Episode 202

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You’ve seen all the stats and you’ve personally experienced the explosive growth of video in the last 5+ years. It is not a channel we can or should ignore for ourselves or for our clients.

But unless you or your client have a skateboarding cat – producing a compelling video that will attract and connect with viewers is no small task. (If you do have a skateboarding cat – can I borrow him?)

In this episode, we’re going to deconstruct what it takes to create a compelling, engaging video that connects you with your ideal audience. My guest is an expert who has spent over a decade exploring and perfecting the art of the marketing video.

Beyond learning how to best our own hang-ups about being on camera, there are even broader questions. What are some best practices? What elements need to be in place to have an effective video? What does effective video even mean these days?

My guest Gideon Shalwick is a serial entrepreneur who has been creating businesses in the online video space since 2006. He’s been experimenting, studying trends and making plenty of money off video for over a decade.

Today, his focus is on his business Splasheo which is a video captioning service where humans manually transcribe your videos and then burn those captions right into your videos using a variety of engaging layouts. They’re perfect for social and if we’re connected on LinkedIn, you’ve seen my weekly video’s new look, thanks to Splasheo!

Gideon also occasionally offers private coaching and training to help people grow their businesses using video marketing.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here: https://www.whitelabeliq.com/ami/

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why video content is not primarily about transferring knowledge
  • How to connect with your video audience so they want to engage with you
  • How to structure your video content for maximum engagement
  • Tips on how to look natural on camera
  • Why audio is just as important as imagery in creating a video
  • How to use social proofs both as a novice and after you gain traction in video
  • Creating video out of your audio content
  • Why captions make such a big difference in video engagement
  • How to slice and dice your existing content into valuable video nuggets
“Creating a message that aligns with your values and meets a need for your target audience is like a dance.” – @GideonShalwick Click To Tweet “When you get your messaging right and you are authentic, you become a magnet. You become both attractive to the right audience and repulsive to the wrong audience for you.” – @GideonShalwick Click To Tweet “You don't have to worry about fancy little tricks. If you are clear on what drives you and are aligned with your audience, that’s how you build a connection. And when you express yourself authentically, that's how you build influence.” –… Click To Tweet “If you keep the basics of a congruent message and connecting authentically with your audience, you can carry that through to whatever big changes technology serves us in the future.” – @GideonShalwick Click To Tweet “As you start out in video, it’s hard to know where to focus. Look right into the lens, like you’re talking with a friend.” – @GideonShalwick Click To Tweet

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Speaker 1:

It doesn’t matter what kind of an agency you run traditional, digital, media buying, web dev, PR, whatever your focus, you still need to run a profitable business. The Build a Better Agency podcast presented by White Label IQ will show you how to make more money and keep more of what you make. Let us help you build an agency that is sustainable, scalable, and if you want down the road sellable, bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey, everybody drew McClellan here with another episode of Build a Better Agency. Welcome back if you are a regular listener, and welcome, if this is your first episode, I hope you come back over and over again. I hope we keep providing great value to you. I know that this episode, well, I’m excited about it. Before I get into this week’s guest, a couple quick announcements. All of our fall workshops are live and open for registration. So we’ve got both the advanced AE boot camp and the regular AE boot camp coming up in September. We have money matters coming up in October.

And then we have some really killer new business workshops in January. So head over to agencymanagementinstitute.com and check those out before they sell up. All right. With that, let me tell you a little bit about this week’s episode. So in this week’s episode, I want to talk about something that really has a lot of agency owners nervous or fearful. And I find that fascinating because, for the most part, you guys are confident and outgoing and very comfortable in your own skin. And yet for many of you, the idea of appearing on video is pretty frightening. And I think that we all know how critical video is becoming in terms of search and social and all of those things. And for many of you, this is a tactic that you are helping clients with all of the time.

And so I think it’s fascinating that I don’t see more agency owners doing videos on behalf of their own shop and sharing their expertise. But this week’s episode is really going to be about video in the broader sense of what’s working out there. What do we have to do? What elements do we have to have in place to have an effective video? And what does effective video even mean anymore? And my guest really knows it all. He’s been living in the video space for more than a decade, making his living, shooting videos both for himself and with partners.

