CoSchedule is a North Dakota-based SaaS company that provides over 8,000 customers the ability to organize their marketing in one place. The rapidly growing marketing suite (#153 on Inc. 5000) helps marketers stay focused, deliver projects on time, and keep their entire team happy. When they tell their customers and prospects, located in 100+ countries, they’re located in the Midwest, it’s not unlikely that they’ll receive a jaw-drop or double-take in return.
With this insight in mind, Eric Piela, CoSchedule’s Brand & Buzz Manager, saw an opportunity to revamp CoSchedule’s original series #OverheardAtCoSchedule to showcase the company’s unique culture and location, while building a deeper connection with their audience. Before Eric joined the company, the #OverheardAtCoSchedule series focused on building thought leadership and saw the videos as an additional way of sharing information that was typically detailed in a blog post.
Early #OverheardAtCoSchedule video:
Late #OverheardAtCoSchedule video:
From outsourcing a production company to help tell their story to distributing their video series and measuring success, we dug into how the #OverheardAtCoSchedule series was created and the outcome it had on CoSchedule’s business. Hear what Eric had to say below!
Wistia: Tell us about your role as a Brand & Buzz Manager?
Eric: What a trendy “millennial” title — ha! How fun is that, right? Truth is, I started as the Head of Public Relations and Community but we quickly determined the needs of our startup were less traditional and brand & buzz hit on the two key focal points for the role. At the end of the day, my job is to tell the CoSchedule brand story and find the opportunities to tell those key storylines to the right audience. As part of that, I make sure I know who our target demographic is, where they seek marketing information, what technologies they leverage, and what marketing influencers they go to for thought leadership. Seeking influencer marketing opportunities and managing our social media presence are also a big part of this role.
Essentially, the Brand & Buzz team’s job is to help shape the CoSchedule narrative but to also amplify it — ensuring we’re telling the right story, in the right way, to the right people. For example, CoSchedule was recently named to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Content Marketing Platforms, this is a killer accolade and my job is to bang that drum as loud as possible so that both our prospects and our customers know we’re the fastest-growing up-and-comer in the enterprise space with the credibility to back it up.
Wistia: How did the #OverheardAtCoSchedule idea come to fruition?
Eric: #OverheardAtCoSchedule actually started before I joined the team. I’ve been at CoSchedule for two and a half years now, and prior to that #OverheardAtCoSchedule actually began as just an intern’s Twitter hashtag for funny things overheard in the workplace in 2015. We have two offices in ND, so it was a way for us to share experiences across locations by injecting some levity and humor. Later it evolved into a way to give external audiences a look inside what the strange brains here at CoSchedule were talking about and eventually it really became an extension of our culture. And yes, it’s still an active twitter hashtag and entertaining as hell to follow.
If you look at the docuseries as a whole, there is definitely a clear transition point. In its inception, the video series was owned by our content marketing team and started out as a way to extend the success of our blog by bringing some of our posts to life via video. However, when I started working on #OverheardAtCoSchedule, my vision for the series was to shift the focus primarily on our culture and share our unique story. That meant transitioning the content to be more about the quirky, Mid-Westerners who were proving the naysayers wrong and building one of the top 15 fastest-growing software companies in the U.S. smack dab in the breadbasket of North Dakota.
At the end of the day, I think part of developing brand affinity is not only connecting people to your product and what you provide, but also to the individuals and the creators. The series ended up being a great recruitment tool for us too because it gave potential candidates a feel for our passion and personalities.
“I think part of developing brand affinity is not only connecting people to your product and what you provide, but also to the individuals and the creators.”
Wistia: Did you outsource others to help with production or other creative needs?
Eric: When it came to #OverheardAtCoSchedule we decided to go with a third party video production crew. We used another fellow startup out of North Dakota, called Threefold, to help with the more professional production we were looking for. There are certain times when I think an unpolished video does a great job, and there are times when a little more production value helps you tell your story better. We decided to take the latter approach with #OverheardAtCoSchedule. It’s also all about knowing what your strengths are as a company and the talent you have internally. At the time, we were a marketing team with strong writers and graphic designers, but we didn’t have someone who knew video production on staff.
