In Episode 4 of the Content Conversations podcast, Lucy Mowatt speaks to Justina Rosu about video marketing. They discuss how to get started, vital equipment and the common challenges faced by marketers.
Lucy Mowatt: Hi, Justina. How are you?
Justina Rosu: I’m very good. Thank you, Lucy.
LM: Good! Thanks for coming on the podcast. I really appreciate it.
Just to get started, could you introduce yourself and what it is that you do, please?
JR: Yeah, sure. No problem at all. So, my name is Justina and I’m a kind of… I never quite know how to describe myself…
So, it can be video producer, video director, video strategist, editor, all kinds of things. Basically pretty much anything to do with video, and that’s, at the moment, very niche in the entrepreneurial online space.
LM: I understand that you worked for the BBC, and you’ve worked on documentaries and things like that, so you’ve got a real, solid base in video production.
JR: Yeah, that’s right. So, my career was in television before I left the BBC and I’ve now got a video production agency as well. So, I’ve done work with brands like Tate & Lyle and Activia. I managed the Lyle’s Golden Syrup, social media video campaign when they were sponsoring the Great British Bake Off.
I obviously do corporate videos and all that kind of stuff. I’ve got quite a broad knowledge and now I also train small business owners on how to use video themselves; what they can do when they don’t have a budget for a full-on crew.
And I also teach people to get started on YouTube. But the flip side of that is I also do go into corporate and even television stations and channels and help them to learn how to leverage the kind of videos that entrepreneurs are doing. CEOs also now need to be able to pick up the phone and make a pretty decent video themselves. It’s not all about high-level production, even in [the] corporate [world] these days.
LM: Yeah, there’s been a real boom in video production across the board bit in the last few years.
LM: Do you think there’s any particular reason for that, beyond the capability of technology that we have in our pockets?
JR: Yeah, it is primarily because we have the capability and the technology to be able to do that.
So, therefore […] the market is saturated. And if you don’t jump on board, you start getting left behind. And then, of course, we’ve kind of gone past the stage of everyone just doing video now to be seen; you need to have good video.
And it’s just a really great communication tool because now we’re also used to seeing video. It’s almost like it’s noticeable when the video marketing is absent. You go to a website these days and if you don’t find a video, you go “Oh, okay. Well, I’m sure if I hop over to their social media, there’ll be video.”
It’s quite something to find a brand that doesn’t have any video representation now. So, now it’s all about raising the standard of the video; to stand out by having better quality videos.
It’s quite something to find a brand that doesn’t have any video representation now.Justina Rosu
LM: How do you think video marketing can help support general marketing? Is it giving a human face to a brand? Is there going behind the scenes? What are the advantages of video marketing?
JR: Well, video marketing helps you to help your viewer to make that decision faster. So, it speeds up that process that your viewers will all be very familiar with; the whole ‘know, like and trust’ factor. Well, I think really now is more ‘know, like and love’ factor. It speeds that process up.
Not just that, but when we see people on video regularly, even if we begin by maybe not quite warming to them so much, the regularity of seeing someone on video, in fact, makes us then start to like them more.
And as you said, it’s really humanising. So… if you have a product and […] you’re not a personal brand, you still in some way need to weave in that story. People want to know about the founder. They want to know about the people behind the brand. So, even when I look at startup videos that are on fundraising campaigns, it’s very much the story of the people. And that has just continued to transfer too, because that’s what we want to know as buyers these days; we’re far more interested in the sustainability; the mould of the people. We want to align with the values of our products more than ever before, and that comes from the humanising; getting to know the people in the bones.
LM: So, you’ve sort of hit on my next question, which was going to be why is video marketing so powerful? You pretty much answered that!
What are the options if people have businesses that are looking to get into video marketing? Are there particular different types or techniques? I think we’re all aware of explainer videos these days, but are there other options or formats that you’d recommend?
