Why video may be the exposure you need to grow...
Are you ready to produce video for your next marketing campaign?
Check out this week’s Grow Live as Matt and Renia sit down with Safety Marketing Service’s Digital Producer Lief Thomason. They discuss the current trends with video production, as well as some of the things they’ve learned during the first few episodes.
Watch, listen or read now and learn more about:
- Walking the line between honesty and polish
- Why proper planning leads to better execution
- Managing stage fright and mitigating your fears
- How video can help with SEO
- Why SMS believes it’s important to “walk the walk”
- The difference between short-term and long-term gains
“All the marketing world is saying right now is to produce video,” —Lief Thomason
Let our experiences help you create an effective marketing campaign for your company. Learn from our success and our missteps as we navigate the world of digital marketing and video. With a little planning and preparation you can make your first video a victory!
Check out this week’s Grow Live Show to listen in as our digital producer gives his take on the growing need for video marketing in the industrial world.
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Read the Grow Live transcript...
Renia: We're here, okay. Hi, I am Renia, and you are watching Grow Live. We are here for Episode Six. I'm Renia with Safety Marketing Services, and we have invited Lief, our digital producer, out from behind the camera. He is part of the team that makes this happen every week, and he is here to teach us about what we've learned so far.
We're going to talk to you about how to put on a live show of your own, whether it's a full hour every week, or maybe just five minutes at a time. And of course we've got Matt Johnson back with us, our CMO and managing partner, to make sure no one gets fired this week?
Matt: Everybody's worried about getting fired on this show, I really don't know where this is coming from, guys. I really am a chill boss, believe it or not. Welcome to the show, Lief. Glad to have you here.
Lief: Yeah, nuts.
Renia: So we just want to say because we are here in Florida and it seems like it's stormed every time, we just want to say be safe everybody, fellow Floridians that are out and about there. We are in full-on hurricane prep here in the Tampa Bay area.
So if you are a Floridian, don't stop your hurricane prep to watch this show. It will be available to you as a podcast and a YouTube video. Later this week, you can watch it while you're sitting at home waiting for the storm to pass.
Matt: And yet we're stopping our prep by doing the show, so it does feel a little awkward.
Lief: I actually recorded this a few weeks back. We somehow knew that Irma was happening. This isn't really live.
Matt: No, it's really live.
Lief: Just kidding.
Renia: It's all an illusion.
Lief: It's all an illusion.
Matt: I do feel like we're going about business as usual here, at SMS Studios, and it's this weird feeling. I feel like I should be out getting water, or fighting the hoarders at the gas station right now. But here we are. We're at Grow Live. That's how important this show is to us, and our viewers.
Renia: I don't know what that's-
Lief: Feels like that newscaster that's in the middle of chaos, and they're just like, "We're still going live to you."
Matt: That's right. It's our job.
Renia: So we had promised you, from the very beginning, that we were going to share with you what's happening, what we're learning as we create this show. We talked to you back in Episode One a little bit about how transparency is one of our values, and we are still learning this medium as pretty much everybody is, 'cause it's not that old yet.
So we wanted to maybe bring you some of the wisdom that we've picked up over the last few weeks, some of the things we found we should avoid, and some of the things to add. So it was really important to us for Lief to come out from behind the camera, and help us do that, because he really does make a lot of the technical stuff possible. Now there is one other person behind the camera who really doesn't want to be on camera, but I thought we might ask him to just peak his face in here just maybe once at the beginning.
Matt: He's behind the camera for a reason. He's actually very handsome, look at him.
Matt: What's up, man? How're you doing?
Matt: Thanks for doing all the stuff you do behind the camera, and all the post-production work. Brandon really here is our post-production wizard, so when it comes to editing and making sure things look good as a finished product, this is the man right here. Glad to have you here. Thanks for everything you do.
Renia: Thank you Brandon. I told you I was going to pick on you today.
Matt: Way to pull him out.
Renia: So Lief, tell us a little bit about how you felt when I came to you and was like, "Hey, I think I want to do this thing."
Lief: Oh gosh. I was pretty excited. I'd never really done a live show before, but I've done tons of productions. But we always get so much time and space to make up for mistakes, like editing really fixes everything. So without that safety net there, it was a bit overwhelming, and we were working on all the obstacles that we have along the way.
We're not in some isolated studio where everything is set up just perfectly for us. We make do with what we've got. And some of those challenges become how do we handle internet problems? Streaming and taking up that line there, and how do we have a regular space that we can get as quiet as possible, but still have these chirping doorbells that happen every once in a while?
You remember the day before. Renia got us all together, and they're in our cafeteria that we have, it was like, "How are we doing, where are we on this? We're super excited, ready to go," and I'm listening, and I'm nodding my head, and she comes to me, she's like, "So Lief?" And I'm freaking out.
I'm like, "You know what, I just need to get through tomorrow because I'm pretty stressed right now," and you know what, the first episode went off, it felt, without a hitch. It was just no issue. We were ecstatic. We got done, and it felt like I just finished running a marathon. It was that endorphins pumping, super excited, ready to do the next one.
Matt: Yeah, we were high-fiving like we'd just won a game.
Lief: Legit. I'm not kidding, we were super pumped about that. It's such a cool feeling, and I think that's a part of what makes this so special to be able to do. Yeah, it's good content, but there's something about finishing a production, doing something that is beyond your current ability that it's really exhilarating as a content producer.
Renia: So you said something about feeling like you just finished a marathon there, and I wanted to unpack this a little bit. So you said the day before you were really nervous and the endorphins were going, and I remember that moment, right? But how long did we actually spend getting ready for this? It's not like I came to you and was like, "Next week we're going to do a live show," right?"
