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Video Marketing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Homepage Videos

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Your homepage video is the first experience new potential customers have with your business and your brand. That’s why it’s so important to make a memorable first impression before your visitors click away to check their email, go back to online shopping, or visit your main competitors’ sites.

These days, there are tons of ways you can easily craft a more delightful, positive experience for site visitors while also driving conversions. However, there are also a few painful mistakes marketers should try to avoid. When it comes to using video on your homepage, we’ve got you covered with this list of practical do’s and don’ts. Buckle up!

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The do’s of homepage videos

Every business is unique, but follow these classic homepage video rules and you can create an experience that works with your goals, not against them.

“So, what does your business actually do?” Quickly answer this question in your homepage video so viewers can easily understand what it is your business is all about right from the start. There is nothing worse than visiting a website, consuming some content, and still having no idea what the business is all about. Don’t leave your site visitors confused and in the dark! Use your homepage video to highlight your key selling points in a casual, informative way.

What pain point does your business solve for the customer? Speak in terms that resonate with your target audience, be clear and conversational, and get to the point.

“Speak in terms that resonate with your target audience, be clear and conversational, and get to the point.”

Within the first 20 seconds of watching Sticker Mule’s homepage video, the viewer is already presented with three different examples of how you could use their service to create high-quality custom stickers, magnets, and more.

In this quick, one minute video, Sticker Mule covers why you would use their service, how you can easily get started with it, and when you could expect to actually see your final product, making their value proposition super clear, super fast.

For first-time visitors, your homepage video will be the first experience they have with your brand — so make it memorable. Incorporate key elements of your brand into your video to create a consistent thread that’s woven throughout your site. By knowing your audience well, you should be able to pick out some key elements of your business’ brand that you know will resonate with them.

LeadGenius, a SaaS company that specializes in B2B customer data, uses an animated video on their homepage to immediately address the concerns their target audience faces on a daily basis while highlighting how their software can help solve that problem.

“Whatever your role is, you have the same goals — increase efficacy, drive revenue, build a high-performance sales and marketing machine. Without high-quality customer data and targeting, your fine-tuned machine gets … un-fine. How do you find and connect with lasting customers? LeadGenius does it for you.” LeadGenius has a deep understanding of what their core audience, marketing and sales folks, really care about.

Your homepage video presents a unique opportunity to engage with your viewers, showcase your brand, and leave a lasting impression. If possible, incorporate some of the folks who actually work at your business into the video itself. You want to give your viewers a better understanding of who and what makes up the fabric of your business, so focus on feelings rather than numbers.

“Your homepage video presents a unique opportunity to engage with your viewers, showcase your brand, and leave a lasting impression.”

To autoplay or not to autoplay, that is the question. And it’s a divisive one, at that! Here at Wistia, we’ve had mixed results (and feelings) when it comes to autoplaying homepage videos in the past. We ultimately found the middle ground with our current homepage video — it’s sort of an auto-playing preview of what’s to come if you click the “Watch video” button. The autoplaying video on the page serves more as a design element than a classic video, while still grabbing the viewer’s attention.

Some marketers praise autoplay for its immediacy and effectiveness. Others hate autoplay because it takes choice away from the viewer, slows down web pages, and can be straight up annoying. There’s no right answer, and in reality, the only way to find out if it works for your brand is to test it!

Here are a few ways to implement autoplay while minimizing its negative effects:

  • Keep the video short and sweet.
  • Don’t show too much motion.
  • Try using a single, looping movement on an otherwise static page.
  • Make your autoplaying videos silent or sound-optional.

When done tastefully, autoplaying video can catch someone’s eye, build a strong visual brand impression, and keep viewers around longer.

If you’re going to put a beautiful video on your homepage, don’t hide it below the fold! Since web video has such a strong correlation to conversions (one report by EyeView Digital pointed to increases between 15–86%!) your video should take center stage.

Since video is such a powerful medium, it often has the ability to explain features or use cases more or less on its own, so let it take the spotlight. We may be tooting our own horns here, but we believe that using a video player that puts your brand first (as opposed to those clutter-filled YouTube embeds) will further reduce noise on your page.

Another factor to consider? When you add video to a web page, you might need to scale back some other design elements. Don’t bog down your homepage with a ton of other eye-catching elements if you want to keep the focus on your video.

Classy, an online fundraising platform for nonprofits, does an excellent job of drawing attention to their homepage video by featuring a play button that … well … glows.