JR: Yeah, I mean, there’s so many to choose from really nowadays. So, explainer videos are great. In fact, when I started my video production agency, that was the thing that we did the most of; nearly everything was animated explainer videos. Nowadays it’s far less of that and it’s much more people on camera. But I still think there’s a place for those kinds of animated videos.
Now, it’s about looking for a variety of different styles of video and where that fits; what you’re trying to communicate best. Even if you have a really polished brand, let’s say you have the budget to have fully produced videos, you would still then want to have some behind the scenes. Whether it’s you or your team, in terms of how big your business is, doing some videos of themselves on their phones, is perfectly acceptable.
And then having the social videos, where you see stock footage and moving graphics or text. You want to have some of that in there as well, if you can.
Go fully into getting some animation going with that, also, and things that on a sales page. For example, now you might, have at the top, your piece on camera, hopefully, with a bit of texture in there, with perhaps some on-screen graphics, some on-screen text to kind of give a bit of variety. But then, at the bottom or further down, you might have a video that’s completely screenshots of you showing some of the product that you’re selling, or a video which is just a product, if it’s not a software.
So, it’s really now about looking at different ways that you can use different styles of video. And you know, durations as well, having longer and shorter video. So, you’ve got to think about who your audience is, where you’re posting that video.
The most important thing is always, always being really clear on what you want that video to do for you.Justina Rosu
And if it’s just raising awareness of your brand, if it’s leading into a sale, or if it’s trying to build a list, or what you’re trying to achieve, it’s is the most important thing really, however you do it.
LM: That’s something [that’s been mentioned in] all of the podcasts: what is your purpose, and what is your audience, and how do those two things marry together in the content that you’re creating? And video marketing is no different.
JR: Yeah, it’s exactly the same. So, all those things you look at: whereabouts in your viewer’s buying journey are they… it’s the same thing. Where are they in that journey? So, how are you talking to them and how are you that video, how much attention they’re going to give you, all that kind of stuff.
LM: Okay. And are there any platforms that you’d recommend that people use? So, for instance, directly onto their website versus Vimeo or YouTube or social or, again, a combination of all of those things?
JR: Yeah. So, you really want to have a very inclusive broad strategy. What I always recommend is that you definitely have a YouTube channel because, as with your website, you pay attention to your SEO; YouTube also has a massive SEO value. And if you’re not there then you can’t be found.
And it’s not about having a huge YouTube channel. You can have a really small YouTube channel, make it look really good, completely optimise it, then you will still get traffic through that. And then when people find you, they see that you’re a serious business. […]
You wouldn’t just have something completely half-baked for your website when it’s live. And with a YouTube channel, it’s the same, you’ve got a real opportunity. So, even if you only have a few subscribers or a few videos, still make it look really really good. And of course, you’re still giving yourself the opportunity to be found on YouTube.
So, [when it comes to] embedding pictures onto your website, kind of depends what the purpose of that video is. If it’s to raise your SEO value, then linking in from YouTube as a blog post works really. If it’s your branding video or your about video, or you know, something a little bit more like a sales page video, I would always use Vimeo because you have more control over the viewers’ experience.
At the end of video [on Vimeo] you don’t then see all of those distracting things that on a YouTube video you would have, suggesting what you should watch next. You can control what they see. You can loop the video or you can have a video go to a end page, you can have the video go to to a page where you put your email address in, you just have the control you can change like the colour of the play button. It just looks a lot more professional. So, if you’re not using it for the purpose of it driving SEO, particularly, then you want it to look nice, then I would always use Vimeo when embedding on your website.
And then when it comes to video across your social media […] What would be, say a typical viewer of yours? Would they be a business coach or…?
LM: From my perspective, it would probably be someone like a marketing manager for a professional services company, say accountant or someone in law firm or something like that.
JR: So, on that, so they might want to be, their biggest driver to be is to get traffic to their website. So, if they were to do content videos helping their audience, maybe six minutes long, then obviously, that’s not suitable for social media.