Lief: We'd been talking about it for several months, just as we had realized one thing or another would come up, we'd push off the date again and push it off again, just trying to make sure that we were as ready as possible. If you keep doing that, you're never going to do it.
At some point, you just have to pull the trigger and say, "All right, tomorrow's the day," which doesn't quite explain how we did it. We were far more prepared than that, but it really does come down to that, just saying, "Let's do this." We've had weeks of coming in and testing internet in all the different buildings that we have in the campus here to try to figure out where's the best place to do it, scouting, where is a good, regular spot that we could be in.
We had a studio change in the middle of all of this. All kinds of technical things that come up that would just push it off, push it off. Ordering equipment. Yeah, it was several months worth of planning going into this.
Renia: I just think that's a really important point, Lief, because I don't know about you guys, but I see a lot online about, "It's so easy to go live! All you do is hold up your camera like a selfie and press the button, man."
Lief: I think we did a video about that.
Renia: So it's possible to just do it right here, but you're not going to get great results probably that way, right?
Lief: Depends on what you're looking for. That's what I'd say about any type of production. There's a time and place for a quick one-off with a cellphone, and there's a time and place for what we do here. We've got one, two, three cameras for post-production processing.
We've got a webcam here for the live show. We've got a microphone here, a microphone here, four lights set up. We went all out with this, but that has a lot to do with what we're trying to produce in the end, and it just is a matter of what is it you want to do, and how manageable is it?
We've got a team that does this. Brandon and I come together to set this thing up regularly. Renia you're always getting the notes together for this and getting prepared, meeting with Matt to make sure that we have everything ready to go. We've got somebody who runs the social feed, they're talking to clients all along the way. We have the means to do this thing regularly. If you don't have that, don't let that hold you back.
Matt: That's exactly what I was going to ask, was we have this fancy set-up because our business is built on the idea that we produce amazing, creative work. And being a creative agency, we have to set the bar high in terms of our own content.
So this isn't something that you're saying that you have to, if you're an industrial distributor or supplier out there and you have a one or two man marketing team, you're not expecting something like this, are you? Can you do something that is comparable and has a high-quality without having quite the level of equipment investment that we have here?
Lief: Of course you can, on multiple levels. So one great example I'll point you to is I did produce a video that we've got, we'll make sure that's in the shout outs and stuff, that talks about how to go about filming something with your phone, because we have so many clients that that's what they can do.
That's the means that they can get something done, and if it's an entry point into beginning to produce work, which all of the marketing world right now is saying, "Produce video." If that's all that you can manage to do, I've got a few tips that say, "Hey, here's a way to rise above just anybody pulling their phone out and doing something." Really simple stuff.
You can even take it up the next level from there. Go on YouTube and search vlog, or travel vlog, or anything like that, and you'll see people running around with a small camera just constantly filming with that. It's just a small camera, simple microphone. It's not a major set-up, and they just get it as they go. There's all kinds of opportunity, and the equipment is so affordable that it just doesn't make sense to wait anymore. The entry point is anywhere.
Matt: The issue is not so much the technology, because I can go out to Best Buy or I can order something on Amazon and get one of those tripods that holds my phone. I can get a Lav mic that I can plug into my phone, that I can connect to my shirt, and I can be doing a really super, high-quality video with probably less than $100 invested altogether.
Lief: Your phone will shoot 4K. That's better than most professional cameras. In fact, I don't have a single camera in here that shoots 4K right now.
Matt: So if it's not the technology that is the barrier to entry, what is the biggest obstacle for doing high-quality regular videos like this, would you say?
Lief: Two things. One is a plan, making sure that you know what you're producing and how you're producing it. And the second is execution. Like I was saying, it's just a means of doing it, and like that plan helps that execution, but at some point you really just have to say, "I'm just going to do it. We're just going to go," because that first hurdle is the worst one.
It's stage fright. It really is. It's saying, "What do I need to be, how do I need to be, who do I need to be?" I do it myself. I produce content outside of working for SMS, and that's one of the biggest challenges as a creative is going, "How do I rep myself?" So I understand that hurdle. It often is easier to do work for other people. I can make easier decisions for somebody else than I can nine times out of 10 for myself.
Matt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Renia: I think that's a really important point, and I do think that comes somewhat to knowing what your strengths are. I think there's a peer-pressure about video right now that's like, "Everybody make video! Everybody make video! Everybody make video!" But not everybody is right for being on camera, right? So this is-
Matt: Case in point.
Renia: I would say this is a lesson that I've learned. I think Lief and I have both learned this through the process, is we wanted everybody to participate because we were so excited about it. We wanted everybody to come on the show, and some people were really excited about it too, and some people were like, "Uh, negative. Not doing that."
Lief: I tend to err on the side of, "No, you can manage it." But I agree. I don't know how much I agree, but I agree, 'cause I want to say this and push back on it a little bit, I also-
Matt: Wait, last week was the debate show. This week we're getting along.
Lief: I have those bells at my desk, by the way. So periodically I'm-
Matt: Can you bring that? 'Cause I really need one.
Lief: Periodically in the park you're just going to hear a, "Bing!" And it's not a sale, it's just me just trying to wake up.
Matt: In case you guys are wondering what we're talking about, go check out the last episode. Episode Five, and you'll see the debate between sales and marketing. Sorry Lief, go ahead, what you were saying.
Lief: So outside of creating videos, I also [inaudible 00:13:30] to seeing him perform pretty regularly, and I'm an artist. I do a lot of creative investments, basically. And these are all very similar obstacles for people, I think. You'd commonly hear some people say, "I'm not an artist, I can't do that. I'm not a singer, I can't sing."