And he has actually created a tool, a website called Splasheo.com, where you basically upload your video and they caption it and package it all up and get it ready for showtime. And so he has lived video for a long time, he’s now making his living helping other people live video. And so I’m excited to really learn from him what he thinks the best practices are and things that we should be thinking about both for our clients. And hopefully, it’ll get you thinking about your own opportunities with video as well. So without further ado, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us.

Gideon Shalwick:

Great to be here.

Drew McLellan:

So tell everybody a little bit about your background and how you came to have this expertise in video that we’re going to pick your brain about for the next hour. And what you’re doing now. I think that’s a good setup for our conversation.

Gideon Shalwick:

Yes, for sure. It’s something that I actually fell into it’s not something that I decided one day, or long ago that one day, I want to become a video marketing person. It was really a need that I had to solve for myself back in the day. So what happened was about 14 years ago, I decided to become an entrepreneur. So I quit my job, my wife and I, we quit our jobs back in New Zealand and we immigrated to Australia. And we started the new business, a new life, everything. And the first product that I created was a book, I wrote a book and I sold it and it did pretty well.

The only reason I did well is because the person that taught me how to do it, promoted it. They happen to have 10,000 people in the email database and so ED traffic. And` so I thought, “Wow, this is the easiest way to make money ever in the world.” But then because I didn’t know how to get traffic, my sales stopped. I had [inaudible 00:04:48] sales, and then nothing, absolutely nothing. And I thought “Well, I need to figure this game out.” Because my poor wife she was off to work every day paying the bills basically. And so I thought let’s interview some of the top people in the world in this game and figure out how they got traffic and then I could perhaps learn from that. But I thought, “Hey, let’s do this thing on video.”

And to be different because everyone was doing audio interviews back then. This is 2007 roundabout there, just when YouTube was about a year old. And so the video game is still very new, and it was an absolute nightmare. Then if you remember back then cameras we have those handy cams we didn’t have the iPhone, we didn’t even have things like the, not sure if you remember, the little flip camera or that Kodak Zi8, they were a little quite popular for a couple of years, but nothing like that.

And it was an absolute nightmare. But anyway, I did it. I was going to turn these videos into a membership site, these interviews. And then that was going to be my business. Long story short, which took a long time, two and a half years later from when I started, I still wasn’t making any money and really struggling and ready to give up. And I remember telling my wife, “[inaudible 00:06:09], look, this sucks. This is not what I thought it would be. Let’s just see if I could find a job.” And just as I was doing that I went to an event. And then there was someone there who I wanted to interview and I thought, “Ah, what the heck? Let’s interview this guy.”

And anyway, we became good friends. And then we eventually started the business together soon after that and this thing just took off. Within that first two and a half years, we got our first access, everything was done on video. I would literally from zero or negative money to at the time, it was about 23,000 per month in recurring revenue for the business, which was great after not earning anything. And so finally, I had a breakthrough. And then since then, every project that I’ve done has involved video.

So that first one was teaching people how to use blogging to grow their businesses. Then I moved to YouTube, specifically, I teamed up with a local magician, here in Brisbane, Australia. He did the magic, I did the video marketing. And that thing just took off as well within the first six months, I think we had about 50,000 people on our email database. So I worked on that for about a year. And then I said, “Hey, let’s teach businesses how to use YouTube to grow their businesses.” So I launched a brand called Rapid Video Blogging, that did its own thing for a while. Then we had our first baby girl and I said, “Hey, I better start building brands here instead of something that’s so dependent on me.”

I started the company called Splasheo. Then about a year later, I started another company called Veeroll, which is software created to automate the production of video ads for YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. And I can’t remember I haven’t checked lately because I’ve exited that company. But last time I looked, we had about 27 million ads served for four clients in that company. And so earlier this year, I exited Veeroll and back on to Splasheo now. So yes, it’s been quite the journey, but all of its had a video flavor to it, and just really enjoying the video side of it.

