Chris Raines

I tell stories with video. I love creating things and I love my job. You can visit my production company at bullhornmedia.tv

This site is a combination of professional portfolio items/posts and snippets from daily life.                     


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  • Mar 12, 14

    This post is part of a series of posts on how to get the most out YouTube as a hosting/sharing platform. Note: Youtube may not be the best place to host your content. For more information on which hosting provider to use, read this post.

    Whenever someone asks me that question, my immediate instinct is to give them a high-five. Why? Because so few people actually ask it. And it’s probably the most important question you can ask regarding YouTube marketing. YouTube might be free but there’s a vast sea of content hosted there. If you’re not strategic about what kind of video you post you’ll run the risk of getting lost in that sea. 

    So, what kind of video should you produce for YouTube?

    I think a good place to start is by asking a different question. What do YouTube viewers want? Once we answer that question, it simply becomes a matter of giving them what they want. So what do YouTube viewers want? The following is what I feel is a catch-all exhaustive list of why people visit YouTube.

    1) To be entertained

    2) To learn something

    That’s pretty much it.  

    I know it sounds simple, but think about the last time you went to YouTube. You probably went to watch a funny SNL bit or to watch a music video or some other kind of entertainment. Otherwise, you’re hitting up YouTube to help you solve a problem, to learn.  Last year, I had the daunting task of changing my car’s radiator. After several attempts at reading text-based tutorials online I turned to YouTube for answers. Sure enough, some guy from Texas had filmed a tutorial on how to change a radiator for my exact same car model. Step-by-step. It was like he made that video exclusively for me.

    We go to YouTube to be entertained or to learn.

    This simple premise should guide your YouTube strategy. Because one thing is for sure, YouTubers are NOT chomping at the bit to watch your new “Marketing Video” They don’t care. They want Beyonce. The best way to compete for eyeballs on YouTube is to give people what they want.

    Here are some brands doing entertainment right:

    Example 1: Virgin Airlines

    This not only serves as the “official” safety presentation for Virgin Airlines, but it also became a viral hit, as you can see from the 8.7 million plays at the time of this writing. But entertainment doesn’t have to have theatrics and choreography, as the second example will show.

    Example 2: West Jet

    Entertainment can also take the form of inspiration. This video from West Jet made the rounds in Christmas of 2013. It currently has around 35 million views. It’s both shocking and inspirational, a deadly combo. People share this type of content because it’s unusual and content itself makes people feel good.

    Now I know what you’re thinking at this point:

    “But Chris, I’m not Virgin Airlines or West Jet. I don’t have millions of dollars to spend on elaborate “viral” videos and I don’t have hundreds of brilliant people on tap at ad agencies thinking this stuff up for me.” 

    Fair enough. I get it. we can’t all be Fortune 500s. This is why, for most businesses, the best way to approach YouTube is to educate your audience.

    Here are some brands doing education right:

    Example 1: Snagajob

    I love this channel! Snagajob is a job finding site and their YouTube content plan is stellar. Any question you could possibly have about jobs, job-hunting, or anything related is answered here. Not only is this type of YouTube strategy easy to implement from a technical standpoint, it’s also easy to sustain. You can make as many videos as there are questions.

    Example 2: Betty Crocker

    Betty Crocker’s YouTube channel is a great example of providing utility to the viewer. Look at the titles on that channel. Almost every single video title starts with “How To”  Betty Crocker understands why people go to YouTube. And they’re giving them what they want.

    So which is better? Entertainment or Education?

    Neither one is better, they are simply different strategies. Entertainment tends to be more difficult (and more expensive) to pull off but you stand to get a bigger audience and a bigger reward (as evidenced by the 35 million views on the West Jet video). Educational content is probably not going to make a huge splash with millions of views, but you can do more videos with the same budget.

    One thing is for sure though. YouTubers are NOT interested in your shiny new “marketing” video. Give them what they want.

     

     

    The post What Kind of Video Should You Produce For YouTube? (YouTube Tip #4) appeared first on Nashville Video Production - Bullhorn Media.

  • Feb 17, 14

    The video industry is changing.

    This isn’t a new thing. It’s always been this way. Early 20th century pioneers brought us the Cathode Ray Tube, the first piece of technology for transporting live images remotely. Not long after that all the radio broadcasters became TV broadcasters too. The 50′s brought color TV to our homes for the first time. Since then we’ve seen television sets grow to become the centerpiece of the American living room. Over the years TV’s got bigger and bigger. With LCD technology they got thinner and thinner. In 2014, the video your smart phone can display is far more impressive than the very best television from 1985.

    In many ways this change is a good thing. It’s brought a better viewing experience to viewers and greater choice to consumers. But all this change can also create confusion and cause people to waste money. Anyone who rushed out to buy a Betamax tape deck can attest to that (if you’ve never heard of Betamax it’s because that format lost out to VHS in the tape “format war” of the 80′s)

    Which brings us to the newest “shiny thing” I’d like to address: 4K Video

    What is 4K video?

    First a quick history lesson. I promise not to bore you.

    In the olden days when TV was first introduced it was only possible to capture images in a square that amounted to 720 pixels wide by 480 pixels tall. So all TVs displayed 720 pixels by 480 pixels. This has come to be know as “Standard Definition” (or SD). All TV was broadcast in SD from the 1950′s until around the first part of the the 21st century. Starting in the early 2000′s, it became possible and economical for TV cameras to capture much larger images. “High Definition” TV was born, which boasts an image size of 1920 x 1080. Starting in around 2001 and for the next 10 years or so, television makers started selling HD TV sets and TV broadcasters started broadcasting in HD. At the time of this writing, around 75% of U.S. homes have at least one HD set.

    While the SD to HD conversion was happening, camera and display technology was rapidly advancing. Cameras became capable of capturing much larger images and display technology allowed for the display of those images. This led to the introduction of 4K, which is a little over double the size of HD at 4096 x 2160.

    That’s around 4 times the number of pixels, which is pretty significant. So it only stands to reason that the picture will look 4 times sharper, right?

    Well not exactly… which brings me to the next point. And get excited, because it involves science!

    A quick science lesson… from some smart people

    The reality is that resolution does matter, but only to a point. At a certain point, the human eye loses the ability to distinguish pixels. At that point more resolution doesn’t matter because it looks the same to the human eye. More on this from this insightful article from Geoffrey Morrison, quoted below.

    The human eye, for all its amazingness, has a finite resolution. This is why you can read your computer screen from where you’re sitting, but not if you’re on the other side of the room. Everyone is different, but the average person with 20/20 vision can resolve 1 arcminute. One arcminute is 1/60th a degree. If you assume your field of vision is 180 degrees (it’s not, but go with me here), and you take 1 degree of that, you’re able to resolve a 1/60th sliver of that degree. Close up this means you can see hairs on your arm, wrinkles on your thumb, and so on. At distance, these fine details disappear. If a friend waves at you from across a field, you can probably see the person’s thumbs, but not any wrinkles or hair. Far enough away, you probably won’t even be able to see thumbs, unless those are some really, really big thumbs.

    Given that, here are a few general guidelines for pixel resolution, viewing distance, and screen size:

    • The larger the screen size, the more pixels you need to achieve a sharper image
    • The closer the viewer is to the screen, the more pixels you need to achieve a sharper image
    • The more pixels there are, the larger the screen needs to be in order to take advantage of those extra pixels

    Here’s a handy chart from Carlton Bale that gives a visual of this relationship.

    Relationship between viewing distance, pixel count, and screen size

    Should my company be producing 4k video?

    Given the information above, it makes it a little easier to make that decision. It will depend on how your video will be shown and in what context the audience is watching it. If your video distribution strategy is web only and you know that most of those web viewers will be watching your video on their smart phones, then it doesn’t make sense to produce your video in 4k. Viewers won’t be able to tell the difference on their tiny 3″ – 6″ screens.

    However, if your video is destined for a very large screen then it could make sense to shoot in 4k. Or if you think that at some point in the future you’ll want to display your video on a very large screen, then a good way to future-proof your video for that purpose can be capturing in 4k.

    For all other purposes, at least right now, you’re not going to see a massive benefit from 4k. You will, however, see an increased cost in producing in 4k due to more expensive equipment and greater hard drive storage requirements.

    So is 4k a fad or the future of video?

