How to Create Authentic Connections: Video Production Insights for Website Videos

Anyone doing online marketing faces the challenge of how to engage and inform visitors, while also communicating clearly enough that people get the intended message. Without the human face of a home page welcome video, most websites miss a crucial opportunity to engage with authenticity.

At the end of the day, at least in my opinion, there’s no point in digital marketing, if you don’t make an authentic connection with website visitors. Given the fact that website visitors, in general, have the “attention span of a gnat,” the power of video has become paramount. (For more on this, I produced this video in 2010 that’s still relevant: Why Online Video is Now a ‘Must Have’ for Internet Marketing)

Videos Starring You Are Essential

One of the best ways to grab people’s attention is video.  I am fond of reminding people that a video is starring you, has the added advantage of making a virtual human connection that only a human face and voice can deliver. Video does this quickly and in the exact way that brief home page visitor encounters require.

For more on why a human face should be in videos and not just hidden behind a whiteboard animated video, I recommend Wistia’s recent post, Your Business’s Videos Should Include Faces. Here’s Why.

The authenticity of human connection in video is one of the main reasons that I’ve been promoting video for years. I love opportunities that help my clients tell their stories by producing “welcome to my website” videos. Recently, I’ve produced two of these videos for clients. I’m offering them here as examples of how to do this, including some detailed production insights.

Helping an Expert Witness to Testify

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Mark Levy, a forensic psychiatrist whose firm provides expert testimony for legal matters. His new company website for Forensic Psychiatry Associates Medical Corporation, fpamed.com, needed a new video for its home page. Mark was clear that his earlier “do-it-yourself” effort didn’t represent him in with a professionalism that reflected his services. This collaboration took the form of a low-budget video shoot with my Canon DSLR camera.

As you can see in the video above, Mark is an excellent speaker; however, one issue with his earlier video, was that it ended up being a bit unfocused. Without wanting to toot my own horn too loudly, I was pleased to be able to add value, as a director and performance coach.  I’m not just a cameraman who sets up the camera and records “pretty pictures.”

In this case, I felt more like a “crafter of communications” because I guided Mark in ways that ensured his video had a structure, a beginning, middle and end. Now, he has a website welcome video that includes an engaging and direct welcome message and a call to action at the end.

Beyond YouTube for Online Video Delivery

Another capability that I provided and applied to Mark Levy’s videos was optimizing them for YouTube search. Behind only Google, YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. If you aren’t already aware of this fact, let it sink in. Many small businesses consider SEO optimization for their website, but most don’t think about optimizing their YouTube video clips to be found in search. This is a very common mistake and often overlooked by a video novice.

In addition to YouTube for attracting new viewers and potentially new website visitors, for Mark, I also recommended and implemented video hosting on Wistia.com so that when Mark’s video clips are embedded in his own website, they can be customized to match his website’s colors; and, more importantly, so that YouTube doesn’t have the opportunity to “steal” traffic away from Mark by pushing other psychiatrist’s videos to his viewers at the end of his clips.

Bottom line, Mark’s website is his own “owned” virtual real estate. Why let YouTube leverage it for their objectives? Owned media is a thing and we should all maximize this kind of control on our own websites as much as possible.

Wistia’s call-to-action and other integrated features within the video are more robust and attractive than YouTube’s. Because of this, videos look more seamless as they are integrated into websites.

Giving Wistia a try is easy given that their free introductory level includes three videos hosted on their video delivery platform. Beyond that, it’s $99 a month. This pricing may not work for every small business, but I recommend it for companies that have a serious commitment to video marketing. The image to the right is how this video looks embedded in Mark’s home page.

A More Scripted Approach & Cool Piece of Video Tech

I would also like to share a second video client case study. The second home page welcome video that I produced recently was for physical trainer, Adam Hirsch of adamhirsch.net. A significant difference, in this case, was that before the video shoot, Adam and I collaborated on a script.

Truth be told, while Adam is extremely knowledgeable about his expertise with physical training, his expansive perspective of this subject can also result in him being a bit verbose. Because of this, we needed to find a way to help him be more concise, especially given the online environment where, as I mentioned, holding people’s attention is at a premium. By collaborating on a script, we were able to co-create a straightforward and concise description of what Adam offers.  

However, this creates a different challenge. I didn’t expect (nor was there time) for Adam to memorize and deliver this script like a professional actor. So, while Adam’s new home page video was also shot with my Canon DSLR camera, we used a nifty little piece of technology in the form of a small affordable teleprompter that uses an iPhone for the scrolling text.

