Getting the Most Out of YouTube

It’s easy to upload your videos to YouTube, but it’s what needs to happen after the initial uploading that can be difficult. Viewbix blog says that there are “more than 100 hours of video uploaded per minute” so, naturally, “it can be hard to make an impact on the world’s second biggest search engine.” Luckily, with a little time and effort, you can make some changes here and there to your videos and YouTube channel to increase your views. Viewbix gives some good tips, and I completely agree with them: (these are just a few included in the blog post)

1. Optimize the Video
Why this is so true: Things like your audio and video are, obviously, two of the most important aspects. I mean, the video itself can’t be high quality if the actual video sucks… And audio is half the finished product!
Once you’ve got the video uploaded, it’s also important to know that that isn’t enough! You have to fill in things like the title – don’t just leave it as is! If you upload video_2_promotionalvideo_final and leave that as the title, no one will click on it! Make the title stand out, but also describe the video well. Next, update the description and the tags to help more people find the video. Finally, the thumbnail – if the default shot after uploading is a horrible still of someone mid-blink, it needs to be changed. “Change this to the most compelling still image you have to make your video look attractive and get more people to click on them.”

2. Be a Good Host
Why this is so true: “Having guests on videos sent views through the roof.” If you record just yourself, or just one other person, and call it good, you’ll have just about the world’s most boring video on your hands. Videos are much more interesting when (if there isn’t a whole lot else going on) you have more than one subject – more than one person talking. The change of pace when you go between different speakers can help keep viewers much more engaged.

3. Share Everywhere
Why this is so true: Almost all of us have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., nowadays… So why not use them to our advantage to share and promote our videos? Here at Michigan Creative, we always post our videos to our social pages, and always tell our clients that they should be doing the same. After all, doesn’t it just make sense that “the more you share your videos, the more people will watch them”?

To finish all of this up, I’m just going to leave this awesome infographic here:

youtubeengagement

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

It’s almost here… iOS8!

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About this time last year, the Apple world was anxiously awaiting the release of iOS7 – the most dramatic change yet in iOS software from Apple. People spent hours trying to get themselves in the queue to update their iPhones and even longer waiting for the new update to complete installation. With huge changes in layout, appearance and functionality, iOS7 changed the game. It became easier to sync your iPhone and your Mac with the release of OSX Mavericks. Now, tomorrow (finally!), iOS8 will be released.

Apple is saying that this update is “the biggest iOS release ever” (isn’t the newest update always the “best one yet”?) with “big updates to apps” and “exciting new connections between apps and between devices”.

One of the main points that Apple is promoting is the updated Photos app, giving everyone the ability to “make every shot look even better immediately after you’ve taken it with powerful new editing tools, no matter your skill level”. This sounds great – and it really is – but this just goes to show just how easy it is (and continues to get) for everyone to basically Photoshop a picture, without ever actually opening (or even learning how to use) Photoshop.

In today’s world of smartphones, we are constantly seeing more and more truth in the fact that a lot of people really are relying more on their phones in every aspect of daily life – from searching directions in the palm of your hand instead of opening an actual map, to texting everything instead of making a quick phone call, to emailing instead of having actual meetings. Depending on which way we look at this, it can either be a good thing or a bad thing – we can choose to either use these tools that our phones give us to help us out and make our lives easier, or we can get lost in them completely and forget to look up and watch where we’re walking… It’s all about finding a good balance.

The reason I bring up the effect that smartphones have on us and our lives is because I see a lot more of this in the details of iOS8. For example, while it is obviously no substitute for actually, psychically, making a trip to your doctor’s office, the new Health app allows you to do things like automatically share your blood pressure with your doctor from an app. I mentioned texting in place of phone calls – the new Messages app lets you “add your voice to the conversation”. If you’re able to send quick, verbal messages to whoever you’re talking to right from a text message, now, more than ever, what need (if any) is left to pick up the phone, other than having an actual desire to have a real conversation with someone?

Just as a side note – iOS8 will allow users to remove themselves from group messages! This may not sound like a big deal, but it really is… How many times have you been in a group message that you’re no longer actually involved in, but keep getting notifications on notifications? That all ends with iOS8!

