You may believe your company doesn’t have a story worth sharing with the world–as a SaaS company ourselves, we’re no stranger to the “boring” business stigma that exists out there. When you aren’t selling a physical product, it can be a struggle to actually show what makes your product and brand so special.
Luckily, your product isn’t the only story your company can tell with video. In this post, we’ll help you uncover great stories you might’ve been sitting on all along. From detailing the structure of your company to showcasing office traditions no matter how small (or silly), learn how telling better stories with video can help build your brand and make you stand out amongst the competition.
To many, the concept of storytelling sounds overly whimsical; images of children’s books filled with mystical creatures seem to come to mind in an instant. However, we use storytelling to communicate with people every day — it’s how we naturally understand each other as humans. But when it comes to sharing information, we often forget that we’re trying to reach and resonate with humans, too.
We mistakenly fill our messaging with unnecessary jargon and complex language that only goes in one ear and out the other. And when it comes to video, delivery is key. By harnessing the power of story for video marketing, companies can begin to engage their audiences and build their brand in more memorable ways. After all, according to Wyzowl’s 2018 State of Video Marketing Survey, watching a brand’s video has convinced 81% of people to buy a product or service. So, investing time in understanding storytelling may be worth it in the long run!
What are some storytelling basics, you ask? Well, Patrick Moreau, Founder of Muse Storytelling, dropped by the blog a few years ago to teach us about the four pillars of a strong story: People, Places, Purpose, and Plot.
- People help establish connections with your audience
- Places add authenticity and make your story believable
- Purpose gives your story meaning
- Plot impacts whether or not your viewer watches through to the end
As a marketer, your job is to build on each one of these pillars to craft a stronger story. In turn, your video can help boost engagement and bolster your brand.
This structure may not be the perfect formula for every piece of content, but it’s a good basis to go off of to start telling better stories.
Whether you’re creating short or long-form content, storytelling can help you effectively reach your video’s objective. Now that you have the basics under your belt, we’ll help you find the right stories to tell with these building blocks in mind!
“Whether you’re creating short or long-form content, storytelling can help you effectively reach your video’s objective.”
If you’re stuck in a rut thinking your company is bland and boring, we assure you it’s all in your head. Every business has its own unique stories to tell, and your audience deserves to hear them! Don’t have a clue where to begin? Get those gears spinning and think about how your company is structured, the way you run your business, and how customers feel about you.
When you’re wrapped up in your run of the mill day, you may never stop to wonder what your audience would think of your company’s structure. However, this is a story opportunity you’re missing out on. People appreciate businesses who are transparent with their customers, and a behind-the-scenes glimpse can establish a more personal connection.
Put your product aside for a moment, and bring the wonderful individuals on your team to the forefront (yes, we’re talking to you, SaaS friends). Remember the People pillar? Members of your team are like characters in your story who help create depth. For example, Wistia’s co-founders Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz decided to be super transparent about the state of the business and what they planned on doing with it. In order to build a lasting, creatively-driven, independent company, they took on $17M in debt to buy out their investors. After hearing their story, tons of people reached out to share their appreciation for Chris and Brendan’s relatability and financial transparency. In order to keep the conversation going, Chris and Brendan held a live Q&A. Check it out!
Another example of a story worth telling about your not-so-flashy business is simply how it was formed in the first place. Moz’s former co-founder, Rand Fishkin, published a book called Lost and Founder before announcing the debut of his newest venture, Sparktoro. What makes Sparktoro’s founding story so unique, is that Rand and his co-founder, Casey Henry, decided to adopt a corporate structure for their business as opposed to the traditional VC model. This structure holds the founders of the company even more accountable. According to Outseta, “Neither Casey nor Rand can take any profit or raise their salaries above the market average for Seattle until they have returned all invested capital to their investors.”
Why would someone care about this story? Well, without putting it in so many words, this founding story says, “If you do business with us, you can expect that we’ll be as transparent and honest as possible.”
Not every business has a story like Wistia’s or Sparktoro’s, but it just goes to show your audience can resonate and connect with your brand on many different levels. If your product can’t communicate who you are or what you believe in, let real people on your team and the story behind the business itself do the talking instead.
“If your product can’t communicate who you are or what you believe in, let real people on your team and the story behind the business itself do the talking instead.”
Another story your company should be sharing is the unique value your team creates. Like our previous point, shining a light on the people behind your product reminds audiences that robots aren’t running your business. Don’t be afraid to showcase the small things that make your organization so special.
