2nd Installment By Jay Carter, Beyond Measure Media
This post is borrowed from BeyondMeasureMedia.com
Last time, we explored why the story your video tells is so important, and how a great video will always pass the “I Should Certainly Hope So” test.
Today, we reveal the Secret #2: Sound quality. While video quality can go a long way toward telling a clear and compelling video story, I think sound quality is even more important.
Bad Video Happens
Most (honest) professional videographers have a war story or two. Memories of a time they really blew it behind the camera, especially at the beginning of their career.
Hey, stuff happens – out-of-focus interviews, a bright-blue shot of what is supposed to be a white wall, an accidental jerk of the camera away from the action.
But even in the face of those kinds of video mistakes, there are usually ways of correcting or covering those flaws and recovering what could still turn out to be a decent video.
But sound? You really can’t screw that up.
Mess up on the sound, and your video is most likely dead in the water.
Here’s a good example:
Watch (and listen) to the two short interview clips below.
Clip #1: Bad Sound Quality
The sound you’re hearing in this first clip above came from the onboard mic that was attached to the camera.
It sounds like the subject is talking into a microphone that was located across the room, because that’s exactly what was happening.
The too-lengthy distance between the person on camera and the microphone is the biggest reason why many videos recorded on smart phones often appear less than professional.
Listening to a person who sounds far away makes the viewer feel far away. It causes their attention to wane. Rather than taking the viewer on a journey, bad sound reinforces that they’re just watching a video – a video that is annoyingly hard to hear and understand.
Now compare that to clip number two below.
Clip #2: Good Sound Quality
In this second clip the audio is recorded from a lavaliere microphone clipped to the subject’s collar.
This simple improvement in sound quality changes everything.
Despite the fact that this is a poorly-lit shot, despite the fact that there is no depth to the shot, it’s still (mostly) usable in a video, particularly if we’re only using a quick clip of the interview.
For the interviews we shoot – and even for b-roll footage of people doing things – we use a wireless Sennheiser lavaliere microphone to pick up deep, rich audio.
There are even lav mics available these days that can attach to your smart phone, delivering a richer and more professional sound quality than what most smart phone video cameras can deliver by themselves.
But isn’t just about making your video “sound professional.” It’s deeper than that.
Sound quality can make a viewer pay closer attention to the on-camera speaker. It can make the entire experience sound (and thus, feel) more intimate.
More than fancy lighting, more than stunning panoramic images, more than pretty much anything else, a rich quality sound can pull a viewer into the story being told on a screen.
In the next post, we’ll uncover our third secret for creating powerful videos – a secret tool I personally use on nearly every project I produce to “dial up” the emotional impact of an interview.
Also, if you’re in the Portland, Oregon area, stay tuned for Part 2 of “Pro Secrets for Making Great Videos” in November.
Jay Carter is a former Texas TV news anchor and reporter, with numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcast storytelling. He has worked as a radio news anchor and voiceover talent. He works with his wife and business partner, Michele Kim Carter, at Beyond Measure Media creating video stories and testimonials for businesses and nonprofits.
A note from AM:PM PR
According to Google, in 2016, more video content will be uploaded in 30 days than all three major U.S. T.V. networks combined have created in 30 years and a Cisco forecast report predicts online video will be responsible for 80% of internet traffic by 2019.
Video is the quickest way to influence an audience and the most effective tool for telling complicated stories. In an age with so much content coming coming at us, video can also be the easiest tool for learning new things.
We see video as a powerful communications tool and regularly recommend it to clients.
A decade ago, businesses struggled to understand social networking and some doubted its value or predicted it a fad and fell behind their competition. Today, video is the tool every organization should include in their marketing plans.
Here’s a great source for on using video for business: By 2019, Video Marketing Will Be Everything. You’ve Got to Get in on the Trend — Now.
Part 1 of our 2 part series of video secrets from the pros
Having just one video about your business or organization isn’t enough any more. Now you need a series.
At our next Speakeasy event, hear from the team at Beyond Measure Media. Jay and Michele
Carter are award-winning video producers that specialize in telling documentary-style “stories from the heart” for businesses and nonprofits.
Drawing from years of experience in front of and behind the camera, they share:
- The types of videos every organization needs right now, and why.
- The most common mistakes businesses make when creating their first video(s), and how to avoid them.
- How to turn a mundane video interview into a magic moment that viewers won’t forget.
- The one production element that is even more important than video quality.
- Creative ways to boost your organization’s video output, including how to turn your entire roster of employees into lean, mean, powerful video production and idea machines.
All across the web and social media, your future customers and raving fans are out there — waiting to see, hear and connect with your brand and your mission. A series of clear, carefully crafted videos is the most powerful way to tell your story, build loyalty and grow your tribe.
