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The Road Map to Becoming a More Video-Focused Brand

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Do you say “Kleenex” when you want a tissue or “Band-Aid” when you need an adhesive bandage? Yeah, us too. Even just uttering these names probably stirs up memories of childhood scrapes or times when a friend helped wipe away tears. And that’s because building a brand people love sort of feels like magic — it’s the secret recipe for a successful (and memorable) business.

These days, video is a key ingredient in that recipe. Video can help businesses quickly differentiate themselves in a crowded space, retain customers, and unlock growth. Plus, now that video is more accessible than ever, more and more marketers are being empowered to think like media companies, striving to build super-specific, highly-engaged niche audiences.

We’ve written about why you should build your brand with video in the past, but in this particular guide, we’re going to give you the lay of the land and teach you how to actually do it. Read on to for some tips, tricks, and best practices that’ll keep your brand moving in the right direction!

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The human brain can process visual information in as little as 13 milliseconds. That means we’re interpreting information and building connections in our minds at an alarming rate. As you can imagine, when it comes to integrating video into your brand strategy, there’s a lot to consider.

But don’t throw in the towel just yet! There are a few key steps to follow right from the start that’ll help you create a more video-centric, memorable brand. Here at Wistia, we’ve learned quite a bit as we’ve grown our brand over the years, so here are some of our favorite tips that’ll help you get rollin’ on your journey.

Create a style guide

First things first, you’re going to want to create a style guide. Brand guides aren’t just for copywriters anymore. In fact, as businesses start to communicate on more diverse platforms using video, having a strong style guide in place for what your company talks about and how it sounds is super important. Stay true to your brand by incorporating your company values, the tone you want to establish, insider lingo for your industry, or humor into the videos you create. By defining your voice, you can create a process that allows your video-production efforts to scale up without diluting the brand.

Now, break the rules

Just kidding, don’t break all the rules. Style guides are great for helping people recognize your brand, and when you’re just getting started with video, it’s a crucial asset to have. However, you don’t want a style guide to limit your expression. Does your marketing team stick to a rigid set of rules, only using the same colors, fonts, and “voice” for everything?

When you think about building your brand with video, start by thinking about your company values and the different ways you can communicate them. Patagonia does this particularly well (check out this post for some examples), proving that while style guides are super important, but there are also some instances where you can break the mold. It may sound like a tricky, but it’s an important balance for all brands to maintain!

Do some preliminary research

MailChimp is one of the top brands in email nowadays, but the famously bootstrapped company didn’t start out that way. Over the years, MailChimp learned that sometimes the best results when it comes to branding are unmeasurable and that it’s OK to give up data for a better user experience. There are going to be brands who use video strategically that you and your team admire, so dig into their story a little bit more to uncover how they got to where they are today. Chances are, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from their successes and failures that are worth taking into consideration for your business.

We break down the most useful points of an AMA we held with MailChimp a few years back, like their breakthrough moment with sponsoring the podcast Serial, in this post. Check it out and get inspired!

Experiment with different types of video

Two minutes or less is all you need to make a video for business, right? Not necessarily. Long-form videos, including video series like One, Ten, One Hundred, require a bit more investment up front, but they can pay off significantly in the long term. If you’re just starting out with video at your business, we definitely recommend going the short and sweet route at first. It’s important that you don’t bite off more than you can chew by going all-in on a certain style or tone without testing it out first. Afterall, it’s only by putting your work out into the world that you’ll know what direction you want to take with your brand’s video strategy.

Lately, we’ve been really excited by long-form video content and the potential it has to help grow audiences for businesses. So, if you’re looking for some inspiration in that vein, be sure to check out these 20-minute-plus video examples from Dollar Shave Club, Unbounce, and more and learn how you can take the leap into long-form video.

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Now that you’ve tested the waters and experimented with some different video lengths and aesthetics, it’s time to show your audience what you’ve got! Your customers have a different understanding of who you are depending on where they are in their own journey with your brand. And how successful your brand becomes depends on how well you tell your story throughout that customer journey.