Another example of how advanced small electronics are becoming, the Parrot Teleprompter costs only $115 (plus shipping) and fits virtually any video camera. I loaded the written script onto my iPhone before the shoot, and used the voice-activated PromptSmartPro ($19.99, free version also available) so that the text scrolled right along with Adam’s pace of delivery. No teleprompter operator required.

Not only was the hardware a small fraction of what it used to cost, personnel costs were also significantly reduced. The use of a teleprompter, when appropriate, has become remarkably accessible!

I believe the result is a clear presentation, well-articulated and precisely-focused in a way that would not have been otherwise possible. Take a look and see what you think.

At Your Service

Bottom line, I approach online marketing as relationship building. The quality of communication, when done well, enables authentic connections to be built via whatever medium is at play and regardless of what technologies are used.

Sure, innovations like Wistia video hosting and the Parrot Teleprompter help make this happen, but there’s no substitute for quality content and that’s what we do.

I believe that the human beings who are such a crucial part of every forward-thinking organization or business needs to be “front and center,” right from that first nano-second that a web visitor spends on your website. After all, if you don’t engage with them in a personal way, right away, you will lose them.

Please let me know if I can help you or your organization. Thanks!

 

Video Invitation to a Breakthrough in Your Video Presence – Playshop Starts Tuesday!

As I explained in my last video and blog post, video via social media is The Next Big Thing and arguably the most powerful digital marketing strategy.

Last year, I also developed an amazing experiential process or practice called “Video Play Experiences™” that I am now bringing to you, no matter where you live, via a four-week Live Video Playshop (one hour of live video interaction per week) that starts next Tuesday, May 2nd. This post, “Social Media Video Marketing: An Experiential Breakthrough” tells the story of how I first developed the Video Play Experiences™.

Now, I want to invite you to The Live Video Playshop. The video below is your personal invitation from me. It explains more (and also shows off my new green screen and teleprompter) 😉

[callout title=”Learn More or Register for the Live Video Playshop” button=”Yes! I want to have a breakthrough.” link=”http://selz.co/4J6WP1r6G” buttoncolor=” blue” target=”_blank”]The Live Video Playshop is a 100% online experience using state-of-the-art interactive video collaboration including educational presentations, 1-to-1 video exercises and group interactions. Please join us.[/callout]

Digital Marketing Content Strategy: Why Social Media VIDEO is The Next Big Thing

Facebook Live Social Video: I Gave It a Try. Here’s What Happened.

IT ALL STARTED ON INAUGURATION DAY…

I traveled from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. to protest during Trump’s inauguration and to be part of the Women’s March on Washington. I did a number of Facebook Live webcasts and the response blew my mind. One of the videos in that series (the second one below) has had well over 4,000 “views.”

How did that happen?

I got “high” with some help from my friends. Well, one friend in particular, Jeffrey Grimshaw who used a technique called “social bookmarking” that he learned from me. Go figure. 😉

Here’s our conversation recorded using Zoom Webinar and webcast via Facebook Live:

Here’s the Facebook Live video from the Mall in Washington, D.C. immediately after Trump’s Inauguration:

I’ll share more soon. For now here are two significant outcomes from this experiment:

  1. There’s been so much enthusiasm for social media action in response to Trump, including two different requests for educational programs about “Social Media for Social Action” that I’ve created a quickie website that includes those two course descriptions. Please contact me if you’re interested in a course like this in some form, in some place, or virtually.
  2. I’m doubling down on “Social Video.” It is going to become a major focus, including in some form on my Patreon channel (hint: this channel/community/tribe is a place where you can support my work if you are so moved.)

Much more to come. Stay tuned.

Six Key Strategic Priorities for Better Online Marketing in 2017

It’s a New Year, and the online marketing landscape is ever-changing. So I took to the video “airwaves” to share what I think are the six most important areas where your efforts online can bear meaningful “fruit.” Watch now:

I am putting the full text of this video below for your convenience. If you’re interested in considering being part of my Tribe, my Patreon channel is now live here: http://www.patreon.com/jonleland

My Recommendations: Six Online Marketing Priorities for 2017

Happy New Year everybody, and welcome to a brand new year of online marketing. My name is Jon Leland and I’m an online marketing mentor and strategist, and I’m committed to your success online. I’ve got six priorities that are my priorities and they might well be yours for the new year. Let’s get to them.

#1: Consistency

I have to tell you that this has not been my strong suit in the past, but everybody says that this is what you have to do, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m going to be walking my talk this year to be consistent, to do weekly videos, to do regular blog posts and to continue a strong online social presence. Without consistency it’s too hit and miss and you don’t establish a real connection with your audience. That really is a key priority.

