May 9th, 2023
With Lou Bortone, who has been a pioneer and thought leader in the video space since the launch of YouTube in 2005.
He’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs and companies create and leverage online video to build their brands and dramatically grow their revenues. Prior to his industry leading work in online video marketing, Lou spent over 20 years as a marketing executive in the television and entertainment industries, including stints as National Promotion Manager for E! Entertainment Television and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Fox Family Worldwide in Los Angeles.
Join us for this essential conversation on how to create an accessible and impactful video-first marketing strategy in your business.
Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- The two biggest hurdles to using video in your marketing strategy.
- The easiest way to show up consistently using video.
- How to get 75% open rates on emails (vs. 20%).
- “You don’t have to be everywhere” with video marketing (and how to decide where to be).
- When to use long-form vs. short-form video.
- What are the trends we’re seeing now post pandemic?
“It’s really about finding that video sweet spot. … It’s about finding where you are most comfortable and where you are going to have the most impact.”-Lou Bortone
Check out these highlights:
- 06:30 Hear Lou talk about growing up in Boston where it was very “mobbed up” and how Lou compares this ruthless background to the t.v. industry and Hollywood.
- 13:25 “If you screw up, nothing is going to break.”
- 16:28 Hear Lou describe “the hardest part” and “second hardest part” when it comes to using video in your business.
- 34:00 How do we get to bring ourselves to the camera?
- 51:23 Lou’s final takeaway for the listeners…
On social media:
How to get in touch with Lou:
Learn more about Lou, by visiting his website here.
Special gift for listeners: Get access to Lou’s one-page Video Planner here: https://loubortone.com/planner
Imperfect Show Notes
We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below:
GGGB Intro 00:00
Here’s what you get on today’s episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®…
Lou Bortone 00:04
One of the trends around video and I guess this probably came out of the pandemic as well as just to be more authentic and to be more personal and personable. And so if you, you know, again, whatever your quirks are, I would lean into that and just, you know, be as authentic and as you as possible.
GGGB Intro 00:22
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Lou Bortone 01:19
Thank you, Heather. It’s so good to be here. I appreciate it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:22
Yeah, so good to have you. I’ve really been looking forward to this conversation. I think you and I connected close to a year ago now because it was near the holidays. Look at me being persistent and getting you over here on the show. For those of you that don’t know Lou, Lou Bortone has been a pioneer and thought leader in the video space since the launch of YouTube in 2005. And on this point, Lou was just telling me, which I think is so fascinating before we went live that YouTube has recently overtaken all the other platforms when it comes to podcast, listening podcast hosting, which is just phenomenal to me. Yeah, so there’s that. So go visit us on YouTube. If you’re hearing this and you’re on one of the traditional podcast platforms, go check out YouTube as well because this video will also go up to YouTube on the same day. So Lou has helped 1000s of entrepreneurs and companies create and leverage online video to build their brands and dramatically grow their revenues. Prior to his industry leading work in online video marketing, Lou spent over 20 years as a marketing executive in the television and entertainment industries, including stints as national promotion manager for E Entertainment Television, and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Fox Family worldwide in Los Angeles. Lou, I don’t even think I knew that about you. So look at me learning things right here in the first minute of the podcast. So great to have you.
Lou Bortone 02:59
Thanks so much. I appreciate it. I was just thinking, you know, it’s good that you do the video also, but you have a really good radio voice because I started radio. So, that’s usually the first thing you do is you can do radio, or TV.
Heather Pearce Campbell 03:12
You know, I love a good radio. So thank you for that. Well, and I am so curious to hear about your roots. And obviously radio I don’t think he even mentioned but your roots in radio and television. How did you get into that industry?
Lou Bortone 03:27
Yeah, it was kind of a circuitous route. But really, my dad was in the TV business. And I grew up going to the TV station with him like every weekend and kind of running around, the local TV station in Boston was sort of my little playground and do pretend to go on the news when they weren’t using the set and stuff like that. So for me, it was just kind of unnatural to go into television, and radio. And I did that in Boston for many years on the marketing side. My dad was a designer, but I can’t even draw a stick figure. So ice marketing, and eventually ended up in Hollywood and had some really interesting cool jobs there. And then I had twins. So the career was been to a screeching halt. Well, not really appalled, but it was totally different. You know what it was no movie for me. It was in partying all the time and stuff like that. So I had to grow up to be a dad.
Heather Pearce Campbell 04:22
Right? That happens to us parents from time to time. So I love research. I love the your memories of following your own father around his workplace. I mean, it’s interesting what a profound effect that can have on kids and their own direction. What do you find once you were in the work that really kept you there? What did you love about it?
Lou Bortone 04:45
In TV business, I think part of it is that marketing folks do everything. They have to do everything. So there’s never a day that’s the same. It’s never an assembly line kind of job or even a 9 to 5 job, it’s just completely, one day it could be this, the next day is that and aside from it wasn’t quite as glamorous as it might seem in in Los Angeles, but it was definitely interesting. And there was always something new to promote, always a new TV show to work on or, you know, just fascinating, interesting people that you run across. And when I worked at EA, I was interviewing James Caan and Nicolas Cage and William Shatner, and all these, here’s this kid from Boston that doesn’t know anything. And all of a sudden I’m like, Oh, my God, that’s Sunday from the Godfather, you know? Love it. Yeah, strike, but it was kind of a good experience to really just kind of get thrown into the middle of all that.
