Content Marketing is King

graphic of crown make of marketing content words

Bill Gates wrote an essay in 1996 titled “Content is King”. This piece predicted content would become an internet money-maker. Gates called out the need to provide information and entertainment. He said content was cheap and easy to create for anyone with a PC. Gates talked about online magazines adapted for the web and the importance of rewarding people with engagement and good information. The article concludes with this line:  Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products-a marketplace of content. To the surprise of no one, Gates was right. Content marketing continues to prove his point.

Content Marketing is About the Customer

At its core, content marketing is about the customer. It’s the creation and sharing of online materials related to a brand, but not explicitly promoting it. The goal is to draw customer attention and ultimately be useful. The materials should provide value to the target audience through information such as advice or instruction. Or they can provide entertainment—more on that later.

Even though content marketing isn’t a hard sell, it’s still tied to a brand. Instead of an ad for a weekend sale at a coffee shop, content marketing is an infographic on coffee origins. This content is useful, interesting information that’s tied to the coffee shop. However, it isn’t selling anything. Content marketing is seen as the human side of business.

Soft Sell

When you provide people with useful information, you’re building brand reputation. You’re gaining consumer trust and creating a reputation of knowledge and legitimacy. Done right, content marketing will lead to increased sales, cost savings, and repeat business. If your customers look forward to your newsletter, blog, or latest video, you’re on the right track. The video below is an example of how John Deere’s magazine The Furrow has been effectively used as content marketing for 124 years.

That’s Entertainment!

Content marketing is definitely about education, but it can also be about entertainment. Think about the kind of content you’re willing to pay for. Did you see any of the Lego movies? Maybe you took the whole family? If so, we bet the kids in the group were all jazzed up about getting the latest Lego set. Those movies could be seen as extended toy commercials. Don’t feel duped by that take on the movie. After all, there was value for you in seeing the film. It’s a form of branding, delivered in a very entertaining way.

Content Marketing is King
Content marketing can be entertainment

Engage with Customers

Options for content marketing are myriad. When it comes to what will work best for your brand, listen to your customers. Pay attention to the questions they ask about your product or service and give them the answers. What are they most interested in knowing more about and how can you provide that information in an engaging way? Here are some forms of content marketing that can help you connect with customers:

  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Case studies
  • Enewsletters
  • Blogs
  • White papers
  • Webinars
  • Testimonials

Best Practices

Content Marketing is King
Create a buyer persona

As we keep saying, content marketing is all about the audience. So it makes sense to start by knowing who you’re talking to. Create a buyer persona to put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re trying to help. Now you can do a little research on what it is they want to know about your product. This will help you decide what kind of content marketing you’d like to produce. Every new video, infographic, or blog created for your website results in a new index. That means a shot at increasing your search ranking, which means more people will find your business. There are plenty of other best practices when it comes to content marketing, and all roads lead to success.

Engaging Content

Bill Gates was right: content IS king! Content marketing is a valuable tool that increases brand recognition and builds consumer trust. Videos such as explainers, behind-the-scenes clips, and tutorials are examples of content marketing that connects with consumers. Call us today to discuss the kind of video that will make you a brand hero.

Video SEO Key to Better Results

Is there anything video can’t do? It informs, entertains, educates, helps your website rank higher in searches. What? You didn’t know about that last benefit? Video SEO is not the same as other kinds of SEO. A video can make your website or channel easier to find. We don’t just mean in a video search, we’re talking about a higher ranking even in a universal search. The way search engines and their related algorithms use video has changed significantly in the last few years. It’s time to take advantage of video SEO.

What is Video SEO?

Video SEO is the practice of optimizing your video so it will rank higher on search engine results pages. Video rankings are based a number of ways your video performs for users. For example, how long are users watching your video and staying on your web page? Do you have keywords related to your video and are you using them correctly? If you take the time to optimize your video, you can increase the chance of it showing up in search results. A video that’s well-optimized can increase its chances of scoring a front page Google spot by a factor of 53!