Join us October 5th for Part 2 of Pro Secrets for Making Powerful Videos.
About Beyond Measure Media & Michele Kim Carter and Jay Carter
Michele Kim Carter has worked on documentary films, most recently co-directing Southern Fried Fencing, now available on Amazon. She was local producer for Beer Is Cheaper Than Therapy, which was broadcast on TV networks around the world. She produced TV newscasts in Texas, and won the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcast storytelling.
Jay Carter is a former Texas TV news anchor and reporter, with numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcast storytelling. He has worked as a radio news anchor and voiceover talent. He also co-directed the feature-length documentary Southern Fried Fencing with Michele.
At Beyond Measure Media, Jay shoots and edits video, and helps craft the overall tone and narrative flow of video productions. Michele produces, handles logistics, conducts interviews and helps clients tell stories that resonate.
If you want to be quoted, say something colorful.
(Reposted from The Guardian – January 13, 2016)
The Oregon militia’s bizarre PR tactics – from dildos to Facebook videos
Militiamen have attracted media coverage while occupying the Malheur wildlife refuge, but their disjointed social media messages have ‘created a big mess’
by Sam Levin
The armed militiamen occupying a wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon have increasingly turned to a different weapon in their fight: social media.
Militia leader Ammon Bundy and his rightwing followers, who have been stationed at the headquarters of the Malheur national wildlife refuge since 2 January, have used Facebook, YouTube and live-stream videos to get their message out directly to the public and to call on anti-government activists to support their cause.
In the process, they’ve attracted significant media coverage from across the globe while also holding daily press briefings at the entrance to the refuge that draw huge crowds of hungry reporters each morning.
But their public relations strategy has repeatedly suffered from bizarre self-aggrandizing videos that rogue militiamen continue to post to their followers. The steady feed of rambling selfie videos have prompted widespread mockery and scorn and in some cases have clearly further distracted from the plight of Harney County ranchers whom the militia claim to be backing.
Most recently, militiaman Jon Ritzheimer, the prominent anti-Islam activist from Arizona, posted a Facebook video of himself opening hate mail sent to the refuge, including a box filled with dildos. “It’s really ridiculous. This one was really funny – a bag of dicks,” he said in the video before angrily shoving a bunch of packages off the table. “They just spend all their money on hate, hate, hate, hate!” he shouted.
And on Tuesday, Oregon Public Broadcasting uncovered a video from an occupier named David Fry from Ohio, who filmed himself using government computers at the compound to create an “Oregon standoff” website.
The videos are the latest in a series of social media messages from numerous members of the Bundy bunch – footage that often captures long-winded and sometimes incoherent speeches that, at the very least, draw further support within rightwing online communities. They may have learned some lessons about how to garner consistent national news coverage from the standoff with the federal government in 2014, which was led by Ammon’s father, Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher.
But marketing and communications experts in Oregon who have closely followed the standoff, which has caused a major backlash in the nearby town of Burns, said the militia’s PR tactics were disjointed and chaotic and were only breeding further resentment from the people they purport to be helping.
“If they are trying to get America to pay attention to the grievances they have with federal laws, they are losing that battle,” said Mike Phillips, a public relations specialist with Portland firm AM:PM. “They do not have an effective spokesperson. Having so many people involved and so many people creating their own messaging on their own platforms … they’ve just created a big mess.”
Phillips pointed to Ritzheimer’s video as a clear example of how the militiamen were doing a poor job of drawing attention to complaints about the overreach of the federal government.
“He should not be a spokesperson,” Phillips said. “He’s created a huge distraction … and opened up an avenue for the media to pay attention to that. He’s also opened the door to receive more bags of dicks. It’s just kind of a cluster of craziness.”
At the very least, the use of social media has ramped up support within various conservative militia organizations and so-called “patriot” groups, which may be why more activists continue to flock to the occupation from across the country.
“There’s a significant amount of people in this movement using technologies to communicate with one another. It’s effective for that very small proportion of people,” Phillips said. “It’s probably a good technique to reach out to their core audience.”
The militia’s latest PR move was to announce a meeting in town on Friday, which will be the first time the militiamen leave the compound and formally meet with Burns residents. Given the huge pushback against the occupation from Harney County officials, the meeting is likely to further escalate tensions and draw more media attention to the questionable tactics of the militia.
“If they were going to do this over again, they probably would’ve been better served by building more of a coalition on the ground,” said Ward Hubbell, another public relations specialist based in Portland. “They didn’t really get permission from any stakeholders there to represent their interests.”
