FAQ: How we built our own server for shared storage on the (relatively) cheap

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

Earlier this year I set up our own server as a shared storage testbed. Since we got it up and running, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about it so I put together this quick guide that covers just about everything about it from the parts list to performance testing.

Why did you build your own server?

We were evaluating shared storage solutions for the wider team and realized we weren’t quite ready to take the leap into a system that could support 10+ editors working with multiple streams of RED footage. It’d require a lot of hardware and major infrastructure upgrades.

We decided to pivot our focus to a smaller project where we could make a big impact with less work. Thus the graphics server project was born.

Why is shared storage important?

We have a two person internal graphics/VFX department and they collaborate a lot with each other and our team of editors. Using our current storage workflow (individual project drives) means there’s a lot of passing physical drives back and forth between computers and that can get really confusing.

The graphics team also needs to work in parallel with our editors, so giving them their own dedicated storage space is helpful so they’re not waiting on drives to be free or sending files that need to be organized later.

Because the server is networked, the whole team gets access to the server so folks can send assets and browse for content they need on their own time. Just because someone’s out of the office doesn’t mean you can’t get a render you need to get your edit done.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

How to build a yearly video marketing budget

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

Putting together a comprehensive video budget is a daunting, but important, task. In this guide, I’m going to run through my own template to provide you a starting point for your own yearly budget.

This template is designed to cover typical marketing video productions including on-location shoots that are typically budgeted between $5,000 and $50,000.

Structure

A yearly budget is primarily a forecasting tool and it’s likely your individual project budgets will change as priorities shift and things come into focus. So don’t worry if you don’t have all the information before getting started.

structure

The total budget is comprised of two parts: a master spreadsheet that includes ongoing activities and your project budget templates.

You should build enough project templates to cover the different types of projects you’ll be taking on. Again, things will change and no two projects are exactly the same, but if you’re building a yearly video marketing plan it’s likely you’ll have project types like testimonials or case studies or other serialized content that’s build around a templated format. To start, let’s go over what these project budgets include.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

The guide to stress-free client revisions

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

Post-production can get confusing (and frustrating). Clients aren’t sure when things will be delivered or if what they’re looking at is supposed to be a polished draft or just a rough cut. Creatives are confused about who’s supposed to give feedback or what revisions are within scope and what requires additional fees.

In short, the approvals/revision cycle can be a mess. But like many things, it’s a mess that can be fixed with better communication. These are the things you should think about (and talk about, and write down) when you’re scoping out your next project.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

The Videostrategy Guide To Video Marketing KPIs

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

For the longest time, everyone was obsessed with view count. Clients were focused on making that number as big as possible and every video maker was fielding requests asking them to “make a viral video.” These days, video makers have a better understanding of what metrics really matter to determine if their video content is working. Similarly, brands are spending loads of their marketing budget on video and are more analytics conscious than ever.

So, as a video creator, how do you make sure your content has a positive Return on Investment (ROI)?

It’s easier than you think. Just set goals based on marketing objectives. Answer the question, ‘What is your video trying to do?’ Increase sales? Drive website traffic?

Once you answer this question, connect those goals to specific metrics to keep track of your progress and prove that you’re delivering results.

The metrics you focus on are called Key Performance Indicators and in the world of video marketing there are a handful of numbers that we use to measure success. Many platforms will give you some of the KPI’s you may be looking for and any platform designed for business should give you all of them (and then some).

Let’s run through the basic 5 metrics you should keep handy during your next campaign. After reading, download a cheatsheet with the basics.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

How to build an analytics dashboard to measure your video’s success

An excerpt from a post on the Videostrategy.org blog:

Strategy is more than just executing a smart gameplan, it’s also about measurement and optimization. Today I’m going to break down a small internal sales project at Animus and show how we designed a dashboard using Medialytics to keep the team informed.

This simple tool gives us instant insight into whether or not we were acheving our goals and ultimately helps inform how we produce similar projects.

Read the full post at Videostrategy.org.

Going from Video Marketing Vendor to Strategic Partner – Wistiafest 2017

This is my workshop from Wistiafest 2017. In this talk, I run through the my philosophy on modern video marketing from coming up with awesome ideas to selling them to clients, to actually bringing them to life. We cover a lot of ground.

Video Marketing 101: Tactics to go from vendor to marketing partner from Ian Servin


More from the Wistia website:

Ian Servin, creative director and strategist at Animus Studios, says there are three crucial phases to video marketing: before you have a client and you want to land them, actively working and showing value, and distributing all the value you’re creating. Here he talks pitching, pricing, and performing to create better partnerships as well as specific tactics for each topic.

Typically, agencies have no problem thinking strategically, but when it comes to video, they approach it like a videographer. Agencies will only think about deliverables. Only working project to project doesn’t establish a strong relationship. Instead, it’s best to think about entire campaigns and focus on building long-term relationships with your clients. By spending time understanding your client’s business challenges and focusing on impact, you can foster better relationships and add trust to obtain more creative freedom.

For partnerships, the pitch isn’t actually the beginning of a client relationship. The real beginning starts with discovery. Learn all about your client’s business problems, who they are, and their goals so you can help outline a path to success. Hold a meeting with client and creative stakeholders to identify story opportunities for content. Establish a collaborative relationship during this creative jam.

When pricing, offer value-based pricing, which is the price a client is willing to pay given the amount of value your solution provides. Value-based pricing is a combination of positioning and calculating your value. It requires an understanding of your client’s business as well as the cost to budget out a project based on time and materials. To build a budget, segment your budget by individual projects, define your activities, and track your time.

Performing is the final phase, and it’s all about executing. Understanding distribution is the most important thing you can do besides making content. Every channel has different benefits and use cases. Client goals determine which channels are important, and audience determines what channels are relevant. Think about distribution at the beginning of a project, but remember not to fake your knowledge of distribution. Take time to learn how to distribute effectively.

Partnership is all about asking the right questions and making collaborative decisions based on learnings.

Credit: Wistia

You Can’t Reach Your Audience without Understanding Them First

An excerpt from a post on the Wistia blog:

Making engaging video is all about communication, and if you can’t empathize with your audience, it’s really hard to communicate effectively with them. When it comes to producing videos for clients, understanding the audience is key.

Your client’s audience should determine the tone of the videos, what content goes into them, and even what channels you choose to share them on and how you target ad spend.

A little extra thoughtfulness in the audience discovery phase will change how you make videos and strengthen your client relationships.

So how do you begin?

Read the full article at Wistia’s blog.

10 Reasons Why Retainers Work Better for the Agency and the Client

An excerpt from a post on the Wistia blog:

Over the last year, my business changed dramatically – I shifted away from one-off projects and began focusing on longer-term contracts. With one-off engagements, I was always pitching clients and seeking out the next shoot. Building pitch decks and negotiating contracts ate up a lot of my time. It also meant that I ended up building shallow relationships with clients.

These shallow relationships didn’t give me a lot of creative freedom. And because they were centered around individual projects, there weren’t opportunities to grow the relationships and do better, more effective work over time. I wasn’t happy, and my clients weren’t getting the full value of my expertise.

So I changed how I worked. Instead of being a video producer, I positioned myself as a strategic partner. This is very different from the traditional production business model. By building long-term contracts, I had the opportunity to become a trusted advisor and not simply a contractor.

Read the full article at Wistia’s blog.