    That’s a tough question to answer just yet. In order for 4k to get wide adoption the price for TV sets needs to come down a good deal, probably under $1,000. This will happen soon enough, but I don’t expect everyone to run out right away and replace their HD sets with 4k sets. Television broadcasters are still nursing their HD switch hangover so they certainly aren’t chomping at the bit to upgrade their systems to 4k after coughing up millions switching to HD.  4K is far more likely to catch on quickly in the online video world, where there aren’t as many technical challenges to overcome to implement it. But even then, don’t expect an enormously different viewing experience. In terms of web video, corporate video, and other branches of the video business outside of Hollywood features, I think 4k will remain a small niche for a long time.

    Cover Photo Credit: Brandon King

    The post 4K Video: Fad or The Future? appeared first on Nashville Video Production - Bullhorn Media.

  • Jan 27, 14

    This short post is part of a series of posts on how to get the most out YouTube as a hosting/sharing platform. Note: Youtube may not be the best place to host your content. For more information on which hosting provider to use, read this post.

    YouTube has come a long way since it’s birth in 2006. What first started out as a simple video hosting service that only displayed postage stamp-sized video has transformed into one of the most visited sites on the internet. There are a plethora of tools for YouTube now: Annotations, support for 4K video, flexible embedding, and monitization.

    Youtube, circa 2005

     

    But there’s one tool that many people overlook, especially marketers and SEOs , and in doing so really sacrifice lot of potential for their videos. That tool is the lowly “Closed Caption” button.

    Why would you want to use closed captioning?

    Great Question! A couple reasons:

    1) Accessibility – Some of your customers or future customers may be deaf or hard-of-hearing, so you’re extending access to your content to those people. That’s a swell thing to do!

    2) YouTube crawls caption files – This is a big one, and it’s rooted in SEO. Videos are inherently difficult for google to index because they consist of moving images and sound. So if you post a video about horse training, the only way google knows that video is about horse training is if there is text attached to that video that reads “horse training” Bottom line: google loves text. The more text you give, the more accurately your video can be indexed.

    Wait, doesn’t YouTube automatically caption all videos?

    Good point. Yes, YouTube auto-captions videos. The problem is that currently it does a horrible job actually translating sound to text correctly. Your best bet is to submit captions for YouTube to use. If you don’t want to take the time to transcribe your videos to text, there are many online services that will do it for you at a great price, like VerbalInk.com and Rev.com. At Bullhorn Media we use angelbrowntranscription as she offers more custom services like time-coded documents that are useful for video professionals.

    Once you get your transcription text, all you need to do is upload it, and YouTube’s speech recognition will match the text to the appropriate timecode of the video. Pretty cool!

    So the next time you produce a video for YouTube, don’t forget this small but powerful tool.
    It will give your video, and your marketing, an extra edge.

    Previously: Optimizing YouTube descriptions
    Next up: What kind of content should I produce for YouTube?

    The post YouTube Captions: Underused but Powerful (YouTube Tips #3) appeared first on Nashville Video Production - Bullhorn Media.

  • Jan 27, 14

    2013 is almost behind us, and it’s been quite an eventful year in the video world. Lots of new players in the game as well as some some old players doing new and interesting things.

    Here’s a rundown of the top video news of 2013.

    Twitter Releases Vine

    In late 2012 Twitter acquired the very young video sharing app Vine. Vine allowed users to post 6 second video clips to their followers. Twitter released the app in January 2013, and opened up a whole new way for people interact and communicate online. Vine was able to induce “creativity through constraints” by limiting the length of videos in the same way Twitter did it by keeping tweets at 140 characters or less. This constraint went on to inspire a whole genre of stop-motion Vines, using short bursts of recording to create elaborate video compositions that aren’t possible with continuous recording.

    My Thoughts:
    Vine is a fantastic way for marketers to do story-telling online as long as they play to the platform’s strengths. Vine is not the place to turn the camera to yourself and announce sales and coupons. Vine is a place where you can kick back and have some fun and, dare I say it, show some personality! Brands that succeed on the platform will use it to allow people to get a peek into the culture of the company, have fun, and be entertaining.

    Instagram Gets Video

    In June photo sharing app Instagram followed suit added a video feature to their IOS and Android apps. Users could now shoot up to 15 seconds of video and share with their followers. And true to Instagram’s DNA, the release featured brand new filters specifically for video.

