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Inbound Success Podcast

What do the most successful inbound marketers do to get great results?

You’ve heard the stories about companies using inbound marketing to dramatically increase sales, grow their business, and transform their customer relationships, but not everyone who practices inbound marketing knocks it out of the park.

If you want to know what goes into building a world class inbound marketing campaign that gets real, measurable results, check out the Inbound Success podcast. Every week, host Kathleen Booth interviews marketing folks who are rolling up their sleeves, doing the work, and getting the kinds of results we all hope to achieve.

The goal is to “peel back the onion” and learn what works, what doesn’t and what you need to do to really move the needle with your inbound marketing efforts. This isn’t just about big picture strategy – it’s about getting actionable tips and insights that you can use immediately in your own marketing.

Aug 12, 2019

Why does adding captions increase video views by 300%?

This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Splasheo Founder Gideon Shalwick talks about the power of video captions.

Splasheo provides video creators with a simple and affordable captioning solutions, and the company's clients have seen incredible results - in terms of increased video views and engagement - from adding captions to their videos.

In this interview, Gideon talks about why captioning is so critical, how to create captions, what captioning costs, and the results you can expect.

Some highlights from my conversation with Gideon include:

  • Splasheo is a service that captions videos for publication on social media channels.
  • Videos with captions get more engagement, views and comments.
  • Adding captions also reduces the need to edit videos because the captions themselves promote engagement (whereas uncaptioned videos need more professional editing to drive engagement).
  • Approximately 85% of videos are viewed on silent mode, presenting an incredible opportunity for video creators who add captions.
  • In addition, on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, videos are set to autoplay, so captions dramatically increase the likelihood that viewers who see autoplayed videos in their feeds will interact with them.
  • As humans, we are programmed to notice movement, so we are naturally drawn to captions.
  • Captions help improve a viewer's understanding of the content in a video by forming a mental "movie" in their head.
  • Captions are essential for videos posted to Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
  • They are not as necessary on YouTube, where viewers go expecting to have an audio experience.
  • Captioning has the added benefit of enhancing the accessibility of videos for individuals who are hearing impaired.
  • Many people who don't caption videos choose not to do so due to the perceived complexity as well as the time and "hassle factor."
  • The accuracy of the transcription used for captioning is essential because if a viewer notices an error, it breaks their attention and increases the odds that they will fail to view the entire video.
  • Gideon says that for platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, it is essential to burn the captions directly onto the video, whereas on YouTube, it makes more sense to separately upload an SRT file with captions (this provides added SEO benefits).
  • When it comes to captioning, font size, color and contrast with the background are all important factors in ensuring that captions are effective.
  • Gideon's clients see a 200% to 300% increase in video views when they add captions to their videos.
  • Using Splasheo to caption videos comes out to about $20 per video.

Resources from this episode:

Listen to the podcast to learn more about captioning your videos and hear about the impact that captioning has on marketing results.


Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast.

I'm your host, Kathleen Booth. This week, my guest is Gideon Shalwick, who is the founder of Splasheo. Welcome, Gideon.

Gideon Shalwick (Guest): Hey, Kathleen. Great to be here. Looking forward to this.

Gideon Shalwick and Kathleen Booth
Gideon and Kathleen recording this episode together .

Kathleen: Thanks for getting up early. Gideon is all the way around the other side of the world, and it is 7:00 AM his time, 5:00 PM my time. You can have coffee while I have a cocktail.

Gideon: That's the one. We'll have it after the show, maybe.

Kathleen: Exactly. Well, tell my guests... my "guests." My listeners. See, there you go. That's me. I need a cocktail. Tell my listeners a little bit more about yourself and about Splasheo and what you do.

About Gideon Shalwick and Splasheo

Gideon: All right. My name is Gideon, as you know. I've been an online entrepreneur, I guess you could say, for the last 14 years. It all started way back when I was stuck in a job back in New Zealand and didn't quite enjoy what I was doing.

I thought, "Hey, I need a change." So, I told my wife, "Hey, let's emigrate Australia," where we live now, "and start a new business there, start a new life." So, I started applying for jobs. I couldn't get a job in Australia, because that's going to get our ticket to get into Australia, right? So, after about three months I just gave up. I wasn't employable. So, my wife started applying for jobs. She got three job offers, in fact, within a week.

Kathleen: Wow.

Gideon: So, within a month, we were in Australia and I was starting my business, or at least figuring out how to start a business or what the heck it is that I wanted to do. My wife, she was working and basically paying the bills. I remember saying to her, "Look, if I can't make back the money within the first year of what my salary was, then I really don't deserve to be making that." It wasn't even much. I mean, it was $54,000, was my salary back then.

First year I think I made 10,000 and I spent 11. So, I made negative 1,000. Second year, not too much different; I had a negative year again. It really wasn't until about two and a half years later that we finally figured it out, but before that point, we were this close to just giving up.