Does your company take pride in its culture internally? Think about your company’s involvement in philanthropy or even how you treat your employees — these stories shouldn’t be kept under wraps!
Take Salesforce, for example. The cloud computing company created their own 1–1–1 Philanthropic Model, which engages employees and their communities to pledge 1% of product resources, 1% of employee time, and 1% of profits to charitable causes. Since the company’s founding, they’ve given more than $240 million in grants, 3.5 million hours of community service, and provided product donations for more than 39,000 nonprofits and educational institutions. And they’re not the only tech brand making the world a better place. Check out this article from Yonah that highlights 11 other tech companies with a serious philanthropic side.
To shine a small spotlight on our work culture, we’ve given our audience a taste of the way we like to run our Sales team here at Wistia. We strive to create an environment that’s focused on the sharing of ideas and best practices amongst teammates — not purely cut-throat competition. We’ve asked members of our Sales and Success teams to share their greatest tips for Sales in short clips on LinkedIn, spreading the wealth of knowledge even further with our audience. Not only do they provide valuable sales advice and expertise, but our viewers also get to see some of the friendly faces of the folks who work here.
The way you create value and run your business is only a story you and your team can tell. Sharing even the smallest idiosyncrasies of your organization can help build a stronger connection between your audience and your brand. It’s time to show the world what makes your company one-of-a-kind.
Whatever industry you’re in, sometimes the most powerful stories about your company come from your customers’ perspectives instead of your own. And there’s no better way to showcase how your customers feel about your product or service than with video testimonials or case studies. The key to producing effective and compelling videos of this kind is to build up the People and Plot pillars of each story.
As storytelling expert Kindra Hall explains, “When telling client stories, organizations often lead with their solution: how the client uses their product and what it does for them. But they leave out the entire beginning of the story, the problem that the client had in the first place.” By focusing on the customer’s full story, you can build a stronger Plot and define characters who display more personality, desire, and motives.
Additionally, developing characters out of your clients sounds production-heavy, but it’s actually rather simple. Patrick Moreau put it best when he said the easiest thing you can do to develop characters is to include a bit more detail about who they are and what they want. Their desire will pave the way for empathy among your audience.
Before Toast, Paris Creperie’s system wasn’t customizable, and it hindered the restaurant’s fast-paced environment and dedication to providing a unique customer experience. After watching the video above, it’s clear that using Toast’s cloud-based POS interface has helped the restaurant in more ways than one. From busting lines with online ordering to increasing tips three times over, Paris Creperie’s supervisor was thrilled to share how Toast has positioned the restaurant for more revenue, happier employees, and even a better overall customer experience.
These types of stories can also be particularly effective for products or services that have a health or wellbeing impact. Take WebPT, a B2B SaaS company that makes software for physical therapists, for example. WebPT’s software enables physical therapists to do their jobs better, allowing them to “serve those who serve us,” like firefighters or policemen.
In WebPT’s case study for T.O.P.S. Physical Therapy, Dr. Amy Brannon and her team lead their story with the heartfelt idea around the special environment they’ve created for their patients. As Brannon describes, “Everybody just smiles right when they walk in … People come here and they want to be here.” Employees care about spending time with patients to help them experience growth. And with WebPT, the software streamlines workflows and brings in more patients to provide more care for more people, which is what matters most to the T.O.P.S. team.
WebPT has seen such success with using video to showcase their product, that they’re encouraging their own customers to do the same — giving their audience simple tips they can follow to use video in their physical therapy practices. If they can find success with video in their niche, so can you!
Don’t miss out on all the stories your clients can tell about how your product or service helped them solve their problem and make their business better. You never know who might resonate with their story and want to know more about your business.
Believing you have a “boring” business is no longer a valid excuse for being unable to find interesting stories to tell. Even tech companies without physical products have found ways to relate with their audience and build stronger connections to their brand. When you keep the building blocks of a story in mind, you can showcase how your company is structured, the way you run your business, or how customers feel about you in a more compelling way. Don’t be afraid to open up to your audience and start standing out among the competition!
4 Ways to Make Your Wistia Channel Shine
If you’ve decided that Wistia Channels is the best place to showcase your videos on your site, then you’ll be pleased to know you’re already on the right track for building an engaging brand. When it comes to setting up your Channel for success, all it takes is a little attention to detail on your part to truly make your content shine in the eyes of your viewers.
