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Value of Visual content

Scattered polaroids on a table

All content has to have a visual element and the reason being is far more than simply catching someones attention.

There has been a shift to providing value and having purpose to your visual content, with photos and videos featuring heavily in digital marketing strategies.

Photos and video hold more weight than text, they are remembered easily and encourage audiences to interact.

We all see posts using stock images on social media and in blog posts that are only there to fill a blank space. Don’t get me wrong – there will be instances when there is no other option to use some sort of stock photo.

Taking the time to consider the value of images to best reflect your brand and have the desired impression is time well spent. Imagery should feature in all of the content that you post online, therefore using photos, videos or infographics that help you to tell the story are essential. It may take a little time to plan and gather the right images that you require.

So, what is the best visual content?

Building a bank of photographs across all of your activities will help to make life easier. You will then have a series of images you can select when you need to.

Here are a few things you can should have photos of:

  • Your team
  • Meeting with clients
  • Products or delivering a service
  • Events / expos
  • Seminars that you deliver

Authenticity is key with everything online, helping to build credibility around your team and brand so it is important that images are yours. Grabbing the attention of your audience and leave a lasting impression should be your objective.

Moving away from the staged corporate imagery helps to bring personality to your marketing.

When thinking about the type of visual content that will work best for you consider these areas:

  • Can you demonstrate what it is like to work with you.
  • Provide an insight into the environment you have created.

Think bigger than photographs – infographics are an ideal way of communicating hard hitting topics in an easily digestible format. Piktochart is great tool to use to create your own infographics.

Image credit: Polaroids by Minidigi Kadorin on Flickr

Something Inventive 24: I’ve just bought a wheelbarrow

Al and Ben discuss the Scandals Facebook, GDPR begging emails, The important of review sites, Email response times and who we’re looking forward to see at WXG 2018.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by Our Newsletter

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Show notes

 

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman – Image Credit: The Wheelbarrow Run by Dana

Take a deep breath – How to come across well on camera

Take a big breath and step in front of the camera

We aren’t all made for the red carpet and in fact, I don’t think you need to be.  With the ever-growing pressure for more visual and personal marketing capturing testimonials and standing in front of the camera to show off your business and wares has grown increasingly popular and is something every business should be considering seriously. People invest in people and as long as you are clear and genuine about what you are trying to say I think you will be surprised at how well you will come across.

Even the most seemingly confident person can feel the pressure when the camera lens is pointing at them so here are my tips on getting the best out of them.

The trick is not to rush

Where possible take your time and make it as pressure-free as possible. If you are against the clock don’t let the person in front of the camera feel it as it will only put them off and increase their mistakes.

Forewarn them that you would like to interview/film them. Email your questions/themes of discussion the day before to give them a chance to mentally prepare their answers but don’t rehearse or stage their responses let them respond naturally and in their own way.

Be confident

When filming your staff or a customer testimonial be confident for them, keep calm and keep smiling if they are fluffing it up and panicking – respond with encouragement and guidance – always start with a positive and tell them that they are doing well but you would just like to take one more take and if they could just XYZ will make them feel they are doing ok.

Only have the people there which are necessary. It’s not helpful having fellow staff members grinning in the background and smirking at them if they are stumbling over their lines.

Warm-up

Before you start ask your subject a few warm-up questions to get them comfortable in front of the camera. This will allow you see whether your set up needs any adjustment or if they move out of frame. Rather than stand in front of the camera a lot of people will feel more comfortable being seated and are less likely to step out of the frame and wave their arms around when they talk.

For really nervous subjects remind them to breathe and to relax their shoulders if they are hunched and tense. Literally, ask them to raise and drop their shoulders a few times and take big breaths. Do it with them and they are more likely to mimic you and be less self conscious. If their mind goes blank on a certain phrase change tack and break it up. Don’t expect them to monologue long scripts.

Questions

When you ask your subject the question, ensure they say the question in their answer to make sure what they are saying makes sense when you come to edit it. For example: “What impressed you particularly about our ABC product?” Their answer would be: “I was particularly impressed by the quality and efficiency of the ABC product.”

When answering your questions ask your subject to look and speak towards the top of the camera and to look past the lens. Make sure the person who is asking the questions is stood directly behind the camera to ensure their eyes and body language doesn’t instinctively gravitate towards them and away from the camera.

Take one more take

Don’t be afraid to take a couple of shots of the important stuff to ensure you definitely have it. There is no harm in asking them to repeat what they said as it is better to spend a few minutes refining and re-recording a question than having to come back and shoot it all again. If in doubt, capture it one more time.

Be sneaky

Last of all don’t always let them know you are filming or pretend you are capturing a dummy run – you’ll be amazed at how many times people can do it on the cuff without the pressure of thinking they are being recorded!

 

Image Credit: Camera Operator Setting Up Video Camera by jsawkins Flickr

Interview: Into the Dragon’s Den with Sophia from Tickle Tots

I catch up with Sophia Ferguson, the founder of Tickle Tots Cloth Nappies, about the journey she’s been on over the past 4 years from product development to getting investment.

If you would like to find out more get in touch with Sophia on Twitter, Facebook or visit www.tickle-tots.com.

Image Credit: Sophia Ferguson, Tickle Tots

Something Inventive 23: From Audio Books to Zero Reach

Al and Ben discuss the benefit of audio in learning, Some advice on GDPR, and my interview with Sophia who entered the Dragons Den.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by Ticked Off Marketing Checklist

Simple marketing tasks to act on right away. Each task includes examples, downloads or the steps needed to complete it, plus a big button to tick it off when you’re done. Sign up for a free 7 day trial at ticked-off.com with just your email and no credit card.

Show notes

 

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman – Image Credit: Listen by Jim Simonson

Educate to compete

Jon is a kitchen designer and he is struggling. There are so many other kitchen design businesses in his area that he is finding it difficult to compete.

There are few industries these days that aren’t saturated with new businesses. In 2017, there was a total of 5.7 million businesses in the UK. With so many businesses in operation, a good many of them are likely to be in your sector or industry. So, what can you do to get you noticed?

Unless you are a big fish in your ocean then you won’t have the means to advertise enough to be noticed among all the other businesses. Small firms like yours will not have the resources to out spend the bigger businesses in promoting itself. But, what you can do is out educate them by creating useful and practical content.

Why teach?

When readers learn something new, their brain recognises the content as rewarding and their dopamine levels increase. This makes them want to seek out more content in the future to repeat these feelings of pleasure, and if it’s your content they’re reading they’ll appreciate you for it. It also makes them want to share this valuable resource with others.

Teaching helps your customers

Jon is good at what he does, building quality kitchens, using only the best sustainable materials. He has noticed recently that some of the clients that come to him have little idea about where to start choosing their dream kitchen. He decides to offer them some tips and guidelines in the form of blogposts. He writes about where customers can find out about the different options available to them, he creates case studies of previous clients and how they created their dream kitchen, and he writes about the best materials to use as well as many other topics that he thinks his readers might want to learn about.

By educating his readers about kitchens, Jon benefits in two ways. Firstly people are interested in what he has to teach them so they keep coming back, and they share Jon’s website with all their friends. Secondly, customers have a better idea of what they want when they come to him because his blog posts have given them the guidance they need.

Teaching helps your business

By teaching others about your industry, you show yourself to be knowledgeable; an authority in your subject. Nothing brings more respect than being considered an expert. To teach what you know to your readers, and offer some practical utility puts you at the forefront of your industry and gives you a distinct advantage.

Tileflair are tiling experts – they know everything there is to know about tiles and tiling. Every month they publish blog posts about how to install tiles, how to use them in décor and they give ideas for interior styling using floor and wall tiles. People visit their website because they offer this service for free. This bring them respect in their industry and among their customers, but it also inspires their readers to buy tiles from them.

The more you become known as a business that teaches, the more people will see you as an expert, and a resource, the more opportunities you’ll get for exposure. It is this exposure that helps lift your head up above the crowds of other businesses identical to yours and will nurture those all-important relationships with your business community.

Teaching shows you as an expert

Readers want actionable advice. Once they know you can offer this, they will come to you to learn, and if you deliver again and again your business will benefit.  Some of those people may sign up for your service or email list because they want to repay you for the content that helped them, or they’ll want to share your practical advice with others. Either way, you win.