So, you could to take snippets from that video in two ways. One to promote it and one to just have content on its own. So, you would have across social media, ‘we just made this video’ or you tease a bit of the content. That video might be, say 30 seconds, a minute long. And then at the end, the call to action is you know: ‘To see the whole of this video, go to our website’.
So, if you’re driving, wanting to build your YouTube channel, this call to action would be: ‘Just go and watch the whole of this video on your YouTube channel’.
Once that video has gone live, about the next 48 hours, you want to, across your social media, really try and promote people watching the video in their own place, wherever you want it to drive the SEO traffic to.
So, you’re trying to get all of that in there […] then you would have your standalone promos where it’s kind of like contents on its own, and then as part of that, this kind of strategy. Then you would move to having the entire video in the different places, just so that someone finds it, find your video as long as it’s not really long on the platform that they do.
As I’m sure your audience completely know, people like to watch their stuff on the platform that they’re watching and moving people off the platform is a hard thing to do, but we want to kind of give it our best shots when video is a new upload. So, kind of that’s how I kind of like weave them together. And so that’s obviously just a part of the video strategy.
LM: There is a wider video promotional campaign, almost. It’s not just about creating the video it’s about how you get that out there and distribute it and which platforms you use.
JR: Yeah. Yeah, that’s it.
LM: Okay. And you touched on it briefly, but if you are using video as part of your content marketing plan and campaigns, do you think there’s any best practice in terms of regularity? How often should people be creating video, as a rule?
JR: Yeah. Oh, sorry. That ding was my computer! It finished its download. It was just going on and on and on.
LM: It sounds very triumphant.
JR: Yes, it is, isn’t it?
So, regularity of video content… it really has to be once a week. Yeah, then if you’re regularly doing a large piece of content, then you may be going for less than that.
But it’s really the same thought process as when you’re blogging. A blog people would think is less than once a week, it’s off, it’s not generating that continual SEO, which it’s the same, it’s just in video form, really. The more you can do, the better.
It’s just all about making sure it’s good, valuable content.
LM: I suppose that was going to be my next question was around what would you say to people who have that fear around the quality side of things?
I think a lot of people are put off by the thought that maybe you need expensive kit, maybe, and lots of expensive editing and skills and things like that. Is that typically a barrier these days? Or is that becoming easier for people to manage in-house?
JR: Yeah, it’s become a lot easier. There’s some really, really good software applications out there. So, whether you go with an app to do all of your… I mean you can do everything on that if you really want to.
So, I mean, there’s two sides to this really. It’s one, the professionalism of what you’re filming, and then there’s the professionalism of what you do with it after you’ve filmed. And then that said, across all of this is, again, you’ve got to think about what it needs to all be… it needs to be suitable for what it is that you’re trying to communicate.
Read more: Episode 3: Marketing for Tech Start-ups
So, […] if it’s like your brand video that’s going above the fold of your homepage website, it’s not going to be the video of you on your phone, in portrait, or vertical, doing a piece to the camera about just the same content but you’re walking down the street. So, it’s the same thing. You’ve got to think of what is suitable, what are your viewers’ expectations of the video that you’re putting out there to them. So, the level of professionalism needs to match that.
So, for example, if you are doing a sales video, or some type of pitch video, and you’re pitching for a business, which is going to be a multi-million business, or even a few tens of thousands of business, let’s say, then you probably want to make sure that the production value of your video you have [been] invested in because otherwise your viewer’s going to… there’s going to be a disconnect. Yor prospects going to be like, ‘oh, you want me to spend a hundred thousand or whatever it is and clearly, this video is being made in your back room?’ It sounds bad, you know.
You’ve got to think about what are your viewers’ expectations of the video that you’re making. And really that’s what it all comes down to.
Now you can get really well made videos that you would do yourself. So, if your people listening are small businesses, so a solopreneur, and then their viewers’ expectations are going to be a lot lower.
