By: Eli Drljaca (@elidrljaca)
So you have a new company, product, service or video idea, and you’re looking to start fresh with your marketing plan. You may even have a large budget and are looking for some professional help in the marketing world, you want to get this “thing” out there and into the hands of the public. How do you go about this? Well, you could call up a large advertising agency or marketing firm or you could go with a thriving small business. Let me tell you why it could be crucial to go with the latter.
Small businesses have many advantages over those big companies, and one big advantage is client relationships and communication. There isn’t a better feeling knowing that you’ll be working with a small group of highly talented individuals, and they’re there to hear every word you have to say. When contacting a small business, it can be as easy as a phone call away with a warm individual on the other line ready to hear you express your thoughts. How many employees of large companies are going to give out their personal e-mails or phone numbers? My guess is none… Instead you’ll likely be directed to their company e-mail and they’ll answer it at their convenience, not to mention they are juggling many clients at once.
Once you get working with the small business, you will start to connect on more than just a professional level, a personal one. For instance, over the course of the past year working with our team we’ve developed relationships with all of our clients and are on a first name basis. If there is anything that is needed for a quick turn around, you can count on the small business to be there with corrections or edits with quick turn around.
One thing you also don’t want to be lacking as you move forward is quality. For example, say you wanted a video to demonstrate your product. For starters it may take a while for a larger company to make time for your video project, as they may have other projects that have a higher priority than yours. With a small business, you name the date and time you want the shooting to happen, and it will get done; a small business will have flexibility when it comes to scheduling. Editing is another delicate process, a small business will spend endless hours and long nights editing your video until it suits your needs, instead of where a large company may stop working on a project after their “9 to 5″ day is over with.
So there you have it, a short comparison as to why a small business will suit you better on several levels. If you want to get your idea or whatever it is you have out there into the world faster and more efficiently than ever and at a reasonable price, go with the small business – where your project is always a priority.
By: Josh Hughes (@friendofjosh)
So you’re going to be shooting a commercial, music video, or even a short film; this is going to be a lot of fun! But in all of the creative excitement you picked out a day, met with your crew, and realized you haven’t done any planning. I know, I did it too when I first started out. But that’s how we learn and I want to make sure you aren’t left on the day of a shoot without extra batteries, a proper shot list, or getting arrested for trespassing.
Let’s start off with your idea. You just got hired to do a spot for Cabelas and their new line of hunting gear. The commercial should be around :30 – 1:00; VO with a nice testimonial or even some dialogue.
First you should write down a script. Even if you don’t plan on having dialogue, a script will make sure you have a structure to follow. Remember one page is roughly one minute of video. Awesome, you now have a page script with a little bit of dialogue at the end. Top priority is location. You need to find a field or woods, it’s hunting season after all. Since the spot is for Cabelas there should be no problem if you want to shoot in the store.
Next you should find your actors. You can use friends since there is only a small speaking role, but make sure they know this has to be professional. Otherwise put out an ad for local actors. Colleges are a great resource as well. Along with this is props, the store should be able to provide you with hunting gear to show off but let’s say they won’t. Your actors can raid their closets and bring a few outfits, you can check with your local thrift shop, or if you have a larger budget you can purchase your own wardrobe.
So you have all the fun stuff prepped, now comes the nitpicky stuff. Gear—make sure everything is charged, cleaned, and packed nicely so you can get to it in a hurry. Test and double test just to be positive that your microphones have no issues, along with all your gear. Make sure your lights are working, bring extra bulbs, and tailor your light necessities for where you will be shooting. Additional equipment—what’s the weather going to be? Will you need jackets? What if it rains? These are all good questions to ask. Bring chairs if you’re going to be taking up a large amount of time setting up shots. The last thing you need is tired legs and nagging actors. You should also bring water and snacks if it’s going to be a longer shoot, just to keep everyone happy. Purchase additional gear and equipment from the budget you receive, it’s always good to have that something extra incase.
Your location and actors are secured. Wardrobe has been ordered from an online store, and you just received that really nice lens in the mail. Let’s tailor a shot list and make sure you stick to it. You should always get the establishing shots first, these are most important. Then you should work on close ups, make sure to show off the product. Once all the crucial shots are done. Take some time to write down a couple of creative ideas that will really show off what you can do. I’ve learned that if you “wing it” in the field you are going to be kicking yourself in the butt later on in post production.
From my experience these have been the most troublesome and overlooked circumstances of any shoot. For some of you this may be common knowledge, but for the person without a film degree or proper training, you may not know too much on the subject. In life it’s always best to be over prepared for any situation!
