Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast, everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest, Matt Pearce, who is a storyteller, video creator and for the past decade, he has been the Learning and Video Ambassador for TechSmith, a company with over 65 million users worldwide. He is the creator of the TechSmith Academy, a free online learning platform that teaches the basic skills of creating video, including script writing, lighting and using screencasts. It also has been expanding to include more information about using visuals to help create job aids and make help more helpful. 

Matt is one of the go-to keynote speakers for video and content marketing conferences, including Hubspot Inbound, Content Marketing World, and many Learning & Development Conferences. Matt himself is extremely passionate about helping companies and organizations of all sizes use video content more effectively.

Welcome to the podcast, Matt.

Arlen is so great to be with you today. Thank you for joining me.

No, not a problem. And I’m super excited to talk to you about today because really it is a super hot topic. As I mentioned before, we started recording video content these days is it’s at a level like no other, especially because of this whole covid 19 situation. There’s more people that, of course, can’t really get out and about and connect with people. So the next best way to connect is via video, I think. Absolutely.

You know, it’s interesting because we’ve seen the growth of video over the last decade anyway, and this is just vaulted it into the stratosphere. There’s so much more video going on right now because exactly as you said, we can’t be there face to face.

Right. It’s really the next best thing. So I’m definitely excited to dig deep into the video content and the subject for today. But before we do that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today.

Yeah, thanks for asking. I mean, my background really is I’m a formally trained instructional designer. And if you’ve never heard that phrase before means I have focused on how do you teach people and train them. And so a lot of people that do this work work in a corporation. They’ll do your HRR training, your onboarding, that kind of work. And I’ve just happened to find myself in a position where I’m doing that as an external job, where instead of focusing on our employees, I focus on our customers, helping them to learn the skills needed to really grow and develop, to be able to not only use our tools, but really to have those concepts around tools of making video and images.

And so over the years, I spent time in management positions. I built teams. I spent time running a technical support department for myself in marketing where I was leading a video team. And then I took on social media and then I took on PR, which I had no right to take on the PR team. That was the one. I was like, whoa, this is out of my league. But along the way, I just found out, like you mentioned in the intro, that I just have this passion for video and I have a passion for helping people.

And that led me to this opportunity to start thinking about how do we help our customers beyond just our products. Because a lot of us grew up. We learned how to read, write, do math, but no one taught us how to do video. And as a someone who has had to teach myself, I know that’s a hard thing to do. And so we put all these things together at the company is very fortunate that they allowed me to do it and created this position where I was able to launch the text with Academi, as you mentioned, and really focus my time on helping people make better videos for whatever purpose they’re trying to do.

That’s awesome.

And quite some background that you have there. And, you know, one thing that I do want to mention that is kind of a I guess you could say that was an ancillary benefit to what you guys are doing that other e-commerce businesses can kind of look at and see does it make sense even for their niche? And so basically what you guys have done, you guys have been specialists in screen casting for over 20 years and you said 30 years now and screen casting technology, video technology, recording videos online for quite some time.

That’s your really your bread and butter. And so you guys, of course, know all the ins and outs of creating quality video. And so you found that there was kind of a gap in the market where people are really always looking for the right tools and really the right strategies, rather, to get things accomplished. And so you found that you have the knowhow. Why don’t you go ahead and just put out a free academy there to empower your people that are out there trying to create video and.

It’s awesome to do that, and then, of course, the side benefit, of course, is that you get exposure and people will then, of course, learn more about your products to see if it makes sense for them and so on. Other e-commerce businesses that are listening can do the same thing. Find out is there something missing in the market as far as education wise that you can empower people with? You know, if you can do it for free, that’s awesome.

If not, what can you empower people to do to get them to to educate them? And then, of course, secondly, to get them to learn about your brand and win them over as customers. So I think that’s really awesome what you guys have done.

Yeah. Thank you. And I think there’s something really powerful about being helpful, like you can sell your product and your product is going to help them accomplish something. But going beyond that, whether it’s helping teach someone how to use your product or to understand the concepts that surround your product, there’s just that goes a long way and it builds. We really good customer will like we’ve got products that people generally really like to use. They find that they can be successful with them.

They’re not too difficult. But going the extra mile, we’ve just we found really that it’s really powerful. In fact, you know, I’ve got a LinkedIn request today and, you know, I’m pretty good about trying to accept those when it makes sense. And the person sent me a message just thanking me for putting out this resource because it’s so helpful to them, because, again, you can go and learn all this stuff, other places, but it’s hard to do.