#2: Intimacy vis Mobile

We all know that websites need to be mobile-friendly these days, and responsive design has been a main thing for a number of years, but I’m saying you need to be more than mobile-friendly, you need to be intimate. What I mean by that is really thinking about the mobile experience as a primary factor, not just to have Google rank you better but because more than half your visitors are now visiting on some kind of mobile device, and your experience, what you’re communicating and how you’re communicating in a mobile environment, is really a primary factor in how you’re connecting with your audience. Get it together in mobile. Get your website truly mobile-friendly in you could say an intimate kind of way.

#3: Video Proliferation

I’m sure that you’re aware that Facebook Live has become a big thing, but I’m surprised how many people think that online video is still just YouTube. You need to upload your videos native to Facebook, run-and-gun videos on Instagram. Video is everywhere, and not just at the top of the funnel either. It’s frequently thought of just as something that you attract people into your funnel, but at every stage of the funnel you really want to have video be there and create this kind of one-to-one, eyeball-to-eyeball connection that’s possible with video. Think about video through your entire funnel. Think about video on every platform, and do it more often, the way I’m starting to do now.

#4: Be Agile

With mobile technologies, with the ability to shoot video on a smartphone, you can do video anywhere, anytime. I also mean be agile with your websites. I’m doing more and more Squarespace websites because I can do them quickly, I can collaborate with clients, it’s far less complicated than a lot of other platforms. That kind of do things quickly, do them simply, do them well. Don’t turn them into big elaborate game-stopping productions like the way print brochures used to be, or even that websites used to be. Keep it simple, be agile, keep moving, keep creating.

$5: What Happens Next?

A lot of people talk about you get Facebook likes; what happens next? How do you actually engage? I’m thinking about it as a strategist, that conversions are really where the rubber hits the road. Not enough people think strategically in terms of that intention. How do you move from whatever you’re doing in terms of content, from whatever you’re doing in terms of being creative, move that through the channel, move that through the funnel so you truly engage, truly create authentic relationships, and at the end of the day have conversions that you can literally take to the bank?

#6: Build a Tribe

Number six is probably the closest to my heart. I really am going to be engaging with community. I’m going to be creating a Patreon channel. I’ll put that in the description in YouTube or in Facebook or wherever I upload this video ( http://www.patreon.com/jonleland ). Those of you that have heard me speak or have done any of my workshops or playshops know that the bottom line as far as I’m concerned is creating authentic, sustainable relationships. It’s not just about selling stuff, it’s about creating community, about generating a tribe. I’m trying to be as valuable as I can be for free. I want you to give me your feedback, tell me what you want to hear more of. I look forward to your comments and feedback. I hope you’ll become part of my tribe, my virtual community, and I really encourage you to build your own.

And, In Conclusion

I’m wishing you the happiest, most successful 2017 possible. May all of your marketing bear real fruit and may you keep going and keep generating and have fun every step of the way. I’ll be back with more. Thanks for watching.

 

Social Media Video Marketing: An Experiential Breakthrough

The absolute highlight of my live Playshop, “The New Rules of Business & Social Media Success,” presented last Monday with my coach and colleague, Andrea J. Lee, were interactive, smartphone-enabled exercises that I called “Video Play Experiences.”

A few of the participants learning to shoot social video during our Playshop.

Our Playshop’s Video Play Experiences.

These interactive exercises—illustrated by the photos in this post—opened up a whole new avenue for me to empower people to make their own videos. This delightfully surprised me and participant feedback ranged from real “ah-ha” moments to “getting over the hump” (i.e. overcoming fears of video’s challenges). Almost everyone came away with the feeling, “I CAN do video!”

 

The results of these exercises were a two-way breakthrough:

  • They was a real eye-opener for me in terms of how I can help people with these all-important skills and
  • They showed us all how doing more video (a requirement, in my opinion, in today’s social media environment) is just like any other skill: if you work at it like a practice (not unlike the practice required to learn to meditate, to hit a golf ball, or play a piano, for example) that you can make real progress, step-by-step, and the progress is rewarding in its own right.

A Unique Experiential Sequence

Susan Shloss of Susan Shloss Bookkeeping Services, http://shlossbooks.com, during a Video Play Experience.

And, these results were not only about video technology. One of my mantras is that “it’s about the communication, not just the technology.”

What emerged, as I was designing this day in collaboration with Andrea, was a unique sequence of exercises that not only let the participants stretch their technical capabilities, but they got to stretch their emotive abilities as well (as shown to the right by Susan Shloss of Susan Shloss Bookkeeping Services.)