All in all, I for one am SO excited for the release of iOS8 tomorrow! There are so many cool updates and new things coming with it and I can’t wait to start using it. The things our iPhones can do for us are amazing – way more, I’m sure, than what people even 10 years ago would have ever thought a phone would have been capable of. While this new software, even more so than iOS7, has the ability to replace so many things in our daily lives and make it that much easier to talk to our friends without actually being with them, it’s always important to remember to “Look Up”…

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Reasons You Need Video… Made Visual

I’ve written countless blog posts on why your business needs video, how your business should use video, how to make good videos, etc… You know, all of the important video topics. But I was thinking – There are so many infographics out there, and so many of them are about these exact same topics – I’ve said over and over again that one of the main reasons video is beneficial is because visual content is much more engaging and memorable than just a bunch of text on a page. So, wouldn’t it make sense to not just explain (with text!) why video is so crucial to the success of your business, but to show it? After all…
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I’ve picked some of the best infographics I could find to demonstrate this:

growing-trend-of-video-infographic-658x1024This one, “The Growing Trend of Video“, points out that “video now appears in 70% of the top 100 search results listings”. Don’t we ALL want our business to be at the top of page 1 on Google? Video can obviously help put you there! And of course I can’t leave out the fact that “video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic”…

DCustom_Content-Marketing_Video_Infographic6Explaining why Video is Vital can take up a lot of space on a page – If you type it out in text alone. However, this infographic highlights three of the main reasons as to how video can enhance your marketing: “It educates. It promotes. It entertains.”

The Role of Video in Marketing is constantly becoming more and more important. This infographic points out that “people are 144% more likely to buy a product after viewing a video about it”. If this isn’t reason enough to convince you that you would benefit greatly from video, I don’t know what is!

There are way too many great video infographics to put them all in this post, but these are some of the ones that I thought would be most helpful! All of them are great for explaining why you need video but, in reality, it’s up to you to do it! But always remember that Michigan Creative is here to help you! ;)

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

How to Be More Productive at Work

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We’ve all had those days at the office that we just can’t seem to get anything done, no matter how hard we try. We know we have work to do, but sometimes it’s hard to get yourself to focus. There are a LOT of tips and tricks out there on how to be more productive at work, but I wanted to make a list of some of my favorites to share. Obviously some will work better than others for you, and these could be completely different from the ones that work best for your coworker, and that’s fine! We all work differently and that’s exactly how it should be.

Forbes has a list of “10 Easy Ways To Be More Productive At Work“, and from this list I really think that a few of them are quite helpful:

1. “Understand Your Body’s Timetable”
While it makes a lot of sense to “organize your day around your body’s natural rhythms” – we’re obviously more productive when we have more energy, like “first thing in the morning, after you’ve rested and eaten” – I also think it is important to keep in mind that this is not always possible. Some days are just too packed to take your pick of what you want to do at any given moment. However, if you do have some wiggle room in your day, this is a great tip!

2. Batch Together Similar Tasks
This is a good tip because, if you think about it, how much easier is it to switch from task to task when those tasks are similar in nature? For example, if you’re making client calls – it’s easier to go from one call to the next, rather than to make a call, go to a meeting, send some emails, and then go back to your office and try to make another call.

3. Take Breaks
This is one of the most important tips, in my opinion. If you try to sit down at your desk first thing in the morning and work straight through the entire day, chances are good that you’re going to get less and less productive as the day goes on. You’ll get bored, lose focus, and eventually just find yourself on Facebook until it’s time to go home. “Your brain can only focus for a limited amount of time”, so “it’s critical to take breaks and let your brain rest”.

Along the lines of taking breaks, it can actually be really beneficial to do something creative when you take a break from tasks at work. Write, draw, listen to music, etc. – these things can help get your mind off of the task at hand while also getting your brain working again. Doing something creative that you enjoy can help clear your head and make room for more focus by relieving some stress.

Keeping your workspace organized can help you be more productive at work by not only reducing clutter on your desk, but also in your brain. If you have a lot of things around that you don’t need, or the things that you do need are buried under clutter, you’re going to spend a lot of time trying to organize your desk before you even get to organizing what you actually need to do that day, let alone actually starting to get things done!

Prioritizing is so important to productivity at work – There is nothing worse than feeling productive because you’re getting a bunch of little tasks done, only to late realize that you don’t have time left to finish that big project you’ve been working on. Plan out your day with enough allotted time to get important tasks with deadlines or due dates done, and save the other things on your to-do list for later in the day.

There are countless tips out there to help increase your workplace productivity, but these are a great place to start!

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

The Best of “Film Tip Fridays”

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If you “like” Michigan Creative Video on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, then you’ve probably seen our “Film Tip Friday” posts every week. We like to post quick little tips that we think of for shooting, editing, audio, etc., and we hope that these tips help you out, if even just a little bit.

Even though we post a new tip (sometimes a few!) every week, I was thinking… The chances of our followers actually having a full list of these tips is pretty slim (I don’t blame them, though, because I know I wouldn’t be taking notes from Facebook or Twitter either!). So, I
decided to take a few minutes to compile a small list of the tips we’ve shared so far this year; some of the most useful ones (at least in my opinion).

1. The way you shoot is more important than the equipment you have.
Usually the most expensive part of shooting a film is your camera, but always remember that you don’t necessarily have to have the latest and greatest camera to make a great film – It all depends on how YOU shoot!

