Category: Blog

Making the transition from a life in the media to business owners was a little tricky at times. When working in television you always finished the day with a package grandin-road-artisan-package-with-bow-large-d-20121017210630467~6980923w that you could put a bow on before going home for the night. A lot of times in business you don’t get to put that bow on for weeks, if not months. While there were some growing pains in those first few months of business, we quickly realized one tenant remained in tact from our days of television, it is all about relationships.

With that in mind, early on as a company we decided to search out partners, not clients. We want companies, universities and organizations that see value in what we offer and give both sides a chance to build a relationship that makes the outcome that much stronger. Yes, the term partner evokes images of a warm, cozy working relationship and at the end of the day, that’s what we are striving for in every project we consider.

A great example of a partner relationship that has been beneficial to both sides has been our work with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. The marketing team at the Y has such a great handle on sharing messages about the important work they do in the community, it has been a pleasure to work with them.  After spending nearly two years working on multiple video projects with their team, we feel very confident when they put a new project on the table. As Molly Thompson puts it, “it’s almost like walking down the hallway to a co-worker that already knows everything you need done and they do it well.”

Knowing that we have partners like this makes the mission of Spiracle Media that much clearer.  The definition is a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor, the YMCA and a number of our other ‘partners’ fall right in line with that.

If you are looking for a long-term relationship with a digital media provider, please take some time to contact us and let us know how we may be able to help, or let’s just get coffee.

Last month, Spiracle Media spent the day in Virginia Beach taking part in what turned out to be a really cool event spearheaded by client EverFi and enjoyed by over 800 attendees. The job included capturing Pharrell Williams and the announcement of a partnership between the singer/producer’s charity, From One Hand to AnOTHER and EverFi.

Our background in television played an important role in documenting the event as we felt right at home in the fast paced environment. After spending the morning and early afternoon shooting scene setters around the school, the next few hours were a blur following the arrival of Pharrell at his alma mater, Princess Anne High School.

And yes…we did ask for a pic.






There have been plenty of “necessary” tools that have made their way into the process of marketing over the last few years and have coincided with the continual evolution of how people communicate online. A few of the necessary tools of yesteryear that have become essential to your online presence are your website and social media efforts. Having a clean and functional website has been a no-brainer for a long time while social media is no longer the new kid on the block.

Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves that social media doesn’t just include Facebook and Twitter. Merriam-Webster defines it as such: forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos). It’s the last point of emphasis in that definition that I want to expound upon, VIDEO.

Video is now in the necessary category when it comes to communicating with customers, employees, donors and just about anyone you’re looking to connect on a deeper level. It activates emotion and helps promote action. The days of pondering video are long gone, it’s no longer optional. Feeding the consumer’s desire for visual stimulation is at the forefront.

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Montezuma Creek, UT

Storytelling is a great way to connect the viewer to human emotion while spotlighting your brand in the process. At Spiracle Media, we know that storytelling is our bread and butter. Every member of our current staff has spent at least a decade writing, shooting, editing and telling stories. There is certainly still a need for long form pieces, but you can also tell a great story in a minute to a minute and a half. After all, attention spans are at an all-time low.

Just as critical as telling a great story is having goals going into the process. Make sure to identify the right message and map out how you plan to use the finished product. By establishing goals, you can maximize the use and shareability of what you produce. Think shelf life and the maximization of your investment.

There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to the goal and type of video. Video can be used to reach an internal or external audience. We have all seen testimonials that connect a viewer with a particular brand or experience. The storytelling piece that encourages donations or an event recap that helps to line up sponsors for next year.




Two words of advice, start simple. Simple is usually the best method of attack. Let the story stand by itself. At the end of the day, video has a place and use for every business and brand. It’s hands down the best way to emotionally connect to an audience.

I’m sure that most marketers are consistently posing the question: what are we missing? I know that we are. It might just be the video.

A hot afternoon, hot cars, and cool guys. That sums up a recent EO Charlotte team building event in Greenville, SC. It wasn’t your grandfathers handholding and camp fire kumbaya gathering. This was a foot on the floor, heartbeat bumping, smorgasbord of skidding. It was fifth gear fun not just for the guys driving the BMWs.