Branded videos will help viewers learn more about your business, building trust and setting the stage for a fruitful relationship with successful, happy customers. And who doesn’t want that? The next stop on your journey to becoming a more video-focused brand is all about meeting your audience where they are. Here are a few ways you can work on reaching the right folks throughout the entire customer journey.

Start with what matters most — your product

Your brand is nothing without your product, so creating an effective product video is a great place to start. These videos explain your product’s features and benefits, while including examples and visuals of how it actually works. Product videos are great for consumers who are in the awareness or consideration stages of the buyer’s journey, and should be clear, yet comprehensive.

In this insightful post from TechSmith’s Sherri Powers, she breaks down how the marketing funnel is organized by how well people know your product (borrowed from Eugene Schwartz’s classic book Breakthrough Advertising). Luckily, videos are a great medium for top of funnel engagement, so they’re a super valuable investment to make when it comes to becoming a video-first brand.

Then, focus on building your customers’ knowledge-base

The middle of the funnel, or the consideration phase, is when you start to educate your potential customers with helpful, useful content. From testimonials and case studies to webinars and team intros, mid-funnel videos are a fantastic tool for showing prospective customers who you are and what you care about. These videos are a vital step to becoming a brand that people love for a long time.

Here at Wistia, we’ve found that high-quality video testimonials that showcase real customers (not actors!) who are representative of your audience are super effective at portraying an authentic brand. Start by presenting a specific problem that your product can solve, back up that brand promise with evidence, and demonstrate your key benefits in action.

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Put an emphasis on credibility and customer trust

Trust is an infinite resource — you can never have too much trust in your brand. The more people that trust you, the greater freedom you’ll have to experiment and take risks with your marketing (remember how we told you to break your style guide rules before?). But, as marketers, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the wrong metrics and lose sight of the future.

That’s why we recommend creating thought leadership content that can help position your brand in a positive, authoritative light. While the impact is not as easy to measure as say, a product video, thought leadership videos do something product videos don’t — they build credibility for your brand. And when it comes to building a brand people know and love, that innate trust is invaluable.

If you’re interested in learning more about building authority with video, check out this presentation from CouchCon 2018 by Nick Dujnic, who makes the case for investing in thought leadership content.

Try thinking like an influencer

Is influencer marketing all it’s cracked up to be? In a word; probably. Influencers have worked hard to deliver content that consistently engages a key, specific group of people. Businesses stand to learn quite a bit from influencers about the way they make strong, personal connections with their audience. And while it’s true that influencers produce a ton of content (often at a super-speedy pace) to keep people coming back for more, there are still some things marketers can take from their strategy and apply on a smaller scale.

Influencers create content for their entire audience — when they find something that works for the masses, they double-down on it. The bottom line? They aren’t afraid to get real, and that authenticity is what makes their videos so engaging. Steal some of their tactics, like using a repeatable video format and collaborating with other like-minded companies, and adapt their tactics to your own brand strategy.

Don’t leave any gaps in your brand touches

Video is an amazing tool because it can be used effectively in so many ways. Marketeres can easily incorporate video into all of their promotional efforts, from ad campaigns to blog posts, and those videos can play a big role in attracting new customers, educating leads, and converting them.

If the notion of using video across your entire business feels a little daunting, don’t sweat it! You can easily break down what types of videos work throughout the traditional marketing funnel and use that as a framework for thinking about what videos to make. Itching for some specific examples? We identify the key metric for each stage of the funnel (i.e., sign-ups) and show stellar video examples in this post. Shout-out to brands like ProfitWell, Sticker Mule, and San Diego Surf School for the inspiration!

The next stop on your video journey? You guessed it! It’s time to polish up that act of yours. There’s a lot to learn about cultivating and expanding upon your brand with video, but we’re going to take it one step at a time. You might make a few mistakes along the way (you’re only human after all!), but these learning experiences will only make your brand stronger.