We leveraged Threefold to help us tell our culture story — we’d create the script, describe our vision and they’d help us bring the video to life. They did some art direction, editing, and helped to make sure a 2.5-minute video held attention and flowed exactly right.
Wistia: How long did it take to get each video produced from end to end?
Eric: We published an episode once a month but we’d aim to have our series planned out for the entire quarter. We would then try to shoot the videos in sprints. If I was feeling very ambitious, we could record up to three episodes in one day. Beforehand, I would create a creative brief for each video, which consisted of things like the goal of the video, the brand message we’re highlighting, talent needed and suggestions for video shoot locations. I would then create talking points and storyboard everything out about two weeks in advance and get it into Threefold’s hands for our pre-production call. They really provided strong art direction and a specific vision in mind, like “We’re going to find a pasture in North Dakota outside of Bismarck and you’re going to sit on a hay bale like so — I know just the spot.”
I’d create a detailed schedule for the day of the shoot, we’d do a quick kick-off sync, and then we’d record from about 9 in the morning until about 4 in the afternoon. Doing multiple episodes in one day meant that sometimes I would have to hop from one episode to another, jump from scene to scene, and throw on different shirts so that it looked like we filmed across multiple days. After the day-long shoots, the production team began editing the videos and would turn those around back to me about one to two weeks later. Lastly, I’d create the marketing promotion plan and schedule distribution.
Wistia: How did you distribute this series?
Eric: We began by promoting the series to people who were already familiar with CoSchedule — a fan of our blog, our Headline Analyzer, and even existing users of our app. We leveraged our large 100K social media following and, on occasion, did boosted posts to our target demographic. In addition, we had an email list that was around 350k people at the time and made sure to work it periodically into our e-newsletter. We created a blog post about each episode to ensure our large blog followership were introduced the video series as well. Lastly, we added the videos to our Youtube channel.
Wistia: What was the feedback or outcome of the series?
Eric: The series was really well-received — we garnered 90K views and from my perspective, it is one of our most successful social media efforts to date. You can measure social a variety of ways, of course, but our goal was to get targeted reach, sustained viewership and drive engagement. We saw great engagement with people watching a majority of the video, instead of dropping off right away. It was just an awesome feeling to create content that our viewers were actually sticking around to watch since the audience retention can waver at that video length.
The series also helped generate some additional earned media coverage. We were able to get a number of guest posts published and additional coverage in publications like, Entrepreneur, Inc.com and Startup.com discussing how a small startup based in North Dakota was making waves in the technology scene. The series was an amazing way to share our story that ended up being a gateway to even more opportunities for our brand, especially for recruitment. In 2017, our company grew by 40 employees — many of which referencing the #OverheardAtCoSchedule series during interviews.
In terms of hard numbers and ROI, this stuff is always tricky to measure and tie back directly. We analyzed the vanity metrics, which were the number of views, engagement, etc. My CEO, Garrett Moon, said, “Eric, you’ve been doing these videos. They’re really fun, I’m laughing, and you’re good at this, but how are we able to track the true impact?” And that’s always a difficult question to answer. It’s tricky with anything that’s brand-related because sometimes you don’t see the fruits of your labor until a year or two down the road. So, was it a success? I believe it was. Can I go back and accurately measure how it affected our bottom line? Not definitively.
Wistia: Was it hard to get buy-in from other stakeholders to make these videos?
Eric: As I mentioned before, when I joined CoSchedule the series was already in motion. However, we believed there was potential to go beyond doing a video blog format and leverage the #OverheardAtCoSchedule series in a more profound way. Instead, I saw the opportunity for us to use video as a tool to share our culture, our brand, and just maybe people would fall in love with who we are. By this point, people were already eager to connect with brands on a personal level and actively develope “relationships” with brands, and we thought this was our chance to provide that. So, that’s when we completely reimagined what #OverheardAtCoSchedule looked like and got our CEO on board with the new vision for the series.
