There has not been a new post in quite some time. That’s not because there’s been a lack of activity to talk about, just that I’ve been eyeball deep in client delivery AND starting a new FT job. Thankfully these two activities go hand in hand. It’s a little different than the norm. Here’s the story.
I am now the Marketing Strategist at the Vertek Division (Randolph, VT) of Applied Research Associates, which is based in Albuquerque, NM. They’re an engineering and R&D company that solves large national problems from divisions nationwide. I spend about half of my time developing their digital marketing presence around certain products within their overall ARA web scope. The other half of my time I continue to offer freelance communications and media services locally and within the national snowsports world. These clients are invoiced from ARA rather than me personally, but that’s the only difference. I have basically been “acquired” as a business entity by ARA (my word not theirs). The role may evolve as we progress.
We changed our mind. After a few weeks of talking about taking a special Christmas photo of our daughter Kaylin in order to print and send Holiday cards, we did this instead. Used the various photos and point-n-shoot vids on the home camera. It’s greener, makes for a memory reel to watch for years, and features the most popular member of the family that everyone wants to see. Happy Holidays!
If you are like me, then you have found yourself with a need for compelling video to share online either for your company or as a service to provide to a client. Challenges arise. Professional video production can be quite expensive and time consuming. Plus, very few other people in the world can tell the story you want told. It also takes a very adept touch to capture real life stories without getting in the way and making the participants feel like actors. This post is designed to help Marketing Directors and PR Managers operating under budget constraints (and without pro level equipment).
Here’s what you need.
- Good soundbites. Get people talking. Capture the sound without lots of wind or white noise and make sure the light is at least acceptable. Do not have them regurgitate your promotional copy. Get them relaxed and telling stories or providing a unique view. Use a microphone.
- A tripod. Don’t have a tripod? Use a rock. Use a desk. Use anything. Do not handhold the camera unless you are capturing action.
- A camera that has a microphone input. Audio is king.
- B-roll. Capture other footage to mix in with the soundbites that illistrates what is being discussed. Directly or indirectly.
- Establishing shots. Where is this happening?
- A medium and an audience. How will you distribute and who is it aimed to interest. Think about this before. Not after.
- Editing experience. If you have never done it, do not expect your first projects to turn out well or be quick.
- Editing software. There’s cheap/easy all the way to expensive/advanced. Storytelling can be done with any. Results will vary.
- Edit and render soon after you capture. You’ll remember the clips better. Now is news, too.
- A primary website that will allow you to feature it where you want to. Not just Youtube or Vimeo.
Here’s what you don’t need.
- Zoom. Do whatever you can to not use it. You can create pans and zooms in editing that are smoother. Use sparingly.
- 1080p. If you are shooting with a consumer camera and distributing online, 1080p is overkill. 720p is plenty. Your hardrive will thank you.
- Fancy graphics. They only look good when done by people who do them for a living.
- A Mac. Yes, FCP is the pro standard editing software, but some of us are stuck in situations with other operating systems.
- Note – If someone wants to buy me a Canon 5D or 7D and a Mac – I’ll make you some videos.
- More than 2 types of transitions. Use sparingly.
- Hours of raw footage. Make editing easy. Shoot with a purpose.
- A script. Those are for Hollywood. Low budget video that is scripted, stinks. Have a communications goal. Edit to taste.
- 1GB files. Making 3 minute video? You can keep it high res and less than 250 mbs.
- Lengthy and deep approval processes. If you have that, then you should be willing to spend the money to go high-end professional.
- Long shots or long videos. Quick cuts and videos less than 3 minutes are winners.
Video is the most powerful communications method in existence. Just because anyone can press record does not mean anyone can create quality video for business. That said, it’s also not rocket science. Telling a story just like the TV news does is cake. Want to add it to your marketing mix or want to stop paying through the nose for simple stuff? Happy to help you do either.
We left Tucson about 2 weeks ago and have since spent time in the Florida (pronounced flor-i-ta) Mountains of New Mexico, the Davis Mountains in the Big Bend of Texas, the Hill Country of Junction and Austin and now find ourselves just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The grass is now green, it’s humid, and there are many signs for alligator attractions, which is a nice change of pace. After boondocking in Austin to see our friend Jess (and running out of battery power on the last night) our current spot is feeling like an oasis of amenities.