It’s a lot of work to go and sort through and say like, oh, well, who is the best voice to tell me about? Like using a camera or making a video or writing a script. And there’s lots of great videos out on YouTube, but you have to then take the time to go talk to them. So we’re just trying to make it a little bit easier for people to get started. And, you know, we’re not going to teach them every single thing.

There’s so many details and so many paths you could go down. But if we can get you started, make you a little bit more successful and like you said, hopefully that just ingratiates them to our products and have a desire to become our customers if they’re not already.

That’s awesome. Yeah. And I totally understand about the goodwill that you’re putting out there by just giving things away. And it definitely helps as far as gaining respect from people and, you know, just overall becoming an authority on a particular subject. So that’s definitely awesome. Now, you know, as far as the topic for today, which is video content creation, there’s, as you mentioned, a lot of ways you can kind of come into this.

You mentioned people that have probably searched YouTube and tried to find what direction to go, but they don’t really know where to start. I don’t know really what voice to listen to. So we’re really does an e-commerce business begin when they want to think about and they’re looking at implementing a video content marketing strategy? What’s really step one in that?

It’s an important question. So I think, first of all, you need to have defined your content marketing strategy, like what are you trying to own in the space? What are you going to try to be known for? What pages are you going to rank for? What content do you feel confident that you could talk about? And the first thing I think then if you’ve defined all that stuff, forget about the format, right? Whether it’s a blog post or social media or video content, I would set that aside for a second.

And because if you’re already doing this, you’ve already decided and maybe you’ve got like five blog posts that are performing well for you. The first thing I would look at doing from a content video marketing strategy is saying, OK, can I make those five blog posts better if I make a video that accompanies them? And that doesn’t mean to cover all the same exact stuff that is in the blog post, but maybe you’re highlighting it. Maybe you’re using this as part of a YouTube strategy to attract eyeballs that you might not have gathered otherwise.

So that’s what I’d kind of start to think is like, what’s my goal? What am I going to make that’s going to help people and they’ll find valuable? And then can I enhance something that I have already? So it’s going to get the traction almost immediately. If you’ve got a page that’s ranking well on Google, why not build on that? And Google’s going to appreciate that, too, from a CEO standpoint. So that’s kind of where am I like the low hanging fruit is like you’ve already got content that, you know, performs that might be evergreen content.

Can you just take it and enhance it? If you’ve exhausted that? There’s all sorts of things you can do and look at. But again, it’s about that ownership. It’s about understanding what you think your audience is going to value and then making something that is worth their time to watch. And that doesn’t have to be long, big things. But on the other hand, it might be if that’s what it takes.

Right? Right. Definitely. And one of the things also that I was thinking about is when a company is thinking about putting all this together, one of the things you mentioned is you can take a look at your existing content. You can take a look at your blog post and see does it make sense to have an associated video go along with that? You mentioned, you know, you don’t have to reiterate all of the same things that are mentioned in the blog post.

Well, maybe you can highlight a few things. Is there a general rule of thumb? Because I think this is a big question. I know a lot of people have, especially with video and especially with video that goes along with a blog post. Is there a rule of thumb as far as the length of the video that’s typically appropriate if you’re looking at that blog post or.

Picking out things that you’re trying to highlight, is that a couple of minutes, is it 30 seconds, what do you usually see or what can you recommend?

It’s a great question, one that everyone wishes there was a definitive answer for that we could say like, yes, if every video should be three minutes and 12 seconds and you’ll be perfectly fine.

I wish that was the case. It’s not. And let me just say something. So I talked to Andy Kristiina Orbit Media. He had a really interesting thoughts about this. And he does a lot of this content marketing work and helping companies do that. And one thing that I thought he said that was really interesting, I was talking to him about this question. He said, I really like videos around 12 minutes, like 12 minutes. That’s really long.

And he’s like, yeah, but 12 minutes is long enough that I can get into the meat stuff. That’s a little bit hard to talk about. Anyone can make a short, quick video that really just skims the surface. His idea was, let’s go deep. Like give your customers something meaty, really get into the hard stuff that’s going to be, you know, might take you a little longer to make that video, but make something that’s going to be really valuable because that’s what your customers are going to look for.

Now, stepping back from that a little bit, the thing that I like to say about length of video is you make it short as possible, but long as needed. And what goes along with that is you got to focus. You can’t say in your video I’m going to talk about 12 things or five things or three things. You got to pick a topic and an outcome. So you might pick a topic like I’m going to teach you how to write a script.