I remember having this conversation with my wife and I said, "Look, it's just not working out. I've given it a good shot. We said about two or three years, and it just wasn't working." I can't remember, but it seemed like a week or a month after that point, we got this opportunity to work on a new business. We launched that, and it was a content-based business, was called Become a Blogger.

This is back in 2008, I think, right about there. We launched a program that taught businesses how to use blogging for growing their businesses. It was really a content marketing sort of a business. We helped people use content marketing to grow their businesses. That was life-changing.

Within a month, the business was making about $23,000 a month, which was fantastic going from zero or negative per month to 23K a month, which is great. I think within about two weeks of launch, we had about 10,000 people on our email database, which is great.

This is something I often forget, but before we even launched, we created this series of 10 little videos, content pieces, that we just put out there on the Internet. Now, this was back in the day when YouTube was just getting started, I think. In fact, their video quality was so terrible back then, we used another service called I'm not sure if you remember-

Kathleen: No.

Gideon: So, I'm not even sure if they're around anymore. But anyway, on that platform, we had over 300,000 downloads of our 10 little videos before we even launched.

Kathleen: Wow.

Gideon: I think even back then it was such an eye-opener to see how good it can be to create really useful content for an audience and to have that to help grow your business.

So, that was my first little bit of a success. Since then, I've just building it, been setting up different companies. Built our own personal brand back in the day. I got to about 40,000 YouTube subscribers until I thought, "Hey, I better start building brands here that can run independently of me and my personal brand."

I created the company called Splasheo and then spent about a year on it but then got distracted in a way to set up another company called Veeroll, which was a software company. We automated the production of video ads for YouTube and Facebook and Instagram. Earlier this year, I exited that company and back onto Splasheo again after four or five years of just ignoring that business.

So, with Splasheo now, we caption people's videos and turn it into a really effective video for social media for our clients.

Kathleen: Yeah, that's great.

Gideon: So, that's what I'm busy with right now.

Kathleen: I love what you're doing with Splasheo, because I've been experimenting with a lot of LinkedIn video just for myself. It's not something that I'm doing through work; it's a little test outside of work, a passion project. I'm not highly technical in terms of my ability to edit video or anything like that. We have a video team at IMPACT, but I'm not using them for this.

So, doing this on my own, I've realized how burdensome it can be on the individual video creator to try and manage that process of producing really nice-looking videos with captions. But what a big difference it makes if you do it, and then when I saw what Splasheo does, I was like, "I should have just used that. It seems so much easier."

The Benefits of Captioning Videos

Gideon: Well, that's exactly it. I mean, there's a couple reasons why I got excited about captioning videos. The first one is like you're saying; it makes such a big difference to the effectiveness of the videos and especially the attention and engagement that you can get from your videos just by adding the captions.

We've seen this time and time again with our own videos but also from our clients. As soon as they start using captions, they get more views, they get more engagement, they get more comments. They just get a much better result just by adding captions. It's so powerful.

The other benefit that was a surprise to me, that I could only discover once I started doing it, was that when you start adding captions... I mention how it improves your engagement for your videos, right? But when you look at the reason why you normally edit videos, especially content videos, it's often and probably in most cases it's because you want to increase the engagement of your videos.

You think about adding jump cuts or B rolls or special music or animations or what have you, and all for the purpose of trying to keep the engagement of your viewer. When we started using captions, we realized that just by adding captions it does all those things automatically just by default.

So, what that means then is that you don't really need to edit your videos anymore, especially these content type of videos where you're using content to grow your influence online.

We're not talking about creating a Hollywood production here or a very fancy video ad, for example. We're talking about creating engaging content where people can engage with you or with your brand.

When you start adding captions, I mean, yes, you can still do editing if you want to, but you don't need to anymore because you get that benefit of what you used to be able to get with just editing. So, that was really powerful insight when I started using it.

How Video Fits In Today's Marketing Mix

Kathleen: That is. That's so interesting. Now, taking a step back, I was fascinated to hear you talk about what led up to Splasheo and just how you've always been somebody who's been involved in video in some way or another. You had this tremendous YouTube following.

How video is being used in marketing, seems to me at least, has changed considerably in the last several years. I wonder if you could speak to, today, where you see the opportunity and what's getting the biggest results with video.

Gideon: Well, I think in some ways it's changed and in some ways it hasn't. I think in terms of how you connect with people hasn't changed. Perhaps what people are doing now and the strategies and tactics they're using, maybe that's changed. Some of the platforms have changed.

For example, back in the day with YouTube, at the beginning, you got rewarded for getting more views and that's what they looked at. They looked at the number of views you'd get, and then if you got a lot of views, the algorithm was favorable towards your videos.

