Were you one of the 6.7 million viewers that tuned into Saturday Night Live this weekend? While watching this show truly “live” on a weekend is usually not at the top of my to-do list (I tend to save it for a weeknight where I can cruise through the commercials), the nerd in me couldn’t wait to see how the crew approached shooting a remote-version of the show.
I had a few guesses as to how the staff would go about producing the show given the many limitations that now exist in this at-home world we’re living in, and I have to say — I was pretty impressed by what I saw. From recreating the feeling of having a live studio audience for the Weekend Update segment to watching Chris Martin perform Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm” (I’m not crying, you’re crying), overall, Saturday Night Live did not disappoint.
Let’s take a look at some of the tried-and-true best practices and core tenants of the creative process that the entire SNL crew relied on when making content for this episode. Plus, we’ll share some key takeaways you can apply when thinking about your own content strategy during the pandemic.
It became clear pretty fast that the talented Saturday Night Live cast members were not working with a complete arsenal of video production gear when it came to shooting their segments. There were times throughout the episode where the lighting and audio setups left something to be desired, but it actually wasn’t distracting at all.
Producers were wise to lean-in to this organic, less-than polished filming style. Rather than racing out to ship members of the cast microphones or fancy cameras for recording, they let them use what they had at home, which was often just a webcam. And in 2020, luckily, people have already grown increasingly accustomed to watching this kind of scrappy-looking content. Of course, it helps that some of the sketches were meant to feel more “real” and authentic, like the Zoom-call-gone-wrong skit, but overall, their focus on making the content genuinely entertaining paid off in a big way, production quality be damned.
Our main takeaway: Make your content so good that no one cares about how professional it looks. Quality content will always be more important than high-quality production value.
Saturday Night Live is a weekly sketch comedy show, which means their content is almost always grounded in current events, pop culture, news, and the like. But this episode, in particular, is a shining example of how important setting the context is when it comes to creating content and taking up space in your audience’s lives. Just imagine how tone-deaf the show would’ve felt had they not addressed the pandemic up front and acknowledged the state of the world we’re in today.
The writers, producers, and cast gave people the levity and joy they’ve come to expect from the show, without ignoring how times have changed. They noticeably sandwiched the episode with content that spoke directly about the impact of the coronavirus and reserved the bulk of the program for content designed for laughs alone. Sadly, the episode closed with a remote tribute to veteran SNL music producer, Hal Willner, who died after suffering symptoms of the coronavirus. This heartbreaking moment, as well as Michael Che’s acknowledgment of his grandmother’s passing during Weekend Update, reminded us all that the whole team behind SNL is being impacted by the pandemic, just like us.
“The writers, producers, and cast gave people the levity and joy they’ve come to expect from the show, without ignoring how times have changed.”
It’s no coincidence that Tom Hanks, one of the first celebrities to share they had contracted the coronavirus, was the host of the show, just like it’s no coincidence Chris Martin performed Bob Dylan’s heart-breaking “Shelter from the Storm.” Both of these moments added emotional depth to a program that’s largely meant to make people laugh, and gave the show an overall grounded feeling.
Our main takeaway: Acknowledging the state of the world we’re in today goes a long way in making your audience feel heard and understood. By taking the time to set the stage up-front, you give yourself more room to get to what you know how to do best — creating entertaining content that can bring a smile to people’s faces.
Live studio audiences and elaborate sets — who needs ’em? While there are obviously sketches that benefit from a more polished setup, this episode clearly proved that with the right idea, your environment doesn’t have to be a creative limitation.
One of my personal favorite sketches came at the top of the episode and was brought to us by resident trouble-maker, Pete Davidson. If you haven’t seen the music video Drake dropped last week featuring him walking (and singing) through his palatial home, you probably won’t fully “get” this sketch, but I can almost guarantee a good chuckle regardless. Saturday Night Live typically creates elaborate and over the top sets when shooting music video spoofs (who could forget “Rap Song”?), but Davidson — who lives with his mother on Staten Island — didn’t let that stop him.