In this section, we’ve gathered some of our best advice based on Wistia data and our experience building a brand with video, from presenting your content to creating a beautiful experience. With these resources in hand, you’ll be well on your way to developing your own video best practices in no time.

Make a great first impression

If you’re embedding a video on your homepage, it’s your most prominent piece of brand marketing, by far. Luckily, these days there are tons of ways you can easily craft a more delightful, positive experience for site visitors while also driving conversions thanks to the help of video. From nailing your value proposition to testing out autoplaying videos, there are a number of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

Do:

  • Make your value prop clear
  • Speak to your audience’s interests
  • Test out autoplaying video
  • Put your video front and center

Don’t:

  • Set extremely broad goals
  • Try to squeeze everything into one video
  • Sacrifice good copy
  • Get in the way of your user

Naturally, video is just one of many essential elements that make up a successful homepage, but creating a memorable one may be the reason your business stands out from the rest.

Don’t overlook the video player design

Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact on your video’s success. And when it comes to your player design, you might think that something as simple as player color is unimportant. But when it comes to building a video-focused brand, these little details matter. You have to think about the overall experience your viewer has with your brand across channels and platforms.

A few years back, we dug into Wistia data from millions of videos to see if there’s a correlation between player color and video play count — and you might be surprised at the results. We found that there was a 7% improvement in play rate for the non-default colored players, ie. businesses who were more intentional about their player design. The main takeaway here is that small, intentional efforts to make your videos look professional and put-together will evoke a more positive response from your audience, thus creating a more cohesive brand experience.

Learn from the mistakes of those that came before you and save yourself some headaches along the way. Want to dig into all the nitty gritty data from our test? Check out this post!

Give your videos a good home

Social networks like YouTube and Facebook (and newer services like Twitch) are great for getting your content off the ground. But eventually, if you’re interested in building a brand for the long run, you’ll want your videos to live on their own page that’s unique to your brand. When you graduate to a professional hosting service, you’re able to keep creative control while also protecting viewer privacy.

We recently launched a new feature, Wistia Channels, that gives users more control over their overall viewing experience. Because we know how important branding is when it comes to video, we made it easy for marketers to transform a group of videos into a highly engaging, immersive collection that lives right on their site. Again, at the end of the day, it’s all about paying attention to the small details that lead to a bigger, more positive brand impact.

Break free from basic marketing videos

Homepage videos, explainer videos, and product videos are all important for building a brand, but at some point, you’ll want to try out something new. And nothing says leveling-up your brand like creating videos that don’t scale. What do we mean by “don’t scale,” you ask? Think Snapchat and Instagram Stories, 1:1 video emails, and just-for-fun company culture content. These are all examples of videos that don’t scale but still add value to your brand. When you explore your more creative side, you’ll find that there are many different yet equally engaging ways to spread your message in way that feels fresh and authentic to your audience.

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You know what they say — it’s all about the journey, not the destination. But, we have reached the end of our post (wink, wink). It’s safe to say that every marketer dreams of creating the type of brand that people turn to first when they need a particular problem solved. Luckily, incorporating video into your marketing strategy can help you reach those goals.

Video is your ticket to making a brand that people remember and love. From goofy outtakes and informative webinars, to an original long-form series, videos are the best way to tell your company’s story. Follow these three steps to becoming a more video-centric brand by starting with your aesthetic, creating content for your entire audience, and keeping it nice and polished, and you’ll be poised for success!



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How ProfitWell Built and Launched a Media Network with 7 Binge-Worthy Shows

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When you think about binge-worthy shows in the business world, whether that’s a video series or a podcast, chances are a few companies come to mind. You might conjure up the names of enterprise businesses like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Mailchimp. These brands have been in the “show business” game so to speak for a while now, and have even built out content departments to help execute against their goals.