Then a few years back, so many people started playing the system and getting fake views and just all sorts of naughty things people were doing and so YouTube said, "Okay, let's change this. How can we make this so that we reward people who create good content?"

Then they started looking at watch time and session time, right? So, watch time is where they look at how long people watch your video for. Session time is how long they stay on YouTube as a result of watching your video, right? So, they started looking at those two factors.

If you weren't keeping people's attention, if you weren't keeping people engaged, then you'd lose out. Your videos just wouldn't... they'd just stop ranking. That was a good thing, because it got rid of all those people who were just creating really bad content but somehow getting the views, tricking the system.

So, ever since then, I think it's been really good for us as content creators to create really useful content. Now the challenge now has become that everyone has upped their game, and now there's a lot of good content out there. So, now the question's how do you stand out.

I think what really has been very interesting, especially in the last... well, it's actually been around for a while, but especially in the last year or two I think business folks have started picking up on this a bit more, and that's where the massive increase in silent play of videos. So, when you watch videos on your phone, for example, or even... it's not even on your phone. It's even on desktop as well. In general, people watch it on silent. The videos autoplay, right?

Since autoplay came in, the sound is off. So, the thing starts playing on autoplay. You're sitting there scrolling, and if the video is not captioned, most people just keep scrolling by. I mean, it's something like 85% of people who videos on silent at the moment. So, that's a huge number.

If you're not doing something special to stand out for those people, you're really losing out on a big part of your audience. You've got to do something to grab their attention. A lot of people do visual things with their hands or some special effects with the editing to try and grab people's attention, but there's nothing that engages better with actual text moving on the screen of what the video's about. That's what captions bring to the mix.

So, I think that's been a big change, and I think if you're creating videos today and not captioning them, then that's a big problem. Again, it comes back to the key objective for creating videos, and that is to create a connection with your viewer. That hasn't changed. Since day one, that hasn't change.

You've got to create that connection with your viewer, and you do that by, first of all, making sure you're talking to the right people and secondly by creating video content or a message that really resonates with them.

In other words, creating a message or content that they actually want to watch and consume and share. So, that hasn't changed, which is brilliant.

From a marketing perspective, the principles are still the same. Make sure you're targeting the right people, make sure you're creating the right message for them, and then use these different strategies, like for example the captioning, to help get their attention better and engage them a lot more inside your video content as well.

How (And Where) To Use Captioned Videos

Kathleen: Now, is it fair to say that the captioned videos for the most part are being used in the feed on social channels?

Gideon: Sorry, is most of them getting captioned? Is that the question?

Kathleen: Are most of the videos that are being captioned, is it fair to say that they're intended for use in the feed on social channels or in ads on social channels?

Gideon: Yeah. Well, I think they add benefit no matter where they are. I mean, this is interesting. Even if you're watching a video and you've got the sound on, when there's captions, people tend to read them.

I don't know about you, but certainly when... I haven't done a test on this, but my guess is that a lot of people are similar to me in the sense that if you're watching a video and there's captions on the video, you tend to read them anyway. The reason is because it's moving, so your eye gets drawn to it, and we can't help ourselves but read text when it's coming on the screen. It's just how we're programmed.

We're programmed to notice movement. So, when we do that, it helps us absorb and consume the information a lot better and remember it a lot better, too. So, it's not just those autoplay videos on silent. It has a benefit for this, also, and additional benefit where people can actually consume the message a lot better.

So, I think, yes, the feed, that's the obvious place where it works very well and perhaps why companies add captions in the first place, but I think there's other benefits, too, for having those captions in the videos, even if people are not watching it on the autoplay. Certainly, that's where they work really well.

So, the three big ones for me are, when it comes to captions, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Those three. YouTube, yes, captions work there, but it's a different kind of a beast. I think people there still prefer hitting the play button and actually watching-

Kathleen: Yeah, I think they go there expecting to have an audio experience on YouTube.

Gideon: Right. So, that's a different beast, but even with YouTube... I mean, if you go to YouTube now on your phone and you're on your home screen, the videos there are autoplaying now, too, which is a relatively recent thing.

But I mean certainly on Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn, if you go to the feed, the videos autoplay by default. Those are excellent places for using captions for.

Video Captioning and Website Accessibility

Kathleen: I would think, too, though, it's interesting, what not a lot of people talk about but I feel like it's becoming a huge deal is just accessibility. I'm hearing more and more about lawsuits that are being levied against companies that have websites that are not completely accessible to all differently-abled people.

If you have a ton of video on your website, not captioning it is really a problem when it comes to accessibility. So, I think that's sort of an interesting angle that is not given enough attention.

Gideon: Yeah, that's right. We were actually helping someone who... she is deaf, right? So, she can't hear anything. She is really very focused on captioning. She actually captions all her videos. Her speech is good enough to still be captioned, and, of course, for someone like her and other people like her, having captions on the video is extremely useful.

