Thursday, March 9, 2017

How to Start a Video Marketing Campaign From Scratch


It’s no secret that video marketing has exploded in popularity over the course of the past few years. Nearly 5 billion videos on YouTube are watched per day — and that number is steadily rising. As mobile technology grows more prevalent and more proficient, video marketing will grow to become even more important as an integrated part of your content marketing campaign, but if you’re new to video, it can seem a bit intimidating. It certainly takes more effort than writing an article or doctoring up an image, but with the right strategy, you can create a worthwhile video marketing initiative from scratch without spending a fortune.

Where to Start

Pexels Image credit: Martin Foskett

For now, don’t worry about all the technical details. Instead, focus on creating engaging video content that your target audience actually wants to watch.

Look to competitors and marketing champions for inspiration. First, you need some baseline inspiration on which to base your campaign. You aren’t going to be copying a strategy that already exists—doing so would actively work against you—but you do need to become familiar with some of the customs and effective techniques that companies before you have tried. Look to your competitors, specifically, to see how video marketing has worked in your industry in the past, and be sure to check out some examples of companies that are killing the online marketing game.

Settle on a target audience. Next, you’ll need to decide on a target audience to build your campaign around. Hopefully, marketing campaigns you’ve run in the past can point you in the right direction. Still, will your video viewership be different from your usual demographics at all? Will they be further along in the buying cycle? Will they be younger? Will they rely on technology more? These are important considerations that can and should shape the content you eventually create.

List the types of videos you’ll produce. There’s no shortage of different types of videos you can produce, all of which are valuable in some way. Tutorials, interviews, and news-style shows are all popular, but don’t forget that you can also do “top 10” lists, animations, video graphics, and even humorous or entertaining videos. You aren’t limited to one type, either, so brainstorm about how you could use these videos in different ways or for different audiences.

Find talent and/or resources to aid with production. Your smartphone has a camera built in, so as long as you keep it steady, you can produce rudimentary videos yourself. However, if you want some extra pizazz or if you want your video to look more professional, you’ll need to either hire some talent or invest in equipment that allows you to achieve those goals. This may take some time and money, but it’s worth the extra investment—you’ll make a better impression with your viewers and differentiate your brand.

Create a YouTube channel. It’s not hard to create a channel on YouTube, and it allows you to keep all your videos in one place. Viewers can subscribe for regular updates on your brand, and of course, you can embed your videos elsewhere (like on your main site). You’ll also want to be ready to optimize both your channel and your videos for searches, as they’re going to be one of your main outlets for discoverability.

Script, shoot, and syndicate. After that, you’ll shift to the creative side of things. Start by writing a script for your first video, and enlisting whatever talent you have on hand to shoot the first draft. View the early cut of the video, and make any adjustments that you need to the script and performance. Then, edit the video as needed and get ready to upload it. Once it’s live, you’ll want to syndicate it across your social media profiles, and increase visibility and traffic to it however you can. Repeat this process for every video you produce.

Nurture your audience. After that, the bulk of your work will revolve around building and maintaining your audience. Respond to user comments, thank them for their viewership, and reach out to them to get feedback you can use to make even better videos in the future.

Looking at the Details

If you want your campaign to continue showing results over time—and improving those results—you’ll need to pay close attention to your key performance indicators (KPIs). These are the metrics that will help you gauge the overall effectiveness (and ROI) of your campaign, including total views, comments, likes, click throughs, and of course, conversions.

Learn which videos perform best and which perform worst, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Nobody starts with a massively successful video marketing campaign—they build one over time.

The post How to Start a Video Marketing Campaign From Scratch appeared first on SpyreStudios.

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7 Essential Graphic Design Tools For Great Visual Content


The power stunning visual content cannot be overstated. If you want to meet your online marketing goals, you need to understand that visuals are powerful in capturing your audience’s attention and getting you higher engagement.
People are visual creatures. Images are being leveraged by brands to tell their stories since they convey messages better than plain text. This is one of the reasons why ecommerce brands are now using visual commerce software to feature compelling customer photos.

Visuals, especially when used in the right context, spark conversations. In fact, they positively affect customers’ purchasing decisions. It has been proven that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.
Moreover, a recent study conducted by Microsoft Corp. has shown that individuals lose concentration after 8 seconds. This makes appealing visual content even more important since it does not require a lot of attention to be understood.

Regardless of your online goal, whether it’s increasing your conversions, gaining more followers, or boosting your SEO performance, you need the right graphic design tool to create visual content that your audience will love. Below is a list of tools so you can get started.