How Google Ranks Video

Video SEO Key to Better Results
Google ranks videos by relevancy & authority

The goal of every business is to show up on the first page of a Google search. The dream is to show up as the first result—that is, after paid ads. Google ranks videos for relevancy and authority. Relevancy judges how relevant your video is to the search query and user intent. Authority is a measure of how many people trust what your video says, measured by backlinks and domains that reference your video.

Let’s look at a how-to video as an example. This kind of video ranks highly in video SEO. That’s because a search for how do I tie a bowtie? will likely result in a video called How to Tie a Bowtie. This result perfectly is relevant and exactly the information the user wanted. Google digs through video descriptions to find the best answer to a query. With the right description, including relevant keywords, a video can be a featured snippet. Dream achieved!

How YouTube Ranks Video

Video SEO Key to Better Results
Engagement matters most to YouTube

We all know YouTube is the place for videos and the second largest search engine in the world. So it should be no surprise that studies show 88% of videos on the first page of Google are from YouTube. When it comes to ranking, YouTube puts engagement at the top of its list. Engagement is determined by actions such as watch time, shares, likes, and comments. Video SEO is also ranked by how well the title, description, and video content align with the search.

Help your video rank higher by doing a little research. Consider what you would type into YouTube to find your video or information on the topic covered in your video. Use YouTube suggest to see a list of relevant queries and to see the keywords other similar videos are using. You can also add up to three hashtags on a video description that appears above the video title. Use every opportunity available to get your video ranked in a search result.

Title + Description + Page

Remember how you did that research to see what keywords are ranking for your product or service? Now it’s time to put them to use. The title and description of your video is the first opportunity to boost video SEO. Really think about the words you use here to cash in on relevant language that engages the reader. When the video shows up in a search, you want that person to be compelled to click the link.

Placement is also important for video SEO. Choose a page related to the video and make it the focal point by placing it above the fold. When a searcher clicks on your result, you want that video to be front-and-centre on the page. If they have to search for it, they may give up. Finally, keep the video on a single web page so it’s not competing against itself in rankings.

Video SEO Key to Better Results
Little changes can make a big difference in ranking

Tips to Make Your Video Rank Higher

Keywords are an obvious way to help video SEO. But there are some other tricks that can float your video to the top of the results list.

  • Transcribe your video. Making your videos accessible to a larger audience and scrapable by search bots with additional text on the page.
  • Shorter videos get better completion rates, leading to a higher ranking
  • Put video on multiple platforms so that it’s ubiquitous
  • Native uploads lead to more shares and a higher ranking
  • Keep video metadata relevant and updated so it’s efficiently crawled by search engine bots
  • Submit a video sitemap to Google along with some information using webmaster tool for better page indexing
  • Choose a good, engaging, eye-catching, representative thumbnail for your video. This is what the searcher will see first to decide whether to click through.
  • Insert your target keyword in your video file. This is another way you tell search engines what your video is about rather than a string of random number and letters.
  • Optimize video descriptions. YouTube displays the first 125 characters, so make the most of them to engage searchers.

Raise Your Ranking

Video is no longer an afterthought when it comes to search engine rankings. Pay as much attention to how you index your videos as you do the rest of your content and ride the ranking wave. But remember this: without a video, there is no video SEO. Call us today for a free quote on a piece of content that will help people find your business.

Lens Whacking for an Ethereal Look

lens whacking

Working in video production demands adaptability. Equipment changes and upgrades mean we’re always trying new things. Sure, there are some standard shots and formulas used in corporate video production, but we think it’s important to challenge ourselves. Plus, our camera operators like to be creative. Today’s blog is about a camera technique called lens whacking.

What is Lens Whacking?

