Community Spotlight – Catriona Founder Of Trakax Video Editing Software
This week we’re checking out Trakax and shooting some questions to Catriona. We’ve been a big fan of video having worked with Conor Whelan when he created our mileage video and motion graphic explainer video (here is the €15 quid one). Trakax creates software for editing video on both PC and Android, they also run an educational site for the SME industry called Trakax Business.com. We’ll be asking Catriona to share some tips to improve our videos and find out where she sees video going for the SME market.
So tell me a bit about trakax?
Catriona: Our vision for trakax is to give people tools to make original videos. Our Android product, trakax and our PC product trakaxPC, are tailored for beginners to start taking their raw videos and turn them into compelling content. We noticed very quickly that once people starting actually making videos, their progress is really rapid, so each product has tons of features that the user can start to explore, as their confidence and creativity grows.
The video editing space is a pretty busy one, how did you go about differentiate yourself?
Catriona: That’s a really great question. Although the market seems very busy, for an “everyday” user – that is a non-professional user – there aren’t as many options as you’d think. Apple users are really well catered for and iMovie is a key component in every device they sell. However, if you’re on a PC, you normally get Microsoft MovieMaker, which users outgrow very quickly for a multitude of reasons. Then users are faced with the option of upgrading to expensive, almost prosumer level software or watered down variations of these, which can have pretty intimidating interfaces to get to grips with. Android devices are still way behind iOS devices and actually have little video editing options, other than automated video creators.
The first way we differentiate ourselves is by the products. We aim to bridge the gap between software that gives you little or no input into your creations and software that is designed for professionals. The second way and maybe more importantly to our users, we differentiate ourselves by our customer service. We answer each email individually with no automated responses and will work with that user to make sure that we get to the bottom of their issue, from very simple problems to more detailed requests even to advice on what camera settings they should use. It’s quite a lot of work, but we’ve found that not only does it make business sense, as these users then recommend us to friends and colleagues, it’s also a nice way to work and get lovely feedback from happy customers who are used to software companies basically treating them terribly.
You’ve done agreat job of Trakax Business.com is content marketing key to your marketing strategy, if so explain to me why?
Catriona: At the moment, content marketing is our only marketing. Seriously. We are still small, but growing and giving users access to content that they find useful is the best way we’ve currently found of acquiring new customers. The cost to us is the time and effort that goes into the pieces. Recently I read a quote from Gary Vaynerchuk that I really liked – “We should give, give again, and give some more before ever asking for anything from our community”. We have spent quite some time building our business site and our educational resources for schools. Obviously lots of business and schools use these resources and may not buy, but without them we’d never get found and then every time a school or business does come to us looking for a quote, we can say, not only do you get the software, but we’ve also put together these lesson plans for your teachers or tips for your business video – it’s a great way to build trust with our users and show that we’ll be there for them even after the transaction is over.
Kickstarter has really brought a focus to the importance of video over motion graphics, what are your thoughts?
Catriona: There is a new buzz phrase doing the rounds called “Human to Human business” – it sounds slightly like dubious marketing speak, but at its core is a belief that as more and more of our interaction with businesses are online, we crave communication that is simple, genuine and honest – ie. treat me like an actual human being. The amazing thing about Kickstarter is that almost every idea is driven by someone who is passionate about the project – it’s this passion that will see a good idea over the line, so the founders need to convey this to potential sponsors. Motion graphics can’t create this relationship with the donors – actually seeing the real people behind the projects can. Here are two of my favourite Kickstarter campaigns (Kickstarter – Flint and Tinder Premium Mens Underwear and The Tea Company – they work because you know the founders really care and this is the first step in creating a relationship with your user base
There is a lot of crap corporate videos out there, what tips would you give companies looking to avoid the training-video-itus?
Catriona: The first piece of advice I would give is to get inspiration. Vimeo, our site trakAxBusiness.com and Etsy Portraits are good places to start. When you find a video that is similar to the vision you want to create, take notes – what tone of voice are they using, what kind of shots did they record, what was the lighting like etc. By breaking down the video, you’ll pick up tips on how to make your video more compelling.
The second tip I would give, is to keep it short. If you have decided to make a video, there is the temptation to try and cram as much information in as possible, but this is counterproductive. You’ve got a short period of time (we recommend 3-5 minutes) to keep your customer’s attention and we recommend keeping your video to one key point – your story / one product / one service etc. You can then use your channel to push other videos to promote other areas of your business. Make a plan for your video and have a clear vision of what shots you’ll need. We always suggest getting more content than you think you’ll need, because you won’t want to go back and record more.
Finally and I can’t stress this enough, is be yourself. Until recently, I think small companies were afraid of making videos for fear of looking “small” – our office isn’t fancy enough, we don’t have enough employees, people will think we’re small-time etc. However, what people really want online is trust. By seeing the people who are going to be selling them something or providing them with a service, you are building this trust. If you’re not comfortable in front of the camera, get your colleague to be the face. If your office isn’t “cool”, add a backdrop of a chalkboard or a plant – you just need to think outside the box. Don’t be intimidated by creating a video. The investment to start is minimal, but the rewards can be great. Start small and get a feel for what works, and every video you create will be an easier process than the last.
We have a lot of filmmakers in the Bullet community, who would be your favourite Irish film makers in your space?
Catriona: There are so many great videos coming from Irish companies at the moment that it’s hard to narrow it, but I always love the videos from Forkful.tv – they are deceptively simple and for some reason, I always remember the recipes even though there is no voiceover. Broadsheet.ie is great at showcasing Irish video talent and I loved this video on sign painting that they featured recently,
Creating a video is quite a task, what advice would you give a company looking to promote that video?
Catriona: I would start with the very basics first – do you have a good title, description, thumbnail, is your web address visible, have you picked the correct keywords etc. I would then ensure that it is embedded in the correct place on your website – many people just put it on the homepage, but that may not necessarily where it is most needed – it may be worth putting it on different pages where your products and services are highlighted. Although Vimeo is a great video sharing site, I would always put it on YouTube as well – it’s just too important to ignore. After it is on YouTube, ensure that your YouTube channel is synced with your verified Google+ Page so it can appear in Search results. You can then share it on Twitter, Facebook etc. The thing about videos is not to get too hung up on views over a short period of time, it may take a while, but unless your product or marketing changes drastically, your video should still be relevant in 6 or 12 months’ time.
Where do you see the future for video with the SME market?
Catriona: For the SME market, video is going to become one of the most important components of their marketing strategy. I think people now understand that it isn’t necessarily about your video going viral. The move is definitely taking place on creating short videos, on a small / no budget, that are interesting and helpful to actual and potential customers. This may be a restaurant showing a video of the chef’s signature dishes, a craftsperson showing the skill involved in creating a bespoke product or a manufacturer providing support videos. It may take months or even years for these videos to gain thousands of views, but by getting that person to make a restaurant booking, the purchasers deciding to spend those extra euros on a bespoke piece or reducing support costs, the videos are fulfilling their requirements, just in a quieter, less headline grabbing way.
Anything you think might be of interest or would like to promote?
Catriona: If any of the Bullet community are interesting in dipping their toes into the world of video, we’d love them to give trakax a go – all the products are available to try for free and if they have any questions at all, just to drop us a mail, we’re always here to help. Thanks for the opportunity to talk to your users and we hope some of the above will be useful!