For example, when you watch her videos and you've got the sound on, it's quite difficult to understand it. I guess you can get used to it, but when there's captions as well, obviously that makes it a lot easier to understand. But then also people who are obviously deaf, they want to see the words.

Again, if you don't have the captions on... and especially the way we do it. We burn the captions into the video, so we have control over where they get shown and how they get shown and how clear they are and how readable they are, et cetera.

All this sort of stuff. If you don't have those, again, you miss out on the autoplay or the silent viewers, I guess, but then also on those people who can't hear the video if there's no captions, right? So, absolutely. You might as well add them.

Why More Marketers Don't Caption Video

Kathleen: Yeah. Now, having said this, there are tremendous benefits to captioning, but it's interesting to me just how many videos are not captioned.

I'm curious why you think that's the case. I would imagine it would be one of a few options: either people don't know how to do it, or they feel like it's too difficult or time-consuming or expensive or they don't for some reason realize it's necessary. Or, in some cases, I imagine, there are times when people make a conscious choice not to caption it. In your experience, what are the more common barriers?

Gideon: I think you've pretty much summarized that. I think definitely probably the main one stopping people if they are interested in doing it is the difficult of doing it. I mean, it's not that difficult, right? There's software out there that can automate the process somewhat, but where it becomes troublesome is the time-consuming nature of it.

So what we do, for example, is when we get our clients uploading their videos, the first thing we do is we transcribe their video. It's a human being that does the transcription. We've tested automatic versions and, yeah, they work. I mean, you can get the automatic version of the transcript of a caption file back very quickly, within minutes.

They often promise something like 98% accuracy, but you know what? The extra 2%, to fix that, it takes you like 98% of your time to fix that up. So, a very frustrating process to get it done really well, and it's important to get it done really well.

We promise 100% accuracy, because we know how important it is that when people watch your video and they read your video, if there's a mistake in where a full stop is or a wrong word or a wrong name or something like that, it breaks their attention and it reduces their engagement.

When you break their attention, it just creates an opportunity for people to click away, because there's so much other competition and stuff competing for people's attention.

So, you've got to get it perfect, and that's one of the key things we do. The first thing: we transcribe it, and then we've got a person that reviews the transcript as well. So, we always have a different person reviewing the transcript to make sure it's really, really well. The third person then actually burns the captions into the videos using our specialized video editing software, and then a fourth person does the final review.

So, there's really four people looking at each video. We've got four people doing that.

Now, most companies don't have that sort of capacity to be able to... I mean, yes, you can build a team to do that and manage that, but it's a pain to set up. So, you can do that, but, I mean, there's easier ways of course. Some people like doing it themselves, but then they often get stuck on the doing-it-yourself nature of it, because it takes time away from actually creating content.

When you spend time editing and fixing up typos and trying to figure out how the caption thing works and all that sort of stuff, it takes time away from getting your message out there to the world. So, definitely there's a technical barrier.

The cost is not so much an issue, unless you look at time. I think if you're building your own team and they're spending time... they're not specialized at this and every time they do it, they take more time than necessary. It introduces extra cost into it and, of course, extra time as well.

I think the interesting one you mentioned where there might be some reasons why people don't want to caption, and the only one that I can think of is perhaps for YouTube where maybe you still want to do the captioning.

There's some SEO benefits when you upload the captioned part onto YouTube natively, but there's not as much benefit of burning the captions into the video, whereas for the other platforms like I mentioned, with Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, I think it's essential to burn the captions into the videos.

Just uploading the SRT file, for example, to the platform, it doesn't quite cut it, because the thing is, when people watch the videos, sometimes they might have captions automatically turned off. Or what I often see is the captions are not very readable, especially on mobile devices. They're so tiny. You can't even read the words.

So, I think for those, especially for LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, you've got to burn it in and that gives you much more control over what it looks like and how people can actually consume that content.

So, yeah, it's either going to be technical or cost/time. The other reason, I guess, would be if they're ignorant to the value of captioning. They just haven't realized how important it is. But as I said, I think it's essential.

Video Captioning Best Practices

Kathleen: I want to dig a little bit deeper into something you started to touch on, which is the really fine points of best practices for captioning.

You mentioned uploading an SRT file, it might result in captions that are too tiny to see. So, can you talk a little bit more about what makes for a good caption to video experience?

I want to touch on everything from font size, to do you have a background behind those captions, do you put them in one word at a time as the person says it, do you put it one line at a time? I've seen in a lot of different programs with different options, and I'm just very curious as a company that's build around this what you see as the best practices.

Gideon: Well, there's one word that drives everything we do for the captions in particular, and that is readability. It's got to be readable. That's the most important thing, especially on smaller devices like your mobile phone. So, that's the litmus test, I suppose. If it's not easily readable, then it's a problem.

