online video

Distributing Your Instructional Videos

So you made an online course, congratulations!

Believe it or not, you did the hardest part already. Now it’s time to make a technical decision, which is what most people THINK is the hardest part. At this point, you’re probably asking yourself: Do I distribute/sell my course on my own website or on a third party website? Here’s how to answer that question:

Step 1: Compare fees vs. features vs. subjects of third party software.

Most third party software that allows you to sell courses is going to take a fee for making it easy for you. Also, you’ll notice some platforms attract certain types of courses. Sure, you can be the only cooking course on a mainly design/development tutorial website but why fight City Hall? Start with a list like this and narrow down to one or two options that seem to work best for you: http://www.learningrevolution.net/sell-online-courses/

Step 2: If you have a robust website, ask your website service person how much it would cost for you to add course registration software to your website.

In some cases, we can do this with a software license and a couple hours of integration. In other cases, your website may need to be rebuilt to handle it. Most web people can at least give you a ballpark range without doing a full quote. Never hurts to ask!

Step 3: Do the math for low enrollment and high enrollment scenarios for your two third party options and your own website.

In our example, we will pretend you’ve made a course and you want to charge $24.99 for it and your low enrollment goal is 100 and your high enrollment goal is 500 people. You are using a typical online payment processor like Stripe to take credit card payments (2.9% + $.30/transaction).

Let’s say your developer will charge you $500 to add course registration to your website and you are also looking at Udemy as your other option.

Scenario #1: Your Own Website

Low Enrollment Costs: $500 + 2.9% of $24.99*100 people + $.30/transaction*100 people = $500 + $72.47 + $30 = $602.47
Low Enrollment Income: $24.99*100 people= $2,499
Net: $1,896.53

High Enrollment Costs: $500 + 2.9% of $24.99*500 people + $.30/transaction*500 people = $500 + $362.36 + $150 = $1,012.36
High Enrollment Income: $24.99*500 people= $12,495
Net: $11,482.64

Scenario #2: Udemy
Since these guys have a different fee structure depending on whether you or they make the sale, we’re going to assume you sell half and Udemy sells the other half in our calculations.

Low Enrollment Costs: 3% of $24.99*50 people + 50% of $24.99 *50 people = $37.49 +$624.75 = $662.24
Low Enrollment Income: $24.99*100 people= $2,499
Net: $1,836.76

High Enrollment Costs: 3% of $24.99* 250 people + 50% of $24.99 * 250 people = $187.43 + $3,123.75= $3,311.18
High Enrollment Income: $24.99*500 people= $12,495
Net: $9,183.82

As you see, in the low enrollment scenario, the costs are comparable. But if you have your own platform and feel like you can market your course as well as an online learning platform (or nearly as well), you can make more money. More heavy lifting, more ‘risk’, more money. Makes sense.

Unless we know exactly how your course is going to do enrollment-wise, there is literally no right answer to your software question.

So don’t let this choice paralyze you. Pick something and go with it for your first online course. In using it, you’ll learn its quirks and what you like or dislike about it, so if you decide to do another online course in the future you’ll have a better idea of what changes to implement.

Step 4: No matter what, make sure your new course is easy to get to from your website, social media, and email newsletter.

Make giant ‘Captain Obvious’ buttons. Make a giant photo for your scrolling slideshow. Put a link in your email signature. You want to avoid ever hearing the phrase “Oh I didn’t know you had an online course” ever come from the lips of a customer, potential customer, or anyone you know (unless it is a person who doesn’t go on the internet at all).

Technology is your friend with online courses and there are lots of powerful third party options to get your course started. So put it out there and see who can learn from you (and what you can learn from this process). 

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Creating & Editing Instructional Videos

Video has become a popular way to share information and instructions online. Whether it’s a YouTube tutorial, Instagram or Facebook video, Snapchat stories, an online course system like Udemy, or a video you’ve uploaded to website, there’s a lot of options for sharing (which we’ll discuss in detail in a later post). For now, let’s focus on the behind the scenes work that people who watch your video won’t get to see.

Creating an Outline/Storyboard

Planning is an important part of the video process, whether you’re going to broadcast (or rebroadcast) a live video or you plan on editing after the fact. Even if you’re great on the fly, it helps to go in knowing what the general structure of the video will be so that you have a flow that makes sense to the people who will be watching.