And my answer is always, "No, you can. You can learn." There's a great, if I can segue, TED talks that does this exact thing where this guy basically hands paper out to everybody in the audience and just walks through, he's a cartoonist, walks them through some simple shapes. And by the end, they have all drawn a cartoon, and it looks great, like every one of them.
And I would say, "Don't make that your barrier either," because that often can be it. "I'm just not cut out for it." Well you've never done it. Or maybe you've done it in the past, and you felt like it didn't work because, like you said, what's your strength? Play to your strength, and that's what's going to be it.
The biggest thing, to me, is actually not how well do you hold yourself. It's not your position. But it's your honesty, your integrity. Often sharing that is more important than having everything set up perfectly.
Matt: Couldn't agree more, and it's a good thing, because a face only a mother can love can only go so far.
Lief: He says that, but I put him on everything we do.
Matt: Yeah, I know, and I do that because actually I'm one of those people that I enjoy being pushed out of my comfort zone. And from time to time, I'll surround myself with people that I'm not super comfortable with, or I'll go to events that I'm not comfortable with, or networking things.
And I have this tendency to be slightly introverted, and I tend to not want to be in those places, and I go and do those things because I know that it's making me better, and I know that the more that I expose myself to the hard things, and I avoid the super self-limiting talk, like "I can't do that," or "I'm not an artist," or "I'm not good on camera," the more that you're exposed to those things, it's exposure therapy is what it is.
Renia: It's inoculating yourself to pain, yeah. So the way I handle this, because guys I hate being on camera. I love public speaking, but I hate being on camera. I hate the way I look. I feel very vulnerable about it.
So at the end of last year, I was like, "I have to do this video thing, it's very important to what I do for a living, I'm a digital strategist, I can't hide from video." So I did 100 days in a row of Facebook Live videos that had zero point except for me to get used to talking in front of the camera.
And so in order to get them all in, some days I had to do them without any makeup on, or after a workout, or whatever. So I just inoculated myself to that, where I'm just like, "I've done it without makeup, so I can do this."
Matt: I'll do this show, but I'm not doing it without makeup, guys.
Lief: That's really interesting, Renia. For me as a creative, one of the things that I know has to happen occasionally, actually if you remember when we did ... So every week in the park, we do this thing where somebody hosts some kind of strategy for the week, and so I did a couple of weeks ago, and mine was all on creative solutions, basically. Creative problem-solving was the point. And I played this-
Renia: It was awesome.
Lief: I played this audio track from Ira Glass, the host of This American Life, a PR podcast. Getting above everybody here maybe now. Anyways, what he has to say is that as a producer, you have to, just to get through that push, of make, make, make, create, create, create, before you finally feel like your expectation meets what you're creating, because you have a good sensibility about that.
Anybody here listening that runs a business, you've got great expectations, and you've got great insight. That's why you're doing what you're doing. But there's this learning curve that has to be met. And you making 100 Facebook Live videos, what was the evolution over time with that? What was that liKe?
Renia: It was getting comfortable being myself. I was unprepared for how much people felt like they connected with me, and I was unprepared for how vulnerable that made me feel. I think part of the reason that Matt and I even met in the first place was because he watched some of my Facebook Live videos.
But I felt like they were getting better over time, and that I was getting more comfortable being myself. But one thing I did not do that I learned the lesson for this was upgrade my technology, or anything like that. It was completely about me.
So the bar, I didn't feel like, was raising in terms of what I was producing, and once I had somebody outside that I was looking at, like to your point, I was looking at better taste, and I was like, "Oh, this is not enough." So I had to go out and buy a light, and a microphone, and a special camera. But that didn't come until I'd done tons and tons and tons of videos.
Lief: And what I notice whenever I'm doing something, like a practice like that where I'm just making, making, making stuff, trying to do it in order to develop a tone, and a voice, and good habits, are exactly those things that I just said, that you get more comfortable, you find that you can overcome obstacles, and repeatedly overcoming obstacles.
So it's not just that first hurdle that I talked about, it's many more from there, but they become a lot easier. As you work out, maybe that first week of working out is the most challenging because it's just getting yourself to do it, and to do it even when it hurts. You start to get stronger, so you start to get more confidant you can overcome more in the future, even if there are what would have been obstacles that would have broke you at the beginning.
And finding that tone of voice is a really big deal. How did that develop for you? How do you felt like that developed, because we're working on that even here, trying to understand what do we talk about? How do we talk about it? What's the balance between being honest, and being polished. For you doing what you did, even if it wasn't this big thing?
Renia: I'll give you a Brene Brown quote about that last piece. She says, "Being honest and transparent doesn't mean that you vomit on people." So learning what was appropriate to say and what was something that I needed to process before I said it, that was an important thing, and I think that's something that we've talked about on this show a lot.
We purposely try to avoid really hot technology talk. We purposely try to avoid some of the ins and outs that people are arguing about in terms of how to handle digital marketing, because some of those things we're still working out for ourselves. So if we come down and we're like, "This is what I think," and then we realize that's not what we think.
Matt: It looks stupid later.
Renia: Yeah. So we're trying to walk that tightrope, and I think I learned over time what was good to share, and what was something that you want to hold a little closer, and where the appropriate point was to share. And I think that's something that we're learning in this show as well.
And I think that is one of the toughest things for most marketing people trying to do something like this, is a lot of fear within the organization about that we're going to say or do the wrong thing, and we will say or do the wrong thing at some point.
We're going to say something dumb, we're going to do something dumb. But having those discussions, that planning in advance of, "Here's where the line is," I think helps to get over some of that fear, and you don't know what's appropriate to share until you learn a little bit.
