At the very beginning of any great project is a clear, concise and well-communicated brief. Without these rock solid foundations, it becomes easy for things to unravel along the way. No matter how good the freelancer or the service you outsource to, they need to be briefed. Without a strong direction and a set of comprehensive instructions, they can’t possibly deliver what is in your head.
If you’re reading this article with your head in your hands, surrounded by pieces of scrunched up paper which hide discarded ideas, we hear you. Writer’s block, a creative slump, stuck in a rut… Whatever you want to call it, your comfort zone can be extremely limiting and frustrating if you let it.
We’re here with a few simple tricks to help you break out of your creative comfort zone, free your mind, and let those great ideas flow.
Give fear the creative middle finger
We only need to scroll through Instagram or Twitter for five minutes to find, nestled amongst myriad other motivational thoughts, these infamous pearls of wisdom from thought-leading author, Roy T. Bennett:
If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones.
Roy’s right – how can we possibly grow, adapt or develop if we always go for the easy option? Fear is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to sticking with what’s comfortable and often, we wrap this up using other excuses like “there isn’t enough time for that” or, “it probably won’t work anyway”.
If we want to transcend our creative comfort zone, it’s up to us to be honest about what are genuine reasons for avoidance, and what is just plain old apprehension or fear of change. Then, and only then, can we start to build up the courage to fight against it.
Do the daunting things
Speaking of courage, this isn’t just something that comes overnight. Courage is about building up confidence in yourself, and in your abilities over time. It’s not brave, if it isn’t scary.
Pushing the parameters of comfort can have a knock-on effect for what you might consider a creative risk. Even if it’s just making that dreaded phone call, or finally deleting those files from ten years ago that you’ve been hoarding on your hard drive.
You don’t have to scale the side of a mountain, and at the time of writing we’re all in coronavirus-lockdown anyway. Taking steps that give a sense of achievement can fuel a further burst of motivation to carry on pushing through.
Think weird and wonderful when it comes to inspiration
Now, we’re not saying that our creative team are weird (we’re definitely saying that), but they’re also wonderful. Just like adding new skills to your arsenal as often as possible is beneficial, it’s also vital to broaden your sources of inspiration regularly.
Of course, stick with what you know will work, but go looking in new places from time to time, too. It might be a film, a song, a book, a place, a plate of food or total gibberish. The spark can come from some unexpected places.
Outsource anything that is draining you
There’s no dodging deadlines, endless paperwork or arduous processes, particularly when you’re self-employed or freelancing in the gig economy. But, that doesn’t mean you should let the daily grind bog you down.
If you feel that the admin is encroaching on your creativity, or if creative demands are draining getting the ‘real’ job done, then it’s time to consider outsourcing.
Leaving creative marketing, your accounting, logistics or whatever to the professionals is an investment, but one with an invaluable return on your ability to think more clearly.
More people than ever are consuming content, learning information and being entertained by watching videos. Naturally this means a lot of businesses are leaping into video marketing, but with varying levels of success. If you are considering cracking the camera out, or have already made the jump, here are some questions to consider. They might just help to take your video marketing up a few levels.
Is my video too promotional?
How on earth could a promotional video be too promotional? Very easily. The content that you provide, in any medium, shouldn’t ever be just about all the reasons why you’re great. People don’t want to watch it.
Video content is much better received if it’s informative, interesting, or entertaining so rather than focusing on your business, focus on the viewer. Your videos should be fulfilling a need for them, whilst also adding value.
Is my video too long?
If your video is long just for the sake of it, then it’s too long. It’s a case of ‘how long is a piece of string?’. If the story needs time to tell, then tell it, but it shouldn’t turn into a vanity project. If you have a lot of detail that you’d like to include, it might be better to turn each element into a clip in its own right.
Should I consider SEO for my video marketing?
The short answer here is yes. And, ok, we’re an SEO agency so obviously we think it’s important, but remember this. There are lifetimes of video footage on the internet. Millenia. Applying SEO tactics gives you a much better shot of being the one at the top.
That means building an SEO strategy, researching keywords, and writing great titles, metadata and video descriptions. This helps search engines understand what your video is about, so it knows when to include it as a relevant search result; where it will be found by the people you want to watch it.
How do I include a call to action in my video?
Video marketing typically includes a call to action such as a verbal or on-screen prompt. Consider what action you want your viewer to perform, such as subscribing for more content or going to your website, and then show how it will benefit the viewer. Enjoyed this video? Subscribe for more. Interested in this product? Head over to my website to learn more.
Not everyone watches to the end, so don’t be shy about using an onscreen prompt mid way, as long as it follows the golden rule of promotion. Don’t annoy your audience!
Do I need to worry about my editing or production quality?
The video content that you publish should be the very best quality that you can achieve. It’s a hugely competitive medium, so better quality production will stand out.
If you’re brand new to this then it’s probably wise to master the basics, down at the cheaper end of the scale. This means your smartphone’s camera and some basic video editing software, both of which can achieve great results. Try to avoid to falling into the trap of ‘all the gear and no idea’, – having great kit doesn’t guarantee success.
That said, investing in the right equipment can give you a decent head start. This might include a decent camera, a tripod, lighting, microphones and professional editing software. Or if you’re in a rush – do some research to find an agency or freelancer who is capable of providing the results you’re after, at a price you’re happy to pay.
Should I pay attention to viewer stats on my videos?
Viewer statistics are just like website analytics. They’re absolutely crucial for understanding who is watching, and how they behave during the show. 98% of your audience exiting the video thirty seconds in might indicate what to do differently next time.
When it comes to analytics you might even find some interesting surprises, such as a whole demographic that you never would have thought were interested in your products or services. For the giggles, we like to use piles treatment creams as an example. Not just for the treatment of piles it seems, but also the beauty essential of overtired fashionistas for shrinking the bags under their eyes. Data is everything!