5 Steps To More Effective YouTube Business Videos With Kent Nichols

Kent Nichols YouTube


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GUEST: Kent Nichols of Kent Nichols Productions | Follow Kent on Twitter and LinkedIn. Check out Kent’s video, “Learn To Create Effective YouTube Videos For Your Business In Five Minutes

HOST: Dane Golden of VidiUp | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddy, VidIQ, MorningFame, Rev.com, and other products and services we recommend. Thanks for your support!

PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

THE GOAL:

You want to make content that is the most effective for your business, you want to utilize your time wisely and minimize your liability. Dane and Kent discuss steps to help you do just that with your videos.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN, KNOW THIS:

  1. Content creation takes an enormous amount of time. Even if you start outsourcing bits and pieces to other people, which is important. It still is, it’s a grind.
  2. You don’t want to be in that place where you’re putting out a pure advertisement, you want to be putting out information that is lovable, that makes you lovable, that is embraceable and that people, after they watch it, can feel like they’ve gotten something out of it.

THE STEPS:

  1. Step One – Script Writing and Pre-Production
    If you don’t have a message, if you don’t have a plan of attack, if you don’t know what you’re going to say, That’s not going to really come across as something well-organized for yourself or for your audience.
  2. Step Two – Production and Planning
    So now you have a script. If you’re communicating with anyone else, now you have this plan, you need to actuate this plan of attack.
  3. Step Three – Editing
    Assuming you’ve got a fairly good source file, do the editing, get that done.
  4. Step Four – Testing
    At the point that you’re done editing that you think you’re happy with it, the thing that I like to encourage beginning filmmakers to do is to show the video with someone who likes you. Show your video that you’re happy with to someone that’s interested but not involved in the production.
  5. Step Five – Release
    The release step is looking at the analytics and how people are watching it. Are there specific areas in the watch graph that people are tuning out? Perfection is a noble goal but you need to go there incrementally.

RESULTS

You now have a clearer understanding of what is needed to successfully produce effective YouTube videos for your business.

TRANSCRIPT

Dane Golden:
It’s time for the Video Marketing Value Podcast from HEY.com. This is the podcast where we help marketers and business owners just like you get more value from your video marketing efforts. My name is Dane Golden and today we have a special guest, Kent Nichols from Kent’s Nichols Productions. Welcome Kent.

Kent Nichols:
Hey Dane. How’s it going?

Dane Golden:
It’s going great. Of course, it’s going great.

Kent Nichols:
Of course.

Dane Golden:
I asked you on today to talk about the five steps for more effective YouTube videos for business. These are your five steps. Does that sound good?

Kent Nichols:
That sounds great.

Dane Golden:
Okay. Now, but first do you want to give me a little bit of your bio for our listeners because you have had such a fascinating career track and you’ve been present at each of the fulcrum points of this industry and I think that that just gives people some context as to where you’re coming from.

Kent Nichols:
Sure, absolutely. So, 20 years ago now I dropped out of college and I started in the LA comedy scene and I was really excited to learn that. It really appealed to me to learn how to be a writer director type. Back then it was the only way to do that was to go through the movies and so you have these very established ways to do that. But around 2000 there was a site called Iphone.com and you could get your movies onto the internet. You couldn’t do that by uploading, you had to put it onto a DVD and you had to mail it to them and then they would upload it.

Dane Golden:
I’m sorry what’s mail? What is that?

Kent Nichols:
That’s right. That’s right. Literally drop it in actual mail. I was in a comedy writing class and I convinced all of my cohorts to start making shots for the internet to do this sort of thing. They were super excited, but they had no idea what that meant and how to do it. I had an iMac and I had a digital cam quarter and I taught myself how to do some audio with RadioShack level microphones and whatnot. We just started making shots.

Kent Nichols:
Every weekend we would go out and we would shoot two or three shots a week and since I had a lot of the equipment, I was editing and shooting a lot of it and it was a great learning ground. I did some longer more complex short films, I got into a couple of film festivals. Then a few years after that I started doing, I did the first LA 48 hour film project and Los Angeles. I immediately knew how to make a shot that could be successful at this after participating in one year just on a team.

Kent Nichols:
The next year we created we participated in the 48 film festival the next year, but I was producer and director that year. I just came at it with a strong perspective on how to create a film that would do really well there. So I just had a couple of ground rules of, the genre was really important and incorporating things that delight the audience was really important. Through that process we created a film called Baggage. Baggage won I believe best writing and the best film of Los Angeles that year and then went on to win the entire international competition. So that was like a really-

Dane Golden:
It was all getting started then. It was all just things are starting to happen.

