Over the years, making business more human has been at the heart of everything we do here at Wistia. From the very start, we’ve tried to get this message across by making our own videos in our office, often on a shoestring budget.
Just look at this get-to-know-us video we made way back in 2011:
Compared to our latest video endeavor this feels somewhat amateur, but what that video showed in 2011, “One, Ten, One Hundred” shows in 2019 — we’re passionate about what we do and we believe using video is the best way to communicate that message.
If you’re even remotely familiar with Wistia, it should come as no surprise that we’re deeply invested in building our own brand with video. Being dedicated to creating a cohesive, authentic presence online has paid off for us in so many ways over the years. And that’s why we’re so passionate about encouraging other businesses to do the same.
Alright, let’s call a spade a spade — Wistia is in the video software business. So, naturally, our brand revolves around video. You got us there.
But a wise man once said, “Video is not a product; it’s a way of life.*” We don’t just make instructional, educational, or promotional videos. In fact, we make videos for many occasions. And that’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to carve out a niche for our brand.
*No one has really ever said this to our knowledge, but you get the picture.
Take blog post videos, for example. Sometimes our blog videos are jam-packed with helpful information, and other times, they’re simply there to delight. The video at the beginning of this post about looking good on camera doesn’t aim to provide any real value from an educational perspective. Instead, it sets the scene for the post to come and underscores the idea that being on camera can be scary and challenging — even for a video software company.
Now, you might be thinking, “Who has time to make a video like this just to add some extra flair to a blog post?” Great question! We’re suggesting that businesses start making time for this type of content. You’re not doing it for us, you’re doing it for your brand.
Strong branding must be part of your marketing strategy if you want your business to grow over time. Luckily, video can help with three key stages of brand development:
- Differentiation: There’s tons of competition for consumer attention on the internet, which means it’s becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to break through the noise and connect. Thanks to the rise of social media, consumer behavior has changed — video isn’t just a medium for major brands anymore, small brands need to step up in order to compete.
- Retention: Over time, video can help you build stronger relationships with customers. This ultimately leads to more trust and more brand loyalty.
- Growth: When you’ve established a solid brand, you can take more creative risks with video that can turn into big returns at critical moments for your business.
Video has become the primary method for communicating brand messages online — just think about the last time you scrolled through Instagram and paused on an ad. Chances are, a video caught your attention. And since video is now the norm, businesses can no longer hang their hats on one slick video that aims to achieve each and every one of their marketing goals.
Now, let’s walk through these three key stages to brand development and learn a bit more about how your business can start building a stronger brand with video.
When you want to make an impression on new customers, video can really help you stand out in a memorable way. Our homepage video, for example, is one of the most-talked-about videos we’ve created to date.
The number of tweets, emails, and DMs we’ve received about this video is more than any of us could’ve ever imagined. Apparently, there’s just something about the combination of friendly smiles, killer dances moves, and a monochrome color palette that really gets people amped up.
In all seriousness, the tricky part about building a unique brand is….well, actually being unique. It’s a lot harder than it sounds! Often when companies are just starting out, they tend to adopt the norms of other businesses in their industry, whether that’s talking about their products in a certain way or miming a design aesthetic that’s not completely their own. And at the end of the day, it makes sense — marketers want to use messaging styles that are proven to work.
But, playing it safe is not what will get you noticed.
When you produce a video, there’s a vulnerability and authenticity that is palpable. Even if you outsource the production of a video, there’s really nowhere to hide. From the script itself and the location of the shoot to the overall execution and messaging, a polished marketing video can serve as an honest representation of your brand.
“When you produce a video, there’s a vulnerability and authenticity that is palpable. Even if you outsource the production of a video, there’s really nowhere to hide.”
And don’t be fooled — putting yourself out there doesn’t just apply to video companies like us. Many businesses are taking more creative risks, just look at ProfitWell and Drift. They stand out amongst SaaS companies because they’re using in videos in ways that most of their peers aren’t. Take a look at this recent video from Patrick Cambell, the CEO & co-founder of ProfitWell:
Not only does Patrick’s expertise come across better in the video than it would in text, but the video is also able to showcase real-world applications for concepts that, at times, can seem abstract.
Now, it might sound hard to believe, but the truth is — your business is unique. The stories you have to share are yours alone. And when you use video to tell those stories, your brand story becomes more unique in turn.