In this post, we’ll cover exactly how you can make a beautiful, brag-worthy Wistia Channel for your business. From name-picking and color-matching to thumbnail creation and embedding, there are plenty of small tweaks you can make to your Channel to improve the overall presentation of your content. Keep reading to learn how you can leave your audience impressed and coming back for more!
Whether you’re in the pre-production stages of your business’s first branded series or you’re grouping together related content under one roof, choosing a name for your Channel is a major decision. The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive. When it comes to landing on the perfect name for your Channel, there are three key factors you should consider: branding, discoverability, and shareability.
“The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive.”
Here’s how we break these three factors down:
- Branding — the “identity” factor: The name you pick will be very public, so it needs to accurately reflect your videos and your brand.
- Discoverability — the “index” factor: The Channel name comes up in search, so you want people searching for a relevant topic to find your video content fast — and first.
- Shareability — the “click” factor: Your audience watches a lot of stuff online. A catchy name for your Channel will make it easy for people to remember. That means when it comes time to share your videos, they’ll be able to pull up your Channel and link to it instantly.
Considering these factors as you set up your Wistia Channel will help you grow your audience and brand over time. Head on over to this post to dig a little deeper into these terms and learn more tips for simplifying the process of picking a Channel name that positions your brand for success!
As we mentioned before, branding is a super important factor for naming, but it also plays a big role in how your business and your content are visually perceived. You want to leave a positive first impression, right? Luckily, with Wistia Channels you have the ability to choose a font and color scheme that aligns with your company’s existing brand, set thumbnails to match, and even upload an eye-catching header.
To customize the look of your Channel to align with your brand:
- Select “Edit” and “Banner” to add a video header (which will loop silently at the top of your Channel) or upload a static banner image
- Click “Text” to add a project title and description, and change the font to match your site. While you’re there, switch up the size to whatever you fancy as well!
- Click “Color” and use the picker to change the overall color scheme.
You can also choose between Light or Dark Mode for your Wistia Channel depending on the look and feel of your brand (and the content you have displayed). When you’re viewing a project, simply go to Edit > Color > Background to modify this setting. It’s as easy as flipping a switch!
For your banner, instead of a static image, you have the option to throw in a looping video background as we mentioned before. Want to see this feature in action? Check out how Nextiny, an inbound marketing and sales agency, uses a snazzy looping video to showcase their content and intrigue visitors on their site.
If you’re looking for a little more inspiration, you can find a few more examples of Channels we love in this post. These aesthetic changes may seem small, but they’ll ultimately lend to a more sleek-looking collection of videos for your site.
Once you’ve got some action on your Wistia Channel, don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture the contact information of the folks interested in consuming your videos. While you’re customizing your Channel, you also have the option to add an Email Collector — not just any old Email Collector, but one that comes in a few flavors. Aside from requiring viewers to enter their email in order to view your content, we have two Email Collector options you can start experimenting with today. The first option is called “Overlay on hover.” Here’s an example from Zaius to showcase what this looks like in reality:
In this scenario, an email collection form will overlay when someone hovers over your video with their mouse. Your video will keep playing while displaying several fields, including a place for folks to enter their names as well as text fields you can customize, depending on the Call to Action that makes the most sense in the given context — something like, “Enter your email address to view this video.” The second option is “Conditional,” which means each video will maintain the email collecting pre-sets you’ve already set up in your Wistia account when the content is embedded on your Channel.
Using Email Collectors is a sure-fire way to get the most out of your Wistia Channel. You can bet the people who enter their information are interested in the value you offer and will be more likely to check out future content you create. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to communicate with them more often and let them know when you’ve got a new video for them to watch!
A Wistia Channel is only as great as the sum of its parts — names, colors, fonts, banners, email collectors and more all add up to create a beautiful video collection you’re proud to share. Start engaging your audience with the videos you’ve worked so hard to create and build stronger brand affinity in the long-run. We’d love to see your next Channel out in the wild, so be sure to throw a link to it in the comments below!
7 Examples That Show the Best of Long-Form Video
Whether it’s the hottest new web series or an in-depth TED Talk, people love to watch long-form video — and businesses are catching on to the trend.
Unlike shorter, product-centeric videos, long-form content offers companies the opportunity to show their commitment to their mission and connect with viewers on a deeper, more emotional level. Longer content also enables intensive educational experiences for the viewer, whether the video covers exciting industry trends or specific approaches to tackling problems.
What does “long-form” video really mean? To put it simply, long-form videos are a type of video content that are usually longer than 5 minutes in duration.