Heather Pearce Campbell 05:42
Yeah. And I love that, you know that you enjoy the variety of it. Right? And I even think entrepreneurship generally, right? You have to enjoy variety.
Lou Bortone 05:51
Yeah. You ready for surprises and be able to react and just go with the flow sometimes. Like pandemics that throw everything into a tizzy, you know.
Heather Pearce Campbell 06:04
Oh, man, right. I know, we were chatting about that. So much to talk about. So I’d love to hear. So you obviously built up all of this tremendous experience working in? Probably what is a challenging industry, I would imagine, for people, but also, is it challenging to stay there?
Lou Bortone 06:28
It can be I mean, it’s funny, because I grew up and I talk about this in a different keynote editor. But I grew up in a very Italian neighborhood that was sort of, I guess, there’s no other way to say it was very mobbed up all the gangsters from Boston lived in my town. And I grew up with that was just kind of a normal thing. My friend across the street, her dad disappeared. Okay, you can see my parents said, Oh, he went to flow, he moved to Florida. I’m like, Yeah, I know what that means. Going into the entertainment business, I thought, Oh, my God, that mafia is nothing compared to these. It could get ruthless, but you just kind of take not take it too seriously. That would always say like, look, we’re not doing heart surgery here. We’re just doing TV shows.
Heather Pearce Campbell 07:15
Hmm, so interesting. That thread, wow, I know, my brain wants to go in 20 different directions with that story right now. I know, like, oh, they just moved to Florida. I’m gonna think about that very differently. So I would love to hear about how, at what point you transitioned from your career, right? Kind of working with the big guys and the big wigs, because now you are doing something a little bit different, right? Do you want to talk to us about that shift and how it happened?
Lou Bortone 07:48
And I have to admit, I hate to say it, but I had a little bit of hubris coming back from LA like I can go back to Boston and be a big fish in the small pond. And everything’s just gonna happen. But when I came back, it was kind of like, oh, my gosh, this is a whole new career, and I’m working myself now. And stuff isn’t just gonna fall on my lap. And there’s not a regular paycheck. So, I learned pretty quickly actually, the first job I had when I came back was a .com job during the .com. Boom. And when that bubble burst, I had to kind of scramble and figure out a different way to make a living. But fortunately, YouTube had just started around the same time. And I realized, when a videographer that I was working with, sold his big camera and got a little I think it was a flip phone. He’s like, I’m just gonna use this from now on, like, you can make TV and videos with with this. Yeah. So that was a little bit of a turning point where I said, All right, I think the playing field has been leveled a bit to the point where we can do all do this.
Heather Pearce Campbell 08:49
right? Yeah. Well, and even then, like, look at the difference between some of the original flip phones and now, you seriously can create something with the versions that we’re using now. Right? So in those early days, talk to us about how you built your business?
Lou Bortone 09:07
Wow, a lot of it was trial and error. Because, with entrepreneurship, there’s not really, here are the five things to do. It’s more like the 5 million things to do in which ones do you decide to do, so it really was a lot of trial and error. But fortunately, with video, it was one of those things where everybody was starting to realize like, oh my gosh, we gotta get on this video thing, we have to use this in our business. And everybody used to say, oh, you know, 1999 this is the year. Like, okay, I say that every year, but…
Heather Pearce Campbell 09:38
eWell I was gonna say the interesting thing about where we’re at now, and you and I were just talking about some of the impacts of the pandemic from the ways that we’ve like I was joking that I’ve moved my house like the contents of my house around eight bazillion times because we had suddenly my hubby and I and two children at home all the time and having to figure out how to do business at home have, even then during that period, I really worked hard to get my clients fully online fully protected. I come at it from the legal perspective, right? So how do you get a business really legitimately going online? How do you support it legally? How do you make sure that you’re taking care of all your IP and your assets and your clients and all the back end stuff? So, but even now, I think people knew pandemic was hitting, and it was a big wake up call to a lot of people to start taking things like, “their online business presence” seriously, probably your boat was the same video marketing, like, ooh, now I really need to do video marketing, that how many of those folks have still fallen down and not done it?
Lou Bortone 10:45
I know, it’s like, come on, what are you waiting for? So I mean, I think it’s as simple as you’re leaving money on the table, if you’re not using that in your business as part of your marketing.
Heather Pearce Campbell 10:57
Yeah. Is it just the human condition that it’s scary to be seen? What is it that keeps people…
Lou Bortone 11:03
I think a big part of it, and I’m an introvert, I was like the poster child for camera shyness, I did not want to be on camera. Because I’m in Los Angeles, I’ve always been on the other side of the camera, and, you know, any kind of on camera stuff whatsoever. So I think for a lot of people, it’s that if they’re introverted, if they camera shy, and when I first started, I would I mentioned I have pugs, I would put the dogs in the videos, I would dress up as Moses and do the 10 commandments of video, anything to take the spotlight off me to get over here, put this hat on, and still to this day, it’s not totally comfortable with it. But it’s kind of like this, have to do this. We don’t know, you know, it’s like, we’ll have a choice at this point.
Heather Pearce Campbell 11:48
Right? Yes. So true. I just wonder, you know, and I love that. First of all, clearly, you have a sense of humor, if you’re able to, like, bring that out in video and do some of that. I think some people just feel so naked, like it’s just me sitting here, what am I going to do? How do I keep people’s attention, right? So many questions, so many fears coming up. So I’d love to know, once you got started, and you started really learning what you know now about, first of all, entrepreneurship, small businesses, those of us who really need to be relying on and incorporating video marketing strategy into our work and our business, where would you start with folks? How do you open the conversation with people?