Our work with the International Cannabis Business Conference and Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference gave us a good look into the culture and complexity of the Oregon Cannabis Industry. In the following blog we’re happily sharing some of what we’ve learned with our local business partners, friends and loyal readers.
The 411 on Oregon Legalization
Possession of marijuana is now legal in Oregon. Purchasing marijuana? That’s a different matter. The Oregon legislature has been discussing a plan allowing dispensaries to sell to adults who are 21 and over, beginning October 1st, but the legislature has until next year to create more permanent rules for the retail sale and purchase of cannabis products. So, while it’s currently still illegal to buy and sell the stuff, if a stork delivers a baggie on your doorstep, or a stash appears via immaculate conception on your coffee table – you’re totally in the clear!
Legal possession has its limits, too. Adults are allowed up to 8-ounces of cannabis in their homes and up to one ounce away from home without fear of criminal prosecution. Oregon residents 21 and over may have up to four plants in their home.
It’s also still illegal to consume cannabis substances in public places, but oddly enough, at the “giveaway and smoke out” event celebrating an end to prohibition – participants were granted the right to LEGALLY trade, test and posses up to seven grams of cannabis.
The Cannabis Industry
The cannabis industry culture is unique, but members are as serious as any member of Oregon business community. Conversations with cannabis entrepreneurs are nothing like the ones you may have had with your best friends’ older brother back in high school. For example, any references to “grass” should be saved for conversations about Linn County horticulture.
With the successful legalization of cannabis in Oregon, Washington Alaska, Colorado and, likely, California in 2016 – the “Cannabis Country” of the West Coast will be a multi-billion dollar industry. Growth of the cannabis industry will have a broader impact on the economy by increasing demand for innovation, supporting technologies and professional services. Examples include:
- Commercial Real Estate Brokers – More than 300 dispensaries have already been approved in Oregon. Growers, wholesalers, processors and retailers all need space and brokers have the expertise to find the best options and negotiate the best deals.
- Lawyers – Any business owner should have an attorney to help set up their entity, but cannabis industry entrepreneurs are blazing trails and all the laws have yet to be settled and defined. Lawyers with cannabis industry knowledge and expertise will be in demand to help business owners ensure compliance, protect their intellectual property, guide the licensing process and negotiate contracts.
- Investment Brokers – All the big investment groups are offering cannabis portfolios, but now some firms specialize solely on the industry. Smart investors are seeing a cash crop potential and the number of interested parties will continue growing.
- Public Relations/Marketing – As stores become established across the state retailers and related product manufacturers will need to differentiate themselves to stand out and compete for customers. Cannabis growers will discover they face education barriers that create communication challenges similar to other agricultural and natural resource industries. Likewise, they’ll need to educate consumers – much in the same way that vineyards discuss terroir, palate, nose and qualities unique to different grape varietals and growing techniques. Entrepreneurs will benefit by thinking about branding, communications planning, social media strategy and media relations early in the game.
- Security Firms – Dispensaries and growth operations will be wise to protect their premises and hire guards. These properties are at risk for break-ins and theft like liquor stores and distilleries – likely greater risk. Just as with investment brokerages, specialized security firms have already spawned.
- Insurance Agents – All businesses need insurance and the cannabis industry has its own unique needs and requirements. Specialty insurance agencies have cropped up to serve the industry and this area of the insurance sector will continue to grow.
- Tourism & Hospitality Stakeholders – 420-friendly hotels have popped up in Colorado (Bud & Breakfast) and there’s no reason to think they won’t in Oregon. While most hotels, B&B’s and new economy rental businesses like VRBO, Vacasa or AirBnB are smoke-free, many may decide to make an exception to attract cannatourists. Additionally, who’s to say that taxis and Uber and Lyft drivers won’t benefit from a surge in ridership with an influx of these tourists, many of whom will look to enjoy the best of Portland’s dining experiences.
Time will tell what the cannabis industry will bring to Oregon’s businesses and economy, but getting in early will offer the most opportunity for those who want to capitalize.
For more on the industry, the current status of laws and potential opportunities, check out these sources:
International Cannabis Business Conference: http://internationalcbc.com
Marijuana Politics: http://marijuanapolitics.com
The Northwest Leaf: http://www.thenorthwestleaf.com
Oregon Cannabis Connection: http://occnewspaper.com
Dope Magazine: http://www.dopemagazine.com
The Cannabist : for a wonderful glossary for cannabis industry lexicon
What is it like to be a breaking news reporter in today’s fast-paced 24/7 news cycle? What draws their attention? Join us July 15th at 4 p.m. at AM:PM PR to get these questions answered by our next Speakeasy host — Jerry Casey — breaking news manager for The Oregonian. Changes to The Oregonian’s newsroom have been widely discussed. These major shifts have changed how Jerry reports and he’ll share what that means for those who work with media.
