I went to WistiaFest in 2015, but everything was different then. Last year, I was employed by a software company. They sent me to the conference to learn about video production and marketing opportunities for the 100+ employee company. I had pretty clear objectives: come back armed with knowledge and inspiration to create effective marketing video content.
As you may know, I left that job in February to pursue building my motion design company. So I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to go this year. I am no longer shooting video interviews, culture videos or customer testimonials, but the more I thought about it, I realized I could turn this into a great opportunity. Yes, I would have to pay my own way, but I calculated that it would pay off even greater returns in the long term.
There’s one more piece to this story that was pretty crazy.
Last October, my mother-in-law purchased airline tickets to Iceland for the entire family (9 of us). The departure date that worked best for everyone was June 8th. Well, the biggest caveat was that the flight was out of Boston, MA (we live 840 miles away in North Carolina). WistiaFest’s dates were June 5-7. It was too perfect not to go to WistiaFest and then fly to Iceland the day after the conference.
What kind of goals does a motion designer have for a video marketing conference?
As I've started paying my own way to conferences, it hits home even harder that I need to make the most of it. I've learned that setting specific goals helps me stay on task and determine if the conference was worth it.
Hard Goal #1
Make 3 potential freelance contacts
Do something experimental with animation to demonstrate what I can provide clients
Be active in the WistiaFest conference app
Be active on social with the #WistiaFest hashtag
How'd it go?
I took inspiration from Snapchat and created animated filters that people could download and use in their recap videos and vlogs. Here is an example of the animations in action.
I contacted Wistia and got the green light on this project. They were even happy to help spread the word 😄
My friend, Nick Piegari of Fixing Your Video, setup a camera pointed at the after party dance floor with the feed going straight to a big TV. He used his tech wizard skills to overlay my animations live! It was fun to tell people I was a motion designer and point to the TV and say, “I do stuff like that. Actually, I made that.” Thanks for making me look cool, Nick 😜 Here's how that looked...
In the end, I was able to get 3 potential clients! Success!!
Hard Goal #2
Come away with at least 3 massively actionable and important things I need to be doing with video for my business
Attend relevant sessions
Talk to people
How'd it go?
Success! Scroll down to see the action steps.
Soft Goal #1
Reconnect with peers that I met last year
Spend time hanging out and chatting. This part was just natural.
How'd it go?
This was the heart of the conference for me. I've made some real good buddies through Wistia and it was so good to hang out with them in person again.
Soft Goal #2
Meet new people
Mingle at the parties
Strike up conversations in the hallways
Be open to hearing the stories of others
How'd it go?
It went well. I met several new Wistia team members who are super rad. I think I met fewer new people this year, but I was ok with that. I spent more time with each person and tried to go a bit deeper.
Action steps for motion designers:
Chapters are coming in Wistia - use these for tutorials (I’m VERY excited about using this feature)
Beta testers demonstrated how they have been able to pinpoint more accurately what subjects people are more interested in and conversely, what they're not interested in (what they're skipping).
Using chapters in video tutorials is going to be huge. How many times have you tried skipping through a video tutorial to find that one thing you need?
Develop a storytelling default
The biggest storytelling mistake is alluding to the story, but not actually telling the story.
This is most obviously applicable in script writing, but is also important to consider for telling your own personal/brand story.
You need to tell better stories (for your clients and for yourself).
Make and share more video consistently
I started my vlog when I left my day job in February. People seemed to enjoy it. I loved making them, but then I got stuck. I was overwhelmed by my large volume of footage and just stopped moving forward. That's going to change.
Video is such a GREAT way to help people feel connected to you. If you're not getting on video in some way, I highly suggest it. You're gonna see more of me coming soon :)
Thanks Wistia folks for putting on yet another amazing WistiaFest.
Keep being awesome and weird.
Here's a very incomplete list my homies that help me make sense of video marketing: