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The Benefits of a Long-Form Video Strategy

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“Short and sweet is a safe strategy.”

That’s a direct quote from a blog post we wrote back in 2016. In it, we argued that 2 minutes was the sweet spot for maximum engagement with video content online. And we stand by it, except we also stand by something else: You should be making long-form videos for your business. So, what gives? Why the sudden (three years in the making) change of heart?

According to 2018 data, U.S. adults now spend around 6 hours per day watching video. That includes viewing on TV, mobile devices, social media, and the web. Demand for video is soaring — and attention spans for video, in contrast to what you might hear about the internet and goldfish — are not diminishing. In fact, long-format TV is still far and away the most popular type of video that exists today.

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As a marketer, this leaves you with lots of room to experiment with different types of video content. Your audience might love the aforementioned 2-minute video, a 15-second Instagram Story, or maybe even a 30-minute episode as part of a series. Your brand can be built on the back of several types of videos across channels and devices.

You might assume that long-form video is more costly and that it takes longer to create, but depending on your strategy and approach to content creation, that doesn’t have to be the case. As we’ve mentioned before, more and more companies are jumping on the episodic, long-form video bandwagon, and their approaches to the content they create are all vastly different.

“You might assume that long-form video is more costly and that it takes longer to create, but depending on your strategy and approach to content creation, that doesn’t have to be the case.”

Now, if you’re still on the fence about whether or not long-form content is right for your business, let’s take a look at the many benefits of this content and how you can start using it to build your brand!

Call long-form video the king (or queen) of engagement. When it comes to making a lasting impression on viewers, longer videos work magic.

In fact, a 2017 study by video marketing platform Twenty Three showed that 80% of videos surveyed were under 5 minutes, but those short videos drove less than a third of overall video engagement. The 8% of videos that were 15 minutes or longer drove 50% of audience engagement.

MailChimp has been known for its quirky yet ambitious marketing campaigns, even launching a potato chip brand and an art-house film at one point. The email company’s most recent video campaign, MailChimp Presents, features a new long-form video series called Wi-Finders. This series follows folks around the world who’ve left their offices behind to work from anywhere (and everywhere).

While not directly related to email, the episodes provide an entertaining and relatable perspective on remote work around the globe. And the more time viewers spend watching these videos, the more time MailChimp has to win viewers over.

You may not see as high of a play rate when you post a longer video, but the people who are watching are really interested in what you have to say. This audience is valuable because they’re willing to spend the time to get to know your brand and actually consider your message. Our recent post about why Time Watched is the best metric to measure the value of video digs into this concept a little deeper if you’re curious to learn more!

“You may not get as high of a play rate when you post a longer video, but the people who are watching are really interested in what you have to say.”

Wistia’s CEO, Chris Savage, recently said that he believes the B2B companies of the future are going to look a lot like media companies. That’s because companies will be creating content that adds value in and of itself instead of just promoting products.

To add value, you don’t always need to be adding new bells and whistles to your core goods and services. Long-form videos can add value to your company by contributing to user knowledge and success.

Just look at this video series from Unbounce, called The Landing Page Sessions:

In each video, Oli Gardner provides an in-depth analysis of a business landing page and discusses what could be done to improve it. The videos include tool tutorials, best practices, and expert advice. For a marketing manager viewing Unbounce’s series, the education on landing pages is as valuable as Unbounce itself.

Other B2B (and B2C) businesses can learn a lot from this approach. If you’re offering educational content, people will depend on you for more than just your products. They will use the information you give them to improve their professional lives. Your expertise-driven content becomes a service you offer, which differentiates you from competitors and adds to an overall positive user experience.

Last, but not least, long-form video is a platform for expression. Your long-form content can help you develop a unique identity that stands head and shoulders above other brands in your industry.

Since its first viral success in 2012, Dollar Shave Club has invested heavily in video over the years. Their Shorty Award-winning campaign Stop Living the Dull Life is a perfect example of long-form video that succeeds despite the odds.

