Byter - Digital Marketing & Social Media

How To Create a Top Tier Marketing Plan

Jan 7, 2022 10:30:42 PM / by Byter Team posted in Digital Marketing, Marketing, Sales and marketing


Once a year your team should be sitting down and producing a marketing strategy for the following year. Why? Because without one your team is going to lack direction, and without direction it can be hard to push forward and stay on track. Plus, it will be almost impossible to put a number on the budget you’re going to need for all the projects, outsourcing and hiring to come over the next year. To make the ambitions and goals of your team a reality, a great marketing strategy is essential. 

In this post we’re going to talk you through each element of an effective marketing plan. Remember, every industry has different goals so you’ll need to personalise it to your specific company, but you can think of our guide as a template to work from.

What to include in your marketing plan

1. Business Summary

The best starting point for your marketing plan is to produce a summary of the business. It’s as simple as it sounds too – just make a brief summary of the organisation. Include the company name, headquarters, and your mission statement. 

2. Company Initiatives

Next, outline the company initiatives that are specific to the marketing department. This is a great way to map out the goals of your department; for example segment the goals of various upcoming projects and describe how these goals will be measured. 

3. Market Research

It’s likely that your company has already completed a thorough market study so this stage will be easy to complete. Split this step into two sections: customer profile and competitor analysis.

Customer Profile: Create a semi-fictitious picture of the ideal customer for your business and describe them. You should focus on their imagined traits such as age, location, goals, pain points, personal challenges, and triggering events. 

Competitor Analysis: Your customer profile should identify the challenges that your customer wants to solve. With this in mind, you can imagine the companies they might go to for these solutions. These companies are your competitors; identify them and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and how they compare to your business. This information will help you identify gaps in the market that your company can potentially fill. 

4. SWOT analysis

SWOT is a great framework to use for evaluating your company and developing a strategic plan of action. It stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A lot of this information can be gathered from the sections above, but be patient because it’s worth having if you want to identify your company’s future potential. 

5. Market Strategy

Think of this stage as your plan of action. Using the information you’ve put together so far, it’s time to lay out how your company intends to approach the market. If you’re struggling to figure out a strategy, think about this question: What should your company offer your ideal customer, to solve their solutions, that your competitors aren’t already offering? 

Having identified the product or solution you’re going to be offering, the next part of your plan is to create a list of the marketing channels you’re going to use to educate your buyers, generate leads and spread brand awareness. For example, if you intend to use social media channels, you can use this section of your plan to write down which social media platforms you’re going to use and how you’re going to measure their success. If you’re creating accounts from scratch, take a look at this post we wrote on how to find your social media audience. 

6. Budget

The final stage of your marketing plan is all about money. Dull stuff, we know. This step is essential though if you want to bring your marketing strategy to life. Itemise your budget by stating what you intend to spend on each individual expense, for example:

  • Outsourcing 
  • Software
  • Ads
  • Events

Establishing a budget also means you can calculate some financial projections for the year based on your ROI.

Creating a marketing plan is the best way to realise your business’ goals and put them into action. It connects everything together and makes sure that your team knows what to do, when to do it, to which audience and through the right channels. 

Good luck!

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A-Z Digital Marketing Glossary

Jan 7, 2022 10:29:33 PM / by Byter Team posted in Digital Marketing, Marketing, Sales and marketing


Whether you’re a newbie to the field or are an experienced digital marketer in need of a refresher, getting the lingo down can be tough. That’s why we’ve created this handy digital marketing glossary from A-Z of the most useful buzzwords all digital marketers need to know.


The demographic you are targeting your ads at in order to convert them into customers.


A link that connects one website to another. Also called “inbound links” and are very important SEO tools. 

CTA – Call to Action

A word or phrase used in content to persuade the audience to perform a specific action, e.g. “buy now”

Domain Name

Part of a URL that identifies it as belonging to a particular company or organisation. E.g. in, the domain name is ‘’

Email List

A collection of emails used in email marketing. Each email address may represent a potential customer, business or outreach lead. 

Full-Stack Developer

A web developer or engineer who is capable of producing both client and server software. They work with both the front and back end of a website or application.

Google Analytics

A web analytics service provided by Google that tracks and measures website metrics such as which search engine was used to land on the site, where users are located, how many users have visited the site, how long they stayed on each page, and more. 