Now, there’s a lot of some pieces in that, but it’s like you’re going to go over those basics. You’re not going to cover 12 different types of scripts. You’re going to talk about maybe one type of script or whatever. It might be so really narrow and keep it focused on one topic. Cut out the extra stuff and do what you need to do to make sure that it’s substantive. Don’t just give fluff. I think that’s where we find someone goes into a video.

In fact, Tex Smith has done some research on this, that if someone starts watching your video and they don’t feel like they’re getting what they were promised, they’ll just stop watching it. So it doesn’t matter how long it is, you won’t get them to watch. You got to really keep it committed to that one topic and make sure they understand we’re going to cover this one thing. And it could be pretty nuanced or you could still be a little bit broad, but you just got to be careful there.

So there’s no magic bullet here. But don’t be afraid of longer videos if there’s substance there, but then test it, put it out there and see the response. And that’s going to be a better indicator for your audience and your target rather than me saying like a do five minute video, seven minute videos, because your audience might be different than my audience and they might have a different tolerance for shorter, longer, like I imagine if we’re talking about video game company.

Right. They’re going have short attention spans potentially for my audience, five to seven minutes works pretty well. And Christina’s audience, he was finding that he had really a lot of success with 12 to 14 minute videos and every time. No, but it gives you a sense that there’s lots of options to play with here. But you got to look at the data.

Yeah, that is so true. And really understanding your customers, I think, is really what you have to do, like you mentioned, because, you know, you mentioned the 12 minute video that could be fine for one particular audience, but another audience that could be just way too long. So I think that really ultimately comes down to what is going to be palatable for your particular audience. What are they used to seeing? What do they expect to see when it comes to video?

And so you really do your research, you do your due diligence, and then after that just tests because you can do so much research till you blue in the face. But then you put something out and it turns out you’re based on your research was totally wrong. You know, maybe you should have done a longer video. I should have it shorter. So there’s nothing that beats testing. And yet it’s definitely very important. Now, you know, let’s say a business has gotten going.

They’ve started going with the strategy. Maybe they the plan is to take a look at their blog and they’re going through some of their most popular blog posts and they’re coming up with video content for that. Like you said, doesn’t have to be the full meat of the whole blog article, but they’re highlighting certain points. They’re coming up with video for not only their blog, but they’re also putting this on YouTube. And then you’re really just going from there and then determining the strategy from there.

Once that’s done, how specifically does this type of marketing strategy, how can this be used to really just grow and scale an e-commerce business? How do you turn this video production into really sales dollars?

I think you got to go in with that understanding of what you’re trying to get the videos to do. So a lot of times your content marketing might be higher up in the funnel. It might not be turning it directly in sales. You might be looking for reach or you might be looking for new audiences to come in. You know, like I know a lot of the work that I do. It’s supporting a lot of new opportunities. Right. Trying to bring people to understand how video can be used in their organization.

So I think you have to understand that very specifically. And then when you do want to get into that sales driven video content creation, you need to think about what’s already moving people through your funnel, what’s taking them from like I’m interested. To now, I’m interested in actually buying there’s a whole slew of videos you could be making. No, for instance, if you’ve got an e-commerce platform that you’re got a piece of software you’re selling, what can you show them your audience that’s going to allow them to understand your product and see the value that they’re going to derive once they make that purchase?

One thing that I think is maybe a little less obvious, and we’ve seen this for a long time, is that tutorial videos? It’s obviously a post support player. Someone buys you want to learn how to use the product value so they don’t feel bad about the purchase. But we’ve actually seen, at least with our product and I assume it’s true for other products, people come to our tutorial videos, they watch them and then they go through and they purchase one.

Why is that? Why would they do that? And here’s my best hypothesis is that they’re interested in knowing what the product really does and how it really works. How often have you looked at a product like what does this really do? What am I going to even get myself into? Do I really want to do a trial just to see that? So I think that’s one thing you can do. I think also just thinking about like product demos, product hype, videos, things that are going to help them to understand this is what you’re getting.

This is the value. This is why you need it now and start answering those questions and solving these problems for people. Yeah, so true.

That’s good stuff. And it really comes down to what you mentioned initially, and that is what is your ultimate purpose for these videos? It may not necessarily be to drive sales. Like I said, maybe it’s more at a different phase of the funnel where you’re just trying to get people to opt in to your mailing list. You’re just trying to maybe grow your list and then kind of ease them further into your sales funnel. So it could be that.

And, you know, with that, there’s not going to be an immediate return on your investment of creating the videos. It’s going to take some time. As you get people into your list, you get them into various email marketing campaigns, and then eventually you post an opportunity for their purchase so it could be further down the line. So it’s very important that you really understand what your overall game is before you move forward. And the kind of leads me to my next question, which is I guess it all depends on what your initial strategy is.

