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Adobe MAX: Clicks, Picks, and Building Your Brand with Video

“If a tree falls in the forest…” No, wait. That’s too old-school. If a video posts on the internet and no one clicks on it, does it help your brand? No, and worse, you’ve wasted time and resources. The same applies to blog posts and other media.

At Adobe MAX, the annual Adobe Systems conclave that took place last month in Las Vegas, three sessions focused on how to make sure your tree makes lots of noise online. Valentina Vee, content consultant for clients including AT&T, Sony, Mashable, YouTube, ipsy, and National Geographic, provided a highly detailed plan for creating your video. Ian Durkin, Senior Curator, Vimeo, explained how your video can become part of the highly coveted Vimeo Staff Picks collection. Benjamin Matthews, Director of Design, Adobe, and Thibault Imbert, Head of Growth, Adobe Spark, demonstrated how to use Spark to grow you brand.

Before you Say “Action”

Valentina Vee, during her presentation “Quick Tips to Produce Videos that Get Clicks,” emphasized the importance of planning. She argued that you cannot plan for a viral video (those just happen), but you can plan for a video that has “shareability” – videos that give viewers a reason to share them with friends and co-workers.

Vee said that all videos fall into one of two categories of content: evergreen and temporal. Evergreen content includes scripted videos, music, educational, referential, and common issues videos.

Scripted video has the potential to be enjoyed for many years. Vee cited Royal Crush, Broad City, and The Guild, all of which have gone to multiple seasons. Music and education never go out of style. Referential videos evoke nostalgia or play on a pre-existing fanbase, such as James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. Common issues videos involve things that affect many people on a regular basis. Vee pointed to Jenna Marbles’ What a Girl’s Makeup Means, which has over 20 million views.

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Your first decision: Will it be temporal or evergreen?

Temporal video focuses on what’s trending now. It can still be scripted (if you’re SNL or Jimmy Fallon), but usually involves reporting on news, reviews, trends (like the Ice Bucket Challenge), or topical subjects like a year-in-review.

Evergreen content takes longer to produce, can be long-form, costs more, and can pick up views gradually. Temporal must be produced quickly, tends to be less than three minutes, is cheaper to create, and has a short shelf life.

The most important thing, Vee explained, is to know why you are making the video. She said that your goal absolutely cannot be to make content for content’s sake or “to get views.” Valid, measurable goals she cited include to sell something, document something, spread news, educate, or build a following to promote other content such as a movie, event, or book.

Knowing your audience is also a key to success. Very few videos can score with the classic Hollywood 4-Quadrant goal of young, old, male and female. If you are after Gen Z, Vee suggested perusing the study at AwesomenessTV.

Vee summarized by emphasizing the need to do your research first to identify your content type, audience, format, and platform. More of her suggestions can be found on the episode of Adobe’s Make It talk show at the end of this article.

Are You Worthy of a Pick?

Has your video become a Vimeo staff pick? According to Ian Durkin, Senior Curator at Vimeo, if it has, you are on your way to stardom. Founded in 2008, Vimeo Staff Picks has become a coveted award for filmmakers, having helped launch the careers of many directors.

Adobe MAX
‘The Audition’ by Celia Rowlson-Hall shows how for practically no budget, a film can have humor, social commentary, and a human touch.

Vimeo, founded in 2004, has 60 million registered users in 150 countries and gets over 240 million views per month. The Staff Picks are like a never-ending film festival running 24 hours per day.

Durkin coordinates the five-member team that comes up with the picks. In his Adobe MAX presentation “Learning from The Best: Tips & Tricks for Creating the Best Videos” he explained how his team looks for candidates.

They don’t look for viral content, but rather for “inspiring videos we want to see more of.” The staff picks are designed to create a positive feedback loop to encourage filmmakers. The goal, he explained, was to make Vimeo a place where people who consider themselves filmmakers can gather, meet, and be inspired by like-minded people.

No formal submission process exists for Staff Picks. Durkin said that each curator can nominate a film and staff pick status is awarded to films where the curation team is able to reach consensus. About 80 percent of the Staff Picks go to videos uploaded to Vimeo and 20 percent to videos discovered elsewhere. Besides looking for videos online, the curation team regularly attends film festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, Cannes, and TIFF.

There are no time limits or requirements for the films. Durkin said originality is key. They look for films where the filmmaker takes risks and pushes boundaries, that pull viewers in with engaging storytelling, that show exceptional craft, and include diverse voices.

My favorite of the examples Durkin shared was The Audition by Celia Rowlson-Hall. It shows how for practically no budget a film can be created with humor, social commentary, and a human touch.

Beyond the Vimeo Staff Picks are Staff Pick Premieres which help you premiere your film online. These do have a submission process, but it’s free.

Give Me a Meme

You made your plan, you crafted your film (maybe it’s a Staff Pick), and now you need to promote it. That’s where Adobe Spark comes in.

Adobe’s Benjamin Matthews and Thibault Imbert shared a score of ideas on how to build your brand during their presentation “Content Marketing Made Easy: Build a Brand, Grow a Following”

Adobe MAX
The Adobe Spark team encourages you to share creations through Twitter

Adobe Spark lets you quickly create and post graphics, web pages, and videos using your phone, tablet, or PC. In the newest release of Spark, you can create templates to carry your branding across all your creations.

Matthews and Imbert said three things were important: Have a strategy to tell your brand’s story; be consistent in creating branded content; and use growth hacking techniques.

A key strategic point was that if you don’t have the resources to be everywhere, focus on one channel. In other words, be awesome on Facebook, rather than have mediocre or apparently dead channels on five social media networks. And when you have your channel or channels, tell people about it. Put links to your social channels in email signatures, website footers, thank-you pages, everywhere.

With video, they said to upload video directly to Facebook. Native video gets prioritized and receives 530 percent more views than linked video. They also mentioned that since Facebook content does not get indexed, you should also upload your video to YouTube.

Selling things? Matthews and Imbert reported that people are twice as likely to buy something they see on Pinterest than on Facebook.

For your own website, they recommended using the Facebook page plugin so visitors can like your Facebook page without leaving your site. Also, on websites, they said it was a good idea to have a print button alongside the social sharing buttons, and to include forums where people can discuss your posts.

Other recommendations included:

  • If you have a budget, use Twitter Lead Generation Cards which will get Twitter to promote your tweets.
  • On Instagram, first impressions are important. Look good.
  • Use the Instagram takeover technique. Let someone take over your account for a week. You each get exposed to one another’s followers.
  • Run contests using hashtags and your Twitter handle.
  • Use trending hashtags, but stay relevant. Also, avoid overused hashtags like #TGIF.

Most of all, Matthews and Imbert said, don’t be shy. Ask for followers to tag a friend, and for retweets. If someone gives you a shout-out, return the favor. Connect with influential people online by doing favors, not asking for them.

More information on using Adobe Spark can be found on its webpage, and examples of what other people are doing to promote their brand can be found on the Spark Twitter feed.

About Leo Sopicki

Writer, photographer, graphic artist and technologist. I focus my creative efforts on celebrating the American virtues of self-reliance, individual initiative, volunteerism, tolerance and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

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