    My Thoughts:
    Even though they weren’t first to market on video sharing, Instagram video has a big advantage over Vine because they already had 100,000,000 users on day 1. The other advantage to Instagram’s product is their 15 second limit, almost 3 times the limit of Vine. This gives brands a bit more flexibility

    Facebook Announces Auto-play Video Ads

    In December, Facebook announced plans to roll out auto-play video ads in user’s feeds. Ads would play to all of facebook’s user feeds and be priced at $2 million dollars a day.

    My Thoughts:
    This is clearly facebook’s strategy to siphon advertising dollars away from TV broadcasters. It’s also important to note that facebook has been offering video ads for a while. This is the first time those have auto-played. I don’t think this will be a home run for facebook. First, I think many users will use facebook less out of fear that their data charges will sky-rocket over the auto-play ads. Secondly, I think it goes to far in diluting the end user experience. Facebook’s auto-play ads will be the equivalent to websites that automatically play music, forcing the user to hunt around for the volume and playback controls to turn it off. It’s simply too intrusive and annoying.

    Netflix Wins An Emmy (or three)

    David Fincher wins an Emmy for House of Cards

    When David Fincher took home a directing Emmy for “House of Cards”, the series (produced by Netflix) became the first web-only show to win an Emmy award. The series also took home two Creative Arts Emmys for casting and cinematography.

    My Thoughts:
    Netflix has been very up front about their ambitions, saying that want to “we want to become HBO faster than HBO can become us”. Next year, they will double the amount of original shows they produce. The net effect is that over time they’ll become far less dependent on studios and constantly re-negotiating distribution agreements. It also allows them to let fans watch TV shows how they want: all at once, rather than having to wait 7 days(sometimes longer) between shows. I’m always amazed at how forward-thinking Netflix is. They’re always at least 2 steps ahead of their competition. When Blockbuster was coasting along with brick-and-mortar stores, Netflix was disrupting that business through mail-order DVDs. By the time Blockbuster woke up and started to offer the same, Netflix was already deeply invested in streaming. Blockbuster was outmatched at every step. Vertical integration is simply the next step for Netflix to control the user experience.

    Vimeo Launches “On Demand”

    In other digital distribution news, Vimeo announced their “On Demand” product in March 2013. It allows independent content producers and film-makers to offer their work on Vimeo for whatever price they choose. The service is reserved for paid Vimeo Pro users.

    My Thoughts:
    As any young unknown film-maker will tell you, sometimes the hardest part of making a movie is finding distribution for it. There have long been distribution gate-keepers that film-makers have to go through to get their work seen by the masses. Vimeo On-Demand removes that, allowing aspiring creators to sell directly to their audience (Vimeo takes a 10% cut) This is truly a unique product. Currently the other competitors (most notably Itunes and Amazon) still require you to have a distribution partner in place in order to show your film. I really hope Vimeo continues to develop this product and make it easier for content to be discovered and displayed via On Demand.

    93 Percent of Marketers Now Engaged in Video Marketing

    According to the recently released 2013 Online Video Marketing Survey Results and Trends Report, 93% of marketers now say they use video as a part of their overall marketing strategy. This is a big bump from the same study from 2012 which showed that 80% of marketers were using video. (click here to grab the report)

    My Thoughts:
    This is a trend we’ve seen for the past few years. More marketing dollars are being focused toward online video as marketers of all types are seeing a better return on that investment as opposed to traditional paid media and TV spots. I think in 2014 and in the future we’re going to see more brands act as media publishers and incorporate video as a regular part of their marketing as opposed to producing “one-off” videos. I look for companies to start making short web series’ of their own and releasing them on a regular weekly basis as opposed to putting all their efforts toward one or two big videos per year.

    We’ve come a long way since the first postage stamp-sized videos appeared on YouTube in 2005. Online video is still very young. Content creators, businesses, and marketers are still figuring out how to best use online video to achieve their goals. It really is a challenging, yet exciting time to be in this business.

    So, did I miss anything? Any big pieces of video news you think should have been included? Let me know in the comments below!

     

     

    The post Top Video News of 2013 appeared first on Nashville Video Production - Bullhorn Media.

