Sam Sloma, managing director of Engage FS in London, has just started a regular vlog, which he posts on his website, LinkedIn and Twitter. Here he discusses why he chose vlogging, his aims, and the results so far.
There are so many marketing platforms to choose from – why video?
I decided I’ve got a face for video! No, honestly, I think it’s a way to build trust in the brand. It’s quick – it takes 1 or 2 minutes – whereas, while I love listening to podcasts and would love to do one, you’ve got to commit more time to it. Finding guests, creating material, editing etc.
A video on the other hand might only take 45 minutes to put together.
What’s your overall aim with the vlogs?
You could say there’s a dual vision behind it – not a grand plan as such – we’re not having trouble getting prospects or signing clients – the real goal of this is that we like it and want to be creative.
We have young clients and want to connect with them in the way a young brand would.
We also want to help people. Some of those watching might not be our target audience, but we want to give finance tips and provide a snapshot of useful information. We’d like to become something people listen to on the way to the office.
Going forward this will change, and we’ll be targeting topics based on our client profile – entrepreneurs, sports people, etc. We hope that when those people search for ‘financial planning for sports people’ then the vlogs bring enquiries in by giving a flavour of who we are as a business, and what they can expect.
But right now, it’s about building a platform for everyone with a range of useful hints and tips that we hope will slowly gain momentum.
How do you choose topics and content?
It’s a mix of things we want to discuss, questions people have asked us about, and also what’s going on day-to-day – for example last week we commented on the recent volatility in the markets.
I keep a list on Evernote of around 20 topics, write bullet points and use that rather than a script, and go from there.
How do you plan the look and feel – is there any strategy around location, background etc?
They’re not hugely planned, we’re trying different settings – today for example, we’re going to try walking in the park, but it may be too windy!
We’re aiming to create 52 vlogs this year, give or take with holidays, so number 50 should be better than the first. The vision only stretches as far as a year at the moment, but with the aim of getting better each time.
What platforms do you use to promote them?
Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn. We want to try and schedule posts on Hootsuite eventually so we promote the content in a more structured way. We’ll still drip feed them, but make sure the content is out there more often than it is now.
Which platforms are the most successful so far?
LinkedIn brought in the best views and readership so far – and a few clients have contacted us from that.
It might be too early to tell, but what topics are the most popular?
We’ve only done 5 or 6 so far but ‘Saving for your tax bill’ and ‘Spend less than you earn’ have been the most popular so far.
How do you produce them?
We use an iPhone 7 and a lapel mic. Once we get better traction we’ll upgrade that to more sophisticated equipment.
I’ll spend probably 10-15 minutes recording and send it to my colleague Michelle who takes around half an hour to edit it on a Mac.
What’s the most difficult part of doing this?
Finding the time. Really, I should have a set time every week when I do this – every Friday for example so Michelle can edit it over the weekend, but I’m not doing that at the moment. With a new baby, life’s bit mental – and I don’t like structure too much!
What vloggers or videos do you like and admire?
People like Pete Matthew of Meaningful Money and Andy Hart of Maven Adviser, but there aren’t masses of people doing this. Outside the profession, Casey Neistat would be someone I admire – he has his own style. It would be great to develop something like that.
What advice do you have for others thinking of starting this?
Don’t ask me for advice is the main advice! Just get out and start doing it. You only get better by trial and error. If you wait for the perfect time or piece of content, you’ll lose the momentum, and you’ll never put anything out there.
We put it off for a while and then decided just do it – now our aim is to get better.
How does it work with your regular written blogs?
We’re not really pushing our blog at the moment, but we’ll continue to produce it and see how both are working together.
And the future?
If anything comes from this, then that’s great, but we want to be moving forward. We’re a young company, and we want to put that across – we’d like to be seen to be building a brand that communicates with people on their level.
The vlogs themselves aren’t the be-all-and-end-all, but they’re a key part of our brand as a whole and a key way for us to talk to our audience, show them what we’re about, and develop a level of trust.