Lou Bortone 12:40
After slight threats, and honestly, I just tell that, you know, look, the camera is not going to bite you, you just have to basically pretend that little red or that little green is just speaking with them. And in fact, the hardest thing is, I have my cameras up here and you’re down there, and I want to look at you because…
Heather Pearce Campbell 13:02
It’s what I’m doing. I’m sure it’s what I’m doing, right?
Lou Bortone 13:05
Sort of forced my eyes up to where the camera is. But so that’s part of it. But a lot of it, if you can put your toe in the water, like I usually say that Facebook live and live streaming is the low hanging fruit of video, particularly Facebook Live, because the expectations are a little less, I mean, you can be using error down. You know, if you screw up, nothing’s gonna break. So I often encourage folks, do a Facebook Live, maybe go live to a group that you’re part of so that you have a little bit more comfort. And then as you get your sea legs like your video legs, you can move on to LinkedIn and YouTube and the platform’s a little bit more. I wouldn’t say LinkedIn more intimidating, but I think there’s a little bit of a different expectation on LinkedIn.
Heather Pearce Campbell 13:47
I think it is. I think that’s fair. I feel that way about LinkedIn. Like I see it as a little bit more intimidating than some of the other platforms.
Lou Bortone 13:55
Yeah. And it’s really just about the audience to where is your target market? Where is your audience hanging out? I mean, I do a little bit of Tik Tok, but I don’t do that much, because that’s a much younger audience and just enough to kind of be able to tell other folks what to do. But you don’t have to be everywhere. That’s the only thing that people worry about with getting started with video. They think oh my god, as soon as I start this, I’m gonna have to be on Tik Tok, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and you really don’t have to be everywhere. It’s really a matter of deciding where your audience is and where you’re the most comfortable and then finding that what I call video sweet spot, like, Okay, I love slides because I can hide behind the PowerPoint and still teach and other folks live video of the people, YouTube or TikTok, you got to figure out where are you most comfortable and where you’re going to have the most impact?
Heather Pearce Campbell 14:46
Well, I think it’s probably such a relief for people to hear. You don’t have to be everywhere because I think there are some folks online that will tell you that are like, you know, you hear their voices everywhere saying you do have to be everywhere.
Lou Bortone 15:00
If you do, the nice part about that is that you really can repurpose and automate so much of it. I don’t know if I mentioned this to you, but I went to Italy for three weeks earlier this year. And because I had everything scheduled and automated, and I was doing, if I put a video on YouTube, I made sure that I put it on Facebook and LinkedIn. So it seemed like I didn’t really disappear for a few weeks. And meanwhile, I’m galavanting around Italy, they’re not really working.
Heather Pearce Campbell 15:28
Right? Oh, must be nice. I know. Great. I mean, good on you. And obviously, just some support with your systems. Anybody can do that. Just a matter of getting those down. So. So assuming you can get people and for people that are already there over the hump recognizing, okay, I know I need to do this. And I want to be at minimum in the places where my people are even if I’m not everywhere, but you know, maybe the next hump is they’re thinking, How do I do it? Well, right, we none of us want to be the person that shows up on video, and people are checking it out for two seconds. And then they peace out which can happen.
Lou Bortone 16:08
Right? Or the other thing is where I’ve heard people talk about hostage videos, or like, Oh, my God, you, you look like somebody’s holding you hostage, and you’ve got a cement wall behind you.
Heather Pearce Campbell 16:19
And they’re so uncomfortable.
Lou Bortone 16:21
And it’s like, okay, it’s only video, you’re not going to break the internet. I mean, the hardest part is getting started. And then the second hardest part is being consistent and sticking with it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 16:33
Yeah, yeah, that consistency piece, I think, is a challenge for so many of us. I know from the perspective even of being a parent during the pandemic, and an entrepreneur like I will say the first year of the pandemic, I was maybe more consistent than I’ve ever been. And I think part of it is I just I don’t know how I actually did that looking backwards, because last year, I did not manage to remain as consistent. But it was one of the first times that experiment. And I think I told you this I went live weekly, right? I had an Ask Me Anything live every Monday, I was there for questions, I was emailing my list, I would support people with whatever legal stuff came up, because my big goal was to get my people online and legally protected. Right? I knew that the pandemic was going to be rough for a lot of businesses. But the benefit of that is, it allowed me even when I didn’t know it was happening, to develop with relationships with people that I didn’t know were watching. Right? Or that I didn’t know, were opening my emails, because I also emailed weekly. And it was such a great experiment from the standpoint of if I missed a week, I’d hear from people like, Hey, are you okay, what happened? Do you know? And that was the first time that ever happened in my business where people I didn’t know were reaching out saying, Hey, are you okay? I didn’t see anything from you this week.
Lou Bortone 18:02
Yeah, like, it’s like appointment viewing, you know, people sort of get into that habit, like, back in the day, when we used to watch Seinfeld at 9pm on NBC, or whatever, you know. So as soon as that, consistency is broken to like, Whoa, where would it check out? What happened?
Heather Pearce Campbell 18:18
Yeah, yeah. How do you help your folks become more consistent.