From there we look at size. So, we have a certain size that's big enough to work really well on especially mobile devices. We look at color. So, often times we'd either have a colored background with white text, say, or if it's a light background we use darker text. There has to be some really good contrast.

Kathleen: Contrast, yeah.

Gideon: Yes. Absolutely. If you don't use a background, because what often looks really good as well... TED does this really well. The TED Talks, they often have little snippets of. They don't have an actual background necessarily for the captions, but they either have a darker... the video's darker by nature, because with the TED Talks it's in a darker area and down at the bottom it's quite dark.

So, white text on a dark background works really well. But sometimes the background from the video might not be that dark. If you're using white text, it can blend in with the background. Again, the readability goes down. So for them, you've got to use either a drop shadow on the text itself or introduce a transparent darker layer below the text so that, again, you create that contrast so it's easier to read. Very, very important.

What else do we look at? For some things, what works really well as well is, for podcasters, people who create a lot of audio content, we take those... people submit little snippets of their podcast.

Pat Flynn, for example, he would submit a between one and three-minute audio clip to us. He'd select either a color background or an image background. What we do, then, is we superimpose really nice big and bold text on top of that and that works really well, because then you've got then, again, that nice contrast.

But then we often increase the size even more. So, you'd have maybe a square video and the main thing you see, really, is the big text right in the middle of it. You can't miss it. If people are scrolling and there's this big, fat text in the middle of the video and it's engaging text, people read and they go, "Wow. Yeah, this is interesting," it pulls them in. It's really, really effective. Part of that also is not just what the text looks like, but like I said before, the accuracy of the text is really important.

Also, how long the text is, how many letters there are in each text segment. It's interesting, because there's a bit of a science there between how many letters get used and also trying to fit that in with an idea segment. Sometimes you might want to have slightly more words, but it's all keeping the same idea in one shot, so to speak. Otherwise, if you break it halfway, again, it breaks their attention.

So, a lot of little things we look at like that to make sure that it's readable, once again, so that people don't feel like they're getting interrupted while they're reading or watching your video content. Those are some of the things we look at for the caption part of it as well. There's this other-

Kathleen: What about in terms of the words... for example, I've seen on one platform that I've looked at that does captioning, they give you the option of adding the caption one line at a time, so the line of words will appear, or one word at a time. Is one better than the other?

Gideon: I haven't done specific tests on this, but certainly from looking at this myself and also... this is interesting. I had this conversation with the deaf lady that I was talking about before. She studied this a lot in a lot more detail than I have, because it's a lot more important for her.

Kathleen: I bet.

Gideon: So, what I've noticed is that there's probably three levels here, and they go from one extreme to the other. The one extreme is where it's just one word at a time. Boom, boom, boom. Now, I know that there's some technology where you can actually speed read with just one word at a time. You can increase the speed with some software to help you read faster-

Kathleen: I feel like that would give me a massive headache.

Gideon: Well, your brain is surprisingly fast, and you can actually read a lot and very quickly like that. Now, the trouble is we read faster than we can talk. So, when this is used as captions, often times it's too slow for our brain. Our brain wants it faster. That's one thing. But also the other thing is it's kind of distracting, because for that to work you have to only look at the words. You know how with reading you can read ahead a bit and then sort of absorb the content.

So, when it's just one word at a time, I think it's not as effective and, like you say, it can be quite bothersome and tiresome to watch a video like that. While it might draw the attention in, does it help with engagement? I don't know. That's questionable in my view.

So, the next step up from that, which is better but I think is still not as good, is when they just have one line and sometimes they use all caps.

Kathleen: Oh, that's not good.

Gideon: Right. Again, is it readable? I think when it's just one line, the trouble with that is that there's often not enough time for you to read it, because when it's one line, depending on how fast a person's speaking, there's less time for people to actually read that little one line. Then you might not even be finished yet with reading it and it flicks on to the next line already. So, you miss what's been said.

Kathleen: I imagine that would be so frustrating.

Gideon: Right. Exactly. You tend to stop reading and click away and move onto the next thing. So, I think certainly the best mix we've found is where, again, we have enough text space available to group together the... there's a word for it. I can't remember what. It's like an idea snippet, I guess, or concepts go together within the text so that you don't break that train of thought.

Also, when you have the text often in two lines or slightly more, it gives the viewer more time to actually read and consume and absorb that content, which I think is important. So, I think, yes, they all work, but there's different grades of how well they work. I think the best one is where they give people a bit more time.

It's so interesting; I think a lot of people are trying to use fancy ways of trying to stand out with the captions, and I think that is actually a mistake. You're not trying to be fancy with your captions. You're trying to make it readable. That's the number one goal. If there's anything that you add to it that makes it look fancy and reduces the readability, then I would say it's a no. Rather go for something that looks simpler and more traditional but increases the readability, because ultimately it comes down to how well people can consume your message.

