Why video marketing is essential for Financial Planners, with Robin Powell
What makes video marketing such a powerful tool for Financial Planners?
My guest today on the Financial Planner Marketing Playbook is Robin Powell.
An experienced journalist, Robin worked for more than 20 years in broadcast television news and current affairs. He’s no stranger in front of the camera.
His business, Regis Media, makes extensive use of video to help attract, retain and educate clients.
In this conversation, we talk about what makes video such a powerful marketing tool, how to find the confidence to appear on camera, the gear you need to produce quality video, and much more.
Here’s my conversation with Robin Powell, founder of Regis Media, in series two, episode ten of the Financial Planner Marketing Playbook.
This is the largely unedited transcript of our conversation, so apologies for any typos or weird spellings![00:01:02] I’m delighted to welcome Robin Powell. So Robin, perhaps you could start with a brief introduction. Tell us a bit about you and your background and what it is you do. [00:01:10] Robin: [00:01:10] Well, first of all, Martin, thank you very much for having me on your podcast. I am. I’m a journalist. First and foremost. I was in a sort of mainstream sort of broadcasting, uh, for about sort of 20. [00:01:25] 25 years, the regions, particularly Midlands, but also network television and with sky and the BBC. Um, and I set up a production company about 10 years ago now, and, and literally one of our first clients worked in the financial planning space. And, uh, pretty much the first project I did was about investing and financial advice. [00:01:49] And so ever since then, my career has sort of. Taking a bit of a turn towards investing and advice and, uh, I have a company called Regis Media, which specializes in content for financial advice firms. I have a blog called evidence based investor, and I work as a consultant to various firms, particularly rock wealth. [00:02:11] I don’t know if you are aware of Rock Wealth we’re in Cheltenham and evidence-based financial planning firm and really been enjoying the work that I’ve been doing that. [00:02:21] Martin: [00:02:21] And before we started recording, you and I were sort of lamenting on the fact the fact that we almost crossed paths a little bit. I’m moving from financial planning to media. [00:02:28] You’re moving in a way for me, it’s a flashlight all by media. Still very much at the heart of what you do. [00:02:33] Robin: [00:02:33] You’re much better off in financial planning, but you know, it’d be, believe me, Martin, particularly times like this, when you know the, the, the, the, the economy stretched and, and so on. Um, there is a lot to be said for. [00:02:47] Uh, the recurring income of, of, of a, of a financial planning firm that said, um, communications marketing is, it is a really important area for what, for lots of businesses, but, and particularly for financial planning firms and, and, uh, at times like this. So, um, yeah, I’m sure you’ll create just as much value in the media space as you, as you have done in planning. [00:03:14] Martin: [00:03:14] Well as you say, we’re living in interesting times at the moment. And communication is incredibly important. But we’re going to talk specifically today about video and how powerful a medium video can be. And that’s, that’s really where you specialize in certain video production and, and creation of these very, very high quality, almost documentary style videos, the ones I’ve seen from you. [00:03:34] So, so maybe you could start with what makes video such a powerful communications medium. [00:03:40] Robin: [00:03:40] Well. Um, there has been some academic research on, on video, which shows that, uh, it’s the combination of the sound and the vision of actually seeing somebody speaking and hearing their voice, which makes, uh, well, two things, first of all, makes, uh, makes it more digestible, easy to sort of understand and take in what they’re saying and focus on what they’re saying. [00:04:06] But also it makes it easier to remember, recall, you know, what they’ve said. Um, after you’ve, you’ve watched the video. You know, I would also say that video is a great way of building trust because, um, you know, the viewer can obviously see you talking. Um, and that’s hugely important. As you well know in the financial planning space. [00:04:32] Um, Google loves it. Uh, you know, Google. Obviously owns YouTube and you know, all the, all the search engines love, love videos. So it’s grateful for SEO. Um, it particularly appeals to