According to Forbes, 2015 has been referred to as “The Year of Video Marketing.” Videos stand out as a new popular way for marketing because they are inspiring and appealing. But researches have also found that YouTube videos are SEO-friendly.

There are many things to learn if you want a perfect professional video, but it is not hard or expensive at all to create simple but decent-looking videos for marketing use today. This article will touch on the most basic three steps in most of the video marketing cases.

IMG_9595

Develop Engaging Content

In most cases, the ultimate goal of the videos is to draw attention to products, services or brands. Using a total of 3 minutes of a video merely to shout about the presence of a product is not smart. On the contrary, creating videos relevant to viewers is a good option. A video answering potential clients’ or customers’ questions about products, services or industry is not a bad place to start. A lot of companies even create a series of tutorials educating audience a certain aspect of industry knowledge. That not only increases the chance of videos being clicked on or subscribed to, but also showcases the company’s professionalism and authorization in a certain area.

Another example of good content would be the sharing of personal stories about a normal workday, a company party, a team working hard on a project, or about an employers’ individual experience at work. This enables viewers to gain insight into the company’s values and goals, making it more relatable to them.

Produce High-Quality Videos

The quality of the videos should never be compromised. Follow basic rules such as rule of thirds, decent lighting and nice audio quality to produce decent-looking videos. Using low-quality videos renders a company as being unprofessional. Even when you are shooting an interview with a smartphone, you should make sure the person is not out of focus, and you should consider putting the phone on a tripod.

Make sure that each video is short but engaging enough to hold an audience’s attention throughout the five minutes or less, and include a call to action at the end of your videos.

Implement a Distribution Strategy or Campaign

The following are things you should do

  • Promote videos across social media before they are released.
  • If you have a series of videos, create a YouTube channel specifically for the series and release the videos on a regular basis.
  • Promote the videos through share buttons across all social media platforms in order to increase subscription numbers if you have a series.
  • Keywords are important for SEO strategy. Write titles and descriptions wisely and don’t forget to tag your videos.
  • Include an URL to your website through your video descriptions in order to lead people to your website.
  • Use YouTube video channel functions such as inserting text boxes, links to other videos or website addresses in order to optimize your publicity.

Just one last thing, be sure to have your company’s logo displayed on the screen. You may keep the logo throughout the whole video or simply have it displayed for a certain period of time.

With the three basic steps kept in mind, why not drive business to your company through video marketing today?

Sources & Useful Links:

5 Critical Video production Tips – How To Shoot Better Quality Web Video for Business

4 Tips for Producing Quality Web Videos

Seven Tips for Marketing a Business with Video

16 Tips for Successful Online Video Marketing

5 Things Your Marketing Strategy Should Include

I found this short opinionated documentary “A Threat to Cambodia’s Sacred Forest” on the website of the New York Times. The video is about how Chong people who have lived in a valley for over 600 years protested against building dams in that area, which might destroy Chong people’s “forest, livelihood and heritage.” I really think this video has done a great job in terms of  the quality of its videography and storytelling.

I feel surprised that few footages of interviews appear in this video. Instead, the producer uses text to give viewers some introduction about background information. There are not many A-rolls, but B-rolls are dominant in this video, which makes the whole video flow smoothly. When I watched this video, I felt I was just watching a film instead of a news documentary. I was directed from scenes to scenes without being constantly  interrupted by interviews. Because the B-rolls with some support of text do provide all information viewers need, this technique does work well in this video and succeeds in telling a powerful story.

I also love the audio a lot. The nat sound is great. The sound of bird, leaves, and water makes viewers feel they are actually in the valley. It also gives people a kind of feeling that the forest is sanctuary for wildlife. After the sound of the forest, there’s sound of people doing chiseling work, which is absolutely unharmonious with the sound of the nature. This is a great and powerful contrast.

The combination of different type of shots and the nice composition of each shot are also really appealing to me. I love how different types of shot are adopted. For example, there are wide shots of the valley. There are medium shots of people. There are also shots of the woman’s hands picking up mushrooms, which captures details. I also love how the producer shoot footages from varying angles, which makes the whole scene more real to viewers. The producer combines the footages shot by a still camera and a moving camera very well too. When the family are sailing on the river, the moving shot makes viewers feel they are sailing on the river with the family too. However, when the monks are passing, the camera doesn’t move. Viewers see those monks enter into the picture and pass one by one. Although the camera is still this time, it is the monks’ moving that stands out in this way. Another thing I have noticed is that the composition of almost every shot is great. Principles of simplicity, rule of thirds, balance, framing and leading lines are paid much attention to, which succeeds in giving viewers delightful visual experience.

Good data visualization helps readers absorb information or data better than mere text. The article “The Nation’s Economy, This Side of the Recession” from the New York Times visualizes statistics about the nation’s economy and the recession through graphs such as bubble charts and line graphs. Generally speaking, those graphs are well designed and they present the data effectively. However, there are a few graphs that fail to present information very clearly.

I like how the graphs on this page successfully achieve the four principles of graphic design: contrast, consistency, alignment and proximity. Within each graph, the title uses a different font from other words on the graph. The colors are well chosen in terms of contrasting each other. Meanwhile, almost all the graphs basically consist of only three colors: black, grey and green. That makes the graphs on this webpage look consistent. We would definitely not want too many colors because that would be distracting. The graphs are aligned well on the right of the webpage except for a few really wide graphs, and they belong to different sections featuring different aspects of information. The layout of the graphs looks really neat on the page.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 4.32.11 PM

picture from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/14/business/this-side-of-the-recession.html?ref=business

Many of the graphs are really informative. For example, I like it that those line graphs inform us well how a certain index changes from 2000 to 2014. The numbers before the recession and the numbers now are marked specifically to allow readers to contrast the numbers. The bubble chart in the “Industrial Ruin and Revival” section is one of my favorites too. From the color and the size of the bubbles, audience have a very clear idea of how the number of private manufacturing jobs has changed from 2007 to 2013. Besides, audience can see what things are like in different geographic areas and make comparisons. The “Change from pre-recession peak home prices” graph actually presents tons of numbers in a very simplified way. We can see changes of numbers for different states throughout the country on this graph. That actually illustrates one outstanding feature of data visualization: it can present so much data in a simple and easy-to-absorb way.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 4.29.25 PM

picture from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/14/business/this-side-of-the-recession.html?ref=business

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 4.29.44 PM

picture from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/14/business/this-side-of-the-recession.html?ref=business

However, there are a few things I do not like about those graphs. The first thing is that in some of the line graphs such as in the “Share of unemployed out of work for six months or more” graph and “food stamp recipients” graph, the area below the line is filled with green and I don’t know the reason for that. Does that intend to emphasize something? If it does not have a purpose, I think all those line graphs should be consistent in terms of the style. Also in the bubble chart in the “A Shrinking, Shifting Middle Class” section, some of the circles are black but nothing tells audience whether there is any difference between brown circles and black circles. That is confusing.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 4.28.32 PM

picture from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/14/business/this-side-of-the-recession.html?ref=business

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 4.28.58 PM

picture from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/14/business/this-side-of-the-recession.html?ref=business

Good typography on the website of a news organization can help words deliver messages in a more effective way. It improves readers’ experience. Bad typography, on the contrary, makes the webpage look messy and unprofessional.

I want to analyze the typography of a CNN opinion “Why weeping Brazil fans applauded Germany’s team” and the typography on its webpage. I think they did a good job. I will analyze the typography from the four principles of graphic design: contrast, consistency, alignment and proximity.

Contrast

In this opinion as well as on this whole webpage, different parts of information use different fonts. For example, the title is obviously much bigger than the body part of the story. The title for the photo stories is big too, but it is not of the exactly same size as the title for the whole opinion. “Editors’Note” part is italic, which differentiates this part from the true body of the opinion. The “Story Highlights” part on the left use a much smaller size of words than the body part. Also, the use of color intends to present contrasts too. For example, the background color of the head is red and the background of other parts on the page is white. That is a neat contrast of colors. The hyperlinks contained in the opinion are blue so that audience know where they can click if they want to know additional information. The background of the photo part is black and the text in the photo part is white. The colors in the photo part are opposite of those used in the main part of the opinion. That is a contrast too. All in all, if we navigate through this webpage, we have a very clear idea of which part every word belongs to. That is because the typography here makes good use of contrasts and audience never get lost.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.28.09 PM

Consistency

Although there are different fonts and colors in this opinion as well as on this webpage, the page still looks neat generally, because consistency is also paid much attention to. Hyperlinks are all blue. The whole page sticks to a few certain typefaces to make sure nothing distracts audience badly. On the right of the page, there is a part called “part of complete coverage on opinion on the news.” In this part, all the captions are of the same font and all the body parts are of the same font. Such efforts in consistency can really give audience a good first impression when they open the page.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.34.55 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.31.39 PM

Alignment

Almost in every part on this webpage, the texts including titles are aligned left. That appeals to readers’ common reading habit that their eyes always go back to the left of the page. This is a good idea especially when there are many texts. The whole page looks organized because almost in every part, texts are aligned left.

