How Good SEO Can See You Through Challenging Times

Good SEO is essential to see your business through challenging times?

The outbreak of coronavirus has affected individuals, businesses and entire industries across the world.

With the global economy uncertain, it’s important that business owners shift marketing strategies to work smarter while preparing for uncharted territory.

With many key features of the UK economy having to pause or stop business altogether, it is likely that many businesses will see short-term losses over the next few months. It is, however, essential that you plan strategically for the future.

Not doing anything, or stopping your marketing investments whilst the pandemic is ongoing, won’t mitigate the damage already caused and is likely to set you up for a long-term uphill struggle to recover.

History has generally shown that those who invest in marketing during challenging times tend to come out above their competitors.

For example, Kellogg’s, who doubled down on their investments during the Great Depression grew their profits by 30%. It is therefore vital that you prioritise your marketing efforts by investing into building organic growth and creating content that will be ranked highly on search engine results pages.

The what, how, where and why of ​search engine optimisation​ (SEO)

Even as the government’s lockdown begins to ease, consumers are still expected to be shopping and browsing online for many months. Whilst social activity remains low and with more people spending time at home, there has been a surge in online activity.

This surge means that your target audience are more likely to see your online marketing efforts. By appearing higher in search results through good search engine optimisation processes, your business can be a recipient of a windfall.

Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is the process of using techniques and strategies to obtain a high-ranking placement in the search results page of search engines (SERP). Your position is ranked through a number of factors including the relevance and authority of your website and your online presence.

'Relevant website + strong online presence = higher ranking and more visibility

Lydia Campbell, EDGE Creative

The process of SEO is constantly evolving as search engines adjust their algorithms and expectations. Alongside this, there are a range of factors to consider which include client reviews, ​user experience​, your ​social media platforms​ and your ​search engine marketing (pay per click)​.

Working alongside and as part of your SEO strategy, these intricate factors will help you to increase leads, sales and your bottom line.

How can I boost SEO?

Ranking highly on a search engine’s results page is not an overnight process. However, with many businesses experiencing downtime, now is the optimum time to make a start on your online presence.

Firstly, learn how to assess your SEO presence. Tools such as AHREFS and Moz can help you understand how and where your business is appearing. Alongside this, the experience of a dedicated search engine optimisation agency can help you identify areas of opportunity specific to your business in order to boost your rankings.

Next, assess your competition. Who are your main competitors? What are they doing that you’re not or what can you capitalise on that they aren’t? Through detailed competitor research, you can analyse how you rank in relation to everyone else and begin a plan for how to outrank them for relevant keyword terms.

During challenging times, and specifically during the coronavirus outbreak, you should consider how your content strategies should be adjusted to ensure your business remains visible. Consider creating a dedicated page about coronavirus, or updating your frequently asked questions page, as your consumer’s questions appear to change.

You may also want to consider:

●  Auditing your content assets

●  Recording videos and making use of video SEO

●  Working on your online reviews strategy

●  Working through any unnatural links on your website

●  An outreach strategy

It’s also important that you continue to monitor your data – the data gathered allows you to evaluate your target audience’s behaviour and pivot your marketing efforts based on reliable, relevant and more focused data. In doing so, you can ensure your business reacts fittingly for economic stability during these difficult times.

Creating a plan to get started

Although we are currently experiencing a very difficult situation, we will eventually come out of it. You need to remain flexible to new things, make the most out of this downtime and make adjustments to your SEO strategy if it is not working. By doing so, you not only maintain financial stability, but you can also prepare for long-term business success.

EDGE Creative​ will continue to support our clients to the best of our ability during these uncertain times. We are also welcoming new partners who are looking to take an active step in improving their marketing efforts to prepare for a future post-lockdown.

We are currently offering a free 30-minute consultation with an Account Manager or Creative Director in order to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

For more on how we can support you and your business, contact ​​.