Lief: And it's okay to say, "I made a mistake."
Matt: And if I were to go back and answer the question from my perspective on this show right now, and I haven't done 100 episodes, I'm only five episodes in. But I can tell you that even after just five episodes, I've noticed myself that I've definitely changed the way that I've come to communicate on this live show.
So in the very beginning, you're a little bit nervous and you're worried about what you're going to say. You're wondering if it's going to be articulated the right way. You're worried about the little idiosyncrasies whenever I'm saying, "Um," or whenever I'm saying, "Absolutely," or whatever your particular thing is.
But I've noticed just over the last couple of episodes, I feel much more at ease, and I feel like more of myself. I feel like the tendency is when you get on camera, it's built-in. I just think we automatically put on a mask and we try to act, and I think the key to producing really good content that people want to see, 'cause we're not going to be Hollywood actors. We're not going to be Chris Pratt-
Renia: Maybe Joe.
Matt: Maybe Joe, our marketing manager Joe out there can maybe pull it off. He's our go-to actor.
Renia: Our host from last week.
Matt: But we're not going to be that, so let's not try to make our content compete with Hollywood. Instead, let's just try to be really transparent. Let's try to be ourselves. And if people like us, cool. And if not, that's cool too.
Lief: 'Cause that's what begins to build a personality, and I think that's what makes for better content in the end. It's not just about producing something that's a high level, even though I would push for that most of the time. I think that that is a helpful way to rise above the noise, we talked about that.
But then it has to be met with great content, because if it's just flashy and means nothing, nobody's going to stay on it. And almost vice-versa. You can keep producing good content, but if at some point it doesn't, at first appearance, look better than what else is being produced, then nobody may give you a chance to show that this is really valuable.
Matt: And it's interesting, we started off with the Mac Daddy technical setup, and we're ramping up is the quality of our conversations. I think we're learning that as we go. Even last week, I was just talking to you guys, before the show started today, and I was thinking, "Oh man, if I would have gone back in time, just a week ago, I would have said, Guys, let's just do the mock debate for five or 10 minutes, and then let's spend the rest of the hour talking about real practical smarketing tips," 'cause it was vice versa.
I spent the last five minutes talking about how to really align your sales and marketing team, and we spent the whole time talking, mock-debating, and I felt like, "Oh man," when I went back and listened to it, I was like, "I would have definitely flipped that around and done it over again differently." So we're definitely making some mistakes. They not catastrophic, but what we're seeing is that we're learning from mistakes, and we're getting better each week. That's encouraging.
Renia: I like the process of documenting that too, though. It doesn't feel that way exactly right now, but I know from the perspective of watching other people do it that in a year, we will be able to go back and be like, "Oh, look at that that we did back there." Like what were we doing back there?
Matt: "Look at those cheesy mugs that we've got."
Renia: It's like your haircut from middle school, right?
Matt: I know, I do love the mugs. They are a nice touch.
Renia: So Lief, can you tell us a little bit about what your process looks like every week? Because we're here for an hour in front of the camera, but there's a lot that you do behind the scenes before and after the show. Can you walk us through that a little bit?
Lief: Yeah. It's funny that you say that we started with the Mac Daddy stuff, because in my head, there's a hundred other things that I would maybe prove and sign with all of this.
Matt: I'm sure. You're always trying to hit me up for other equipment.
Lief: Usually. Audrey says the same thing, my wife. She's like, "You're just always asking for new equipment to buy." I'm like, "I know, it's my toys."
Matt: He likes toys.
Lief: So we make the setup here, and we've got an action plan that we want to do. This is the live show. This becomes then a podcast, a YouTube show, and a blog in the end. So from the beginning, I knew that we needed to be prepared as best we could in order to produce all those things.
That's part of the headache of organizing something that you haven't done yet, is what are the fail safes? How do I make sure we have everything that's there? Am I going to be able to get with what I have everything I need, even if I think I have fail safes? Nothing can be missing from that.
So we are, like I said, ingesting all kinds of audio from two different microphones, all kinds of video from all of these cameras. That goes into editing, becomes first a transcript that we can get. Our whole thing written out so we have a good blog that we can put together.
Renia: So I just want to point out, we do not write the transcripts ourselves, and this is something I would highly recommend any type of live you do, whether it's a podcast or it's a live video like this. There's a transcription service, we recommend Rev.com. No, we do not get paid for this recommendation.
Matt: But we should, Rev.com.
Lief: Where you go for transcripts.
Renia: Can we be an affiliate? Yeah. But it's basically, at this point in time, it's a dollar a minute to transcribe it. So very inexpensive, and tons of beautiful content for your blog. There are two big reasons to do that. One is SEO, but the other one is people who are hearing impaired need a transcription in order to experience your work, so it's the right thing to do. Sorry Lief.
Lief: So that's typically the first thing that we produce, because that takes some time to get back to us. After that's done, the podcast is almost immediately ready to go, and we've tried to set this up to be as efficient as possible, and devote as little time as possible to it as we can, because ultimately these are hours out of Brandon and I's time every week.
We already have about three hours every Wednesday that we have to go to, just to get the live show done. Set up and shoot and wrap, three hours gone. So then how do we limit what happens after that? So basically, the audio for the transcription is what we use for the podcast. We have a really good, high-quality mic that gets something that sounds really nice and clear for that show.
We add a little bit of a bumper at the beginning to it, which is just like the music that you hear at the beginning, and that's ready for the podcast then. And that goes up with an image, so you have basic content for that. From there, we work on the cuts for the video, and that's one that can always be streamlined for us, but either way we've got three cameras we cut between, just 'cause for something that's really enjoyable to watch makes for good content on YouTube in the future, which is something we're always still growing.
And then again, it's really good for SEO. We're pointing back things constantly, one over another, over another, back to each other, and it's just providing the best possible audience that we can, I think.
Renia: That's really awesome.
Matt: So all together, and we talked about this last week. I think it was last week. But can you give us an idea. So you said about three hours in total to set up. So you guys come here, just so you guys know, we have an offsite studio. It's a shared space, but it's mostly a dedicated area that we can come to every Wednesday to the show, but you come here and you literally set up the lights, you set up the table, you get our mugs ready.
Lief: You can actually see a setup of that Brandon and I shot today behind the scenes of us, just setting everything up. We'll put that up later, and you'll see it. Just a quick little thing.
Matt: That'd be great. So you're physically setting up the equipment, what do you do in terms of setting up for the livestream? I see we have internet connection. Can you talk a little bit about that, the technical side? How you're streaming it through the laptop?
Lief: Yeah. So we've got this microphone that we've got here, which is our Blue Yeti. We've got a Logitech webcam that we can have up to an HD image, which is just really nice quality. All of that going into the laptop, running through a free software, free software called Open Broadcast Software, OBS, and that helps us to control what this image looks like.
Any other color that you see there, any of the limitations on it's not too harsh, it doesn't look too bad. Hopefully you can tell that it looks better than the standard webcam, that's our goal in running through this. We can also throttle the speeds, so we have issues with internet connection here. We take up a heavy amount of that during this hour, and there's an operation that has to take place while we do this.
So if we want to continue to do what we do, we have to find ways to limit that. So we have the possibility of full HD where we actually lower the resolution in order to get a consistent connection in the end. We also don't want to drop the connection.
Matt: So then why [crosstalk 00:31:33]. Go ahead.
Matt: No, go ahead.
Renia: I just want to plain-speak that for you for a second.
Matt: Yeah, that's what I was trying to do.
Renia: We're in an office, which means yes we have studio space, but there's also people, office workers around us, and they get really upset when we steal all of their internet. So we've learned, one of the things we've learned, is that even though we're plugged in with the ethernet, the building can't handle us running full, hardcore, HD quality through Facebook Live.
So we are intentionally regulating that quality, which you can do through OBS. That Logitech camera, the Blue Yeti, and the free OBS software into a laptop is less than a $300 setup. So if you were doing a minimal setup to get a nice quality, you could do pretty well with those three things for less than $300.
Lief: And that's the image you're seeing on Facebook Live.
Lief: So that's the basic setup for the live show.
Matt: And then the hour long that we spend here on the show, and then it's reversed, take everything down, put everything back. When you get back to the office and you get the files, the audio files, the video files out, how much work do you think is involved in the post-production progress, editing, and posting the content?
Lief: I'd say it's anywhere from three to three and a half hours afterwards in order to load footage, go through it, have to watch through the whole live show in order to edit all of the footage from it. Sometimes it takes more than the hour to do. Export times, I feel like I am plain-speaking a lot of times, but I realize I'm not. I apologize. Thank you for helping.
Matt: What's an export? No, I'm just joking.
Lief: So that export time then takes quite a long time as well, and that eats up our computers. So yeah, I'd say about three, three and a half hours, almost a whole work day by the time we're done and producing this content, which makes sense for us. It's a valuable material.
Matt: But think about what we're getting out of that. Think about what we're getting out of that six and a half hours.
Renia: Well I'd add to that too that we have a writer producing show descriptions and show notes, and then we have Matt and I, in our time, we have planning time for the shows. So I think it rounds out to good full work day every week when you look at everybody's downtime that goes into it.
Matt: And why would we invest that? I would go back to the reason why we're doing this show, and I would wonder, 'cause if I'm a business person, I'm wondering why ... Well, I am a business person, so I am wondering. Renia, why am I spending 20 hours, not 20 hours, but 10 hours of my production team's time to do this show?
Renia: So I would think of three things. The first thing is we are walking our walk. For us, it's really important that we show you a lot of the things that we're telling you to do, and we don't want to be telling you, "Oh you need to be doing videos and you need to be doing that and whatever," when we're not doing it ourself. That's not really the ROI case, I guess. The ROI case for me is I look at equivalences. I can ask Matt to give me $5000 a week, or biweekly, or whatever to spend on Facebook ads and PPC, and as soon as-
Matt: Good luck with that, you're not getting that.
Renia: As soon as that money's gone, it's gone. You have to keep replacing it, because ads, they're gone once they're gone. But with the show, we can put the time into the show and produce something that lasts pretty much forever. So it takes more time. It's a slow build to build the audience, to build the followers to get the reach, but it lasts for a very long time.
So what we're doing right now is we're laying bricks in our castle every week with the show, versus just throwing money into something that goes away. And so ads are really great, I love ads, but when I'm looking at longterm building our brand, when I'm looking at what's going to get us customers in a year and a year after that, and a year after that, it's something that will exist for a really long time.
So when somebody new stumbles across your content, one of the things you can't cheat is tenure. So I don't know if any of you have experienced listening to a podcast or finding a new YouTuber that you love, but what do you do? Even a new Netflix show.
Matt: Binge-watch it.
Renia: Right! We go and we binge-listen, or we binge-watch. And you can't fake that. You have to have built all that content up. So in a year from now, when our shows are way more awesome than they are right now, there will be 60 shows that they can go back to when somebody new finds us, and that's really critical. And every brick that you lay, it's not a brick on its own, right? It's building a castle.
Matt: If you are binge-listening or binge-watching this right now, and it's the year 2018, and you are watching this episode or you're listening to it, and you've listened to at least five other episodes, send me an email, and I will send you a special gift.