Proximity

On newspaper or website pages, things are normally grouped by categories or the information they present, and texts in the same group always have consistent fonts. However, different groups usually use contrasting fonts. As I have mentioned in both the consistency part and the contrast part, different parts of information on this webpage use different fonts. Within the same part, they use consistent fonts. For example, at the bottom, the “From Around the Web” part and the “More from CNN” part consists of blue hyperlink captions. That is the way they are grouped together and differentiated from other information on the page.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.35.18 PM

 

The 30-minute long story A Shadow Remains really made me cry and laugh when I watched it. At first I just saw a less than 2-minute trailer and I was immediately absorbed by it. Then I watched the full story although it is long and it costs. I would like to define this story as one about family love, about relationship between parents and children. The story tells us how the deaths of parents can affect a child emotionally.

Structured chronologically, the story combines stills and videos. The whole story is just like a film, which unfolds the story of this family. I was actually already grabbed by the first several scenes and the very first few sentences. The old video clips showing the wedding of the subject’s parents, his beautiful mom as the bride, and his baby sister during the first minute are edited and put together in a way as if the subject is dreaming of them or thinking about them. They seem so real but so far. Especially when they are accompanied with the sentences about how he cannot believe they are not here anymore, it really made me cry. What is more amazing is that such scenes repeat several times later in the story, which really makes audience feel that he is always dreaming of such scenes and thinking of those he loves so much. The audience are really involved emotionally. I also like photos of empty beds or chairs where the subject’s parents used to rest, which makes audience heart-broken.

The subject is the narrator of this story throughout the whole video. One of the things I love most is that he is not expressing how he felt sad and lost all the time. He did tell some really funny stories about his dad, such as how his dad made fun of fat people or how his dad worried that his mom was having a new boyfriend. It made audience nearly see what kind of people his parents are. Also, some of the sentences he used really touched our heart powerfully. One of them is: And I have always lived with the things that she left — her books and her toys and the memory of her, the shadow of her.

This story doesn’t use much natural sound. Maybe the only natural sound used is at the end of the story. We can hear how the subject’s little daughter running and playing with her father and there is sound of the sea. I think this is good because it makes audience feel that these are the only things that are real now and these are the things the subject have at present. The scenes about his parents are only memories. However, the next generation seems to be a new bond between parents and children, even between the subject himself and his parents because he found something in his daughter resembling his parents.

 

 

 

Most articles on data journalism right now point out the importance of development of data journalism today. It is a valuable addition to traditional journalism. They also point out that the reality right now is that it is not so widely integrated in newsrooms nationwide.

(1) Now let us just have a look at how people view the data journalism now: Why does data journalism matter today?

Several factors create grounds for the mushrooming of data journalism. First of all, there are so many tools available today to process and visualize data. The good thing is that a great number of them are easy to learn and use. The second thing is that journalists today can get access to large amount of information and data so easily. There are sources such as Data. gov where journalists get information they need. The problem we are facing today is not that we lack information but is that we lack processing of information. Journalists’ job is the latter.

Now that we have those advantageous conditions, why not add a well-designed graphic to a textual story? Data visualization has advantages including people getting answers quickly and people paying attention to things easily to be ignored. Data journalism provides every journalist with an excellent opportunity to tell a story in an unusual way. Audience just like charts and graphics.

Maybe one of the limitations is that data journalism does cost time and money to invest. It may be too costly for some small and local newsrooms. However, it still worths the input. Even simple and small graphics in a story can be necessary.

(2) Having learnt the attitudes journalists or scholars hold towards data journalism, we need to have a reflection of what opportunities it creates for us and what we should do:

  • We have learnt that data journalism is a trend in journalism story telling and it is necessary for us journalism students to update our toolkit and try to grasp that skill. Those articles have discussed that many journalism schools do not provide data journalism courses and students should do DIY learning of programming. Lucky for me, I have the chance to get in touch with dealing with data and visualizing statistics at our school. I have to make full use of that opportunity.
  • Those articles also point out that it is still “journalism” that should be focused on when we do data visualization. That means we should still pay most of our attention on telling an objective and complete story through data. The goal of using data visualization is to help audience get close to truth. What kind of data should be included requires editorial decisions and we as journalists should really be cautious when we do data journalism. We should never forget to stick to the basic principles of journalism no matter in what format.

References:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) Social Media Coordinator

  1. “Monitor relevant websites daily for PR opportunities, including Google Alerts, Dealer Rater, Yelp, Twitter, etc.”
  2. “Weekly blogging with emphasis on SEO optimization.”
  3. “Interface with vendors responsible for managing and updating Toyota Carlsbad social media channels including Facebook and Twitter.”

This position mainly does social marketing job via online platforms. The main responsibility is to take advantage of web to promote the reputation of Toyota Carlsbad. I do know how to use social media websites such as twitter and Facebook. However, I still lack the skills to promote certain ideas via those platforms. When I read this ad, I even do not know what SEO means at first. This position requires that I should not only know how to blog or twit, but I should also know how to post contents for social media platforms wisely so that customers will absorb my idea in a quick and easy way.

(2) Social Media Manager

  1. “Define, implement and execute an integrated social media strategy for select social networks.”
  2. “Collaborate cross-functionally to grow our Twitter following.”
  3. “Understand what it takes to drive ROI from Twitter and Foursquare.”

This position is really demanding. I may not qualify this position even after about five years. Lots of working experience in social media managing is required for this position. However, I am still interested in this job and hope I will be able to do that someday. To qualify this position, I need to grasp the skills to do cross-platform promotion of brands online. At present, I only know how to post certain contents for different social media platforms. However, as a social media manager, I need to make strategic plans for branding using social media tools, which means I need a full understanding of the characters of each certain social media format. I have to expand the brand to our target audience. In addition, I need to keep it in mind that this promotion is part of business and the final goal is to optimize the profits through investing effort in this social media management.

(3) Social Media Manager

  1. “Spend time at NorthPark Center as often as possible to gather information and photos and provide a real-time experience for social media followers.”
  2. “Assist in optimizing the shopper experience across NorthPark’s social platforms.”
  3. “Ensure all relevant information and promotions are disseminated through these networks with channel-appropriate content.”

This position requires that I present real-time information at North Park Center to online audience through various social media networks. That demands multi-media skills including writing, taking photos and maybe recording audio and video. The good thing is that I am learning those skills in my journalism program. I also need to make sure the content I post on a certain social media network is best suitable for that platform. I notice there is one item requiring that I need to assist in optimizing the shopper experience across North Park’s social platforms. That is the skill I even do not have any understanding of so I need to dig more into that point.

(4) Social Media Manager

  1. “Generating continuously content for the company (blog, editorial, community-outreach efforts, social pages…), create new ideas and campaigns, and measure how effective those ideas are. “
  2. “Work with the Product development team to ensure social media tools are kept up to date.”
  3. “Monitor effective benchmarks for measuring the impact of social media programs, brand reputation, and analyze, review, and report on effectiveness of campaigns in an effort to maximize results.”

The interesting thing about this position is that this job does not only require that I need to know how to use social media platforms to promote the ideas of a certain company but I also have to be able to evaluate the effect of the communication effort. The latter is the skill I totally lack but it is really important. I have to make sure I do not only communicate, but communicate in a way which will maximize the profit.

 

 

The New York Times has several blogs covering varieties of topics. The Caucus is a politics and government blog and the Arts Beat is a culture blog. Comparing the two blogs, we can see the differences and similarities of blogs covering significantly different topics within one news media organization.

The Arts Beat is a blog covering topics of arts and culture. Posts are mainly about news of books, art works, musical festivals, movies or artists. We can see posts in this blog are comparatively shorter than those in the Caucus. Besides, photos are often used in posts, although not in every post. I think this is mainly because topics covered in this blog is more entertaining. Shorter text and more photos can make the posts more relaxing. This blog is targeted to people interested in music, arts or literature. I think the main purpose for audiences to read posts in this blog is to entertain themselves. Many links are internal links, which connect to related articles within the New York Times. Others go outside, connecting to websites of related art organizations or festivals, which gives audiences more information about certain events or art products. Posts in this blog are written by multiple authors.