About the Author

Guest Post

At, we love sharing the voices of the businesses we know, love, respect and admire. Some of the contributors we are partnered with, others are not. This guest blog was carefully chosen as we feel the author brings incredible value and we hope you agree with this assessment too.

If you have any questions or concerns about this post feel to get in touch with us via our contact form on

Learn How To Recession-Proof Your Brand With Kelly Mackenzie

On May 15th 2020, Kelly Mackenzie Founder and Creative Director of  White Bear Studio will be joining Nathan Haines from Element 26 to discuss a topic we consider to be both timely and relevant; how to recession-proof your brand. 

To that end we asked Kelly to produce a short blog to help us promote the event. Take a look at what Kelly has to say below and register for what looks to be an exciting Q&A by clicking here.

How To Recession-Proof Your Brand

We’re living in uncertain times, let’s be honest it’s overwhelming and it sucks. Trying to manage a business, navigate a NEW marketing plan and even homeschool* whilst NOT turning into a troglodyte and NOT devouring the interior of your fridge is a challenge to say the least. 

We, the White Bears have put together a toolkit to help share the load and steer your brand through the next unpredictable few months ahead so you have one less thing to worry about.

Companies who spent 0% of their marketing budget in the 2008 recession took 2 more years to recover than those who spent 50% (source – The Drum).

Brands are needing to adapt rapidly to their audiences being stuck at home. The knock-on effect on the economy, industry and media are already visible and are likely to change again as we adjust. Companies who don’t respond to this will quickly be left behind.

The entire world has experienced unprecedented levels of change. Over a quarter of the world’s population are experiencing some form of lockdown, and the situation is still accelerating. White Bear’s toolkit will explore four key areas important for brand building and give you tangible actions for each step along the way. 

  • Research 
  • Plan
  • Optimise 
  • Consider

By exploring different scenarios from continued lockdown, to partial lockdown lift, complete lockdown lift and the life that comes after, we can help prepare your brand for uncertainty. 

Key Learnings:

  • Top 3 things to consider when creating your brand 
  • How to develop a future-proofed proposition
  • Future-proofing brand strategy in times of uncertainty 
  • Bridging the divide between day to day survival mode, and thinking long term
  • A short journey into how White Bear has been able to cope

Found this post interesting? Why not join us at 11am on Friday 15th May for an intriguing and Insightful Q&A.

To register for the webinar click here and get access to White Bear’s ‘How to be a Future Unicorn during a Pandemic? A Covid-19 Response Toolkit’ shortly after the event. 


About the Author

Guest Post

At, we love sharing the voices of the businesses we know, love, respect and admire. Some of the contributors we are partnered with, others are not. This guest blog was carefully chosen as we feel the author brings incredible value and we hope you agree with this assessment too.

If you have any questions or concerns about this post feel to get in touch with us via our contact form on

How Search Engine Optimisation and User Experience Ensure Success

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process of using intricate techniques and strategies to obtain a high-ranking placement in the search engine results page (SERP).

There is often the common misconception that SEO involves simply link building and including relevant keywords in content. While, undeniably, these are important SEO strategies, search engines consider a lot more than this when ranking websites.

Everything that we do in the sphere of web marketing has to have the visitor in mind. This especially includes your search engine optimisation processes. Think: Is your website fast, secure and mobile friendly? Is it easy to navigate? Do you have quality content that encourages visitors to stay on your website? These are all factors that affect user experience (UX) and are considered by Google when determining how to rank your website.

The evolving algorithms

Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving – what used to severely impact search engine results may not have the same effect now. Today, search engines are not just serving up content to answer questions, they’re also collecting data on how people are interacting with your website.

Over the past ten years, Google’s Panda update (2011), Hummingbird update (2013) and RankBrain update (2015) favoured a more user-centric approach. RankBrain itself is one of the most significant factors in determining the SEO value of your website. Driven by metrics such as pages per session, bounce rate and click-through rate, Google can gather this data to determine whether your site is a user-friendly resource, which will then impact your ranking.