The videographers had a blast too. It’s not every day we get to see successful business owners act like kids. These guys definitely were giddy sitting behind the wheel of 500 horsepower cars. The characters, speed, and beauty of the day made our jobs easy. We simply turned on our cameras, focused, and watched the wheels spin. Ok, there was a little more involved than that to produce the video you see above. This shoot had its fair share of challenges.

First, we needed to travel light. We primarily shot on one Canon 60d, a Cartoni tripod, a set of lenses, a mic pack, and one slider. We didn’t have time to set-up for shots or pre-plan for the production. We needed to think faster than the action on the track. By far, the best video came from the rain track. The glitter of the water, the reflection of the cars, and the interior action more than made up for the lack of speed on this particular part of the performance course.

Rain droplets

There’s one shot, where we focused on the falling drops of water while out of focus cars skid through the frame. We used our Sigma 18-250 to achieve this look. The iris was opened to it’s max, we upped the shutter speed to 2000, and powered down the ISO to 100. The scene came alive. The depth of field makes this shot. The video almost looks as though its been slowed down. Trust us, it isn’t.

In post production, we wanted to replicate the look and feel of the TV show Top Gear. A car show that is known for its cars as much as its video production value. We utilized letter boxing, vignettes, and anamorphic flares in the finished product. This is a hard line to toe.

animorphic flare

While this makes the video looks good, it can be too much. We didn’t want the post production work to take away from the action. Looking back, we would have liked to use our drone. How cool would it be to see the action from a birds eye view. We opted not to use it due to convenience. Our clients seemed to love the final product. We think it turned out well too. It was different than the videos we normally produce. It proved to us that we can produce hot video in multiple settings. Now it’s time to hightail it to the next project.

Equipment used: 3 GoPro Hero3 Black Edition, Canon 60D DSLR, Sigma 18-35mm, Tamron 10-24mm, Tamron 18-200mm, Kenovo slider and a Cartoni Alpha Tripod. Edited with Apple Final Cut Pro X

An excerpt from the about section of Comcast/NBC’s “The More you Know” website reads: For more than two decades, NBCUniversal’s Emmy award-winning The More You Know public service campaign has given viewers easy-to-use, concrete, manageable steps to help set realistic change in motion.

A great concept when it comes to the world of PSA’s that has certainly been impactful. You are probably thinking already where is this going. Well, I want you to apply that same concept to yourself when it comes to your role of creating content especially video. It’s time to address “The More you Know.” How much do you know that’s actually helping to spark improvement? Is your knowledge helping the company reach its goals of quality and relevancy?

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Over the past 13 years, I have been fortunate to work in broadcasting and media in various capacities. I have been a part of the digital evolution of the internet and the changing landscape when it comes to how things are created and shared. Something that’s hard to summarize when you’ve lived it.

I can look back with certainty and come to the conclusion that it has put me in the position I hold today — Co-Founder of a company that specializes in social media and video production. Our strong suit is visual storytelling, something that is supported by 11 years in television and a handful of years doing freelance video projects. Would I have guessed I would be where I am three years ago? Not at all. Did I ever plan to work in TV? Nope, but it has been an exciting journey.

When I started in television, the idea of posting stories to the internet was a new concept and that wasn’t even that long ago. When I left, whole broadcasts were available online.  Now, station websites and social channels are a source of 24/7 news and information. My first exposure to populating content to a website took place in 2003 during my first full-time job. From there, things took off in multiple directions.

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I was pretty much self-educated when it comes to shooting video after absorbing tips from a few senior photographers at the station. I will be forever be in debt to them for giving me a solid foundation when it comes to the fundamentals. I of course enjoyed writing stories and being on-air, but the job demanded much more than that.

Over the years since, I have strengthened my skills when it comes to visual composition, editing, writing, shooting and on-air delivery. Reps are a big part of growing, but you still need to critique, observe and indulge in different areas of the process. I have been a yes man most of my life and that has led to competence editing on four different editing platforms and exposed me to different types of situations. A mentor told me a long time ago, say yes and go figure it out. That might be scary, but it’s a great way to promote personal growth. Hint: it should be something you already understand a little.