Another stroke of creative genius? Saturday Night Live got meta with this skit that anyone in a creative field can relate to these days. Aside from being hilarious, it was also a humbling look behind the scenes at a dramatized conversation that most cast members and writers likely faced throughout the week leading up to the airing of the show — who can’t relate?
And last but not least, producers pulled out their old graphics and animations toolbox to help them polish the content their at-home cast created, which elevated what was likely footage recorded on an iPhone or a webcam.
“While there are sketches that benefit from a more elaborate setup, this episode proved that with the right idea, your environment doesn’t have to be a creative limitation.”
Our main takeaway: As we learned while filming One, Ten, One Hundred, creativity is often born out of creative constraints. Instead of fighting your limitations, try to embrace them and use them to fuel your content.
Saturday’s episode featured a little something for everyone, and I’d venture to guess that was by design. Our experiences with the pandemic, including its impact on each one of our lives, is completely unique. However, one thing that brings us all together is our shared experiences surrounding staying home, self-isolating, and navigating our “new normal” (a special to thank you to everyone who is taking care of us and risking their own lives to do so — you are so very appreciated!).
The episode featured a sketch that spoke to folks who are working from home and feeling the Zoom-call woes with their less tech-savvy coworkers. They had a sketch for the sports fans who are deeply missing the thrill of cheering on a good-old-fashioned competition. They had a sketch for the creatives and freelancers who are struggling to figure out what they can create from home. And of course, the episode would not have been complete without a reference to America’s favorite “it’s so bad I can’t look away” Netflix sensation, Tiger King.
This first-ever remote episode of Saturday Night Live owes much of its success to just how relatable and universal many of its skits were.
Our main takeaway: Staying topical and relevant is always a key ingredient to creating successful content, but what’s even more important, is understanding your audience and what they’re currently experiencing in their day-to-day lives.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling super inspired after watching this episode of Saturday Night Live take shape in such a unique way. I’m really looking forward to seeing how these episodes continue to evolve over time, too.
One noticeable thread that seemed to be woven throughout was their reliance on using the digital form as their playground and inspiration when it came to coming up with ideas for their skits. What will the next episode look like? Do you think they’ll continue to take this approach? Or will they try to come up with a creative way to get more cast members involved in a single sketch? Let us know in the comments below!
How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Podcast
Podcasts have become one of the most popular ways to consume content. Most folks have a favorite show and would eagerly seize any opportunity to tell you why they love it and why you should listen, too. So it’s no surprise that brands have started creating podcasts of their own to help build their audience and foster brand affinity. Just take a look at our friends over at HubSpot and Privy who have both launched branded shows; you could spend days with their content and still not get enough.
But once you’ve created an awesome podcast for your business, how do you make sure people “see” it? Spoiler alert: you’re going to want to use social media.
The internet is chock-full of things to read, watch, and listen to — so, it’s important for you to find your own corner, or niche as we like to call it, no matter how big or small and promote your content there.
Now, without further adieu, let’s dig into all the ways social media can help promote your brand’s podcast.
Each social media platform has its own unique marketing features. Facebook started the trend with event pages and groups, but now there’s something to use on almost every platform that can help get your podcast content in front of more people.
Here are some free features to consider when promoting your podcast on social media.
If you’re going to be promoting your podcast on social media, we suggest using video as your primary medium. Over 500 million people watch video on Facebook every day. That’s a lot of viewers! With that, the average engagement rate for videos on Facebook is 6.13%. It might sound like a low percentage, but when you’re working with an audience of 500 million, 6% still presents some pretty good odds of someone engaging with your content.
So with this in mind, create video content to promote your podcast. Instead of just posting an audio clip, film the recording sessions and use a video clip of you in the studio. Or, try a Headliner-style graphic (we chatted about this one earlier) to immediately stand out on the feed.
Facebook is also a great platform to re-purpose the unique content you already made for promotion. The blooper reel or funny edit you made can be showcased here. Upload the video with a funny caption and pin the post to the top of your timeline. That way anytime someone comes to your page they’re greeted with a laugh and a reason to stay for more.