The don’ts of homepage videos

Your homepage is a precious space, so treat it like one! Follow these best practices for what not to do with your homepage video and avoid some big faux paws.

Setting yourself up for failure — who wants to do that? Not me! Goals can change, but they should always be targeted. Don’t assume that creating a homepage video will solve all of your company’s problems in one fell swoop.

Figure out what you want to achieve with your homepage video, and then make that goal specific. For example, with a homepage video, one simple measure of success could be engagement. You want to ensure that your audience finds your video useful, or at the very least interesting, and a high engagement rate suggests just that. You can use what you learned from this video to create even more engaging videos for the rest of your site, so keep applying those learnings.

Remember, your homepage video is just one key component of your overall video strategy, so don’t expect that it will take your viewer from the top of the funnel all the way down to the bottom. Keep your expectations in check, and set yourself up for success!

You might be tempted to squeeze in every last piece of information you can into your homepage video, but I urge you to reign it in. Don’t get too detailed, your homepage video is not the time or the place. For most homepage videos, we’d recommend keeping the length to 2 minutes or under. This type of content should provide a quick overview of your product for top-of-funnel customers.

Check out this 1 minute, 21-second homepage video from the folks at Steve & Kate’s Camp.

After watching this video, you still don’t know where the camps are located, when the camp takes place, or how much it even costs. And for a homepage video, that’s OK! In fact, it’s this level of simplicity helps keep the focus on the most compelling aspect of summer camp — the kids. Parents are clearly the target audience here, and showing them how their kids might grow and develop after attending Steve & Kate’s Camp is far more effective than simply listing out every activity a child would have access to.

Don’t bore or overwhelm your viewers with too much all at once — if your viewers need that level of granular information, there are other places on your site where they can get it. And if you’re in the SaaS space, videos that educate viewers about your product more deeply, like webinars, explainer videos, or other long-form content, are all valuable, just not necessarily on your homepage.

“Don’t bore or overwhelm your viewers with too much all at once — if your viewers need that level of granular information, there are other places on your site where they can get it.”

We’ve also found that it’s best to avoid pushy calls to action within the video itself. After all, asking someone to buy immediately after just saying “Hello!” can be a bit of a turnoff. At most, you want to pique interest, develop brand awareness, and provide some of the key must-knows about your product or service — keep it subtle!

Just because you’re using a super effective video on your homepage doesn’t mean you should leave all your copy on the cutting room floor. To ensure strong performance from an SEO perspective, you’ll need both text and video on your page.

As a general principle, you should always try to use persuasive copy to get people clicking. Not every single person who visits your website will watch your homepage video, so the accompanying text on the page needs to also get your message across. If your product or service has a free plan, use the word “Free” to grab attention, but just make sure you keep your viewer’s expectations realistic (so you don’t set them up for disappointment later on).

Leadpages, a landing page creation tool, understands the importance of balance. They do a great job of incorporating both effective, clear copy, and a simple, “Watch it Work” CTA that clicks through to a video. When you first land on the page, you aren’t immediately hit in the face with video. In this case, it’s clear that Leadpages wanted their viewers to take the message home that they are “more than a landing page builder.” If that sounds like something you’re interested in, you might click on the button to watch the video and learn more — it’s subtle, but it works!

leadpages

Action-oriented words like click, start, download, register, sign up, or try are also effective at driving a specific action, so be sure to incorporate those on your homepage in addition to your video. If you’re interested in diving into the world of calls to action even deeper, check out our comprehensive guide to using video CTAs!

Ultimately, your homepage video is not the only content you want your viewer to consume. Homepages are entry points into your website that are meant help facilitate further interaction, making it easier for viewers to navigate to other pages on your site. Any video that you use on your homepage should assist with the navigation, not stand in the way of it.

And this is where the debate around autoplaying video really heats up. While there is no better way to grab the attention of your viewers than with an autoplaying video, there are some risks. Some viewers may scramble to find the volume control, or just be turned off by the experience altogether and leave your page. One way to combat getting in the way of your viewers is to simply make the video a silent autoplaying video, where they have to click in to hear audio. If you’re ever struggling with what to do, just consider the viewer’s experience above all else, and let that guide you.

Video is just one of many elements that make up a successful homepage, but it may be the reason yours stands out from the rest. First impressions are crucial, and a video makes an instant, memorable impact. So, before you write that creative brief, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind and craft an experience that’s a win for both your business and your future customers!