You might say well you were forced to do all these different things. There is a yes and no aspect to that question. The yes is that I was forced to add different tasks and aspects to my plate. The no pertains to the fact that I didn’t have do it well and could have probably slid by just fine doing a mediocre job for the immediate future.  However if I would have ultimately settled for the status quo, I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t be in a position to lead a company that is growing in so many areas. It doesn’t make it any less challenging, but it does add a sense of peace in truly believing in what you’re doing for clients. It’s a confidence that I can carry into a conversation every time I look a client in the eye. I relish the ability to see things from a 360 degree view when it comes to video.

Staying relevant is part of the game and because I accepted the challenge of learning new things, I continued to be a valuable ingredient in somebody’s plan. I became versatile.

My goal of this blog wasn’t to share all the things I’ve done — but rather share the positive of learning multiple skills well. I am a proponent that you should specialize in one thing, but there is no reason that you can’t be really strong in other related areas. It may take time, but don’t frown on the idea of picking up something new. Having a complete view of the process is critical when it comes to being a consummate team player. You’ll also have a greater appreciation for what others are doing. It will keep your stock high within the company and add credibility when dealing with clients. Bringing a 360 degree view is immeasurable. Start working on developing yours.


If the image that pops into your mind when you hear the word “Pinterest” is a girl looking for wedding ideas or a middle-age woman hoping to snag scrapbooking tips, you are missing a great marketing tool — one that can work for your business through cross platform promotion.

According to a Pew Research Center Study, 15 percent of people who use the Internet also visit Pinterest.  When you consider that nearly 2.5 billion people use the Internet you begin to see the massive potential for reaching your customers through Pinterest.

While the traditional methods of advertising still have a place in your marketing plan, updating your methods of getting the word out is essential if you want to give your company brand traction and propel it forward.  In order to properly utilize Pinterest you need only take the first few steps.

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Get the Word Out

Pinterest has what they call a “goodies” page for new users. One of the things offered there is a “Follow” or “Pin It” button for you to post on your company website. Link that button to your material on Pinterest in order to let potential customers know they can find you there. You can also add the icon to your old-school promotional materials like brochures, flyers, and newspaper ads.

Take Advantage of Pinterest for Business

Pinterest knows that businesses want to be part of the growing social community and have made it easy to do so by allowing you to create a business account. There’s no fumbling in the dark to figure the site out as Pinterest walks you through the entire process, giving you tips along the way to help you connect.

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One way to link professional platforms is to use the email address associated with your company’s Twitter account when setting up a Pinterest account.  If you don’t already have a Twitter account, it’s a good idea to set it up the same time you roll out your Pinterest presence as another way to enforce cross platform promotion.

Get Faithful Customers Involved

Ask your friends and customers to help by pinning pictures of themselves holding a product associated with your business and tag you.  Once you’ve been tagged you can re-pin those photos on a VIP board.  It’s a great way to achieve cross platform promotion while also showing appreciation to your current customers.

Follow the Rules

Pinterest has an etiquette of its own. Among the things they ask of users is that you avoid self-promotion, credit sources for anything you pin, and be polite.  What Pinterest helps you do is to create an image for your business. Make it a practice to repin and “like” other content on Pinterest that you believe will benefit your community. Share pictures and videos from other boards related to your industry. What you will likely find is that as you pin things of interest, other people will begin to re-pin them, giving your company credit in the process.

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Get to Know Potential Customers

Millions of people use Pinterest as a way to organize the things they like: their favorite artists, restaurants, travel destinations, and more. Pinterest can be used as a tool for seeing inside the lives of your potential customers. Take a look at the pinners who follow your business or businesses like yours. As you learn more about the people you are marketing to you will be better able to gear your marketing efforts towards them.

In the ever-changing landscape of social media, Pinterest has become a player worth getting to know.

Google Adwords originally was developed to share “sponsored links,” but many businesses are missing out on the valuable addition of using video with AdWords. Using video ads allows you to engage and entertain possible customers on websites that partner with Google. It’s a “pay per click” system, meaning you only pay when someone clicks your ad as a result of a related search within their search engine.

While there is a lot to learn about Google Adwords, here’s some information about how this service could benefit your company in 2014.

It’s easy to get started!

It’s simple. All you have to do is create an account, upload your video ad, choose the target audience that’s right for you and you’re already targeting new customers!


