How to Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts Using Video

Paul Boag

This week on the Boagworld Show we discuss the importance of video and how to practically go about adding video content to your content marketing strategy.

Skip to Social Video, Long-form video or Live Video.

This weeks show is sponsored by Resource Guru and Gather Content.

This week on the Boagworld Show we talk to Nathan Ellering from Coschedule about making better use of social media.

Paul: Hello and welcome to world podcast about all aspects of digital design, development and strategy. My name is Paul Boag and joining me is my glamorous assistant Marcus Lillington. (Laughter) That’s how I am now referring to you. I hope that’s okay.

Marcus: That’s quite appropriate for this week really. Because that’s all I… I can just sort of hand things over to you in a glamorous assistant kind of way.

Paul: Yeah, you’ve got nothing to say on this subject at all have you?

Marcus: Well, I’ve got a couple of things, maybe but they’re not useful either of them.

Paul: When you say either of them you literally do have a couple of things don’t you?

Marcus: Yes, literally. Well you know, I’ve made promotional videos in my time.

Paul: Oh, have you? We are talking about videos by the way, dear listener.

Marcus: Yes, videos.

Paul: Yes, because it is an important part of content marketing these days, increasingly so. I still think a lot of people, I don’t know what it’s like with you and your clients but a lot of my clients still shy away from video.

Marcus: What? Making them themselves?

Paul: Yeah, I mean obviously they will get… Sometimes they will pay someone to make them but most of the time they just avoid them entirely I find.

Marcus: Well, there are many reasons for that and I think it’s a kind of shyness or “I’m not cut out sort of thing.” And quite often that is true!

Paul: That is true, yeah. But I’m not necessarily even just talking about, you know, not everyone can be as charismatic and you know, camera friendly as you and me Marcus!

Marcus: Absolutely.

Paul: I mean, I was born for radio! (Laughter) but I do still do video.

Marcus: I am umm-ing and ahh-ing whether to say this. I’m going to. We do work for various clients and quite a lot of those clients require that they have themselves on the website. You do this great design that looks really elegant and daa, daa, daa. Then all their photos go in and you go “Hmmm, doesn’t look quite so good anymore.” (Laughter)

Paul: Are you implying that you have ugly clients? Is that what you’re saying?

Marcus: I’m just implying that some people aren’t as photogenic as others.

Paul: So, Headscape now only wants to work with pretty people.

Marcus: To be honest the same applies for Headscape. It’s got, you know, old grizzled people like me on it.

Paul: Yeah, but you’ve got twinkly eyes. They said so on never mind the Buzzcocks when you were on that.

Marcus: Do you know what? That was 10 years ago. And I realised…

Paul: (Gasp) Was it really?!

Marcus: …And I realised that picture I use on everything, what’s the…

Paul: I’m looking at it right now.

Marcus: Yeah. That was taken on the evening of that show. I’ve actually got my arm around Simon Amstell and I cut it out because it’s kind of a good picture. I think I really, really ought to update that to something more appropriate.

Paul: Is that your phone buzzing? That I can hear?

Marcus: Oh, how annoying. That’s my Mum calling.

Paul: Ah, say hello to… I think you should answer. Go on, answer…

Marcus: I just declined it.

Paul: Oh, you declined your Mum! That is so rude. Honestly.

Marcus: Well, you know I’m a professional! (Cough, cough)

Paul: Well if you were a professional it wouldn’t have gone off in the first place would it!

Marcus: I turned the buzzer off on my phone and then it rings in via the blooming Mac.

Paul: Oh yeah, of course! Ooh, I’m turning that off now. I had not thought of that, that’s a good point.

Marcus: Yes, DND. Do not disturb, where is it? Done.

Paul: Yes, but you’ve got a lot of experience of, you know, not maybe the technical side of things but you did loads of interviews and things over the years so surely you’ve got intelligent things to say?

Marcus: What, with regarding to putting videos together?

Paul: Well, yeah. What I’m thinking is, we are going to talk about different types of videos. We are going to talk about social videos, just the stuff you post on social media. Kind of longer form videos and then we are going to talk about live video as well. But for the longer form and the live videos you know, some of that is interviews and questions and things like that. You’ve done a lot more of that than I have over your lifetime. Admittedly 160 billion years ago now.

Marcus: Yeah. That’s what I was saying about promotional videos. Yes, I’ve done videos Paul. They were a long time ago. (Laughter)

Paul: You did pop videos.

Marcus: I did pop videos! Proper videos.

Paul: Guys, if you have not seen any of Marcus’s videos just Google “Breathe” and “Hands to heaven” and things like that and look it up on youtube.

Marcus: That’s not the best one. The one I would advise, if you want to see pictures of me…

Paul: Looking stupid! Top of the Pops? That was a good one.

Marcus: No, no, no. We did a video for a song called “Say a prayer” {Transcribers note: Best photo at around 3.30 on this video!} and I’ve got the full long hair in that one. Flowing locks in front of a big fan! You can’t see the fan obviously, giving it the full rockstar, you know!

Paul: Oh, I got to look that one up! That’s awesome.

Marcus: So, that would be my choice for full embarrassment.

Paul: Choice in terms of embarrassment. Yeah.

Marcus: That was probably done in 1989. Long time ago.

Paul: Wow, that is very long ago. So there you go, your best days are behind you Marcus. It is now just a slow drift towards death. (Laughter)

Marcus: It’s been like that for a long time Paul.