And even then there’s a great range between whether it is that business owner is after a hundred pounds of business versus not a few thousand, there still has to be that marrying of expectation.
But yeah, there’s a lot of variety of video out there. It comes down to just matching it in the right way depending on what you want to do with that video, but a lot can be achieved with not only a lot of money and actually just good content and thinking of some really basic filming techniques that don’t cost anything.
LM: Do you have an example of about what that would look like?
JR: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, sure.
So, […] two things really, that are the biggest things to get right that’ll instantly make your video look more professional, that people get wrong all the time, one of those is simply framing the shots. Especially if their piece is to camera. People will have their face right down the bottom of the screen and then lots of space above. And these days when people are doing vertical film it’s even more accentuated.
[… coughing …]
JR: If your framing is really bad and you have loads of headroom above, or the angle of your video is– so I can spot someone that’s filmed on their laptops a mile away–
JR: Yeah. Yeah, because the angle, when it’s done poorly, the angle is just more it’s higher. So, quite often you’re seeing the ceiling as well. So […] the person might be positioned well on the screen, but what’s behind is you like you’ve got that angle where it’s pointing up to the ceiling.
LM: Right, so you’re looking up their nose?
JR: Yes, looking up their nose, exactly. So not the most flattering look. And all you have to do is just put some boxes under the laptop, just raise it up. So, you want to just play around with the height of your whatever it is that you’re filming on with the lenses and the angles. So, the height and the angles together; you play around until your eye-line is kind of in the top third of the screen. So, if you were to put two lines dividing your screen into thirds, the top line, that line is kind of where you want your eye line to be. And yeah, and you want to face on to where your lens is.
And people that are filming on their phones very often are just looking at the image of themselves. They’re not looking at the image– they’re not looking at the lens so their eye line is off, which sounds really small because it really isn’t by a big margin. But what it does is… the whole point of video is that you’re really connecting deeply with your audience. And with your eye line to that audience being slightly off, then that connection doesn’t happen. And it’s not obvious, but it’s a very subliminal effect. So, the connection isn’t quite so deep. So, that’s a really easy thing to just play around with your shot to get it right.
The other thing is when the audio is really bad […] If you’re going to start paying or investing in something, the first thing to buy is a mic.
LM: More than a camera do you think?
JR: More than a camera…
LM: Okay that’s interesting.
JR: I would stick with your iPhones, if that’s where you’re starting on your laptop, whatever it is, and upgrade your audio fast. So, yeah, it makes a massive difference so that when you are watching a say a B-rated movie. No, that sounds really bad…
JR: Or daytime film, daytime programming. There’s far less attention put on to the audio […] Yeah, there’s less money put on the production side into the audio than say a feature film. And you can tell the difference in sound quality or like a really cheap commercial.
The sound quality, when you start listening. And the thing with sound is again, it’s really subliminal, like you just can’t put your finger on why, but something feels so much less professional than when there’s a really lovely quality of audio.
And I’m sure podcast listeners are really aware of this: you can tell when there’s lack of that really lovely richness of audio quality, which I don’t have, I’m not a podcaster. So, yeah, so that’s something that really if you’re going to invest, invest that, it makes a massive difference.
LM: And actually there are hundreds of really cost-effective microphones out there now; you can get them really cheaply online.
JR: Yeah, you can, you can, yeah. And yeah, like spend about £10, £20 on a clip mic, and there’s not a lot of difference between that price bracket and say £100, 1£50 price bracket, not a massive difference.
LM: That’s really interesting. You can always invest in it if it starts to pay off down the line.
JR: Exactly. Yeah, that’s right. And then go for lights, get lights after. Really upgrading to an actual, you know, camera for filming should really be the very last thing you do.
LM: That’s really interesting.
JR: Do everything else first. Yeah, for sure.
LM: You can get a decent quality I suppose from your laptop, from your phone?