“Create video content to promote your podcast. Instead of just posting an audio clip, film the recording sessions and use a video clip of you in the studio.”
Speaking of pinning posts, there’s the option to pin a tweet on Twitter. Pinning a tweet automatically glues that post to the top of your feed so that it’s the first thing someone sees when they get to your profile. And it really does help boost engagement! After an experiment Buffer ran, they found that pinned tweets lead to 10x more conversions.
But not all pinned tweets are created equal. That same study showed that the best pinned tweets are the ones with high engagement and a strong call to action.
To get more eyes on your podcast, choose a tweet about your most played episode or the tweet that announced the series. If it’s what people are going to be seeing the most, you want to make sure you’re putting your best tweet forward.
Go live on LinkedIn! Several other platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have experimented with and launched “live” features over the years. While the “newness” has somewhat worn off on other platforms, LinkedIn Live is still fairly underutilized and a great way to capture attention and grow your professional audience.
When you go live, LinkedIn automatically notifies everyone who likes your business page. Host a live recording of an episode or hold a live event to announce the debut of your podcast. It might seem out of the box, but when it comes to promoting your podcast, why not make the biggest splash you can? You already have a great audience and the more you engage with them, the more chances they have to build their affinity for you.
And of course, don’t forget those in-app notifications that we touched on earlier! These alert your teammates about new page posts, making it easy for them to share with their connections and amplify your reach.
When promoting your podcast on Instagram, use Instagram Stories. There are a lot of built-in tools that will keep your audience engaged.
One feature that is particularly helpful for generating buzz is the countdown sticker. When promoting a new episode, make a story a few days before it drops and add the countdown sticker. Your followers will then be able to tap on the countdown, set a reminder for when it finishes, and get a notification when your new episode is released. We did this for our series Brandwagon.
The cool thing about this feature is that you can see how many folks tapped your countdown and set a reminder, giving you more insight into how effective your social efforts are.
Other Instagram tips include adding a link to your podcast channel in your bio, showcasing video or audio clips as posts to entice listeners, and promoting show content with a dedicated hashtag, like we did for our Change the Channel event #WatchCTC.
For the record, hashtags are effective on all social media platforms — but their level of effectiveness changes frequently. To stay up to date on which ones work best, regularly google the top-performing hashtags for your industry. That way you always stay on top of the algorithm!
7 Wistia Integrations to Boost Your Video Marketing Efforts
In today’s digitally integrated world, it’s critical that all of the tools you use work well together. That’s why we’re excited to share some of our favorite Wistia integrations!
Did you know? Wistia integrates with more than 35 unique partners in the marketing space. Each of these integrations has something valuable to offer and can help marketers connect the digital dots by collaborating seamlessly during the video production process, unlocking actionable information from your videos, saving precious time with automation, and more!
Check out these super handy integrations and start connecting your MarTech tools today.
What makes a lead “good”? And when is the right time to move a prospect from a lead to a marketing qualified lead to a sales qualified lead?
While there’s no cut and dry answer, migrating all of your marketing touch points into a single source of truth can help connect the dots. This is why linking Wistia to your marketing automation platform of choice is a great way to close the loop on engagement and nurture data as it relates to your video content.
“We use Uberflip for our video forms since it is already integrated with our other reporting tools, then we get the added benefit of the branded experience with Wistia.”
BJ Dodenbier, Digital Marketing Specialist @ Workfront
Wistia’s marketing automation integrations can help you capture leads directly from your video assets, score leads based on video engagement, automate marketing communications based on behaviors, and assign leads when a prospect meets certain criteria. It’s pretty nifty.
Featured Partner: HubSpot
Hungry for more? Learn more about the power of pairing video with marketing automation, and check out our complete list of marketing automation partners.
Great video production and great video hosting go together like peanut butter and chocolate; they’re just so much better together.
While you might have a dedicated internal or external team on the video production front, there are also simple solutions available to do the heavy lifting for you — particularly for short, catchy videos for social media and marketing communications.