What Impact Does Video Captioning Have On Marketing Results?

Kathleen: So, you work with a lot of different clients that are captioning their videos. Do you have any examples you can share of people that have added captions in and seen really great results?

Gideon: Absolutely. I mean, a common friend of ours, Marcus Sheridan, he was one of our first users. He'd been using it for... basically, he was one of our first users, which is amazing. He got back to us after a few weeks after using the service and he said he got a between 200% and 300% increase in his viewers.

He didn't mention the number, but he said he had a massive increase in click-through rates as well for videos, which any time I see it, it always takes me by surprise how big the difference is just by adding captions. I mean, goodness. We're seeing this time and time again from our clients.

There's one of our users, Tim Sanders. He started using the services. Well, he would normally just get... he'd get a good number of views and a decent number of comments on his videos on LinkedIn in particular, and then he submitted one of these videos that we captioned for him.

One thing we haven't touched on is that we don't just caption the videos; we also burn them into your videos, right? We burn it into a really engaging-looking or designed for engagement frame. We add a headline, for example, as well at the top of the video and then the captions go down at the bottom. So, that's really important.

Why Burning Captions Into Videos Is So Effective

Kathleen: Can you talk about why that distinction's important and what that really means?

Gideon: Yeah. So, the two key things you want to do with creating video content is you want to grab people's attention and you want to engage them.

You can add a third one, maybe, where you call people to action, you want to get them to take some sort of an action.

But in terms of the content itself, you want to grab their attention and engage them. There's two things we to make that happen specifically. The first thing is we use... the frame that we create the videos in is created in such a way that it grabs attention.

So, our most common frame is the square one. It's called the fancy square, where you have the option to add a headline on the video, a static headline. It stays there when the video starts autoplaying, and then below that is your actual video. Then below that is room for the captions. So, the bit that grabs attention is actually two things. It's the headline.

I mean, if you've got any piece of content... I mean, often when you talk with copywriters, they'll say that 80% of your work and 80% of the importance of your content goes into a headline. That's the most important thing, because that's what grabs people's attention and that's the number one thing that helps people decide whether they want to consume the rest of the content, unless there's little-

Kathleen: Right, it's worth my time.

Gideon: Exactly right. I can't remember who said this. Some famous copywriter talked about the purpose of the headline, and the purpose of the headline is to get people to read the next line. That's all it is. And then the purpose of the next line is to get people to read the following line.

So, it's really interesting. With a headline, you're not trying to get people to necessarily watch the whole video, but you want them to just stop and go, "Hey, this is interesting. Maybe I should pay attention." That's what the headline does. It's so important. So, there's a bit of an art to writing those headlines as well, writing them in such a way that really draws people in.

When you see captions moving on the screen, that draws people's attention in as well, because we're programed just to notice movement.

Then the second thing, which is engagement, happens really through the captions and the actual content.

What's really interesting about this that I don't think a lot of people realize is that when people read words they don't actually see the words. They see the images behind the words. They see the images that the words invoke. When you read a book, you don't look at... I mean, you read the words, but as you're reading it, in your mind, it creates all these images.

Kathleen: Totally. I've always said it's like playing a movie in your head.

Gideon: I was just going to that. It's like you've created this movie theater and put inside people's heads. Words are powerful, because not only is there an image that gets created but it's a visual image that gets created by the viewer themselves.

So, they own that image through your content, which means it's much more powerful than just visual content. When you can get people to use their own imaginations to help consume your content, that's really, really powerful.

Kathleen: Although I feel like it's a double-edged sword, because that's the problem that happens when you read a book that you love and you've played the movie in your head. Then somebody goes and makes an actual movie and it's not the same movie you had in your head. All of the sudden, you're disappointed.

Gideon: Definitely. I definitely know what you're saying. It's so powerful, because, I mean, if I tell you to not see the thing I'm going to tell you about next... for example, please don't imagine and seeing in your mind's eye a pink elephant with wings flying in the air. You just can't-

Kathleen: Impossible.

Gideon: Impossible. I didn't show you; I just said the words. So, the same thing happens when you start adding captions. Those two things is what we have that's super important.

I mean, we do have a third thing as well where you can add a call to action and getting people to actually do something.

I think those are the three kings of any video: attention, engagement, and action. You get those three things right, then you've got a beautiful combination. Now, I forget the original question that we were talking about but-

"Those are the three kings of any video: attention, engagement, and action. You get those three things right, then you've got a beautiful combination."

- Gideon Shalwick

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What Does It Cost to Caption Videos?