Social Video

Play Social Video at: 6:20

Paul: That’s very true. Okay, so we talking about video. I’ve already said the three types of video we are going to look at. We are going to look at social, longer form stuff and live video. The reason I wanted to cover video on this podcast, or on this season of content marketing, is because it has become so, so important. Do you know that video content represents something like 74% of all Internet traffic? Which…

Marcus: Is that just because it sort of big fat stuff that takes lots of…

Paul: It occurred to me that that may well be it, I don’t know. I wrote that stat down. You know, that I obviously pulled out of my arse and then I couldn’t make up my mind… I think, let’s go with the fact that 74% of all HTTP requests are video. Because that sounds more impressive.

Marcus: Yeah, go for that.

Paul: I don’t think it’s true but…

Marcus: Well, I don’t know because the a reason why I’m not sure is because when I sort of compared what’s the best way to buy my new iPhone and I went and had a chat with the people in the phone shop at EE and they basically, the basic package that they were offering started off on 25 Gigs of data.

Paul: Wow!

Marcus: And it’s like “You could sign up now you will get a hundred Gigs.” This is a month, you know, for the £25. And it’s like but I’ve had a two Gig package for the last two years and I’ve never gone over it and that includes driving from Barcelona to Almeria with Google maps shouting at me the whole way all on 4G. That didn’t go… That’s like 200 Meg. How on earth can people use that much data?

Paul: When you start doing videos you can. My son is on the three network here in the UK and the reason we picked it isn’t… It isn’t a great network but because he gets unlimited data. Because he just streams youtube the whole time and it just eats data like mad.

Marcus: But surely he would do that over Wi-Fi? Most of the time?

Paul: Oh yeah, I’m talking about when we go on holiday and stuff.

Marcus: Oh okay, fair enough. But anyway, that’s why, it must be people watching video. It’s got to be.

Paul: Yeah, I mean video, video is an enormous thing. In terms of the amount of traffic. Also a lot of consumers these days prefer to watch video about a product then actually read about it. Four times as many apparently. And that… I’m certainly like that so, you know, if I want to… Let’s say I am looking at a new app or whatever I will always watch the video rather than read the feature page, you know?

Marcus: You do have to put up with an annoyingly cheerful voice though and things like that.

Paul: Oh, and that tinkly music. The music that, you know, oh, just, grr.

Marcus: Yeah, so. I will watch them especially if you’re trying to find out the features because obviously a video is a good thing because it will be showing you how something works. Is it something you’re going to use on the screen? That’s where I do have some experience of making videos because I do walk-through videos all the time. Nothing to do with content marketing but they are… The idea of making something that’s showing somebody how to do something, or showing some work. Then yes, they are highly useful and I guess there is a crossover when you talk about products.

Paul: Do you put tinkly music behind them?

Marcus: I don’t.

Paul: I did a… The only time I put tinkly music… I did play at it for a while, putting music. I just thought “Well that’s what everyone else does.” But it upset me so much that I stopped. The only time I do it now is when… I’ve been doing a few videos for various sites on the buildup to Christmas. You know, they all do these Advent things. So I’ll put annoying Christmas music behind it. And I’ve been doing green screen as well. There’s been so much fun! So that snowflakes are falling behind me, I’ve got too much time on my hands!

Marcus: Yeah, I need to go and find these videos now.

Paul: Well they’re not live yet because it’s not in Advent.

Marcus: It’s not December yet.

Paul: No.

Marcus: Well it probably is when this one goes out.

Paul: I don’t know any more! I don’t know and I don’t care! No, it won’t be quite will it because it’s… Oh, I don’t know. It’s going to be close, let’s have a look. No, this will come out on the 30th.

Marcus: Oh, okay. So last day of November.

Paul: Last day of November. So then the other stat that I found which I quite like was that using the word video in a subject line boosts the open rate by 19% and the click through rate by 65%. So people do like video. There were loads of these stats. I got bored with them in the end. And also I never believe any of them.

Marcus: But you’re using them anyway.

Paul: Yeah, exactly. Well this is what happens you see. And I’ve not quoted the sources of any of those stats, right? So I might have just made them up, mightn’t I?

Marcus: Hmmm.

Paul: 93% of all conversions happen following watching a video.

Marcus: Of Paul Boag.

Paul: Yeah. In my universe, in Boagworld. There you go. Okay, so we have got our three types of video. We are going to do social first and then we’re going to take a break and do our sponsor. Then we will do the longer form staff, take a break talk to a sponsor then we will look at live video at the end.

Marcus: Okay.

Paul: Because all three, I think, should be a part of your content marketing strategy. Not yours necessarily Marcus because, you know, at the moment we are just trying to get you sending the occasional social media update. Let’s not run before we can walk hey!

Marcus: No, no. And as I said last week my first step is to just start reading more. Which I am doing slowly.

Paul: Good. So, social… As you are doing social updates actually they are a great place to include little bits of video. All stats joking aside, they do perform considerably better if you use a bit of video within your social media updates. I’m talking really, really, short stuff, right? 30 seconds. A minute and 1/2 maximum. Really short snappy little bits that grab people’s attention. There’s all kind of different ways that you can do that. There are free stock sites where you can just grab little bits of video. So, for example there’s one calls Videezy. V I D E E Z Y.

Marcus: Videezy.

Paul: Videezy. Oh, is that what they’re saying? Videezy?

Marcus: Yeah.

Paul: That’s stupid.