Jerry has worked as an editor in Portland since 1999. His diverse newspaper career includes stints in Virginia and Florida, in addition to Oregon. Jerry says that in his 25 year career as a journalist he’s been unable to hold one job without coveting another. He’s been a copyeditor, business editor, city editor, bureau chief and The Oregonian‘s first online editor — a role that shapes how stories are produced and consumed.
Most importantly, Jerry is the husband of another journalist and the father of two kids: Rosencrantz from the Jesuit High School production of “Hamlet” and the only left-handed pitcher/first baseman playing for the Padres in the Cedar Mill Little League.
We hope to see you for what will be a compelling and enjoyable Speakeasy featuring a remarkable journalist. Please RSVP with Mike if you plan to attend.
Student Portfolio Reviews Reveal Successful Tools & Tactics
For several years I’ve volunteered to review hardcopy portfolios from graduating University of Oregon public relations students. As part of the U of O program, each student presents their portfolio to a panel of three PR/marketing/communication professionals who rate their demeanor, presentation skills and mastery of career-related projects and assignments.
This experience, in addition to reviewing the daily emails and resumes sent to AM:PM PR by new hire hopefuls, has given me a good idea as to what makes a job candidate stand out. I’ve come to appreciate the value of a portfolio – it may be the best and most underused tool by jobseekers. While not always necessary, a portfolio can bolster the information found on a resume by demonstrating an expanded understanding of communication challenges and solutions.
Your portfolio should be easy to follow and easy to share. For the in-person interview, bring a hardcopy, or a tablet to walk through your work with a little digital pizzazz. Either way, make sure you bring extra printed copies of your best work to leave behind with your interviewer, who may want to share it with other decision makers.
Assembling the Standout Portfolio
Great portfolios for PR job candidates include:
- an up-to-date resume with skills and experience highlighting abilities related the the job you are interviewing for.
- a compilation of writing samples, i.e. pitch emails, press releases, blog posts and college assignments.
- before/after analytical data, such as website or social platform analytics from projects that you worked on.
- graphic, presentation or information design assignments. If you’re using printed pieces within a hardcopy portfolio, make sure you use high quality images. Pixelated images give the impression you don’t really understand the tools or you won’t go the extra mile on the job.
- materials or case studies from previous work or school experience that demonstrate strategy and results or challenges and solutions.
Leave a lasting impression
If time allows, offer to walk through your portfolio during the interview. Explain each item you’ve included as a case study – the assignment, how you thought through it, how it was executed and what the results were. The students who stood out most in the portfolio reviews I’ve experienced identified PR-related challenges and demonstrated their solutions and results.
Create a professional portfolio website. Think of it as your own personal branding tool. An attractive website demonstrates you value good design. Share links to your successes i.e. social sites, earned media, guest posts. Draft engaging and relevant blog posts. It doesn’t hurt to write fan posts about professionals you admire either. Like this interview with our very own Pat McComick.
Think about how you appear everywhere online. Include as much as possible on your LinkedIn profile and any other digital platform you use professionally, including your personal website. At 33-years-old, and only 7 years removed from a fledgling rock’n’roll career, I’m not a curmudgeon, per se – but even I recognize the importance of a clean social media profile. Consider the professional reputation you are building and what potential employers could take away from the messages you type or the information you share. You don’t have to stop having fun, but you do need to demonstrate you understand privacy settings.
Now, go get ‘em.
Have you ever wondered about bylined articles? Well, wonder no more. I’m here to share my vast knowledge with you.
Bylined articles can be quite the handy public relations tool if you’re ready to try your hand and want to expand your reach. It’s also a tactic that’s as old as time. In fact, the top ten list on Moses’ Commandments was practically a bylined article sent directly from the heavens.
What are some more “contemporary” byline examples?
A few of our clients’ bylined articles:
What is a bylined article, anyway?
A bylined article is an article that an entrepreneur, business leader or expert will write, often similar to an op-ed in format, intended for a specific target publication and target audience. If you have some helpful industry-related insight or an interesting perspective on current hot topic you are well-positioned to contribute an article.
What are the benefits of a good bylined article?
Getting an article published can:
– Demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership;
– Build your reputation;
– Expand your reach and grow your audience;
– Draw traffic via valuable links to your own website to improve your site’s rank; and
– Successfully spread your message or increase interest in your product or services.
What are some tips for writing effective bylined articles?
Write about what you know. Don’t stretch the limits of your creativity, write about something directly relevant to your experience or work. This will make your job easier and will help retain the interest of your target audience.