people using phones and tablets and so on. Increasingly, of course, most or, yes, probably most internet is actually consumed on mobile devices now, or it’s certainly heading that way. [00:05:04] Um. I think it also is great for explaining complexity. You know, financial matters can be quite complex and let’s face it, can be quite dull as well. And the video is a great way of explaining, um, complex and potentially Dole things in a, in a, you know, engaging way. Um, I was just, you know, say that the last thing is that, you know. [00:05:29] We’re all a little bit lazy. If we’re honest and faced with the choice of reading a, you know, a sort of 20 page essay or, or whatever, or, or watching a 10 minute documentary or, uh, simply, you know, reading a kind of in depth article in the financial times, or just watching a two minute video, we will go for the video option. [00:05:54] Um, and, and that’s, you know. Increasingly how, how old your kids are, but mine are now 20 and 22 and they, yeah, mean getting them to read. And it always was hard to be honest, but they, they, they. [00:06:14] Martin: [00:06:14] Yeah. I’ve just had to politely encouraged the nine year old to turn YouTube off to preserve as much bandwidth in the house as possible. [00:06:20] First conversation, Robin. So video is certainly the medium of choice. So you’ve sold us on the benefits of video. You know, video is an incredibly powerful media medium. It helps build trust it all these wonderful benefits associated with it, but it’s terrifying, isn’t it? As a financial planner, if we’re asking you to get behind or in front of the camera and speak confidently on camera to that lens, that’s a scary prospect. [00:06:43] So how do we overcome that fear of being on camera and how do we build confidence when we’re speaking on camera? [00:06:50] Robin: [00:06:50] Well, I mean, the first thing to say is that every body is. A little bit nervous about being on camera, even the professionals, I may not, you know, I, you know, reported live all over the world really. [00:07:04] And it was, it was, it was very challenging. And I think the most scary, uh, scary aspects of it was actually having to speak live when there was absolutely nothing to say, which is the nature of. Of, of, of rolling 24 hour news, unfortunately, and I believe you mean Martin. That is very scary. Um, but, um, so, so the first thing to realize is it’s, it’s natural and actually is not necessarily a bad thing. [00:07:34] Um, because a little bit of adrenalin is, is good. Um, and, uh. Also, no one likes the look or the sound of themselves on, on, on camera. And again, that’s, that’s perfectly normal. I’ve got a bit of a lazy eye, for example. And every time I look at myself on video, they, Oh, no. Um, but I’m sure that most people, you know. [00:08:00] Aren’t all, I hope they’re not particularly notice it. And so people mustn’t get too concerned about about that, or maybe a sort of minor speech impediment or whatever it is, you know, just be yourself, be authentic, you know, you are you, and just really simple things like, you know, a glass, having a glass of water to hand. [00:08:24] Um, and probably most important of all, just a few deep breaths before you start. Yeah, that’s what I would say. [00:08:31] Martin: [00:08:31] No, those, those are really good steps. And, and particularly I’m thinking that actually others are not as obsessed with how we sound. We’ll look, we’ll come across as we are. It’s, it’s all in our heads. [00:08:42] And that’s that there’s a link to anxiety there. You know, something that causes anxiety for a lot of people. Me included is believing that other people are. Focused on you and worried and concerned about you, but not that they’re worried about themselves. Yeah. [00:08:55] Robin: [00:08:55] Exactly right. Yeah. So, so don’t, you know, don’t, don’t overthink it. [00:08:59] Let’s face it, most video is, is recorded. It isn’t live. Um, and even if it is live, don’t worry. Just, you know, like a tennis player, you know, sorta play for the next point. Put for the last, you know, it’ll glitch out out of your mind. It doesn’t matter. It just makes you more human and makes people warm to you more. [00:09:17] Martin: [00:09:17] Yeah. So very good point. Let’s say you were a financial planner listening to this conversation, and we’re thinking about creating our first video. Uh, what steps do you take in terms of planning a video shoot? And I know for you where it’s, again, those high quality video productions, it’s probably a lot more involved, but how would you suggest a financial planner approaches