A recent Neilsen report found that the average U.S. adult spends more than 6 hours per day consuming digital content, so it’s no surprise that the demand for tools that simplify this process has increased significantly.
By pairing your video production tools with Wistia, you’ll save loads of time downloading and uploading videos across your various platforms. Create content with ScreenFlow, get feedback with Wipster, optimize assets for social media with Wave.video, and then share it with the world all from your Wistia account.
Check out our complete list of video production partners to get started.
Data is at the heart of any good marketing campaign, and video data is just as important as data from any other channel. In fact, video is one of the most trackable content mediums.
Don’t make the mistake of siloing data across different platforms. Paint a complete picture of website engagement and campaign performance by integrating Wistia with one of our analytics partners. This will allow you to integrate playback data with events tracking, website goals, conversion tracking, and so much more.
“Medialytics has not only made our video analytics more digestible, but the in-depth breakdown by date ranges, location, and device truly helps narrow down our target audience and engagement. Wistia, YouTube, and Facebook have definitely found their perfect companion in Medialytics.”
Adam Lessell, Multimedia Coordinator at Valir Health
Dig into the data — check out our complete suite of analytics integrations.
Ready to see your click-through rates soar? Send your lists engaging and hyper-targeted emails featuring stunning videos with just a few simple clicks.
We actually tested this and consistently noted an increased click-through rate when an email featured a video thumbnail. One email saw a 40% increase in clicks!
Not only does Wistia allow you to easily add video to your email content, you can also track and optimize engagement based on individual viewer data. Neat!
“When we A/B tested a video thumbnail image versus a stock image, the video thumbnail consistently outperformed the stock image. One email even saw a 40% increase in clicks!”
See a complete list of our email marketing partners.
Nothing captures the attention of a sales lead and builds trust quite like video. No — really! We tested this too and found that sales outreach emails that included video had a significantly higher click-through rate — 42% versus just 10% with no video. Wowza!
With Wistia you can include video in the tools you’re already using to build and convert your pipeline. This could be you:
Send a recording through live-chat platforms like Intercom, or include video in your more formal pitches and proposals with just a few clicks.
Build trust and close more deals with these savvy sales integrations.
The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese. Sometimes, working smarter, not harder, is the best approach — and Wistia makes it easy to get more done with our productivity app integrations.
Use the Chrome integration to drop videos into your emails and web chats, or include videos in Trello cards to keep track of all your creative projects. And tools like Zapier enable you to connect Wistia to a host of other tools, and expand video across your entire tech-stack.
“We use a Zap that integrates Wistia and Gmail for getting emails with leads information in real time, so we respond to the possible client in minutes.”
Oscar Granadino, co-founder of Qwantec
Be the mouse, not the bird, with these productivity integrations.
Video works hard for your business, and tools that make your strategy and processes easier and more informed can help your videos go that much farther. We’re proud to be adding on integrations that will help our customers succeed with video. Get started for free today!
Top 10 Most Common Video Mistakes to Avoid
All too often, marketers and creatives end up making videos for their businesses that don’t engage their audience or make them want to know more about their brand.
You might be wondering, how does this happen? We’ll be honest with you, there’s no magic trick or marketing hack for making a successful brand video. But, we can tell you some common mistakes people make when producing videos for their company to help steer you in the right direction.
Read on to learn more about the video creation blunders you should avoid and how you can build up your creative muscle to start making better videos for your business.
Before you start producing your marketing videos, it’s important to get in the right frame of mind. What are the goals of the video? Where is the video going to be used? What is the best type of video to communicate your message? These are all important things to consider before pressing play. Here are a few mistakes to avoid in the video planning and pre-production proess.
1. Not using a script — planning makes perfect
One of the most common video mistakes we see is marketers and producers not using a formal script. Don’t let the thought of writing a professional video script scare you — simply putting pen to paper (er, fingers to keyboard) is a great way to organize your thoughts and form a cohesive story. Be sure to show your script to other team members and to read it out loud before filming. You’d be surprised at how unnatural some written words or phrases can sound versus a more casual and conversational tone.