Lens Whacking for an Ethereal Look
Lens whacking creates a dreamy look

Lens whacking, also known as free lensing, is a technique used with still and video cameras. It’s probably something you’ve seen before in a music video or movie. The result imparts an ethereal, vintage look and feel to footage. This kind of effect can be done in post-production, although the random nature of lens whacking in the field has a more organic look. This dream-like quality is achieved by separating the lens from the body of a camera.

Light Flares

There are two ways lens whacking affects the look of footage. The first is light flares. Light flares, or lens flares, happen when a very bright light causes a scatter or flare. Think of aiming a camera at someone who is standing directly in front of the bright sun. Sometimes this composition is a mistake, but experienced videographers also use the technique for effect.

In a normal set-up, the light that hits a camera’s sensor is filtered through the lens. When you remove the camera’s lens, light can hit the sensor from many different angles. This causes light leaks and natural, smooth streaks of light wash over the sensor. Too much light and the image will disappear, but controlling this light can result in some really cool footage. James Miller, considered a lens whacking expert, shows off his free lensing chops in the video below.

Focus Shifts

Focus is the other way lens whacking affects the look of footage. As you tilt the lens away from and toward the body of the camera, framed images will move in and out of focus. You can even focus on images of two different depths by tilting the lens. Or change quickly from one depth of focus to another. This short video gives an easy-to-understand explanation of lens whacking using a still camera. The same principles apply to video.

Practice Makes Perfect

Lens whacking takes practice. It’s for the adventurous shooter who likes to experiment and is interested in a romantic look. Overexposure is the most common issue with this technique since you’re letting more light into the sensor. It takes just the right amount of light to get those dreamy lens flares and light leaks. Try it out in your free time or on a less rigid project since it can be hard to predict how footage will end up looking.

Try Something New

At Key West Video, we like to try new things. Staying updated on our industry and remaining curious means we always have new ideas we can use in our work. By getting to know our clients and their stories, we’re inspired to try techniques and ideas that we think will help you reach your audience. Booking our services means you have access to a whole team of creatives anxious to find the best way to make your video stand out. Call us today to find out more.

On-Camera Makeup Advice

makeup table

Before you get in front of a camera, make sure your makeup is done. We’re not saying you don’t look great just the way you are! What we mean is that with any piece of media that’s going to be viewed repeatedly or stick around for eternity, you want to look your best when it comes to video. It’s good to literally put your best face forward, especially when you’re representing your business or product. Here are some of the reasons to consider on-camera makeup for your video.

What’s Good for the Goose…

On-camera makeup isn’t just for women. The fact is, cameras can accentuate and magnify skin imperfections. Makeup provides a uniform, clean look for everyone. For men, the focus is more on removing shine (especially on bald heads) and evening out skin tone. Women’s makeup typically goes a step further by emphasizing features and adding more colour.

On-Camera Makeup Advice
Bald heads can be shiny and reflective

The better our cameras get, the more important makeup becomes. When television changed over from standard definition to high definition in the late 2000s, not everybody was ready for their close-up. The new resolution made lines and wrinkles all the more noticeable, as well as the makeup meant to cover flaws. A more sheer kind of makeup was developed and used to address the changing technology. Now 4K, which uses four times as many pixels as HD, is increasingly the standard. The super realistic, sharp images provided by 4K work better with warmer makeup tones. When 8K becomes the new standard, makeup trends will likely need to adjust again.

Only Your Personality Should Shine

Matte is the desired look for on-camera makeup. This means the skin isn’t oily or shiny and has a smooth finish. Matte makeup is achieved with a combination of mattifying products such as specially-formulated foundation and powder. Many makeup artists start with a primer that allows makeup to go on smoother and last longer. Blotting papers can remove excess oil without affecting makeup. Although “dewy” skin is often equated with youth and vibrancy, the matte look is really best for on-camera makeup. There’s a fine line between dewy and oily, so it’s best to banish the glisten. Finally, avoid makeup with shimmer or glitter.