Marcus: There is a Y there, makes it Videezy.

Paul: Yeah, stupid.

Marcus: Anyway, what would you have on a stock video that could… Give me an example.

Paul: Well I mean… Let’s think of an example. I mean, to be honest actually almost one of the best isn’t actually from a stock video. So they are useful for another purpose that we will come onto later. But even something like little animated gifs, reaction shots, that kind of thing can be quite fun in social media.

Marcus: Of course, yeah right. So yeah, someone going (sharp in-take a breath) or something.

Paul: Yeah, all that kind of stuff. Then there is a tool that I have mentioned before on the show which is really good which is Adobe Spark. I talked about that when I talked about imagery and how it lets you create little infographic type imagery which is really good to share on social media. But actually that is also extremely good for video as well. So it’s a great little tool, very, very impressive I have to say. For just basically creating little montage videos. So you know, of typography, still images, kind of working a little bit of a montage-y thing. So that’s a very good tool for creating little short things. So there you could do… Basically instead of… Say if you were quoting somebody, right? You were sharing a quote on social media. Instead of just having that as a text quote or as a nice image what you could do is actually animate that text coming in. Right? So a little animations. Then there’s… Have you ever seen those, they are all over the place, those videos they are often product demos where… And they are almost always the ones with the annoying tinkly music. Where it has animated characters moving around, right?

Marcus: Yes.

Paul: You know the kind of thing I mean?

Marcus: Yes, all sort of squiggly pencil drawn things.

Paul: Yes, there are those but also the other ones that are similar to that are they are more refined images, you know, “Hey, this is John, John goes to work and John faces this problem and our product solves this problem,” kind of videos as well. Now, those you can do with a tool called GoAnimate. where you can actually create these different scenes and stuff like that. So that can be very good for those short little clippy videos that you use on social media.

Marcus: What sort of cost are things like Adobe Spark and GoAnimate?

Paul: Adobe Spark is free.

Marcus: Oh, cool.

Paul: I know right! How good is that?! GoAnimate costs. I don’t how much, let’s find out, see what it costs. I think it works out, its pricing works out a lot better if you are going to be using it regularly. So… Oh, bloody hell, GoAnimate has gone up a lot! Oh, screw that. There’s cheaper versions. Just go…

Marcus: I asked the incisive questions.

Paul: You do! Because of course it was a while ago since I used them when they were so much cheaper. But if you type in alternatives GoAnimate you will find… It normally returns a load of different ones that do… Yes, here we go. First result is five best video animation tools. And there will be, you know, there’s loads of them. They will be a hell of a lot cheaper because that is ridiculously expensive. Their minimum, oh, hang on, number of seats. Can I change it to one seat? Yeah, I can. For one person to use it on a monthly basis is $159! That’s crap!

Marcus: I guess if it’s something that you did all the time then that would be reasonable but if it’s you use it once a month then that’s expensive.

Paul: Yes, exactly. So, anyway there are other tools. But of course, the other thing you can do which costs zero is use your own phone.

Marcus: Which are getting better and better at this sort of thing.

Paul: I know! I mean I don’t know whether you have done much video with the iPhone X.

Marcus: I haven’t got it yet. I think it’s coming next week. Or it might even be the end of this week.

Paul: Even go back a little bit. These things record 4K video now which is more than enough to… certainly for social stuff, you know, doing social stuff online. You don’t… What we are talking about there is kind of silly things happening in the office, it’s, you know, an event that you ran. It’s showing interviewing, doing a little clip of a developer working on something or, you know, if you sell a physical product showing that product being built, maybe somebody from the dispatch team that packages it up. You know, giving a kind of behind the scenes little glimpses. Those kinds of things you can just do with a smart phone, you know, it doesn’t need to be rocket science. A little bit of advice around that mind in order to get the most out of it because a lot of the videos that you see online are pretty appalling but some really basic kind of tips. For a start, this shouldn’t need saying and the fact that I have to say it is an indictment on our society today. You record video horizontally. Right? That means you have to turn the camera, the phone. Right? You could do it! I’ve got confidence in you. That’s one thing.

Marcus: The problem with that though is that people quite… If you are planning it then you will do that but quite a lot of kind of funny videos or whatever that you see are people going “Ah, I’ve got to quickly get this!” And they pick up their phone in portrait mode and just start. And then it’s too late.

Paul: Yeah, I understand that and that is fine but the kind of things that we are talking about is maybe a bit more planned than that. You know, it’s using your phone to give glimpses behind what’s going on with the company. And that’s a really good thing to do that kind of stuff because it personalises your brand right? And people buy from people. They don’t buy from… Well they do, there is some brand loyalty but if you can expose the people behind your organisation it tends to go down much better. So these little kind of behind-the-scenes videos, people lap them up, they love them. So, that’s one thing. The other thing, the big mistake I see a lot of people making when they record stuff on their phone is that they move the phone around a lot. So they will sort of scan back and forth and actually that is probably not the best way of doing it. Instead hold the camera still, the phone still and then the movement is what’s going to be going on in the scene. Right? Then instead of taking this kind of one 30 second clip, right? Instead take 2, 3 seconds, five seconds, something like that then afterwards just kind of string all these different bits up together so they cuts between all these different little short clips. Does that make sense?

Marcus: Totally. Yes. Like making a proper film.