But what if I told you one SaaS company with less than 100 employees actually built out an entire network of shows on their own? That’s right, let it soak in. If you’re having trouble imagining that, then read on to find out how Patrick Campbell, CEO of ProfitWell, a software company that helps businesses achieve faster recurring revenue growth, started the Recur Network and launched seven shows on their own.

Image Source: ProfitWell

With the inbound marketing space more saturated than ever before, ProfitWell launched the Recur Network to cut through the noise and separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

“We started looking at what was happening in the world of content and noticed that content was just getting better and better, which is great for the community and world,” says Campbell. “But how do you compete when everyone has really good, 2,000-word blog posts today?”

To find the answer to this tricky question, ProfitWell decided to study the companies that are best at attracting and holding people’s attention — the media industry. “We studied lot of media sites like Bloomberg, Hulu, and Netflix and ended up discovering that the best folks in the world at creating content were, essentially, these media companies,” says Campbell. “Launching the Recur Network really came down to us deciding to be more like a media network and less like a traditional SaaS blog.”

In order to emulate these media networks, ProfitWell split their content department into three teams — production, writing and scripting, and audience development.

As the head of the production team, Campbell serves as Executive Producer. Below him sits ProfitWell’s Creative Lead, Dan Callahan, who runs all creative and production. Underneath Callahan sits a show producer, who focuses on the execution of specific shows from end-to-end, and a creative producer, who focuses on each show’s brand and graphic design elements.

“In order to emulate these media networks, ProfitWell split their content department into three teams — production, writing and scripting, and audience development.”

ProfitWell’s Editorial Lead, Danette Acosta, runs the writing and scripting team that develops each show’s concept, storyline, and script. She manages two writers who are also show-hosts. They split their focus on two different verticals — B2B SaaS and D2C, or direct-to-consumer.

Last but certainly not least, is ProfitWell’s Audience Growth Manager, Danielle Messler. She’s in charge of each show’s distribution and launch strategy, which includes email and social media campaigns.

Image Source: ProfitWell

At first glance, ProfitWell’s content team might seem like one of the biggest in the B2B space. But keep in mind that ProfitWell isn’t simply focused on creating one video series or podcast — they’re trying to build out an entire media network.

“Our team is big for a B2B content team, but it’s not that big for a network. If you think about BuzzFeed, they launched their morning show, AM to DM, with a 30-person team,” says Campbell. “To me, it’s super fascinating to see how we can produce content at a certain scale without having dozens and dozens of members on our team. I don’t know if we’ve figured it out completely, but we’re certainly working towards it.”

When ProfitWell first started brainstorming show concepts for the Recur Network, Campbell knew he could bring a ton of SaaS, subscription, and pricing knowledge to the table. But he needed his content team to craft and hone-in on the messaging and helm the creative side of things. So, he tasked them with a job that any marketer (No? Just us?!) would work a weekend for — creating the SaaS versions of their favorite TV shows.

“All of our content folks — who hadn’t worked in SaaS before — would consume content on E!, TMZ, ESPN, Bloomberg, Netflix, etc., and pick out the most interesting concepts that they wanted to emulate,” says Campbell. “We didn’t know how we would apply it to the world of SaaS, but we knew there was probably some way to do it. Once we started to collaborate, we knew what to focus on. For instance, our show The ProfitWell Report is a very news-inspired show.”

ProfitWell adopted a “learn as you go” mentality when coming up with the Recur Network’s first batch of show concepts. And after they produced and promoted them, their approach helped them realize that the network had even more room to grow.

Image Source: ProfitWell

“Now that we had these shows, we decided to ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing wrong?’ For us, we found out that we weren’t targeting certain industries and personas enough,” says Campbell. “We’ve worked on that, at least in a couple of experiments in the past couple of months, and they’ve paid off as we continue to grow the network and build it over time.”

The thought of producing one show, let alone seven, can be a little hard to wrap your brain around at first — and we totally get it. Managing the production calendar for seven different shows sounds like a huge undertaking (because it is!). But, Profiwell has been able to run their network so seamlessly and successfully by not tackling everything all at once, and by working in batches.