Wistia: What was the most challenging part of the process? What felt like the biggest risk?
Eric: I think the biggest risk was changing the format of the series. I didn’t know if people would care. I didn’t know if our story was going to be enjoyable to watch or hear. When I drastically changed the format, it was extremely risky because we already knew that CoSchedule was known for delivering thought leadership — our blog was crushing it, and when the series first started out it was a learning tool.
I knew that was our wheelhouse, but we were really missing an opportunity from a brand and buzz standpoint to share how we weren’t content machines, but people and marketers, just like our customers, trying to figure this stuff out. There were risks associated with changing the show’s narrative, trying to build in some goofy humor, and thinking people would relate to someone from North Dakota. It was challenging to get over that voice of fear in our heads that this wasn’t going to work. But that’s the beauty of CoSchedule — we’re a company that believes in taking risks and failing fast, and I was empowered to do that.
“I knew that was our wheelhouse, but we were really missing an opportunity from a brand and buzz standpoint to share how we weren’t content machines, but people and marketers, just like our customers.”
Wistia: Does CoSchedule plan on investing more in episodic content?
Eric: I think we accomplished exactly what we wanted to at the time. It was about telling our startup story and growing our brand awareness — I think the docuseries definitely accomplished that throughout the year. I still have people asking, “Hey, when are you going to make more of those videos?” For this year, if I could find a way to tell the story of how CoSchedule is the only way to organize your marketing in one place with a docuseries, we would definitely consider doing it again. At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure that a series works with your goals and what you are trying to achieve with your brand.
After hearing the story behind #OverheardAtCoSchedule, it doesn’t matter if you’re a SaaS company in the middle of North Dakota–video can help you build brand affinity and connect your audience to the individuals inside your company. Is this the year your business will create an original series, or do you already have one out in the wild? Be sure to share with us in the comments!
4 Ways to Make Your Wistia Channel Shine
If you’ve decided that Wistia Channels is the best place to showcase your videos on your site, then you’ll be pleased to know you’re already on the right track for building an engaging brand. When it comes to setting up your Channel for success, all it takes is a little attention to detail on your part to truly make your content shine in the eyes of your viewers.
In this post, we’ll cover exactly how you can make a beautiful, brag-worthy Wistia Channel for your business. From name-picking and color-matching to thumbnail creation and embedding, there are plenty of small tweaks you can make to your Channel to improve the overall presentation of your content. Keep reading to learn how you can leave your audience impressed and coming back for more!
Whether you’re in the pre-production stages of your business’s first branded series or you’re grouping together related content under one roof, choosing a name for your Channel is a major decision. The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive. When it comes to landing on the perfect name for your Channel, there are three key factors you should consider: branding, discoverability, and shareability.
“The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive.”
Here’s how we break these three factors down:
- Branding — the “identity” factor: The name you pick will be very public, so it needs to accurately reflect your videos and your brand.
- Discoverability — the “index” factor: The Channel name comes up in search, so you want people searching for a relevant topic to find your video content fast — and first.
- Shareability — the “click” factor: Your audience watches a lot of stuff online. A catchy name for your Channel will make it easy for people to remember. That means when it comes time to share your videos, they’ll be able to pull up your Channel and link to it instantly.
Considering these factors as you set up your Wistia Channel will help you grow your audience and brand over time. Head on over to this post to dig a little deeper into these terms and learn more tips for simplifying the process of picking a Channel name that positions your brand for success!
As we mentioned before, branding is a super important factor for naming, but it also plays a big role in how your business and your content are visually perceived. You want to leave a positive first impression, right? Luckily, with Wistia Channels you have the ability to choose a font and color scheme that aligns with your company’s existing brand, set thumbnails to match, and even upload an eye-catching header.