Lighting and On-Camera Makeup

On-Camera Makeup Advice
Adjust makeup to match the lighting

Always apply on-camera makeup in the same light used for the shoot. For example, natural light versus studio light. Lights can wash out an already pale complexion. It’s one of the reasons you need makeup in the first place—to avoid disappearing. Makeup helps provide the definition that can compete with bright studio lights. And remember that warmer colours work better for video.

Consider the Video

An important consideration for on-camera makeup is the type of video being produced. When a CEO is addressing customers or employees, they want to look professional and polished. A music video may call for exaggerated or special effects makeup. If you’re promoting a new line of backpacks, your goal may be a no-makeup look—there’s a makeup for that! Ultimately, you should still look like you. Ideally, the version of you that’s appropriate for the situation.


On-Camera Makeup Advice
Don’t forget to do touch-ups during a shoot

Be sure to check on-camera makeup throughout a shoot. Bright, hot lights can increase sweat and oil production, leading to shine. Use powder and blotting papers to get rid of that greasy look. And pay attention to continuity. If makeup is losing its vibrancy over a long shoot day, touch-ups can ensure the first take looks like the last take. Sometimes a video is shot out of order, making a uniform look even more important.

PRO TIP: Once your talent is made up, dressed and ready to go, don’t forget to check them out in a color monitor before you start recording.

When to Use a Professional

It’s never a bad idea to use a makeup artist on a shoot. This professional’s job is to make you look your best and they’ll be watching for the things that need attention when the camera is on. You have enough to worry about during production, so why not let a pro worry about your on-camera makeup? When you book with Key West Video, we can include a makeup artist in our quote. Call us today to discuss your next project and we’ll make sure you look great on video.

Social Media Video Benefits

social media video connects

There it is when you open Facebook. And again on Instagram. Same goes for Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Messenger, and more. What are we talking about? Social media video! It’s everywhere these days and for good reason. Video ads are the number one way consumers found out about a new brand or product before making a purchase. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to convincing video marketing stats. Social video has grown to be the most popular and widespread content on social media and you can use its power to connect with your customers.

What is Social Media Video?

Social media video requires a different approach than other types of video marketing. When a customer is looking for a specific business or service, they turn to Google. If that same person is scrolling through social media, they’re not actively looking for your business. That means a social video will need to grab their attention and hold on. Start by thinking about the kinds of business video you click on when you’re thumbing through Facebook or Instagram.

Social Media Video Benefits
Your video should stop a scroller in their tracks

Make it for Mobile

If you’re going to make a social media video, make it for mobile. Over half of all videos are viewed on smartphones. More than ten billion videos and three billion images are viewed daily across Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat. Be sure to take advantage of the growing trend of mobile first.

Social Video Platforms

Consider the format and audience when creating your social media video content. What platforms best suit your product or service? Meet your target market in the places they visit and provide the kind of content they expect to find on that platform. Then make sure your video conforms to the parameters of the app to get the most out of your post.

Social media video is short. Some call is snackable content. It should draw attention and drive engagement without asking the viewer to take too much time or make too much effort. After all, the most successful videos are between thirty seconds and one minute.

TIP: Upload directly to a platform for the best looking and best-performing video

Targetting Your Audience

Social Media Video Benefits
Post videos to the platforms your TM visits

Social media video is very good at targeting audiences. Demographics are collected to help you provide content where it will pay off. Meet your goals by understanding where your TM is hanging out and what they have in common. The better you understand your TM, the more specific you can get with your social video. Give the people what they want to build a reputation of trust and confidence. Another advantage of creating video for social media is feedback. People are more than willing to tell you what they think, so listen to what they’re saying and engage with your audience.

Leading by Example

We regularly post video loops to Instagram. Posting fifteen seconds of a video that really shows off one of our projects can catch the eye of potential customers. We try to showcase the variety of clients and types of videos we create for a better chance at reaching more viewers. Check us out and see if you identify a style that could connect with your audience. Then give us a call to hear more about how we can create the kind of social media video that will make your target market stop and look.