What makes for great video content and why is video important for tourism
Welcome to Tourism Upgrade. The podcast unpacking marketing trends from travel, tourism and marketing leaders. I’m your host HollyG and today we welcome Blake Phillips, Head of Creative Video at Seven West Media. today on the podcast we will be discussing what makes for great video content and the importance of video for tourism.
Welcome Blake. You have had an extensive career in video and it sounds like its more than a career but a passion, what do you love about video?
Blake: I think, like most people working video or video in general, it’s telling a good story really communicating an idea, communicating an emotion or creating something that resonates with an audience.
Holly: So we hear so much about the importance of video in marketing, should tourism marketers be investing in video content?
Blake: Absolutely and especially the digital video space, it’s growing so rapidly which is why I guess I’ve sort of felling to a career that keeps progressing. In terms of digital marketing, pre rolls and integrated video content is sort of taking off and it’s crazy right now and I know the company I’m now working for and many other companies are investing heavily into that digital video platforms and because that’s what the audience is now so if people aren’t where the audience now is consuming media, how relevant could you be I guess?
Holly: So when we talk about digital video, we’re talking about consuming that online as supposed to back in the day when we used to think about video, I guess we would think about it more in relation to say television or that sort of thing.
Blake: Yeah! And like it could be television like I have Netflix on my TV at home, I have YouTube on my TV as well as free to air broadcast… I guess it’s basically any screen, any cross platform screens so just not thinking as video like you said as you know something that is broadcast television only but something that could be on an iPhone, on an iPad, on your laptop… so just thinking about those different distribution channels and those different platforms that lives beyond broadcast.
Holly: Yeah, coz as you say, we’ve got to be where our audience is and that’s not just necessarily on one specific platform anymore. So assuming, where not going to be shooting videos ourselves but briefing a professional, what do we need to know as marketers about creating great video content?
Blake: The main thing you need to think about is what do you want your audience to take away from your content or you piece of video? What do you want them to feel and what do you want them to tell a friend at the end? If you can sort of nail that sort of concept, not so much, what’s the message that you want to say but how do you want them to feel afterwards or what do you want them to say? That way, a creative video could come up with a concept that fits your brand, fits your message but then also leaves the audience with something.
Holly: So it’s as you say, not just go and say “this is the message that I wanted to get out there” but like this is how I want my audience to feel or react to the story.
Blake: That’s exactly the point and the message is important but that can always be salt and peppered through content but the main thing is how you want the audience to feel and that goes back to old school marketing like Coca-Cola don’t sell sugar water they sell happiness… what’s that feeling that you’re selling?
Holly: And now, I am guessing once that the video content is actually made, that’s really just the first step?
Holly: So, what do we need to do to ensure that our videos get seen?
Blake: You need a solid social seeding strategy because you’re competing on broadcast television, you’re competing with five other or ten other outlets, you’re competing against billions of billions of hours of content every day so how do you cut through? And the best thing you can do is have a good social seeding strategy. So our impression is put it on to as many platforms as possible, tweet to as many relevant people as possible, get people involved with large social followings from the beginning so when the content is ready or the video piece is ready, they’re sending it out to their audience for you and also budget for a little bit of paid promotions because Facebook is always going to… the algorithm is always changing but in terms of Facebook specifically. If you don’t already have a large engaged audience and you post a video, it’s pretty much going to fall on deaf ears or blind eyes or so to speak… So making sure you did, put money aside to boost that post to the right audience is essential.
Holly: You can have a small budget as long as there is some seeding budget there and it can be seen by such a wide audience when you’re using platforms like Facebook.
Blake: And it’s about knowing your audience as well and making your content relevant to them and that way, when you do target them with your post, they will engage with it.
Holly: Great. Now obviously YouTube is what people immediately think of now when it comes to video, if I’ve got a video that I’ve invested in this amazing video that’s really telling my brand story, can you give us some core tips about working with YouTube?
Blake: Yeah, two things with YouTube, your thumbnail and your headline is everything. So basically with YouTube search, it will always read the headline first. So making sure your headline is a good balance of being incredibly literal. Something that people probably might type into a Search box but then also sells your content well and then also keeping in mind, the good chunk of your audience won’t even read the texts they’ll just look at the picture. So sometimes it helps to have like I always find close-up human faces, eye contact or something visually stunning and compelling and then even a bit of text in a thumbnail nice, large and blocky, you’ll see a lot more click through rate. It sort of like the modern day the DVD cover I guess… you know when you’re walking through the video store people do judgeable plates cover and then start scrolling through any sort of feed or search result so making sure you stand out even more and not to be misleading with your titles or your thumbnails either because if people feel like they’ve got what they were expecting, they’re more likely to share it on.
Holly: Yeah great and so it’s not just going with the default thumbnail that YouTube might select for you but really putting some good thought into…
Blake: Yeah exactly! Open Photoshop or go into a web editor and try and make something that people would click on and even try like a lot of times… Make two or three then get some of the look and be like which one caught your eye the most.
Holly: That’s a great idea. So what about if we were shooting some short social media videos ourselves, because we all have phones in our pockets and cameras. Do you have tips for the amateur videographer?