Paul: Yes, but just kind of on a smaller scale. You cut a lot. Because if you move around you just make people feel seasick, you know, it’s like “yuck”. Keep an eye on your lighting as well. It is very easy to kind of, you know, if it’s a bit dark in the room the footage ends up looking a bit shit so try and make sure the room is well lit. That’s all.

Marcus: One of the hardest things to do though, I think, to get right.

Paul: Yeah, and we will get more into, when we talk about the longer form, better video, we will talk a little bit more about lighting in a minute. For this kind of stuff all you need to make sure is that you are in a reasonably well lit room, just keep an eye on it. The other thing I was going to say is audio. When you are doing little things like this and you are kind of capturing moments often times the audio you get back it’s going to be a bit rubbish because the audio isn’t always great on phones. Especially if you are outside as well then you get the “whoosh” (blows into Microsoft phone microphone), you know, the wind kind of messing it as well. So actually I would try to take video with your phone that’s not really using the audio. It’s not the audio you are interested in and then afterwards either record a little bit of audio over the top of it just post it without audio. That is kind of okay. Or put tinkly music behind it!

Marcus: Or death metal.

Paul: Death metal! Absolutely. I mean actually…

Marcus: That was for Ian by the way. Ian, I know he listens.

Paul: Ian likes death metal?

Marcus: Yes, he does.

Paul: That really surprises me. He doesn’t seem at all a weirdo. (Laughter)

Marcus: He will appreciate that definately, yeah. Yes, he’s a metal maniac if that is such a thing.

Paul: So this is Ian one of the developers at Headscape, Ian.

Marcus: Ian Luckraft, yes.

Paul: It’s not another Ian that I don’t know about?

Marcus: No no. Yes, Ian Luckraft, developer at Headscape.

Paul: Okay, fair enough.

Marcus: One and the same.

Paul: I mean you can get… There is loads of free music you can get and not all of it sucks. In fact some, when you upload a video to something like YouTube there’s loads of music you can select as well. I know all of this is very basic stuff but I wanted to do stuff that makes it very easy for people to… Yes, I’m thinking about our clients, Marcus. The kind of people that we work for. They can do this kind of stuff and it’s just turns their social media stream from being, you know, full of press releases…

Marcus: Exactly, yes. “We’ve got a new press release.”

Paul: Yes, into something a bit more interesting. And there are people listening to this that, you know, they can get their clients doing this kind of stuff and their colleagues. And then you can just string all these little bits of video together using any… Do it on your phone using iMovie or whatever the android equivalent is. But if all of that sounds like too much effort and you want maybe to do it a little bit better then check out a service like fiverr. So that’s fiverr with two r’s of course. So this is like a marketplace for freelancers that do all kinds of stuff from graphic design to audio and music. But they also do video and animation. Like for example that sketchy whiteboard animation you were talking about.

Marcus: Oh yeah.

Paul: You know, you can get people to do that or something called kinetic typography which is the typography that is moving around. All 2D animation. Any of that kind of stuff. And it is so cheap. It is so, so cheap. I mean some of the prices I am looking at on here are like £3.79 for a little video. I mean it’s not going to be great but, you know, if you don’t want to be doing it yourself but haven’t got much of a budget that isn’t a bad way of doing it.

Marcus: So what do you get for your £3.79 then?

Paul: Well, only something little. That’s why you use it for social media.

Marcus: But are you giving somebody a brief and they will do something for £3.79?

Paul: Yeah, yeah.

Marcus: I don’t agree with that. That is wrong.

Paul: It does… Yes, it is wrong and I don’t think it generally does the industry a lot of good but it exists, right? I mean, you get what you pay for. Don’t get me wrong but I, in good conscience, I can’t say to clients “Oh, you shouldn’t use that when it’s going to be good for their business.” Or do you disagree?

Marcus: I suppose. It’s a tricky one isn’t it? But it’s… I can remember…

Paul: I mean by the way these prices are starting at three, you know. So they will go up. But you’re still not talking about you know, hundreds of pounds.

Marcus: The point… It’s a different discussion but it’s how much is design and development worth, if you like? And you would need both of those things to create an animated video. And it’s got to be worth more than that. So…

Paul: Well yeah, but you’ve got to remember what they are doing here. It is a templated structure, right? So you take, for example, that’s kinetic typography. All effectively they are doing is taking that script, shoving it into a prebuilt thing that they have got and then outputting the result. You see what I mean?

Marcus: Yeah, yeah I do. Yeah, this probably isn’t the time or the place to discuss that because it is a different subject but… Sure.

Paul: Yeah. I mean it is… These sites are certainly problematic and they are commercialising or commoditising these kinds of services. But on the other hand if you are an entrepreneur and if you are a business owner I don’t think you can afford to ignore them because from a competitive point of view you’ve got other people who are out there who are using these kinds of services and producing something good at the end. But, you see, this is the difference. This, I think for me, I don’t mind going off on a bit of a tangent, this for me sums up the difference between when I worked for Headscape and when I now do what I do now. When I worked for Headscape I would absolutely have taken your attitude, right? Because it damages the whole of the industry and it undermines quality work and I totally agree with that and all of those arguments still absolutely stand and are absolutely true. But now…

Marcus: You missed an important one which is that you could… And maybe this isn’t… I’m not suggesting for a minute that this is the case in the example that you have given but I can remember talking about, I can’t remember the name of the service but there was one that basically it was like an auction service for “Design my logo” kind of thing.

Paul: Yeah, 99 designs.

