I’m nearing episode 70 of my near-daily video show, Jay Today.
Three times each week (except holiday weeks) I publish 3-minute videos about business, marketing, social media, and life. Of all the content we create here at Convince & Convert, the Jay Today videos are among the strongest performers, especially on Facebook. In fact, I recorded a Jay Today episode about Facebook video surpassing YouTube potentially.
But in addition to creating and posting the videos as videos, Jay Today has become a lynchpin in our initiative to further atomize our content. Each and every Jay Today episode becomes 8 pieces of content across a variety of platforms.
Why Commit to Shooting 3 Videos EVERY Week?
I started the Jay Today show because I believe we will continue to increase our consumption of video (and audio – see our amazing infographic on the rise of podcasting), while our consumption of text declines. I wanted to be out in front of that trend.
Also, I don’t blog as much as I used to, as Convince & Convert has evolved way past being “Jay’s blog” to become one of the leading digital marketing online magazines. We publish 8 posts per week here. I write 1, and am semi-responsible for 2 others. But, I find consistently that I have an opinion on things, but don’t have time or venue to write up a whole blog post about them. Thus, Jay Today became the outlet for my thoughts in a video format that has proven effective, and also gives viewers maybe a little better feel for who I am and what I do compared to what comes across here, in writing.
Several people have asked me exactly how the Jay Today process happens, so here’s exactly how it works. I hope you can find some inspiration in what we’re doing with the Jay Today series. (special thanks to SproutSocial, the terrific social media management console that I use every day. They are the title sponsor of Jay Today and without their support, we wouldn’t have gotten this off the ground).
Step 1: Topic Selection
There is no magic (and very little planning) to what I cover on Jay Today. I just live my life and make a note if I read or encounter something that I believe could be an interesting story or lesson for viewers. Whether it’s a blog post I read that caused me to record a rant about “nothing is ever dead,” or an observation about Disney’s obsessive tracking of soda refills, Jay Today topics are usually based on something that causes me to have a personal, visceral reaction.
Step 2: Scheduling
Initially, I was trying to do five shows a week. But it simply became too many moving parts and created too tight of a timeline for our production team. Now, I record Jay Today 1-4 days in advance of publication, and new episodes are released every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (best way to make sure you get them is to subscribe on iTunes as video (or audio), or to subscribe on Youtube).
Step 3: Equipment
I have evolved how I create the videos since we started, but here’s my current set-up, which is entirely driven by the fact that I need to be able to shoot episodes wherever I am in the world, and I need to be able to produce a Jay Today episode within 10 minutes. Consult the image above to see the equipment layout.
1. iPhone 6 with 64gb storage
Video quality is quite a bit better on the 6, in comparison to the 5 I used for the first three dozen episodes. Apple definitely upgraded the rear-facing camera on this model.
This sucker is a little pricey ($89.99) but produces strong, balanced audio with a great form factor. You can adjust input levels and swivel it forward and back toward audio source. I swivel mine out toward me just a little, when I do Jay Today.
There are a ton of video apps for iPhone, but I like this one for ease-of-use. It’s just $4.99 too.
This is a requirement to clamp my iPhone to the tripod securely. Square makes their own tripods too (this is just the black clamp as shown above), but their tripods are all too short for what I need. ($14.95)
Getting the right tripod proved more challenging that I thought. This is the third one I’ve used on Jay Today, and it’s perfect. Light-weight, folds up small, and most importantly it’s the right height. For table-top rear-facing video you want a tripod that telescopes from about 6-12 inches. Most are either smaller or bigger than that. And, this thing is only $11.99.
—–That’s it. Other than the iPhone (which I would have had anyway), the entire Jay Today “studio” is less than $122.
Step 4: Production
I do not rehearse Jay Today. I do not make an outline or notes. When I press record I only have two things in my head: the headline of the video, and who is going to be the “SproutSocial Shoutout” – a person I recognize for their contributions to social media and business as part of every episode.
First, I find a suitable location (and they have ranged from the dock on a bay in the arctic circle, to my bedroom). Ambient noise is a big consideration, of course. And lighting can be tricky too, as the tiny rear-facing lens on iPhone is very sensitive to light. It’s nearly impossible to back-light myself, which is why if I want to show an outdoor scene I need to be outdoors as well. No shooting through a window with this rig.