As we mentioned before, we make a lot of videos here at Wistia, from user onboarding to customer support. Many businesses, however, tend to associate “video” solely with marketing — and we’d like to challenge that assumption.
Building a brand, after all, is about a lot more than one marketing video. Putting yourself on camera makes it possible to engage personally at scale, and beyond that, injecting key touch points throughout the customer’s journey is critical to leaving a lasting impression (and ultimately creating brand advocates).
Just think about your favorite local barista who always knows your order and remembers your name — how many cups of coffee did it take for you to get on that level? The fact of the matter is, it takes time to build personal relationships with customers, whether you’re a coffee shop or a tech company.
“It takes time to build personal relationships with customers, whether you’re a coffee shop or a tech company.”
Since we are in tech, we have to be a little more creative when it comes to building a relationship with our customers. We’ve found that using video across our entire business has helped yield more impressive results for retention than email and blog posts alone. For example, here’s a video that lives in our Help Center that teaches users how to upload a video to Wistia:
For this video (which is part of a series of onboarding videos), we decided to create a brand within our brand. Creating this mini-brand gave us the creative freedom to educate our customers about our software in a way that felt fresh and unique, without sacrificing Wistia’s overall aesthetic.
This onboarding series checked off several boxes for the business and brand we’re building — the videos themselves are educational, helping our customers understand how to get the most out of our product, and the sub-brand we created paints a picture of how a mom and pop shop like Jeff’s Lemonade can use video to help their business grow.
Investing time and resources into creating content that actually helps educate your customers — not just market to them — proves you’re invested in their success.
One of the most compelling reasons to make video part of your marketing strategy is, simply put, video contributes to growth. Using video to build your brand means you can grow your own way — making your company an industry leader in the process.
Respected brands typically have more trust from their customers, giving them the ability to take the risks often associated with what it takes to truly grow. Here at Wistia, we recently took a huge leap of faith when we made our very own four-part documentary series, “One, Ten, One Hundred.”
For us, creating the series was a realization of a long-term goal of ours: to produce our own, long-form original content. And doing so allowed to think beyond video software — our series shows that just because we’re “video people” so to speak, we’re not special. We’re learning how to make better videos every day, just like you.
Producing a video series is just one way to stretch your creative limits and expand your brand. Just look at Squarespace’s landing page for Version 7 of their product. Instead of the classic tagline and illustration approach to a product page that’s so typical amongst software tools, the company took a unique approach by filling the entire screen with a short film.
Squarespace has used video to grow their brand right from the start, making this bold choice less of a risk for them. The use of video (and minimal text) to announce a product update is a choice many lesser-known brands would never take. It reveals Squarespace’s ambitions for its brand — to not just be a website builder, but an engine for self-expression. Plus, it opens up the potential for Squarespace to go in many different directions with their brand in the future.
Taking a big swing on a creative bet is what sets businesses apart. Tiny tweaks and optimizations tend to get you nowhere, fast. With video, businesses are able to iterate, experiment, and explore with style choice and execution, giving you plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. Building a brand with video lets you elevate your business to levels you may have never even dreamed of before.
“With video, businesses are able to iterate, experiment, and explore with style choice and execution, giving you plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.”
Using video to promote your products, educate your customers, or even close a deal isn’t all that novel of a concept. What you choose to do with video, however, is another story. Create disparate videos that live on all ends of the internet, and hope to tell a story that way, or, think about how video can actually be used to build your brand from the ground up.
But hey, you don’t have to listen to us. We’re just a video company.
How to Delete Your YouTube Channel
Over the years YouTube has become a massive video platform, and due to some recent changes, a pretty confusing one at that. For first-time creators and brands who want to grow a following, it can be hard to tell what rules apply to you, what “counts” as a video view, how to measure your success, and more. And while the Google-owned platform isn’t going anywhere any time soon, when it comes to building an audience with video, it’s no longer the only option for your business.
Now that businesses can more easily attract viewers with content hosted right on their own sites by embedding Wistia Channels or working with other tools, it might make sense to let that YouTube Channel of yours sail off into the sunset. If you’re considering removing your channel from the old ’Tube, read on to learn why that might be a smart move, how to actually get rid of it for good, and what to do once you’ve moved on.