Marcus: That’s the one. Basically you got stuff done for free and it was effectively exploiting designers. So there might be a little bit of that in other sites like that so that’s not a good thing and we should be avoiding doing that.

Paul: Yes. I mean that’s a different business model to this, I feel. This is, I’ll be honest, this is real bottom end of the market stuff, all right. Which is why I have associated it with the social media videos rather than maybe the more quality stuff that you want to get onto. But I think there is still a place for this kind of bottom of the market stuff, you know, for people that can churn out this kind of stuff incredibly fast and turn it around very quickly. Then, you know, fair enough. That’s capitalism isn’t it?

Marcus: Yeah, well there is another discussion!

Paul: Yeah, I know, that’s a whole other… Thats a whole other issue. But that is the reality. Anyway, whether you agree with it or not it is a really interesting conversation. All I am saying is that there are tools out there that you can use to create it yourself and there are people out there that will do this stuff very cheap or not. It is up to you, Mr business owner, to decide whether you feel that that is appropriate for your business, whether you think it is ethical or not and more importantly whether you are okay with the quality that you are going to get back from that. Because it is not going to be as good, let’s be honest. But I think for throwing it up on social media I think maybe the quality isn’t such a big issue. Anyway, let’s have a little break. I think that’s all I wanted to say on social. I’m going to get myself into such trouble over that fiverr one I know I am! But you know, from a client’s point of…

Marcus: You love to court controversy don’t you?

Paul: Well I didn’t… To be honest I didn’t think of it until you said something! Because it is the kind of thing that I would point clients at that don’t have a lot of money. Because it is better than doing nothing.

Marcus: Yeah, mmm, maybe.

Paul: For their business it is better than doing nothing. Anyway.

Marcus: But I am meant to be a glamorous assistant, sorry, I am forgetting myself.

Paul: No, no, that’s all right! You are allowed opinions! Right, let’s talk about our sponsor because we are already 30 minutes in and we haven’t got past the… to the first sponsor yet.

Marcus: Last week when I thought “Oh, this one might be a bit shorter because it’s just the two of us” And it was like an hour and 15.

Paul: No, it is getting worse. My wife is going ballistic at me because she transcribes it. {Transcribers note: I’m really not, just a little grumble!}

Marcus: Oh well.

Paul: Anyway, let’s talk about our first sponsor which is ResourceGuru. So the year is coming to an end so it is time to make sure your team is up and running and ready to go for 2018. That is so depressing that we are talking like that already. ResourceGuru you have just depressed me with your copy.

Marcus: Five weeks till Christmas day, today.

Paul: Ugh. So, new year are you going to have the capability to take on new clients, have you got key members of your team going away on holiday over the Christmas break? So you need to know all this kind of stuff, you’ve got to start the year in the right way. It is the perfect time to start getting more organised with your, you know, with how you run your team, how you schedule things and that’s where ResourceGuru comes in. It gives you accurate up to date view of the big picture of what is going on in your business. Who is busy, who is available, who is away from work, all that kind of stuff. Then when things change which inevitably they do you can just drag and drop things around in order to instantly update the team and who is working on what. And they all get informed of that, obviously, as well. So it means you can be a lot more confident about your projects and that they are on track and that you have got the right resources to deliver them. It is used by huge range of organisations. Apple, Saatchi & Saatchi, NASA, Headscape. That always makes me giggle! Including Headscape in that list! But it makes me happy. So you can start your trial by going to and when you are ready to subscribe simply use the coupon code Boag2017 and you will get 20% of the life time of the account. That is such a good deal.

Longer-form Videos

Play Longer-form Videos at: 33:09

Paul: Anyway, let’s talk about… Okay so we have talked about the social media type videos but there are other videos that we produce as well. Longer form videos maybe. So the kind of two broad areas that I thought I would quickly mention are the screen cast type videos that Marcus mentioned earlier which are great for showing off product demos and that kind of stuff and then interview style videos or presentational style videos. It might be interviews with your customers and colleagues or it might be talking heads. That kind of thing. Right? So let’s do the screen cast first. I would suggest… One of the big mistakes that I made for a long time with these kinds of videos is that I would tend to show the whole experience from beginning to end of whatever it is that I am demonstrating and you can end up with quite long videos.

Marcus: Yeah!

Paul: I think I still have the tendency of doing that when I am showing stuff to clients. You know, that they end up being like 20 minutes long and it’s like who’s going to sit and watch a 20 minute long, you know, screen cast.

Marcus: Yeah, I’m terrible for doing that as well. I have redone them so many times. I’m not too bad now because I am aware it but yes, rattling on about a new wireframe or something for 33 minutes!

Paul: Yeah, it’s not a good sign is it!

Marcus: Yeah.

Paul: One thing that helps with that is to write a script because, you know, and I never used to do this, ever. But of course you waffle more when you don’t have a script so having a script makes a difference. Also breaking them down into… Now this doesn’t apply so much to the kind of screen casts you do Marcus, but if you are demonstrating a product, you know, break it down into its different features and show off the different features as separate videos. Often people don’t want to see all of them. There are some features that they are not interested in. So if they can just watch the bits that they want that makes it a lot easier. So I mean really I think you want each of these videos to be less than five minutes. People have got such a short attention spans. In terms of tools, do you use Screenflow?

Marcus: Yes.

Paul: Yeah, that’s what I use as well. So that is a great Mac tool for doing this kind of thing. Actually I’ve got to say Screenflow you can use for a hell of a lot more than even screen casts these days. It’s a good editor full stop. So check that out definitely worth doing. Camtasia, I think is the equivalent on the PC. Another little tip that I would give relating to that is if you write, if this is something that is going on your website it may well be worth getting a professional to do the audio for it. Right? Like if you got a voice over going because it’s very easy to go very monotone and be very boring on these kinds of things. So there is a website for that called Now, to be honest you could get voiced over artists on Fiverr but we’re not allowed to mention them again! And anyway I am presuming that this is for something a little bit more important that you maybe want to spend more than a fiver on it! So is a great place and you get… You can post a job and then you will get different people respond to it. But you can also go through and look at different artists and hear their accent or their presentation style et cetera. You can even look via age of the person, the kind of accent they have got. Obviously you can pick different languages. People with experience in different areas like, you know, audiobooks or education or whatever else. So it is a really good place to source people to do the voice-over for your screen cast or whatever else really. So check that out.

Marcus: Yes, really important. I can remember years and years ago we did an education based site where there was going to be kind little stories, historical stories. I think I remember at the time thinking “Oh, I could do that.” “I’ve got a radio voice.” And all that kind of thing. And it just didn’t work at all. As soon as you hire a proper actor to do it or a voice-over artist to do it, the difference is immense. These people are professionals and they, you know, it’s what they do for a living therefore the difference in quality is massive and is highly, highly recommended.

Paul: That’s going to be the real difference between using something like and using someone who does voice-over on Fiverr. You know? The people that are doing, no disrespect to them, but the people that are doing the Fiverr type stuff will be people like Marcus who is a bit down on his luck and has got a reasonable voice, right? While the people on are, you know, real professional voice over artists. And it’s not… I suppose it is reasonably expensive but it’s not kind of… If you’ve invested money in creating a decent video then it’s absolutely worth it. Right. Which brings onto this kind of interview type scenario. So this is where you’ve got people on camera, all right? I have learnt a lot about this through painful mistakes, all right? So my overall advice is get a grown-up to do it rather than doing it yourself. But, that said, if you’ve got somebody… If you got people in-house that have got a bit of an interest in this kind of thing you can produce something half decent without spending a fortune. This is kind of the overall thing that I wanted to… The kind of overall form of this whole episode is that I wanted to get people starting trying to do video and giving it a go. What you will discover is that you can produce stuff that is good enough to put out there but you will also realise your limitations. And where you need to get in someone to do something a little bit more professional. But if you can see the return on investment for doing a little bit of an amateurish interview with clients or customers then you will be able to justify spending some more money on it if that makes sense. So, how do you get started yourself for not too much money? Well, the first thing you need is a DSLR camera. So, most people have got one already or know someone that has got one already that they can borrow and that will make a huge difference just doing that. So, ideally try and get one that records at 4K but that’s fine if you can’t get that. We will talk a little bit more about that in a moment. But get the best DSLR that you can. Secondly you are going to want a lapel like mic. Now, you can get boom mics and all kinds of other stuff but we are keeping it simple for now, all right? What you don’t want to do is record straight off the mic from the camera because you will sound like you are 100 miles away, okay? Now, a lapel mic is going to cost you like £12 it’s not very expensive by any means. Now, in a perfect world you want to then plug that lapel mic straight into the DSLR. Now, not every DSLR has a input jack on it so if you have got a choice, if you are talking about buying a DSLR look for one that has got an input into it. If you have got one that doesn’t then that’s okay, what you can do is you can record separately to another device. So you can plug it in to a dictaphone or into your computer or whatever else. Now what you want to do, it’s a stupid simple trick really, which is just as you start recording the video you want to clap your hands, all right? Then what you can do is you can sync up that spike on the audio with the motion of someone clapping their hands. So you can edit those two together later but you could see how it would be a lot easier if it was all just in one video file which is why it is good to get a mic in on your camera. So we’ve got that. Now, in an ideal world you would have two cameras, okay? So then you can shoot from two different angles, okay? The reason that is useful is because if you are doing something like an interview with someone there’s going to be a lot of rubbish that they will say. A lot of stuff that you will want to cut out. So you want to avoid… If you’ve got two camera angles then you can cut that stuff out without the video jumping and suddenly someone moves from one position to another, do you know what I mean, does that make sense Marcus?

Marcus: Absolutely, yes.

Paul: Ideally two cameras. There is a trick to avoid having to have two cameras because I don’t have two cameras. I will tell you that in just a minute. Before we get onto that, lighting. We were talking about lighting earlier. Okay, you want to spend just a little bit of money and get yourself two lights, okay? You can buy them on Amazon really cheap, if you just Google on studio lights you will find loads there. Just get the cheapest one you can, there’s no need to spend a fortune to start off. Try and get a couple of those so that you can put one to the left of the subject one to the right and in fact often times you get two. You know, they sell them in packs of two. So they are really simple to set up.

Marcus: You have those behind the camera pointing at the subject?

Paul: Yes, from either side. Now, sometimes depending on how close the subject is to the wall behind you can end up with shadows so try and move the subject away from the wall a little bit to reduce the shadows. I mean you can then get another light that backlights the wall behind and all that kind of stuff but we are keeping things simple, all right? Another little tip is when you start recording hold up a piece of white paper! You feel like a prat doing it. So you’re holding up a white piece of paper in front of the camera.

Marcus: Take 57!