A metadata tag that is prefaced by the hash symbol, #. Hashtags are used for widespread content sharing, usually on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. 


Impressions measure how often your ad is viewed on-screen by members of your audience.

Java Script

A programming language primarily used for building interaction-based applications on websites or digital devices. 


A word or phrase that is entered into a search engine. For the purpose of digital marketing, keywords are popular/ common words or phrases that are used in content to optimise a site’s ranking position. 


A lead is a potential customer, someone who may potentially or may have already shown interest in your product or services. 

Marketing Automation

Technology used for the purpose of streamlining marketing efforts to make them more effective. 


An identifier tag that tells search engines not to increase the ranking of the webpage it is assigned to.

Organic Listing

A natural or unpaid listing of a website on a search result page. The point of SEO is to optimise organic listings. 

PPC – Pay Per Click

An advertising method where advertisers will only pay for their adverts each time a user clicks on them. 

Quality Score

A metric used by Google, Yahoo and Bing! To measure the quality of ads. 

ROI – Return On Investment 

Measures the return on an investment relative to its cost. In digital marketing, calculating the ROI will tell you whether marketing and campaign efforts are contributing to revenue growth.

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation 

Increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. For example, practising SEO can increase the visibility of your website on google search results. 


Number of visitors to a website. 

URL – Uniform Resource Locator 

A web page address. E.g. is the address for Byter’s website. 


A video blog. 

White Paper

An in-depth report or authoritative guide that educates an audience about a particular issue or problem.

XML Sitemap

A list of URL’s for a particular website. It is used by search engine crawlers to easily identify all of a website’s available content. 


An online video sharing platform. 

And for Z….well, we’re not sure there is one. Please let us know if you have one!


Good luck!

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A Simple Guide to SEO Copywriting

Jan 7, 2022 10:28:29 PM / by Byter Team posted in Digital Marketing, SEO, Copywriting, Sales and marketing


Reaching customers is arguably the most difficult part of running a business. That’s where SEO copywriting comes in. If you’re wondering what it is and how it could help your business, we’ve written a simple guide of everything you need to know. 

What is SEO copywriting?

You’ve probably heard of copywriting – the act of writing text that aims to increase brand awareness. But, what is ‘SEO’ copywriting? Well, it’s a specialised form of traditional copywriting that contains keywords or phrases. These specially selected words are those your target customer is likely to type into a search engine because they desire the service or product you are selling. Ultimately, keywords will enable your content to rank higher in search results. Sounds simple. Right? 

Well, unfortunately, it’s not enough to just shove a bunch of keywords into your website content and hope it pays off. Your copy needs to be fine-tuned to the constantly changing search engine algorithms to ensure it ranks high on google. It also needs to be clearly written and enjoyable for your audience to read. 

4 Steps to successful SEO copywriting

To better understand what SEO copywriting is and how to do it, we’ve broken the process down into steps.

Step 1: Keyword search

Before you start writing, carry out some keyword research. Begin by channelling your customer, and ask questions similar to these: 

  • What are people searching for?
  • How many people are searching for it? 
  • How do they want their information presented to them?


A lot of people bypass this step because it seems like a lot of effort when you already know what content you want to write. But, it really does pay off. Putting time and effort into the planning means your content is more likely to satisfy both what you want to rank for and what your audience really wants to read. 

Now that you’re inside the head of your audience it should be easier to create a list of keywords. You can also use tools such as wordtracker to help you decide on the best variations and combinations of these terms. You might then want to create a table of your keywords to summarise the information and order it according to some form of priority. 

Still a little unclear on keyword research? Take a look at this helpful guide .

Step 2: Plan your writing

We know, we know… more planning. But, if you want the writing part to go smoothly, then this stage is essential. Again, begin by asking some questions similar to these:

  • What is the purpose of what you’re writing?

Answering this question will help you decide how you are going to write the article. For example, is the purpose to amuse your reader? Inform them? Or, is it to persuade them to do something? 

  • What’s the key question you want your writing to answer?

Having this in mind will ensure your piece stays on track which is important because you want every word to count.

  • What information is required for your piece?

You’ll need to make sure you adequately research the topic before you begin writing. Otherwise, you will risk running out of things to talk about or fail to answer the question your piece is intended to answer. 

  • How do you want to structure your article?