Second, I set up the tripod and attach the microphone.
Next, I open up the Movie Pro app and switch the camera to rear-facing. I make sure that my face fills the left side of the screen (as I am looking at it). When reversed in production, this provides room for branding and sponsor logos and subscription appeals on the left side of each finished video.
I then record the episode using this format (which has evolved over time):
– opening statement that summarizes the point
– pause (this is where the pre-recorded intro clip is inserted)
– opening line “Jay Today, where I give you a piece of my mind, three minutes at a time), and the rest of the story
– SproutSocial shout out
– Sponsor acknowledgement
75% of the episodes are done in one take, meaning the entire recording process is done within 5 minutes. After I stop recording, I upload the clip to my Dropbox account.
Note that this can be a tricky step, because hotel wi-fi is usually decent downstream, but severely throttled upstream. The Jay Today videos are shot at 1280 x 720, so each episode is 250Mb or more. That can take 30-60 minutes on hotel wi-fi. I am spoiled by my bandwidth at home which is equally quick up and down, and at home I can upload an episode in 5 minutes.
I do not edit the videos on my phone using Movie Pro, although you absolutely could do so. Tools are there, and are pretty simple for basic stuff.
Step 5: Editing
Once the episode has successfully uploaded to Dropbox, I visit my Candidio dashboard via a Web browser. Candidio is the other sponsor of the show, and I couldn’t do Jay Today without them. They specialize in fast and affordable video editing, and they helped create the Jay Today look and process, and do the editing of every episode.
Candidio has a data bridge between Dropbox and their Web platform. So, I just start a new Candidio production, pull in the episode clip, give it a title, note to whom I gave the shout out, and Candidio handles the rest. They trim the front and rear of the video, level the audio, add the intro and outro clips, lay over the logos and sponsor graphics, etc.
When they are finished with the edit, my team gets an email notification that the video is ready.
Step 6: Publishing
When the new episode of Jay Today is ready, my crack team at Convince & Convert posts the show to five places on the publication date:
1. My Youtube channel in the Jay Today playlist
2. iTunes as a video podcast
3. iTunes as an audio podcast
5. My personal Facebook page
We also transcribe each Jay Today episode when it’s published, using the Speechpad transcription service (we also use Speechpad for my weekly Social Pros podcasts). Speechpad is around $1 per minute for transcription, so Jay Today transcriptions end up costing me about $50 per month.
Step 7: Atomization
Here’s where it gets fun.
For each Jay Today episode that has been transcribed, my team and I rework the headline and copy three different ways, and post the video and written content as a blog post on Linkedin, Medium, and here on Convince & Convert, where I take the best episode of the prior week and re-write it here every Wednesday.
We of course also promote each episode on Facebook (usually organic, occasionally paid); Twitter, Linkedin, and G +, where we’ve had very good success with the show due to the integration with Youtube. We also like the ability to write longer descriptions on G+, as it serves as almost a mini blog post version of the video.
None of what we’re doing with Jay Today is hard. It can be a little bit complex because there are a lot of moving parts, and it did take us a while to get all the processes and timelines dialed in. But you could do this. You could create content consistently but most importantly find a way to atomize that content so that one thing magically becomes many things. I spend five minutes recording a video that becomes:
- A video on Youtube
- A video on my Facebook page
- An iTunes episode
- A video iTunes episode
- An episode of my own video site, JayToday.TV
- A blog post (once per week)
- A post on Linkedin
- A post on Medium
- A G+ post
- 2-3 tweets
- 2 Linkedin shares
That is a LOT of content from a five minute video. Think about atomization and this multiplier effect as you consider your content marketing strategy moving forward (for help, take a look at our content marketing strategic plan how-to).
We’re not tapping into using Jay Today as fodder for Slideshare yet, which has real potential I think. We’re just starting to experiment with SoundCloud. And I’m sure there’s even more we could do with it. I’m thinking about giving away a business book in every episode, for example. If you have ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments.