With more than a billion users now on YouTube, according to the company’s statistics page, it has never been more important for trucking companies to up their game on video marketing. “When you have videos on your website, you don’t have to knock on customers’ doors — they click on yours,” said Joe White, owner of CostDown Consulting, a trucking consultancy. “Effectively produced, written and [search engine] optimized, web videos provide 24/7 access to potential new clients.”
Kris Rzepkowski, executive director of marketing at Bennett International Group, agreed: “Trucking and logistics are inherently visual, which makes for great video. People just love to watch big jobs with big equipment. So I think there will continue to be opportunities to get lots of viewers.”
David Anderson, vice president of business development at Black Horse Carriers, said: “Video allows us to convey a lot of information in 20 to 30 seconds or less and does very well with mobile audiences, and we work very hard to make sure that our website, application process and marketing initiatives are mobile friendly — since a large percentage of our social media audience and our applications come from mobile users.”
Moreover, given that most video these days is consumed on the web in informal digital hangouts such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, truckers often can get away with releasing a promotional video with low production costs — as long as it packs a powerful emotional punch.
“There are thousands of well-produced, high-dollar videos that only have a few hundred views — we’ve got some of those ourselves,” said Rob Hatchett, vice president of communications and recruiting at Covenant Transportation Group. “But our No. 1 video of all time had basically no editing and cost us nothing to produce except for 30 minutes of filming. Still blows our mind to this day — but we gave the viewer what they wanted to see.”
Other industry executives also cited the unique value of video.
“In terms of testimonial messages from satisfied employees or customers, nothing is as valuable as being able to directly hear a person telling of their experience in their own voice on video,” said Pat Hightower, CEO of The Hightower Agency, a driver recruiting firm.
Greg Koepel, vice president of Roehl Transport, noted: “Our videos work in concert with all other forms of communications and marketing we employ to provide a holistic view of Roehl’s success.”
Fortunately, there has been an onslaught of new video marketing tools cropping up on the market, which can ensure your trucking business stays a step ahead of the competition when it comes to dazzling current and prospective customers with your message.
Here’s a representative sampling of some of the newest and most innovative tools:
• Windows Story Remix: Promised for release late this year, Remix will be one of the first video editing tools driven by artificial intelligence.
With Remix, you can create a video from scratch, or you can tap its AI tools to create a video for you. Essentially, the tool is designed to sense the kind of video you want after you input raw video — still photographs, animations, soundtracks and the like. After you’ve dropped in all your raw media, Story Remix automatically whips up a finished video, which you can use as is or tweak with its editing tools.
Story Remix also has pen and ink support, so you can handwrite a message over your video, or doodle over it. And it offers collaboration tools, which allow a number of users to work on a video together.
Remix is slated to pop up as a Windows app in the Windows store in late 2017. It also will be available on iOS and Android.
• Wochit: This is a video editing tool truckers can use with an interesting spin: Simply feed Wochit an article or other piece of text, and it will automatically roam the web to find licensed photos, videos and graphics that go with that text.
Currently used by a number of global news outlets to quickly generate videos for their articles, Wochit also offers a drag-and-drop canvas you can use to quickly drop in the photos, videos and other graphics it finds, so you can finish a video in record time.
• VideoScribe: Instead of spending hours trying to animate a still image, VideoScribe does all the animating for you. Indeed, any image placed on its canvas is instantly animated. And your video project can be finished with other tools in VideoScribe’s arsenal, including voiceover recording, soundtracks and calls-to-action elements.
• Microsoft Video Indexer: A work in progress, Video Indexer is designed to automatically analyze your video library and make it instantly searchable.
With Video Indexer, you can use a few keywords to find videos in your video library of certain words spoken in a video, images of a certain person or images of two people who have appeared together, for example. The analytics are not perfect yet. And you’ll need an IT person to get it working for you. But this tool — part of Microsoft Cognitive Services — is well worth monitoring.
• GoAnimate: This is a perfect program for trucking marketers looking to tell a story with animated characters. Enabling you to create animated videos with simple drag-and-drop tools, the program can automatically sync narration to go with the animated characters you pick for your video.
GoAnimate also has access to tens of thousands of animatable images that can be used in hundreds of industries and occupations. And it offers you the ability to import your own audio, image and video.
Similar animation products include PowToon, Animaker, Animatron, Moovly, Renderforest, Google Web Designer and Explee.
• StoriesAds.com: If you’re having trouble getting videos up on Instagram, StoriesAds.com can help. It’s specifically designed to make producing videos for distribution on Instagram a snap and is equipped with easy-to-use, drag-and-drop tools.
• Avid Media Composer First: AMC First is the light version of the already existing — and extremely high-powered — Avid Media Composer video editor. It’s a tool regularly used by TV shows and other video producers in Hollywood.
The light version is still plenty powerful, featuring four video tracks you can play with, along with eight audio tracks and a host of built-in visual effects, transitions, color correction presets and titling templates.
Essentially, the light version is designed to enable you to quickly cut together layers of video, dialog, music and sound effects to produce captivating, professional-quality video content.
“I’ve worked with other tools, but Avid’s model is the most efficient by far,” said Stuart Bass, a video editor at “The Office,” “Arrested Development” and other TV shows. “Learning Avid’s industry-standard tools has been essential in making me the successful editor that I am today.”
• YouTube Editor: Regularly updated, YouTube Editor is a basic video editor that enables truckers to automatically upload video clips, put together those clips to create new videos and publish them on YouTube quickly and easily.
You also have the option to make your videos more SEO-friendly by adding annotations and transcripts. And the editor has the ability to combine multiple videos, trim the clips, add music from a library of approved tracks and customize with special tools and effects.
Similar, regularly updated basic video editing products include Corel Video Studio, Adobe Premier Pro, Nutshell, Magisto, Animoto, Videoshop, Renderforest and iMovie.
• Vidyard: Another video creation and editing tool, Vidyard is different from others by emphasizing analytics tools, which can provide deep insight into who’s looking at your videos. Among the tools is an e-mail gate, which you can use to capture viewer e-mail addresses before they can view a video.
• HighTail: A trucking marketing team looking for a quickly assembled online space for collaborating on a video should consider HighTail. It allows you to effortlessly post a raw video, which team members can comment on via text to critique the creation process and move the video along to a finalized production. Essentially, HighTail is great for team-effort videos that need phase-by-phase approvals and creative input from multiple team members.
Joe Dysart is an internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan. Voice: (646) 233-4089. E-mail: [email protected] Web: www.joedysart.com.