To customize the look of your Channel to align with your brand:
- Select “Edit” and “Banner” to add a video header (which will loop silently at the top of your Channel) or upload a static banner image
- Click “Text” to add a project title and description, and change the font to match your site. While you’re there, switch up the size to whatever you fancy as well!
- Click “Color” and use the picker to change the overall color scheme.
You can also choose between Light or Dark Mode for your Wistia Channel depending on the look and feel of your brand (and the content you have displayed). When you’re viewing a project, simply go to Edit > Color > Background to modify this setting. It’s as easy as flipping a switch!
For your banner, instead of a static image, you have the option to throw in a looping video background as we mentioned before. Want to see this feature in action? Check out how Nextiny, an inbound marketing and sales agency, uses a snazzy looping video to showcase their content and intrigue visitors on their site.
If you’re looking for a little more inspiration, you can find a few more examples of Channels we love in this post. These aesthetic changes may seem small, but they’ll ultimately lend to a more sleek-looking collection of videos for your site.
Once you’ve got some action on your Wistia Channel, don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture the contact information of the folks interested in consuming your videos. While you’re customizing your Channel, you also have the option to add an Email Collector — not just any old Email Collector, but one that comes in a few flavors. Aside from requiring viewers to enter their email in order to view your content, we have two Email Collector options you can start experimenting with today. The first option is called “Overlay on hover.” Here’s an example from Zaius to showcase what this looks like in reality:
In this scenario, an email collection form will overlay when someone hovers over your video with their mouse. Your video will keep playing while displaying several fields, including a place for folks to enter their names as well as text fields you can customize, depending on the Call to Action that makes the most sense in the given context — something like, “Enter your email address to view this video.” The second option is “Conditional,” which means each video will maintain the email collecting pre-sets you’ve already set up in your Wistia account when the content is embedded on your Channel.
Using Email Collectors is a sure-fire way to get the most out of your Wistia Channel. You can bet the people who enter their information are interested in the value you offer and will be more likely to check out future content you create. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to communicate with them more often and let them know when you’ve got a new video for them to watch!
A Wistia Channel is only as great as the sum of its parts — names, colors, fonts, banners, email collectors and more all add up to create a beautiful video collection you’re proud to share. Start engaging your audience with the videos you’ve worked so hard to create and build stronger brand affinity in the long-run. We’d love to see your next Channel out in the wild, so be sure to throw a link to it in the comments below!
7 Examples That Show the Best of Long-Form Video
Whether it’s the hottest new web series or an in-depth TED Talk, people love to watch long-form video — and businesses are catching on to the trend.
Unlike shorter, product-centeric videos, long-form content offers companies the opportunity to show their commitment to their mission and connect with viewers on a deeper, more emotional level. Longer content also enables intensive educational experiences for the viewer, whether the video covers exciting industry trends or specific approaches to tackling problems.
What does “long-form” video really mean? To put it simply, long-form videos are a type of video content that are usually longer than 5 minutes in duration.
We put together a list of long-form video series and one-off productions to showcase how companies live and breathe their values through video. Small to medium-sized businesses can use this list of branded content to get inspired when it comes to creating content for their own brands. Let’s get into it!
InVision is swinging for the fences with long-form video. On their blog, Inside Design, InVision shares videos about design trends and tips, many explaining how to use Sketch and get the most out of it. InVision’s site is filled with robust product tutorials, but these pieces focusing on larger, fundamental design principles — between two and seven minutes long — will help anyone strengthen their overall design foundation. The company has even created a full-length documentary about design thinking at IBM called “The Loop.”
InVision’s stated mission is to help users create digital content that people love, so it’s fitting that the company offers viewers new strategies and approaches for designing that go beyond merely using their own tools. The longer format allows viewers to learn the details involved in the execution of new techniques.
- Design Systems Manager Master Class: In this two-hour, 6-episode series, InVision explores how to create a design system for an entire organization, from start to finish. It taps three design experts to walk through the challenges of product design at scale.