Kent Nichols:
That’s right. When I was there receiving my award at South by Southwest that year in 2004, I made it a goal to meet the founders of a show called Red vs Blue, the company Of Rooster Teeth. Through that introduction, I was able to get them their first Hollywood agent and I was also able to get an idea of what the business model for online video series was in a way that most people would not understand for the next like five or 10 years, right?

Dane Golden:
Right, right.

Kent Nichols:
So I was like, “Oh, this is the thing that’s the future. It’s not going to a film festival. It’s going to direct to audiences and finding audiences there.” The primary writer on baggage was Douglas Sarine and so with Doug and I, we became writing partners and we just kept trying to figure out what to do. We came up with a thing about ninjas living in Orange County and instead of trying to kill people, they wanted to be normal people. We actually sold that pitch to Rooster Teeth, but because we were inexperienced and we didn’t understand about animation, it was too expensive to produce. We couldn’t do it, we couldn’t get it off the ground.

Kent Nichols:
But we decided that we could pluck this universe that we’d spent a year writing and put a ninja in front of my wall in my apartment and shoot every week. That’s what shoot people could do every week, and so that’s what we started doing. We started answering the world’s questions from a Gmail account and then we throw up a dot com and then that week, the dot com went live. We got featured on the iTunes store and everything kind of snowballs.

Dane Golden:
Explain. It was called Ask a Ninja.

Kent Nichols:
That’s right.

Dane Golden:
Explain to people how it was because just saying it was on iTunes, I don’t think is enough.

Kent Nichols:
Well, so we were an early podcast and so podcast back then man, it was any sort of file that could be distributed over an RSS feed.

Dane Golden:
It was video too.

Kent Nichols:
It could be video as well, and so iTunes accepts video files. So we just did videos, short three minute videos because YouTube was still very early days as well and there was no clear path. So we put on YouTube and we also put it on iTunes via podcasting. We shot up in popularity, we became like a top five channel, top one channel on iTunes podcasting for a long 18 months [inaudible 00:06:44]. We had some traction on YouTube but YouTube was not monetizing us and we had kind of have a love hate relationship with them. So we experimented with other platforms that have gone by the wayside like [rubber 00:06:58] and other ones where we were just kind of selling our own advertising

Dane Golden:
The principle of the show was what, what was the premise? I mean you said the premise, but how was it carried out?

Kent Nichols:
It literally was just, the whole conceit was this is the first time a real ninja is addressing the world. Everything that you know about ninjas is wrong and this is the definitive source. Our whole perspective was the character did not, was not the best ninja and was not the worst ninja, but he was a ninja that’s pretty good and he’s been around for a while and he’s heard lots of stories and he’s done lots of things and so.

Dane Golden:
We are going to get to showing people how to make better videos. But I think that this background is very, very interesting because then later on you went to another company that became pretty well known. I mean, well, went to a couple of other companies. So tell me about that.

Kent Nichols:
Yeah. From there, we learned a lot of lessons being on the creator side. Then I went into crater management with Blip that was eventually acquired by Maker, which was acquired by Disney. Through there I worked with a lot of top gaming talents like Markiplier, PewdiePie and [samperiphery 00:08:19] and CaptainSparklez and others. Where you got to see the other side of the coin of where, and you can kind of coach people through that process where people are just trying to throw money at you and you’re not necessarily interested in all of that.

Dane Golden:
Yet you’ve also seen things just with total production chops as well, right?

Kent Nichols:
Right. Well and you understand from a creator’s perspective, people are trying to get you to change things and do things and part of the mythos around being a creator is you don’t fully understand exactly what’s going on. Right. You don’t know why, if it’s you as an editor, that’s the magic secret sauce or if your cruddy camera work is the secret sauce. And so you’re always reticent to change anything because you don’t really understand the full methodology of why you’ve been plucked by the gods to become this thing. Then just generally, most every creator that I’ve worked with, with few exceptions, every creator that has been doing it long enough to make it a sustainable business for themselves, they generally feel completely trapped by the production schedule, by everything that they have to do to maintain.

Dane Golden:
It takes an enormous amount of time. Even if you start outsourcing bits and pieces to other people, which is important. It still is, it’s a grind. People don’t realize how much work it is.

Kent Nichols:
Absolutely. It really becomes a job. Some of the hardest working people that I’ve ever been around have been like those gaming creators where they were putting out a two or three videos a day and, there’s like, “I can’t do this.” We would have to turn down movie offers because they were like, “I don’t have time. I can’t sit around for two weeks doing that.”

