Archive for October 2011

James Whitrow on Video Marketing, SEO and Get Seen Online (Interview)

James Whitrow is the director of Get Seen Online, a business providing SEO and corporate and creative videos. I was lucky enough to sit down with him to discuss his business, their services and a recent viral video that he produced called 'Herbert Wilkes, a Hungry Life.' If you haven't already, read the Herbert Wilkes article and watch the video, it's great stuff. I found James to by an interesting guy with lots of passion for his business and for getting results for their clients.

What is your role in the business? What is your background? How did you come to be doing what you do?

  • I am the owner of Get Seen Online, we have three employees. I’m responsible for marketing & sales, some of the tech work, research and development, managing accounts, content writing and optimisation. The other two in the business are primarily tech and SEO consultants.
  • I’ve always run my own business since the age of ten, in San Diego, when I folded papers for other kids in the street who were old enough to have their own paper route.
  • I’ve been in the IT space for about 15 years. Previously I had a full service network management business and our clients started asking for websites and SEO. Initially we outsourced the work but were not happy with the results and we realised we could do better. We started offering SEO as a service and eventually it became a separate business, and that’s how Get Seen Online was born.
What does Get Seen Online do?
  • We do what it takes to get you on page one of Google using SEO, Online Video, Social Media and other methods.
What are your core services?
  • SEO, Website development, Online Video
Where does video production fit into those services?
  • Video adds a great extra element for users. We can show footage of clients’ work, how to's, what its like to experience doing business with them; anything information and story driven.
  • The videos are mostly made for the client’s website then linked through Youtube and social networks.
How can videos be used for online marketing? What are the advantages of video over text?
  • People are lazy. Some people don't like reading a screen, videos are much easier on the eyes.
  • On the down side, written content gets more mileage for SEO than video, so it’s good to have a blend of both.
How does video marketing complement other online marketing techniques?
  • Adding video to your content provides a more complete package, giving information in many formats for different people's preferences
What should the videos be about?
  • Think about what people would want to watch
  • Do research - use Google's keyword research tool, for example type in 'how to ,’ to see if people are searching for ‘how to’ guides on that subject
  • Try and expose in an engaging way what is unique about your business
Is there a specific formula to make a video go viral? What are the biggest factors?
  • There's definitely something to having an X factor
  • Marketing is also important
  • It has push boundaries and there’s got to be something that makes you want to share
  • Short - around 1 to 3 minutes
  • Video and audio quality are important, people need to see and hear clearly what’s going on. Sound extremely obvious, but overlooked by so many videos. For some videos the music can make or break the video.
Are there any Youtube specific tips your can share?
  • Youtube wants people to be active. Logging into your account, friending, subscribing, commenting and voting are all things that Google/Youtbe likes, so do them.
  • Getting involved in the community will also help get your videos featured. Featured videos go on the home page and get lots of views.
How do the costs and returns of online video marketing compare to TV advertising?
  • The ratio of costs of TV ads to cost of online videos is anything up to 10 : 1 for production.
  • You can use a basic video camera that only costs $300 and both Macs and PC’s come with free editing software (imovie and windows movie maker) or you up the quality and hire a local company to use professional gear and do something slick, either way, the main requirement is to have a good story to tell
  • On the distribution side, for TV ads you need to pay for each showine
  • Online videos stay up forever so there's no limit to their potential
  • Many people, especially the younger generations, already watch more online video than TV.
Can business owners have success by creating videos themselves?
  • Yes, simple videos can be really easy to create provided you have content that will engage the viewer.
What are five things that small business owners can do to leverage online video for marketing?
  • The most important thing is to get good quality content. Think about what content might interest your customers, what do you see everyday that they might find interesting?
  • Steer away from blatant self promotion
  • Do research. See what kind of videos are popular on Youtube in your niche and use Google’s keyword tool to see what people are searching for
  • If you don't have much editing skill or software, plan your shot carefully to try and shoot everything in sequence so there's not much editing required.
  • Ask around, there’s plenty of people involved in film in some way who can help and advise.
How would you describe your SEO philosophy?
  • Focus on providing great content with the belief that Google will appreciate informative, entertaining and useful website content.
  • We do lots of research and monitoring of results.
How do you differentiate yourselves from other online marketing businesses?
  • We work face to face with customers as well as through the net.
  • We aim to find out what's unique about our clients and portray their uniqueness and reason for existence as a common thread throughout all the marketing material and content on their website
Why is website structure important for SEO?
  • It enables search engines to easily crawl all the relevant content
  • Coding is also important, for example you should use CSS for page layout rather than tables nested in tables
  • Title tags, descriptions, headings (h1,h2,h3 tags) are all important places to put keywords- they should all be matching and consistent and accurately represent and summarise the content.
What are some common mistakes you see in small business website design?
  • Keyword stuffing, by people who don’t understand keyword density
  • Using lots of meta keywords- Google have stated they no longer use them in their algorithms
  • Content that doesn’t relate to the page titles
Thanks again to James for giving his time for this interview. You can learn more about Get Seen Online and the services they offer at their company profile in our Internet Marketing Directory.

