Storytelling in the Early Years
Storytelling with video was not something Portland, Oregon’s Eric Newland aspired to as a teenager. Long before he was a personal videographer to personalities like Robert De Niro and Snoop Dog, Eric was fresh out of high school looking for his next thing. Heather, his high school sweetheart, future wife and Hybrid Moon business partner, was off to a nice college thanks to hard work and good grades. Eric’s options were limited because his grades were not as good as the girl he took to every school dance. He chose a small local media arts school where he could learn more about videography.
In high school, Eric had volunteered to be the school’s videographer mainly because it got him out of class. My kind of guy. Little did he know that his disdain for school would be the catalyst for decades of video storytelling.
It was when Heather and Eric were planning their wedding that they discovered they could not find a wedding videographer to shoot their happy day. At that time, photography was the only option. While they would hire a photographer, they also wanted a video. Ultimately, they got it done with the help of family and friends. But they saw an opportunity. So it was not long after their honeymoon that Hybrid Moon was formed.
For the next decade, events were the primary source of their revenue stream. Occasionally, they worked a corporate project. Product launches for General Electric, for example. But these simple corporate projects in the early years required little creativity. It was weddings and other events where Eric and Heather cut their teeth in the art of storytelling. They would need those skills later when corporate clients became a significant source of revenue.
Technology brings Changes
Competition eventually became an issue in the event market because of cheap technology. Anyone with a few bucks and the time to learn the technical skills could shoot an event. The inability to adapt to these changes put many long time video pros out of business and lots of others on the edge. Yet the Newlands have not just survived, they have prospered.
When asked about the secret sauce behind their success, besides the obvious, putting their clients first, Heather told me “Doing weddings taught us how to think quickly on our feet. Weddings happen fast and they rarely ever go exactly as planned. So we had to learn to make quick decisions, decisions that allowed us to obtain the content we needed to tell a good story. Keep the audience glued to the video and you’ve succeeded. Our skill at storytelling is the number one reason why so many of our new clients come from referrals.”
Content is King
So its about content. Good content. Sound familiar? Consistently distributing valuable and relevant content is a strategic marketing approach meant to attract and retain a well-defined audience and ultimately drive profitable customer action. Its the marketing topic of our time. Perhaps we’ll call it something else in the future, but no matter what term we use, content marketing is likely to be a dominant topic for a very long time. In an age when it is extremely difficult to keep the attention of an audience, marketers need to deliver engaging content to become and remain relevant. And video plays a significant role.
Naturally, I asked them why they have been users of iPlayerHD’s video hosting platform since the Truman presidency. Her answer – personal service, quality video delivery, reliability, and features, all play a role. They are also avid users of iPlayerHD’s FrameCatch™. In fact, they turn the feature on for all event and real estate videos because viewers can easily search frame by frame for the perfect image to share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by email.
Eric also made it clear that YouTube is not an option. YouTube’s interest in moving traffic from private websites to the their domain where it can make money – is a non-starter. Having said that, they understand the value of a good YouTube video campaign that drives traffic to their client’s website where they can do the heavy lifting to convert traffic. So good content fits neatly here as well.
It’s all about the Story
Hybrid Moon does plenty of corporate projects these days, often taking the lead in creating the content. Content is the story that engages their client’s audience. That motivates the audience to take positive action. When a client looks to create a product video, Heather and Eric learn the product. They learn about the folks that buy the product as well as the campaign where the video will be used. Then, during the pre-production planning stage, they gather it all together and write the story. Finally, with camera in hand, and later, using their editing prowess, the Newland team creates a compelling video. Another satisfied customer. Another customer that will likely refer them on to their next great story.