Lief: That's fun. Also, please let us know if Florida still exists.
Renia: Time warp.
Matt: But I was dead serious about, but that is really exciting to me, that in the future there's going to be a content river that a visitor or prospect of ours, who's checking out our content, they can look and they go and they can dive in that river and there's plenty of content in it.
And we talked about digital footprint, yes it's a slow process, it takes months and months and years to build a really powerful, well-established digital footprint. But yet, what we're doing here is this whole thing, in my opinion, is super speeding up that process as much as possible, because what we've done is we've leveraged the content.
We've leveraged one day's worth of work and we're creating a podcast, we're creating a YouTube channel, we're creating a blog, and we're creating great content for our email channel as well. So I'm really excited about the work that we're doing here. What was the third reason that you said? I don't know if you've forgotten it by now. You said there was a couple of other things.
Renia: Yeah, so when you're looking at these stages of your business, or just the stages of your digital marketing, there's a point where you can ask for money, and there's a point where you can ask for time.
And one thing I would say to any marketing managers out there struggling with this is you need to know what stage your business is in. So we are an 18 person company. We joke about being a 10-year-old startup in a lot of ways.
Matt: 15-year-old startup.
Renia: So I can come to Matt, and I can say, "I want $5000 a month," and he's going to be like, "Good luck with that." Or I can come to Matt and I can say, "I want an hour of your time every Wednesday." And his time is super valuable, but where we are in our business, I'm never going to get that $5000 a month, it's just not feasible for this one little piece of the marketing budget.
But I can say, "I need an hour of your time every Wednesday," and I can turn that into the equivalent of $5000 a month in marketing budget. So knowing where you are with your sales director, with your CEO, with whoever the faces of your company are, can you ask them for an hour of time, or can you ask them for more budget? A lot of times, the hour of time is easier to get, and you don't even have to start with an hour.
"Can I have 15 minutes of your time?" That is sometimes a lot easier to get than the budget that you need to really get over that hump to the next level, because I can't take Lief, Lief and Brandon and myself, and produce a whole bunch of videos that would do the same thing as this one hour of Matt's time every week.
Matt: I would say also that I have to give a lot of kudos to Renia here, because what Lief said earlier about what the hurdle is for people, it's not the technology, it's not necessarily the idea. I think everybody understands a good idea, "I should do it."
But it is the planning, and what Renia has done in this digital strategy, this campaign that we're running right now, she's laid out a very organized and articulate plan for us to execute, and she's scheduled it out on the calendar. I mean there's big things, there's a document. Would it be okay if we shared that somewhere?
Matt: But I would love to share with you guys, the audience, this strategy document, that shows you what Renia put together, and she presented it to me, and then after I approved it, we presented it to the entire team here to show them what this project was, what it looked like.
And there's a calendar in there, and on this day we're doing this, and then all of that's built into our actual calendars. And if anybody knows me, the calendar is lord, and I follow the calendar. If it's on my calendar, I obey it. So the fact that I have Wednesday at 12:00 to 1:00 blocked out every week, that's important for me.
The other thing that's important is having some sort of outline or notes. So you do spend a good amount of time, I would think, planning out what each episode's going to be about, and creating some sort of outline, although we do wing it. We certainly do wing it a lot. But having some sort of outline is pretty important, wouldn't you say?
Renia: Yeah, it's actually one of the lessons I was going to share that I've learned is I originally thought I was going to do the outline every week, because I wanted to be able to learn from the week before. And I've actually, as we're going into our next set of episodes, found that I don't think that's the right thing to do.
I think outlining them all up front so you have a logical progression, and everybody has it well in advance, actually works better. So at least for us, I think I'm going to be outlining this whole next set all in advance so that we make sure we have that logical progression. And that's one of the things I want to say, and Lief, I would love for you to speak to this, is we've created this plan with a calendar, with everything laid out the way it's supposed to be released in the calendar.
But you will see when we share it with you that we're off our calendar a little bit, and that's okay. Almost every campaign that I've ever been involved with for any company in 10 years gets off the calendar. It almost never is perfect to the plan. The plan is the roadmap. It doesn't mean you don't stop at a roadside attraction occasionally and hang out there a little longer than you thought you would. So what are some of the lay-ups we've given you, some of the crazy side things, and the plan that you've had to deal with over the last few weeks?
Lief: I would say having the debate last week in the other building was a big one. We crammed into a very small room to do that, so-
Matt: I was really impressed that you fit everything in there. That was amazing.
Lief: It was a big challenge trying to figure that out. Even today, me stepping out from behind the cameras puts a little bit more weight on Brandon to handle some of the stuff getting ready for this. So those are a few things. There really hasn't been too much as of yet.
Mostly it's just the limitations from the beginning, I think, for me, 'cause I think so big sometimes. It's all those small problem-solving tasks along the way of, "How do I get the most out of this with the least amount of stuff?" With what I have, basically.
Renia: So I want you all to watch in three weeks, because Matt is going to be at NSC Conference in Indianapolis, and I'm going to be at the Inbound Conference in Boston.
Matt: How are we going to do this?
Renia: And we are going to live cast to you from NSC and from Inbound.
Matt: So there's your next challenge. How are we going to do this?
Renia: We're going to do it from our two laptops, we are going to do it.
Matt: Now we have to.
Renia: We're both going to find a bar.
Matt: Okay. I might have to have a few drinks before that.
Renia: So there's always stuff, and I think Lief and I have talked about this back and forth a lot. One of the things that this is, is it's a commitment. We've made a public commitment to be in this place and do this thing every week, and what are some of the things we've had to do to make that happen, to follow through on that commitment?