Lou Bortone 18:25
It’s kind of like cheating, but I really encourage them to batch record. So I say, Look, if you’re gonna get your lights set up, and the next door neighbor is not blowing into leaves and making a lot of plays, you know, do 4-6 videos at the same time. So oftentimes, I’ll have my clients do several videos, and then drip them out or do one, oftentimes, I’ll do a zoom interview like this, and interview somebody for an hour and then take their footage and like, I can make 12 videos out of that one hour or so, to that, and then kind of drip it out every week, every three weeks, however often you want to do it so and batch recording kind of even me, I’m not as consistent as I should be. But when I do it, and fits and starts and up, I’m going to do a bunch of videos and the pubs are taking a nap. So it’s quiet, I’m going to try to get as many done as I can.
Heather Pearce Campbell 19:10
Right? What do you say to the folks who are sitting here thinking like, Well, that’s all well and fine. But you know, I don’t know what I would talk about having to do six or seven or eight videos in a row. You know, I think some people feel like they have to be hit with inspiration to be able to do that. What do you say to folks that struggle with that piece?
Lou Bortone 19:28
That’s kind of where the strategy comes in, and why it’s so important to have a video marketing plan, just like you’ve got a marketing plan or a legal plan or whatever it may be. If you know, okay, you know, I’m doing a launch in January and I’m going to do a new product or I’m doing such and such and I want to have a YouTube tip series. If you know, I’ve got to do these five videos for YouTube and I’ve got to do a video for my homepage, if you have that as a plan, then okay, I know the exact seven videos that I need to do in the next three weeks.
Lou Bortone 19:28
I love that they’ve also heard some people will say that they just collect, like, they’ll just keep a running tab of ideas like of just regular questions they get from, you know, from clients or people or whatever. So they don’t ever have to actually create on the spot, they’ve got a list that they can just work from that they know, are topics that are relevant.
Lou Bortone 19:58
Right. And I think the other thing is that people don’t realize how much expertise they have in their niche, like, take it for granted. And, I mean, I probably have 20 questions, I could ask you right now that you just think, oh, doesn’t everybody know that stuff?
Heather Pearce Campbell 20:31
Yes. Oh, that’s such a good point, right? Taking us back to square one, even in regards to our own expertise. It’s like, we just can’t see the forest for the trees, because we’re so close to our own stuff.
Lou Bortone 20:43
Yep. And the other thing that I’ve been doing is sort of going online and looking at Google Trends, or, you know, going into YouTube and typing a phrase, or like, who’s searching for this? And I can see, oh, my God, I thought that was a given, like, you know, how to do green screen and zoom and like the quote, doesn’t everybody know how to do that. And meanwhile, there are 20,000 people a month searching that on Google. So yeah, that would probably make a good video.
Heather Pearce Campbell 21:06
Yeah, fascinating. Yes. It sounds like there are a lot of ways to gather great ideas.
Heather Pearce Campbell 21:14
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Heather Pearce Campbell 23:04
How do you help your people? So they’re ready, right? They’re getting some consistency down? What are the other components that make for a really good video strategy, particularly for a small business, an online entrepreneur, right, talking to the kinds of folks that we serve?
Lou Bortone 23:21
Yeah, well, I often tell folks, almost like anything else, you begin with the end in mind. And that was a Brian Tracy, quote, but reverse engineering, where do you need folks to do? What action do you want them to take? Do you want them to come to your store? Do you want them to buy your product? Do you want to sell more books? And then back out of that and figure out okay, well, what’s the right message and the right frequency to get them there. So I try to have my clients really begin with the end in mind and back out of it and say, let’s figure out what we need to do from a video standpoint to get you there.
Heather Pearce Campbell 23:56
How many people get stuck on the right messaging? I imagine, you know a lot about that being in the video world that it’s not just video.
Lou Bortone 24:05
You know, what do I say? How do I say it is anybody gonna care. So it’s really easy to get stuck on the messaging. And again, it comes back to like, I usually say, look, anything that you can do from a marketing standpoint, you can add video to that and enhance it. So I like to tell my folks look, you should have a video at every stage of the customer journey, whether it’s you and maybe they’re downloading a freebie if they’re in the online world, or, you know, they’re sort of in the pipeline or in the funnel, but you want to increase your credibility with them. So all those different stages of sort of the buying stages, if they have a video holding their hand every step of the way, it’s going to be that much easier for them to take action. And if they see like, well there’s this guy that does all these video blog posts, but he never does video but then there’s this guy who that does video and I feel like I know him because I see him online a lot. I think that’s, you know, it also goes a long way in building that like and trust, which I know is just as important in your industry.
Heather Pearce Campbell 25:06
Yeah, that’s huge. The reminder of that point of like, I feel like I know this person, right? And I didn’t understand that until I did this experiment in my own business. And I got people who are like, I’ve been, I had one guy reached out out of the blue, and I didn’t know him. He was apparently on my list. And he said, Yeah, I’ve known for a couple years now that you’re the person I was going to work with. I’ve been on your list, I follow all your stuff, blah, blah, blah. And I just remember thinking, you know, is that fascinating? Like, this person has been preparing to make this decision? A couple of years.
Lou Bortone 25:46
Yeah, I have people tell you, I’ll follow you for six years. And now it’s finally time like, Okay, yeah.
Heather Pearce Campbell 25:52
Yeah, it’s such a reminder about first of all, the importance of consistency. And the fact that, I think a lot of people get really hung up on having a conversion process or a method. And it’s really, like anything else that is important in life. It’s about the building relationships, right? Yeah. And really what that takes to do it well.