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Video Marketing

Building a Podcast Promo Kit: See How Wistia Promotes New Shows

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Trying to build an audience for your brand new podcast? If so — we’ve got you covered. We present to you the perfect podcast promotion kit! This “promo kit” consists of items you can give to guests on your podcast or share internally with team members that’ll help them spread the good word about your show across their own networks.

We thought it’d be helpful to give you a full breakdown of the essential items we include in our promo kit here at Wistia. This kit is created and shared with guests and Wistians whenever we release a new episode for our latest podcast, Talking Too Loud. Keep reading for an inside look at our favorite promotional assets and best practices for sharing!

For an interview-style show like Talking Too Loud, sending a thank you email along with a promo kit to your podcast’s guest is an excellent opportunity to get your show in front of their audience.

Here’s a peek at some marketing assets we created for the fourth episode of Talking Too Loud with Nick Francis, the CEO and co-founder of Help Scout, a customer service software company.

Pull quotes and episode graphics

Grabbing notable pull quotes from your podcast episode is a great way to give people an idea of what your show is all about and entice them to want to hear more. Here are a few graphics with pull quotes from Nick’s episode, which focused on Help Scout’s remote-friendly environment and building purpose-driven companies:

When creating these assets, it’s best to provide multiple image sizes compatible with each major social platform. For us, we promote our show on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Audiograms for social

Creating audiograms is another unique way to engage folks on social media. These attention-grabbing assets are audio clips with captions that are played over an image as an MP4. Again, you should provide multiple sizes so your guests can easily post these to various social platforms.

Here’s an example of an audiogram:

Check out Audiogram or Headliner for these quick and affordable promo assets.

Promo copy

Along with all of these great assets, we provide copy examples for Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn written as if they were posted from the guest’s personal account and their company’s official account. We include relevant callouts for Wistia’s social handles, the podcast hashtag, and the episode URL. As a best practice, we try to write social posts that match their voice and tone to put together a promo kit that truly feels personalized for each guest.

Of course, you can tell your guest they can tweak the messages however they see fit.

Here’s an example of a social post for Nick’s Twitter:

Here’s an example of a social post for Help Scout’s Instagram:

When you have all of your assets ready to go, we like to package it all nicely into a PDF to send in an email to our guest. The PDF includes links to Wistia’s social handles, the podcast hashtag, the episode URL, links to Google Drive folders with all of the creative assets, and copy for posts by the guest and the company. Having all of these materials in one place makes it effortless for your guests to help spread the word about their interview.

For sharing assets internally with your team, you can send an email announcement linking to all of the same assets mentioned above. Having all of your images and videos in one place also makes it easy for everyone to access at any time.

At Wistia, we like to use Dropbox for our file sharing. When we announced Talking Too Loud, our marketing team provided everyone with a Quip document with links, copy for social variations, and images and videos in Dropbox to use when sharing.

“Podcast promo kits have been an essential part of our show promotion strategy. Guests love them and have been really willing to help spread the word, and employees appreciate that we’ve done all the work for them. It’s been amazing to see our assets being shared across social media and to watch our audience grow over time.”


Vanessa Luis

Audience Development Marketer

As you can see, providing a promotion kit filled with awesome assets makes it effortless for your guests to talk about your podcast on their own social channels. Now that you’ve seen some of our favorite assets to include in a promo kit for Talking Too Loud, we hope you have some ideas when it’s time to start building your own. If you have any promo materials you’ve created for podcasts you’d like to share, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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Video Marketing

The First 3 Videos Your Small Business Should Make

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How can a small business with a small budget get started with video marketing? The answer is actually pretty simple: start with the videos that will have the biggest impact on your business. With that framework in mind, let’s take a look at the first three videos your business should start making today!

If you’re a small business, you might not be able to tout the big brand names that make people say to themselves, “Wow, impressive company X uses them? They must be good!” But lucky for us, the rise of online video in recent years has made establishing trust much easier for businesses of all sizes. And of course, the demand for video isn’t going anywhere. According to research from the folks at HubSpot, 54% of consumers want to see more video from marketers in the future. So if you haven’t started investing in video, now’s the time!

How can a small business with a small budget get started with video marketing? The answer is actually pretty simple: start with the videos that will have the biggest impact on your business. With that framework in mind, let’s take a look at the first three videos your business should start making today!

If you don’t make any other video this year (though we’re confident you’ve got what it takes), start with a product explainer video. Think about the last time you surfed around a company’s website and thought to yourself, “Is this business even legit? What the heck do they do?” This is the last impression you want to leave on a site visitor or potential customer, which is why a product explainer video is the first video you should make.