At Rather Inventive we are practicing what we preach. We’ve create many blog posts that inform and teach readers the vital parts of marketing. So, how can you educate your audience? How can you share your knowledge and experience so that they’ll want to visit you again?

Image Credit: Cea+ Art Rotterdam

Elevenerife! Let your testimonials sweep your customers away

I am sure you have encountered them, people who brashly sell themselves and tell you how great they are… at everything! If you have been to Tenerife they have undoubtedly been yachting at Elevenerife!

It is incredible how some people still get swept away with this but if you look closely and listen carefully, it’s usually nothing more than overcooked fluff. Over time, their initial supporters learn the hard way and will eventually notice they are not quite what they have projected themselves to be.

For some people, it comes easily to shout about how awesome they are but if you are like me, then you might struggle with doing that convincingly. What if you could get someone else to promote you instead?

Reconnect with your customer

Gathering customer testimonials not only allows you to reconnect and stay fresh in your consumer’s mind but creates more credibility for you and your business. Being able to peruse other customer feedback and evaluate your company and product automatically increases the confidence of your audience and instils a stronger chance of investment when they do make contact with you.

The following testimonial was collected as part of our project feedback request with the client.

“I felt totally supported by RI throughout the [web] project and I thought we worked really well as a team to achieve the final result. The overall knowledge, skills and experience that RI has is impressive and I was delighted with the high level of customer service throughout the project from all members of the team.”
Abbots Hill School for Girls

Text is good but video is better

Text-based testimonials are good but in a generation who are skimming through the lines and reading less, you are more likely to get noticed with a video. Having real people in your testimonials and not airbrushed stock images is more likely to draw in and immerse your audience. By being able to see the person reviewing your service humanises your business and helps create that personal connection. By indirectly showing them how you can help their business, solve their problems and hear why other people thought you were the best choice will only strengthen your allure.

Testimonial video from Matt at Witley Jones

There is virtually no cost in posting a testimonial online, whether in text form on LinkedIn or on a video platform like YouTube. With the click of a button your videos can be easily shared and within seconds you can appeal to a multitude of your customer segments. Remember, what goes on the internet stays on the internet and your testimonial will be working around the clock reaching out across the continents to viewers from all walks of life.

Why not contact one of your customers to see if they would like to share their thoughts with you?

Find out how we can help you use video effectively in your business.

Image Credit: Win by Lisa Risager

Something Inventive 22: Bad Interfaces – Snapchat, Facebook and Big Brands

Jonathan Pollinger (stepping in for Al) joins Ben to discuss Snapchat’s recent design change, Facebook’s news feed favouring ‘meaningful social interactions’ and big brands on social media.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by Ticked Off Marketing Checklist

Simple marketing tasks to act on right away. Each task includes examples, downloads or the steps needed to complete it, plus a big button to tick it off when you’re done. Sign up for a free 7 day trial at ticked-off.com with just your email and no credit card.

Show notes

The Hosts

Jonathan Pollinger (@intranetfuture) – Social Media Specialist at Intranet Future
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Donalize – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman – Image Credit: Classroom Laptops Computers Boy.jpg by R. Nial Bradshaw

Do you have customers or an audience?

Coldplay doesn’t have to convince people to buy tickets to see them in concert, they do what they’re good at, giving people listening pleasure. And they let those people – their audience – voluntarily come to them.

You probably spend loads of your budget each month running ads and sending emails trying to reach people, to interrupt people as they’re watching TV, reading a magazine or travelling on the underground.

This type of advertising relies on clever wording and catchy images to capture attention, and those viewing the ads may or may not turn into a customer. But this type of marketing doesn’t offer customers any inherent reason to engage.

Forget customers, you need an audience

An audience will not need convincing with ads, they will come to you. They will return to you periodically to find out what you’re up to. They’ll want to hear your message – rather than try to avoid it bombarding their day – because they are getting something of value.

These are the people you should be striving to attract to your business, those who will give you their attention willingly. You don’t have to twist their arm with special offers and incentives, they’ll want to find out what you offer and will seek out that information.