What sort of things need to go in the outline?

  • Objective of the video: what do you want people to take away from your video? Narrow it down to one or two sentences if you can.
  • Setting: where will you be filming? Is there a specific date/time of day that it needs to happen? For example, if you are using natural lighting, there may be certain times of the day you want to use of avoid.
  • Script/Talking Points: ideally a conversational tone, including any physical cues or props, lighting changes, etc. that need to happen. (You may think “ah, I know what to say!” but this can be helpful if you have more than one person involved in filming or plan to add things like title slides for different content sections)
  • Length: think about what your audience will want in terms of length. Is it 2-5 minutes, 10-20 minutes, or longer? Note: You can always film in one long take and then edit; it’s better to have too much to work with than too little!
  • Rehearsal: Again, this depends on the level of production and number of people involved, but a run through can help you feel more prepared for the main event.
  • Editing notes: If at some point during the video you want there to be a cutaway to a product or screenshot, it can help to add this in the outline (especially if you aren’t the one who will be editing). Any title slides, credits, subtitles, etc should also be included here.

All you really need to create an outline for your post is some paper and a pen/pencil, but depending on how professional you need it to look (i.e. if you have to submit it for approval before filming or share with others) it may be a good idea to invest some time in an online template. A few free resources for doing this include:

As long as you have the basic information necessary (objective, script, editing notes, etc), there’s no reason why you can’t design your own template that suits your needs, even using something like Google Docs or Powerpoint.

Editing Software

Once you’ve finished filming (unless you’ve done a live video), odds are you want to do some editing. Most people don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on programs like Final Cut Pro or Sony Vegas, but the good news is that there are plenty of editing programs that are far cheaper, and will do everything you need. A few examples include:

If you’re new at the whole editing video thing, don’t worry- it gets better as you practice more. Some general things to look out for are consistent volume (especially if you include audio tracks from other sources- you may end up with a video with deafening intro music but the rest be barely audible), lighting (is someone getting washed out?), cropping (the sign over to the right of the presenter is distracting). Another note for audio if you’re adding outside sources (and using one audio track, as you may in iMovie)- make sure it doesn’t bump the rest of the audio tracks out of alignment with their video counterpart.

iMovie lets you create title slides within the program, but perhaps you want to customize any text you have, or edit product stills. You can also use other photo editing software like PicMonkey (which we use), Canva, or Pixlr (all web based)- this is by no means an exhaustive list but will give you a jump start.

When you are all finished and have exported your video file, make sure you watch it to make sure nothing weird happened in the exporting process-or have someone else look if you need another set of eyes on it. Also ask yourself or another if it hits the objective and sends the message you intended.

Additional Materials

Will you have written resources (i.e. PDF handouts) to go along with your video? If so, you may need to upload them somewhere to link to them in your video description.

Does it need a written transcript/annotations/subtitles? Note: adding subtitles makes your video way more accessible. Online transcription has gotten much more affordable at around $1-2/minute or you can DIY if you want to save money.

Should it also have social sharing or email forwarding options, or is it exclusive content? (Exclusive content could mean an online course which people register/pay for, which we’ll be discussing in a post later this month). In any case, having some action step at the end, whether it’s to sign up for an email newsletter or simply watch another video you’ve made, is a great way to reward audiences who get to the end.

Our theme this month is Getting Instructions Online, so stay tuned for more ideas on creating instructional content for your customers and followers!

 

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Live Video: Some Considerations

You’ve been reading our posts about live video and thinking, “Hey, I want to do this!”

First of all, go you.

Second of all, besides downloading a live video app (like Periscope) and thinking about what you want to talk about, what else should you know?

Here are a few considerations, in no particular order, that we’ve learned so far in our live video adventures:

Consideration #1: WiFi will drain your battery much slower than going through your cell phone’s network.

(If you want some technical explanations why, here’s a Quora post about it.)

 

I was filming the Belt Sander Races, a local tradition that helps us all get through the winter with some humor. I had a cell signal but the 20 minute introduction of all the contenders sucked 50% of my battery. Angry fans begged me to keep filming but since I didn’t bring my backup battery, I let them down by getting only one race on tape. I know, I know.

