WistiaFest, The Best!

If you work creating videos for business, let me start with saying you MUST attend WistiaFest as soon as you can. If you want to stop reading here, then you’ve already got the point of my post. Start preparing your things for WistiaFest 2016. If you did want to know why I have such a strong opinion, then you can read on below.

This was my first time visiting Boston and my first time attending WistiaFest. I’ve known about Wistia itself, and WistiaFest, for some time as we use their incredible platform to host our videos and glean valuable insight from the video analytics. They’ve also already hosted the first WistiaFest the prior year, but I wasn’t in my current job role where attending the conference would be easily justified. But now that I am creating videos full time as WooThemes’ Video Vanguard this was the perfect time to get myself to WistiaFest 2015.

So what is it like attending a conference catered strictly to video? Working for a WordPress centric company I’ve attended WordCamps across the states, the first WordCamp Europe in 2013, and our own WooConf, but this was a new ballgame for me for two reasons.

1 – My first conference where I’d be attending solo. Previously I’d always been with coworkers, and while I don’t think I’m a shy person this absolutely forced me to keep introducing myself to others. I appreciated that Wistia gave us ample chances to get to know each other with a welcome party, to attend a ballgame, see the Boston skyline on a boat cruise, and the awesome after party once the conference was over. Besides the massive amount of information and learning from the sessions, being able to get to know other professionals who are in similar positions, who face similar problems, and want the same things from video was so great for me.

2 – WistiaFest only talked about creating videos, something I love doing and learning about. WordCamps and WooConf are also great events to attend, but creating videos is my newfound forte and those conferences aren’t focussed on that (by design). When I realized that this conference was made for me and my responsibilities at WooThemes I was overjoyed. I went into WistiaFest not knowing exactly what to expect, but was so pleased that I didn’t miss out on this years event.

Now what did I learn? I think a better question would be, “What didn’t I learn?” I attended two tracks (out of many available) during the conference. The first being Using Video Across Your Business, the second Building a Brand with Video. Here are some of my bigger personal take away points from those sessions that I’ll be applying to our videos at WooThemes and, if I’m lucky, in the future at Automattic. 😀

Did my video go viral or did it go helpful?

The biggest thing that I’ve been using video for thus far has been educational needs. Our A/V Team has produced 3 marketing related videos in its short life, but we’ve created 40+ educational videos in that same life span. Even those few marketing/promotional videos can be considered educational to some degree as we educate potential customers on why our solution is worthy of their time and money. Somehow you could take the above statement and reword it into a mission statement for our team, and is a great point to consider. View counts are vanity metrics and mean nothing compared to knowing if our videos are helping our customers.

Involvement vs Commitment, eggs vs bacon at breakfast.

This was a great way to illustrate if you yourself or others in the company you work for are involved or committed to what you are doing. I’m fortunate enough that I did get buy in from my superiors, where they trusted me when I made the case that video was my future and something that should be invested in. They’ve in turn given me loads of freedom to prove myself every day. To explain the involvement vs commitment; The chicken is involved in breakfast in that it gives its eggs, but the pig becoming bacon is really the committed one here. I’ve got skin in the game, so to speak, in ensuring videos are truly valuable to WooThemes and to our customers.

Humanize your brand.

At these points is where I started getting the most inspiration and ideas for the next steps for Team A/V. Our customers have less to hate or become irate about when they know the people who are working hard fixing bugs and providing support. It’s easy to hate a company, but very hard to hate a person. Something that video can really do for us is showcase our people. Even in our educational videos, I think a big step up would be for me to get in front of the camera and show a face to our customers as we help them through their troubles.

Video evokes emotion.

You probably are smacking yourself on the forehead saying, “NO DUH.” This for me though was good to be reminded of. When creating videos that are mostly educational, evoking an emotion isn’t normally part of the concept. But I want our customers watching ALL/ANY of our videos and to feel something. They should feel empowered and confident in our products if they’ve watched a product video, and I’d hope for a sense of happiness and even relief that our more educational videos have helped them setup their site or solve an issue for them.

There is tons more specific information I could talk about, but this post is quite long already. I’ll save that information for my coworkers as they help me formulate and improve our video strategy and overall content strategy, I need to get back to creating more videos anyway!

All in all, WistiaFest was an amazing event. Very well run, I learned a million and one things, and I met so many cool people who are doing great things. Like I said, if you are creating videos for businesses get yourself to WistiaFest. I’ll see you there next year!

PS – See Wistia’s recap post for some more awesome content.

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