2. 3-point lighting
1. Key light – the main light, shining directly on the subject
2. Fill light – balances the key light and fills in shaded areas
3. Back light – behind the subject, separating them/it from
the background

3. Cutting on action
Cutting on the action helps videos flow much more smoothly and naturally. This video is a great example:

4. Camera angles
If you have a several camera angles available to you when editing, don’t cut back to the same camera angle or shot that was just used in your previous shot.

5. Color correction
Color correction in post is extremely important in any video product, but white balancing when you shoot will mean less work later!

6. Get an outside opinion.
t never hurts to get an outside opinion on a project you’re working on! Sometimes it helps to get some perspective from someone who hasn’t been staring at it all day.

7. Backup your projects!
Remember to ALWAYS save backups of your projects and all of your original media! There is a saying in the editing world, “It’s not if your hard drive will fail, but when!”

8. Over-the-shoulder shots
Over-the-shoulder shots can be difficult to shoot but, when shot correctly, can give a great sense of closeness to your audience between them and the characters on screen!

9. Makeshift tripod
Using a doorstop works great for low, floor shots! Acting as mini tripod of sorts, you can adjust the height of the shot by simply moving your camera forward or backward on the doorstop!

10. Bonus!
Tip #10 is actually 9 tips in 1! Read the article below the picture for some great bonus tips!

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9 Shooting Film Tips for Beginners

Remember: There is always room for improvement in your editing skills! Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced editor, you can always learn new skills or build on the ones you already have.

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Why Your Business Needs to be on Pinterest

Your business is already on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, so why do you need to be on Pinterest, too? Isn’t it just a place for people to “pin” things they like or want to make, or how they want to plan their wedding? Well, the answer is partially yes, but it can actually help bring success to your business as well.

A great blog on Entrepreneur.com (see the full post here) states that “43 percent of Pinterest users interact with retailers or brands they like on the site, compared with 24 percent of Facebook users” and that “research from consumer electronics giant Sony shows that an embedded “Pin-It” button gets 10-times more clicks than Twitter’s “Tweet This” button”. So while Pinterest users are pinning those types of things, they are also finding things they want to buy. When these products and/or services show up on your own company’s Pinterest account, the users pinning them are that much more likely to come to you for them.

The infographic in the blog post is great, too:
pinterest-infographic

Some of the most important points to take away from the infographic are:
1. Historically, Pinterest has better retention and engagement rates than Twitter.
2. People search Pinterest for things to buy.
3. Pinterest brings more traffic to websites than Facebook.
4. People use Pinterest to “associate with retailers or brands with which I identify”.
5. Pinterest is the third most popular social media network in the U.S.

If this is not enough to convince you that your business would benefit greatly from Pinterest, maybe you could use some tips on how to make Pinterest work for your company? (source) For example:
1. Follow other businesses
2. Stay informed of Pinterest’s business updates
3. Title boards with keywords
4. Write a good business description
5. Zero-in on your Pinterest followers

The point of this blog: Pinterest is fun and easy and you probably already have a personal account, so if your business doesn’t already have one, too, it needs one! I think you would be very surprised to see just how beneficial it is for your business to be on Pinterest.

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Product Placement in TV Shows

Have you ever noticed that a lot of TV shows will cover up the brand names on things or turn them around in a shot so those names aren’t visible? Or just use things that are very obviously just props in place of those brand name products? On the other hand, a lot of shows will keep those brands in their episodes: product placement. Product placement is supposed to put those brands in the scene in a subtle way, that isn’t so in-your-face as traditional ads. But how often do you notice them? Which ones have you actually found subtle, and which are shamelessly placed with no attempt at any sense of
subtlety?

Here are some of the most well-known cases of product placement in television (just to name a few!):

The Big Bang Theory uses a lot of product placement, for example:

Nielsen named this as one of the top ten most memorable product placements of 2011!

While this one makes fun of the Apple Geniuses, it’s pretty funny!

Modern Family has also been known to integrate big names into the show, like when Phil expresses his love for his iPad:

Or when Claire and Haley go to Target:

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This one from Burn Notice just screams Hyundai commercial:

Finally, we had those famous Coca-Cola cups on American Idol:

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Obviously some of these are much more forced than other examples of product placement, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide which you found subtle and which you found to be way too obvious!

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

 

 

One day at a time.

I have been really trying to “find” myself lately… I have recently turned twenty- one years old, moved back home, and started an internship for a job I see myself doing in the future after graduation.
( Michigan Creative )

Who is to say what is the “right” thing to do at a certain age? I keep finding myself thinking in my head “who do I want to be?” “what do I want to do with my life?” I am trying too hard. I look on my Instagram and see all these people doing things and spend hours on Pinterest just searching… I need to just accept what I like and what I don’t like. I need to accept my style, in designing and just in general. I need to accept that friends aren’t going to stick around if they don’t share the same interests as you do. I am trying to figure out what kind of designer I want to be, what kind of friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister, aunt. But, when really I don’t need to sit there and think about those things…

Recently someone told me “YOU can only control what YOU want in your life” no one else. I choose to not be negative, sad, lonely, shy, timid.