Lou Bortone 26:17
Exactly. I have kind of a funny example that I was working with a doctor in Atlanta whose specialty was vasectomies. And he would do these little videos like, okay, it’s 12 hours afterwards, or 12 hours before, here’s what to expect. And then they send them afterwards like, okay, it’s 24 hours, how you feeling his way, this is normal bubble. But that such trust him a poor, that if somebody else didn’t lend, I was like, Hey, I know the doctor, you should go to a three to get that done. So it’s so funny, you know, he’s complaining when you say I want to be the vasectomy king of Atlanta. I’m like, Okay, let’s do it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 26:51
Wow, right. The micro niches…
Lou Bortone 26:56
Topics where it’s like, well, basically, all he’s doing is building trust and credibility. And he’s doing it with video. And he’s doing it in a very personal way, where he’s saying, I know where you are in this process now, and I want to address it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 27:09
Yeah. Well, and even that point, you know, you saying that, like, there should be a video for every step of the client journey reminds me years ago, I worked with a company called Six division, which is their infusion soft experts. They’re like the Green Berets of the Infusionsoft world. And they have this whole like, very systematized approach to their client experience you can imagine. But they really do it well, to the nth degree, just what you were saying, If you signed up for a service, because at the time, you know, pre pandemic, you’d have to go to their location in Phoenix or Gilbert somewhere in Arizona, and that you got a video for saying, here’s what’s gonna happen when you show up. And literally starting at the outside of the building, here’s what our building looks like, you’re going to come in to the entryway that looks like this, you’re gonna go up the stairs, here’s our don’t, you know. And I remember thinking, this is so interesting, because one of the things that I coach people on is appropriately doing more work to appropriately set client expectations, right? How do we avoid some of the biggest issues in our business that can involve legal disputes and problems later on? Well, it’s partly about attracting the right clients, working with the right people, but also setting the right expectations so that you’re not setting yourself up for an experience that you’re not meeting from the client perspective, right. And I thought using video is such a powerful way to help do that.
Lou Bortone 28:43
I have a mentor, an old friend, Michael Port, who would have a complex piece of solid and he would always say, people buy based on the amount of trust you have earned. And I think you can accelerate that process of building trust.
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:58
So true. So true. I love that. That’s a great quote. So I know we’ve talked a bit about first of all, the challenge of being consistent, right? The challenge of first of all, overcoming human nature in the first place to get yourself on video, being consistent, right? People can feel challenged in having the right marketing message. Are there any other kind of core challenges that we should talk about?
Lou Bortone 29:22
Yeah, I mean, we talked about consistency that just being difficult. And I think there are things that people think that they need more than they do. Like, I can’t start until I have such and such a microphone.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:34
I mean, I would like fancy equipment or…
Lou Bortone 29:37
15 years and just finally last week got a telephone because I don’t use it that often. But you don’t need a teleprompter. You don’t need $1,000 camera. I’m like if you have one of these and most people do, then you’re ready, because that’s all you need. So people tend to procrastinate because they’re like, well, when I do this, I want to do that.
Heather Pearce Campbell 29:58
Soundproof room. Yeah,
Lou Bortone 30:01
So don’t wait, just jump in.
Heather Pearce Campbell 30:05
Well, and, you know, I have to say one of the silver linings that I think came from the pandemic was, and I’ve talked about this before, but just because from a parenting perspective, it was so funny at the time that it happened. Remember that guy getting interviewed, it was like a little snapshot that flew around the internet, like a little short video, right? The the dad who was on a major news network from his home office or something, and here comes the kid in the background, and the wife is trying to pull the kid back. And then overnight, that became the experience for so many years.
Lou Bortone 30:40
That’s not a bad thing. I guess it’s crazy what’s going on in the background, but realize that a lot of us are still working from home, and anything can happen. And don’t let that stop you from doing it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 30:53
Seems like so I’d be curious, especially you as a kind of an expert in the industry. You know, definitely I think the pandemic made. Going online doing videos like that more accessible. People felt like okay, maybe I don’t have to be a perfectionist to still be able to do this. Right. But has it changed the quality of the videos that you see or that you know are out there?
Lou Bortone 31:19
It’s funny, because I think the quality of broadcast went down. Because you’d have oh my god, I have a guest on CNN and the best they can do a Skype and they’re in the basement. But the quality of folks at home kind of went up like oh, okay, I’m on Zoom, I can have a green screen in the background. I can buy a ring light. So it’s interesting, but I think that the fact that everyone do you remember for a while Saturday Night Live, all the folks were separate doing skits in their homes in New York City or whatever. I think that lowered the bar enough for people to say, Okay, if Kate McKinnon can do this with the iPhone, then I can.
Heather Pearce Campbell 31:56
I love that. That’s so true. It’s interesting, because I remember seeing some of that too. And thinking, first of all, this is great that people are being creative and figuring out a way to still make this happen. Because how many of us I’ll raise my hand needed a break during the pandemic, or we still needed some, you know, somebody else to infuse us with humor for just a few minutes, right? That for me felt like a desperate need. So yeah, I appreciated that. But I love what you said about like, although that quality came down, everybody else’s came up because they felt like they could and so they tried and they did.
Lou Bortone 32:33
Yeah, it sort of leveled the playing field in a way. And I think it gave us permission to be goofy and creative. And I remember you know, I think for a while Conan O’Brien was using a theater in LA, where he had all these standees of the audience’s just to cut out people. But when the basketballs, empty arenas, but they had monitors, like, this is crazy.