A clear structure gives you a better chance of ranking well on Google. Your target readers are more likely to grasp your main points, and there’s a higher chance of converting them into customers if they properly understand your message. 

Step 3: Get writing!

Don’t let all of that planning and research go to waste, it’s time to get writing.

People often find it overwhelming to stare at a blank page, wondering where to begin. A good trick is to begin by mapping out the structure of your text, write your intro and conclusion, and then fill in the gaps. This way you’re breaking it down into manageable steps. Don’t worry about grammar and spelling, for now, you can perfect this in the final stage.

Step 4: Proofread and edit your text

With your SEO copy written, it’s time to make it perfect. In this final stage, you’ll want to remove sentences that are unclear or awkwardly written, correct any grammar or spelling errors and make sure your structure is well organised. It helps to pinpoint mistakes in this stage if you read slowly and outloud, you can also ask for feedback from someone else – a fresh pair of eyes will spot things that you’ve potentially missed. 

The aim of the game is to increase your brand’s search engine visibility. Using the right keywords in your writing is bound to have customers stumble across your content. But, if you want to maximise your success, follow our step by step guide on how to write a great SEO article that will not only rank high but be an enjoyable read for your customers too.

Good Luck.

Byter Team. 

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How to your Target Audience on Social Media

Jan 7, 2022 10:24:05 PM / by Byter Team posted in Digital Marketing, Social Media, Marketing, Sales and marketing


Target Audience

Most people on social media believe that just putting content up and throwing in a few hashtags will bring in a large audience. However, marketers know that it is more than just content and hashtags. There should be a strategy in place to attract a good audience. As a business, you need a specific audience: one must be interested in buying your products. Any publicity can be good publicity, but in the long run, you must be able to reach out to the target audience for your product. There are many small businesses that have managed to amass quite a large audience on various social media platforms. You cannot monetise it, eg, you sell children’s toys, however, you’ve managed to attract a largely middle-aged male audience by creating biker related content. 

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Keyword Search Volume: Are People Searching For Your Keywords?

Jan 7, 2022 10:18:00 PM / by Byter Team posted in Digital Marketing, Marketing, SEO, Search Engines, Sales and marketing


Keyword Volume is an estimation of the number of searches per month for a certain keyword or key-phrase.

Higher search volume means more potential traffic to your website, but really high volume keywords can often be more competitive as well as more broadly targeted.

You may think that you should always pick the highest volume keyword possible, but that’s not always the case!

Here are some important considerations for keyword volume:

High Volume Keywords

High volume keywords are often very competitive and broadly targeted.

Although ranking for such keywords can send a lot of traffic to your website, it may not be worth the effort because they are too competitive and will require too much time and money to rank.

For example, let’s take the keyword “computers”.

You can see that although the search volume is high, the keyword difficulty is “high” according to this tool from ahrefs.

High volume keywords might also not be worth it because the keyword phrase is too broad and often won’t lead to conversions on your website.

In this case, the search intent isn’t explicitly clear.

Some people searching for that keyword might be looking for information about computers, while others might be shopping for a new computer.

People searching for this keyword are less likely to actually buy a computer than someone searching for a specific brand or type of computer.

High-volume keywords might be worth targeting if you have the resources to outperform the competition.

Such keyword phrases can take longer to rank for, but they can drive a lot of traffic to your website.

Medium Volume Keywords (Medium-Tail Keywords)

Medium tail keywords can drive a significant amount of traffic to your web pages and can also be specific enough to drive targeted traffic and conversions.

Although there is no strict definition, medium tail keywords generally contain 2-3 words.

For example, if you are selling a specific type of computer like business laptops, then ranking for “business laptops” might be more worthwhile than trying to rank for “computers”.

Although the search volume is lower, the phrase is more targeted towards someone likely to buy what you are selling.

The keyword phrase is still competitive, but probably not as competitive as “computers”.

Long-Tail Keywords

Keywords that have 3+ words are often referred to as long-tail keywords.

Although these keyword phrases can be lower in volume in comparison to short-tail keywords, they often send highly targeted traffic that is more interested in what you have to offer.

For example, if you are selling a specific type of computer, like a Dynabook Toshiba Terca, then you might be better off targeting the phrase “Dynabook Toshiba Terca” instead of “computers” or even “laptop computers”.