Drew McLellan:

So when you think about everything that you’ve learned about video and when you say, “Boy, YouTube was just starting,” that seems so strange because it just feels like it’s been around forever. But you’re right it hasn’t been. When you talk about what you’ve learned in terms of video, I suspect it’s not about the production as much as it is about the content?

Gideon Shalwick:

That’s a great question. I’m not even sure if it’s really about the content with these social platforms. I think one word that would sum it up is relationship, building relationships. And I’ve often told people that when you look at a platform like or any of them really, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, it’s not just a place where you can upload your videos and then voila, you’ve got a ready source of traffic.

It’s not like that. It’s more like a personality or a person that you’re interacting with. It’s almost like an organic being that you can interact with. And so when you upload content there, you need to have that in mind, as you create your content, it is really creating content for a community of people there that you’re going to build a relationship with. I think that’s been the most important thing when you create your content to think about the relationship that you want to build with the right people. So that was a big distinction for me.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and that’s a great lesson for us to take to our clients too. And before we hit the record button you and I were talking about, are we going to end up talking about how agencies should use video for themselves or we can talk about how agencies should use videos for clients and I think we’ll bounce back and forth. But I think part of our role as agencies has always been to educate clients about best practices and tone and content and all of that.

And I think you’re right. I think the idea of, “I’m trying to foster a relationship, even though there’s this wall between us, this screen,” is one that clients probably need to hear over and over and over again. So when you think about people who are great at creating relationship, what do they do in common? So if all of a sudden, I want to produce videos, and I want to start creating relationships with folks on a regular basis from that video platform, what do I have to keep in mind?

Gideon Shalwick:

I think there are a few things that you’ve got to get aligned. And it’s amazing when you get the alignment how things can take off for you. So you need alignment with at least three things. The end, I’ll come around back to this in terms of the order. But firstly, you need to have the right audience that you’re talking to. An audience who will respond to your message, right? Which is the second thing. You need to have the right message for them as well. And then thirdly, that needs to be aligned with internally, who you are or who you are, as a business or a brand. Those three things really need to be in alignment. And so I call it like a dance or dance as you’d say in America.

Drew McLellan:

Right. I think most people listening like it better the way you say it.

Gideon Shalwick:

Dance. Yeah, I’ve got a mixture of accents here. But it’s a dance between who you are and what your values are, and what your true beliefs are, and what your internal drivers are, between that and what the market wants. So it’s a question of where do you start, you need to start with what it is that people want, and then serve that, and align yourself to that, or you start with who you are as a business or as an individual. And then later, the market be attracted to that. And I think there’s somewhere in between that you can meet to create a really good combination because nobody’s an island, right?

So we all are interdependent on each other. So even though you might have a certain gift or talent or something like that, you still got to think about that in terms of how that’s going to be useful for someone else. Otherwise, you’re just like the obscure artists who might be creating something for a market of one. And you want to be able to, well depending on your business model, like what I normally work with, is trying to build, look at something that has global appeal. And that I can create a message that will appeal to a large number of people. At least, a large number of people within a niche if you can’t go mainstream or something like that.

Drew McLellan:

So you’re watching two videos, let’s say they’re about the same topic. One of the videos has and in a minute and I’m going to have you tell me what that is, but has the magic portion that creates relationship, and the other one is just a video. What’s the difference? If I’m watching them, why am I drawn to one in terms of creating a relationship versus just watching it or maybe not finishing it because it doesn’t connect? And it can’t be the topic because I watch videos on the same topic all the time and some of them, I’m like, “I want more,” and others. I’m like, “I don’t need to see that anymore.” Right?

Gideon Shalwick:

Right. There’s one of the words that you used in your question about people connecting. And to me that is the keyword here is connection, can you as a video creator or the talent, the person in the video, can you connect with the other person, the person on the other side? And there’s a number of factors that come into it. And there’s little tricks of the trade that you can use to help that. Let me touch on that in a second. But the first thing is to be creating the right kind of content.

And like I know you were saying that sometimes you could maybe watch two videos exactly the same content, but one response better than the other one or one appeals more than the other, you connect better with one than the other. But that is the first thing is to make sure you’re creating content that appeals to your audience, that your audience actually, but wants to watch.