“We basically work in different seasons. If we focus on making X-show now, we can also distribute Y-show now and don’t have to worry about producing two shows at the same time,” says Campbell. “Overall, it’s been a very iterative process, and there’s no silver bullet, except for having people who are super comfortable with figuring out things as we go, and not being afraid to get a little crazy once in a while.”

“Profiwell has been able to run their network so seamlessly and successfully by not tackling everything all at once, and by working in batches.”

Interested in taking a peek at some of these shows from ProfitWell? Get a taste of the types of shows you can expect from the Recur Network:

When it comes to investing in the creation of binge-worthy content, it’s not enough to just make the content — you have to get people to consume it. And ProfitWell understands that in order to build a loyal audience, you have to market your content like a media company, too. That’s why they’re relying on building their subscriber base and utilizing email to keep people engaged.

“We’re working to figure out how to distribute multiple shows at once through email. We don’t want to send people too many emails, but, then again, some people want more emails, so we’re learning how to strike that balance,” says Campbell.

“That’s been our mental model — how would we approach marketing if we had a network of sites? The main way we do this is by taking stock from the Bloombergs of the world. What are they doing to push things forward? A lot of times, what it comes down to is creating email digests and sending subscribers everything as soon as it’s published.”

Here’s a look at how ProfitWell is collecting subscribers from their “Protect the Hustle” channel. Image Source: ProfitWell

ProfitWell may have spun up seven successful shows as part of their own media network, but their journey was not void of any obstacles, particularly when it came to content creation.

“As soon as you decide to create a video series or podcast, you start to multiply your surface area, which can become super problematic. For us, we first just had to figure out how to create a video. Then we had to figure out how to create a series. And after we created a series, we had to figure how often to shoot it and what the content was going to look like,” says Campbell.

“A lot of that came down to how we could produce content at an affordable cost, how we could prove the value of these processes, and what we learned to completely reformulate our approach.” When it came to troubleshooting, Campbell noted that it was all about taking a big problem and distilling it down into smaller ones that were easier to solve.

“A lot of that came down to how we could produce content at an affordable cost, how we could prove the value of these processes, and what we learned to completely reformulate our approach.”

“Itreally just came down to breaking down the problem. How do we best break down the issues into digestible bits?” says Campbell. “Oftentimes, when you want to launch a network, you suddenly have to ask yourself what that means and how long it’s going to take. So, I think it’s more about breaking the process down into small pieces. Taking on the bigger pieces can get overwhelming.”

There’s certainly a competitive advantage to becoming an early adopter in the show creation space, and thanks to the Recur Network, ProfitWell has been able to break through the noise in their space.

“Producing informative content that’s also just as entertaining is really good for our brand,” says Campbell. “Each of our shows attracts a lot of subscribers and engagement, so they’re really helping us differentiate ourselves.”

A still from another one of ProfitWell’s shows, Subscription 60. Image Source: ProfitWell

The Recur Network has generated a substantial increase in traffic, leads, and sales for ProfitWell, too. But Campbell warns against falling into too many rabbit holes when measuring the performance of your own binge-worthy content. They’ve found that you can lose sight of the forest for the trees when you get too bogged down by metrics — and that’s saying something coming from a company that’s all about boosting revenue.

“The one thing I will say is that it’s hard to measure this stuff. That’s why we don’t worry too much about granular ROI. It’s just really hard to measure that,” says Campbell. “Over time, we will worry more about it, and we’ll get better at measuring it, but, right now, we want to focus on the overall investment of the network.”

ProfitWell’s primary marketing focus will be building out the Recur Network for now and in the future. “I don’t know if the dollar amount will increase in terms of actual investment, but the time is certainly going to stay consistent, if not up in certain capacities,” says Campbell. “We’re rolling certain things into the Recur Network, like some of our other content and some new launches, and turning it into our central content hub.”