You will receive less traffic for that search term, but the traffic you do receive will be much more likely to buy and you will also have less difficulty ranking for that lower volume keyword phrase.

When creating informational content like blog articles, sometimes you can get traffic for long-tail keywords by simply including them on the page.

Some long-tail keywords have very low search volume, but the cumulative traffic from lots of long-tail keywords can add up. In fact, an estimated 70% of all search traffic comes from long-tail searches!


Keyword search volume is an important factor in keyword research, but you won’t always want to pick the highest volume keyword possible.

Finding the right match between search volume and user intent is vital when selecting your keywords!

The good news is that you don’t need to get hung up on picking the “perfect keyword.”

By writing long-form content, web pages tend to rank for multiple keywords, even keywords that you are not intentionally targeting. Ranking for multiple keywords can result in additional traffic to your web page.

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Keyword Research

Jan 7, 2022 10:16:04 PM / by Byter Team posted in Traffic, SEO, Sales and marketing, Keywords


Keyword Research is important to your business and this is something you are going to want to know more about.

What is Keyword Research? (And Why Is It Important?)

Keyword research is the process of discovering & validating popular words and phrases that people are using in search engines.

When you do keyword research, you can find what phrases are popular (that get search volume) and valuable (that are likely to lead to conversion).

How Does Keyword Research Work?

Keyword research is crucial for SEO success. Before we get into all the details of keyword research, here’s a quick overview of how it works:

Step 1: Brainstorm Keyword Ideas

This process often starts with brainstorming keyword ideas around what you think people would search when they are looking for your products and services.

Looking at competitor websites is another way that people can get good keyword ideas.

Step 2: Validate & Expand Your Ideas With A Keyword Research Tool

Next, you can use one of the many keyword tools to validate and expand your lists and discover other related keywords that people are using.

You’ll be able to see lots of vital information like keyword volume (to see how many people are searching per month), CPC (to see how much people are paying when they advertise on that keyword), and competition.

Step 3: Select Your Keywords

After creating a list of keywords and analysing the list, you can choose keywords to target so that they can drive search engine traffic to your website.

You’ll want to consider factors like search volume, search intent, SEO competition, and keyword value.

Step 4: Optimise Your Website

The last step is to Optimise your website for the keywords.

This may include including them in your title tags, descriptions, and on your page. It also might mean you need to create an entirely new page.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is important because it will help you discover valuable keywords that people are actually searching for.

Without validating these keywords, you’ll miss out on large opportunities for search traffic!

So what happens if you don’t do proper keyword research?

First, you could waste a lot of time and resources targeting keywords that are too competitive to rank for.

Or the keywords that you target might not send you enough traffic to be worthwhile.

You may also find that keywords that you are targeting don’t convert into paying customers, or you could lose out on valuable traffic if you overlook certain keywords.

Doing proper keyword research enables marketers to make sure that they get a good return on investment for their SEO efforts.

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7 Tactics to Get More Leads on Social Media

Jan 7, 2022 10:11:44 PM / by Byter Team posted in Digital Marketing, Social Media, Sales and marketing


The Next Step

Going a step further than the brand awareness and engagement stages of marketing, it’s a good idea to take a look at social media lead generation. Collecting leads on social media has huge advantages. For one, it will aid you in finding people interested in your company, but what’s more, it will ensure you can keep in touch with potential customers.

You might be asking what a social media lead even is? Good question. In fact, let’s take a look at some key terms that will be useful to know before we go any further.

Key Terms to Know

Social Media Lead

A lead is any information someone shares that you can use to follow up with them. This may include names, email addresses, occupations, employers, or any other information that a social media user shares with you.

Social Media Lead Generation

This is simply any activity undertaken on social to collect new leads.

Social Media Lead Nurturing

This includes taking new leads through the customer journey, or as marketers would say: ‘through the sales funnel’.

Social Media Lead Converting

This is the process of turning potential customers into paying customers. Naturally, this is the final stage of collecting social media leads.

Quality or Quantity?

Your specific industry, campaign and goals will all contribute to what can be considered a quality lead. As a good rule of thumb though, quality leads will include useful information and clear signs of intent of engaging with your business. Try to think quality over quantity.

To Facebook and Beyond?