And that’s often things like solving problems, solving boredom, that’s one of them, talking about fears and frustrations, needs, desires, this sort of thing that’s really aligned with the goals of your target audience and what they want to learn and what they want to solve in their lives. So that’s the first thing to get right. So that goes without saying, but then there are other things that you can do in terms of the delivery. One is your content structure, and how you, I guess, design the flow of your content.

And there are two extremes here. One is where you can have a very formulaic approach, where you have a very structured approach, and the other extreme is where you go fully off the cuff. Now, both can work really well. Again, there’s something in between that can also work well. So an example of a very structured approach is where you use a formula. One that I use, it doesn’t sound pretty, but it works really well is, Zed, I SEE CTA.

Okay, so those are the letters. So the Z stands for Zeigarnik. So was the Zeigarnik was a Russian psychologist in the 1800s. And she figured out that whenever she was teaching her students, if she created some suspense or breaks in between her lessons, then her students would pay more attention. And so this has been used heaps in the movie industry and the television series industry. You look at programs or TV series like Game of Thrones or Lost is good example as well.

All of them, really, they do this, where they essentially open up loops, to open up a loop right at the beginning and they create that suspense right at the beginning of the program. And then throughout the program, they might open up more loops, they might never close until the end of the series or they might close some. Then it hooks you and gets you in and then you want to come back and stay and keep watching and come back for the next one.

And then they have another open loop at the end which is just another variation of it, which is the cliffhanger where they open up a loop and they don’t close it, you’ve got to watch the next episode to do that. So that’s the Z or the Z. And the I see is for I-S-E-E. The I for intrigue or interest. And so this is where you may be you tell a quick story to draw people in. Maybe  the story illustrates the problem that you’re trying to talk about and solve for people in the viewer. Maybe it’s a story about that could be a personal story. It could be a story about a client, anything. A story is just really powerful for building that interest and intrigue.

Then the S is for state and this is where you state basically something like the solution. So it can be very quickly. Then the first E is for explain, you explain what that actually means. And then second E is for example, so you give an example to make it more concrete. And then the last bit is really just the CTA, which is the call to action. And depending on what video creating, like on social media, I reckon, these days, the call to action really needs to be along the lines of, “If you liked this video, share it or like the video, or leave a comment, get engaged.

Have an engagement call to action. And as opposed to a, Sign up for my free stuff, or join my course or become a client here,” or that sort of thing, I think there’s different approaches there. But anyway, that’s an example of a structure that you could use, and it works really well. Sometimes it can get a bit rigid. You could look like a robot if you’re not well practiced with it. But of course, the other extreme is where you just go, “Now guys, I have this experience in blah, blah, blah,” and you really just got off the cuff, but it’s still within topic, you’re not just rambling on and on.

Some people, it’s better for them to go off the cuff and to create a connection with the audience. And then some people like the structure. So I think you’ve got to play around with that a bit to see what it is that you find easier and better for creating content, for creating video content for.

Drew McLellan:

I would also think that part of that is based on whoever is delivering the content. So some people are perfectly comfortable speaking off the cuff and would look comfortable on camera, and others would look either petrified or stiff or whatever without some structure, right?

Gideon Shalwick:

Yes, that’s right. And that’s the next thing that I wanted to mention was how you come across on video. And like you said, sometimes you watch people on video especially when they’re quite new to it, new to the game, come across very stiff and almost like a deer in headlights, right? As soon as the camera turns on they turn into this robot and go, “What’s going on?” So there’s easy ways to solve that. One is the way that you look into the camera. I know this sounds like really basic but some people don’t realize this in terms of where you have your focus when you look into the camera.

And you’ve got to look right into the lens and have the focus right into the lens as if you’re speaking to someone else and as if you’re looking into someone else’s eyes. I often say that the best way of doing this is to imagine you are either speaking to a friend and looking them in the eye when you look into the lens. Or if you want to take it a notch up, this is like a little bit of a, what do you call it? My little secret to imagine that the person that you’re talking to when you’re looking into the lens is someone that you’re in love with.

I can’t remember where I saw this or lend this from it was many years ago now. But anyway, what happens is,