Awesome People - Ep 39

Explainer and product videos, marketing, exec coaches surprise

Hi founders and fellow VC Friends!

Each week we deliver one awesome person to your inbox. These are the people you need to know—the marketers, sales gurus, engineers, ops wizzes— who give your startup superpowers 🚀. The best part is, everyone is hireable on a part-time basis.

Please meet Vlad, Your Video Producer, Editor, and 1 Man Video Crew! ✨

Vlad does all the marketing and product videos for Fast, the hot one-click checkout company that’s raised $22.5M from Index, Stripe, and Kleiner Perkins. Kyle Tibbits, the Head of Marketing at Fast (formerly an early employee and Head of Brand Marketing at Opendoor), described Vlad as Fast’s “visual magician.” As Fast’s one-man show, he can do in a few days what takes entire agencies weeks! Over the course of his career, he has created 50+ videos and provided video creation services to more than 20 businesses. When he’s not working at Fast full-time or freelancing with startups, he loves directing music videos 🎤. 

Vlad also has experience creating content for a variety of companies in different spaces. He's trusted by Eaze (cannabis marketplace that’s raised $188M from 500 Startups and Fresh VC), Helium (IoT platform that’s raised over $50M from USV and Khosla), Forgerock (identity and access management platform that’s raised $275M from Accel and KKR), and more.

You can hire him to:

  • produce compelling explainer and product videos

  • plan affordable content marketing campaigns to drive user-generated content

  • supercharge your team's user engagement with videos for Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and your top-performing channels 

Need video help? Let me know and I’ll intro you to Vlad! 

He was kind enough to give us some hot video marketing tips 🎬

You don’t need a lot of $ to get started with video marketing. 

Don’t be fooled by high-end $$$ video production companies. You don’t need them on day 1. You can easily get traction with DIY videos if your product is viable and solves a real problem. Scale your video marketing budget as you grow. 

Learn from other startups. Find companies in your industry at a similar stage, and iterate on their strategy (intended audience, distribution channel, video topics, video lengths, and storylines). 

Let’s get tactical. Here’s how to create a DIY video. 

  • Start with your audience. What are they interested in? This is the #1 most important step in the process. If your content doesn’t resonate, nothing else matters. The best videos focus on what the viewer wants to watch, not just what the company wants to say.

  • Hook your viewer. Now that you know your audience, answer the question "Why am I watching this?" in the first 10 seconds of the video. A stellar hook should convince your audience to watch the whole thing. The best scripts hold your audience’s hand from one scene to the next and keep people excited throughout the video.

  • Make sure the video quality is shareable. No need to buy an expensive camera. Any iPhone camera from the past couple of years is good enough! Consider small investments in lights (the ring light from Amazon is perfect), colored paper backdrops, and a microphone. These don’t break the bank, make your brand look more legit, and ultimately lead to more views. 

  • Set the stage for a successful video. Pick a location with minimal noise and with no direct sunlight. Background noise is really noticeable once you start editing and direct sunlight makes videos look underexposed or overexposed. Next, set up the lights, microphone, and camera. Make sure your camera is on a tripod. If you don’t have one, you can order a tripod from Amazon for $20. Test everything before you start recording. Often sound and lighting problems appear out of nowhere. Boom! Now it’s time to record. Do at least 2-3 takes of the same piece of content so that you have multiple options for editing. 

  • Edit your video to make it more engaging.  Keep your viewer entertained and engaged with dynamic transitions, animated titles, and music. With proper editing (and good sound and lighting!), you can make even boring ads or promo videos seem exciting. Here’s a secret. There are tons of high-quality video editors who are affordable and can add in these engaging touches. Hire a video editor on Fiverr to save yourself time and money. 

  • Distribute your content where your audience hangs out, whether that’s YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, or anywhere else. You can test putting a little paid spend behind your videos to boost their reach.

COVID is an incredible opportunity to get creative 

During COVID, people are spending more time on their computers and social media engaging with content. Take the opportunity to set up a video workshop, create more social videos, and engage with people you otherwise wouldn’t. Find a unique way to increase your brand awareness like Uber’s “Thank you for not riding” video, Amazon’s “COVID-19 Vlog,” or Shopify’s video, “How to update your online store during COVID-19”. Your videos should add value, whether they teach viewers something valuable or make them laugh. It’s your time to shine. 

Drumroll please, introducing the Awesome People Executive Coach List 🙏

Many of you have asked for exec coach recommendations in the past 6 months. Last week, we asked you to recommend your favorite coaches. All I have to say is WOW! You’re all amazing. I’m very thankful for your recommendations and feedback. Special shoutout to Andrea Funsten (awesome VC at Basecamp Fund) for contributing her own exec coach list to kick things off.

As a special surprise, we made a crowdsourced list of the top executive coaches recommended by you (trusted founders, VCs, top operators) 🤩. Think we missed someone? Nominate them for the list here

Are there other lists you'd like to see? We can work together to crowdsource and share recs ❤️.

That’s all for this week ✨! Email me if you want an intro to Vlad or have questions about the Exec Coaching List.

Also, I always love hearing your feedback, thoughts, and ideas for Awesome People. You are part of this dream team!!! Let me know your thoughts 😀.

Stay awesome, 

Julia Lipton

Founder of Awesome People and Awesome People Ventures

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Most recent Awesome People 😍

Laura - Geo Expansion and Product Ops GM. She’s worked with McKinsey, Sierra Ventures, and held product and ops leadership roles across Opendoor, growing the company from 2 cities to 20+ and 100 employees to 1500+.

Fabri - Go-to-market consultant and product marketing leader. He’s worked with Alan, Snapchat, and Square to launch products, tap into new markets, and scale revenue exponentially.

Megan - Marketing Program Manager and campaign whiz. She’s worked with NerdWallet, Samsara, and Twitch to develop strategic partnerships, marketing campaigns, and growth strategies.

Let me know if you want intros to any of the people above and I’ll connect you!