Paul: Yes. Now, the reason we are holding a white piece of paper up in front of the camera as we start recording is so that we can adjust the white balance when we edit at the end, okay? I will talk a little bit about editing in just a minute. Now, I said about how you can kind of fake not having two cameras. That’s why you want a camera that records at the highest resolution you possibly can, okay? Because then what you can then do is you can create two camera angles, kind of. So what you have is a zoomed out version and a zoomed in version. So let’s say for example your final video is going to be saved out at 720p which is a low resolution of HD, okay? Then what you can do is you can have one that shows the whole screen but because your video has been recorded at higher resolution you can zoom in with no loss of quality. Does that make sense?

Marcus: It does, yes. That’s quite clever.

Paul: That’s a clever little trick that isn’t it? I like that one. So it means that you can kind of, you can cut between… You can cut out all the crap basically, so I use that all the time.

Marcus: Without it jumping.

Paul: Yes, exactly. Right, the other thing that you can do partly to help with that problem and partly to just make the thing more interesting is to inter-cut your interview or your talking head or whatever else, with other materials so it’s not just someone sitting there talking the entire time. Okay? So that’s where that website I mentioned Videezy, was it? I can’t remember.

Marcus: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Paul: …Is great, because you will get just general B-roll, what I call B-roll footage which is just kind of stuff that relates to whatever the person is talking about and you can kind of cut to. The other thing that I sometimes do is if you are interviewing a person at a particular venue you take some footage of just the venue that you can cut in with or sometimes I will take some extra footage of the person, their hands gesticulating or the pages of a book flipping if they’ve written a book, that kind of thing. Anything that you can kind of insert in to make it a bit more interesting. You could also use slides obviously. If you’ve got some kind of presentation involved you can cut to slides or animations or screen casts, anything like that to make it a little bit easier.

Marcus: The classic telly interview thing they cut to is the interviewer nodding. And they will normally do that after the interview. So it’s like, you know, two minutes of them nodding, it’s hilarious to watch it being done.

Paul: Yeah, but great, that’s perfect isn’t it. So, let’s talk a little bit about editing. Most of the editing you could do in something like Screenflow because essentially all you are doing is chopping up bits and putting one after the other. I however do use now Final Cut Pro which is the kind of grown-up tool. You might want to consider getting it. There are a couple of reasons why that is quite good. You can have multiple camera angles and easily switch between those multiple camera angles which is great in terms of speeding up the editing process and changing things afterwards. The other thing is that you can easily adjust the white balance with that bit of white paper that we held up. You basically crop in so it only shows the piece of white and then hit the balance colour button and it makes that properly white and then you un-crop it and everything else is the correct colour. Which is a really great little thing. It has also got some really good tools for fixing audio as well if you’ve got a little bit of a buzz going on in the audio. So it is worth investing in that if you can. The final little thing that I wanted to say on this before we move on is if you are doing a presentation or some kind of speaking direct to camera work you might want to consider a teleprompter, right? And if you search on teleprompter it’s going to, you know, they cost like thousands of pounds and it feels very over-the-top. But I’ve got one that was considerably cheaper than that and basically it is just a piece of glass at an angle and then you put your laptop, no, not your laptop, your iPad under it.

Marcus: Oh, okay.

Paul: The iPad acts as the teleprompter that has saved me so much effort in terms of getting things done in one take rather than 30 because I start waffling, you know!

Marcus: Yeah, and without it I guess people are looking at something, a bit of paper above the camera all the time. Which looks odd.

Paul: Yeah, I was just about to say that. The other way of doing it is to put a laptop as tight in under the camera as you can and that will work as long as there is a big distance between the camera and the subject, right? The further the camera is away from the subject the less of the eyeline being off you will notice. So that is the other way around it. The other thing I would say, if you got a choice, put a lens on the camera that’s got a very short depth of field so that the background is all nice fuzzy and out of focus because it tends to focus you a little bit more on the speaker. I mean, I could go on for ages on this but I think that’s more than enough to get a lot of people started. If you’ve got questions about it I am happy to answer questions for this kind of stuff so drop me an email at

Live Videos

Play Live Videos at: 50:45

Paul: Okay, let’s quickly talk about our second sponsor before we wrap up and talk about live video. So, our second sponsor is GatherContent who have supported the entire season and I am so appreciative of that. It’s a great tool as well, it’s great for managing your content, whether it be for a website, app, social media, whatever. So you can obviously write content in it, you can review that content, you can have an approval process in place, of course, you can even use it for video scripts as well so it is totally applicable to what we are talking about today. It will help you gather and manage all the different assets that go alongside that, so slides or pieces of video or whatever else, they can all go in there. You can review, edit and discuss the content you are putting up as well as obviously approve it as well and it will also make sure that everybody knows what they are doing in terms of delivering content. You know, you can agree on things like roles and responsibilities and all of that kind of good stuff. It is a really cool tool, you really ought to check it out. There is a 30 day free trial, no credit card required just to go to