Even the BERT update (2019) is about search and intent. Focused on the user’s query, the update aims to provide results which are specific to the intent of the search, ignoring spelling mistakes and slight modifications. Google has completed this update with the user experience in mind, wanting to provide users with the information they desire as soon as possible.  

Taking a more human-centred approach

As search engines continue to update their algorithms and become more user-centred, the boundaries of traditional SEO continue to blur.

Looking to provide searchers with information that answers their queries, both SEO and UX share the goal of helping users complete their task by providing them with relevant information as quick and efficiently as possible.

 How can I align my strategies?

One of the main objectives of your website is to generate leads and conversions, and both user experience and SEO practices are integral to this. By aligning and integrating your approaches, you can work successfully towards this unified goal.

Think: Does the user care about your content?

Usefulness, value and credibility are all important factors that relate to the content you are providing your audience. If your content isn’t answering their questions or showing your expertise, it will have no purpose to the reader. If your audience isn’t interested, they won’t engage with your content, continue to explore your website or return. Google will understand that visitors to your website are not engaging with your content and this will affect your ranking.

Think: Can the user easily accomplish their goal?

If your website isn’t easy to navigate, your audience is likely to return to the search engine and potentially click through to a competitor. Tracking visitors to your website and viewing the journey the user takes, which is known as user testing, is important. In doing so, you can make amends where appropriate and not only optimise your conversion rate, but also keep visitors coming back. Two factors which are very important to your SERP ranking.

Think: Can the user access all the information they need?

Having an accessible website that is optimised for a range of platforms and browsers is integral to the experience of people on your website. If not optimised properly, certain users may find that they are limited in what they can and can’t see on your website, which will make them leave quicker than they came. By creating a responsible design in your front end development, you can ensure your website works cross-browser, cross-platform and cross device.

EDGE Creative

Taking a human-centred approach creates meaningful interactions by focusing on what the user needs and expects from your business’s website. By simply understanding what your visitors want from your website, you can meet them at every touch point to ensure a positive interaction. With this affecting your SEO ranking, it’s important to get it right. After all, UX + SEO = Success.

In order to stay on top of the game and high in the search results rankings, it’s imperative that you continue to develop your marketing strategy. The online world of digital marketing is constantly developing, so continuous attention is vital. Fall behind and you’ll be back where you started.

With over 14 years’ worth of experience in delivering excellent search engine optimised campaigns, we can support you in aligning your SEO and UX strategies. At EDGE Creative, we continue to help you identify visitor pain points and can tweak and test your customer journeys in order to maximise user experience and keep you ranking highly in search engine results. Call us on 0121 355 8092 to see how we can help.

About the Author

Guest Post

At, we love sharing the voices of the businesses we know, love, respect and admire. Some of the contributors we are partnered with, others are not. This guest blog was carefully chosen as we feel the author brings incredible value and we hope you agree with this assessment too.

If you have any questions or concerns about this post feel to get in touch with us via our contact form on

Top Four Ways Video Enhances Marketing Automation Efforts

Marketing automation is the process of creating alignment between businesses and their customers using software. That email you received after completing a form on a businesses site… that was likely from a marketing automation tool. That text message you receive to let you know how far away your package is… again, likely produced from marketing automation software.

The success of Marketing Automation tools like Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot and Pardot have led to an explosion of communication.  Target buyers are bombarded with marketing messages meaning they are all too quick to press the delete button, often making decisions in seconds. 

So, how do digital marketers combine video with their marketing automation software to cut through the noise and build a positive rapport?

The answer is simple: Video.

Video is an easy and powerful way to squeeze even more bang out of your marketing automation practices and get better results.  Video can be used to incrementally improve every stage of the marketing funnel.  

Working with Element 26, Buto has put together the top 4 ways video can further improve and enhance results from your marketing automation efforts.

Build Quality Lists

Due to the recent tightening of data protection laws, a significant challenge for marketers is sourcing and building high quality and targeted lists.  Without a target list, email marketing is all but redundant.  