2. Setting the wrong tone — align with your brand
Knowing your brand values and the product or service you’re showcasing is extremely important for coming up with the concept for your video. From wardrobes and background music to scripting and lighting, these elements can all impact how your audience will feel after watching your content.
For example, if your product is a fun social app, make sure your video matches the fun and social aspect of your brand. You wouldn’t want to mistakenly use a somber tone and solitary voice-over in your video because it wouldn’t align with the essence of your product. If the style of the video doesn’t match your overall brand, you could easily confuse your viewers.
3. Assuming your audience will care — give them a reason
Another mistake you can make as a creator is believing your audience will be equally as fascinated by watching your video as your friends, family, and coworkers. The support of your closest cheerleaders is important, but you can’t assume your brand’s audience will instantly love your video and share it with their networks. Truth be told, your audience will only care about your video if it is useful or entertaining to them.
“Truth be told, your audience will only care about your video if it is useful or entertaining to them.”
To be useful, create a video idea around how your product’s features could help someone solve a problem or the benefits it provides. For example, we’ve built a robust library of video production content to help creators and marketers get started with video.
To be entertaining, there are an infinite amount of ways you can delight your audience while injecting a little brand flair into your videos. Think about ways to hook your viewers within the first few seconds or ways you can get them super excited about what you have to offer.
For some inspiration, check out this video our sales team made that has continuously proven to delight people:
In an effort to make a video that will connect and resonate with your audience, you should take a walk in their shoes and ask yourself: Would this video be interesting to someone who’s not already invested in the subject matter or familiar with my brand? These considerations could make all the difference in deciding which route to take so you can make a solid first impression.
4. Not using examples — tell a story
One of the best things about video is that it gives people the opportunity to tell stories about their products or ideas without losing any of the information they want to get across. That’s why you should consider using examples or storytelling in your content. Not only do examples and stories make videos more interesting, but they also make content easier to follow and understand.
Case studies and customer testimonials are fantastic ways to tell stories authentically. By asking the right questions, you can clearly highlight the specific ways your product or service has helped your customers. With this format, your audience can hear how your product might be able to solve their problems, too. Additionally, customer testimonials add credibility. If a viewer recognizes the company who uses your product, they might be more inclined to choose you over a competitor.
“Case studies and customer testimonials are fantastic ways to tell stories authentically. By asking the right questions, you can clearly highlight the specific ways your product or service has helped your customers.”
If you want to create a storyline from scratch, that’s a completely viable option as well. We’ve done that for Wistia Channels, our feature that turns your video collection into a binge-watchable format that encourages viewers to spend more time with your brand.
For the product video, our production team landed on a silly idea for it to take place in a guitar shop. Throughout the video, the guitar shop proprietor walks you through how he uses Channels to showcase all of his content, while also illuminating the greatest features Channels has to offer. Take a look at the video for some storytelling inspiration:
5. Thinking inside the frame — get creative!
Whether your business offers a physical product or a service, video is a great way to introduce your brand to the world! Video can be a valuable tool to help answer people’s questions and pique their interests. However, many companies fall into a similar mindset when making introductory and demo videos. We believe these types of videos don’t have to be boring.
To show off or announce a new product, your video doesn’t have to consist of someone demonstrating an in-app walkthrough or a hands-on how-to (though those are great places to start). In fact, it can even be entertaining! That’s where thinking outside the box comes into play instead of thinking inside the frame. You could film a fake game show about your product, record a catchy jingle about its features, or cook up an interesting narrative centered around how people actually use your product in action.
No matter what type of video you make, try to move away from the norms of its genre. If you stretch your creative legs a little, your video will be more interesting and memorable. Only by somehow defying what’s usually done can your video rise above the average.
For some inspiration, check out a video we made celebrating the launch of Wistia for Chrome:
Now that you’ve considered the purpose and tone for your video and have a creative idea in mind, it’s time to follow through with your plans.