I am going into a field of work where I need to be social, happy, outgoing, healthy, wise, creative, confident.

Growing up I never thought I would have this outlook on life I thought being all emotional and sappy is dumb and “whatever”… this summer has really shown me that everything will happen for a reason and having this internship and growing up and being independent has made me see what kind of person I want to be in life and what I want to achieve.

Social media has had a huge impact on my life …  like everyone else’s too.   My dad always asking me “can you turn off your phone for 20 minutes??” I don’t just sit on my Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and look at everyone else life and what they’re doing (sometimes). It is more than that, and I look for ways to better myself and my designing and my knowledge. I am always looking at or reading things to learn. I notice things like the typography, placement of things, logos, videos, advertising.  I want to be able to use social media to help others and make them feel the happiness they should feel on a daily basis. It seems silly to even talk about happiness but it really is deep down the core of you and your success in life.

Well to sum up what I have been going on and on about…

I really have noticed my eyes opening up to the creative world and enjoying everything for what it is. Telling myself to stay calm and know that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. Go along with the journey life has for me and take it one day at a time.

Drink water. Breathe. Surround myself with good people. Eat delicious healthy foods. Be C r e a t i v e. & always be grateful.

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~Taylor

 

Michigan Creative Marketing

Why Responsive Websites are so Important

“We could have just built a smart phone version, but that wouldn’t have helped us with the rise of tablets. There are so many different screen sizes proliferating now that we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out on future opportunities.”
~Jeff Moriarty, VP of Digital Products at the Boston Globe

Responsive web design is here and it’s here to stay.

What is it? Responsive web design is a web design approach that is aims to create sites that provide an optimal viewing experience and easy reading and navigation, by minimizing resizing, panning, and scrolling across a variety of devices.

Basically, responsive design makes your site viewable on any device, no matter how large or small. It increases usability, functionality, and improves overall customer satisfaction.

Here at Michigan Creative, we now build all of our websites on responsive themes. Check out Vision Tire‘s design below:

Michigan Creative Marketing

This may lead some of you to ask why. Why go through the effort of finding themes that are responsive? What difference does it make?

I promise it’s worth it and will actually make you money in the long run! Here are my top 5 reasons why you should have a responsive website:

1. Customers use a variety of devices to reach a variety of goals.

* 81% browse the internet using their devices
*75% shop using their devices
*46% manage their finances using their devices
*43% plan trips with their devices

People these days seem to use their phones for every thing! Don’t leave your customers out just because you don’t think they would use your site on mobile. Odds are that they probably are accessing your site on a phone or tablet at some point in time.

2. Don’t be a statistic built on slow load times!

Over 46% of mobile users report having difficulty with webpages and 44% complain navigation is sometimes difficult. By implementing a responsive web design for your webpage, this will significantly reduce the load time of your webpage on any device. A quick load time keeps customers interested and makes it easier for them to take action.

3. Every time a new device comes out, you won’t have to create a new website. 

New tablets and smartphones come out every single day it seems. If you build a mobile specific site for each phone and tablet’s dimensions, you will spend lots of time and money trying to keep up with all of the devices out there! Keep it simple and have a site that adjusts to any size screen so you’ll never leave a customer without access to your website.

4. It’ll make it easy for users to navigate.

This seems like kind of a no-brainer, but having a mobile optimized site means no excessive scrolling, pinching, stretching, zooming, ect. Responsive web designs also make it easy for customers to click and call simply by touching your phone number while viewing the site on their phone.

5. Your entire site is able to be viewed on any platform.

Certain elements in websites without responsive designs are not viewable on mobile devices. For instance, did you know that you cannot view any part of a site built in Adobe Flash on an iPhone? Sometimes elements of sites will overlap, crowd the screen, or simply not show up on a mobile platform. When using a responsive design you never have to worry about this happening as it auto adjusts each and every time.

I was able to find a recent success story to put all of this data to work! The United Way Bay Area (UWBA) had built their website in 2008 and hadn’t updated it very much. When they started talking about a new site, they wanted to keep their costs low, increase online donations, encourage individual contribution, and work on year-long contributions instead of seasonal contributions. A responsive design was a large part of this conversation as well. After analyzing the sates from the site soon after launch, they found an increase of mobile sessions by 34%, an increase of tablet sessions by 21.5%, and they were able to generate a 28% growth in year-over-year online donations! To see the whole case study click here.

I hope this helps clarify why it is so important for businesses today to have a responsive website.

Until next time!
~Melissa