Of course, generating leads can be done most effectively on the platforms being used by your potential customers. As well as having the sharpest tools to collect leads on its platform, Facebook’s 2.45 billion user network stands alone and so is the natural first place to look. But is it the only place? Certainly not. The golden rule here is to ensure you are familiar with the demographics of the different platforms available to you before starting your campaign. Do they line up with your target market?

Let’s now turn our attention to how we can generate more leads on social media.

Tactics to Get More Leads on Social Media

1. Optimize Your Profile 

Make sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot here. Everything should be in place to collect leads organically. Consider the following as a checklist: 

Contact Information Provided

Supporting customer enquiries is essential, so ensure your contact details are available on your profile.

Call-to-Action Buttons Created

With different platforms offering different profile features, make sure you use the ones that fit your specific goal. Own a restaurant? Make use of a ‘Reservation’ button if the platform has one available and so on.

Link in your Bio Added

Along with the likes of “comment down below” and “don’t forget to like and subscribe”, “link in bio” seems to have been added to the current cultural vernacular. Easily and often taken advantage of on Instagram, try to add a call-to-action so people know why they should click and what they should expect to find.

2. Create Compelling Content

Whether it is brands looking for sales or like-hungry selfies, everyone’s competing for attention on social media. Furthermore, once you factor in diminishing attention spans, your content will have to be as click-worthy as possible. It’s really the only way to collect leads. Think sharp images, sharp copy. With the likes of Shoppable Instagram Posts, just make sure they have a place to click!

3. Create User-Friendly Landing Pages

Great! Someone’s clicked on your link. But wait! You’re landing page is a mess, so they’ve clicked again, but this time straight off. Keep things seamless, relevant, easily scannable and as personal as possible. If forms are vital, pre-fill as much as you can and keep things as unsensitive as possible to reduce the obstacles to completion.

4. Use Social Lead Ads

Facebook Lead Ads

These are pretty much promoted forms, through which leads are collected and synced either straight to your customer management system or to you sales team. Facebook’s retargeting tools are especially handy when it comes to lead nurturing. Just make sure your website has Facebook Pixel installed to facilitate lead tracking and cost measurement.

Instagram Lead Ads

Partially filled in forms (email address, full name…) can all be pre-completed in these ads designed to aid marketers collect information.

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

According to Wordstream, the typical website conversion rate stands at 2.35%, whereas the average LinkedIn Lead Gen Form is as high as 13%. Now available as Message Ads and Sponsored InMail, the platform again uses pre-fill sections. What’s more, to help generate leads, LinkedIn Dynamic Ads feature direct call-to-actions.

YouTube TrueView for Action Ads

Loaded with prominent call-to-action buttons linking to a site of your choice, these ads were designed to help advertisers drive a specific action, not least generating leads. Simply select “Leads” as your goal.

Other Options

While other sites such as Pinterest and Twitter, don’t have specific formats for lead ads per se, both platforms offer ad options that can boost social media lead generation.

5. Incentivise Appropriately

People need a reason to share their information with you. Depending on the type of lead you’re after, here are some incentives that could do the trick:

Contests or sweepstakes

These can work especially well when teaming up with a relevant influencer or brand partner. For entry, just ask participants to share whatever information you want to know.

Discount code 

Newsletter sig-up for a discount code. Sounds simple enough. Just make sure you have a strategy in place to convert your newly nurtured leads.

Gated content

Industry depending, the likes of invite only webinars and access to private Facebook Groups provide compelling incentives. The information exchanged, such as emails and job titles, can be invaluable in your marketing and business efforts. There are many great incentives at your disposal along with the aforesaid webinars. How about email newsletters, leadership articles, whitepapers, sales emails or customer content like case studies? Just make sure that whichever route you go down, you always remember to tell customers what’s specifically in it for them.

6. Personalize Your Offer

With a Heinz Marketing study showing that personalized content helps with lead generation more than any other marketing goal, be sure to make the most of the targeting tools available on various platforms. Taking gender as an obvious example, why not run two campaigns for different audiences in tandem, tailoring the message accordingly? As well as pre-filled in forms, LinkedIn Dynamic Ad format takes a user’s name, picture and job title to ensure they can be addressed directly, well worth it when we consider that it results in a 19% higher click-through rate and 53% higher conversion rate than those that don’t.