Welcome to the Gulf Coast RV Park on the west side of Beaumont, Texas. This is a stopover/monthly park just off I-10 adjacent to the massive Ford Park entertainment and athletic complex. It’s in good shape, has modern amenities, and is very straightforward. Beaumont is not a tourist hotspot per se so the park focuses on being exactly what the traveler needs. Everything is clean, orderly, works well (even the wifi is fast) and there’s a free breakfast. It also has a new website that is only 5 pages in total. It’s bare bones but functional – so we gave it a boost. The video capsule below can be featured throughout the site and will allow guests to feel at home before they get here, which is a major factor for RV’ers trying to decice where to roost. This will be on their homepage shortly.
Next we are headed east for quick stops near Baton Rouge and Mobile, before seeking our next longer term video trade spot on the Florida Gulf Coast. If you get an email from me pointing you to this website, ask yourself – what would you like to communicate with video in trade for a single camping slot? Also consider that I’ll be contacting your competition. Embrace the opportunity – don’t let it go down the street. No website is complete without compelling video. So let’s get you some for the cost of simple camping trade.
The other people as crazy as us on the continent
Side note - I’ve been keeping this site to work related posts, but wanted to give a quick shoutout to Jed, Jillian and Juliet from Alberta. We met them in west Texas and spent a few nights camping as neighbors in Davis Mountains State Park. The first and only young family we have run into. Best of luck the rest of the way guys!
They were towing a small antique trailer and were seeing the sights of the west and south over the winter with their baby and pup. Hopefully we busted some American stereotypes along with those we surely upheld. Check out their blog if you like.
Look us up if you are ever headed to Vermont and let’s have a look at those curtains!
One might assume that within one industry, marketing and communications gameplans are all very similar. That’s simply not the case. As a tweet from one of my favorite marketing minds Jay Baer highlighted yesterday: “Context is King”.
As you may or may not know, I’ve been on a slow relocation trip across the west and south as my family and I move back home to Vermont. I’ve been delivering marketing services for RV parks along the way for compensation and trade. What’s interesting is that they all need a different message communicated, but they don’t always know it at first. Sure they are going after similar customers in the same industry, but the more important factor is the current state of their marketing and marketplace. The “context” in which they do business is paramount.
If someone comes to you with the golden goose that’s sweeping the globe, without having listened to your needs, history, resources and expectations, then it’s safe to kick them to the curb. One size fits all is a sure route to disappointment. The best marketers and the best messages orginate from understanding, conversation and teamwork. Listen, think, research, discuss, then go to market. Odds are you’ll do it in a way that is uniquely your own, which is what your audience craves.
RV Parks in Napa, Pismo Beach, Malibu, San Diego and now Tucson have all had very similar operations, with very different communications needs once we pulled back the layers of their marketplace. Tucson is the land of the over age 55 mega park. However, Adventure Bound Cactus Country aims to be (and is) welcoming to all ages and southwestern themed with a laid back atmospthere. This is headed for their website shortly.
Prior to departing San Diego our original plan was to hop-skip our way across Arizona with a couple nights at State Parks located near I-10. Laura started to look around on the internet about fun things to do in the Tucson area so I in turn started looking for RV parks that might want to have a video produced for them to get a longer stay in the area. Quickly I realized that this was snowbird territory and most commercial parks were for retirees only. Not exactly what we we’re looking for, but I’ll get back to that.
We get a lot of advice from family and friends to go see this or that, as if Arizona was some small state easy and affodable to traverse in two vehicles with a baby. Haha. Nope. We go in generally straight lines, then poke around the overnight areas in our Subaru. We still hit a State Park – it broke up the drive to Tucson and was quite stunning.
So after one night at Picacho Peak State Park outside of Tucson we headed for the Cactus Country RV Resort, which is now a part of the Adventure Bound family of camping locales and is located on the southeast side of the metro area just off exit 275. It’s one of the few (if not the only) park that actually feels like camping in the desert rather than the concrete jungle. We don’t hear the highway and there’s open space surrounding the entire spot. It’s also frequented by a mix of full timers, snowbirds, weekers (like us), weekenders and some regular working folk with kids.
The production plan is to produce a well rounded piece that features the managers, a few guests, some of the on-site activities, a focus on the western feel, and also touches on the attractions of Tucson. Should be able to wrap it up by the end of the week. Need this crazy windy weather to blow through first.
I’ll update again when the video is done. Until then I threw some new content onto our google map. We plan to scoot across Texas and most of the gulf pretty quickly without long stays in one spot, then return to longer stays in trade for marketing services when we get to Florida sometime in March.