  • Jan 27, 14

    When we produce a video for a client, oftentimes the only time they see their video is when it’s in “finished form”. Rarely do they get to see the steps along the way that make the finished product possible. So I thought it might be helpful to show a bit of what it takes to get a video from the early conceptual stages to a finished work.

    1. Creative Direction

    This example will focus on a book trailer we created for Yale Press, in partnership with JKS Communications. The trailer was for the title “Surge”, written by Dr. Peter Monsoor. The book is about the period in the Iraq War known as the “Surge” as told by a military insider (Monsoor was the Executive Officer to General Petraeus during that time). This book was focused squarely at history buffs, so during content development we knew the key messages we wanted to communicate were 1) The insider status of the author and 2) The fact that much of the information contained in the book has never been released before.

    2. The Interview

    With those key points as a guide, we developed a list of questions to reveal those points during the interview with Dr. Monsoor. The next step after the interview is to produce a transcript from the interview (sample shown below).

    3. The Paper Edit

    The time-coded transcript would allow us to quickly grab bits and pieces in order to create what is referred to as a “paper edit” A paper edit represents all of the content from the finished piece in written form. Once the paper edit is complete, the editor will have a solid base to work from as they build the finished piece.

    The video below shows what the video looks like after a rough edit. This will be the backbone of the piece. It’s pretty uninspiring at this stage, and that’s where the magic of editing comes in.

    4. Add Visuals

    For this piece, we decided to use actual images from the battlefield in Iraq to enhance the video and draw the viewer into the experience.  At this stage, the primary concern is matching the right image for the right moment of the video.

    5. Visuals Sweetened + Graphics

    Once all the visuals are in, we reposition, resize, and add movement and zooms. We also created a graphic callout to include a positive review the book received. We’re getting there, but the video still needs one important ingredient… music.

    6. Music

    Music is a critical component of video. It’s the element most responsible for creating the style, tone, and overall feeling of any video. When you’re selecting(or creating) music for video or film, you should first think about the feeling you want your audience to have and then work backward from there. Because we wanted the audience to feel like the were getting a peek into a previously unseen world, we selected a piece of music that gave a sense of drama and anticipation, yet offered dynamic lifts and troughs as well.  The dynamic movements allow the video to come alive in a way that a steady, consistent music bed can’t.

    Here’s the finished piece:

     

    And that, as they say, is how the sausage is made. I hope this post can some insight on the creative process of producing a video.

    The post Script to Screen: The Making of a Book Trailer appeared first on Nashville Video Production - Bullhorn Media.

  • Feb 20, 14

    This short post is part of a series of posts on how to get the most out YouTube as a hosting/sharing platform. Note: Youtube may not be the best place to host your content. For more information on which hosting provider to use, read this post.

    Video presents a unique challenge for search engines. Since video is both image and audio-driven, it’s very difficult for search engines to crawl and index. Because of this, google relies heavily on the text-based information surrounding the video to find out what the video is about. In the last post, I went over how to properly optimize the title of your YouTube video. In this post, I’ll go over some best practices for optimizing YouTube descriptions.

    Use your keywords

    The description field is the place where YouTube gives you the most space to insert your own text. Take full advantage of this, and use your keywords as well (you are using the keyword tool, right?) Another important thing to remember is that google only shows around  110 characters of the description field on a results page (shown below) so include your most important information in those first 110 words.

    Put your URL first

    If you’re using YouTube for marketing then you probably want to eventually direct people away from YouTube and onto your site where you can sell directly to them and move them through your sales process.  YouTube only shows the first 3 lines of content in the description field by default, so you’ll want your URL at the very top to make sure viewers see it.

    Promote your other social channels

    YouTube is very generous with the number of characters you can use in the description field. So why not take advantage of all that room? Use the description field to link up to your facebook page, twitter profile, instagram feed or any other social channel your organization uses. The added benefit is that when you get new followers by doing this, they’ll be more likely to watch future videos that you promote using social media.

     

    Previous: 5 Tips on How to Write Good YouTube Titles
    Next: The Most Underused Powerful Feature on YouTube

     

    The post Optimizing YouTube Descriptions (YouTube Tips #2) appeared first on Nashville Video Production - Bullhorn Media.

  • Jan 27, 14

    It’s hard to get where you want to go if you don’t know where you want to go.