Heather Pearce Campbell 32:57
I know, I remember that. I was gonna say I remember some sports games where they did that, like put the fake people in the seats. I know. So funny.
Lou Bortone 33:06
And that’s the lesson for entrepreneurship is sometimes you got to zig when you should zag. And sometimes you got to pivot when you need to.
Heather Pearce Campbell 33:13
Yeah, absolutely. Well, in on that point, your last comment raised an important point from the perspective because I heard you say, all these people, I mean, figuring out, though, that they could be themselves and bring that to the cameras, I think that still falls in like a general human struggle category of like, how do I be myself? Right? So even I think some people who are showing up and doing it consistently, maybe really don’t feel like they’ve gotten to the point of really infusing the video with their own personality or whatever. What do you have to say to those of us who feel like we could be more of ourselves? And how do we get there?
Lou Bortone 34:00
Yeah, I think part of it is eventually like, when we do zoom meetings like this, as a podcast, you kind of forget that the cameras there, you just have a conversation, so ignore the camera. In fact, when we were in doing video production, we would often there was a red light on the camera called the tally light. And all of a sudden that red light comes on people panic, or they freeze so we turn off the tally light and say, we’re just going to do a couple practice ones here. And we’re much more comfortable thinking that the camera was off than when the camera was on. I think part of its like you get to kind of forget the camera. And the other part of is if you have a brand, and you know, the more you infuse your personality, and this isn’t just a video, but the more you infuse your personality into that plan, the stronger that brand is going to be. Yeah, I mean, like right now, Kanye and Elon Musk are not having a good brand moment, right. Again, yeah, I guess it can work both ways. But again, the more you put yourself into your brand, like I said, when I started out, I was like what here’s my little pug Stella, she’s gonna be the star of this video. So I didn’t have to be the focus. And it got to the point where people go on video people like with the dog.
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:11
Right? This was a great strategy totally.
Lou Bortone 35:14
You know, I mean, they were everywhere. So it’s like, look, if you guys are gonna bark, when I’m doing zoom calls, I’m gonna just have to make you thought of the brand.
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:21
Oh, it’s such a good idea. I actually have a client who is branding. And he has a dog that he obviously adores, became one of the core pieces of the new brand, right? Like they made a whole cartoon, he actually makes little pillows of this dog and like, sends it out to new clients. You know, it’s this whole thing. But I love that just the reminder that it will make your brand stronger, one way or another. And I think for me, one of the lessons that I learned and really just paid attention to other people learning early on, because I’ve always loved you know, observing businesses and observing entrepreneurs, and what’s working and what’s not working, is the idea that your personality might repel some people. And that’s a good thing. Right? Embrace the fact that you’re not for everybody. And the earlier that you can do that the better.
Lou Bortone 36:16
Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, I will go through it now. But I mean, I’m known to drop an occasional F bomb, because I grew up in this tough Italian neighborhood. And sometimes that comes out and right. Like, hey, if you’re too much, for some people, those aren’t your people.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:29
Yeah, so true. I think people get so afraid, especially when they’re thinking about how vulnerable they feel, being on video or starting a podcast or whatever it is, where they feel ultra exposed. I think the first human desire is to be accepted and to fit in every place. And I think one of the first things that we have to do is embrace not fitting in as an entrepreneur.
Lou Bortone 36:52
And again, you know, the one of the trends around video, and I guess this probably came out of the pandemic as well is just to be more authentic, and to be more personal and personable. And so if you, again, whatever your quirks are, I would lean into that and just, you know, be as authentic and as you as possible.
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:10
So good. So good. I’d love to hear your insights on some before and afters of clients that you’ve worked with that have gone from not having a video strategy, or just not doing it very well, to some time later, having things clicking along for them, you want to share some of the stories.
Lou Bortone 37:31
In all these years that I’ve been doing this, I have yet to find a niche or a company that this wouldn’t benefit. And most folks, you know, there’s only been a few times in the last decade that I said, maybe you ought to think about radio. People are okay, once they get into it. I mean, I had a client who lived in Costa Rica, so she already had sort of internet issues. She’s like, I was on the phone with her. So I got a new Mac, and I’m gonna start doing video. Can you tell me where’s the on button for this Mac? I mean, that’s how tech averse she was. And she started with total ground zero, total newbie, I don’t know whether, you know, okay, there’s a Mac, there’s a camera up there. And in pretty short order, she would do videos about Americans coming to Costa Rica, what to expect, what to do, the internet access, and just these really authentic tips about travel. And, lo and behold, the more she did it, the more views she was getting one of her views of a sloth in a tree in Costa Rica got a quarter of a million views on YouTube. Wow. It’s kind of fun is that it really only takes one really great video to kind of catch fire and get you going. So not every video she did is gonna get a quarter million views. But if somebody who’s basically got a little iMac and is in Costa Rica with crappy internet connection can get a quarter million views on YouTube than anybody can.
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:02
Right. Well, and the thing that that reminds me because I think people again get so focused on like, well, it has to be perfect, or a certain production quality or whatever. I have another friend who was working with one of her clients and his videos were terrible. I looked at him like and I’m not trying to be judgmental. I’m just saying they weren’t good. Right. But even then it was his message that mattered. So he would show up and there was one video it was like probably the wrong angle I want to say like part of his body was cut off you couldn’t even like you know, and that was the one that got like some major attention for him. And it was such a learning lesson even in his own business about like, Oh, I was so worried about needing to create perfect videos and I totally missed the mark because I didn’t even understand what people are gonna like.