Piktochart

More marketers these days are using infographics to represent complex information in a compelling, easier way. Your website visitors are more likely to consume your content and fully understand your data if you include graphic elements.

The best thing about Piktochart is that it features a drag and drop infographic tool with more than 600 unique templates to give you the design you need to get your story across. You can even show your infographics in a slideshow presentation. Piktochart includes maps, icons, photos, and videos to suit your industry.

Vectr

You don’t have to be a beginner to be able to create vector graphics. If you need a cross-platform graphics editor that will come in handy, Vectr will be your best option. You’ll get crisp and clean graphics, website mockups, and other presentations regardless of the platform you’re using. And what’s even better is that its basic graphics editor comes for free.

Just in case you work hand in hand with a team, you’ll be able to collaborate using Vectr in real-time. You can watch a team member edit your visual content. This streamlines the process of collaboration in graphic design so you can get things done.

Canva

Are you having a difficult time learning complex graphic design software? Perhaps you’re not that much of a technical person but have the artistic taste to make your web content stand out. Choose Canva. Whether you need to design a social media post for your social media marketing, or a blog graphic, Canva has got you covered.
To give you more customization options for your branding, you can choose from its unique selection of text, shapes, creative layouts, and other stunning elements. You can even invite up to 10 members for free to collaborate on shared designs and folders.

Stencil

Trusted by leading brands worldwide, Stencil helps bloggers and marketers create topnotch images in a convenient and easy way. Stencil has been created mainly to help you get more social engagement across social media platforms through its intuitive tools.

To give you more creative freedom, it features over 200 templates, more than 1,900 web fonts, and hundreds of thousands of icons and graphics. Quote images go viral these days and with Stencil, there’s no limit to the number of inspirational quote images you can create. Plus, you’ll be able to preview your masterpiece before it even goes live on social media.

Easel.ly

Another great infographic design tool you shouldn’t miss is Easel.ly. Whether you’re a marketer or an executive, Easel.ly streamlines the process of creating infographics with tons of text, image, and design options to choose from. You have the option to create your own content from scratch or select from its ready-made templates which you may also edit along the way.

It features several infographic themes such as crafts, social, venn, and website so you can create the visual content you need regardless of your topic.

PicMonkey

Whether you want to touch up your images for your blog posts and brand’s Facebook cover, PicMonkey will help you get the most out of its image editing tools for creative illustrations. You can add filters, premium fonts, and premium effects depending on what you need. If you want creative inspiration to help you with your design projects, PicMonkey will let you get started with its selection of helpful tutorials and cool ideas.
Going beyond online visual content, you’ll be able to pre-design business card, holiday cards, posters, and invitations with PicMonkey.

Inkscape

Working on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, Inkscape is an open source vector graphics manipulation program that helps you create great imagery with ease. It comes with flexible drawing tools, filters and effects, gradient fills, and more. If you need to work on 3D and complex images, you’ll be able to do so with Inkscape. For a free vector program, this tool comes with multiple features that can also be found in Illustrator. It’s a worthy alternative to pricey, high-end programs in the market.

The post 7 Essential Graphic Design Tools For Great Visual Content appeared first on SpyreStudios.

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4 Alternatives To The MacBook Pro For Designers


When it comes to design or even photo editing, most people would look at purchasing a MacBook Pro from Apple as we have been lead to believe that they are the best tool for the job. While they are beautiful pieces of design and generally sport great hardware specs, there are some amazing Windows based laptops that offer more bang for your buck.

What To Look For:

When it comes to designing, I personally look for a few things before I purchase a new laptop. At the top of my list is of course processing power and RAM. Processing power is at the top of my list as most laptops can be upgraded with more memory later on. There are the very rare cases where the RAM modules are soldered to the motherboards, which is the case of the new MacBook Pro. I would recommend a minimum of 8GB of RAM and I personally see 16GB as being the magic number currently. Most of the time if you are working on extremely large design document that requires even more memory, then you should be working on a dedicated workstation. The second most important thing that I look for in a good laptop is the actual display. I try and look for display panels that offer the best possible sRGB, Adobe RGB and NTSC color gamuts. Ideally you would want to have 100% sRGB coverage or higher. However, anything above 80% is usually acceptable. If you are not familiar with color gamuts, it is a certain subset of colors which can be accurately represented by the physical display panel of your laptop. I also tend to look for dedicated graphics cards over the integrated Intel or AMD GPUs. The last thing that I look for is a solid state drive, these are nice to have, however they are not a necessity. Worst case scenario, you can purchase one separately and migrate your Windows onto the new storage drive.