    That’s a bit of a tongue-tying statement but it’s true. And it’s a good thing to remember when you’re producing a video. In this case, the “where you want to go” part is discovered through making a Creative Brief.

    What is a Creative Brief?

    A Creative Brief is a roadmap for your video production. It defines your goals, your audience, and the overall purpose of your video. It is the central place where you and your production partner can get on the same page and share the same goals. As a part of every production we do, my clients fill out an online version of a creative brief. Let’s take a look at the different parts of a creative brief and why they exist.

    The Goal

    Every video should have, at its beginning, a problem that needs to be solved or a goal that needs to be accomplished.

    Some common goals for a video are:

    • Describing a key process or component of your business
    • Displaying benefits and features of a product
    • Getting new facebook likes or twitter followers
    • Obtaining contact information from website visitors
    Whatever your goals are, be sure and write them down. By starting with the goal in mind you’ll be much more likely to reach it. Try to stick with 1 goal for each video. The more goals you try to cram into a creative brief the more you will dilute your video and lower your chances of achieving that goal.

    Narrative Delivery 

    There are a number of different ways to deliver the narrative of your video. Usually this is an audio component such as voice-over or interview content but it can also be motion graphics, text overlay, or simply video alone. Many videos will mix these different elements together. A common format for business videos is to use voice-over to introduce segments and then use interview content for the segments themselves.

    Related Post: For more information on deciding which format is right for you, read: Interview-based videos vs. script-based videos

    Audience

    This section will describe who your video is made for. Great videos are not produced with every single possible person in mind. Great videos have a specific audience and attempt to only speak to that audience. This allows you to hone your message in and communicate with greater focus.  You’ll also need to answer what context the video will be viewed in. Will it be on a specific page of your website? On a large screen at a conference? On broadcast TV? All these questions are important ones to answer at the beginning because they will shape how content and feel of your video.

    Length

    This section will define how long the video should be. Important things to keep in mind here include where your video will be shown. If the video is online or on YouTube, then shorter will tend to be better. If it’s a broadcast TV commercial, then you’ll most likely be restricted to 30 or 60 seconds. However, if you have a captive audience you’ll have more flexibility on video length.

    Related Post: How Long Should a Promotional Video Be?

    Deadline

    When does the video need to be completed? This is important to know because it will affect things such as scheduling crew, time spend editing, and pre-production timelines. A smooth video production will have a clear deadline as well as milestones in place that will ensure the project gets completed on time.

    Style

    In our creative brief, we ask clients to give links of other videos they like or want us to get inspiration from. Many times it’s a lot easier to show someone an idea rather than try to explain it. Having other videos to draw on and gain inspiration from can be an important tool for getting both client and vendor on the same page.

    Budget

    What is the range of what you want to spend on the video? The reason video producers ask for this is because it allows them to flex in order to meet your needs. There’s no need to discuss getting that epic helicopter shot if you’ve only got $1500 to spend. Getting a budget, or at least a range, allows all parties to focus in and achieve the goals of the video for a price that works for everyone.

    There are lots of other things you could include in a creative brief, but the ones listed above are the most important and will serve you well on your next video production.

    The post The Importance of a Creative Brief appeared first on Nashville Video Production - Bullhorn Media.

  • Jan 27, 14

    This short post will kick off a series of posts on how to get the most out YouTube as a hosting/sharing platform. Note: Youtube may not be the best place to host your content. For more information on which hosting provider to use, read this post.

    YouTube is a great place to put your video to expose it to as large an audience as possible. At the time of this writing, the site boasts over 6 billion hours of video watched each month. This is the reason why most businesses have content on YouTube. It has become the de-facto place to watch video online. YouTube has also risen as a search engine in its own right, and is the second largest search engine on the internet.

    But despite knowledge of YouTube’s prominence as a search engine, many marketers fail to optimize their videos to be indexed and found by that search engine. One of the biggest mistakes is using bad titles. When YouTube crawls and indexes your video, one of the most important pieces of information used is the information you put into the “title” field.  Use the 5 tips below to get the most out of your titles and the most traffic to your videos.

    1) Use the keyword tool

    Ideally your video title will reflect phrases that people are actually searching for in the real world. So how do you find out what people are searching for? Luckily, google provides a tool called the keyword tool that will help you. Simply type in a keyword or phrase and the keyword planner will show you how many people are searching for that term every month on YouTube.  This will give you an idea for how competitive your term is to rank for.

