Video Tip: Find Something To Give Away For Free

by | Feb 21, 2018 | Promotional Video, Video Tip

In 2016, Caitlin Trainor got in touch with us to film her new project: Dancio.

The idea for Dancio came from a sense of frustration all dancers can relate to – feeling like they need to warm up properly before rehearsals, or get to class to stay in shape… but not always having the time, energy or funds to do so!

One day while searching the internet for a quick online class, Caitlin (who is Choreographer and Artistic Director of Trainor Dance) was shocked she couldn’t find anything she needed! As she puts it, nothing “hit the mark in terms of relevance and quality. I thought to myself, how does this not exist? We have the Daily Burn for Fitness, YogaGlo for yogis, Netflix for entertainment and nothing for dancers! But then I thought, I can make this!” So, Dancio (a combination of dance and video) was born!  (via Pointe Magazine).

Dancio’s first order of business was to create 4 masterful online dance classes. The goals were to make the classes beautiful and clear, so a dancer could easily follow instructions while the teacher was demonstrating and take class from anywhere.

We had a large team to work on Dancio. We used multiple cameras, had numerous people editing the videos and we hired a sound engineer to make sure the teacher’s instructions and the live music in class sounded great.

Once we had completed filming, we strategized about an important asset that we needed to market Dancio: a freebie to give away.

Caitlin and her marketing team at Amy Jacobus Marketing wanted there to be something tangible to give to people to encourage them to sign up for Dancio’s email list as the business was just beginning to grow. Barre with the amazingly talented Julie Kent seemed like the perfect option.

So, Nel Shelby Productions created another video for Dancio – a cut of just Julie Kent’s barre (no center or across the floor) – and Dancio started giving it away for free!

Then, we edited 12 separate videos for Dancio’s social media. This was a perfect job for the NSP team, because we had already filmed and edited all of the classes. We went through the videos again to choose what we imagined would be the best parts of the classes to showcase how awesome they are.

We made these sneak-peek clips short enough to be shared on social media, and Dancio took over, sharing them on Instagram and Facebook and using them in online ads. They now have almost 2,000 email subscribers from promoting the Julie Kent barre!

One video in particular really made an impact!

When Dancio first posted the video excerpt to their Instagram from Julie Kent’s barre below, the video was a hit! It got 22.7K views!

Then, we shared on our Instagram at Nel Shelby Productions and the video reached even more people52.4K views and counting! 

This is a perfect example of something that we always tell our clients: use what you have to create new material and adapt it for sharing online!!!

But it’s also a perfect example of using what you have to expand your audience and grow your list of fans and followers. Why not give something away for free? Entice new people to sign up for your news and announcements?

Give away something you know people want already and that makes sense for your company’s mission. Maybe it’s a video on how you structure rehearsal that other choreographers can learn from. Maybe it’s teaching an iconic part of your best-received work. Maybe it’s an exclusive email list of behind-the-scenes looks into the running of your dance company. The possibilities are endless!! And the dance world is so creative!

Why did this video do so well compared to the others that were shared? Dancio is promoting giving away Julie Kent’s barre, and this video is giving a preview of exactly what get when you sign up!

Yes, part of what makes this video special and impactful is Julie Kent’s star power and the way she teaches class. There is no secret formula for making a viral video. No special time of day you can share it or specific length of video that is most shareable…  The only way you can increase your chances of getting reach in the tens of thousands though is if you use video PERIOD. So why not try? 🙂

Of course, you should use relevant hashtags while sharing anything on Instagram and you should put some money behind posts you want seen on Facebook – it always helps to have a budget meant to increase engagement and reach.

I think being intentional is just as important as all the above. Dancio, Amy and NSP were selective when making these video clips. We had a very careful thought-process behind making them. Even if it just was pulling excerpts!

There’s definitely hard work and thoughtful reasoning behind the plan for these videos. But behind every viral video, there is a little bit of magic involved, too!!

Nel Shelby is Owner & Filmmaker for Nel Shelby Productions, her New York City-based company dedicated to dance videography and editing. Nel shares her mission to preserve and promote the art of dance with her husband, Christopher Duggan, a dance and wedding photographer. They collaborate on projects with dance companies of worldwide renown, up-and-coming choreographers, dance educators, dance schools and more. Nel is Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow and Vail Dance Festival and is also the proud Director and Producer of PS DANCE! — a New York Emmy-nominated documentary about dance education in NYC’s public schools.