Lou Bortone 39:51
Yeah, I always tell my clients like you’re not going to the Oscars. This is not the red carpet. This is not who you wearing. Somebody is going on. Trying to find you and the solution you provide or looking on YouTube. Like the other day, I was like, how do I connect my iPad monitor to my telephone? You know, I just went to YouTube and typed it in and got a gazillion results. So I don’t get the best quality or which one has the clearest sound? I just want the answer to my problem.
Heather Pearce Campbell 40:19
Not that, what are you seeing now post pandemic, what trends and things are you seeing that we need to be paying attention to?
Lou Bortone 40:29
Right. Well, we talked a little bit of authenticity. The other big one in terms of video is personalization. And that’s really just a fancy word for video email. So I use a lot of video email to break through the clutter. And, you know, there’s a lot of online marketers, there’s a lot of noise, my emails, get maybe a 20%, open rate, my video emails get a 75% open rate. So I know if I’m trying to get somebody that’s a little hard to reach, I want to make that personal connection. I’m just going to send them a loom video, I don’t need any special technology or anything like that. I can do it from my phone, or I can just pull around.
Heather Pearce Campbell 41:04
So you’re just talking about sitting down and recording a personal message for a single recipient and sending that off. Yeah/
Lou Bortone 41:12
Yeah. So that’s been in the last couple of years that’s been a big trend is that more and more companies are starting to do personalization, even large companies where they can follow up, we’ve got this software that will put your name in at the beginning and at the end. And so some of it’s a little automated, but even that it’s a little at least it’s more personal and engaging than an email blast or just all this information on you.
Heather Pearce Campbell 41:39
Totally. Yeah, no, I love that. Biggie. That’s a good reminder. I do have some friends that use that. Well, as I think about it. I’m like, why am I not doing that?
Lou Bortone 41:50
Yeah, it’s kind of low hanging fruit. And the other one is we’ll just short form video like TikTok, obviously, YouTube shorts, and the fact that you know, you can get a message out in 10 or 15 seconds if you need to.
Heather Pearce Campbell 42:01
Yeah, so this idea of YouTube shorts, especially knowing what I’m learning about YouTube, right? I used to treat YouTube still kind of do I have a big opportunity to do things better in my own business, but YouTube was like a repository where you just like store things. But no, you got to think about it as its own platform. It’s one of the key ways. I mean, it’s significantly changed the way that it’s consumed. But the YouTube shorts, can get a gazillion views. I’ve had some folks talk about the success of those.
Lou Bortone 42:35
Right. And then because things like YouTube shorts and TikTok are mobile first and vertical. For me, it’s totally different. Like, oh, my God, you want me to make a video? That’s this way. That’s right. It’s just totally accepted now, and a great way to get out there. And if you think like, oh, I only have to do this for 15 seconds. I think I can get through that. So right. Let’s say I can’t do something in 10 seconds. I’m like, you know, television networks, since the 60s have been doing 10 second commercial, so why not?
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:07
Right. Yeah, little blips, you just have to think about your messaging a bit differently.
Lou Bortone 43:12
So short and sweet is good. At the same time, you know, YouTube wants you to do longer videos, because they want time. So if you have a combination of short, you know, a little burst of videos, and then you’ve got some other ones that are 10 or 15 minutes, then you’re sort of in a perfect spot for YouTube.
Heather Pearce Campbell 43:31
I love that I was gonna say what did the long form content videos look like? Minimum because, like, for me, we were talking about like, I didn’t do video very well, except for my Ask Me Anything Live, which started off weekly and then move to monthly but I always upload those to YouTube, right? And that’s gonna be an hour or a little bit over.
Lou Bortone 43:50
Yeah, and I have a client that doesn’t ask me anything live every month, just goes live and answers questions. So she does a half an hour that sort of like appointment viewing last Tuesday of the month, and I take those and then I cut them into 10 minute or six minute segments. So like, okay, well, now this 10 minute can fit on LinkedIn. And this two minute can fit on YouTube shorts, or TikTok to view the length of video that you can put on there. But again, that combination of short form videos and repurposing for different platforms is not as hard as one might think.
Heather Pearce Campbell 44:26
Yeah, yeah. So anything else that we either should be thinking about or doing already? Or what’s next on the horizon in the video world?
Lou Bortone 44:37
Yeah, I think again, it’s become so mainstream that companies even good marketing companies are gonna realize that video can’t be an afterthought. It has to be integrated, and really use it to enhance the things that you’re already doing. I’m doing email, okay, let me do some video email. I’m doing events. Let me do virtual video events. So really, you can build it into your marketing so that it’s part of it rather than an afterthought, because you know, okay, we’ve got our whole marketing plan. Oh crap, what do we do about YouTube, right?
Heather Pearce Campbell 45:10
Well, that’s such a key point. I mean, I can hear people right now in their brains being like, Oops, like raising their hands to the afterthought part, right? I think so many people it is like, oh, yeah, they think of it as separate. And it really should be at the forefront of your marketing strategy, which reminds me, you posted something on LinkedIn. It’s probably been months and months ago now. But I remember thinking like, This is so great. I don’t know, if you have it as an opt in somewhere. I don’t know if you know what I’m talking about. It was like, a video strategy, like how to do how to create a video strategy, like in a single sheet, right?