Remember that the content of your video is far more important than how shiny or professional it looks. You don’t need to break the bank to make an effective product explainer video — in fact, before you invest in a big production, try making a video that’s a little more on the DIY side and see how it works for your business. You can always upgrade your video later or even test other versions against it to see which one resonates most with your audience.

“Remember that the content of your video is far more important than how shiny or professional it looks”

Take a look at this product explainer video from Basecamp, a project management and team communication software. Small budget? No problem.

This video doesn’t simply showcase all the best features Basecamp has to offer. Instead, it paints a picture (or in this case, draws one) that clearly points to a problem the software can solve (if you’re a busy project manager, use this tool to make your job easier).

It’s easy to focus on your product’s features, but what you really want to do is hone in on the problem your business solves. Appeal to viewers’ emotions and explain how your solution can help make their lives easier, better, more fulfilling — whatever the case may be — and you’re on your way to seeing success with video.

Types of explainer videos you can make

Now that you’ve hopefully seen the value of product explainer videos, let’s dive into a few different types of videos your small business can start investing in. Depending on what resources are currently available to you, not to mention how much time you want to put in to the final product, there are a number of avenues you can take.

Animated video
Arguably one of the most popular types of explainer videos a business can make, animated videos are easy to outsource thanks to services like Yum Yum Videos, Powtoon, or even freelancers on Fiverr who can turn your script into an imaginative video.

Live-action video
If you plan on shooting the video yourself (whether you have an in-house video producer or not), consider the following tips for making your video as effective as it can be:

  • Start with a great script. As odd as it might seem, the written word is the foundation for any great explainer video.
  • Keep it short and sweet — 60 seconds or less is perfect.
  • Use simple, conversational language. No business jargon allowed!
  • Incorporate some shots of what you’re actually selling in your video — show and tell.

Screencast
Is your small business in the SaaS space? A simple screencast video works particularly well in this context; plus, it also happens to be super budget-friendly. Check out this example from the team at Slack, a business communication platform.

See how easy it is to understand how their product works? That’s exactly what you’re looking for.

If you want to simplify the screencast process as much as possible, we just happen to offer a nifty screen recording tool that lets you make high-quality product explainer videos in a snap. Try Soapbox for free today!

Install Soapbox Today!

Some businesses tend to shy away from collecting testimonials, and who can blame them? The task can feel scary and intimidating, and ROI is difficult to predict at the outset. But what’s so great about testimonial videos is that you only need one or two solid ones in your catalogue to see the difference they can make.

Start by interviewing some of your long-term customers that have seen tangible results thanks to your product, and share those videos on a prominent page on your site. Again, building trust can be a tricky part of marketing a small business. But with an effective testimonial video, you can go above and beyond that goal.

“Start by interviewing some of your long-term customers that have seen tangible results thanks to your product, and share those videos on a prominent page on your site.”

When it comes time to brainstorm who you might reach out to for these interviews, think about who your ideal customer is. Make sure the customers you feature in your testimonials are aligned with your target audience. Ideally, your prospects will be able to see themselves and their businesses in the testimonial videos you create.

Ultimately, video testimonials help visitors feel more confident in your business and the services you provide. And why wouldn’t they? Your most authentic subjects are your actual customers.

One company who does this really well is Mailchimp, a marketing automation platform and email marketing service company. Here’s an example of one of their customer success stories:

After watching this video, the viewer has a better understanding of how a boutique called Azalea San Francisco uses Mailchimp’s landing pages to drive their sales, promote events, and stay relevant.

Tips for making video testimonials

Ready to produce your very own video testimonials? Here are some of our favorite tips for making a compelling testimonial that builds trust and looks great:

  • Before the interview, give your customer an idea of what topics you’ll cover, but don’t share all of your questions just yet! You want their responses to sound as natural and unrehearsed as possible.
  • Shoot the video at the customer’s own workplace if possible, as it helps drive home the authenticity factor.
  • Capture additional B-roll footage throughout the shoot, whether you think you’ll need the shots or not. These small moments can round out your video and make it more cohesive.
  • Let the camera run, and edit the takes later. Ask your interviewee to repeat what they’ve said if they fumble over their words, but for the most part, try to keep your footage natural.
  • Keep it conversational so your subject feels comfortable. This can often lead to more emotional, authentic responses.

If your small business has a particularly interesting background, company story videos are the way to go. How did your business get started? What was your motivation for starting the company? By featuring the friendly faces of your teammates, you can make your prospects feel right at home. After all, people are buying more products and services based on emotion rather than logic, which is one reason why appealing to a visitor’s psyche is so important.