When you consider that YouTube is the #1 video website and the second largest search engine in the world, it’s safe to say the audience is there. They’re already watching these videos, and currently other people’s ads! Why not yours? Find the exact customers you want by targeting them specifically by keywords, demographics or topics.


You can customize your ad to fit your personal needs. AdWords works with TrueView which provides multiple formats for you to pick from.

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One of the most attractive features -which we mentioned earlier- is the pay per click system. This means your never throwing money at advertising and crossing your fingers that people will see it. You ONLY pay when your targeted audience chooses to watch your ad. Another great aspect is those who aren’t interested can save you money by skipping your ad instead of sitting through it.

Advantage of video

Video has proven to be one the best ways to capture an audience by delivering a more engaging experience. AdWords gives you the option to be authentic and personable with your customer base. After all, who knows your business better than you? Describing or demonstrating your product or service is much more effective than detailing it in a paragraph.

Track your progress

You can easily track your success by using the provided analytics to see views, clicks, costs and more. With this powerful information, you can make decisions on which video ads are the most successful and which ones you may want to pull.  Contact us here at Spiracle Media if you have any more questions about Google AdWords with Video and if you need help producing a video.

During the initial phase of a new job or onset of a significant task, treating it like a rookie is a natural and essential part of the process. It’s a time where you’re exposed to new people and ways of doing what you may or may not have been exposed to in the past. Your ambition and willingness to learn is a strong indicator of how well you will succeed.

More than ever, the ability to adapt is crucial when it comes to succeeding with technology. At Spiracle Media, we’re always looking to stay ahead of the game when it comes to online tools, video and strategy that lead to phenomenal results when reaching the target audience. That’s where continual evaluation comes into play. The ways of yesterday may be extinct tomorrow or at the least lose their shine. It’s an obvious concept, but one that takes focused effort to combat.


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First, don’t get stuck in your ways. There are always new pieces to add to the puzzle that will assist in reaching the goal. It’s critical to evaluate and  re-evaluate on a consistent basis. Make it part of the routine. Understand why things happen and realize that your ways are not always the best ways despite getting the desired result.  The bar of evaluation should be unreachable.

Second, social media and video are introducing new tools every day. Some are relevant, while most probably won’t make a difference in what you’re trying to accomplish. However, having a basic idea that those things are out there is a must. What’s in demand? Who is using them? Is there a correlation between these tools and our efforts? After that, you can weigh whether it makes enough sense to slightly change direction.

This all ties back to the attitude of a rookie, but not just any rookie. A rookie that takes pride in further education and consuming information that doesn’t completely consume, but adds to your productive knowledge base. One of the biggest pieces of advice that I can throw out there is don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Easier said than done especially when things are working fine. I get complacent just like the next person and stubborn to new ideas once and while. But overall, I am up for a learning experience. It should be an exciting process as the things you are testing today will be in play before you know it.

Treating it like a rookie will keep your ideas and your actions fresh. You will naturally want to learn and that’s a powerful thing. Don’t get complacent in who you are and what you are doing. Remain productive at all times.  A good summation of that concept is found in this quote by John P. Kotter, “A higher rate of urgency does not imply ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state of complacency is virtually absent.” Complacency might not lead to ultimate failure, but it will certainly be a failure in utilizing your talents and abilities to maximum capacity. Treat everything like a rookie!


I’m sure you’ve seen it. It seems like everyone’s seen it.

The marketing masterpiece put forth by Westjet airline right before Christmas.


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Their new ad shows a virtual Santa wishing families a merry christmas as well as taking gift requests from kids and parents. While it’s apparent most adults interact with the system for the smiles brought to their little ones faces, they still reveal some significant presents they would enjoy.





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You learn later that Westjet employees are listening to all the requests and making their best efforts to grant the wishes of the their customers. The truly magical part happens when the travelers are standing around the conveyer belt expecting to pick up their luggage and are shocked when the very presents they wished for just a few hours previous are circling the belt, perfectly wrapped, addressed specifically to them.

So why did this work so well? Why did everyone want to share this on their news feeds which in turn propelled the video to over 30 million views?

They did 3 things right.