So, how do you create an audience?

It could be through blog posts, podcast recordings, white papers, downloadable guides, infographics, free books, Youtube videos – anything that benefits others. This is how you build an audience, and this audience will happily give your permission to market to them, if they are getting valuable content out of it too.

To build an audience you don’t have to sell, you need to give them something they’ll appreciate, something they don’t want to live without. Whether it’s good music or valuable information. So, do what you need to do to get that information out there.

You’ll know if you have an audience, because you won’t need to try to get their attention – they’ll already be listening to what you have to say.

Photo Credit: Party fans raised their hands, Anthony DELANOIX

How to make a great video – Seven Seconds to Success

Within the first 7 seconds, we can all determine whether a film is of interest and at a professional standard. Due to the sheer quantity of visual stimulation, we each experience on a daily basis essentially makes us all film critics who can quickly cut through the chaff and determine what is a good video.  So, you could say that creating a great video has got that little bit harder. Here are seven tips that will help you make your video into a great one.

Storyboard

First and foremost, make the time to storyboard and script your film. This will help take the pressure out of making it up on the spot when the camera is staring at you. It will allow you to be efficient and capture only what you need which will ultimately save you time and money. It may also throw up the need to coordinate with others, gather any necessary permissions and an opportunity to work through any potential problems.

Realistic

Be realistic about what you can achieve; think about the time and resources you have available. In the world of video, what you see in the lens is what you get. It is not so easy to photoshop out the tatty background or change what you have captured. Avoid creating work for yourself by saying you will adjust it in the edit, get it right to start with.

Check and recheck

Once you have set up and framed your shot, check to see if the background is tidy, whether the white balance is accurate, whether you have set your camera to record at the correct frame rate, check your microphone is working and your camera is tightly secured your camera onto a tripod.

Unforgiving Eyes

Some of us have more forgiving eyes than other so as much as it pains me to say it, the video quality of your piece is not necessarily as important as having a good, strong story and message within your film. You could technically get away with slightly the shaky shots, poor lighting, cluttered backgrounds, grainy film quality and a Homer Simpsons complexion if the bones of what you are trying to convey are of interest and presented well. However, and I can’t stress this enough if you take the time to look at the things I have listed you will certainly make an average video into a much greater video.

Equally, if you have spoken audio in the film, the quality of your sound is more important than your story and visuals as poor sound quality will instinctively shut down your audience.

So when you start to plan your video try to get your story, sound, and visuals in an equal Librium to ensure you have an effective, impactful film.

Keep it Simple

If you are new to filmmaking and are not a natural presenter don’t make a long script, keep it simple. Break down what you need to say into short, simple sentences and change your camera angle to avoid long static monologues. Brochure text is not a video script. What sounds good on the page can feel stiff in front of the camera.

Aim for a 1min video. You will be surprised at how much you can pack into a minute and how much effort it takes to create a minute of quality content. Any film, over 5mins in marketing, is an eternity – so definitely keep it short and snappy.

Relax

Make sure that the person you are filming is comfortable in front of the camera otherwise you could make the viewer feel uncomfortable watching them squirm. Even if you are a confident public speaker you will be surprised how difficult it is to remember your lines when the cold eye of the camera lens is staring at them.

Try to read your presenter to gauge how comfortable they are. If they are tense, rushing through their lines or stumbling over their words stay positive. Get them to practice a few times and quietly keep the camera rolling they may just nail it the first time. Keep smiling and stay calm, don’t clock watch them or apply any pressure. Maybe change the words slightly if they are getting hung up on a particular phrase. Deep breaths and shoulder shrugs will help reduce any tense posture and keep them visually looking more relaxed.

Audience

Know your audience and tailor your video to pique their interests. What do they want to know? Rather than creating a purely selling video could you share knowledge, testimonial or an experience?
Let your audience know you, people invest in people. If you plan to film regularly brand your videos with your logo so they can’t be repurposed by other companies and your clients can recognise your brand.

Hopefully, these helpful pointers might help you stand out from the crowd for the right reasons.

 

Image credit: Alienated by Taylor McBride – Flickr