A company story video lets you show off what makes your business so special and unique on a human level like no other medium can. When people are able to associate familiar faces and names with a business, they’re more likely to feel a strong connection to it — and ultimately have a positive experience with your brand.

“A company story video lets you show off what makes your business so special and unique on a human level like no other medium can.”

In this video, find out the history behind Redbarn Pet Products, a healthy, wholesome dog food company.

I don’t even have a dog and I’d give Redbarn my money! But in all seriousness, this two-minute video gives you a solid understanding of what matters most to Redbarn as a business. You learn how this family-owned dog food company got its start, what it believes in, and how it views running a business. An all-around success!

Types of company stories

What if your story isn’t as cute and wholesome as Redbarn’s? Not to worry, because there are some other types of videos you can make to achieve a similar goal. Your company’s culture and how team members feel about working there today are just as important as the story behind how you got your start. Here are a few ways to underline that:

  • Crowdsource a simple video featuring current employees. Empower your peers to tell their own stories by submitting video clips that can be compiled into one video.
  • Interview some of your own employees. Think “customer testimonials” but from your employees. Ask them some questions about their day-to-day life at your company and record their responses.
  • Use B-roll footage from a company event or party and record a voiceover after the fact. This is a super low-budget way to make a video that emphasizes what your company culture is all about, with virtually no pre-production effort involved.

Marketers know that testing new channels and tactics before going all-in on one is the best way to make informed decisions. And when you work at a small business where resources can run thin, you want to make sure you’re spending your time wisely. That’s why, as a video software company built by marketers, we recommend getting started with these three types of videos.

Easily build trust, establish credibility, and show the people who work at your company, and you’ll be on your way to building an even more reputable and buzzworthy business.

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4 Businesses That Grew Through the Power of Creativity

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When most businesses decide to scale, they usually channel all of their thoughts and energy on meeting the end result: growing their company by X percent. But, ironically, focusing on the results doesn’t always mean you’ll get them.

In a live interview at Goldman Sachs’ Technology and Internet Conference in 2015, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, was asked to name some of Apple’s most significant accomplishments from the past year. Famously, he responded, “We’re not focused on the numbers. We’re focused on the things that produce the numbers.”

In essence, Cook was saying that focusing on the process rather than the results is the key to success. After all, to thrive in a world brimming with infinite options, you need to create a product or service worth purchasing — and not just purchasable.

Building something that can cut through the noise requires extraordinary creativity. To inspire your company’s creative process, we explore four companies that have leaned heavily on creativity to fuel their growth. Read on to get your own creative juices flowing.

When Nick Gray was asked to go on a date to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, he was a little disappointed. The Met was where you went when your parents were in town, not when you were going on a romantic date. But Nick liked the woman he was seeing. So, he accepted her invitation.

To his surprise, Nick and his date didn’t aimlessly meander through every exhibit that caught their eye. Instead, Nick’s date gave him a captivating tour of different art, sculptures, and artifacts. Enamored by the Met’s vast collection of humanity’s history, Nick realized just how special the museum actually was.

Nick became obsessed with the Met, visiting it all the time, voraciously researching exhibits that piqued his interest, and eventually giving his own tours to friends. His tours got so popular that he realized he could turn them into his own business. He called it Museum Hack.

Museum Hack’s mission is to shatter the common belief that museums are boring — just as the date at the Met had done for Nick. Leading themed tours, such as the one based on Game of Thrones, through some of the country’s top museums, Museum Hack takes customers on focused, energetic journeys that are chock-full of stories, games, and, most importantly, fun.

“Museum Hack’s mission is to shatter the common belief that museums are boring …”

Museum Hack knows that their guides can make or break tours, so the company hires expert storytellers who train for three months before leading a single tour. They also dig up the juiciest stories about historical figures, art, and artifacts that you’d never see on a museum plaque, ensuring that they entertain just as much as they educate.

Convincing the public that museums are the most remarkable institutions on earth is a tall order. But Museum Hack has done just that — and then some. Their tours have garnered over 5,400 five-star reviews on TripAdvisor, generated $2.8 million in revenue in 2018, and grown their business by 107% in the past three years.

One of the least appealing parts of marketing? Sourcing stock photos. Not only are most stock images cheesy, but they can also be costly. Fortunately, Mikael Cho, the former CEO of Crew, an online marketplace for creatives, harbored this same disdain for cheesy, expensive stock photos.

