After 30 years of roaming the country, reporting Scotland for a wide range of programmes on radio and television, David Calder is moving into a new sphere - online training.

A director of the online video production company, BITWeb.tv, he's been asked to advise firms on how best to use video as a marketing tool. So he's created a course that covers everything from the kit you might need to the content of the videos, from creating a digital marketing strategy to optimising and promoting the videos you make.

Working with his wife, Penny Haywood Calder of PHPR, he will also be producing a series of webinars on Public Relations as well. And to complete a trio of services, he'll be developing a series of media and communication skills courses as well.

Avid’s New Products

Posted by on 30 March 2011

Avid is one of the best producers of video editing software in the World. Its range is very broad from the kind of systems that Hollywood would crave to those more suited to the domestic market. They took over one of the best home-video editing companies, Pinnacle, last year.

For some reason, they decided to launch their own “Avid Studio” at the same time at the upgrade was launched for Pinnacle Studio 15. Having bought both, I hate to say it but the consumer version looks more professional. It looks much cleaner and less cluttered than “Avid Studio”. In the Pinnacle version, transitions, video effects and titles are arranged in sensible folders that you can search easily. In the Avid version, they’re all clustered together and each effect has its own image, rather as Serif does with its products. As an example, one of the most commonly used transitions used in video editing is a simple cross fade. In Pinnacle, it’s one of the first options available when opening that folder. In Avid Studio, you have to scroll through dozens of frankly useless and pointless effects before you finally get to the right group.

Sorry Avid. Your own branded product looks much more amateur than Pinnacle Studio. I’m going to stick with what I’ve come to like.

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If “Fast Company” recommends video…

Posted by on 19 March 2011

I can’t offer any better reason for companies’ starting to use video than this excellent explanation by Wendy Marx in Fast Company


12 Reasons to Start Shooting Video Today
BY FC EXPERT BLOGGER WENDY MARXThu Mar 17, 2011
This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert’s views alone.

B2C marketers are not alone in jumping aboard the video marketing bandwagon. If YouTube is any indication, B2B marketers are increasingly utilizing online videos to inform and engage, and to take advantage of the increasing numbers of Internet users with high-speed connection.
It’s no wonder of course that B2B marketers are embracing video given the outsize demand for it. A 2010 survey published by video ad company YuMe, for example, revealed that 49 percent of respondents shared they are watching videos daily. More than 66 percent of respondents said they watched more online video now than they did 12 months ago and 48 % expected they would continue to watch more online videos in the future.
If you’re still on the sidelines, consider this stat from Forrester Research: Video increases the chance of a front page Google result by 53 times. You got that. You are 53 times more likely to land on the front page of Google with a video than basic text.
Forrester also reports that adding video in to e-mails increases click-through rates by two to three times,” says Keith Smiley, a freelance B2B copywriter in Indianapolis, Ind.
Smiley says that B2B marketer’s use videos in a variety of ways, including:
visually demonstrating how a product or service works,
communicating a specific message or company news
as a lead generation tool
case studies
executive summaries and video versions of white papers
Smiley says other video uses can include:
Sharing content from webinars
Interviewing partners at a trade show
Holding a Q & A session with an expert within your company
Giving a sneak peek at product releases.
Sean Randles, owner of webVM and U.K. Partner at FLIMP Media in Manchester, United Kingdom, echoes Smiley in some of the uses for video marketing. He shares that his Web video company creates video versions of .PDF case studies, which he says are “very powerful lead generation tools.” Some other ways to use video, according to Randles, include: product visualizations, elevator pitch videos and video brochures. In addition, “B2B videos can also be used for direct video marketing campaigns using www.flimp.net, which enables real time tracking of views and response by e-mail address.”
“B2B video is a great way to deliver dynamic, real content – client testimonials, solution-info snacks, event promotions and new product launches, says Lindsay Leugers, vice president of marketing at OneCommand in Cincinnati, Ohio. “We get a great response, even with the most basic, grassroot of our video efforts – and while polished, professionally produced videos are great to have, they aren’t always in the budget. “We’ve learned that being creative and just having fun with the channel is just as important. Whether we shoot out in the field with one of our Flips or in against a green screen with a Sony-DV- the content is what really matters.”
“Video content is huge in the B2B space, both for promotional or educational purposes,” agrees Devon Galloway, co-founder of Redwoods Media in San Jose, Calif. “The market has really evolved beyond just live filmed testimonials, and now includes animated info-graphics discussing key features of the product, product walk-throughs actually demonstrating products in action (which double as a first reference point when a customer needs technical support), and of course the classic webinars discussing areas of interest to potential customers.”
Somewhat conversely, Daniel Roberts, CEO of Friendly Human in Atlanta, Ga., stresses the use testimonials over animated info-graphics within B2B videos. “Video testimonials are gold, especially in the B2B space,” Roberts says. “B2C videos tend to focus on information (think animated infographics). In B2B, the lead generally already knows what you do. B2B videos must be less about information and more about authenticity and relationships. B2B videos tend to work best in more unconventional ways.
To help B2B clients using video, Roberts suggests …
Creating simple weekly videos. “Think of it as ‘quality spam,’” he says. It’s quality in the sense that it’s useful, but it keeps you in front of their face like spam.”
Creating customer testimonials that decimate objections and ask for the sale on your behalf.
Send someone difficult to reach a personal video.
“I have studied viral videos extensively and know exactly what it takes to make one happen. By design, none of our videos will ever go viral. Viral is B2C. The real key for B2B is to think smaller, yet deeper.”
Follow @FastCoLeaders for all of our leadership news, expert bloggers, and book excerpts.
So, if you’ve been a video couch potato, what are you waiting for? How are you using video to grow your business? I’d love to hear from you.