Dane Golden:
We work with, you might call them business creators because we work with businesses that have started offline and want to use YouTube to help people live their lives better or do their jobs better. In turn by helping them do that, then they will want to work with that business because that business has provided value and knowledge for them. What are some of these steps that might help some of these businesses?

Kent Nichols:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think when you’re dealing with YouTube from a small business, my most recent post was that a company called StockX, where we would use content as a way to in gender good feelings towards the brand. You’re giving out real information that true fans are going to really enjoy. I think for most businesses, that’s where the sweet spot where you want to be. You don’t want to be in that place where you’re putting out a pure advertisement, you want to be putting out information that is lovable, that makes you lovable, that is embraceble and that people, after they watch it, can feel like they’ve gotten something out of it and not just, “Oh, that was really slick.”

Kent Nichols:
So I’ve been coming up with a lot of tools that businesses can use to help organize their thoughts around it. Because I think a lot of people are a little diffused. They know they want to do video, they know that video is an important thing for them. They know that that is a very powerful tool, but they don’t actually want to access that power because it’s too intimidating and so-

Dane Golden:
And even that, it takes time. It takes more time than tweeting.

Kent Nichols:
Yes, absolutely. But because it is so powerful, though it may take a little while with momentum to build, you’re going to have a much stronger bond if you keep doing it consistently.

Dane Golden:
Much higher value, and that’s why we call this the Video Marketing Value Podcast.

Kent Nichols:
So let’s get into-

Dane Golden:
You’re just going to let that hang there. Let’s move on to the steps.

Kent Nichols:
The basic steps, so I’ve got a quick five minute video on this. This is sort of the super in-depth thing just because I know your audience is going to geek-out on it. But, step one is that script writing and pre-production. If you don’t have a message, if you don’t have a plan of attack, if you don’t know what you’re going to say, even if it’s just sort of collecting your thoughts and say like, “I want to go to here, to here, to here.” If you don’t take that thought before you’re shooting it, you’re going to spend that time while you’re shooting, trying to make it coherent. That’s not going to really come across as something well-organized for yourself or for your audience.

Kent Nichols:
So really, step one is just writing, right? And that writing, I like to stress, it doesn’t have to be in screenplay format. It doesn’t have to be in any sort of format. It just needs to be a place for you to collect your thoughts. Those thoughts, I really strongly advise people to not make those thoughts into paragraphs and sentences. Because the more you do that, the more you write it out, the more you’re going to be angry at yourself because you didn’t say that sentence correct.

Dane Golden:
I made that mistake multiple times. I learned my lesson.

Kent Nichols:
Yeah, no. It’s so true. Unless you’re a super trained performer and some of you are, and maybe ignore this rule, but in general, most of us are not super trained acting professionals and you’re not reading from a teleprompter. So if you don’t have those resources available to you, do not focus on sentences, focus on ideas and the structure and the overarching message that you want people to take away. The call to action, all that sort of stuff. So really just focused on that, say it out loud to yourself a few different times, but don’t really say away from getting too wedded to specific sentences and grammar, but more into how everything kind of flows together. That step one is script writing.

Kent Nichols:
Step two is just pre-production and planning. So now you have a script. If you’re communicating with anyone else, now you have this plan, you need to actuate this plan of attack. Where are you going to shoot this? Is your idea for B-Roll and B-Roll is anything where you’re not talking and the B-Roll is sort of a key. What are the ideas for the B-Roll shots? You want to illustrate the things that you’re talking about. When you and I were talking about this and just some of your own videos, I just suggested you do more B-Roll grabbing. It allows you to do some editing and cements the whole thing together in a more concrete way. It’s really just planning out that and like, “I’m going to do it. Here’s the B-Roll shots I’m going to get.” Then you need to really have a conversation with yourself about your appetite for legal risk, right?

Dane Golden:
What do you mean by legal risk?

Kent Nichols:
Well, first and foremost it’s like wherever you point your camera, do you have a license, do you have permission to shoot whatever you’re pointing at? That means-

Dane Golden:
We assume entire reams of legal risk. I shot videos walking around a VidCon and I didn’t ask anyone for their rights to show them in my video.

Kent Nichols:
Absolutely. But you as a business owner should at least be aware that you’re making that calculation. If you’re the marketing intern listening to this podcast saying, “I need to do more videos.” You need to at least have that conversation with your boss, or just like, “We’re getting verbal permission from these people.” Or, “We got a signed legal release from everyone who’s speaking in this video.” The lower down on the totem pole you are, the more aggressive I would be worried about it. Because-

Dane Golden:
That’s a good point.