Integrating in-video contact forms into videos at the start, middle or end helps feed marketing automation platforms with quality leads for future marketing through nurture campaigns.  

Improve Results from Campaigns 

With video now the preferred method for consuming content inserting video into campaigns can dramatically improve the results of digital marketing campaigns. Unbounce found including a video on a landing page increased the conversion rate by 80% and Hubspot see including a video in email campaigns leads to a 200-300% increase in click-through rates.

There are different types of video for different stages in the customer journeyCurata identified the top three most effective types of video content: Customer testimonials (51%); Tutorial videos (50%); Demonstration videos (49%).  When it comes to getting prospects across the line, 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process (Hubspot)

Therefore video can significantly increase results of marketing automation campaigns throughout the stages of the customer journey.

Enhance Data Insight

The analytics available on video views are arguably much more granular than those for consuming written content.  For example, if a prospect downloads a PDF, marketers don’t have a view on if they have actually read any of the document.  With video, marketers get statistics on how much of the video a prospect watches. This can feed into improving video content as well as providing incredible insight into the quality of the prospect viewing the video.  Those viewing the complete video can be ‘scored’ or rated higher by the marketing automation platform than those watching under half of the video. This enhances the accuracy of lead scoring models with ‘real’ interest as opposed to ‘implied’ interest.

Video can, therefore, contribute to a more accurate lead score and an indication of interest to help personalise and tailor future marketing and sales activity.

Increase Reach 

Most successful marketing campaigns include promotion and sharing on social networks to widen the reach and access new prospects beyond known data lists. Marketing automation platforms include the ability to easily share content and monitor campaigns via in-build social media sharing buttons and shareable videos.

Using video as part of social campaigns can further improve the success of marketing campaigns with social video generating up to 12 times the shares than text and images combined.  Twitter themselves see video on Twitter as 6 x as likely to be shared than photos. Therefore, by using video in social media campaigns integrated with marketing automation platforms, digital marketers can significantly increase their reach (and track it) to a much wider audience. 

Coupled with the sophistication of a marketing automation platform, video (done well) is extremely compelling and a great way to foster engagement and yield better results from marketing campaigns through shares, click-throughs, lead generation and data insight.  

Get in touch today to unlock the power of video and enhance your marketing automation efforts with Buto.

About the Author

Guest Post

At, we love sharing the voices of the businesses we know, love, respect and admire. Some of the contributors we are partnered with, others are not. This guest blog was carefully chosen as we feel the author brings incredible value and we hope you agree with this assessment too.

If you have any questions or concerns about this post feel to get in touch with us via our contact form on

No going back: How video is changing internal communications for good

Internal communications are the foundation of any successful business. It ensures the smooth running of work across sectors, teams and individuals, from company updates to job delegation and news sharing. 

Without internal communications, businesses would be in chaos; employees would be out of touch with their leadership teams and vice versa. No one would have any idea what was going on! Just as important as our external communications are to stakeholders, customers and the general public, our internal communications are vital to happy employees and a healthy employee life cycle.   

With technology advancements happening all the time, internal communication platforms are transforming the way businesses share messages, collaborate, learn and organise. For the last few years, the challenge has been deploying a streamlined system that doesn’t feel outdated or complicated when users start sharing content across it. 

Now businesses are waking up to the importance of using better platforms, the focus has turned to the kind of content they’re sharing on them. There’s no point spending money and time on a platform if the content isn’t engaging.

Gallup recently revealed that engaged employees are 21% more profitable. This means that in increasingly competitive and challenging markets, businesses have to engage their employees through the right mediums to ensure continued success. 

So the question is, how can you maximise employee engagement through internal communications? Do you encourage retention and compete for time against endless emails, instant messaging sites and social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram?

Video could be the answer.

The video revolution

Video has the potential to completely transform the way we communicate across a business, both in the office and across a global enterprise. It can be your most valuable ally for anyone interested in learning and sharing content about culture, people or projects. According to Forrester Research, employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails, or web articles. 