Research your target publications. Spend some time reviewing bylined articles articles to get a feel for the typical voice or format of a specific publication. Most sites also offer specific instructions for submissions including word count, accepted image file sizes, rules for hyperlinks and product sourcing.
Know your target audience. What media do your target audiences consume? Which have the most influence on your audiences? Target those publications and direct your writing at the specific audiences of those sites.
Make it timely. Many bylined articles are successful because the author is able to demonstrate knowledge or expertise on a given subject area. Often overlooked is the timeliness or newsworthy element. If you can tie your piece into a specific date, anniversary or current news event you’ll increase your chances for success.
How do you want your audience to perceive you?
Everyone has an audience. Do you know who your audiences are? What do you want them to learn from you? How can you influence them?
On Your Feet co-founder, artist and accidental movement starter, Gary Hirsch, got AM:PM PR’s Speakeasy guests pondering these questions and shared some ideas for influencing our most important audiences.
Gary and his partners have been hired by Intel, Disney, Nike, Apple, P&G, The British Ministry of Defense, a small band of Northern Californian Buddhist monks and so many other organizations to use improv to improve communication, leadership, idea generation, brand building, organizational development, and collaboration. He shared some of what he’s learned from these enviable experiences.
Learn by observing
You can learn a lot by observing audiences.
“I often go to plays and sit where I can inconspicuously see the audience’s reactions,” Gary said. “People behave completely differently than they would on their own. Audiences are an interesting and unique organism.”
Start paying attention to audiences of any size and try to understand what influences them. What catches and keeps their attention? What do they seem to want? Try shifting your perception away from the traditional audience/speaker relationship and to make the audience the focal point.
We’re all creators of content. We all have audiences. How can we make the most of those interactions? How can we ensure the impact we hope for?
“Letting go” helped shape Gary’s philosophy as an artist and professional communicator.
“It’s so easy for us to hoard information and ideas. We grasp on to the idea of intellectual property,” he said.
Gary had an epiphany with his Bot Joy, business. What started as a small totemic art project for On Your Feet clients grew into little bot armies hidden around cities across North America and Europe. Demand for these little bots grew with orders from fans and from more cities who wanted a little joy spread in their own region.
In order to grow and feed the demand he needed help. He decided to invite others to build their bot armies. He realized by letting go, the importance and impact of the Bots could outlive him.
Applying the creative principle of ‘letting go’ to the professional world your work can have greater impact, too.
More lessons from Gary and On Your Feet:
- Inspiration can come from anywhere
- Listening is hard work
- Things almost never go (or feel) like you think they will, and this is (almost always) a good thing
- Trying something different can be better than trying harder
- Stories help create meaning
- T-shirts can make good uniforms
Learn more about Gary and how you can steal some of his ideas at BotJoy.com.
Make sure you get invited to our next event by joining the Speakeasy Facebook Group page.
Have a strategy and offer content with value to your audience
If you have a business or a brand, you must have a strong online presence. Public relations agencies are no different. Every business wants to stand out and show up on the first page of searches.
Businesses and brands face ever increasing competition to be noticed. With more than 1 billion active websites, consistent attention to Search engine optimization, or SEO, is key to raising visibility.
SEO is the process of affecting the rank of a website in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid search results. The earlier and more frequently a site appears in search results list, the more visitors it will receive.
Basically, SEO encourages keyword use to increase traffic based on what people search for. However, there is a drawback. Focusing on keywords can stifle creativity.
At AM:PM PR, we write about what we’d want to read. We want what we write to be interesting, authentic, and worth our reader’s time. It’s always a bonus if we write something others find worth sharing.
It’s a complicated balancing act. How do you safely walk the tightrope between entertaining readers and attracting potential new clients with strategic keywords planted throughout the copy?
- Be Subtle – While keywords are important to search, don’t litter your posts with them. In this post all focus keywords are in bold. Words and phrases like “public relations,” “search engine optimization,” and “SEO Tips” are all terms that could bring people to our site.
- Be Creative – Sensibility with keywords can attract visitors, but creative, useful content is what keeps them coming back. Try writing your post first without worrying about keywords and then add them where they make sense. While headlines should contain focus keywords, you also need to grab attention with them.
- Be Mindful – Think like the reader you want to have. What do you want your audiences to think about you? What do you want to portray? Being mindful of how copy, relevant content, and keywords work together will help attract visitors and keep them coming back.
- Be Visual – Google likes images. Adding images and properly naming, sizing and tagged them will help your rank and make your content more attractive and memorable.
Paying more attention to SEO does take time, but it’s part of today’s cost of doing business.