that planning process. [00:09:39] Yeah, [00:09:39] Robin: [00:09:39] well, that’s right. I mean, you know, I ought to, you know, obviously express an interest here. You know, I do believe in high quality, high end value at high-end video and the value of that. Um, and, um, yeah. W what I would say to, to advise firms going down the video route is, uh, you know, do you really have the time. [00:10:06] And the energy and the, um, and the inclination to spend a lot of time getting your head around a completely what for most financial planners is a completely new skill. And it’s not even, even as if it’s just one skill. I mean, we’re talking about, uh, storytelling. We’re talking about writing, presenting, shooting. [00:10:32] Audio recording, editing, you know, with talking, and obviously we haven’t even started talking about distribution and so on, social media and what have you. So, you know, it didn’t. You didn’t learn your profession overnight. So don’t suddenly think you can actually learn to be a kind of, you know, a robo media expert. [00:10:58] Um, you know, overnight. It just will not, it will not happen. It will take a long time, uh, and it will take you away from doing other things that you enjoy doing. So that, sorry. That’s my. Sales spiel if you [00:11:12] Martin: [00:11:12] like, [00:11:15] Robin: [00:11:15] think carefully before you go down that road. However, what I do think is there is a place for this kind of more rough and ready type video content, what I would call sort of self shot content, where where you basically do it yourself with maybe help from a colleague in the office or or whatever. [00:11:35] There is a place for that as well. Um, pre production is really, really important. It all starts with the storytelling. So don’t even think about the sort of technical side first. As you know, Martin, you know, humans have been communicating through stories since, you know, uh, you know, the beginning of time. [00:11:56] Um, and, uh, you know. Kate men’s sat around fires, you know, telling each other stories. And it was the way that they communicated ideas. So work out what you, what the story is, first of all, before you do anything else. And then w what are your key messages? You know, Churchill used to say, you know, if you’ve got one message across. [00:12:18] Actually, that was a really effective speech or whatever. And I’m sure he would say the same thing about video. Don’t try and complicate it with lots of messages. Maybe just get one message across. Um, and then thinking of how were you going to illustrate it? Is it just going to be somebody talking to camera? [00:12:35] And if so, is that going to be engaging enough. Um, w what kind of cuttle would and cutaways and what, what kind of other shots do you need? Maybe you need some shots of you at work or maybe shots of you out of the office, shots of you meeting clients and so on. And then obviously you’ve got to think about the kind of technical aspects to the sound and the lighting install. [00:12:58] Yeah, [00:12:59] Martin: [00:12:59] absolutely. Okay. And then if we’re talking about rough and ready approach itself, filming approach, what type of gear are we talking about here? Now? I’m a huge fan of the toys, and I’ve got this belief, which is he who dies with the most toys wins. So I’m not talking about the sort of nerdy techie gear side of stuff, but what, what gear are we talking about? [00:13:17] He mentioned you could sort of self shoot on your iPhone or, or do it that way, [00:13:21] Robin: [00:13:21] but yeah. Well, um, green screens were really popular for awhile. They’re quite hard to get right. And to be honest, I would probably caution against green screen now, and I always think is a little bit odd way. You know, you see a financial planner from, you know, Barnsley or wherever talking, and he’s got a massive picture of the, you know, city of London’s skyscape, behind or with, uh, I think it’s. [00:13:50] Uh, yeah, I w I would probably caution regarding green-screen, but certainly you do need to have. A corner of your office where you do most of your filming, if you like. Um, I mean, w Y idea, for example, is to, you know, find it, find a good, a good corner. Um, and to, to have maybe a few kind of, you know, dress, we call it dressing the set, you know, maybe a few books on their financial books. [00:14:21] Um. Uh, maybe you, um, you know, have, have a number of pictures and you change the picture for different videos that you do and so on. That’s, that’s another way of doing it as far as camera is, is concerned. I mean, we, we just use