All right, I just want to quickly, very, very quickly mention some live video. People often don’t think about doing live events but actually I think they are a really good way of engaging with your audience, whoever your audience is. Whether that be customers or people that read your blog or people that follow you on social media. Doing some live stuff is really interactive and it’s a really great way of kind of increasing the level of engagement with your audience. There is a tool that I absolutely recommend for all of this kind of stuff and it is called Crowdcast. Crowdcast is so good because it scales well. In other words you can have lots of people use it simultaneously, or watching you simultaneously. You can invite any of your audience members to actually come on camera or audio in order to join in the conversation. It allows questions, people to submit questions that they can then vote up and vote down and things like that and so you are answering the things that people care most about. You can run polls on it but most importantly all the sessions are recorded so even if someone doesn’t turn up live they can watch it afterwards. So, there are kind of two types of live event that you might want to consider. One is webinars and one are “Ask me anything sessions.” So, a webinar is where someone comes along and you give a presentation basically at a certain time. Make sure that you get people to sign up for that presentation before they come because even if it is free you get them to sign up anyway and the reason is that a lot of people don’t actually turn up for a live session so you might have 3000 people sign up and say that they want to go but only a small proportion of those, maybe 300 will actually turn up on the day. And that is absolutely fine because if you have got their signup details you can then send them the presentation that is automatically recorded in screen cast [Crowdcast] afterwards. So it’s a way of making sure that you engage with the whole audience. So, if you are doing that one tip I would give is that if you are giving a presentation don’t just show your slides, also show yourself. Try and appear on WebCam as well because watching a slide is not very engaging, all right? But having a face and a person, that makes things loads better. If you are going to be showing only slides for whatever reason, if the idea of appearing on camera completely freaks you out then make sure those slides are changing very, very regularly. You know, less than a minute per slide.

Marcus: Yeah.

Paul: I’d also say avoid any transitions or animations because those tend to stutter when you are trying to stream them live. Certainly no video! And leave ample time at the end for questions and answers because really that’s where the real value of doing a live event rather than a pre-recorded video comes in. So thats… And talking of which, the other type of event you can do is an “Ask me anything” event where people can come along and they can ask about your products and services, there is no presentation, it’s all kind of just live and spontaneous. If you are going to do that, and they are great fun to do, they are really enjoyable but make sure that you ask for questions beforehand as well as questions on the day. So that you have got a nice set of pre-prepared questions upfront. All right?

Marcus: Mmmm.

Paul: Sorry, were you going to say something Marcus?

Marcus: No, I was just thinking out loud. Yes, without any questions that could be a bit of a disaster!

Paul: Yes, you also never know whether people are going to have questions on the day and so it’s always good to have a few in your back pocket even if you have to make them up and say “Oh, we had questions submitted beforehand.” Also, there might be some questions that you want asked so just pretend that they have been!

Marcus: Yes, “Dave from Portsmouth sent in this question.” Yes.

Paul: Yes, we’ve been known to do that on this show haven’t we, it has to be said.

Marcus: Once or twice, it has happened.

Paul: It’s also… I think a lot of people are afraid of being tripped up or asked something difficult. It is perfectly valid to say “I don’t know, but I will come back to you over that.” Nobody expects you to have all of the answers instantly on tap, you are not running to be president of the United States or anything like that all right. Although, with the current president, yeah, that falls down.

Marcus: Well, yeah, hmmm. (Laughter)

Paul: Also, if there’s anything… If somebody asks a really difficult question that’s gonna just derail everything, or if they ask a really specific question that applies only to them, suggest that you take it off-line and that you will talk them afterwards about it and deal with their enquiry separately because it stops everything grinding to a halt. Then the very last thing to say is don’t try and do it alone. You know, I have done many of these sessions and even after all this time of doing them I still find them really hard when I am trying to answer questions whilst also trying to scan ahead and see what other questions people are submitting and work out which ones are good and which ones to address next and all of that kind of stuff. So have someone who is effectively interviewing you. They are interviewing you using the questions submitted by the audience, does that make sense? So they are the ones looking through the questions and picking stuff out.

Marcus: Yes, totally.

Paul: So there you go!

Marcus: Marvellous.

Paul: I think there’s some good stuff in there even if I do say so myself.

Marcus: I learnt something today.

Paul: Did you really Marcus?

Marcus: I can’t remember what it was! Oh, the white balance thing.

Paul: Yes, that was a good one.

Marcus: Umm, something else as well. It’s gone now.

Paul: The cutting in and out, I bet was… When you zoom in and out.

Marcus: Yes, that was it! Yes, the different… Yeah, having this kind of zoomed in and out version. Yes.

Paul: Yeah, it’s a good one. So, next week we are going to talk about how to write in such a way to draw people in and engage with them. Because the last two weeks have just been me waffling on a lot, well, last week it was the two of us waffling on a lot. More this week it was just me. So, I’m going to ask Ellen back next week from Clearleft because I so enjoyed chatting with her last time I’m going to see if we can get her on the show. She is just currently confirming that she can do it because she’s got a big project. Who knew! People work for a living!

Marcus: I know, it’s crazy!

Paul: I know. So Marcus do you have a joke to wrap us up with.

Marcus: This one is from Drew McClellan who we all know and love.

Paul: Yeah.

Marcus: I heard a loud explosion followed by a grenade flying through the air. It was bang out of order.

Paul: (Laughter) Now, that is a good joke. I really like that one. Well done Drew, you win, you win at the joke game. So yes, that’s really good. Good show and we come in under an hour.

Marcus: Only just!

Paul: Yeah, no. We need to stop now because we’ve got one minute according to my counter. So…

Marcus: Yeah, I’ll add the music and it’ll be over an hour.

Paul: No, don’t, no music. We haven’t got time for it. We need to stop talking. All right, thank you very much for listening to this week’s show I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you learned something new. Join us again next week when we will be talking about writing in a way to draw the reader in. Bye.