Kathleen: No, you did a great job of answering it. We were talking about the technical details. We were talking about the results. I feel like if somebody's listening and they're making videos, really, it's a no-brainer to add captions.

So, if somebody is interested, can you give a sense for what does this cost? Because that's always the next question, right? "This sounds great, but can I afford it? Is this too good to be true?"

Gideon: Right. So, it comes down to basically how much you value your time. Obviously, you can do this yourself, like individually a do-it-yourself. There's a lot of solutions out there that allows you to do that, but, again, you've got to do it yourself and use the software yourself, et cetera.

Next option is to get someone else to do it for you. So, either build your own team or outsource it. Again, there's a time commitment there. When you train people up and they leave, that's quite a painful thing. But, I mean, that is certainly an option as well.

The third option is where you just get someone who's a specialist at it. So, that's what we're doing at Splasheo, for example, where we specialize in it. We do it every day. We eat captions for breakfast and morning tea and lunch and afternoon tea and dinner. And then dessert as well. So, we've been able to systemize it quite well.

We've got different plans. At the higher price, it works out to about $20 per video, and that's for up to five minutes long for a video. So, 20 bucks and you've got yourself a video. We'll take about 24 hours to send it back.

Kathleen: That's really reasonable, because I have tried to caption my own videos. Let me just tell you; even with these super simple programs, I'm spending more than 20 minutes, and I feel like the time value of money is huge.

Gideon: Right. I mean, it takes 20 seconds. Once you've got the video, it takes about 20 seconds to submit your video. I mean, it might be even less.

Once you've got your video customization set so you can save those in another folder area, once you've got the set and you've got the video, you just put the link in there and press go. I mean, 20 seconds is a long time to do that, and then you're done.

When you think about removing obstacles for you to get your message out there to the world, I mean, this is great. It just means you can be in front of the camera, and once you're done with that, you submit it and you go and do whatever else you need to do in your business without letting other things take your time away from what you're supposed to be doing.

A Special Offer For Inbound Success Podcast Listeners

Kathleen: I love it. Well, I have a feeling there are going to be people listening who have questions or want to learn more about Splasheo, want to check out more of the pricing packages. If they want to do that, what's the best way for them to learn more?

Gideon: Well, we've actually set up a special page for you guys at Inbound Success. So, let me just make sure I get that right address. We set up a free trial for you guys where you can get up to four video credits. Each video credit gets you up to five minutes' worth of video. So, that's about $100 worth of video credits that you can get for free as part of this trial. It's a seven-day trial. You don't have to use it within the first seven days, but after seven days, the first payment kicks in.

So, that's on the growth plan, which is 99 a month. But you can sign up and get the first four credits 100% free, and then after seven days when the payment kicks in, you get another four. You can cancel any time, of course.

You can get access to that at So, that's Splasheo, which is just splash E-O dot com.

Special for Inbound Success Podcast listeners:

Get a free trial, including four video credits, from Splasheo at

Kathleen: All right. I will put that link in the show notes. Thank you. That is a fantastic offer. So, if you're listening, you've got no excuse now. You can get four videos captioned at zero dollars by Splasheo. So, check that out. Again, links will be in the show notes for that landing page.

Kathleen's Two Questions

Kathleen: Before we wrap up, I have two questions for you that I ask all of my guests.

The first is, we talk a lot about inbound marketing on this podcast obviously, so is there a particular company or individual that you think is really killing it right now with inbound?

Gideon: Yeah, absolutely. It's one of my friends, Nathan Chan, from They're also a user of our Splasheo service. I mean, they just absolutely love it, because, again, it helps them just get the content out there without being held back. But, I mean, sure, that's the caption side, but aside from they also do this whole inbound marketing really well. So, they're a great example if you go to to check out.

One thing that I learned from Nathan is that... he talks about the way they've done it. What they would do is they would just focus on one channel at a time or one platform at a time or one traffic generator or content strategy at a time. They wouldn't try and do a bunch of things at the same time.

Just do that one thing and do it until they've completely mastered it. I've seen them do this. I think they started with Instagram and totally killed it. I think they're sitting on 1.7 million subscribers there now. Incredible.

Kathleen: Wow.

Gideon: Then they did this podcasting and interviewing people. Well, they didn't do it at the same time. He did the Instagram thing first and then the podcasting. Totally smashed that. I don't know how big... I mean, he's got one of the biggest podcasts in the world, I'd imagine. I don't know the numbers, but I would imagine it's pretty big.

Now, he's doing it with YouTube. It's been so interesting, because I remember watching at the beginning and him working with Instagram and podcasting and I'm not sure what else they were doing, but I said, "Guys, you need to look at YouTube. There's a big opportunity there for you guys." He said, "Yep, we will, but not yet."