JR: You can, you can, exactly. And play around with it and get all of that right, even down to your messaging; feeling like you have good messaging, you know how to frame your shot, you’re happy with what’s behind, you’ve got the audio worked out and that process and you spend time on editing. I will spend more money editing before I would upgrade my camera.
LM: Okay, interesting.
JR: There’s a lot to it.
LM: It is. I think that sometimes is what puts people off. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
JR: It doesn’t, it doesn’t. Just start off simple.
LM: And so moving on to sort of the more practical getting people in front of the camera element…
So, something that I have come across in various roles is getting people to appear in front of a camera and colleagues and subject experts being incredibly camera shy.
Do you have any suggestions for how to help marketers overcome that when they’re engaging in video marketing?
JR: Yeah, so that is hard because people do get really shy…. If you can… the more preparation you can give people, for most people it’s better, not for all. Some people actually are worse with more time to prepare. It depends on the personality type.
But on a whole, people feel more confident when they know exactly the questions that they’re going to be asked and that you put them at ease.
So, as a director, I spend a lot of time putting people at ease on the camera. And if you’re in that position where you’ve got to get some testimonials, or you’re asking people for their feedback on something, whatever that is, then the first thing to do really is just you have a conversation with them when the camera’s with you, even if it’s just your phone on a tripod, and just explain to them what’s going to happen. Run through the questions that you want to ask them, and you have to do a lot of smiling and you have to do a lot of nodding.
If you’re in that situation, you’re going to either ask them to look at you or to look at the camera. So, make sure you tell that person, you say: “Okay, so I’m going to ask you these questions, and I’d like you to look at me try and ignore the camera.” And then give them the kind of pep talk that you need to. Say:
“People aren’t going to be seeing me, it’s just you. So, if they hear me it’s going to be a bit strange. So, I’m going to have to stay quiet while I ask you the questions. Then if you can wait for me to finish and then give me your answer, but continue to look at me. Because the camera’s just on you, then I’ll just be doing a lot of nodding rather than saying things like, ‘Oh, yeah, Uh-huh. Mm-hmm.’ And it might feel a bit strange.”
So kind of give them that pep talk. It does feel strange because that is indeed what happens, so you have to stay quiet. And it does feel strange because you don’t realize just how many audible cues that you make, those kinds of noises that you make in a conversation that just encourage the person that’s talking.
And then just reassure them that we can do this again, it’s not live. At times just making a conversation is the best way to try and get the best out of someone.
If they’re really struggling with nerves, then just take a break just say “Okay, we’re just gonna have a little water. Let’s just have a chat and just go over things that we can say.”
Make it conversational is the best thing really.
LM: Yeah, in my experience, just not giving people an opportunity to do a script. That sometimes can happen… You watch a video and someone feels like they’ve rehearsed and they’re just almost reading their lines.
JR: Yeah. So, when that happens, so let’s say you’ve kind of sent emails out, we’ve got five people, these are the questions I’m going to ask you, and that’s great, people are going to want to think: “okay, I want to say this”.
Some people, like I said, will actually verbatim write out what they want to say. So, then they’re given a much different delivery. So, what I do, I’d let them get that out. Say: “yeah, yeah, yeah” and then at the end I just rephrase the question.
It’s almost like:
“Okay, we’ve stopped filming, but I just haven’t pressed off. So, what do you mean by that? So is this what you mean? Is that right?”
And then usually, their reply will be in their real words, you know, and feel a lot more natural. And basically, if then you still feel like it’s stiff, you just keep rephrasing the question or just coming at it from a slightly different angle.
Or even what I will do is I’ll say, “That’s brilliant. Thank you so much.” And then ask a question, so then they really do feel like it’s off-camera except the camera’s still rolling.
LM: That’s a great tip for getting that really natural flow.