By: Eli Drljaca (@elidrljaca)
So you’ve decided to give your company a social media presence. You’ve created social media accounts for the most popular platforms and aren’t quite sure if you’re doing it right. To give some background on social media; it’s one of most popular and modern ways of branding a company and showing the world exactly what and who you are. Just about every company in these times has social media accounts whether they use Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, or a combination of many. These accounts are managed daily showing what your company is up to and sharing other things that are going on in your business’s field. Social media is also a great way to build a target audience and more importantly, communicate with them. In this post I will be explaining the practices that you want to avoid when running your social media, more specifically: Twitter & Facebook.
Twitter: Now you only have 140 characters to get your message across, so you don’t want to do these things:
Rambling: You don’t have a lot of text to get your message across so make sure to get your point across thoroughly. The last thing you want is a wordy tweet because your audience will be drawn away and in turn become uninterested. They want to know what you’re trying to say and not have to search for the content; last thing you want is your reader to be confused, so get it out there efficiently!
Retweets: Retweeting is essentially sharing a tweet that another account has made. It’s crucial to make sure the tweet you’re about to retweet is relevant to your company. If you work for a law firm, the last thing you want to be retweeting is a tweet about McDonald’s new dollar menu item. Keep it relevant and keep it useful to your followers, they don’t want to see something completely off cue.
Hashtags: Hashtags are what made Twitter unique right from the start. By adding the “#” and a word following you can have your tweet fall under that category when people search those hashtags. Now, not every tweet necessarily needs a hashtag, but if you do use one make sure it relates to your company. “#letsdothisbaby” probably isn’t the most appropriate tweet for your company, although your colleagues may think it’s funny, potential investors and clients don’t want to see this. Keep it clean, if you have a small business a hashtag like #smallbusiness or #sbs would be better, for example. Also, don’t bombard your tweet with hashtags, again you only have 140 characters to save some text for the actual message.
Timing: Forbid Twitter never sleeps, there is an appropriate time to be sending your tweets. You don’t want to be posting important information at 2 a.m. You want to post when you know your followers will be looking. I’d say anywhere from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. is a proper time to get your message across. Readers will be checking during work and their lunch breaks so anytime within that range will be prime time.
Facebook: Much more versatile as far as posting information as there really isn’t a limit as to how much you can post. However, there are still things you want to stay away from:
Business means business: Facebook is a very popular platform for friends and common people posting entertainment. It’s important to separate yourself from this. Don’t post social events on Facebook, unless of course it’s in correlation to your business. Do not post funny articles or pictures, if you want to do this – switch to your personal account.
Frequency: This goes for Twitter as well, when people of interest sign on to social media they want to see something. How else would they know what your company is up to? Or how about that information you said you would post? People want to see it and they want to see it now. But for the love of social media, don’t over post. Posting too much can annoy your readers and lead them to go elsewhere, or worse – have them unfollow you.
Grammar: Another issue that goes for Twitter as well. There isn’t a bigger eye sore than seeing a misspelled word, or just awful grammar in a post. Make sure you go over your posts before they go live, everyone’s a victim of this at one time or another. It can make your company look unintelligent and to some extent even make your post unreadable and unable to comprehend.
So those are some of the most important things not to do when posting on social media networks. Especially if you’re just starting to give your company an appearance, you want to make sure it’s a good one.
Have questions? No problem. Feel free to reach out to WeatherBull for some social media consulting, we will make sure to get you on the right path, or manage accounts for you.
By: Eli Drljaca (@elidrljaca)
Writing a properly formatted email is not only expected from most or all jobs, but it is an easy way to set yourself apart from competition that may not take emailing as serious as they should. Whether it’s sending emails to potential or existing clients, or just around the office to other colleagues; having proper email etiquette is important wherever you are.
If you don’t have a personal email account already, make one. This is assuming of course that you’re not working for a company that has already supplied you with one. No one is going to take you serious if you’re still using an email account from 8th grade that reads “basketballfan34”, keep it clean, keep it simple and keep it you.
When preparing to send out an email, make sure the subject section is always filled out and filled out correctly. The subject header should be accurate, short and to the point. Don’t leave the subject header blank due to risk of someone overlooking your email or worse, deleting it.
Next when getting into the body of the email you want to make sure you address the recipient in a proper manner. “Professor Benish,” is a good way to start an email for example. If you are emailing a broad company, take the extra time to find the individual you are trying to contact, instead of just sending it to a generic company email. This will make your email much more personable not to mention professional. After that, make sure to introduce yourself not only with a name, but who you are and why you are contacting this person.
Next, write your message. Avoid rambling and wordiness, get your point across and be efficient. Make sure to allow yourself some line breaks between paragraphs and ideas so the reader doesn’t get lost.
When signing off from the email make sure to use a respectful closing, anything like “Yours cordially,” works just fine. After that make sure to sign your full name with title and contact information.
Once you think your email is completely finished, make sure to read it over and fix any spelling or grammatical errors. Once you’re ready to hit send, do another fast skim to make sure your content is ready and that you haven’t missed any important details. If it all checks out, hit send and await for a reply.