I don't know how long they've been at it, but it hasn't been that long. Maybe since the start of the year that they've been focusing on YouTube now. Again, they are just crushing it. I think the reason is because they have such big focus on just one channel at a time. It just gives you the ability to be like a superhero. You can just hone in with laser focus, laser eyes to make that thing work really, really well.

Kathleen: I love that example, because I just this past week published my 100th podcast episode and what I did for it was I went back and looked at the previous 99 episodes. I extracted as many commonalities as I could from those interviews about what made those particular marketers really successful.

One of the things I specifically talked about was they pick one thing and they do it really well. Now, it doesn't have to mean they only ever do one thing, but they tend to, exactly as you said, master one thing before they start to move on.

What I think is so interesting about that is that marketers tend to really be distractible. We love our tools and our new platforms, and we have a lot of shiny penny syndrome. It takes a phenomenal amount of discipline to say, "No, I'm not going to try that hot new thing. I'm going to do this one thing until I have nailed it, and then I'll move on." So, that's a great example. Second question-

Gideon: Yeah, just-

Kathleen: Go ahead. Sorry.

Gideon: The thing is, as soon as you add something else, like if you're just starting out... I mean, it depends a bit on your resources as well, but I think this goes whether you're a small company or a bigger company. It's the same thing. As soon as you introduce another channel, it dilutes your efforts. Not only does it dilute your efforts, it also increases complexity. As soon as you introduce complexity, it becomes harder to grow.

I think that's the key thing; you want to keep it as simple as possible and you make it as easy as possible for you to succeed. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in a big way. You can only really do that with focus.

Kathleen: Love that. The second question I have for you is... the other thing I hear from a lot of marketers is that it's really hard to keep up with everything, because there is so much new stuff that is constantly coming down the pike, whether that's new technologies or new strategies or new algorithm changes.

How do you personally keep yourself educated and on top of all of this digital marketing stuff?

Gideon: I might have a bit of a different answer here. I think the way it happens for me is probably through osmosis. In a way, that's the short answer. But the other part of it is that I don't actually specifically stay up to date with any specific group or organization or thought leaders or what have you. I do that on purpose.

The reason I do that is because, for me, I just find that when I do that, it's easy to get blindsided by certain people's opinions about certain things. Also, it could become restrictive in a way, because if I were to follow just a few number of people, I would start thinking that's how the world works and that's the only way it might work. It might discourage me from thinking for myself and coming up with creative solutions.

So, where I draw a lot of my inspiration from now is not actually from existing thought leaders or organizations who are leading. I try and go back to, I guess, just myself and look for that inspiration actually away from what's happening.

Because often times you look at the truly innovative companies, and they're the ones who they actually do something different. They're not doing the same as everyone else. I think to be different, you've got to think differently. You've actually got to be careful not to get too conditioned with what everyone else is doing and saying.

So, I think that's always been a good recipe for us to come back just to... it actually comes back to what it is that we love doing and how we love serving. Sometimes, it's not the same as what's happening in the world right now. When we focus on that and we go back to what it is that we're truly passionate about, because of that passion, that gives us the fuel for the creativity. Then, these ideas just come from out of nowhere.

When we focus on it, not always but often times they come out. When they do come out, it's something that's totally unique but also useful at the same time that really gets people's attention.

Kathleen: Well, I feel like there's such a valuable lesson in what you just said that applies way beyond marketing in the world we live in today, not putting yourself into an echo chamber and just blindly following certain people. I'll leave it at that and not say more. But I love that.

How To Connect With Gideon

Kathleen: So, we talked about how people could learn more about Splasheo. If somebody wants to get in touch with you or connect with you online, what's the best way for them to do that?

Gideon: Well, I'm actually a newbie on LinkedIn. For 13 of my 14 years, or maybe 13 and a half of my 14 years as a business owner, I've ignored LinkedIn. It's only really been since the start of this year that I really started looking at it. So, if people want to connect with me there, I'd be more than happy to. My following's still very small there. I think I'm just approaching about 1,000 connections there now, which is also interesting. My very first video on LinkedIn got 27,000 views.

Kathleen: Wow.

Gideon: Well, I had 500 connections at the time. I think it just says something about LinkedIn. If people want to connect with me there, just search for Gideon Shalwick and say you've listened to this interview. I'll be more than happy to make a connection and have a chat. So, that'll be very exciting for sure.

You Know What To Do Next...

Kathleen: That's great. Thank you so much, Gideon. Now, if you're listening and you've learned something new, you've liked what you've heard, you're now passionate about captioning, I would very much appreciate it if you would leave a five star review of the podcast on Apple Podcasts. It makes a huge difference.

If you know somebody else who's doing kick-ass inbound marketing work, Tweet me at WorkMommyWork, because I would love to make them my next interview. Thanks so much, Gideon. This was a lot of fun.

Gideon: Thank you, too. It's been great fun.