JR: Yeah. Such great stuff happens when people think the camera stops. So, like my crew, whenever I’m filming in this situation, when I’ve got a crew, they know I just leave the camera rolling. And quite often I’ll start the camera rolling slightly before they’re ready for it. We’re still just chatting…
You give that kind of setup and then there’s not that: “Now we’re recording” and then suddenly even the most experienced person [in their field] can just go stiff. The red light’s on and now I’m going to talk like this.
LM: And just see the fear in their eyes…and I’m saying that I’m the same. I’m not great on video, but now that’s actually a really nice way of thinking about it is a conversation and how to keep reframing until you get the outcomes that you want.
JR: And also think about where you’re sat.
So, something else for people that are wanting to get testimonials or interview people as marketers, that will ruin the film is when the person that’s being interviewed’s eye line… it’s like they’re looking at the person asking the questions and they’ll look at the camera […] it can ruin the film.
So, I mean obviously you tell people beforehand, ignore that, but it’s really hard for some people to just not. They don’t even realise they’re doing it, really. So, if that happens, then I would actually just reset and move myself further away from the camera, so, it’s less than their eye line.
And that same thing works the other way around as well. If you want someone to be looking in the camera, delivering straight to the lens and you’re to one side and they keep, their eyes keep going over to you.
Usually it’s at the ends, when they finish their question, and they’re really happy and then they look to you and they go, ‘Was that, okay?’ And there’s no cutting point.
So, these are things that at the beginning you say, but even still, people get carried away in the moment. If you’re struggling with someone who keeps doing that, then you just really try and obscure yourself from their eye line and even the cameraman as well. So, I’ll quite often turn myself around so that there’s no possibility of eye contact to take that temptation away. So, yeah, you’ve just got to just be as kind of flexible and creative as you can.
LM: Okay. Do you have any tools or apps that you’d recommend for someone who’s looking to get started with video marketing? Are there any that you really love?
JR: So, there’s an app called Wave which is really good for […] stock photos and text and you know that’s a really nice app.
If you’re filming with your camera, depends, you don’t– you can just use the camera settings. There’s nothing wrong with that. If it feels a bit too much to do to use an app…
But if you’re ready to move on, then I would use Filmic Pro as the app, and it just gives you a little bit more flexibility. You can play with things like white balance and the colouring and you can actually get a bit more depth of field in that kind of filming, where what’s close to the camera is sharp and what’s behind is out of focus, that kind of shot.
Again, it’s not for filming yourself on camera and this is called Spark Post. And that’s a really nice one. Then I would also recommend Clipomatic.
LM: I’ve never heard of that.
JR: Yeah. So, Clipomatic is a piece to camera. So, it’s filming you and it generates subtitles while you’re talking.
JR: Yeah, that’s really nice. You can only talk for a minute, so it’s quite short. But that’s a really good thing to just start training yourself to be able to talk on something for just a minute. So, yeah, so that’s a really good app as well.
But yeah, there’s a lot of apps out there. So, if you’re going to film and edit on your phone, then I would use Filmora. It’s a really good tool for filming and editing.
LM: It’s amazing what you can do with your phone these days.
JR: Yes. Yeah, you can, if you wish, do everything, upload it to where you want to. Yeah, there really is a lot you can do, and good quality as well.
LM: Before we go, I have one final question. Where can people find out more about you if they want to talk to you about video marketing or watch some of your videos?
JR: Oh, thank you. So, you can pretty much find me by searching my name everywhere. So, that’s just Justina Rosu, which is R-O-S-U, and then just add the word video to the end. And I will come up pretty much in all the socials and yeah, I think all of my stuff comes up if you search on to that.
LM: I’ll put a link in the show notes.
LM: Okay. And yeah, so Justina Rosu video.
JR: Video, that’s the one. Yeah, perfect. Thank you so much.
LM: Thank you for coming on the podcast.
JR: It’s my pleasure.
LM: Take care. Bye.
JR: Thank you. Bye.