RAW. Blackmagic claims this camera has 12 stops of latitude, which is very impressive considering these aren’t much bigger than a deck of cards. With a lens adapter you can use pretty much any lens, and the Metabones Speedbooster not only makes your lenses faster, but wider. Since this camera has a very small sensor the crop factor can be limiting, which the Speedbooster helps a lot.
Canon C100C100 – The Canon C100 shoots to SDXC cards, which are getting faster and larger capacities. We recently shot a live event for TEDx and only used a couple of cards for an entire day of recording. The C100 isn’t as portable as the BMPCC but is pretty small, which is great for docs. It’s easy to move, has audio straight into camera and, of course being a Canon product, great lenses available. In  run’n’gun situations this camera is hard to beat.
Sony F55 digital cinema cameraSony F5/F55 – If you’re shooting a doc with a bigger budget and more resources the F5/F55 is a great option. The 4k sensor is really impressive and Sony quality is always present. It’s also a great option for commercial work since the camera is modular, meaning it can be built up (or down) for different jobs.

RED Dragon digital cinema cameraRED Dragon – RED’s Dragon sensor is looking to be pretty impressive on all fronts. It’s a big set up from the Epic, which is no slouch itself (it’s good enough for a lot of Hollywood blockbusters). The resolution is unprecedented at 6K, has a proven workflow and supported by all major nonlinear editing programs. RED is a disruptive company and always looking to improve. After the Dragon was released, RED improved upon the OLPF (optical low pass filter) and ND Filter.

10 different ways to market video

Put video to work

10 Easy ways to market video that you should be doing right now.

1. Video File Title – SEO, Increased engagement and click count all by naming your file what your audience might be searching for.

2. Social Media – From 15 second edits for Instagram to promoting on Facebook and Google+. It’s simple to promote to your friends, after all you already have a target audience you’ve curated.

3. YouTube – Make sure the file name you upload is relevant to what your audience will search for. Add tags, customize your title and description. Also include a link to your website.

4. Product Videos – clothing brands, tangible products can use video to show a product more than a photo.

5. YouTube ads– Only pay if someone watches the whole thing and build a subscriber base.

6. Branding – great way to connect with your target market. First Kiss was actually an advertisement for a clothing brand.

7. Prospective Clients – Warm them up before that first phone call or meeting.

8. Explainer videos – Use video to explain what your product is, how’s it different and why it’s the best.

9. Press Release – Use video to communicate to large groups of fans, customers, employees, or people in foreign countries (captions) via a Press Release. Our HouseCall video did just this and has been racking up the view ever since.

10. Instagram Direct Messages – Unlock hidden treasures for your top fans with direct video messages.

11. Amazon product listings – This is a bonus for two reasons: It’s the future and Amazon is keeping this technology proprietary (for now). They’ll soon release it to everyone, I would imagine.