    Here’s an example of a good title and bad title for a defense attorney:

    Bad – Raines & Associates
    Good – Defense Attorney Nashville, TN

    Unless you are a well-known name, a very small amount of searchers will be searching for your company name. They are more likely searching for the product or service you offer and your general location.

    2) Stick to 50 characters or less

    YouTube allows for up to 100 characters in the title field, but only 50-60 characters are shown in search results. Google places an ellipses at the end for longer titles, which can clutter up the search result for that video.

    3) Use numbers

    Using numbers in titles has a bit of a bad rap, especially in the blog world (i.e. “10 Tips for.. ” “5 Reasons Why…” “12 Amazing Pictures..”) The reality is they work very well and consistently outperform similar titles that don’t contain numbers. So if you’re a plumbing company and you’ve produced a video that explains 5 tips to keep your pipes from freezing then consider titling the video “5 Things You Must Do to Avoid Frozen Pipes” instead of “Tips for Avoiding Frozen Pipes”

    4) Don’t overdo it with keywords

    It may be tempting to just stuff all of your target keywords into a YouTube title, but this might actually hurt you. Google is constantly refining their search engine and the latest update puts an increased emphasis on search results that answer questions as opposed to simply returning results with high keyword density. The “Hummingbird” update (September 2013) changed the way google handles “long-tail” phrases. This means that it will now be easier to get found through long keyword phrases and phrases that use natural language. This is a good thing for content creators and a good thing for users as well. Here is an article that explains the Hummingbird update in greater detail.

    5) Measure and adjust

    As with any marketing strategy, you may need to change course after you publish your video if it’s not performing how you wanted it to. YouTube allows you to change your title at any time so keep tweaking until you find a title that’s right for you.

    Next post: Optimizing descriptions in YouTube

     

    The post 5 Tips on How to Write Good YouTube Titles (YouTube Tips #1) appeared first on Nashville Video Production - Bullhorn Media.

  • Jan 27, 14

    So you’ve produced your web video. You’re super-pumped about how it turned out. All the right pieces came together. It’s compelling. It’s persuasive. It has the right call-to-action. This web video is going to drive conversions and take your business to the next level. You can’t stop fist-pumping.

    But there’s just one more problem to solve: How are you going to get this video in front of your audience? That brings us to the topic of this post. Video Hosting.

    There are plenty of video hosting options out there, and there’s some confusion as to which one is the best. The answer is that there’s no such thing as a best option. Each option has its strengths and weaknesses. I’m going to break things down into 3 broad categories: YouTube(Free Hosting), Self-Hosting, and Paid Hosting. Let’s get started.

    YouTube

    When most people think of video hosting, they immediately think of YouTube. It’s by far the biggest and most popular video hosting and sharing site on the internet. And with over 72 hours of video uploaded every minute, it’s massively popular. But even with that massive popularity, YouTube might not be the right fit for your video hosting needs. Here are some pros and cons for using YouTube.

    Pros
    • Visibility – YouTube gets over 800 million unique visitors each month. This number is astronomical. As far as online video, nothing even comes close. If it’s important that your video be seen by the largest possible audience then YouTube is an obvious choice.
    • Ease of Use – YouTube makes it incredibly easy to start a channel and start uploading video. You don’t have to know any code and you can upload any format or file type and YouTube will convert it and optimize it for you.
    • SEO - Because YouTube is owned by google, it gets indexed by by google very quickly. If your video is optimized with the appropriate titles, tags, description, and captions you’re in a good place to get found by YouTube’s huge audience.
    • Sharability – Youtube isn’t just a video hosting site. It’s a full-blown social network. Youtubers comment, share, and interact with the content they like. Youtube videos are easy to embed on facebook and pretty much any website.