Back in 2013, Crew had only three months of cash left. No venture capitalists were biting either, so Cho tried to attract some attention by building a Tumblr website that offered free, professional-grade photos. His target market could probably use them.

Four hours and $19 later, Unsplash was born. And after posting Unsplash on Hacker News, Cho’s side project rocketed to the top of the discussion board and attracted 50,000 visitors in one day. Within a month, Unsplash had 20,000 email subscribers and even referred some customers over to Crew.

Four months later, Unsplash helped Crew double their revenue, which enabled them to secure $10.6 million in funding. Unsplash had officially saved Crew.

Soon after, tech media outlets, like The Verge, Next Web, Fast Company, TechCrunch, and Forbes, ate the story up. Forbes even started using Unsplash’s photos and linked back to their website. Two years later, Unsplash became Crew’s top referral source.

The story of Unsplash is compelling proof that focusing on creativity can pluck you out of even the deepest financial abyss. By focusing on the artistic side of photography — not necessarily the business side — and the customer experience, Unsplash attracted a steady stream of users and publicity. This focus persuaded the best freelance photographers to publish photos on their website to market their art and, in turn, continually enhance Unsplash’s library of images.

“By focusing on the artistic side of photography — not necessarily the business side — and the customer experience, Unsplash attracted a steady stream of users and publicity.”

Since then, Crew spun off Unsplash as its own stand-alone company. The Tumblr website that initially offered ten free photos every ten days now boasts a network of 110,000 contributing photographers and a library of 1 million images that have been downloaded over 1 billion times.

What’s arguably even more impressive is that Cho sold Crew to Dribbble in 2017 and raised $7.25 million in funding for Unsplash. Not only did Unsplash save and spark Crew’s growth, but they also built themselves into something any entrepreneur would be proud of.

In 2008, Jack Conte and his wife, Nataly Dawn, started a band called Pomplamoose. But, unlike most new bands, they didn’t want to build their presence through live gigs; they wanted to build it online.

For the next five years, Pomplamoose created and posted original songs, experimental covers, and clever mash-ups on YouTube, attracting over 150,000 subscribers. Some of their videos even went viral and boasted millions of views. But the exhilarating high Conte felt watching the band’s loyal fan base grow would always crash when he checked their YouTube revenue each month. At most, they would make a few hundred dollars.

Fed up with the internet’s self-centered monetization model and the lack of respect and financial security artists received, Conte teamed up with entrepreneur Sam Yan to launch Patreon, a platform for artists to offer monthly subscriptions to their content and generate a reliable stream of income.

From podcasters to musicians to comedians, artists of all stripes can effectively monetize their creativity on Patreon, taking home an average of 90% of their subscription revenue. Conte and Yan specifically designed their business model this way because they wanted Patreon’s success to depend on their artists’ success. In other words, creativity is the only thing that can fuel their growth. And it’s working.

Today, Patreon has over 100,000 artists creating content on their platform and over 3 million patrons supporting them. Patreon is also expected to process $500 million in payments and generates $50 million in revenue in 2019 and has raised over $165 million in venture capital.

During the first half of the decade, most podcasts were cliché, talking-head interviews with little personality or flair. Most people listened to them to educate themselves on a specific topic — not necessarily to entertain themselves. But that all changed once Sarah Koenig’s iconic podcast, Serial), launched in 2014.

Serial was one of the first narrative-driven podcasts ever released, and it captured the imagination of the entire world, reaching 5 million downloads faster than any other podcast in history.

After binge-listening to Serial and witnessing everybody squabble over Adnan Syed’s innocence, Steve Pratt, the co-founder of Pacific Content, realized he could help businesses make the same mark in the working world.

Serial raised people’s podcasts expectations, but many brands didn’t have the expertise or resources to craft shows of that caliber. This market gap inspired Pratt to launch Pacific Content, a production agency that makes original podcasts with brands. He became an early adopter of narrative-driven podcasts and partnered with some of the world’s biggest brands, including Facebook, Slack, and T-Brand Studio, to craft shows that rival top podcasts like This American Life and even the agency’s own inspiration — Serial.

Blazing the trail for brands to tell stories through podcasts and winning numerous awards for their work, Pacific Content was acquired by Rogers Media, one of the largest and most influential Canadian media companies, in 2019.

To thrive in a world of infinite choice, building a product or service that can cut through the noise is crucial — but trying to manufacture the results won’t get you anywhere. Instead, focus on the process and channel your creativity, just like these four companies did.

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