YouTube is great for some folks and well … not so great for others. If you’re not sure why a business would want to delete their account, here are some reasons to ponder:
- Ads: While the opportunity for monetizing makes YouTube’s ad business model enticing for new creators, the fact is, unless you’re getting tens or hundreds of thousands of views on your content, chances are you won’t really benefit from ads. And unfortunately, for small channels, ads ultimately serve as a distraction that can draw people away from your content
- Autoplaying videos: YouTube’s algorithmically driven “Recommended” feature is designed to help viewers find content they may be interested in, but it also keeps viewers on YouTube longer. Chances are, the video that plays after yours won’t come from your channel, even if the viewer purposefully navigated to your channel to watch your content. Instead, viewers are likely to click into other channels, forgetting why they went to YouTube in the first place. Bummer.
- YouTube-centric design: From white backgrounds and red buttons to videos organized by most popular and date added, YouTube channels are not very customizable. The main ways you can control your branding on YouTube are with a banner on your channel page, a thumbnail profile image, and thumbnails on your videos. Which isn’t awful, but it could be better!
- Regular updates to the algorithm: Remember how we mentioned that YouTube can be confusing before? While changes to the algorithm can be a useful creative constraint, they can also be unpredictable and frustrating, especially if you’re relying on your videos reaching a particular set of people on a regular basis.
As YouTube evolves, it will continue to make decisions that help the company grow more than help their users succeed. If those decisions align with your own creative ambitions and marketing goals, that’s fantastic. Otherwise, it may be time to move on. If that time for you is now, then here’s a quick guide to deleting your YouTube account.
Phew, is it hot in here or is it just us? The first step here is to really make sure you’re ready to delete your channel (not just deactivate it). Wipe that sweat off your forehead and follow these steps to bid your channel farewell. You got this.
Note: Don’t choose “Account settings.”
This choice will permanently remove your video content and video data from YouTube. You won’t be able to retrieve it, so make sure you have saved the original files.
Always have a backup (or two) of all your video files saved on a hard drive or in another safe location. There’s no coming back from deleting your YouTube channel so quadruple-check that you’ve got back up.
5. Click “Delete my content.” You will be asked to enter the email address associated with your YouTube account to confirm.
That’s it! Your channel and all your videos are now deleted from YouTube. Keep in mind that the Google account you used to create the channel (business or personal) will still be active and recognized by YouTube.
If you’re looking for a new home for your videos and want more control over the entire viewing experience, Wistia Channels may be a great option for you. Don’t want to send viewers elsewhere every time you share a new video with the world? Luckily, Wistia Channels live right on your company’s own website and are easily customizable to match your brand. In case you aren’t super familiar with this Advanced Plan addition, here are some of the key features that’ll help you achieve your goals with Wistia Channels:
- No ads: This is an ad-free zone! We’re not taking any cuts here, so no ads will show up on your videos or to your Channel on your site.
- Designed for deep engagement: When viewers are almost done watching a video, our Up Next feature helps keep them watching more by showcasing the beginning of the next video on your Channel. Distracting ads and suggested content from other brands? Not a chance!
- Organized and customized: You can easily organize your content and tailor the layout on your Channel to suit your needs. Customize the design to match your brand by changing the color of the player, video thumbnails, header images, fonts, and more.
- Built-in lead capture: Add calls to action, annotation links, and email capture forms directly to your videos. Tell your viewers where you want them to go next and drive more action from your content!
If this sounds enticing to you, we’d love to show you how it works. You can get in touch with our team to learn more about Channels, pricing, or our other features whenever you’re ready.
For most businesses, simply uploading all of your content to a YouTube Channel and hoping for the best isn’t very strategic. After all, while YouTube is designed to encourage viewers to click around and watch as many videos as possible, that doesn’t mean they’re still watching your content. So, instead of trying to compete for attention on giant social networks, why not build an audience on a site that’s all your own? Start by deleting that old YouTube Channel of yours that’s been sitting around gathering dust and take more control over your content today.
The Social Media Video Checklist
Don’t think you have enough time to make a video for social media? Aren’t really sure where to begin? Pish posh! There’s no reason to let these hesitations stop you from making your social video dreams come true. And while there’s no secret formula for crafting the perfect video, there are some key steps you can follow to ensure your videos are not only well-thought out and impeccably executed, but also engaging and entertaining. So, without further adieu, here’s our comprehensive checklist for creating videos for social media.