Lief: Getting me to start on time. I'm so bad about that. But it's good. That's one of the things that I would highly recommend, is don't do this on your own. If you can afford to have somebody that you can lean on, even just a little bit, that's a big help.
It's a lot of people for us here that come together to pull this thing together. Just one person trying to schedule themselves to do it every week, eventually it's going to become your New Years resolution, and you skip one time, and then it becomes easier to skip, and eventually you just forgot that you were doing it altogether.
It's funny, I was just talking with Brandon about this last week, how something like this can all of a sudden be in your schedule. We haven't had this, this is new to us. This is week six.
Matt: This is on top of-
Lief: This is on top of everything else we've got.
Matt: Everything that you already have to do. You already work with a dozen clients, and a dozen projects going on, and you had to fit this into your already busy production schedule.
Lief: And yet maybe the first one felt that way, but ever since then, it's just business as usual. And a big part of that help is all of the people that come together for this. There is no option to not do this. And it's not like I'm trying to keep myself, "There is no option to not do this, there is no option to not do this." There just literally isn't. That's not even crossing my mind. It's, "This is what we do."
Renia: And Matt, I think there's a key point there, is we talked about this a lot in the beginning. This is where some of the planning comes in. Originally Matt was like, "I'm going to host the show."
And I was like, "Matt, are you never going to go on a vacation? You're never going to be away at a conference? There's never going to be," so Matt and I are co-hosting the show.
We're both here every week so that if one of us goes on vacation, or gets sick, or something happens, there's always a back-up person. And the same way with Lief and Brandon. Ideally they're both back there together every week.
Matt: By the way, I'm going on vacation next week.
Renia: Yeah, I heard that rumor. Will will be back by popular demand to cohost the show next week.
Matt: Awesome. So there you go, that's exactly how this works. While I'm fly fishing, Will will come in and step into my place. That sounds like a good plan.
Lief: Brandon, I think I'm going to be fly fishing next week too.
Matt: I'll post some pics for you.
Renia: Yeah, I'm a little jealous.
Matt: Hey, I haven't taken a vacation all year.
Renia: So when you are planning this thing out, when you're going through this production, I know what we did for the live show to plan some of those redundancies in, so someone could get sick or be gone. But what happens outside of that, during your production, if one of you isn't here, or a kid gets sick? What would happen to your production?
Lief: It would probably demand that one of us be in a little bit sooner, just because it's two of us setting everything up. But otherwise, we've got a routine. We built in, "Okay, this is exactly what we set up, this is exactly how we set it up."
There are small, small variations because we don't tape anything down on the floor or leave stuff out, but otherwise we know, either one of us, exactly how this thing gets set up. So the two of us working together is the redundancy there, and on top of that, we've talked about it before, and I've already mentioned it here.
I've got so many things running here that if I have one thing fail us, it's not going to make a difference, with the exception of the computer. That could be pretty bad.
Matt: I think one of the things, and when you're a 15 year startup like us, it's difficult to do it. But one of the things that I have built into my basic leadership philosophy is this idea of redundancies, and I really don't like the idea of anybody being a lone wolf that can't be replaced. We're all replaceable, that's the thing. Even me.
So the things that I do, the things that Renia does, the things that Lief does, we all have to be able to mentor the next person coming up by us, and we have to have this willingness to share that tribal knowledge with our teammates, because that makes the whole team better. So I think what we have here is a really great culture of not only just accountability, like, "Hey, we said we're going to show up on Wednesday, we're going to show up because I'll be letting my teammates down."
But we also have built-in redundancies, and it's the redundancies along with the processes that we've put in place that help us to execute our work, because like we just said, this is one minuscule portion of the creative content that we produce every week, because we're creating content for a bunch of different clients, and a lot of it.
And in order to do that, you have to have these built-in redundancies. You have to have people cross-trained and willing to step in if need be. So if you guys are out there and you're business managers, that's a critical thing to build into your leadership style.
Renia: And it can happen with just two or three people. But one of the things I really wanted Matt to speak to that I think we haven't really quite touched on yet, is that Matt made a very specific statement when we started doing this show, because what's pressing on most of us is everything else that we have to do, right? And Matt, you actually made a specific statement to the whole team telling them what, before the show came out? Do you remember?
Matt: I think I do. Are you talking about the priority?
Matt: Okay, I thought I knew what you were talking about. Wasn't sure. So on a monthly basis, we have all agency meeting, and typically what I do there is I actually run down a list of our top priority clients, and our clients out there probably don't want to hear this. But we have a priority list.
Obviously the clients that pay us the most money get the most of our attention, that's kind of the way it goes. Or they're the most urgent needs are going to get the most urgent attention. So we have a priority list, that's important for the team 'cause they need to know what absolutely has to happen.
If it's a case where I've got to choose between, "I can get this done for this client, or this done for this client," that's my priority, I go with that one. And I said, "Guys, you say Renia's marketing plan, you see the strategy that we've laid out here. You see all of the resources, all of the energy that's going to go into this plan. I want you to know that on the very top of your list, above all of our clients, is our own marketing strategy."
And that seems counterproductive. That seems like, "How could you say that?" But listen. It's important for us as a business, it's important for you as a business, to put your own growth needs above everything else that you're doing.
Renia: Except the mask [inaudible 00:53:21].
Matt: Yeah, exactly, that's a great analogy. It's like the idea of if your plane is in trouble, you put your mask on yourself first so that you can breathe, and then you can help others. So if we don't do this for ourselves, and we don't get really good at our own marketing and we don't do it ourselves, how can we expect to do it for our clients?
