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Great Videos Inspire Others!

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When talking about video content, go to the expert. That would be Demian Ross, who produces his weekly Plan D podcast and hosts the Road to 1,000 video series. He and marketing expert Madalyn Sklar, along with Manage Social product designer Kate Frappell, discussed what goes into winning videos.

“On the up-side, video puts a face and voice to a name,” Frappell said. “Video can be a quick way to consume content.

“On the down-side, video often involves sound,” she said. “Not all situations lend themselves to noise. Compared to reading, it is harder to skim through content.”

Frappell noted an assortment of video barriers to prepare for:

  • You are somewhat limited to creating in quiet, private locations.
  • Background noise often introduces quality concerns.
  • With the exception of stories, producing videos usually requires some editing.
  • Without editing, video content creators — especially those who go live — are more susceptible to misinterpretation.
  • While many respect the “rawness” of live video, there is less room for refinement of ideas compared to writing.

“That being said, video creation has come a long way in recent years,” Frappell said. “More apps are available and are making the editing process easier. Creators are constantly improving their ability to verbally articulate their thoughts. In the long run, this skill will be considered very valuable.

“Overall, I really look forward to seeing how video content creation develops in the coming years,” she said.

In his more immediate future, Ross’ vision for the “Road to 300” sprang from inspiring others.

“The original concept was three goals that I wanted to accomplish 100 percent of each and document the process,” he said. “The formula was 3 x 100 = 300. It evolved quickly to more of me just sharing my thoughts on all things business and personal, and my ups and downs in both.

“I feel the talks about my lows seem to inspire people the most,” Ross said. “They see someone like me dealing with depression, anxiety, fear, heartbreak and loss of a job, and they find a way to relate. I can’t hide my pain. It’s not all sunshine, but people generally root for the underdog.”

Starting video is half the battle. Ross tries to strike a balance between planning and content execution.

“There really isn’t a lot of planning that goes into creating a video every day,” he said. “I sometimes just hit record and see what flows. Most times I have a quote or subject matter, and I just riff. Not one ‘Road’ has ever been really scripted.

“If you do something often enough, it’s like practice, which makes producing video as natural as breathing,” Ross said. “I really do not know what I am going to say until I hit the record button, which is very obvious at times. So, there’s less planning and more doing.”

Many content creators mostly focus on metrics, which takes away from making videos just for the sake of creating videos.

“I decided a long time ago not to worry at all about the metrics,” Ross said. “I have learned that is where most people end up burning out. My goal is to create 1,000 videos in 1,000 days. That is the only metric I use.

“Maybe after day 365 or 500, I will start looking at growing the channel,” he said. “For now, it’s all about pressing the damn button.”

There is building a personal brand and being authentic. Producers risk becoming too “camera ready” when creating content.

“The you on camera has to be you in real life,” Ross said. “Once I hear someone’s radio voice or they turn into some bubbly character that they can’t sustain in real life, it makes me cringe. Plus, when people meet you in real life, they are like, ‘Who is this?’

“Have you ever met a person you know act differently in real life or on video?” he said. “My videos are pretty real and raw.”

Ross offered technical advice for new content creators in terms of backdrops, lighting and equipment.

“Start with what you have,” he said. “As you see the things you need to get better, then buy those things. Quality of content is way more important than the quality of the video. I am a big believer in changing up your locations. It becomes part of the journey.

“I started with an iPhone and really only started using my DSLR because I needed a better mic for outside videos,” Ross said. “Do not let equipment or your thoughts about quality be the reason you don’t start. Good is good enough.”

For visuals, the ears have it.

“Audio is where you need to put your focus,” Ross said. “Think podcast quality when recording videos.”

Slow progress is still progress. Content creators have to learn how to pace themselves and remain motivated when results are low, keeping their sights on their goal.

“Don’t compare yourself to others, but maybe learn — not copy — from them,” Ross said. “I wouldn’t quit anything unless I did 90 — 90 videos, blog posts or podcasts. Most people quit after seven.

“Create a content goal, a number you will do,” he said. “I couldn’t care less how often, but at least weekly. Pick a number of how many you will do, and stick to that goal no matter what.”

When he does look at metrics, Ross hones in on two favorites: comments and direct messages.

“This is where the magic is,” he said. “Really, this is the only metric that matters. You have to respond to each and every comment. I got lost when I was posting natively to each platform. Now it’s just YouTube and Facebook.

“It’s really about building trust,” Ross said. “No matter what your goals are for creating video, a big part of it is building community. Views and likes are not the only way to see if you are growing.”

He and Sklar continued their video conversation on Facebook Live.

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Jim Katzaman
Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services. A writer by trade, he graduated from Lebanon Valley College, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He enlisted in the Air Force and served for 25 years in public affairs – better known in the civilian world as public relations. He also earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Public Affairs. Since retiring, he has been a consultant and in the federal General Service as a public affairs specialist. He also acquired life and health insurance licenses, which resulted in his present affiliation with Largo Financial Services. In addition to expertise in financial affairs, he gathers the majority of his story content from Twitter chats. This has led him to publish about a wide range of topics such as social media, marketing, sexual harassment, workplace trends, productivity and financial management. Medium has named him a top writer in social media.

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