In this episode we talk to Reza Izad & Jake Greene, Co-Authors of Create Great Videos.
If you’d rather not listen to this episode, you can read it below:
Create Great Videos
Welcome back to the B2B Growth show. We are here today with Reza Izad and Jake Greene, co-authors of the new book, Create Great Videos. Reza and Jake, how are you guys doing today?
We’re doing great, thanks.
I would love, before we jump into the topic today talking about the book and some of the lessons that we’ve extrapolated from the book that we think will be particularly helpful for B2B marketers listening to this, before we get into that though I’d love for both of you to just kind of explain a little bit of your background and where you’re coming from and then we’ll dive into the good stuff.
Sure, this is Reza, I’ll jump in first. It’ll start with what sort of prompted the writing of this book. I’m the CEO of a company called Studio 71. We’re one of the larger content providers on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram; mostly short-form video. We’re a producer and distributor so we don’t make everything that we sort of market into the advertising community.
We’re very much in sort of this transition of TV to digital video that we’re sort of seeing. It’s been shocking because we’ve been doing this for, I don’t know, six or seven years now. We still continue seven years in to go into CMOs, marketers. Ad agencies and what not. When we start talking about or talent and some of them are the biggest talent on these platforms like Rhett & Link and Lilly Singh and a bunch of others and we’re just shocked at how few people really know; A) Who they are, and B) Sort of the social significance and influence that they can deliver for brands and what not.
Jake has been writing a number of books with our talent. We started talking and sort of led to the creation of this book, which is very much a primer hopefully for people who are feeling very intimidated by what’s going on in sort of social video.
I’ll jump in on that, this is Jake. In addition to sort of collaborating in the YouTube space, for the better part of the last 10 years I’ve been working with a number of organizations and businesses who have been having inner-generational issues; sort of understanding the digital generation. When I started doing some work with Studio 71 and realized the depth and breadth of creators that are in their community, I started talking to Reza about the opportunity to sort of mind their stories and get sort of succinct vignettes and wisdom from some of those creators to give organizations regardless of whether or not they’re in the media space some of the tools to collaborate more effectively and productively with their customers who are a part of the video generation and also with their employees who they’re having issues communicating with.
I think the result that came out of Create Great Videos is not only a one on one, on how to make the videos as the title suggests, but it’s also a great tool for understanding what gets people excited about communicating with video, building communities online, developing succinct messaging and applying tools from other areas of entertainment to make their businesses more effective.
The Importance of Succinct Messaging
I love it. Guys, I want to dive right in because we’ve got a lot to cover. This is definitely a book that I think our listeners are gonna want to check out to get all of the value from it. You touched on it in that last statement Jake and I think this is something that B2B marketers need to really have the point hammered home; you talked about succinct messaging. Offline we were talking about the combo, the one-two punch of succinct messaging alongside repetition.
You obviously have worked with a ton of video creators, people that are seeing enormous success with video. Can you speak to how succinct messaging and then repetition of that messaging has ultimately allowed them to experience the success that they’ve seen with video?
Let me share a case study about sort of interesting succinct messaging and then I’ll toss it to Reza because we also have some interesting research about viewing and consumption habits of different generations as related to videos and YouTube.
There’s a great chapter in the book. There’s a group called Extra Credits, which is a bunch of former gaming execs that make videos. They make some gaming videos but then they also started making education videos. For example, they teach the history of Rome’s Punic wars. Part of their challenge that they set out was can we apply some of the strategies that we use to make video games move quickly and pop and be appealing. Can we use those strategies to teach subjects that could be construed as overly dry or complex? They did it remarkably well. All of the skills that they had in the gaming space translated over. When you watch those videos, not only are they tremendously popular but they move really, really quickly and people appreciate that you can take a complex topic and it doesn’t feel like you’re taking your medicine.
That’s really great for the B2B space where people are always trying to create messaging that sticks but not only for the person that they’re sending it to directly but also stuff that’s able to be passed around where people find value in it just beyond something that’s being sold to them.
What we see that really works is a very specific cadence in publishing too. If you’re essentially adding value to your customer in terms of thinking of a funnel, adding value once and having a call to action is one thing but adding value in a highly repetitive basis and on a very consistent basis. If you look at 80% or 90% of the people that we interviewed here in this book have publishing cadences that are very much like TV.
Five days a week, upload time is always the same or once a week, upload time is very much in the sort of same time period. When you lay it all out, it looks like a TV grid ironically.
Even though this is an on-demand whenever you want it, consume it sort of however you want it sort of platform, you know these platforms are, but the reality is still that regular cadence is key and the repetition is key. I think other things I think B2B marketers are leveraging, call to action sort of asking the customer for something, whether it’s a follow, an email, a subscribe, a comment, those are all tactics that follow along with content that has some value for a consumer. That can be informational value. I think you look at these platforms, particularly YouTube. Information is a huge part of the value proposition many creators have with their audiences.
What’s fun about the way the book is structured as Reza said, is your getting those universal messages from sources that you don’t expect. You can learn to become a resource worth revisiting from piano teachers in Illinois or learn about the importance of sharing experiences over sharing expertise from a beauty expert who’s in Australia.