Before jumping into the production of any video, it’s important to remember why you’re making the video in the first place and what you want it to accomplish. Do you want to increase engagement with your followers, share a glimpse into your company culture, or even promote another bigger piece of content? Ask yourself these types of questions before you shoot and you’ll have an easier time understanding what success looks like once it’s out in the world. Without a clear goal in mind from the start, it’ll be difficult to know which metrics matter most once its seen by all your followers.
This is a big one! Thinking outside the box is always encouraged, and especially by us (creativity is one of our company values, after all). But, it’s important to stay realistic here and make sure you’re not over-scoping your video. If your first idea is to shoot your video in a rainforest, maybe see if you can achieve a similar look by shooting in a park close to your office instead.
As for props, look around and see what you already have in your office before you buy anything new. It would be a real bummer to go out and buy a new top-hat only to realize you had one kicking around from a previous shoot. And speaking of using what you have, when it comes to building your set, you can usually work with a set up you already have in your office! Move things around, take a few test shots, and get creative. What may look “off” in one corner could look great in another.
This is also a good time to figure out if you’ll need any additional help from other folks on your team. Can you film this by yourself? Will there be scenes where you need some teammates to step in as extras? Before scripting, make sure you understand what resources you have available to you.
Even if you don’t have dialogue in your video, it’s important to have a concept and an idea of what each shot will look like. In the world of social video, nothing feels worse than getting to the editing stages and realizing you didn’t get the shots needed to get your point across. Take, for example, this educational video we made for social:
As you can see, there’s no dialogue or people present in this video, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t still need to write a script first to make sure we incorporated all the must-have information. We can’t say it enough — script, script, script!
Just because social media videos are typically short, doesn’t mean you should only book off an hour to get all the shots you need. It’s really easy to think, “Oh, a video for social media? That won’t take that long!” or “I’ll be able to get that shot later,” but if you don’t have a specific time set aside for filming, you run the risk of getting caught up in other things and not getting the shots you need. This is especially important if you’re working with other people — you always want to make sure you’re making the most of everyone’s time!
Shooting for the edit is a pretty simple concept — all it means is that you should keep in mind how you’re going to edit your footage in the near future while you shoot. Before pressing that sweet, sweet record button, make sure your actors have rehearsed their lines, the shot is in focus and well-lit, and double check that the camera is stabilized. Keeping these things in check will cut down on the amount of footage you need to sift through later on.
And as always, be sure to shoot some b-roll. You might not think you’ll need it, but a lot of the time b-roll is what supplements the story and drives the piece visually. So once you think you’ve got the shot, keep rolling for about 10 seconds. That’s usually when the good laughs and candid moments happen. Having those gems will help diversify your shots and make your editing process much easier!
“You might not think you’ll need it, but a lot of the time b-roll is what supplements the story and drives the piece visually.”
Social media is a superhighway of information. Viewers are constantly running into new content everywhere they turn. So, start with some action and eye-catching footage right away to capture your viewer’s attention. In this case, “action” doesn’t have to mean a car chase or something super outlandish. Take this post from Glossier for example:
In this video, Glossier is promoting its latest product, Bubblewrap, an under eye cream. It starts with the subject somewhat humorously drinking a cup of tea, which is a nice, subtle hook. It then quickly jumps into him using the product and explaining the benefits succinctly. The video only lasts about 20 seconds, but by the end of it, we know exactly how to use Bubblewrap and what it does. ~Chef’s kiss~ You only have your viewers attention for so long, so take a page from Glossier’s book and don’t waste any time!
This step mainly applies to Instagram, since the other platforms display auto-playing videos on their feeds. On Instagram, your video will live on your profile’s grid, so it’s important to make sure the video thumbnail is click-worthy. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, but always be sure to stay away from blurry shots or drab colors when choosing your thumbnail.
Makings of a good thumbnail include, but are not limited to:
- Smiling faces
- Cute animals
- Bright colors
- Text overlays
- Crisp images
Here’s an example of one of our favorite, click-worthy thumbnails:
Our office dog Lenny sitting at a computer? Faris looking perplexed and surprised? Don’t know about you, but we’d definitely press play on this product update video.
Whether you leave a CTA in your company’s bio or actually write it into your script at the end of your video, you always want to tell your viewers where they should go next. Of course, some videos for social don’t require a call to action, so don’t add one in if it doesn’t make sense. Here’s an example of a video we shared of our team painting a mural in our office that didn’t require a call to action:
This video is an example of a brand touch video that often doesn’t require the viewer to take action afterward. When we wanted to promote our latest blog post, however, we gave viewers direction around where to go after watching if they wanted to get more intel:
Whatever the case may be, when crafting a CTA to support your social video, you want to make sure you are persuasive, but not too pushy. Adding something as simple as “Click the link in bio for more!” to your caption or including “Check out our new post!” at the end of your video can help get the job done. If a viewer loved your video and wants more, you should strive to make it as easy as possible for them to take the next step.