     

    Cons
    • Little control over brandingYouTube doesn’t allow you to control how your playback controls or interface look and you won’t be able to get rid of the logo in the lower-right corner. You also can’t control which videos appear alongside your’s. Edit: It was brought to my attention through a blog comment that YouTube actually allows you to remove the logo as well as some other fine-tuning I wasn’t aware of. Full details on embed options can be found on the google developers page.
    • SEO goes to YouTube, not your site – If you have a popular video on youtube, all of that SEO value is going to YouTube, not your site. If your goal is to get people to a landing page and convert them there, YouTube makes that goal harder. Remember, YouTube is in the advertising game and they want to keep people on their site as long as possible in order to serve more ads.
    • TOS Agreement - When you host to YouTube you have to abide by their Terms of Service, which could change at any point in time. This means that YouTube can pull your video offline at any time and there’s not much you could do about it.

     

    Self-Hosting

    Another option is to host the video yourself. If you’re a small business, chances are you have enough room through your hosting provider to upload a few videos without getting charged extra. If you’re a mid to large-sized company then you might even have dedicated servers that you own and maintain, making self-hosting even easier. Here are some pros and cons to self-hosting

    Pros
    • Control – Unlike YouTube, you can control every aspect of how the controls on your video player appear (provided you have the right player or coding skills to do it) You also don’t have to worry about any cat videos showing up next to your serious business-focused video.
    • Non-Downloadable – Self-hosted videos are more difficult for others to rip off of your site. With free hosting sites like YouTube, anyone can rip your video and repost it elsewhere.
    • SEO goes to you – As long as you’ve properly optimized your video for the search engines, all of that SEO love goes right to your website, not the hosting provider’s
    • Ad-free – You don’t have to worry about popups, pre-rolls ads, or surrounding ads clouding up your video.

     

    Cons
    • Smaller Audience – When you self-host, you’re giving up the massive audience that YouTube has. Remember that YouTube is also currently the second largest search engine. When you self-host, you give up the ability for your video to be found in YouTube search.
    • Possible Cost – If you don’t have enough hosting space already, you may have to pay for it.
    • No TOS – You own the video AND the hosting. You never have to worry about another company taking your video down.

    Paid Hosting

    Paid hosting is a third category that’s relatively new to the video hosting world. These providers are trying to combine the benefits of free hosting and self-hosting. The players here are Wistia, Vimeo Pro, BrightCove, VidYard and others. These companies really fill out the middle ground in the video hosting world and may be a good fit if neither free hosting or self-hosting sounds appealing.

     

    Pros
    • Control – Like self-hosting you can control how your video looks and how your video player looks. The services here will have varying degrees of control to offer.
    • SEO goes to you – Services like Wistia provide a “SEO-ready” embed code, which automatically makes your video findable by google and the other search engines. And all that good SEO mojo goes to you, not a third party.
    • Analytics – This one is a pretty big deal. Wistia has the most impressive video analytics with their “heat map” which allows you to see exactly which parts of your video have the highest engagement. This allows you to discover where your video is falling flat and then tweak it to get the best engagement
    • Easy to Use – For most of the paid hosting services, your video will be as easy to upload as YouTube. The interfaces are modern and easy to navigate. If you’re self-hosting, oftentimes you need to have some knowledge about FTP or coding in order to get your video working correctly.

     

    Cons

    Cost – The paid hosting services are delivering most of the pros of self-hosting and free hosting sites like YouTube, so you’ll need to pay for that benefit. The cost for the paid hosting providers will range from $200/yr to $2400/yr
    Smaller Audience – As with self-hosting, paid hosting means you won’t be searchable on YouTube.

    Conclusion

    The ideal hosting solution will depend largely on what your goals are for your video. Here are a few possible goals along with recommendations.

    Goal: I want as many people as possible to see my video.
    Solution: Youtube
    Reason: Youtube has the biggest audience and the most opportunity for social sharing

    Goal: I want to get people to my landing page and turn them into customers.
    Solution: Self-hosting or Paid Hosting
    Reason: Embedding a YouTube video on your landing page gives YouTube better SEO, not your site.

    Goal: I want to create content that I can sell online
    Solution: Paid Hosting
    Reason: Only paid hosting will give you easy tools to hide your video behind a paywall.

    Goal: I want to make the next big viral video!!
    Solution: YouTube YouTube YouTube
    Reason: Have you ever watched a “viral video” on any other site??

    There’s much more that could be discussed about video hosting, but hopefully this article can get you started in the right direction. Happy hosting!!

    The post Video Hosting: YouTube vs Self-Hosting vs Paid Hosting appeared first on Nashville Video Production - Bullhorn Media.

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