Tugged on heartstrings

Videos containing people’s reactions toward unexpected gestures will always be popular. It’s proven time after time when a love story with a twist happy ending enters the theaters or when a well thought out proposal video is posted on youtube. People want to watch them because these videos emotionally grab them and draw them into the story. More importantly though, they want to SHARE it with others who they know will enjoy it as much as they did.

 Be as creative as possible

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When you take an unexpected gesture and add in an innovative creative touch, you’re well on your way to making people smile. Thinking outside the box is a crucial element Westjet considered when creating something special for their customers. Chances are that most people who watched their video had never seen an airline make christmas wishes come true the same way Westjet did. This may be the hardest part of the whole process. Coming up with something new, creative, and heart-warming is no easy task.

 Don’t set your expectations too high

It’s pretty safe to say Westjet didn’t expect this video to reach 34 million views. I’m sure they considered the potential for this video to go viral when creating this experience, however they stuck to a smaller scale. They chose a small select group of their customers to surprise in order to provide them with a larger and more generous experience. They also strategically sent the video out to their customers announcing they would donate flights to the Ronald McDonald House once the video hit 200,000 views. 200,000- that’s was the goal. It’s a hefty number for most videos on Youtube, but it’s not a viral number by any means.

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An expert like John-Kurt Pliniussen, associate professor of marketing and innovation say this campaign wont wont increase the airlines sales much, but the brand will benefit overall. Pliniussen says, “Typically we shop, when we travel, on price – as opposed to brand,” said Pliniussen. “What they’re trying to do is say, ‘Look, if you travel, also consider the brand. Go to the WestJet site.’”

While there’s no formula for a viral video, learning from those who’ve accomplished it will make you more likely to succeed in your next endeavors. Whether your intent is to make a name for your brand and become more successful or just to get a laugh out of people, strategic thinking is important when trying to leave your mark and doing it right.

It’s the beginning of a new year and it’s time to take it up a notch. This is the year you’re going to make a name for yourself, grow your company and change the world. How are you going to use your small advertising budget to take your company viral?

Companies large and small are seeing increasing ROI from social marketing. There are no guarantees of having your content go viral, but there are some areas you can focus on to increase the chances that the world will choose your content to be the next viral break out.

Content that moves

  • Connect to emotions – Viral content needs to make people smile, warm their hearts, and make them feel like you care about them and the world around you. Likeable Social launched with a wedding.
  • Strong visuals – In a world of light and sound, short attention spans, and sound bites, visual is more likely to go viral than big blocks of words. Short videos and provocative pictures will make users more likely to pause long enough to share.

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Where content moves

Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook are the strongest platforms for visual marketing. Twitter is great for linking to larger content pieces, or breaking news. Use Email campaigns for upcoming events.

Put together a press release and send it to the news outlets in your area. In the 24/7 news cycle of the information age, news agencies are as hungry for content as the rest of the web. Getting a great piece of content picked up by your local network affiliates can propel you to viral prominence.

How content moves

For going viral, speed is key. Look at trending keywords on Google, Yahoo and Twitter. Use relevant keywords in your title, description and naturally throughout any written content. Use hash tags and tags to get your content into the flow of Twitter and connected on blogs and other websites in related searches.

Be sure your tags are relevant to your content. Be sure they are relevant to your users. Keep your timing in mind. Going viral is often about releasing your content at the moment your subject matter is trending with your audience.


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Who you are

Be sure you know what you want your audience to take away from your marketing campaign. Viral content makes your company brand and image stand out, and you want to be remembered well.

  • Make it useful – Social media increasingly feels like everyone is trying to sell something. Companies use it for advertising. Politicians use it for vote swaying. Writers use if for promotion. Stand out from the crowd by demonstrating how your company is useful.
  • Be authentic – Tell the story of who you are. Put faces to the name of your company. Let the world see the human beings behind the name, their joys, their sorrows, their struggles and their triumphs.
  • Be an inspiration – What’s great about who you are? Share it so that others will be inspired.

If at first you don’t succeed

Viral content is, for the most part, a happy accident. You can make your content smart, funny, inspirational, and helpful. You can pay attention to detail, and send it to everyone you can think of. In the end, you can’t make it go viral. If your first attempt doesn’t catch the cyber wave, don’t give up. Keep trying. The web needs more quality content, and even without a viral success, your efforts will build a solid following and grow your brand.

Let us know what you think in the comment section below!