We put together a list of long-form video series and one-off productions to showcase how companies live and breathe their values through video. Small to medium-sized businesses can use this list of branded content to get inspired when it comes to creating content for their own brands. Let’s get into it!
InVision is swinging for the fences with long-form video. On their blog, Inside Design, InVision shares videos about design trends and tips, many explaining how to use Sketch and get the most out of it. InVision’s site is filled with robust product tutorials, but these pieces focusing on larger, fundamental design principles — between two and seven minutes long — will help anyone strengthen their overall design foundation. The company has even created a full-length documentary about design thinking at IBM called “The Loop.”
InVision’s stated mission is to help users create digital content that people love, so it’s fitting that the company offers viewers new strategies and approaches for designing that go beyond merely using their own tools. The longer format allows viewers to learn the details involved in the execution of new techniques.
- Design Systems Manager Master Class: In this two-hour, 6-episode series, InVision explores how to create a design system for an entire organization, from start to finish. It taps three design experts to walk through the challenges of product design at scale.
- Design Disrupters: In this series, InVision showcases top designers at the world’s smartest companies and dives into how design has become the new language of business in the 21st century.
With the shift to long-form video, InVision shows they are true leaders in the field of design — not just a tool for designers.
On their Price Intelligently blog, ProfitWell conducts video “teardown” case studies, in which they focus on one to three company pricing pages and talk about what works and what needs improvement. Videos usually feature a lighthearted (though occasionally heated!) conversation between executives Patrick Campbell and Peter Zotto and typically are just under 10 minutes long.
ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand. Rather than focusing on their own software, ProfitWell’s teardowns appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs and startup leaders looking to discover best practices from successful companies and competitors.
“ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand.”
The longer format of these videos enables hosts to slowly walk viewers through the pricing pages in question, ensuring that the pace of the content can fit a wide number of learning styles. There’s a healthy mix of commentary and visual aids made with original data, which shows that the company is committed to making the most of the long-form branded video format.
Mailchimp’s core focus is email marketing, but their target audience is far more broad than just those interested in sending tons of emails. Experienced business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs alike may find inspiration in the “Mailchimp Presents” video series.
Using high-quality production techniques and clever editing, the videos attach Mailchimp to buzzworthy brands and their founders who, incidentally, use email to communicate with customers. The style of the videos is closer to an independent documentary than to a typical SaaS product video, giving viewers a chance to sit back and enjoy a theatrical glimpse into creative spaces and minds.
- Hamburger Eyes: In this documentary, we get a behind-the-scenes look at a one-man photography project that evolved into a thriving community of artists based in San Francisco. Mailchimp knows its audience and stays true to its brand by focusing on a creative-centric topic that anyone with a pulse and an appreciation for photography could get behind.
- Taking Stock: A fictional video series about a young female photographer navigating the complexities of agency life, Taking Stock delves into the realities of working in the world of tech and design, giving viewers a chance to see inside the life of a creative. We learn much about the subject’s life here — what drives her, what a typical day looks like — helping the viewer associate Mailchimp with the driven professionals who make the world of entrepreneurship thrive.
Mailchimp has been a visionary brand when it comes to creative storytelling. Ever since they sponsored the first season of Serial, the company has attached itself to big ideas, and, through their own example, they’ve proved that every business can affect a wide audience if they tell a powerful story.
Intercom features videos regularly on its blog, with experts speaking on topics like support, growth, product, and design. Many of the videos are talks that the team and others have done at different conferences, which is a great way for people to see talks that they weren’t geographically capable of attending.
Intercom’s videos educate viewers on new ways to approach Intercom’s core competency — customer support and communication — in a format that encourages in-depth exploration and tutorials. Instead of merely chopping up key takeaways from the talks, long-form video enables the brand to include the overall conference context, linking together key concepts and materials.
- 5 lessons learned from growing a support team: In this conference video, Intercom’s customer support lead, Sharon Moorhouse, shares five lessons that the company has learned as it has scaled its support operations. It’s meant to engage growing companies, regardless of the industry, and appeal to audiences that may lie outside of the scope of Intercom’s typical customer profile. Sharon’s talk is engaging and packed with visual examples, making the most of the video format and capturing the energy and excitement that she brought to the conference.
Conferences are affirming experiences, where people in the same field can form new connections, get new ideas, and become excited about trends and developments. Intercom’s focus on opening up their otherwise siloed conference material gives audiences a chance to connect with the brand even if they’re far away from the talks or sessions. It shows the company living out its mission of “keeping business personal” by opening up access to the conference experience.