7. Measure and Refine with Analytics 

Collecting social media leads is all well and good, but you really need to be collecting analytics insights along with them. You can monitor which social platform is the best source for your business, once you’ve set up goals in Google Analytics to track leads on your website. It’s then simply a case of adjusting accordingly. Be sure to keep an eye on social analytics tools to help you identify the type of creative and messaging that perform best.

Whether they know it or not, social media lead generation is part of every marketer’s strategy. To ensure yours stays on the right track, be sure to keep these seven tactics in mind and, as always from the Byter Team, good luck!

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The Hero’s Journey: A 12 Step Guide

Jan 7, 2022 10:04:35 PM / by Byter Team posted in Digital Marketing, Social Media, Marketing, Sales and marketing


You’ve heard the story a thousand times. The protagonist embarks on an adventure, makes some new friends, overcomes obstacles and returns home a changed person. In short, the Hero’s Journey.

This classic story structure is shared by stories around the globe from Theseus and the Minotaur to Rocky Balboa and as a result is lodged firmly into our cultural DNA. It was, though, Joseph Campbell, the academic who first coined the term way back in 1949, who provided its original structure:

  • The Departure Act: The Hero leaves the “Ordinary World”.

  • The Initiation Act: The Hero ventures into the unknown “Special World” and is birthed into a true champion through various trials and challenges.

  • The Return Act: The Hero returns in triumph.

A little over half a century later, screenwriter Christopher Vogler released his book The Writer’s Journey, in which he refined Campbell’s three phases by identifying the 12 steps that make it up. 

Though they are not necessarily always carried out beat-for-beat, let’s now take a look at Vogler’s 12 steps in more detail and see how the Hero undergoes inner and outer transformation in each one.

The 12 Steps of the Hero’s Journey

  1. Ordinary World (we meet our Hero)

This opening leg sets the stage, showing the Hero’s mundane, relatable reality. It provides the juxtaposition with the strange new world yet to be discovered.

Example: Rocky Balboa working as an anonymous debt collector and underground boxer in downtown Philadelphia.

  1. Call to Adventure (the adventure begins)

This stage takes the Hero out of their comfort zone, confronting them with an unignorable problem. The catalyst can take several forms. With the stakes of the adventure set, the gauntlet is thrown down for our hero: will they rise to the challenge?

Example: Dorothy being swept up in a tornado in The Wizard of Oz. 

  1. Refusal of the Call (the Hero digs in their feet)

It’s certainly not always a simple case of our Hero putting on their shoes and heading out the door. Often, they require quite a nudge. 

Example: Luke Skywalker initially refusing to join Obi-Wan on his mission to rescue the princess, only changing his mind once he finds out stormtroopers have killed his aunt and uncle.

  1. Meeting the Mentor (the Hero acquires a personal trainer)

With the Journeys carrying with them significant dangers far too risky for our as yet unproven Heroes, we are often introduced to a mentor. The mentor ensures our Hero has the tools to carry out their adventure, usually through a mixture of practical training, seemingly limitless wisdom and some, let’s say, carefully chosen words of tough love. Although, the mentor can be something as faceless as a map, preparation for the Hero’s next step is still the case.

Example: Mickey Goldmill in Rocky. The time-worn, but not time-beaten old trainer, who takes Rocky under his wing in preparation for his world title fight with Apollo Creed.

  1. Crossing the First Threshold (the Hero enters the other world in earnest.)

The central conflict has been launched, the theme has been established and the characters are developing nicely.

As Vogler writes: “This is the moment that the balloon goes up, the ship, the romance begins, the wagon gets rolling.” Our Hero is ready and there’s no going back.

Example: Stitch crashes on Earth in Lilo & Stitch.

  1. Tests, Allies, Enemies (the Hero faces new challenges and gets a squad)

Our Hero has stepped into the Special Word and begins getting to grips with their new reality. Usually one of the longest stages, it makes a prime hunting ground for a series of tests to be passed. In this stage, we often are introduced to aliens, enemies, friends and foes.

Example: In Jumanji: Welcome to the JungleSpencer, Bethany, Fridge, and Martha don’t get off to the smoothest of starts when they bump into a herd of bloodthirsty hippos.

  1. Approach to the Inmost Cave (the Hero gets closer to his goal)

The stage is all about the Hero’s approach to the most dangerous spot in the Special World, where the ultimate goal of the adventure is almost always located.

Example: The Death Star in Star Wars. Obviously, use of the words ‘Inmost Cave’ aren’t necessarily literal.