If you can, get on the WiFi connection of wherever you are filming. If you can’t, bring a backup battery. Video over data is going to suck battery faster than other things apparently. Lesson learned, I’ll be ready next year for the Belt Sander Races.

Consideration #2: If you are hosting a webinar, consider a corded internet connection.

It’s one thing if, when you are attending a webinar, your WiFi connection resets and you miss five seconds of what the speaker says but what if the 200 people attending your webinar experience this kind of outage, even once? Not good.

You may have noticed using Periscope that the signal cuts in and out at times, and that’s to be expected. But if you are hosting a business-y webinar (something more formal or that people are paying to be at), do it over a corded internet connection to avoid latency issues. (More tips on hosting webinars here.)

Consideration #3: Experiment with timing… and tell people it’s happening WAY ahead.

There are some tools like Tweriod which will tell you when your Twitter followers are most active online, so that might be a good place to start with a time to Periscope.

But what if your Twitter followers are most active at 1 pm and you can’t Periscope at your day job? Don’t worry, just pick a time and let people know WAY AHEAD.

You can experiment with timing by trying to scope during different days/times of day and see what feedback is like. There seems to be no one, right answer for the best day/time… which is annoying but also probably accurate.

Consideration #4: Your videos are NOT automatically saved anywhere.

If you want to save your videos, you’ll have to download them to your device or use a program like Katch.me. You’ll have to also put it in your settings that you want this to be a regular thing that happens. More in this blog post about this issue but just to warn you if you did something brilliant and didn’t save it less than 24 hours after, it went *poof*forever.

If you want more tips for offering live video, this article is pretty darn useful: http://sociallysorted.com.au/21-periscope-tips-broadcasts/

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Service Businesses and Live Video

Want to learn more about live video? Our upcoming newsletter will talk all about it. Click here to subscribe!

Now you may look at Periscope and think you have a pretty good idea who the early adopters are. I mean it’s not shocking to think “Who would like live video?” and come up with the following lists:

  1. Big companies with big marketing budgets who always want to try ‘the next thing’.
  2. Bored people.
  3. Teenagers.
  4. Sports people. (Think about it, what else besides sporting events and The Bachelor do we all collectively watch live really?)

In our little series here, we’re going to treat businesses that sell products and businesses that sell services separately, not because they are actually very different but because some of the applications can be seen as slightly different. Here are a few types of service providers I found one afternoon on Periscope…

Workout Professional

If someone is going to be yaking in your ear for an hour as you huff and puff on the treadmill, wouldn’t you want to know this person’s style first? My one and only session with a personal trainer didn’t go so hot because we just didn’t jive and I would have loved to be able to have known that up front.

Getting to know personal trainers on Periscope is a low risk method. In learning not only whether someone prefers squats or stair climbs, you can also find out a little deeper about their personal philosophy, experiences, and more. We found a rooftop chat from a Denver area fitness professional:

rooftop-chat-personal-trainer-periscope

Note from Paranoid Middle Aged Nicole: You may want to be careful about broadcasting where you live. You can actually disable location settings with Periscope. If you are a parent/wanting to be extra careful about this kind of stuff generally, this article has a pretty good non-technical explanation of some concerns.

Financial Planners

As we’ve worked with financial planners in the past, I know what a landmine social media can be for them in regards to all the regulations on their industry.

I saw a financial planner on Periscope and my first thought was “How is she getting away with that?”

Turns out live video broadcasts straddle the line between ‘public communication’ and ‘broadcasting’. (You can register and read the article we read here.)

financial-planner-periscope

Again, if I am going to be sharing my personal finances with someone and need to trust them, what better way than seeing them on video to give me an idea of if we’ll get along or not?

Social Media Consultant

This one’s a no brainer. But I liked this person’s application of the Periscope technology. Videotaping a conference presentation on Periscope not only allows non-attendees to see what you have to say but lets people know you are speaking at that conference. Sort of instant cache. And if you want to get better as a speaker, what better way to get feedback than from stone cold strangers who don’t want to look you in the eye? (In this case, there were glowing reviews but you get what I’m saying; if someone was going to be critical, this would be a relatively ‘safe’ way for them to do so.)

social-media-conference-periscope

Think about it, if you’re going to hire someone to do services for you or your business, don’t you want to get to know them? That’s what Periscope allows you to do… from the comfort of your own smartphone. 