Here are some production mistakes that often occur during the execution stage and a few tactical tips that’ll help you craft a high-quality video without a full-scale production crew.
6. Bad lighting — look critically at your shot
Is your lighting looking dull or shadowy? To get great lighting for your video, you don’t need expensive or professional-grade equipment. The best light to use for a shot is often the most convenient! Effective lighting for your video is all a matter of taste and being able to look critically at your shot to indicate the areas that could use some supplemental lighting.
“To get great lighting for your video, you don’t need expensive or professional-grade equipment. The best light to use for a shot is often the most convenient!”
Our Head of Production, Chris Lavigne, has created a super helpful guide for a technique he dubbed “Lighting on the Fly” that covers techniques for ambient light, light setup, light source, and color temperature as well as equipment you can purchase. And if you’re working with a smaller budget, our “Down and Dirty Lighting Kit” is an attainable and repeatable setup that will keep people on camera looking sharp and well-lit for under $100. While this kit isn’t the end-all be-all for lighting in every video, it’s one way to start developing your lighting instincts!
7. Poor sound quality — make sure your message is crystal clear
Audio also plays a major role in the way viewers experience your video. If people can’t understand your message, it can lead to poor engagement and a negative overall experience.
There are three main variables you should consider when recording sound for your video: the environment you’re recording in, how far your microphone is from the sound source, and what kind of microphone you are using.
We’ve created a guide all about recording audio for business video that covers choosing a microphone, setting the gain, essential audio gear, and how to record video with a DSLR camera.
Additionally, if you’re experiencing “roomy” or “echoey” audio in your videos, we have a post that’ll help you improve your audio quality with tips for getting your sound as natural and clear as possible.
Have you ever felt sea-sick watching a video? Shaky footage can be hard to overlook. Even though a lot of cameras and rigs have built-in stabilization, shaky footage still rears its ugly head from time to time. Luckily, this is something you might be able to fix in post-production — but we’ve compiled our best tips for shooting stable handheld video footage for when you’re on set to save some extra time. If it’s just you and your camera, you can use your body or elements of your environment to capture steady shots. We highlight some handy tricks that we like to use in this post.
For shooting folks speaking on screen, we highly recommend using a tripod instead of going stand-free. Of course, there are a myriad of other instances where a tripod is a must-have like capturing time-lapses, close-up shots, and especially for shooting video by yourself. The main takeaway here is that it doesn’t hurt to have stabilization gear at the ready!
And, if you’re trying to vary up your shots, we know three ways for shooting overhead video. Here’s a video that’ll teach you how to use a tripod, a boom pole, or a mirror to capture an impressive shot from above!
9. Not using a call to action — tell your audience what to do next
Although you might’ve created a beautiful video that’s getting a ton of views, you might not be driving the conversions you were expecting. That’s why incorporating a call to action in your video can help you tell your audience what you want them to do next!
Incorporating a call to action in your script is one way to drop a hint, but you can also do so in post-production with illustrations and graphics. If you use Wistia, you can simply customize your video with Calls to Action and other conversion tools throughout your content to create opportunities for deeper engagement, make the video experience easier and more enjoyable, and collect all kinds of interesting data.
10. Not customizing the video to match your brand — bring it all together
Lastly, if you want to familiarize people with your brand, you should bring elements of your branding into your video. Whether that’s with design in post-production or in another creative way, customizing your video to match your brand can tie everything together.
With Wistia, you can also easily customize the player color to match colors in your brand guidelines and make it look snazzy on your site! We think it’s a pretty neat feature if we do say so ourselves.
Now that you know some common mistakes people make, we hope you feel more confident about going into the creative process. Video offers amazing opportunities to catch people’s interest with something educational, entertaining, and even artistic.
Making a great video can ensure your audience’s first exposure to your product or idea is a memorable and positive experience. But, if the video falls flat in some aspect, it can have the opposite effect. So, avoid making these common mistakes and start getting more creative with your business videos to effectively engage your audience!
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