The whole premise of the series is wordplay: To demonstrate the horrors of “dull” razor blades, the company produced intentionally “dull” long videos.

Surprisingly, the videos are delightful. They’re some of the most-watched videos on DSC’s YouTube channel, racking up humorous comments like, “There go my plans for tonight.”

When Wistia’s co-founders announced they were buying out our investors and taking on $17M in debt, we also launched the news with a long-form video about the decision. The video included an 11-minute interlude, during which Brendan and Chris waited for viewers to finish reading the announcement.

The announcement was one of the most popular posts we published that year, and it led to lots of press and conversations on social media. Brendan and Chris even did a follow-up Ask Me Anything session to answer people’s questions about the decision. With video, they were able to lead a far-reaching conversation about growth and startups and express their point of view.

With long-form video, you get to decide the direction you want to go with your brand. You get to expand in ways that people might not expect or have even thought possible before. You can build your brand around certain topics, interests, or subject matter. You can make your business a platform for learning, for entertainment, or for inspiration. You can make people laugh — or you can be honest about what you’ve struggled with or where you’ve failed.

“You can build your brand around certain topics, interests, or subject matter. With long-form video, you can make your business a platform for learning, for entertainment, or for inspiration.”

As you can see, the possibilities for long-form video are endless. But let’s back up a moment. If you’re just starting to make video marketing part of your business strategy, try starting with one of those “short and sweet” 2-minutes-or-less videos. Share it around, make another, and see what people say. It’s only by putting your work out in the world that you’ll know what direction you want to take with video.

You might find that short videos, social videos, or TV commercials are your thing. Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, long-form video makes your company a conversation starter. It will increase your influence and establish you as an innovator based on the way you create the content and share it with the world. Don’t let a silly thing like length stop you from making the content you’ve always dreamed of making!



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Video Marketing

4 Ways to Make Your Wistia Channel Shine

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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!

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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.
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Don’t Fret Guitar Repair? Talk about click-worthy!

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.

With Wistia Channels, you have the power to choose whether to embed your Channel as an Inline embed (meaning your audience will see your entire Channel “inline” with the rest of your content) or as a Popover (meaning your audience will click on a single image or video to launch your Channel full-screen). Plus, any updates you make to your Project will automatically be reflected on your Channel — no need to replace the embed!

While it’s super simple to add all your videos to your site with just one embed, deciding where to place your Channel will impact who discovers and engages with your content. We recommend making the call based on the type of content you’re presenting to your audience.

“While it’s super simple to add all your videos to your site with just one embed, deciding where to place your Channel will impact who discovers and engages with your content.”

For example, if your Channel consists of informational or educational videos, putting it on your homepage might not make sense to someone visiting for the first time. On the other hand, if you have a blog, a Channel like this may fit well amongst your other educational content. Those who frequent your blog looking to learn from your expertise will easily discover your shiny, new collection of videos and be over the moon!

You can also easily share your professional-looking Channel across your business’ social media platforms with a public URL. Get more personal and direct with your communication efforts by popping the link to your Wistia Channel right in an email or newsletter to get more eyes on your content.

When you’re ready to share your Channel:

  • Select “Share” from the menu options
  • Select whether to share your Channel via “Embed” or “Public URL”
  • If embedding: Select your “Embed Type,” whether “Inline” or “Popover”
    • Choose a “Responsive” or “Fixed size”
  • If sharing the public URL: Just hit “Copy” and paste the link where ever your heart desires!

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!

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7 Examples That Show the Best of Long-Form Video

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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!

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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.

InVision examples:

  • 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.”

ProfitWell examples:

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.

Mailchimp examples:

  • 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.

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Still from “Taking Stock” courtesy of Mailchimp.

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.

Intercom example:

  • 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.”

Patagonia examples:

  • 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.

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Still from “Wolfpack” courtesy of Patagonia.

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.

Glossier example:

  • 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.

Airbnb example:

  • 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.

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Video Marketing

Introducing “Brandwagon”—It’s like a Talk Show, but for Marketers

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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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