Crucially, for employees to engage, understand and retain business information shared internally, it has to be interesting, and video is a much better medium to achieve this. Its versatility makes it ideal for delivering corporate messaging, whether for company news and updates, on-boarding, team building or learning and development.

The benefits of video


Communicate messages in seconds, rather than requiring paragraphs of reading.


You don’t have to be a literary genius to share good content. Just pick up a camera and get filming.


Using secure employee experience platforms for internal comms, you can limit access or sharing abilities as needed. 


Only 5% of users will stop watching a video after one minute. 


It’s too easy to hide behind our keyboards. Video is a great way to help us become more confident by practising speaking. It can help raise confidence for future meetings, presentations and interviews. 


Watching real people is a far more personal and human experience than reading a document. The freedom of video lets you create far more emotive content.


Detailed tracking of engagement to learn about viewer interests and preferences.  

Why video and internal communications are the ultimate power couple 

The freedom and unrestricted potential of video means it conveys a lot of information in fewer words in an engaging way. Video might not be the traditional communications method, but times are changing. With many of us sticking to emails or blog posts when we have a message to pass on. The corporate world has fallen behind personal consumer channels, with YouTube, Snapchat, FaceTime and social platforms like Facebook and Instagram using video to lead the way for social sharing. 

Email is still hugely popular, but a video is much more accessible. The combination of show and tell is simply more effective. Often emails can be ‘spammy’, with important messages diluted or completely missed. Communicating via email is still very much a part of business culture, and while you can’t easily make employees form new habits without work and commitment, video can bridge the gap to successful internal communications that users actually want to engage with. 

internal communications


This blog is a guest blog supplied by Phoebe Barker of StoryShare.

StoryShare exists so employees can love their work.

StoryShare is a SaaS Communication and Learning Experience Platform optimised for mobile. The platform delivers ‘Netflix style’ communication and learning experiences to improve Employee Engagement and better equip people to do their jobs. The service can reach any employee, anytime, anywhere, on any device.

StoryShare is deployed at leading brands including Unilever, Accenture, Covestro, Renault and Upfield.

About the Author

Guest Post

At, we love sharing the voices of the businesses we know, love, respect and admire. Some of the contributors we are partnered with, others are not. This guest blog was carefully chosen as we feel the author brings incredible value and we hope you agree with this assessment too.

If you have any questions or concerns about this post feel to get in touch with us via our contact form on

10 Reasons Why Your Business Should Be Using Google Ads

Google Ads (or Google AdWords as it used to be called) has been around for nearly 20 years, but there are still lots of businesses who are wary or sceptical about using it as a way to generate leads and sales.

In this post, I’m going to look at 10 reasons why you should consider using Google Ads to promote your website and get more customers. I’m also going to provide you with a free resource to help you get started and create your first Google Ads campaign.

But first, let’s clarify what Google Ads actually is. In a nutshell, it’s an advertising platform that lets you pay to have your website listed on Google. Because it is a form of pay per click (PPC) advertising, you don’t pay for your advert to appear. Instead, you only pay if someone clicks your ad – at which point they are directed through to your website.

If you want to know more about what Google Ads is and how it works, check out this blog article, but for now let’s move on to talking about the reasons why you should be using it to promote your website.

1. Get to the very top (aka money talks)


The first four Google Ads that appear on each search results page are positioned above the organic results. Therefore, even if you do some really great SEO (search engine optimisation) and get to the top of the organic results, there could still be up to four paid-for listings above you. So if you want to get to the very top of the search results, Google Ads is the only way to do it.

2. Instant results

Whereas it can take up to six months to see results from SEO, when you advertise on Google Ads you will typically appear in the search results within a few hours of going live.

3. Get more traffic…

A 2019 survey found that 63% of people will click on an advert on Google (so don’t be put off by those people who tell you they never click on the ads), which means Google Ads is a great way to get more traffic to your website.