During the course of the day, we did three (3) Video Play Experiences:

  1. The first was “A Rant.” I helped the participants to get emotional by directing them to do a video clip where they expressed their strong feelings about something. I modelled this for them in front of the room by ranting about how much I detest “get rich quick” internet marketers who claim to have a “magic formula.”
  2. The second Video Play Experience was a Vulnerability Exercise where I asked them to speak to the camera about something very personal, as if they were sharing something intimate with a life partner, a family member or very closer personal friend.
  3. Finally, in the late afternoon, I asked them to talk about “How I Serve” so that they could bring it all home to the kinds of value that they authentically deliver through their businesses.

Suzannah Rose, realtor from http://LivinginMarin.com reviews her video exercise.

The result was a kind of experiential learning that exceeded my expectations and clearly added significant value to the day.

A Valuable Digital Take-Away

Workshop exercises are often hard to remember and can quickly become ephemeral memories. Not in this case.

The fact that virtually every participant owned a smartphone meant that they were recording these exercise on their own devices. Because they would obviously take these home after the Playshop was over, the recordings are right there for them so that they can review them and continue to learn. The recordings, thus, inherently provided a record of the work that they did. So valuable! (Can you see the appreciation on the face of Suzannah Rose, realtor from Living in Marin in this picture?)

Another New Idea Emerges

Two participants who are also coaches, David Drake of http://narrativecoaching.com and Linda Curtis of http://honorableclosure.com engaged in video play.

One of Andrea J. Lee‘s favorite teachings is that “Anything worth doing is worth doing in community” and that added to the value of these exercises. (To the right are two participant coaches, David Drake of Narrative Coaching and Linda Curtis of Honorable Closure.)

The way that these Video Play Experiences played out was expressed through the enthusiasm of the participants for the exercises themselves, so much so that by the end of the day they invented the idea of Video Parties!

Now, as a result of their engagement and creativity—a true community collaboration—I’m thinking of both the possibility of follow-on “Video Party” evenings as well as a possible online, virtual Video Playground. Sound good?

I’d love to hear from you if you are interested in either of these, or if you have other ideas?

For sure, I am excited by the participant enthusiasm that we all experienced together, and, I am personally looking forward to more Video Play Experiences of every kind. 😉

What Pooping Unicorns Won’t Tell You About Video Marketing

It’s a New Media, New Video World.

Video is a communications technology that is changing everything. I ought to know. I have been thinking, writing and speaking about the digital video revolution for decades, literally.
This blog post includes the following content, all of which is designed to give you a fresh perspective on how digital video is changing our world:
  1. A very successful viral video (with pooping unicorns) that I think is exemplary
  2. The link to the audio recording of my Commonwealth Club presentation on “Understanding Digital Video & The Future of Social Media”
  3. The SlideShare of that same presentation so you can click along as you listen
  4. The recording of a Blab video interview session that I did with Nick DeMartino, former head of the AFI Media Lab and Hollywood new media insider that provides additional insights and resources

1. What Pooping Unicorns WILL Teach You About Video Marketing

Stellar creativity, an approach that grabs your attention right from the start, and crisp, on-target writing (for example, “the stool for better stools”) make this marketing video a true stand out.
There’s no question that this video works amazing well. The close to 9 million views at the time of this writing, place it head and shoulders above almost every marketing video of a similar length in terms of performance and reach. And, it’s fun to watch, which is obviously a big part of why it’s working so well.


But the pooping unicorns video WON’T teach you about the ways that authenticity, human connection, relationship building are at the heart of video marketing. To me, that’s the important stuff; and you will find more about those kinds of things below.

2. Audio Recording “Understanding Digital Video & The Future of Social Media”

[testimonial author=”Gerald Harris, Chair of Science and Technology Forum for the Commonwealth Club”]”Jon, great job! I want to personally thank you for a brilliant, engaging and thoroughly informative presentation at the Commonwealth Club of California.”[/testimonial]
It was my sincere pleasure to speak at the prestigious Commonwealth Club of California in late October. People have asked me for the audio recording. Here’s the link with the slides below that. The Club controls the recording so the only way to listen is to click this link and listen on their site:

3. SlideShare of “Understanding Digital Video & The Future of Social Media”

If you’re in a hurry and just want an overview of what’s covered in my talk, or if you’d like to enhance your listening to the audio recording, here’s the exact slide deck that I used during the talk, via SlideShare:

4. My Video Interview: “Future of TV, Video Delivery & Digital Media” with Nick DeMartino

Nick DeMartino has been a video innovator for decades and we’ve shared information and a friendship that spans his whole career. It was a pleasure to spend more than an hour with him via a Blab.im video chat discussing, among other things, some of the trends that I illuminated in my Commonwealth Club talk. This interview includes lots of resources as well as insights. For your reference, most of the URLs discussed are in the YouTube description. Enjoy!


