Strategy Sessions: How to create awesome video content on a shoestring budget

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By 2019, pundits predict that 80-percent of all Internet traffic will be video. If true, that’s a 64-percent increase in five years.

This all begs the question, what’s your businesses’ video plan? If you don’t have one, what are you waiting for?

Chances are your staff is super busy, and creating content for your online presence is not as pressing as providing in-person customer service. But know this: If you’re not providing value-add, resourceful content to your loyal customers when they’re online, they’re no doubt getting it somewhere else. You can’t afford to let your customers migrate to another resource for information, stoke and inspiration.

Adding visual content to your store’s online presence gives you a more engaging platform (points of entry) than online-only retailers and the brands you sell. When you build solid visual storytelling for your store’s online presence, you build value for your customers in a way that the large online retailers and national outdoor brands just can’t.

Bottom line: You need good video content on your site, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. You don’t need fancy equipment or professional videographers, according to Entrepreneur Magazine.

A great rule of thumb when creating a video, whether it’s on a GoPro, an iPhone or with a professional, is to focus on delivering content that’s inspiring and brings a lot of value to your target customer. Always provide something they’ll find truly educational. If you deliver that, your customer will forgive less-than-stellar production quality.

Try DIY Videos

Keep them short (no more than a minute and a half to two minutes) and post them on your store’s social platforms and blog and include the link in your store’s newsletter. (Heads up: If you need help creating a newsletter, watch for my March column).

-Unboxing videos are hugely popular. Shoot them on your iPhone (set up a tripod in front of a work table) and capture your staff opening boxes of incoming products that will get your customers stoked on the items that you stock. Don’t forget to include a call to action. At the end of your video, invite the viewer to come into your shop and check out the new goods.

-Make your customers famous. Recruit some of your very best customers to star in informal videos at your store, and ask them a couple questions:

  • How long have you been a customer?
  • What’s your favorite outdoor activity and trail?
  • What’s the last piece of gear you bought and where have you used it around here?

-Highlight your employees. Have your staff shoot iPhone videos of them using your products in the field, locally. Let them explain how products work and why they love them so much. Also, encourage them to share their videos with their network and friends locally.

-Start a video blog. Have your employees take turns with their iPhones to create timely videos focusing on seasonal topics and categories. Showcase the knowledge base of your staff. It’s important to focus on what differentiates you to your target customer. Very likely it’s your people, your assortment and your staff’s combined knowledge of your local area. Post this to your businesses’ Youtube or Vimeo channels and use a resource like Backlinko.com to tag the videos (this is like rocket fuel for search engine optimization for YouTube videos, enabling your videos to be found).

Hack your vendors’ content

Tap the brands you sell for the splashy compelling content they’re already producing.

-Most brands are more than happy to have their retailers re-share their own branded content, including videos. Call your rep and find out who at the brand can connect with your store.

Here are four brands offering interesting and engaging content for retailers to repurpose.

1 – The North Face is offering cutting-edge, experiential-based content using Jaunt Studios, a virtual reality provider (as reported by VR Scout). The North Face cinematic VR is available for download through Jaunt’s app in Google Play and iTunes.

2 – Outdoor Research’s Verticulture is packed with editorial content centered around skiing, climbing, backpacking, and camping. Here’s a great skills-oriented video (made in conjunction with the American Mountain Guides Association, AMGA), that customers of any ski shop would appreciate.

3 – The Dyneema Project created this video to showcases the “ultralight” revolution. If your store carries any products made with Dyneema, including those made by Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Mountain Laurel Designs.

4 – If your store carries any award-winning products, look for video from the source. Example: Backpacker (SNEWS’s sister magazine) produces informative videos on every single Editors’ Choice Award winner.

2015 Editors' Choice Awards: Sea to Summit Comfort Plus

5 – Part of the reason Patagonia’s catalog is so popular is because of its featured conservation stories. If you carry Patagonia, tap its cause-oriented, beautifully shot and edited content, like this video, a preview of the upcoming film on the controversy surrounding a potential ski area development (the Jumbo Glacier Resort) in the pristine wilderness of British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains. Or this video about trail running and conservation in Patagonia.

A few more tips

-Personalize it. Try this old newspaper reporter trick: localize every piece of content you repurpose. How? Just add in a short video made by a staff member introducing it. If you’re showcasing a product, talk about how it works in your region. If it’s a video about an athlete, talk about how what that person does and where they go relates to your local climate or location or challenges or trips. Sometimes you have to dig, but there’s always an angle.

-Every season, set up Google Alerts on the main categories your store is selling.When Google sends you an alert for a video from a trusted media resource or from one of your vendors, create a short post for your blog with a hyperlink to the video. You’ll extend the reach of the content that your vendors are offering while also keeping your local audience engaged with fresh content.

-Use a hosting platform. A great tool for video hosting on any budget is Wistia.One of the most annoying aspects of using video in your content marketing is how much of a time-suck it can be to save it in the right file size and upload it. Time is money. Wistia is a platform that makes it painless. You set up an account (there’s a free trial) and upload your videos to the Wistia platform. Doing so makes it easier to share your video content, which will help you set processes in your company to consistently post video. Additionally, you’ll see analytics for views and shares on your videos to see what’s working and what’s not.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden is founder and CEO of two successful companies: Verde Brand Communications, one of the leading brand communications agencies in the outdoor active lifestyle markets, and the Intrepid Entrepreneur, a coaching and consulting business dedicated to supporting independent and small companies in the outdoor markets as they grow their brands and businesses. Kristin produces a weekly Intrepid Entrepreneur podcast and offers free weekly content built for small business owners in the outdoor active lifestyle markets at www.intrepidentrepreneur.net. She serves as a mentor at the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) and is writing her first book, which will be published in 2016. Kristin resides in Durango, Colorado with her husband and two children.

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