Budget Choice:

Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY

Now not everyone can afford to spend over $2000 or even over $1000 on a laptop. Luckily some of the top laptop brands have you covered with a great selection of laptops that won’t break the bank. One of these laptops is the Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY which offers decent hardware and a 4K touchscreen display. What sets this display apart from many of the laptops in this price category is the fact that it offers 90% sRGB and 58% Adobe RGB color gamut coverage. This is far higher than the average with the added benefit of a touchscreen panel and a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. You will also get the added benefit of the powerful Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor which is a standard with most gaming laptops. It comes standard with 8GB of DDR4 2133MHz RAM, however you might want to look at upgrading to 16GB for snappier performance. The dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card will allow you to efficiently run all of your design applications and play any current gaming title if needed. While you might not get a superfast SSD, you will get a Hybrid storage drive which offers better performance than the slower 5400rpm drive that most laptops under $1000 ship with.

High-end Choices:

ASUS ROG Strix GL502VM:

ASUS offer a wide range of laptops and their ROG range of laptops are among the top gaming laptops on the market. The new ASUS ROG Strix GL502VM is a 15.6-inch gaming laptop that offers the latest Intel and NVIDIA hardware for all of your designing needs. The IPS display offers 93% sRGB, 69% NTSC and 72% AdobeRGB color gamut coverage, which is perfect for any designer. While you might not get the 4K touchscreen display of the Dell, you do get a great Full-HD display which offers maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The ASUS ROG Strix GL502VM also features the latest Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor which offers slightly better performance than its predecessor. You also get 16GB of DDR4 2400MHz RAM, meaning that won’t have to purchase a second 8GB RAM module. The newer NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 offers better performance than the older GTX 960M and will easily handle more intense rendering. You also get the added benefit of both a 1TB mechanical hard drive and a superfast 128GB SSD. While the SSD is tiny for modern standards, it will allow you to install all of your design applications, allowing them to launch in seconds.

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW:

If you are after a sleeker looking laptop, then the ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW will be the better choice for you. Like the Dell, you get a 4K touchscreen display that offers a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixel. With a 100% sRGB, 72% NTSC and 74% Adobe RGB color gamut coverage, the ZenBook Pro UX501VW is a firm favorite of designers and photo editors alike. You get the same great Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor that powers the Dell, however you get double the RAM of the cheaper Dell laptop. You also get the same dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, which will easily allow you to render your designs. The superfast solid state drive offers 512GB of storage space, however this might fill up fast and you might want to consider using an external hard drive to store all of your work on.

Top Of The Line Choice:

Razer Blade Pro RZ09-01662E53-R3U1:

Described as the pinnacle of gaming laptop perfection, the latest Razer Blade Stealth is well worth looking at if you have extremely deep pockets. Costing around the same as the top of the line 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, this laptop is not cheap. However for $3999 you do get a whole lot of power under the hood. Not only is this laptop extremely powerful, it also manages to squeeze all of this into a very thin 0.88-inch aluminum body. The 4K touchscreen display offers rich and vibrant colors due to the fact that it covers 185% sRGB and 100% Adobe RGB color gamuts, which is far higher than the latest MacBook Pro. These kind of figures are a designers dream and with a larger 17.3-inch display it is also more comfortable to work on. Powering this sleek laptop is the same Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor as many of high-end gaming laptops and for the price it would have been nice to see something from right at the top of Intel’s range. Regardless of this, the i7-6700HQ processor is more than capable of running any design application on the market. You also get 32GB of DDR4 2133MHz RAM, which is almost overkill for most design tasks. You also get an extremely powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, which will make light, work when it comes to rendering and out performs the MacBook’s AMD Radeon GPU. To store all of your work the Razer Blade Pro RZ09-01662E53-R3U1 features two superfast M.2 512GB solid state drives, giving you a total of 1Tb of storage space.

Conclusion:

Despite being lauded as ‘gaming laptops’ by most, all four of these laptops are great alternatives to the new MacBook Pro as they offer great performance and good color gamut coverage. At the end of the day there are more choices when it comes to the choosing the best Windows based laptop and this can make the choice slightly harder. Hopefully our selection of powerful laptops will make your choice slightly easier when considering your next upgrade.

The post 4 Alternatives To The MacBook Pro For Designers appeared first on SpyreStudios.

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