There you have it! From setting your goals and scripting your video, to adding captions and making snappy edits, you now know what it takes to make a successful video for social media. Keep this checklist with you and remember to take it one step at a time (and have fun with it!). So what you are you waiting for? Grab a camera or pick up your phone and get going!
How to Name Your Wistia Channel
With Wistia Channels, the name-picking power is in your hands. And believe it or not, the name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you get on that Channel. But how are you supposed to pick just one name that encompasses all of your videos, while still bringing all the views, clicks, and engagement you want? Don’t worry. We’ve got some tips that’ll simplify the process and make you believe in the power of name-picking in no time.
For businesses using video for marketing, a Wistia Channel turns your collection of videos into a destination where people can explore certain topics in depth and get to know your brand. Because this is a singular destination, it’s important to come up with a cohesive name that accurately describes the Channel. To do that, you need to think beyond your individual videos.
When you think about your Channel on a more holistic level, you should consider the following factors:
- 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 video Channel will help you grow your audience and your brand over time. To dig a little deeper, let’s break down the three factors we mentioned above: branding, discoverability, and sharing. Shall we? We shall!
“Considering these factors as you set up your video Channel will help you grow your audience and your brand over time.”
When you’re thinking about your Channel, remember that it should support your company’s brand but also have its own identity. Plus, the name you pick should align with your marketing strategy, whether that’s connecting with a particular audience, highlighting your product, or educating your viewers. To get just the right fit, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Regardless of your industry, it’s important to narrow in on a niche. Let’s take a look at the topic of real estate as an example. Real estate is far too broad of a term to use on its own for your Channel name. Instead, you’ll want to pick a more narrowly defined niche, like “The Smart Real Estate Investor” or “Architects Eating Lunch.” This will help you build an audience faster because you know it relates to the overarching subject, but there’s something specific your viewers can latch onto.
In addition to knowing your topics, you should have a good idea of who will be watching your videos. If you want to appeal to a certain type of viewer, then be sure to include terms they resonate with in the name! To keep up with the real estate theme, you could add words like agent, investor, or homeowner right in the name of your Channel.
Some people rely on the strength of their company names alone to build up a brand. But unless your company’s brand as a whole is the purpose behind your Channel, this can be both too general and too limiting for your business over time. Not only that, but you also run the risk of your brand changing. Brands evolve, and if there’s any chance that your company will pivot, or the focus of the Channel will change, we recommend trying to avoid using just your company name.
Something else to keep in mind is how your Channel shows up in search. Whether people are searching for your Channel by name, or for individual videos, you’ll want your Channel to appear in the results. If you align your name with commonly searched terms, then you’ll create more visibility for your content and have a better chance at boosting your rankings online.
For example, Brian Cox, aka The Travel Vlogger, has nearly 16K subscribers on YouTube, but the Channel itself ranks at the number two position on the Google results for “travel vlog.” His smart SEO strategy will help him continue to grow his channel organically, with little extra effort on his part.
This is a pretty straightforward strategy, but SEO (especially as it relates to video) can get complicated really quickly. With that in mind, here are a few SEO tips to remember when it comes to naming your business Channel.
Plug your potential Channel names into tools like Ahrefs or Keywords Everywhere to see what the keyword volumes are, as well as the competition score. That way, you can see exactly how many people are searching on Google for your terms and how hard it will be to land on page one of the results.
Do research to make sure that your name isn’t already in use on YouTube and beyond. Also, check for similar video Channels in your category. Less competition = more search traffic for your Channel.
When you create lots of high-quality content around a certain topic, Google’s algorithm will start to recognize your Channel as an authority on that topic. So, if you’re tying your Channel name to an SEO term (the wheel), make sure that the individual titles of videos are related terms (spokes). You can find related terms in your keywords tool. This will show Google that you’re continuing to contribute valuable and expert information through your videos.
SEO takes a bit of time to work (you have to prove your trustworthiness to Google). So, be patient if you aren’t instantly ranking where you’d like. Even a little bit of effort and research can go a long way in helping your results.
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