Kent Nichols:
The business owner is going to be like, “Yeah, whatever. How likely is that going to happen?” Or this or that. Again, if you’re a small business, it’s very unlikely, right? If people are aware that you’re recording, they’re either going to be cool with that while you’re doing it or they’re not. A lot of the times in running gun situations, I’ll have people just verbally say, “Is it okay that we film with you right now?” And at least have that fig leaf of, “They knew that I was recording. I got verbal permission before we started.” It’s that sort of thing.

Dane Golden:
Right. What else? What else? Yeah.

Kent Nichols:
Then it comes down to, there’s current legal ramifications. Mercedes Benz is being sued for showing a glimpse of a mural here in Detroit. Where you are, the statue of Portlandia, the artist is very notorious for being vehement about folks using that statue in commercial works. That cool poster that you’re shooting in your blogging setup or X, Y and Z-

Dane Golden:
That’s one of the least covered things in any YouTube education is, who are you showing behind you? They do have some tools that allow you to blur people, I think still. To blur people out, but I don’t know if most people know about it. It’s under the editing area. After you’ve already edited the video and uploaded it, you can make some variations. You can’t insert anything but you can remove or obscure things.

Kent Nichols:
That’s right. I just read a kerfuffle about Pizza Hut using Tik Tok meme to sell pizzas, right? The smaller the business you are, the less likely you’re a target for those sorts of things. But the 800 pound gorilla is commercial music. There are automated ways to detect if you’re using commercial copyrighted music in all of your videos. If it’s your vision that you’re using like a Hoobastank song or whatever, Hoobastank is going to shut you down or at the very least take away all potential to monetize=

Dane Golden:
I’m sorry, Hoobastank has prohibit us for mentioning them on this podcast. So could you mention a different one.

Kent Nichols:
Led Zeppelin, Meghan Trainor.

Dane Golden:
Yeah. But that’s the easiest thing to track. Their systems are best at tracking music. So if you use music that’s copyright and you don’t have the rights to it, you’re in big trouble.

Kent Nichols:
Yeah, absolutely. That’s the easiest to detect, the easiest to avoid. All the other ones are, I was saying, the stickiest wicked is if you’re using a person that didn’t know that there were going to be in this thing, like a release. I think that we’ll get the most awkward and then everything else is, you’re not going to rise to the standard of-

Dane Golden:
I’ve wrote a blog post about this once. If you have a company party and you film that and you put that on YouTube because you want to show how great your company is, that’s all well and good. However, they were playing music at that company party and they will run an ad on that on front of your company video potentially for a competitor because you have made your video monetized by using a copyrighted song.

Kent Nichols:
That’s right. Yeah, exactly. It’s mostly about control. Step one, write the script, step two pre-production and that’s just like, “Meet here at this time we’re shooting this.” If you’re using more than just yourself. What are the elements going into it, do you need model releases for everyone that’s showing up into it, are you legally able to use everything that you want? Then you do the shoot, the shoot happens. The shoot typically is the quickest of all of it, right? Especially if you’re doing a blog type thing, you’re shooting for 15, 20 minutes, all of this other stuff you’ve been thinking about and working on for hours perhaps of just like here’s the angle I want take and-

Dane Golden:
Depending on the type of company, yes.

Kent Nichols:
Absolutely, right.

Dane Golden:
And type of approach.

Kent Nichols:
Right. In the film business is basically your pre-production is twice as long as your actual production and then your post-directions, whatever. So even if you’re just thinking about that, just be thoughtful before the shooting itself. Having that plan is going to allow you to get the stuff that you need or that you thought you needed, because it’s always going to be less perfect than your vision because this is the real world, right? And it’s like, “Oh my gosh, we didn’t have the time.” Or, “The audio was really bad in this one location.”

Kent Nichols:
For all of that stuff, I always stress when I teach like cell phone video or shooting in running gun situations. It’s never about finding the perfect location and setting it to your likeness, it’s finding an okay location and making the best of it. If you can find a location that’s got an amazing natural light and you can use that to your advantage, that also has decent sound meaning it’s quiet enough to do it, go for it. The videos that I’m shooting right now, it’s an amazing conference room that’s just got this great wall of frosted windows.

Dane Golden:
That can work great. That can work great.