And, you know, is it going to be a video for direct sales? Is it going to be a video for getting people into your newsletter or your mailing list? But regardless of that, and it could be different for each of these different parts, what specific tools are really going to be needed to make this successful? You put all of this together and get it out there.

Yeah, this is a great question, one that I think a lot of people have a lot of questions about. Here’s what I’m going to say is I think anyone that’s listening to our conversation can make a video and you don’t have to go out and start with the big expenses of a camera and lights and microphones. The good news is you can make a successful video with the phone in your pocket. Now, is that going to be the video that you’re going to be most proud of throughout all time and eternity?

No, probably not. You’re going to make some videos, but they’re going to be good enough. If you look out at what YouTube is showing us is that you can start with lower quality and still be successful if your message is good. So that’s where you start cutting your teeth on these ideas of making video. If you’re going to do it yourself, start with your phone. Now, I have a kind of a prescribed way about going that I suggest people then level up their ability.

The next thing you’re going to want to invest in, if you want to go a little bit further is get a microphone, do anything you can, because audio is a huge deal. Bad audio. People stop watching videos worse, not worse quality, but not as good quality video like image quality. People will still watch it if they can hear it. Well, once you’ve got your microphone set, maybe add some lights because your camera on your phone likes light.

And so that will help make a little bit better. And then when you’re ready, if you’re doing this again in-house, then consider upgrading to maybe a better camera, something that will give you a little bit more depth of field, make it look a little bit better. And all along the way, any of those things that you’re adding is way less about the equipment you have and much more about what you’re trying to say, what you’re trying to do.

And those are learnable skills to how to like somebody to make it look good, you know, how to set up a camera. So it takes a good picture, but you really just got to keep learning and knowing that this very first video is probably gonna be the worst video you ever make in your life. And that’s OK, because then you get it done and then you can go make the next worst video and you just keep getting better and better every single day just by picking, like, OK, this time we’re going to try to improve this one little thing.

And you do that, you’re going to be more successful. So you don’t need to invest a lot, but you do need to start thinking about like what message you want to portray and then start practicing. Because the other thing that we need to mention here is regardless of all the gear that you have, someone’s got to be on camera and you have to decide if that’s going to be you representing your brand, someone from your organization, or if you’re going to hire someone to do that, which is all fine.

But those are things you can have to make decisions about. Me and my company that I work for, we like being ourselves, we like being on camera because that’s who we are. Do we use actors and voice over talent sometimes? Yeah, you absolutely we do. But for a lot of stuff, it’s my voice. You’ll see if you go to Texas with Academy. There’s a lot of me and I apologize for that. But that’s what you get.

And you can see the progression and the growth I even make in that process. So that’s kind of overall what I’d say about making the tools. I mean, you have to have some place to put the videos when you’re done. That’s kind of the last thing. Whether you’re putting them on YouTube, which, you know, is great, because the second largest search engine, I like to call it the first largest how to engine. So great for tutorials.

You’ve got to have a place to put it, whether you’re using Wistia or Vegard or some other hosting platform, because then are you embedding it on? You’re putting on your own website. Are you going to put it on Sociales? I mean, but that’s all you really need. You need a camera, you need a microphone, you need a place to put the video once you’ve made it. And there are lots of ways to make videos. Of course, I’m a fan of Camp TaeJa, which is a product we make, which means you can cut out the camera and just record content on your screen, make tutorials of your platform of your product, which is also another great option.

Yeah, and everything that you said I totally agree with and I’m also a huge fan of incrementalism and you don’t have to buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment just to get started.

Like you said, everybody these days or most people these days, rather, have a smartphone that has a pretty decent camera and you start with that and then just go from there. And then incrementally, as you start creating more videos, as it starts developing, you’re getting more views on these videos, then you can kind of grow from there, get the better equipment. Maybe if you want to also look at getting voice talent or people to be on screen for you to represent your brand, all of those things can be added on.

But initially, like you said, all of us within the sounds of all of our or both of our voices can really just get started today with just the phone in their pocket. So good to know. And definitely very motivating for people to know that it’s not really that hard to get into. And you just have to kind of get started somewhere and then go from there. Now, you know, as we get ready to wrap things up, what are some known brands that you’re familiar with that have launched successful video content marketing campaigns that you may be able to identify?

Yeah, so this is an interesting question I’ve been thinking about.