4. …and more conversions

People who visit your site via PPC ads are 50% more likely to purchase something that people who come to you via organic listings, according to Unbounce. And Google themselves say that, in general, businesses that use Google Ads make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on advertising.

5. Highly targeted

If you choose your keywords carefully and use the right type of keyword matching, you can make sure your ads only appear for searches that indicate a high degree of commercial intent – e.g. “video production company” rather than “how to make a YouTube video”.

You can also restrict your ads based on the searcher’s location, their age, or their gender. So if you only want to advertise to men in their 30s who are based in Manchester and want laser eye surgery, then you can do it with Google Ads.

6. Brand protection and awareness

According to research by Google, using Google Ads can increase brand awareness by 80%.

It’s also a really effective way to protect your brand and stop competitors from stealing your business.

7. Highly measurable

It’s very easy to measure the return on investment you get from Google Ads. By using the built-in conversion tracking, or linking Google Ads to Google Analytics, you can easily see how many of your PPC visitors submit an enquiry form, make an online purchase, sign up for a webinar, or whatever your conversion goal is. You can even track how many of the people who contact you by phone found your website via Google Ads.

As well as getting details of the total number of conversions generated by Google Ads, you can also drill down to see which keywords bring you the most conversions and focus your budget on the ones that give the best return on investment.

8. Remarketing

One of the many extra features that are available to businesses that use Google Ads. Remarketing ads are text, image or video ads which appear all over the internet to encourage someone to return to a website that they have previously visited. The theory behind this is that if the person didn’t convert on their first visit to your site then they might do so if they return for a subsequent visit. The theory is borne out by the fact that remarketing has been shown to increase conversion rates by 161%.

9.Choice of ad formats

Although the main use for Google Ads is to get your website featured on page one of Google, your Ads account can also be used to advertise on third party websites that make up the Google Display Network, as well as on YouTube videos, and via promotional Gmail messages. This means the opportunities to engage with your target audience across a range of platforms and devices is huge.

10.Flexibility and control

As long as you know what you’re doing you can have a lot of control over how your advertising budget is spent on Google Ads. You can limit the amount you pay for each click and also the total spend per day so as there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises when your bill arrives.

You can also pause your advertising whenever you want (e.g. if you get too busy) and then resume it at the click of a mouse.

And you can set automatic scheduling so that your ads only appear on certain days of the week and/or at certain times of the day.

So if Google Ads is such a great system with so many benefits, why are some people still wary of using it and why do you hear horror stories from people who have spent loads of money on it and got little or nothing back in return?

Well, to put it bluntly, it’s because Google makes it very easy for a first time user to set up a Google Ads campaign but they also make it very easy for you to do it in a way which will make more money for Google than it does for you.

Fortunately, you don’t need to fall into that trap. If you want to try using Google Ads to get new customers for your business, I’ve got a free guide that will show you how to do it the right way.

To find out more about it and download your free copy just follow this link to 7 Simple Steps for a Successful Google Ads Campaign.

This blog is a guest blog supplied by David Miles of The PPC Machine.

The PPC Machine 

The PPC Machine is a tried and tested system that combines the immense traffic-generating power of Google Ads with carefully crafted value propositions and optimised landing pages which use behavioural psychology to increase conversions.

David Miles has produced this guest blog for Element 26. At Element 26 we believe in helping businesses succeed through vide. For more information about how you can using video within your Google ad campaigns, please get in touch by clicking here

About the Author

Guest Post

At, we love sharing the voices of the businesses we know, love, respect and admire. Some of the contributors we are partnered with, others are not. This guest blog was carefully chosen as we feel the author brings incredible value and we hope you agree with this assessment too.

If you have any questions or concerns about this post feel to get in touch with us via our contact form on

The Interview Series – James Willett Colourist

In this blog, we interview James Willett, a freelance colourist with a reputation for precision as much as for creativity. From workflow to creative services, James is committed to being at the forefront of his craft. We got together with James for a spot of lunch a couple of weeks back so we could get his thoughts on how technology is changing post-production and how the role of colour grading in commercial video can be of benefit to your business. 