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The Making & Marketing of Herbert Wilkes - A Hungry Life

I recently caught up with James Whitrow of Get Seen Online to discuss their creative and promotional video, 'Herbert Wilkes - A Hungry Life.' Watch the video below and see my interview following that.

What were the objectives of the video?

  • To entertain. I’ve been a hobby film maker, and actor, for a few years and I wanted to make something for the business.
  • Steve wrote the script with purely commercial intentions. Then we thought about it and decided to modify it to be purely entertaining. We analysed each part as asked ‘is this entertaining enough?’ and then it was altered to make it more entertaining
  • It was originally written with the main character as a person, only later did we decide that a rat would be more entertaining.

Did you have any goals in mind in terms of number of views, links generated etc.?

  • Not goals exactly, just ideas, nothing specific. We kept to the main goal of entertaining.

Has the video achieved those goals and objectives? If not, why not?

  • I was hoping for 100,000 views, but there’s still more promotion to be done.
  • We have seen an increase in business, some of which can be directly attributed to the video, some not.
  • More clients have been gained than I expected.

So, if the video had less views than you expected and it resulted in more business than you expected, is if fair to say that the video had better leverage than you’d expected?

  • Yes, definitely!

Who is Herbert Wilkes?

  • Herbert is a purely fictional character
  • He is a brilliant painter that nobody knows about, then he died.
  • Herbert is played by Daisy, a rat owned by the business. Daisy lives in our office with her friend Scribble.
  • After we released the video we actually found another video about a person named Herbert Wilkes, who is also a painter and who is 97 years old - all a complete coincidence.

Was Herbert difficult to direct on stage?

  • Initially yes, but once we got to know each other it got easier.
  • It’s a matter of limiting the space he has to move within and putting the reward in the right position to get him to do the right thing.
  • In the art gallery scene, which was filmed without Herbert then green screened in later, Herbert was put on the table and left to improvise, he did exactly what I had in mind for him to do on his own and it worked perfectly with the actions of the human actor on set.

Where did the props and sets come from?

  • We shopped at several different stationery and craft shops to acquire the materials to make the sets. The majority of the furniture and props were bought on eBay.

I particularly liked the little toilet plunger, did that come from EBay too?

  • The toilet plunger is actually a little device for propping up/holding a mobile phone which was given to me a couple years ago. The scene was originally written with Herbert standing next to a regular sized plunger, then I realised the phone holder would make an ideal rat-sized prop.

Is Herbert working on anything right now? Is there anything else planned for the future?

  • There are more videos in the works, stay tuned.

How did you come up with the idea for the video and why did you think it would achieve your objectives?

  • We did lots of research. We looked at the top videos on Youtube and realised many of them featured animals.
  • I wanted to do something quirky and out of the box and rats are nice to work with, which helped make the choice. We went to lots of pet shops to audition rats. We wanted to stay away from black, hooded rats as they have that typical ‘evil’ look about them, and white rats are bad as white can be hard to work with on camera. Daisy is a nice apricot colour which was perfect for the role.

How did you distribute the video?

  • I sent lots of emails out to friends and colleagues, everyone I know really, and encouraged them to send it on to their friends.
  • We also posted it to Youtube and Facebook
  • We also posted it on various 'hot video' and 'trending video' websites as well as social sharing websites like Reddit.

What were the steps to create the video?

  1. Writing
  2. Pre-production- casting (most of the actors were people I had worked with in the industry), costumes, locations, props and sets
  3. Production- filming
  4. Editing- The editing took 3 solid weeks, this included high quality video, colour corrections, pulling and pushing focus, fixing the blurry bits.
  5. Release and promotion

How long did it take to create the video?

  • The video took 8-9 months. We estimate that about 250 hours were contributed to the film when you count everyone involved.
  • There was a hold up on the music. I couldn't find anything that fitted the video the way I wanted. We eventually had it composed by a very talented composer in London.

How much did it cost to make?

  • A couple of thousand dollars. Many people donated their time, big thanks to everyone who gave their time to the project.

Have you made similar sorts of videos for clients? Is this the sort of video you might recommend to a client?

  • I wouldn't ever recommend this kind of thing to a client as it is high risk; a lot of effort goes into it and there’s a low certainty of results. But I would happily make creative videos like this for clients if they wish to show themselves to be out of the box... I will definitely be making more for ourselves.

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Get Seen Online Company Profile

Company Name: Soul Stone Group Pty Ltd / trading as Get Seen Online
Founded: February, 2007
Key Personnel: James Whitrow (director)
Products/ Services: SEO, Corporate & Creative Videos
Specialty: Corporate & Creative Videos

Contact Details

Address: PO Box 3003, Norwood SA 5067
Phone: 08 8463 1112

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