How To Create Video Content From Your Social Media Channels

Lately I’ve read lots of articles that describe why marketers should be making video content customers want to watch, without giving any clues as to how to do that. Here’s three easy ways to generate video ideas from your social media channels.


  1. Read their comments – Comments provide unfiltered feedback on what your customers think of your brand and products, good and bad. You can use these to discover holes in your marketing content plan, or frustrations customers have with your products (and your competitors).
  2. Ask them questions – Make your social media accounts a two-way conversation. There’s a tendency to think that we can only use social media to push product and messages, to treat it like advertising. Social media should be viewed as an interactive community. Want to know what they think of that new widget? Ask. If no-one replies, then its probably a good indication that your followers aren’t listening to what you’re saying.
  3. Run a competition – Everyone likes the chance to win something. Offer a product or cash prize incentive to get feedback. Make the questions specific and measurable. For example, you could ask customers to describe their ideal product, or how do they use your current products.


Next you’ll need to analyze the feedback and find any recurring themes and topics. Qualitative Data Analysis Software can automate the task if you’re dealing with large data sets. From there you can start to generate video ideas using the storytelling framework I’ve outlined HERE

As an example we discovered from a survey that despite all of the marketing collateral available to them, our customers still had a hard time deciding which kitchen sink to buy.  Using their own stories and words, I was able to generate four simple videos that customers could use to start their sink buying journey. At 31,000 views, the most watched video has been an instructional video on “How to clean a sink”.

Using customer feedback on social media has allowed me to generate relevant content on demand. Watch the videos mentioned, plus other content generated from social media feedback here on the Clark Facebook Page


How To Pitch Creative And Ask For Budget

This post is specifically for in-house video producers. Your yearly video budget is probably less than one catalog photo-shoot. Your video shoots probably don’t have catering let alone a crew of people running around doing your bidding.

But being an in-house producer doesn’t mean you have to stick to the work handed to you. Add value by addressing short-falls in content. Reframe your role and you can bring more to the table. Here’s how I pitch creative that’s outside my usual scope and ask for budget (that isn’t mine):

1.  Read the Brief – The brief should contain enough detail and elements to give you an idea of what the stakeholder  wants from the creative, the key messaging, target audience and deliverables. Don’t have a brief? Then ask the person responsible. You work for the same company after all.

2. Write a Script – Got killer ideas for that new product launch? Write them down. Is one good? Keep developing it until its better than any other idea. If you’ve watched Mad Men you’d think you need to pitch 3 ideas to get one approved. I don’t. Working on multiple creative is exhausting and takes energy away from the work you truly believe in.

I’ll think of 2 or 3 ideas but one will always stick with me or resonate better. I’ll develop and pitch that one concept only. I don’t need to pitch multiple ideas because I’ve already evaluated and filtered the bad ideas out. If you don’t believe that one idea can stand on it’s own, then you’re padding so-so creative with mediocre creative to make it stand out.

3. Write a Directors Treatment – After the creative is done, write a directors treatment. A treatment will outline how the video will look, any special requirements for filming, sound, music, locations. Anything that helps sell the script or idea you’ve written.

4. Prepare a Budget – If you don’t ask, you don’t get. At least, that’s what I hear. So, if this shoot goes outside your normal budget or requires external contractors, here’s how to ask for it. The worst that will happen is someone says no and you have to rethink your idea. At best they say yes!

Almost anything can be rented these days. I hired a wood chipper for a shoot once. They even delivered it and took it away. Don’t ask what I did with it. Need crew? Get quotes. You can rent people too. A full crew of camera, lighting, make up and styling runs $7000-$12,000 in hard costs per day depending on gear and experience. If you can only afford to hire one person, always hire lighting above all else.

Now here’s the tip: Since you’re producing this video in-house, you can produce it cheaper than your external agency partners. Even a one day shoot can cost $50,000 after the agency and production company mark up their invoices. $12,000 or $50,000 – Which one do you think is an easier sell? Make sure to include the estimated agency cost in your budget proposal.

5. Pitch your idea – You work with these people. You might even sit on the same team or department. Set a meeting, or email your pitch around. I’ve had work approved via email without having to say a word. Once it’s approved, that’s when the real work starts because now you have to deliver what you promised.

Be bold. They’ll thank you for it.


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How To Build Awesome Sets On A Budget

I’ve built 3 sets in the last year, including a fully working kitchen. How? Trial and error, but mostly out of necessity. Why? I work for a company that makes and sells taps, sinks and other items for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry spaces.

Building sets has allowed me to put our products in context (insitu) for video shoots. Sets also give you control over the elements, location and the look. Here are 5 things that I’ve learned from building sets on a budget:

img_20161114_1033551. Set builders for the basics – The most basic component of any set is flats, or blank walls to stand in for real walls. These can be painted, tiled or wallpapered in whatever wall covering you need. They can be re-used and rearranged over and over again. It’s also the part where most of the money was spent. Each 4’X8′ panel (1200mm x 2400mm) has cost about $500 each. They’re typically constructed of 2″x3″ pine with an MDF skin. Sure, it would be cheaper to make them yourself, but you’ve got better things to do like write the creative.

2. Home Depot is your friend – You’ll save a ton of money by putting the rest of the set together yourself. Hardware stores are DIY heaven. Almost everything from kitchen cabinets to plumbing are engineered to be snap-together-simple these days. Hardware stores are so vested in you doing-it-yourself that they even hold in-store classes or make tutorial videos.



Kitchen set being built for Clark Sinks.

3. Strategic partnerships can net free stuff– My budget was cut in half when I had to build a kitchen set earlier this
year. I had the walls and some cabinets from previous builds, but needed appliances  and multiple benchtops for product demonstrations.  So, not cheap.

I reached out to aligned businesses and was able to get free countertops, appliances and kitchen cabinets in exchange for social media mentions, blog posts and photography. By coincidence, it was coming up to summer and I was given new launch colours which helped our set look on-trend.


img_20161118_1238474. It only has to look good on camera – Spend the money and time on the areas of the set that will be the focus of your action. Everything else can be…

5. Fake  – Not everything has to be real, or working.  I saved time on my kitchen set by nailing the cabinet doors up since they wouldn’t be opened and not installing doors that wouldn’t be seen by camera.   Who will know if that toaster or kettle in the background is broken if it wont be used.

A friend of mine claims to have faked tile grout using drafting tape and there are many tricks set builders use to fool you, from painted on shadows to forced perspective.

How To Write Great Corporate Videos

If telling isn’t selling then most corporate videos are doing it wrong. Does this sound familiar? – Long winded timeline videos, scripted features and benefits from talking heads, perfectly packaged into 4’30” of snooze.

Story writing frameworks provide an alternative, and dare I say more interesting way of framing your company’s message. Three-act structure and Hero’s journey are two frameworks that can be simplified  and used to define your video’s key messages and present them in a story format.

I’ve used the above depending on the project, however my favorite structure comes courtesy of Pixar. I’ve modified it a little but it goes like this:

Every day, ___. Until One day ___.  Because of that, ___.  Because of that, ___.  Until finally ___.

The answers to these questions make script writing less of a chore and help resolve the key themes of the video. When put into practice it looks a little something like this, with each answer being anywhere from 1 to 3 sentences in length:

Every day, we design and manufacture world class devices loved the world over.

Until One day, we took notice of the emerging wearables trend.

Because of  that, we researched and developed many prototypes and had many failures.

Because of that,  we were able to focus on one device and worked hard to make it the best product of its kind.

Until finally, we released the first smart watch that connects seamlessly with your phone.

Presenting your videos in a story based format guides the viewer on a journey that explains why your product or service exists and what problem it solves.  You’ll be able to do that in a clear and concise way, free of extraneous messaging if you use story telling frameworks.