And I talked to a bunch of my colleagues like, hey, who is it that you like that’s doing this? Well, and it was I got an interesting response here. And I think it’s interesting for a couple of reasons I’d like to share with you. But first of all, I got very few responses. People were like, well, you know, and like one person mentioned, like, oh, Nike and Apple and like, yeah, Nike and Apple are good, but they’ve got billions of dollars that I know and probably your listeners don’t have.

And it’s hard to compare ourselves to Nike and Apple. Right. And I thought it was interesting that I got very few responses because I think what it says to me is that this is a wide open space, that anyone that’s listening has opportunity here to make an impact. Right. To be the brand that we’re all looking to in the next two to five years seem like they are nailing this video content. But to answer your question, I did think of there’s one company that I follow.

They’re called Tube Buddy. That’s like kind of YouTube. But to Buddy there, they make a product that basically allows you to get additional information from YouTube, from your channel, see how it’s performing to help you optimize your videos and things like that. They make some really great educational content. They’re bringing in a lot of outside people that are experts in the industry to kind of help them with that content. You can tell what areas I focus on because of the ones I’m looking at, but like there’s another company that called Re Stream and they do the same thing.

They find these people who are really expert and knowledgeable about creating live stream video and they’re asking them to make shows for them or asking them to do interviews or whatever that might be that they’re doing. And it’s just great because, again, I’m really partial to a couple of things. They should be authentic, they should be helpful. And it’s got to be something I’m interested in. Like, if I’m not interested in your brand, doesn’t matter. Doesn’t really matter what all the other things are, because probably I’m not going to watch those things.

So those are some of the to buddy stream is are a couple that came to my mind. I also think there’s the big brands. They have it a lot of advantage on this, but I don’t think that should be scary to anybody. I really hope everyone sees this as like there’s open ocean here, there’s room for everybody, there’s room for your niche, and we need to all get a lot better at it. But the good news is we can no one’s out so far ahead of everybody else that like, yeah, there’s no room here for you.

It’s like there’s room for all of us. And, you know, I think taxman’s I think we’re doing an OK job at this using content marketing. If you look at our blog, you look at text with Academy, we’re doing a live stream, a podcast. We’re doing all these things. It’s all free and we’re seeing people come to it. And that’s I think that’s a sign of good success, definitely.

For sure. And just to echo what you said there really at this point. There’s no single company, if we’re looking at just e-commerce companies, there’s no e-commerce company that’s cornered the market on video content where it’s like, you know, if you don’t do videos like this, you have no chance. This is nothing like that. So I think you’re right. It’s pretty much wide open for any e-commerce branded to jump in there and create really solid content that not only is impactful and helps and educates their customers and potential customers, but also drives sales, which is what a lot of businesses are doing.

So that’s definitely good to know. There’s a lot of room out there for people to get in. Well, it’s definitely been awesome talking to you, Matt, and I’ve learned a lot and I hope our listeners have as well, because as we’ve discussed at the beginning, that this whole video content is really at a point where it’s exploded. But it’s there’s still a lot more room to grow and it’s no telling where it’s going to go. So it’s never too late to jump into it for sure.

So I definitely recommend everyone to take a look at what they can do. And also, yeah, definitely check out the Tech Smith Video Academy, where they can learn a lot more about this. What lastly, if any of our listeners want to get a hold of you and pick your brain any more about the subject of the day, which video content marketing, what’s the best way for them to reach you?

Yeah, absolutely. So I am easily found on Twitter, my handle, Pierce Aymaras, PRC EMR. I’m also on LinkedIn. You can just look me up. Matthew R. Pearce, you’ll find me with Tuxworth Smith in my job description. So should be easy to find. You can also just email me my email address is M Pierce at Smith dot com. Happy to answer questions the best I can. I don’t always have the answers, but I do my best to try to if I can’t answer it, to find an answer for you.

And you know, just one thing I’d like to mention, please go check out the Texas Academy Academy, Tex Smith, dot com and Arlen. For all your listeners, we’ve put together a promo code, so if anyone’s interested in snag it, which is a screen capture tool or temptation, which does screen recording and video editing, it can get a 10 percent discount by going to Tex Smith, putting in the cart the code ecom. That’s e c o m m ten one zero.

So Ekom ten and that will get him ten percent off. Temptation’s dang it. A great.

Well thank you for offering that. I definitely encourage all of our listeners to take advantage of that. It’s a great discount and yeah. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and thank you again for joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast.

Thanks for having me Arlen. Thank you for listening to the E Commerce marketing podcast.

Podcast Guest Info

Matt Pierce
Learning and Video Ambassador for TechSmith