  1. Ordeal (the Hero faces his biggest test of all thus far)

Described by Volger as a “black moment” and Campbell as the “belly of the whale”, this eighth stage is by no means fun for our Hero. Their greatest fear must now be faced, bringing with it their biggest test. Survive and they become transformed, and according to Volger, thereby informing every decision they make from then on. Though not necessarily the story’s climax, the Ordeal finally provides the opportunity for our Hero to be worthy of such a title.

Example: Sam carrying Frodo on his back all the way up Mt Doom in The Lord of The Rings, using Samwise Gamgee as the Hero.

  1. Reward (Seizing the Sword) (the Hero sees light at the end of the tunnel…)

The “reward” is the object or knowledge of which the Hero has spent the entirety of their journey fighting. The time to reach out and grab them is now!

Example: Dorothy can finally escape from the Wicked Witch’s castle with the broomstick and the ruby slippers.

  1. The Road Back (… but that light is a little further away than expected)

We’ve reached the beginning of Act Three. With the reward “in hand”, it’s time to return to the Ordinary World. However, obstacles can and do still arise.

Example: Before Neo can leave the Matrix again, Agent Smith kills him.

  1. Resurrection (the last test is met)

Referred to by Volger as the protagonist’s “final exam”, we see if our Hero has “really learned the lessons of the Ordeal”. It’s a stage known for miraculous near-death escapes. Queue the sweet music…

Example: Simba learns that Scar killed his father and throws him off Pride Rock.

  1. Return with the Elixir (our Hero has a triumphant homecoming)

… because, finally, the Hero gets to return home. They’ve grown. They’ve matured. All in all, they’re returning to the Normal World a different person, with the “Elixir” won during the journey in-hand.

Example: Proving that some Hero’s Journeys can conclude elixir-less, Peter recalls his Uncle Ben’s words and embraces his role as Spider-Man.

Rigid Rules?

The 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey were created to help readers dissect a plot by fostering a stronger understanding of story structure. But remember, they’re not a set of handcuffs. As long as your understanding of the basics is sound, feel free to experiment and bend it in ways that defy reader expectations. 

As always from the Byter Team,

good luck!

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13 Tips and Techniques to Up Your Videography Skills

Jan 7, 2022 10:02:24 PM / by Byter Team posted in Social Media, Content Creation, Sales and marketing

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Stop. Leave the expensive equipment on the shelves and those workshop sign-up emails unanswered. If your goal is to become a good videographer, it’s about paying attention to a few often-overlooked key details, then getting down to honing your craft.

As twentieth century American author and motivation speaker Jim Rohn put it, “success is neither magical nor mysterious, (but instead) the natural consequence of consistently applying the fundamentals.” Whether you’re shooting a higher-end production, or something as seemingly basic as a daily vlog, it’s the video filming basics that will help most to keep you on track.

Let’s take a look at 13 timeless tips and techniques to help you in your videography journey.

Smartphone Starting Point

Chances are you own a smartphone. Though often overlooked, they can be a great place to start practicing videography. You can ensure your phone’s kept level by turning on your screen’s overlay grid. Just remember to shoot in landscape and use the back camera for increased quality. If your budget allows, why not buy a reasonably priced gimbal stabilizer, an external microphone and a video tripod, then have a play around. If it’s not enjoyable at this stage, you know what to do.

Shoot Planning

Storyboards are a luxury afforded to you when shooting the likes of short films and commercials. To give yours a professional feel, be sure to add scene sequencing illustrations, which will act as a guide during both the shooting and editing processes. For the shoot specifically, remember to take into account the time of day and natural lighting, along with the specific cameras that are going to be used.

When covering events such as weddings, you’re going to need to know the timeline better than you know your own name. Prepare a shot list (first kiss, cake cutting, etc) and stick to one specifically chosen style.

Good Lighting

As touched upon above, one of the fastest ways to ruin the chances of your videos looking professional is to use the lighting incorrectly. Again, things are somewhat budget depending. If it’s simply a case of lamps and the sun, think of ways they can improve a scene. Always pay attention to the lighting throughout the process all the way back to the original conceptualization. It can literally make or break a scene’s effectiveness.