Kent Nichols:
Absolutely. It’s just like, “Oh, that’s perfect. I don’t have to bring in my light, I got this gigantic wall of soft light that’s coming.” So like I’m just shooting that and then I’ve got high quality audio. It’s a little echo-ey but, it’s making the best of a limited location I would say.

Dane Golden:
Assuming you’ve got a fairly good source file, what happens next after you’ve done all your projects?

Kent Nichols:
Well, I think a lot of businesses may just post at this point and I think that’s a huge problem. Because really at this point, even if it’s only 10 minutes of footage, getting it down to a tight 90 seconds from 10 minutes is going to do so much more for your business and your messaging than then just posting right away. So do the editing, get that done and then, at the point that you’re done editing that you think you’re happy with it, the thing that I like to encourage beginning filmmakers to do is to show the video with someone who likes you. Not your boss, but like who’s going to have notes, but someone who likes you.

Kent Nichols:
For me it’s often my wife or a friend and I’ll watch it in the same room with them and gauge their reaction. I just showed a video that I’m working on to my wife last night and I could feel it being slower than I wanted it to be. So it really makes you reevaluate the whole thing in real time. I would just recommend you showing your video that you’re happy with to someone that’s interested but not involved in the production. So not the actors, not anyone else, but someone that’s going to take the time and watch it and you can watch their reaction. I think that’s super key because you will feel their feelings and you’ll want to make changes. I just advise you to do that and if you could do that a couple times, you’re going to just learn a lot as a creator.

Dane Golden:
So you’re saying edit, test, edit, test, edit, test and over that time you learn generally what’s working and it helps you not only with that video but also future videos.

Kent Nichols:
Absolutely. I mean, in the online world, I’m also am a big proponent of getting it out there. So don’t do that to death, do it a few times if you can. Even once is better than none.

Dane Golden:
You may wear out, you’re welcome.

Kent Nichols:
Exactly. Because the next step is release, and the release step is looking at the analytics and how people are watching it. Are there specific areas in the watch graph that people are tuning out, like are you them, was it too long X, Y, Z. There’s a lot of science to those analytics but they’re still a little dark arts and magic that you need to understand too. Because it’s really difficult to get a 80% watch time on a video that’s over five minutes or something, right? Holding someone that’s for four in six minute video is still great. Whatever your case may be, you just want to see if there’s a specific thing that’s turning them out and if you’re losing them, if there’s a specific point that there’s a steep drop off.

Dane Golden:
Perfection is a noble goal but you need to go there incrementally.

Kent Nichols:
Absolutely. What you’re doing with that is, that’s the wider audience, right? That’s the virtual version of showing your spouse or whomever the video in person. You’re seeing what’s working in that regards. So you’re never not testing and then you want to kind of take those learnings both from the in person stuff and the online release and let that inform your next video.

Dane Golden:
Let’s go over the steps again. What are they? One to five I guess.

Kent Nichols:
So writing slash pre-production, the production, editing, testing and then release.

Dane Golden:
I’m sorry, could what the steps were? So step one writing.

Kent Nichols:
Yeah, it was step one writing. I think in my video itself, the pre-production, I kind of made that like a step one, A. I guess, or six steps [crosstalk 00:28:33]. Thank you for holding me accountable.

Dane Golden:
That’s my job here at the Video Marketing Value Podcast.

Kent Nichols:
You’re giving marketing it’s value. So writing, pre-production, your releases things like that, copyright, production itself, editing, testing and then release. The testing is basically testing in person and then release is testing online essentially.

Dane Golden:
Well, this is very valuable for our listeners, Kent. How can people find out more about you and Kent Nichols Productions?

Kent Nichols:
You can go to kentnichols.com that’s K-E-N-T-N-I-C-H-O-L-S.com and also chemicals productions on Facebook. Give me a like there, that’d be great. Yeah, I’ve got another video that goes a deep dive on the writing and how you want to do it for yourself. Then if you’re working a person that’s not yourself, how to coach them through those areas where you want that strong structure but loose delivery and very relatable performance.

Dane Golden:
I’m very glad you finally started to share these insights publicly and not just for people who are friends of yours. They’re very valuable and people should check out all of your social stuff. So people will also be able to find this podcast episode by searching for HEY and Kent Nichols. My name is Dane Golden, I want to thank you, the listener for joining us today. I do this podcast, the Video Marketing Value Podcast from HEY.com and the YouTube videos because I love helping marketers and business owners just like you grow your customer community through helpful how to videos. Because when you share your expertise in a way that helps your customers live their lives better or do their jobs better, you’ll earn their loyalty, and their trust, and their business. Thanks to our special guest, Kent, Nichols. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.

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