I’m confident that all of this information will tell you lots that the pooping unicorns could never express, no matter how creative they are 😉

I look forward to your feedback either directly via our contact form or via the social media links above.

And if you are ready for support with your video marketing, your social media strategy or your web presence, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you and to answering any questions that you may have.
Thanks for reading and/or listening and/0r watching 😉

Live SF Event: The Future of Digital Video & Social Media at Commonwealth Club

YOU ARE INVITED TO A SPECIAL LIVE EVENT IN SAN FRANCISCO

Video-Future-Commonwealth-ClubSome things really do “change everything.” Video is one of those things.

Please join me Wednesday, October 28th at 6pm at San Francisco’s prestigious Commonwealth Club as I illuminate the game-changing mega-trends brought about by the digital video revolution.

As many of you know, I’ve been writing and teaching about The Video Web and the digital video revolution for literally decades. On Wednesday, October 28th, I’ll be unveiling a brand new presentation on the powerful new forms of digital video as they are literally playing out through social media and real time streaming media. Our media landscape is literally being reconfigured.

This will be a powerful and empowering event and I hope you will be there. I’d love your feedback as well as your participation.

To register, please click here: http://bit.ly/videofuture

 

Blab: The New Social Video Streaming Platform ROCKS!

This is a quickie post to let you know about a surprisingly good new video streaming conversation platform called Blab. I just did my first Blab session and had 39 viewers from around the world. The recorded segment is embedded below. I was joined on-screen by video participants from Brazil, Argentina, and Philadelphia. 😉

I think this application is more user-friendly for multi-user video than anything I’ve seen (Spreecast, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.) It is also way better than Periscope or Meerkat because it’s two-way. Those video streaming tools are really only one-way.

Blab now has a mobile app as well as desktop. And, now that I think about it, it’s not only two-way, it’s up to four-way, four simultaneous video participants. And that’s nicely complemented by a fully functional chat stream where you can paste URL’s and animated GIF’s as well as very nice Twitter integration.

One of the people who jumped in, Richard Berger, had this to say about our conversation:

[testimonial author=”Richard Berger, English Teacher”]”In just those few minutes my awareness of new social media/video streaming/website development was exploded, and now you got me “back at the drawing board”, thinking of applications for my teaching work. Thanks again!”[/testimonial]

Here’s my first session which was a spontaneous “Ask Me Anything” about websites, social media marketing, video, etc. Pretty dang fun! Please click “Watch Now” button on the image below to watch this Blab session, and feel free to scroll ahead to see the multiple participants. And, please let me know what you think. And stay tuned for a special Blab next week with Twitter Power author, Joel Comm, at 4pm PT on Friday, August 28th. Thanks!

Have More Marketing Ease, Fun & Authenticity Whenever You Want With This On-Demand Webinar Video

The Humanistic Marketing Revolution continues…
Last December, I presented a 45-minute video webinar called Step Up to the Gifts of Ease, Fun & Authenticity: Discover the Catalysts That Will Inspire New Momentum for Your New Marketing and it helped my define this new approach that I am calling Humanistic Marketing and I want to make this presentation available to you so that you can learn from it at your convenience.

That’s why I am now making the video recording of this webinar available as an on-demand digital product so that you can watch it anywhere, anytime you want. And, because I want to spread my teachings as widely as possible, I am also including with any purchase of this recording (only $9.97) a complete formatted PDF of my book, Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know which has received 13 five-star reviews on Amazon. Please click here to learn more about this on-demand video webinar.

How Did I Put This Product Together?
For those of you who may be interested in how I put together this offer, technologically speaking… I produced the original video using Google Hangouts combining myself on-camera “live” intercut in real time with an Apple Keynote slide presentation. The video recording of this session was archived as a private, “Unlisted” YouTube link. In order to sell that video recording to you, I’ve embedded this link into a PDF document along with other value-added information, and I’m selling that document as a digital download that includes access to the video (along with the PDF of my book) via the innovative Selz.com platform that, for example, provides the order widget below. Pretty cool, eh? 😉

I hope you enjoy this video webinar and my book. I look forward to any feedback that you may have.


Buy Now or Click to Learn More