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YouTube Channels vs. Wistia Channels

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If you’ve been following along lately, then chances are you’ve heard about our newest feature, Wistia Channels. In case you missed the launch, Channels allow businesses to transform a group of videos into a highly engaging, immersive collection that lives right on your site. Naturally, one of the first questions that comes to the mind of any marketer is, “What makes this any different than a YouTube Channel?”

youtube-vs-wistia-blog

The main differences between the two are grounded in the business models of the companies behind the tools. YouTube Channels are an organizational tool for the biggest advertising network in the world. They’re designed to encourage viewers to click around and watch as many videos as possible so that YouTube (and ultimately, Google) can serve more ads and meet the demands of advertisers.

Wistia Channels, on the other hand, are a paid-for marketing tool. They’re designed to encourage viewers to consume as much of your video content as possible, in a distraction-free environment, so that businesses can build brand affinity and generate more leads.

The main difference between the two here is that one platform provides a social experience and the other provides a brand experience.

YouTube is structured around Channels, rather than businesses. When a user clicks the “Subscribe” button on a YouTube Channel, it signs them up to receive notifications about new videos added to that particular Channel, but not anything else from the business who “owns” the Channel itself. So, if you want to have multiple YouTube Channels, with different topics of focus, you end up spreading your audience very thin.

“If you want to have multiple YouTube Channels, with different topics of focus, you end up spreading your audience very thin.”

In practice, most businesses respond to this limitation by only having one solitary YouTube Channel that they treat like a cupboard. This Channel then lives on to serve the purpose of consolidating views and subscriptions.

Wistia Channels don’t suffer from those same limitations. When a user fills out an email capture form on a video, they’re subscribing to the business as a whole (in accordance with the marketing automation and nurture campaigns you have set up). In practice, this means you can create as many Channels as you want, each with a different focus and set of videos, knowing that each new Channel you create is adding value, rather than cannibalizing your efforts elsewhere.

Features YouTube Channels Wistia Channels
Player design No customization options Change the color and font to match your brand
Header Image Static banner Static banner or background video
Lead Capture “Subscribe” Button Multiple email capture options which integrate with your CRM
“Up Next” Behavior Autoplays the next video in the playlist or a random video, often from another company, based on the user’s playback history Autoplays the next video in the Channel, as defined by you
SEO Visible in Google search with a video snippet linking to the video on YouTube.com Visible in Google search with a video snippet, linking to the video on your website
Location Has to live on YouTube.com, although individual videos can be embedded on your website Can be embedded on any page on your website
Sorting Automatically sorted by date or popularity, with the ability to feature specific playlists on the channel homepage Full control over the ordering and presentation of videos within the channel
Social CTAs Comments, likes, shares No social elements, just the videos without distractions
Cost Free From $400 per month

Advantages of a YouTube Channel

  • Visibility in YouTube search and YouTube related videos
  • Free to use

Advantages of a Wistia Channel

  • Sends search traffic to pages on your website, rather than YouTube.com
  • Captures email addresses of viewers and integrates directly with your CRM system
  • Embeddable on your website
  • No ads or distractions

It doesn’t need to be a case of either-or, as there is a role for both YouTube Channels and Wistia Channels in any advanced video strategy.

One of the most effective ways to use the two in combination is with YouTube Channels as an advertisement for a fuller experience on Wistia Channels. Check out our own YouTube Channel for an example of what that can look like.

Trailers and short snippets of longer videos can be hosted on YouTube, optimized for visibility in YouTube search, with a clear call to action to watch the full video on your website. With this approach, you can take advantage of the benefits YouTube offers for content discovery, as well as the benefits Wistia offers for acquisition, engagement, and conversion.

“Trailers and short snippets of longer videos can be hosted on YouTube, optimized for visibility in YouTube search, with a clear call to action to watch the full video on your website.”

ytvswistia
Wistia Channels does a much better job of showing how cute Lenny is.

Just make sure you don’t put every video, in full, on YouTube. Doing so offers no incentive for your audience to ever visit your website or engage with your offering more deeply. Instead, it ties you to Google’s ecosystem perpetuity — a world where Google keeps your traffic, owns your subscribers, and controls their viewing experience — all for the explicit purpose of serving more ads.

At the end of the day, your audience deserves the best viewing experience possible. Let them lean-back and watch your videos in a distraction-free space Wistia Channels — it’s what it was made for.



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Video Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

Pull quotes and episode graphics

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

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

Audiograms for social

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

Here’s an example of an audiogram:

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

Promo copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Vanessa Luis

Audience Development Marketer

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

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Video Marketing

The First 3 Videos Your Small Business Should Make

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Types of explainer videos you can make

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Install Soapbox Today!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for making video testimonials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Types of company stories

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

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

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

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

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Video Marketing

4 Businesses That Grew Through the Power of Creativity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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