Regardless of the approach ProfitWell decides to take with their binge-worthy content strategy moving forward, we can’t wait to see what they’ll create. Stay tuned!



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Get Inspired: 9 Binge-Worthy Shows Produced From Home

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For B2B and B2C companies, the pandemic has caused many marketing and creative teams to pivot from their original plans of producing campaigns, video series, and podcasts in-person. But, not everyone has stopped making content. In fact, we’re super inspired by businesses that are embracing work-from-home limitations to create engaging content for their niche.

In this post, we’re highlighting nine companies who are continuing to create binge-worthy content to stay in touch with their audiences in helpful and entertaining ways. Let’s get into it, shall we?

When the pandemic began, Frame.io — a cloud-based collaboration platform for creative professionals — put out a new series called Workflow From Home. In this online master class, Michael Cioni helps shed some light on unfamiliar technologies and highlights the tools that might make it possible to create a solid workflow at home using Frame.io.

We loved the approach they took with this series, offering genuinely helpful information for using Frame.io as a foundation for collaboration. Interviewing people in different sectors of the industry, they give an inside look at media and entertainment professionals’ remote setups and inspire their audience to build and optimize their own remote workflows in the cloud.

360Learning, the world’s first collaborative learning management system, also released its new docuseries Adapt. This series follows five employees from top SaaS tech startups like Gong, Drift, Twilio, and more as they adapt to working under these new remote limitations.

Week after week, you get a super authentic glimpse into how they’re forging ahead with work and balancing life outside of work as they tell their stories through the lens of their webcams or phone cameras. For anyone out there struggling to adjust to this new normal, these real people talking about developing new routines and overcoming challenges is a nice reminder that you’re not alone. Be sure to subscribe to their series so you’re notified when new episodes roll in!

Fuel is a specialized hotel software and marketing agency, and recently they’ve ramped up the number of podcasts they’ve been putting out weekly for the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast. Consumer mindsets toward traveling have completely shifted due to the pandemic, and Fuel saw an opportunity to help inform folks in the hotel industry about topics that’ll help their businesses stay informed and afloat.

From conducting a series of studies surrounding consumer sentiments to interviewing experts about strategies for recovering your hotel’s lost bookings, they’re coming up with extremely valuable content for their niche audience.

Privy, an email capture and marketing software for ecommerce, launched a podcast called The Ecommerce Marketing Show in January. The show is designed to be your go-to source for everything you need to grow your ecommerce business. At a time when many businesses now have to rely on digital communication, the podcast’s concept is more relevant than ever. They’ve continued to produce new episodes with timely topics to help people navigate their marketing efforts in the middle of a crisis.

With fresh segments like masterclasses and “Ecomm Noms” hosted by experts in the field, you can learn a new skill like writing emails that make people want to buy and stay up-to-date with the latest news in the world of ecommerce. If you’re a marketer, you’ll want to check this podcast out!

Over on the B2C side of things, Pebbles Cereal is a brand that’s supporting artists and creators by creating a daily video series for kids during the pandemic. With The Daily Yabba Dabba Doo, they’re encouraging kids to do something creative every day, which also offers a little break for all the parents out there.

Kids can beat boredom and learn some pretty sweet skills. Heck, even we want to learn some of these things! From breakdancing to beatboxing and magic to scarf juggling, kids can conquer Pebbles’ whole collection of “DOO’s” on their kid-friendly website. Here’s a still from a video that’s all about making art with dried flowers!

Here at Wistia, we’ve partnered with more than 30 freelance creatives in an effort to bring our audience moments of joy during these tough times. Check out the Wistia Creative Alliance for some content to brighten your day!

The founder of a Boston area cult-favorite restaurant chain, Clover Food Lab, has spun up a series on YouTube called In Ayr’s Kitchen. Getting a lot of asks for advice on cooking at home during these times, Ayr Muir took it upon himself to share his love of home cooking by live streaming every weekday. People can watch and follow along in their own kitchens as he shares delicious recipes and cooks in real time.