James Willett’s Colourist Showreel

Hi James, please can you start by telling us what colour grading is?

The process of colour correction or as it’s often referred to, ‘grading’, can take many forms. In simplistic terms though there are two sides to it. First, there’s what could be referred to as the balancing side. Here, you are making something technically correct rather than doing anything creative. For example, say you’re presented with an  interview where the sun goes in and out behind the subject. The editor may have had to cut the piece together out of order and coupled it with some cut-aways from a different shoot. The whole piece will thus jump around in time. You have to manipulate the differences between the shots so that to the viewer they work together and look seamless.

The other side is the creative part. Without getting too arty about it, a film or a video is telling a story and through the manipulation of colour, light and shade we as colourists contribute to this.

Take The Matrix, for example. If you ask anyone to use one word to describe the ‘look’ of that film they are bound to say ‘green’. It’s true, too. Go and pull the Blu-Ray from the shelf and you’ll see what I mean. BUT, not everything is a single shade. You could throw green across the whole film but it wouldn’t look right. The skin tones, for example, would look plain wrong and if there’s one thing in an image that a viewer is sensitive to it’s the actors’ skin tones. It’s a subliminal point of reference. Get that right and you’re halfway there.

So, instead of turning everything green, you might push greens and blues into the shadows and a touch of green into your highlights, or, you may change a specific hue so a blue might shift more towards green.

What role does the director play in this?

In an ideal world, the colourist is on board before the camera even turns over. The director will first decide the look and feel of what they want to achieve. You don’t get that from just manipulating the image further down the chain in the hope it will ‘look right’. It is down to the way shots are lit, the camera used, the lenses, the weather, how the costumes and make-up interact with the light, the list goes on.

It’s a bit like taking a racing car and putting a novice behind the wheel. You can have the most amazing colourist and grading suite ready to manipulate your image but if you haven’t got the expertise at the beginning of the chain, you may be trying to roll things in glitter. Yes, we are ‘faking’ something but it’s harder to get to the desired point without everything else in the process working together. Having said that, we can still drastically change things!

I understand why colour grading is important for a Hollywood film, but why is it important for a commercial film for a product?

I do a lot of product films, in particular cars and fashion. Here, a video will often run alongside a stills shoot and I will be given colour references to which everything has to match. For example, you may have lovely shots of a car on an open road in bright sunlight and then some pictures from the stills campaign where the car is photographed in a perfectly lit studio. The car may be the same colour – it may even be the same car, but it won’t match because of the different scenario in which it has been shot. This is where the colourist gets to work.

How much do clients need to worry about all of this?

In theory, not at all, other than to understand that what I do is part of the process. When someone is shooting a film or video, the image is ‘monitored’ on set and due to the way that image data is captured these days, it may even have a ‘rough look’ applied to it that hints at where the grade may go. Then, when clients see a rough edit they are looking at a familiar image even before they hit the grading session with the colourist.

In the grade, we work from the final edit and tend to grade ‘in context’; you don’t always know how shots will grade up alongside one-another within a scene till you get going. Say you put three shots together, graded them and then inter-cut another 10 shots. In this situation, there is no guarantee that the three original shots would continue to work with their associated grades. As your eye goes from shot to shot it will pick up on different things and what worked previously may no longer work. There’s never a dull moment, so to speak, when it comes to the grade!

How much manipulation can you do?

The tools we use today are now so powerful we can achieve a vast amount in the grade. For example, on the fashion jobs I can now go in and clean up moles on someone’s neck, remove wrinkles or maybe change the colour of a model’s eyes. A lot of colourists don’t like doing this as they feel they should be painting with a broader brush. I enjoy that as well but I do rather like the technical, fiddly stuff.

Thank you James.

James is as a freelance colourist based in London but has worked on a wide array of productions all over the world. You can find out more about James Willett on on his website where you can also view further examples of his work. Got any further questions for James then you can also reach him on twitter @james_willett where he is very active.