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Why World Plumbing Day isn’t just about en-suite sinks

Posted by on 11 March 2011

Today is World Plumbing Day. It’s not that well known – but figures from the United Nations and the World Health Organisation make frightening reading.

About a third of the planet’s population don’t have access to clean water or decent sanitation. Millions of children die every year as a result.

The current Chairman of the World Plumbing Council is Robert Burgon, President of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation. He sent out this message about why this day should matter to more people:

Grant Leboff

Posted by on 8 March 2011

If you get the chance to go to a presentation from Grant Leboff, CEO of the Sticky Marketing Club, then grab it with both hands. At first glance, he’s a little unassuming. But when he speaks, you know you’re in the presence of a real expert, a man right on top of both his subject and his game.

He takes the view that the long-standing traditional view of marketing (the sales funnel) has died. It has withered on the vine because the Internet has changed the way all of us think and behave. When the old view was at its height, information was scarce. Television advertising could command a premium because it delivered millions of people to the companies buying that time. In the 70s, a show like 3-2-1 with Ted Rogers and Dusty Bin was watched by a third of the UK population, about 17 million people. How many prime time shows can command that kind of audience today? X-Factor perhaps but it is a rare item these days, which is why ITV is struggling to survive financially.

In the 21st century, information is abundant. Value, says Leboff, follows scarcity. That’s why the battle ground is for your attention. There is so much information about that the consumer is faced with constant distractions. Their attention is the scarcest commodity around.

He argues that the funnel needs to be turned upside down. The company should no longer be shouting about what it does; instead, it should be doing things to help the consumer find it. That means adding value, offering cross-promotional activity and providing the consumer with an “experience”. He says that people don’t buy products any more. They buy quality of service. But even that’s not enough because the Web has commoditised service. He argues that we’ve moved beyond the service economy and entered the experience economy. No-one is interested in what you do any more. Instead, the value you provide potential customers comes from the activity around you. If you’re helpful in offering a range of ideas, then people are likely to come back to see what else you have on offer.

As an example, he tells of a burger bar that forged deals with the local zoo and other attractions for children. Why? — because they were all in the market of helping parents find things for the kids to do in the school holidays. The burger bar offered coupons for half-price entry to these organisations — oh, and you could also get free chips when you visited it afterwards.

Leboff takes the view that companies can’t afford not to be using social media effectively. It’s not enough to have a website any more. You need to be on Facebook. You need a Twitter stream. You need to have a YouTube channel. And then you have to link them all together. But you’re not using them to do a hard sell of your own product or service. You’re using them to add value to the consumer’s experience. So a hotel would have videos about local attractions, walking and cycling routes, what’s on at the local cinema etc. And by the way, they’re also offering a discount to people wanting to use their gym or swimming pool. But it’s all part of the experience!

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