And what we're also doing here is we're proving concepts. This is us in the kitchen experimenting. If you're a restaurant and you're a high-quality restaurant, you're experimenting with your recipes before you put them on the menu.
And that's a lot of what we're doing here is we're experimenting, and we're learning what works and what doesn't work. We're learning the best practices for our clients. And it's important for us to devote ourselves to that work before anything else.
Renia: I don't remember where this story comes from, but I think it's really important here, is remember we talked about using the bricks to build the castle, and what perspective you have depends on what your position is in the organization. So a production assistant may be laying bricks, "I'm just laying down my bricks, I'm producing my thing, I'm making my widget."
And maybe the middle manager, or their boss, has the, "I'm building the wall. I've got the wall." It's not just one brick at a time, it's for a wall. And it's at the top, usually, with Matt or myself or someone like that where we're like, "I'm building a cathedral." And that vision usually isn't there to the brick layer unless you give it to them, unless you build it for them.
So one of the things I feel like Matt did a really good job at, Lief and I have our crazy idea, we sell it to Matt, and then Matt built the vision with the rest of the team about why we are doing this. So it wasn't just like we're taking a day out of everybody's work week every week. We're building something. We're building a cathedral.
Matt: Yeah, it gets back to one of our core values, which is legacy. So we believe not just in the day to day production of work. A lot of times you get into this trap of just focusing on selling the next safety glove, or selling the next piece of PBE or whatever you're doing out there, and you forget about the overall vision for why you're doing what you're doing.
And we believe a lot in making our voice as big as possible. We work in a small industry, we live in a small part of central Florida, but we're committed to broadcasting the message of safety at scale as far as our voice can go, and we're going to use all of the means available to us to do that.
Right now, this is the best idea that we have, is using the cameras and using live streaming and podcasting and video and all of that. And we'll let you know how it goes. We're going to keep you updated along the way.
Renia: So we are actually going to invite Lief back every six weeks on camera with us, so that we can have the discussion with you on a regular basis about what we're learning, because we want to be sharing with you so you can learn too, and we want to be transparent with what's happening for us so you can hopefully use it to grow your own show, or your video marketing, or however you want to use it.
What I'd love to do to wrap us up is go around and ask each of you, six episodes in, what is the most important thing to you? What are you looking for? Is it a benchmark for improvement? Is it something out of the shows? What's the most important thing you're looking at each week at this point?
Lief: Can we start with Matt?
Matt: Okay, sure. Well as I become more comfortable and as we work out the kinks here, my future vision is actually to start bringing on guests from inside of our industry onto the show. So I'll just go ahead and publicly say that now. I really am interested in having this place, or this show being a place for conversation among peers within our industry.
So digital marketers, or marketing directors within the safety industrial space, I want to bring those people on, and once we figure out the format and how we run the show and make it smooth, then we'll invite those people on. So I want to get to the point where we feel like it's running smoothly enough to bring some peers in as well, and not just interview our team. So I think we're getting close.
Lief: I'm always looking to two things. One, how do I spend less time on it, and two, how do I make it look better? So I've got some ideas on ways to build those things up, which means that Matt's going to be seeing some equipment requests in the future.
Matt: Oh boy. I knew it was coming.
Lief: Always trying to see how we can just improve and make this even more enjoyable to be looking at over time.
Matt: What about you?
Renia: I am looking for consistency right now. I'm looking for everything to go out on time, so meaning we're always on at 12:00 noon, and finished at 1:00 pm, and the podcast goes up every Thursday and the live broadcast goes up on Friday, or excuse me, the blog goes up on Friday.
As a digital strategist, I want to start looking at the numbers, but honestly we're not there yet. We need to be probably six to 12 more episodes in before the numbers should start to matter for me. We're laying other bricks down first before we start looking at metrics. So that's where I'm at right now, is consistency.
Matt: So we just have to get set up on time next time. I'm just joking. You're always set up on time.
Renia: We're almost there. We're within a minute, usually, most of the time right now.
Matt: I couldn't be more happy with the start that we've had. If we hit our 100th episode two years from now and we look back at these, I think we're going to be blown away by the journey that we've taken. So it's a good start.
Renia: So you want to wrap us up, Lief, and tell everybody where they can find us, and then I'll tell them what's coming next week?
Lief: Yeah. So listen back to this, you can find it on the letsgrowpodcast.com website. Also, on your favorite app if you've got iTunes or Google Play, or some of the others.
Renia: Just search Safety Marketing Services.
Lief: Exactly. You can also find it on our YouTube channel. Just search Safety Marketing Services on YouTube, it'll come up, pretty easy to find. Really nice looking graphics that are easy to see there. Check out the blog over on the website at ...
Matt: Just look under the resources section of the website, and when you look on the right hand side of the blog, you'll see Lief's beautiful face there, and he will teach you all about doing your own self-produced videos. He's got a nice tutorial there, so you guys definitely want to go check that out.
Renia: So thank you guys for being with us this week. Thank you very much Lief and Matt. We will be back next week, without Matt, but with Will, to talk to you a little bit about creating conversion funnels on your website.
Matt: Ooh, I can't believe I'm going to miss that. That's a nerdy topic.
Renia: It is a nerdy topic.
Matt: I'd rather be fishing anyway.
Renia: So the marketers are taking over. See you guys next week.
Matt: Bye bye.
Renia: That was fun. I love your facial expressions, they're so awesome.
Lief: Is this what it always feels like?
Matt: Yeah. Feels good, doesn't it?
Renia: I feel less nervous with you than I felt with some of the others, because some of the others I'm just-
Matt: Oh man. Lief, you made me so feel like-