Blake: Yep absolutely, good sound is very important. People can tolerate a dodgy image but they can’t tolerate bad sound and then with that, also keep in mind especially on Facebook, most of your audience are probably be watching your content without sound so make sure that first three to ten seconds is incredibly visually compelling, or if it is someone talking make sure that it’s caption is nice and clearly so people can watch it without sound if they are on the office or public transport and doing that with headphones with them. So making sure you suck your audience in the first 2-3 seconds really to get them engaged which is crazy these days.
Holly: That is crazy, so is that like making sure that you’re putting your best stuff up the front?
Blake: Exactly. You’re really like you’ve got a reverse engine videos now, you’ve a got a really pretty much put the pale first or 90% of it and then give context, tell a story afterwards. Set the expectations than meet them.
Holly: Yeah fantastic. Are you saying any good examples of video across social media at the moment? Or any projects that you’ve done?
Blake: Yeah there’s been… because it’s been such a competitive space right now, people are getting incredibly creative. In terms of a local landscape, pedestrian I find it doing a really good job like locally within Australia and then I’ve always been a fan of what Vox and Pedestrian have done, they’re doing quite well. But it’s all getting a bit same-same right now, because one person starts a trend and then everyone follows and then it’s a very interesting time to be in digital video,
The rules are just being defined, like I said where we are at the mercy of Google and Mark Zuckerberg, they make a change then we have to change. It was only 12 months ago, you would never see captions on videos but now as you scroll through your Facebook, any video that’s getting shared around usually has captions for that reason that Mark Zuckerberg decided to turn sound off by default.
Holly: Yeah absolutely. I understand what you mean when you say a bit same-same. I remember when I first saw the first cooking demo video where it was shoot from above and I’m like, “oh wow! That’s so cool” then the next ten after that are all the same, so it loses its impact doesn’t it?
Blake: It does. And then what you start is then people doing parodies of that and that becomes a joke and then I guess the goal is to be the next thing… so like you, if I see another high shot cooking video, I’ll be going to scream.
Holly: Do you have any sort of final tips for us who are thinking about going down the video path and especially in tourism so travel, it’s a visually attractive most of the time… any sort of final tips or takeaways for our audience?
Blake: Yeah and it’s interesting because we’ve got a whole travel vertical here at Seven west and we were so launching a travel club website so I’ve been seeing who the travel guys a lot here about this and it’s interesting with travel because there can be nothing more amazing than travel content and there can be nothing more boring than watching someone’s holiday video. So finding that balance between being compelling and being boring is a fine line with travel line so it’s about like any content having pointing your difference and being authentic so if it is going to be centered around a personality or a person, don’t be a glossy presenter like getaway TV style, take tips from YouTube stars, they are real, they are authentic, they are mostly unedited and they are true real humans because that is what engages people online, as soon as they feel like they are being presented to, people just engaged it feels fake. I called it corporate stink, it feels like a big business has made and put money into it where online it is about being real and being authentic.
And with your travel content, I guess just try and do something different. Everyone knows the touristy stuff so try and find alternative… try and find that treehouse on airbnb, try and find those things where people would want to tag a friend and be like “oh my god, let’s do this!” otherwise it’s a bit “oh we all know about etc.” whatever.
Holly: And I think it is really trying to get to that core. What makes my destination or my products really different? And often people are getting into travel and tourism because they’re very passionate about their business or about travel. So it is really coming back to that core of the passion or really understanding what does make me unique?
Blake: Yeah absolutely and that’s what people engage with. People naturally follow leaders so you need to be an authentic passionate leader and show them something new and something exciting and something they wanted to tell their friends about because we are so saturated with everything and this day or age, travel or exotic travel even bizarre destinations are so affordable and accessible so to cut through, you really need to sell or show an experience that’s unlike anything else.
Holly: I remember it was like last year, Tourism Australia had a really short video on Facebook of a little joey hopping into a pouch or into a man’s pouch and it was so real like the guy was an authentic Aussie person who look after these poor little joeys and they said just that in the really short clip, got such traction and engagement where it was something that, that guy does every single day but for the rest of the world, it was something really unique.
Blake: Exactly and we take so much for granted being from this country because we’re just so used to these things like that so it’s about spotting those and not staging them. They could have easily got attract a kangaroo and animal trainer, a commercial TV camera shoot and fake that, and it would not have been anywhere successful and they saw that opportunity and run with it.
Holly: Yeah exactly, well thank you so much for your time. I love the points about:
- thinking how you want your audience to feel
- about being real and authentic
- about telling a story
- and also about the 2-3 seconds (that might be a bit hard to get past a few typical brand marketers, but I think it’s really a good point.)
Blake: That’s true. Think of that as promotion now, think of that like a movie trailer… first 2-3 seconds of the movie trailer will always suck you in, so that’s same sort of mentality is really important these days because when people are scrolling through their feeds, it takes a lot to get them stop on you.
Now it’s time for our thousand dollar bonus question!
HollyG: If you only have a $1,000 marketing budget, what would you spend it on?
Blake: Mostly seeding my content. Because everyone’s got an amazing camera in their pocket, everyone’s a talented people, everyone can get a group together and come up with a great idea and executed for couple of dollars if not, nothing, but seeding means getting it seen. So I would put all that money behind making sure as many of the right people see that content as possible.
HollyG: Now what if you only had a $100?
Blake: It will go straight into Facebook targeting or YouTube pre roll ads for sure.