About the Author

Guest Post

At, we love sharing the voices of the businesses we know, love, respect and admire. Some of the contributors we are partnered with, others are not. This guest blog was carefully chosen as we feel the author brings incredible value and we hope you agree with this assessment too.

If you have any questions or concerns about this post feel to get in touch with us via our contact form on

The Big Problem With Law Firm Websites

The big problem with law firm websites that you’ve always wanted to know. Our brilliant Guest Blog comes from Simon Manuel who is the Managing Director of Ink & Dots, Simon is an expert in content marketing and the author of Why Your Law Firm Needs a Content Marketing Strategy.

For reasons that will be of no interest to you at all, law firm websites have been much on my mind the past few weeks. So much so that I decided to carry out a survey into them.

To my complete lack of astonishment I discovered that:

  • 90% of law firms build long-term relationships with their clients,
  • 93% are passionate about offering bespoke legal solutions, and
  • 100% say they put clients first.

OK, I’ll admit, the survey wasn’t exactly scientific and consisted of me pottering around online for a couple of hours. But the figures are probably pretty close to the mark.

Apart from the crime against the English language of “bespoke legal solutions” (for more on which, see below) there’s something odd going on here. Every law firm I speak to is at pains to point out that they aren’t like other firms. And they’re right – every firm is different. Yet all their websites say variations of the same thing. The result is that it is difficult for potential clients to differentiate between firms.

The problem seems to me not so much what they are trying to say but how they say it. Lawyers are honourable types (despite what some may claim) who take the meaning of words at face value. So, when they say they put clients first, build relationships etc., they believe what they say and expect the reader to believe them too.

These websites all fall into the trap of ‘telling’ the reader about the firm and how wonderful it is rather than ‘showing’ them.

The decision to buy something, even legal services, is based about 20% on logic and 80% on emotion. And the way to engage people emotionally is through stories; in short, through showing, not telling.

In a legal context, showing means two things:

  • Case studies that demonstrate all those aspects of your services that are important: legal expertise, dedication to your clients, the strength of your long-term client relationships, etc.
  • Client testimonials. Third party validation is infinitely more powerful than blowing your own trumpet. Which is why people read Amazon product reviews assiduously and largely ignore the advertising guff that surrounds the products themselves.

It is through these case studies and testimonials that you can demonstrate how your skills and the way you tackle your clients’ legal problems set you apart from your competitors.

This doesn’t just have to be done in writing either. Law firms have been slow to embrace the use of video, but a testimonial video is the perfect way for them to dip their toe in the water. Done well, a testimonial video is incredibly powerful. To find out more about this, read these blog by video production company, Element 26 – 8 Reasons To Make a Testimonial Video.

Which brings us to “passionate about offering bespoke legal solutions”. So many lawyers claim to be passionate it’s a wonder they get any work done. Saying you are passionate is meaningless, not to say lazy. It creates no picture in the mind of the reader in the way a case study would. It’s the legal equivalent of ‘GSOH’ in a lonely-hearts ad.

“Bespoke solutions” is equally worthless. “Bespoke” has become a horrible cliché. Is the idea to differentiate from solicitors who ignore the fact that every instruction is different and provide “off the shelf solutions”?

Similarly, “solutions” is so overused it has become an invisible word of no value. I assume some marketing wizard came up with the idea that the way to sell something was to promise to solve a problem. Hence “solutions”.

Put it this way. When the fire brigade saves a child from a burning building, no one wants to hear the fireman say he applied a bespoke firefighting solution to the problem of saving the child. We want to hear the child’s relieved mother say what heroes the fire service were to risk their lives entering a burning, smoke-filled house to rescue their bundle of joy.

Law firms would do well to remember the words of Anton Chekov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Simon Manuel, Director, Ink & Dots.

Simon is the author of Why Your Law Firm Needs a Content Marketing Strategy – and How to Put One in Place, which is available for download here.


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