Simple Backgrounds

Though there are exceptions to the rule which naturally come at a more advanced stage in your development, one of the last things you want is your scene to look cluttered. You need the audience’s eyes focused on your subject(s). Simple, solid-coloured backgrounds such as a wall or bedsheet should do the trick. Just make sure your subject isn’t too far away from it creating an unwanted shadow.

Composition Improvements

The thing that will give you away as a novice quicker than anything is the lack of proper framing and composition. Arrange and allow visual elements to tell your story, whilst changing your camera’s framing to keep everything aesthetically pleasing. It’s sadly not a case of just aiming your camera at your subjects.

The Rule of Thirds

In photography, this is a type of composition in which an image is divided evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and the subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself. With the subject’s head not in the centre, but instead a little higher, they’re provided with a visual breathing or walking space when facing the sides. When taking over-the-shoulder-shots, it’s a good idea to remain on the same side of two people talking, while having a foreground and a background helps to create depth within a scene.

Proper Camera Placement

When beginners want a close-up shot of their subject, they tend to place their camera right up close, potentially creating unattractive facial distortions and making it difficult to crop out the scene’s edges. Instead, be sure to place your camera a couple of feet away and optically (not digitally) zoom in with your camera lens in carefully, eliminating the likelihood of a pixelated-looking video.

Manual Focus over Autofocus

Make sure to either use the exposure/focus lock on your smartphone or switch your standalone camera to manual focus, then put your own eyes to use. Of course, the autofocus feature has its time and place, but it has the potential to ruin a recording going in and out of focus during the likes of dimly lit scenes.

Opting for a manual focus also brings with it the opportunity to direct your viewer’s attention in more novel ways. By using a rack focus technique, objects can be focused on successively, with a shallow depth field helping to blur everything else out.

White Balance Settings

One way to ensure you’re going to be spending far more time in the editing room than you want is to forget to set the same white balance on all your cameras. Don’t rely on the default settings, as there’s no guarantee they all will have the same default colour temperatures. That way, you’ll be keeping things consistent and professional, while keeping post-production costs at a minimum. Remember, there’s no “perfect” white balance. Let your own intuition take the lead. Just try to keep things consistent.

Expose Scenes Evenly

On a similar note, using more than one camera can result in clips with different exposure settings. The same scene can appear darker in one camera and brighter on the other if you don’t set the same exposure settings, such as your aperture, frame rate and ISO levels. This is why dedicated cine lenses have t-stops, which stand for exact aperture values, instead of the more theoretical f-stop value on regular photography lenses.

For beginners, it may be easier to shoot in controlled settings where you can have the same lighting no matter the time of day and use the same camera with the exposure locked. It may take longer to record, but at least it will save you the headache of correcting your exposure during post-production.

There’s no shame in beginners using just one single camera in a controlled environment with the exposure locked. If you’re forced to shoot outdoors, with sunsets and clouds at play, remember that speed is key. Either way, always keep in mind the need to minimise time spent in post-production where possible.

Add Cinematic Techniques

By applying some cinematography techniques, you’ll really start to take your videography skills to the next level. Remember though, it’s never about using them for the sake of it. Be creative of course but chose them wisely and ensure that they serve your story, keeping in mind the old adage that less is often more.

Keep Things Steady

Steady surfaces and tripods are required to ensure you don’t run the risk of allowing your audience to view your work as nothing more than a home video which makes them want to vomit. Be it panning, a crane shot, or dollying from side to side, keep things steady, only moving your camera when you need to.

Shot Timing

To hold you viewers’ attention successfully, keep in mind the sweet spot is between five to ten seconds per shot. Furthermore, avoiding the temptation to pan or zoom for the first ten seconds should help keep camera movements and recording time to a minimum.

Think Like an Editor

To avoid the stress and frustration of having only one subpar shot of a scene, you’ll want to ensure you have a few “safety shots” keeping your angle and editing options open and the chances of reshoots to a minimum.

As was the case with the start of this article, when it comes to video editing software, it’s advisable to stay within your means. It’s certainly worth getting to grips with a simpler program before you delve into more complicated and, no doubt, more expensive options.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts if you choose to undertake a career in videography and want to become a great cinematographer. However, by following these tips and techniques, you should be on your way.

As always from the Byter Team, good luck!

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Jan 7, 2022 10:01:04 PM / by Byter Team posted in Digital Marketing, Marketing, Sales and marketing


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