Service businesses can communicate a lot about not only the owners but the customer service experience using video. If someone wants to know if your cafe is loud or what it’s like to get a pedicure at your spa, video is a great way to show not tell. We all are getting to the point in our Instagram lives where we kind of know those photos are staged but staging a perfect 20 minute live video would be difficult to impossible. (Aside: this video about ‘Instagram Husbands’ made me chuckle the other day.)

If your a service professional, how do you see yourself using Periscope? If live video isn’t your thing, how do you educate you prospective customers?

Previous posts:

Non-profits and Live Video
Product Businesses and Live Video

 

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

We Can All Go-Pro

A couple years ago, when I’d first heard of GoPro, I assumed it was something used exclusively by hardcore outdoorsy people or extreme sports enthusiasts. It may have started out that way, but after watching a 60 Minutes segment with Go-Pro CEO Nick Woodman the other night, it seems like this product has morphed into a household name. I felt pretty inspired by the whole thing.

GoProLogo

An Entrepreneur at Heart

In particular, Woodman’s entrepreneurial spirit captured my attention. Here was an almost 40 year-old guy who seems a LOT younger. This is not solely based on appearance, but use of words like “stoked” (which I love), his high energy level/exuberance, and clear passion for what he’s created. (As an additional disclaimer, I’m terrible at gauging other people’s ages). Go-Pro was by no means his first business idea. In the early 2000s, when he was 24 (my current age), he started a business called Funbug, which didn’t take off.

Everyone loves a comeback story.

Instead of giving up completely, Woodman retreated (abroad and then in his VW van) for some personal reflection, and came back with GoPro. The power of example here doesn’t just lie in the idea of perseverance. Sure, Woodman was wildly successful on his second go-around with innovation, but what struck me was how his approach changed. The idea and prototype process for GoPro started around 2001, but it took another ten or so years before it really took off (check out this timeline from Forbes for an in-depth look at GoPro’s story).

Video Sharing for All

But just why is something like Go-Pro so popular? Besides setting itself apart from regular cameras, or their rivals-the smartphone (it has been referred to as a “rugged gadget,” which seems accurate), GoPro found itself “in the right place at the right time.”

Video sharing, as discussed in a few of our other blog posts (like this one on SEO and online video), is becoming increasingly prominent in the online world. We have sites like Upworthy, YouTube, and Vine, which all rely on video content. GoPro offers a way to create and star in your own video, whether your idea of hardcore is slack-lining between skyscrapers or taking a swig of milk straight from the bottle (don’t act like you haven’t done it).

Example Footage:

Along the lines of the “every day,” there’s this video of the baby on a skateboard. People enjoy it because it’s cute, simple, and accessible. There wasn’t a huge amount of skill required for this particular video (although this baby would probably disagree), so people get the sense of “Oh yea, I could maybe make something like that!”

Other videos are a bit wilder. These take you on a different kind of journey, perhaps in a plummeting-to-the-ground-in-a-freefall sort of way. They’re fun to watch because many of them give you a sense that you’re there, too. You get to see what’s going on, from a safe distance, and who knows- maybe you’ll want to go do something bold, too. For those who enjoy skydiving, surfing, taming grizzlies, running with bulls, or that sort of activity, GoPro offers a way to document it and say “Hey, check out this thing I just did!”

Kudos to GoPro for showing us how marketing, perseverance and passion can help a business flourish (even if it takes some time). Who knows if I’ll ever go skydiving or do that crazy flying squirrel thing, but if I do, you can bet I’m getting it on film.

 

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Tech Thursday: Being Pun-ny Online

Warning: Terrible jokes ahead.

Have you seen those businesses on Facebook or Twitter that just seem hilarious? How do they do it, anyway? 

We have a few ways you can showcase your sense of humor online, and they’re pretty punny. As a disclaimer, Nicole only knows one joke (which you’ll see in the video), and Kassie can’t get through telling her jokes without laughing pre-punchline, but in terms of online marketing, we can tell you what’s going to be good for business!

 

As a bonus, here is a chart that demonstrates our take on approaching humor:

 

Nicole's Chart of Funny

Nicole’s Chart of Funny

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.
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