Patagonia makes documentary-style videos about real people doing the things they love and excel at in the outdoors. The videos are extremely high-quality, featuring breathtaking visuals and rare glimpses of some of nature’s best vistas.
Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet. It’s hard not to fall deeper in love with the earth after watching these pieces, and viewers certainly can see that the brand is about far more than just making outerwear and camping gear.
“Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet.”
- Wolfpack: This video follows the training efforts of a group of trail runners living in isolation. Drone shots and ultra-slow-motion close-ups abound, giving the pieces a cinematic quality that is certain to move viewers on an emotional level. The family’s extreme choice to live in the wild is likely outside the desires of most of Patagonia’s customers, but their way of life can inspire viewers to think about how to better connect with planet Earth.
- Takayna: Takayana (Tarkine) is one of the last remaining old-growth rainforests in the world, yet it’s increasingly threatened by mining and other destructive activities. This video highlights the beauty and fragility of the landscape by intercutting meditative shots of flora and fauna with images of devastating excavation and logging. Patagonia is clearly living its mission here — seeking to save the planet by raising awareness about protecting one of our most precious earthly resources.
Patagonia’s mission is one of the most ambitious of any brand out there, and that’s what makes them so successful. By taking a stance on major issues and creating beautiful visual content, they’re proving to an audience why it’s cool to care about more than just clothes and gear. To change the world, Patagonia is leading by example.
Many beauty brands rely on mere testimonials to push their products. But Glossier opts to show how their products weave neatly into the lives of their customers. They have a series called “Get Ready with Me” (based on the popular)YouTube trend that follows the morning routine of influencers and creatives. The hashtag for the campaign — #GRWM — encourages customers to create their own content and further engage with the brand.
The pieces also have a casual instructional approach, giving them an educational component that goes beyond a shorter “how-to” piece. They’re showing you how to create a look rather than telling you how to do it.
- Get Ready With Me: feat. Annahstasia + Glossier: Here, an influencer’s morning routine is shown in real time. In several meditative shots, the camera lingers over Annahstasia going about her morning. It’s easy to imagine someone watching this piece they start their own day to find inspiration and calm from the emotional music and beautiful cinematography.
Glossier, known for its colorful Instagram account and vibrant pop-up stores, creates a calm atmosphere throughout their videos. They create intimacy with the way their videos are shot, and that intimacy will contribute to a long-lasting and better customer relationship than a typical advertisement or commercial.
Over the years, Airbnb has evolved beyond being just a website for booking rooms and homes, becoming a platform for finding community through unique experiences. Recently, Airbnb launched an Adventure series featuring hosts and people from all over the world. By focusing on the curated experiences offered through Airbnb’s “Adventures” programs, the brand helps establish itself as far more than a travel app.
- Six Strangers: In this 12-minute video, six strangers take an unexpected trip together. Like the other pieces in this series, the length of this video enables a more TV-like viewing experience that mirrors popular reality shows like Naked and Afraid and Survivor.
Through their long-form videos, Airbnb is expressing one of their most significant brand values: “Belong anywhere.” The Adventure series is all about breaking down barriers to find out what people have in common with each other. When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.
“When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.”
More and more brands are reaping the benefits of thinking (and acting!) like media companies. With the wealth of high-quality content vying for their attention, viewers are demanding highly engaging work from companies they encounter. Investing in rich long-form content enables brands to tap into the growing binge-watching habits of their followers while expressing the values that matter most to them and finding deeper ways to connect with customers.
Introducing “Brandwagon”—It’s like a Talk Show, but for Marketers
These days, it’s harder than ever to be successful with your marketing campaigns. From keeping up with ever-changing SEO tactics to shouldering the burden of growing advertising spend to shouting into the void that is social media, it can feel like even your most successful initiative is, well, kind of a flop.
That’s why I’m super excited to introduce you to Brandwagon, Wistia’s newest series from the team that brought you One, Ten, One Hundred. As the host of this talk show for marketers, I’m going to be chatting with business leaders who are doing things differently when it comes to marketing their businesses and building their brands. Find out how they’re seeing such success and learn what tactics they’re using to stand out in a sea of “meh” marketing.
Hop on the Brandwagon and come along for the ride each week as we uncover what’s working in the world of modern marketing. The first episode hits the road this summer, so be sure to enter your email below to stay in the loop and get notified when new episodes come out.
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