Lou Bortone 45:48
Yep, just a little one sheet. And it’s like, sometimes people need that step one, turn on your computer, you know. So it’s just a quick guide, kind of a one sheet to here, five or six considerations you need to think about. And sometimes when people just have that, in writing, in the back of it’s kind of just an Excel sheet that says, I’m going to do this video for this audience on this platform. But once you kind of organize that it’s much less intimidating, and you don’t get overwhelmed with oh my God, YouTube, you know.
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:15
Yeah, well, I’m gonna say when you hear the word strategy, I think some people go really big thinking like, Oh, this feels heavy or hard or ominous. And it can be really quite simple. Yeah. Yeah. Simple is good. So, Lou, out of respect for your time, I would love to know, first of all, one more question. And then I’m going to ask where people can find you. But first of all, who do you work with? Who do you love working with? And how can you how can you help them?
Lou Bortone 46:42
Yes, I work mostly with entrepreneurs and small business owners. I love working with small business owners. I’ve got everything from yoga instructors, to veterinarians, to lawyers, to accountants.
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:55
To the vasectomy guy.
Lou Bortone 46:56
I’ve got Doctor, I have an OBGYN as a podcast that I’m embarrassed to listen to, because it’s all a lady stuff. But the great thing is work for pretty much any niche. But I love working with small businesses, because you don’t have to go through the approvals and the corporate and the you know, just the rigmarole. So, you know, I worked in higher ed for a little while, I’m like, Oh, my God, these guys move so slow. It was just a boom, boom, boom. So I love the fact that they can basically make decisions quickly, and they can decide, I want to do and I’ve actually done this before, I need to do a video course and I want to launch it next week. I’m like, okay, that’s actually doable, because we just had to do these seven videos and bom, bom bom.
Heather Pearce Campbell 47:43
I love that. So are you helping people with both the strategy prep side as well as production? Where do you fall?
Lou Bortone 47:50
Mostly strategy, but for my one-on-one clients, I also do a lot of done for you. So they’ll send me wrong ad or I’ll help them plan out, okay, these are the videos that we need to do for this particular course that you’re teaching, which has become, you know, usually popular, it’s like you can scale yourself and clone yourself by creating a video course. And you don’t have to be teaching it every single time, you can do it once, and then just sell it again and again. So I do a combination of I don’t do actual like shooting with cameras, I just on the foot, which is nice.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:25
No, these days, you don’t have to.
Lou Bortone 48:27
Do this on Zoom, and then send it to me, and then I’ll make it look pretty.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:31
Super fun. Do you ever sit down and do like an assessment of a small business and help them identify where they can best utilize video?
Lou Bortone 48:41
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s typically where we may start, again, reverse engineer and say, well, what are you trying to accomplish? Do you want more traffic in the brick and mortar? Or do you want to sell more courses or books or whatever it may be. So we often start with the goals and then figure out the best way to help video plan that will actually help get them there. Because just to do video for video sake, is fine, but it’s not going to really necessarily move your business.
Heather Pearce Campbell 49:07
Yeah, exactly. Well, I feel like I still have like 89 questions I could ask you about this. It’s a fun world. It’s a really important one. We all need to be on top of our own strategy when it comes to video marketing. For folks that are like, I need to connect with Lou I need to learn more about his services and his work, where do you show up online? And where do you like for people to connect with you?
Lou Bortone 49:30
I’m at loubortone.com just like it sounds and Lou Bortone on all the socials Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
Heather Pearce Campbell 49:40
Do you have a favorite place to connect?
Lou Bortone 49:42
Ooh, I mean, I probably do. I probably get most of the day to day stuff on Facebook, actually, which people would probably think, wait, that’s…
Heather Pearce Campbell 49:50
Interesting. Do you feel like that has changed recently?
Lou Bortone 49:54
Yeah, I mean, Twitter is a little bit crazy right now and LinkedIn is just you know, it’s very corporate in kind of hit or miss, often late in lives are doing pretty well. But for me, you know, sort of my first stop is Facebook.
Heather Pearce Campbell 50:10
Good to know, good to know.
Lou Bortone 50:12
And the audience because if I say I remember when my kids were in high school, they said, Oh, you know, Dad, we saw something of you on Vine, or whatever the platform was at the time. I like that. That doesn’t help me at all, because high school students are not my audience.
Heather Pearce Campbell 50:25
Right. It’s not helpful. I think you’ve got a gift for the audience, right? Do you want to mention it just for a minute, and then I’ll direct people to the show notes.
Lou Bortone 50:34
Yeah, thank you. It’s at loubortone.com/planner, and it’s a one sheet plan, basically follow these five or six steps for getting started with video.
Heather Pearce Campbell 50:46
I love that. You’ll definitely want to check that out. I remember seeing that maybe that was what you even shared on LinkedIn, but thinking oh my gosh, everybody just needs to do some simple things the right way when it comes to video. So if you’re listening pop over check that out on the show notes page legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast, find Lou Bortone’s episode. Lou, it’s been such a pleasure to have you here.
Lou Bortone 51:12
We can do it again sometime.
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:14
I hope so too. The final question is what final thought or takeaway would you like to leave our listeners with?
Lou Bortone 51:23
I think it’s really just like, look, this is you know, video doesn’t bite it. Just give it a try. Because it really can have a significant impact on your business even if you are an introvert like me.
Heather Pearce Campbell 51:35
I love that. So, so important. All right. Thank you, Lou. So great to see you.
Lou Bortone 51:41
Thank you. Bye bye.
GGGB Outro 51:45
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at www.legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us too. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.