Again, part of the fun of reading the book is not only that the stories pop on their own and the messages are clean, but also you’re getting information from sources that you otherwise may not realize exist and can be productive.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Repetitive
Guys, as we were talking offline, we were talking about this idea of a lot of B2B brands, they take more of an approach to video where they think man, we have to have a home run where you guys kind of come at it a little bit differently. You spoke to it a bit, the idea of repetition. Reza you spoke to just how much of a requirement that is to really win here.
Are there particular frameworks that these creators that you guys have been talking to and interviewing for the book, what’s the unlock to being able to create quality content but being able to do it on a repeatable basis?
I think there’s two questions; one is home runs versus sort of hitting singles. On the home runs versus singles, here’s the reality. I’m going to put it in the context of Netflix, which is not a platform we’re talking about. For them to retain consumer interests, they’ve got to produce 700 different, original pieces of content. I’m talking series, which may have 12 or more or movies.
Then they’re acquiring God knows how much stuff behind it, which means content feeds right, Netflix, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook are just jam-packed with stuff. By nature in order to be competitive in those environments, you’ve got to have a content schedule and calendar that’s not home-run based but is literally stringing together a bunch of singles and walks and so on. When you get to the end of the game, you’ve won.
We see a lot of brands focusing on the home-run or the campaign if you will. I think that’s a hugely missed sort of opportunity. The flip side, which is also interesting sort of about the book, a lot of these stories in here, these creators started in their garages. They started with a video camera and a computer. If you think about the advances that have happened just in the ability for people to make high quality stuff really, really efficiently, it’s all there. All the tools are there for everyone to sort of make high quality video that resonates with an audience. That’s been democratized.
What everyone of these companies does have to do is you have to resource the people in order to make that stuff happen, whether that’s … there’s a name for it now, it’s a predator. It’s a producer, director and editor and they put it all together. Whether you need to hire a predator and give them a content cadence of a couple times a week to just get your communication machine going or more elaborate sort of infrastructure that comes as you start to reach some degree of scale. It’s not that expensive to sort of get in and really, at this point if you’re not in this game, the question is what game are you in?
To that point, it’s really a make it til you make it world. You have to just keep … there’s nothing that beats experience for sort of helping you find the voices in organization or as an individual. We’ve got a story in this book about a guy who started making videos after he retired as an engineer in Corvallis, Oregon. He now evolved to the point where he’s getting 10 million hits a day in China doing some big, completely unrelated, but video-centric.
The key was he just had an interest and he had a desire to keep making videos. He’s gone through several pivots. What you think is going to be your message or your personality is going to evolve just as your business evolves. The key is that you’re doing it all the time. You set up sort of a sustainable video ecosystem.
Got it. Reza, I love that you mentioned getting away from the campaign mindset and not thinking about this like something that has an end date but really something that is going to continue on and on and on.
Did I understand that right?
That’s absolutely correct.
I love it.
These are communities. Communities typically don’t have end dates and start dates.
Got it. Guys, you’d mentioned … I want to talk about one last story before we close it out today. You’d mentioned the story offline. I think you said it was the Dudesons.
They’ve done a really phenomenal job of building and fostering a community through video. I think that’s something that I’m hearing more and more B2B marketers talk about is this idea of wanting to build a community. Can you talk to us about the Dudesons and how they were able to pull that off?
Yeah. The Dudesons are a bunch of stunt guys from Finland who started out in the ’90s making sort of crazy stunt videos, but now are incredibly, incredibly efficient communicators and built a digital network really, really quickly. It’s not just about … it’s much less about sort of the grandiose massive stunt. It’s not about blowing up a mountain. It’s much more about the way they approach communicating to their audience and what Jukka Hildén, who is one of the Dudesons says in the book. He says, “When you’re the large TV mentality, that’s about speaking to a large audience, but when you do YouTube or digital you really have to speak to that one individual viewer. You need to make sure that the person who’s looking at that screen feels like that messaging is for them and not part of a large campaign, fishing net that someone’s hoping to catch them in.”
Got it. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. That tiny nuance, I would imagine makes all the difference in just how engaged your audience will ultimately by.
Reza and Jake, before we let you go is there any other kind of lasting words that you guys would want to say to our audience before I let you go today that will hopefully … either value that you think people will absolutely get from the book or anything else that you’d like to say before we close out our time today?
Yeah, I think this book will … it does a number of things. It’ll help you create amazing videos, it’ll help you develop your digital voice. It’ll teach you about building online communities and then also you’ll learn how to collaborate with the YouTube generation and you’ll feel confident sort of getting started interacting in the space.
Love it. Wonderful.
Guys, if somebody wants to stay connected with you guys, I’m assuming they can find the book, Create Great Video on Amazon, anywhere books are sold is that right?
Yes, that’s correct.
And we’ll have the website, Create Great Videos is about to go live.
I think the book launches next week, the 9th.
Wonderful. By the time folks are hearing this, the book should already be live.
You can go to creategreatvideos.com and check it out. Again guys, thank you so much for your time today. This has been fantastic.
I really appreciate it.
Thanks for having us on.
James Carbary is the founder of Sweet Fish Media, a podcast agency for B2B brands. He’s a contributor for the Huffington Post & Business Insider, and he also co-hosts a top-ranked podcast according to Forbes: B2B Growth. When James isn’t interviewing the smartest minds in B2B marketing, he’s drinking Cherry Coke Zero, eating Swedish Fish, and hanging out with the most incredible woman on the planet (who he somehow talked into marrying him).