- Design Disrupters: In this series, InVision showcases top designers at the world’s smartest companies and dives into how design has become the new language of business in the 21st century.
With the shift to long-form video, InVision shows they are true leaders in the field of design — not just a tool for designers.
On their Price Intelligently blog, ProfitWell conducts video “teardown” case studies, in which they focus on one to three company pricing pages and talk about what works and what needs improvement. Videos usually feature a lighthearted (though occasionally heated!) conversation between executives Patrick Campbell and Peter Zotto and typically are just under 10 minutes long.
ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand. Rather than focusing on their own software, ProfitWell’s teardowns appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs and startup leaders looking to discover best practices from successful companies and competitors.
“ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand.”
The longer format of these videos enables hosts to slowly walk viewers through the pricing pages in question, ensuring that the pace of the content can fit a wide number of learning styles. There’s a healthy mix of commentary and visual aids made with original data, which shows that the company is committed to making the most of the long-form branded video format.
Mailchimp’s core focus is email marketing, but their target audience is far more broad than just those interested in sending tons of emails. Experienced business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs alike may find inspiration in the “Mailchimp Presents” video series.
Using high-quality production techniques and clever editing, the videos attach Mailchimp to buzzworthy brands and their founders who, incidentally, use email to communicate with customers. The style of the videos is closer to an independent documentary than to a typical SaaS product video, giving viewers a chance to sit back and enjoy a theatrical glimpse into creative spaces and minds.
- Hamburger Eyes: In this documentary, we get a behind-the-scenes look at a one-man photography project that evolved into a thriving community of artists based in San Francisco. Mailchimp knows its audience and stays true to its brand by focusing on a creative-centric topic that anyone with a pulse and an appreciation for photography could get behind.
- Taking Stock: A fictional video series about a young female photographer navigating the complexities of agency life, Taking Stock delves into the realities of working in the world of tech and design, giving viewers a chance to see inside the life of a creative. We learn much about the subject’s life here — what drives her, what a typical day looks like — helping the viewer associate Mailchimp with the driven professionals who make the world of entrepreneurship thrive.
Mailchimp has been a visionary brand when it comes to creative storytelling. Ever since they sponsored the first season of Serial, the company has attached itself to big ideas, and, through their own example, they’ve proved that every business can affect a wide audience if they tell a powerful story.
Intercom features videos regularly on its blog, with experts speaking on topics like support, growth, product, and design. Many of the videos are talks that the team and others have done at different conferences, which is a great way for people to see talks that they weren’t geographically capable of attending.
Intercom’s videos educate viewers on new ways to approach Intercom’s core competency — customer support and communication — in a format that encourages in-depth exploration and tutorials. Instead of merely chopping up key takeaways from the talks, long-form video enables the brand to include the overall conference context, linking together key concepts and materials.
- 5 lessons learned from growing a support team: In this conference video, Intercom’s customer support lead, Sharon Moorhouse, shares five lessons that the company has learned as it has scaled its support operations. It’s meant to engage growing companies, regardless of the industry, and appeal to audiences that may lie outside of the scope of Intercom’s typical customer profile. Sharon’s talk is engaging and packed with visual examples, making the most of the video format and capturing the energy and excitement that she brought to the conference.
Conferences are affirming experiences, where people in the same field can form new connections, get new ideas, and become excited about trends and developments. Intercom’s focus on opening up their otherwise siloed conference material gives audiences a chance to connect with the brand even if they’re far away from the talks or sessions. It shows the company living out its mission of “keeping business personal” by opening up access to the conference experience.
Patagonia makes documentary-style videos about real people doing the things they love and excel at in the outdoors. The videos are extremely high-quality, featuring breathtaking visuals and rare glimpses of some of nature’s best vistas.
Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet. It’s hard not to fall deeper in love with the earth after watching these pieces, and viewers certainly can see that the brand is about far more than just making outerwear and camping gear.
“Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet.”
- Wolfpack: This video follows the training efforts of a group of trail runners living in isolation. Drone shots and ultra-slow-motion close-ups abound, giving the pieces a cinematic quality that is certain to move viewers on an emotional level. The family’s extreme choice to live in the wild is likely outside the desires of most of Patagonia’s customers, but their way of life can inspire viewers to think about how to better connect with planet Earth.
- Takayna: Takayana (Tarkine) is one of the last remaining old-growth rainforests in the world, yet it’s increasingly threatened by mining and other destructive activities. This video highlights the beauty and fragility of the landscape by intercutting meditative shots of flora and fauna with images of devastating excavation and logging. Patagonia is clearly living its mission here — seeking to save the planet by raising awareness about protecting one of our most precious earthly resources.
Patagonia’s mission is one of the most ambitious of any brand out there, and that’s what makes them so successful. By taking a stance on major issues and creating beautiful visual content, they’re proving to an audience why it’s cool to care about more than just clothes and gear. To change the world, Patagonia is leading by example.
Many beauty brands rely on mere testimonials to push their products. But Glossier opts to show how their products weave neatly into the lives of their customers. They have a series called “Get Ready with Me” (based on the popular)YouTube trend that follows the morning routine of influencers and creatives. The hashtag for the campaign — #GRWM — encourages customers to create their own content and further engage with the brand.
The pieces also have a casual instructional approach, giving them an educational component that goes beyond a shorter “how-to” piece. They’re showing you how to create a look rather than telling you how to do it.
- Get Ready With Me: feat. Annahstasia + Glossier: Here, an influencer’s morning routine is shown in real time. In several meditative shots, the camera lingers over Annahstasia going about her morning. It’s easy to imagine someone watching this piece they start their own day to find inspiration and calm from the emotional music and beautiful cinematography.
Glossier, known for its colorful Instagram account and vibrant pop-up stores, creates a calm atmosphere throughout their videos. They create intimacy with the way their videos are shot, and that intimacy will contribute to a long-lasting and better customer relationship than a typical advertisement or commercial.
Over the years, Airbnb has evolved beyond being just a website for booking rooms and homes, becoming a platform for finding community through unique experiences. Recently, Airbnb launched an Adventure series featuring hosts and people from all over the world. By focusing on the curated experiences offered through Airbnb’s “Adventures” programs, the brand helps establish itself as far more than a travel app.
- Six Strangers: In this 12-minute video, six strangers take an unexpected trip together. Like the other pieces in this series, the length of this video enables a more TV-like viewing experience that mirrors popular reality shows like Naked and Afraid and Survivor.
Through their long-form videos, Airbnb is expressing one of their most significant brand values: “Belong anywhere.” The Adventure series is all about breaking down barriers to find out what people have in common with each other. When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.
“When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.”
More and more brands are reaping the benefits of thinking (and acting!) like media companies. With the wealth of high-quality content vying for their attention, viewers are demanding highly engaging work from companies they encounter. Investing in rich long-form content enables brands to tap into the growing binge-watching habits of their followers while expressing the values that matter most to them and finding deeper ways to connect with customers.
Introducing “Brandwagon”—It’s like a Talk Show, but for Marketers
These days, it’s harder than ever to be successful with your marketing campaigns. From keeping up with ever-changing SEO tactics to shouldering the burden of growing advertising spend to shouting into the void that is social media, it can feel like even your most successful initiative is, well, kind of a flop.
That’s why I’m super excited to introduce you to Brandwagon, Wistia’s newest series from the team that brought you One, Ten, One Hundred. As the host of this talk show for marketers, I’m going to be chatting with business leaders who are doing things differently when it comes to marketing their businesses and building their brands. Find out how they’re seeing such success and learn what tactics they’re using to stand out in a sea of “meh” marketing.
Hop on the Brandwagon and come along for the ride each week as we uncover what’s working in the world of modern marketing. The first episode hits the road this summer, so be sure to enter your email below to stay in the loop and get notified when new episodes come out.
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