Focusing on simple ingredients and techniques (and having fun in the kitchen) you can learn how to make all kinds of meals and treats from enchiladas to pineapple upside-down cake and everything in between!

JetBlue, a major American airline, is helping to offer some “inflight-style” entertainment for their customers with little ones right now. They introduced JetBlue Jr., an educational video series for kids ages 7 to 10 with bite-sized courses on aviation vocabulary, physics, and more.

Leading these lessons are real pilots and captains, which adds a level of expertise we loved. Plus, we couldn’t get enough of their playful use of puns and animations to make each lesson engaging. Way to go, JetBlue!

In the retail industry, Anthropologie started a new video series called Afternoons with Anthro. Although all of their retail stores are currently closed, they wanted to bring Anthro to you by offering styling guidance from their team members across the country. Watch their Senior Brand Stylist, Studio Style Director, and more from their talented team show you their favorite ways to spruce up a wardrobe.

Their stylists may be shooting with their iPhones, but their team is really enhancing the production quality in post-production with animations that follow brand guidelines, making the content feel consistent on @anthropologie’s IGTV and on their website. After watching one of these episodes, you’ll have plenty of inspiration to refresh your style without setting a single foot outside.

Lastly, tablehopper, the e-column for San Francisco restaurant reviews, industry news, food and wine events, and more created a podcast called On the Fly. Marcia Gagliardi of tablehopper.com is the host, offering twice-weekly interviews addressing the monumental changes the pandemic is causing for the food and beverage industry.

To inform an audience that’s passionate about food in the Bay Area, this podcast features chefs, restaurateurs, and other members of the hospitality industry. Listen to hear their stories about how they’re pivoting to adapt and survive these days.

The pandemic may have put many projects on hold, but the way these companies have leaned into their work-from-home limitations proves that you don’t need high-quality production gear to put out engaging content. We know we’re inspired by the way they’re continuing to reach their audiences with binge-worthy content, and we hope you are, too. If you’ve been impressed by another business putting out binge-worthy content, don’t keep it to yourself — let us know in the comments below!



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How Video Producers and Other Creatives are Forging Ahead with Remote Work

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This time last year, we were scheduling pre-interviews, working with expert animal handlers, and heading down to Pennsylvania to pick up our beloved Brandwagon — all in the name of producing a binge-worthy show. If we were tasked with making season two of Brandwagon today, however, things would certainly look a lot different.

Many industries that rely on in-person interactions to do their work have had to adapt their practices to stay afloat and maintain connections with their audiences — and video producers and other creatives are no exception. In this post, we’re highlighting the ways we’re seeing these folks forge ahead despite the circumstances given the world-wide pandemic. Keep reading and get inspired by how people are adapting to working remotely (and continuing to stay creative).

Sometimes the show must go on. Here at Wistia, our production team hasn’t given up on bigger projects we had slated for this year. Our Producer, Adam Day, shared how he’s still continuing to produce a video project despite being remote:

“Before the pandemic, we were right in the middle of production for a new Wistia series. Our shooting schedule was interrupted, and everything from key guest interviews to b-roll production was put on hold! So now we’re doing anything and everything we can to push the project forward in post-production. Wistians are using cell phones and laptop cameras to record stand-in scenes. We’re shooting b-roll in our apartments. And we’re leaning into animation and finding creative ways to use stock footage to get rough edits of our episodes together. This way we can still get a sense of the look, feel, and flow of a video. It helps us with creative decision making and planning so we can quickly finish production whenever we get to work together in person again.”

On the other hand, oftentimes the pre-production process can take up a ton of time, and not every type of show’s pre-production work is the same — some shows require much more creative thinking and strategic planning than others. Doing a bunch of prep work right now such as choosing the execution of your show wisely and writing all your scripts could set you up for the future when we’re back in action!

If you’re a video producer out there, you might think your value is dependent on being in-person to help people shoot videos. But, you should know you can adapt your offerings and still be valuable to folks who are trying to create content from home. Our Head of Video Production, Chris Lavigne, explained how you can step in on a more consultative basis in remote environments and still charge for your services. Video producers are uniquely good at making shots look great, and in a remote world, there are plenty of instances where a little remote directing can go a long way.

“Video producers are uniquely good at making shots look great, and in a remote world, there are plenty of instances where a little remote directing can go a long way.”

On the second episode of our (Out of) Office Hours livestream, Chris covered remote directing techniques from his experience shooting a video of our co-founders remotely. Some direction you can provide remotely includes production design tweaks, helping adjust camera angles, and coaching your talent by being a bug in their ear (or an airpod, if you know what we mean). These things aren’t all that different than what you’d do if you were producing a video in-person, and they’re just as valuable in this remote world!

Other video producers and creatives are seeing this moment as an opportunity to experiment and lean into new formats to adapt their offerings. For example, if you’re a creative producer who primarily focused on video, but has audio experience, too, you could pivot your offerings toward podcast production. Not only podcast production, but creating a podcast and video interview series remotely isn’t out of the realm of possibility, either.

We’re also seeing people’s creativity come to life in new and engaging ways. We’re big believers in creativity being born from constraints, and two examples of delightfully entertaining content that’s been put out into the world in recent days come from Saturday Night Live and Bon Appetit.

Recently, we saw SNL put on their first-ever remote episode, and we had a few guesses as to how the staff would go about producing the show. Even though the cast wasn’t working with a complete arsenal of video production gear for shooting their segments, they focused on making their content genuinely entertaining, which definitely paid off.

Image courtesy of NBC.

Our main takeaway here was that quality content will always be more important than high-quality production value. The team also took the time to understand their audience to inform the content they created. By leaning into our shared experiences surrounding staying home, self-isolating, and navigating our “new normal,” they created entertaining content that had a little something for everyone.

Similarly, over at Bon Appetit, their chefs can’t all be together to film their series Test Kitchen Talks. So instead, they’re having their Pro Chefs take you on virtual tours of their kitchens to share their favorite tools and recipes. From making 13 kinds of pantry pasta to brewing their favorite coffee at home, they’re working with what they’ve got to spin up entertaining content for all of us to consume.

As creators, seeing the quality of content SNL and Bon Appetit is putting out is super inspiring to us. Despite the circumstances, they’re letting their creativity drive their ideation of concepts to continue to engage their audiences. If you’re a creator out there during this time, thinking creatively about how you can still produce content right now is a power you can employ (and charge for) as a creative person.

“If you’re a creator out there during this time, thinking creatively about how you can still produce content right now is a power you can employ (and charge for) as a creative person.”

While you’re thinking of ways to produce videos remotely, consider creating a crowdsourced video. Crowdsourcing could be an aesthetic choice at any time, but it’s super practical today. Like with any video, you have to produce the content, shape it, and direct it. And just because you aren’t there to shoot the video, doesn’t mean you can’t have a hand in making it the best it can be. As we mentioned, remote directing is a valuable skill you can still put into action! It’s also nice to keep in mind that high-production value is not what’s expected right now — people are comfortable with seeing low-production value content.

Pointing to Saturday Night Live once more, they crowdsourced footage from their talent to recreate their iconic intro. The editors there leaned into post-production with their familiar outlines, text treatments, and music to put out something that felt very in line with the SNL we know and love. It was a prime example of edits being saved in post-production and just goes to show how leveraging old tools can help you keep forging ahead.

We hope these examples of how people are adapting to working in remote environments and forging ahead will get your creative wheels turning. In these uncertain times, creating might feel like a constant uphill battle. Many of us are doing things we’ve never done before and trying to figure out our own value as creatives. But we’re all in this together, and if there’s any way we can help each other during this time, it’s sharing the new things we’re seeing and learning along the way.

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