professional quality cameras. So you, you, you wouldn’t really. I would, I wouldn’t encourage you to use the sort of cameras that we use on your own. [00:14:47] Um, we generally tend to use Sony Fs seven. Um, I mean, there are cheaper options. The DSLR, um, people say you make a video on a DSLR. Well, yes, I mean the picture that you get the video. Picture you get on a DSLR can be amazing. There’s the Sony a seven S smart too. There’s the cheapest. Still would be something like the Canon five D 50 D 60 D another really important thing is to get the lens right. [00:15:22] I remember when I first worked in TV, you know, and cameras. Then in those days, I mean, it would just so expensive. I mean, literally a freelance camera, people would have a mortgage on the camera, bigger than the house very often. Um, but, but the lens actually is in many ways. Even more important than camera, and it was quite, quite usual for someone to have a camera, but was less important than the actual lens. [00:15:52] You know, I mean, you can spend, you know, 30, 40,000 pounds on a good quality lens fairly clearly. You don’t need to do that, but get a good quality lens. Um, eBay is a good, good place to go for, um, for, for, for that. Um, and technically. You know, the most important thing to do is to make sure that it’s framed and lit correctly. [00:16:15] Some people disagree with me on this, but I hate. Wobbly cameras, you know, for me, the camera has to be still, which for me means using some sort of grip or a or a tripod. The final thing I would say on the sort of technical aspect would be we often focus so much on the video aspect that we forget the sound. [00:16:36] And as you know, Martin, as a podcaster sound is in a sense just as important, if not even more so. So, you know, focus on getting that right. For microphones. We tend to use Sennheiser, lapel mikes and gun boom mikes. But, but again, for, for kind of more DIY type vlog was we call it vlog content for a cheaper might she can buy. [00:17:01] Um, and also the sort of sound and voice recorders from, you know, zoom or Tascam. Um, so there are, there are ways to. Do it cheaply, if you like, and as a state that there is a role for this kind of content alongside the higher end stuff. [00:17:21] Martin: [00:17:21] I know you’ve touched on this a little already, um, but in terms of the actual substance of the video, you mentioned that it could just be someone talking to camera, but with some nice cutaway shots, but what sort of video substance content should financial partners be thinking about greater. [00:17:37] Well, [00:17:38] Robin: [00:17:38] that’s a, that’s a big question. Now what you have to remember is. There are zillions of videos on YouTube, on the internet, uh, and you know, just in the financial space there, there is a lot of content. So what you have to do is to make yours stand out somehow. And either that’s with, you know, really good, high technical quality. [00:18:05] For example, it might be just some. Brilliant. Searing insight. It might be, it might be humor, just something that makes people watch your video rather than, rather than other people’s, I mean, a lot of people say as well, well, should, should we have a, a face of the business? Should we have somebody who is our go to video person or should we have a number of people. [00:18:35] Uh, and I remember asking Michael kitchen, you know, Michael kitchen is of course, very well known, um, a blogger, podcaster in the financial planning space. And his advice is very much that, you know, every advisor in the firm should have a video. Yeah, it’s H they should be talking about, ideally, you know, how they got into it briefly. [00:18:58] Um, and, and what they get out of it, why they do it, you know, the, the, I suppose communicate that, that, that the passion that they have for their job. Um, and, and what Michael says is, I mean, he has just moved, um, now in the States, but, so the, the firmly was that. At the time, he said, most people, uh, will have already decided on what advise that they want to deal with simply because they’ve seen the video and that person really chimes with them. [00:19:29] So, you know, I, I w I would urge firms, you know, if, if somebody really doesn’t want to be on camera, fine, but I would urge as many of you as possible to be on there. [00:19:39] Martin: [00:19:39] Yeah, that makes, that makes real sense. But there’s also a place, of course, for hiring a professional presenter like yourself. So it’d be the face of the business and terms of front those videos. [00:19:48] In some cases, [00:19:50] Robin: [00:19:50] yes. I mean that, that, that is, uh, that is possible to, um. Uh, I mean, what we specialize in is we have two types of content pre-produced content. So this is content that we’ve, that we’ve produced, which is very often infographic type content, which can be rebadged for, for different firms and so on. [00:20:11] And yes, we also have what we call these subscription videos, which generally I will. Present. Um, we also, you know, I’m not proud about, uh, the fact, you know, I’m, I’m happy for any advisor to present their own videos. Um, and if, if they feel comfortable doing that, that’s absolutely fine, and we can give them the scripts, uh, and we can do all the editing and so on. [00:20:38] Yeah. There’s a, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a place for both. [00:20:41] Martin: [00:20:41] Yup. I’ll say lots and lots of different approaches to this. So when the video is ready, once you’ve filmed it and you’ve edited it, and you’re happy with that final package, what do we actually do with it? You’ve touched on YouTube, you’ve mentioned YouTube as a big sort of distribution channel, but where do the videos go? [00:20:57] Robin: [00:20:57] Everywhere. I would say, uh, and one of the most frustrating things from my point of view, uh, is spending a lot of time making a really. Yeah. Brilliant video or video series and just seeing it sit there, you know, on a YouTube channel or on the website, you know, you really do need to use your content and repurpose your content as well. [00:21:26] Um, I mean, that’s one of the beauties of a video that actually, if you think about it, if you do say an extended interview with somebody, you know, you can get. You can get a long form video out of it. You can get short what we call micro videos, like 32nd clips. You can do an audio podcast version. You can do a written Q and. [00:21:48] A. You can do a quote cards on social media, you know, so from one video interview, if you like, you can actually produce. Lots of content. Um, so yeah, I would encourage firms once they’ve invested in the product, really get it out there, use, use all their social media channels. Hosting is an important question. [00:22:15] And, uh. Technically every video needs to be hosted somewhere. You can’t just host the video on your website and so on. It needs what we call a platform. YouTube is the best, but when I say the best, it’s the biggest by far, the biggest. Um, and simply for that reason, I, I would encourage you to put it on YouTube. [00:22:38] There’s another option called Vimeo, which is sort of slightly, kind of higher end, if you like. Fewer adverts and so on. Um, I mean, that’s an option, but there again, potentially a slightly smaller audience. The other option to go down is, is your own platform. Um, but that, that. Really is quite expensive. Um, but, but if you’ve got the budget for it, go for it because it enables you to, for example, keep people on your content. [00:23:07] Because that’s the big issue with, with, with YouTube that someone will watch your video. You know, I’ll, I’ll make a video, for example, about evidence based investing and the right way to invest. And then. At the end of the video, the viewer gets to see stuff from Hargreaves Lansdown and you know, Fisher funds and all these, let’s not get into that. [00:23:33] But anyway, uh, the, the, the advantage of your own platform is you just keep. Keep the viewer on your own content. [00:23:41] Martin: [00:23:41] Yeah, that’s really important. They don’t go straight from your wonderful video about evidence based investing to watch videos about cats, and that’s [00:23:48] Robin: [00:23:48] exactly right, [00:23:49] Martin: [00:23:49] Robert Robin, it’s been a pleasure chatting this morning. [00:23:51] Thank you so much for your time. Before I let you go, any sort of final tips and tricks just to get better engagement with video that we produce. [00:23:58] Robin: [00:23:58] Perseverance, content marketing, video marketing is just like investing, you know, don’t expect to have overnight results. Uh, start as soon as you can, post as regularly as you can and just keep going. [00:24:12] And in 10 years time you’ll be absolutely relieved and glad that you did. [00:24:19] Martin: [00:24:19] Absolutely. Robin, thank you for your time. We’ll make sure we put links to Regis media and your blog as well in our show notes for this episode so our listeners can find both of those nice and easily. But it’s been a pleasure chatting as always. [00:24:29] Thank you. [00:24:30] Robin: [00:24:30] It’s a pleasure talking to you as well. Martin.