The Caucus mainly covers political topics. Most posts are about news of government decisions or policy making. Posts are comparatively longer than those in the Arts Beat and only a few posts use pictures. Most posts are written in a way more like a serious news story with varieties of quotes and complete depictions of events. I think it is mainly because the topics in this blog is more serious and the blog is mainly targeted to those who want to know the latest news of policy making and governmental activities. In other words, the posts can be informational to audiences and readers may read them for illumination. Similarly, most posts include links and the links connect to webpages both inside the New York Times and outside the New York Times. The posts are written by multiple authors.

Another thing I find interesting is that although the Arts Beat is a culture and arts blog, the style of the posts is still comparatively more serious than that in other art or entertainment magazines. The posts are still more like formal news stories including leads and other necessary parts in a real news draft. We may conclude that different blogs under the same news organization more or less remain consistent in tones and styles even though topics vary significantly.

It is not so easy for everyone to observe the launching of many hot-air balloons in our real life.The 10 colored photos by David Joles bring us to the scene of the 24th annual Hudson Hot Air Affair. This set of photos won the second place in the February 2013 R5 Monthly Clip Contest. I love this series of photos because they provide us with varieties of  unique visual angles of the whole event.

All of the captions below the photos are really concise, no more than two sentences. The amazing thing is that the short captions describe what is going on in the photos in an effective way. If the photo is about a scene of the event, the caption tells us what is going on. If people are the subjects of the photos, the caption gives us an idea who they are and what they are doing. Since some of the photos are taken from a unique angle, such as the one taken inside the hot air ballon, the caption tells us clearly from what angle we are viewing the subject, which is excellent. The captions also identify the locations and time quite clearly.

The first photo is taken from above. The composition is nice because the balloon is right on the first one third vertical line. The white snow provides a perfect clean background for this colorful balloon. The vibrant colors contrast with the white. Several lines on the ground and figures of people add life and vibrancy to this picture.

In the photo 4 of 10, the colorful circle nearly fills the frame, which makes the photo really appealing and refreshing. The photo also provides with us a very unique visual angle, inside the balloon. The black part in the left seems to destroy the perfect colorful circle at first glance. However, I think it is the black part that adds sort of story and life to this photo. If the photo was merely a perfect colorful circle, it would be really dull. The “imperfect” black part makes us see the balloon is in a real-life situation.

The photo 10 of 10 can be divided into two parts. One of them is filled with several beautiful colors, just like rainbows. The other part is the white sky, white ground covered with snow and white roofs covered with snow. The person is the transition of the two contrasting parts. The person seems to connect the two parts together. The person is the life of this picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The featured essay Syrian Refugees uses 35 black and white photos to present us with Syrians’ life in refugee camps. Those photos especially illuminate us of living conditions of children in those fleeing Syrian refugee families. Although the photographer merely shoots pictures of those Syrian people’s everyday activities such as children waking up, sleeping, playing around and people walking, those pictures incite sorrow and sympathy for those families because all those everyday activities don’t take place in a house or school playground, but in a shabby refugee camp neighborhood, if it can be called a neighborhood at all.

  • The photo 4 of 35 is a sort of overview picture of Zaatari refugee camp. Everything is dusty. Camps far away from us is even blurred by the dust. The tents are shabby and rough, some of which are made with old cloth. The most appealing part in this picture is one person’s figure in such surroundings. We don’t know what he is doing or what kind of facial expression he has. He might be thinking about unfortunate things happening to his family and might be wondering what he is supposed to do. He might be in despair or in hope. That photo makes people think what they would be like if they were that person.
  • In the photo 8 of 35, the focus is on a little girl in a swirl at her dirty refugee home. The swirl is made with a rope and a pillow. The facial expression of the little girl is peaceful and we can infer that the girl may even quite enjoy sitting on the swirl, which generates strong sorrow for her. She should have sat in a real swirl in a kindergarten instead of a shabby little room. The foreground is a little boy sleeping soundly. That might be her little brother. The fact that those two children seem to be used to that kind of life makes audience feel a little pain. We can not see the facial expression of the woman behind. She might be sad or feel comforted just temporarily. There are some words and a drawing of Syrian flag on the wall, which might be written and drawn when those people are teaching children something, which really makes people feel sympathized.
  • The photo 25 of 35 depicts a boy waking up in his family tent. The background is an old cloth, which serves as a wall. We can not see the exact facial expression of that boy. He seemed to be looking outside the window. What is he looking at? He might be afraid. He might be full of hope. We cannot tell.  Similarly, he should have been sleeping in a cozy and comfortable room. The way the boy looks outside in a refugee tent makes people have an uncomfortable feeling beyond description.