This post is for anyone who wants to know more about my background and why I am so passionate about using video marketing to help businesses reach their goals!

“It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it”

Simon Sinek’s famous TED Talk has been watched over 6 million times on YouTube, and for good reason.

If you’re not familiar with Simon and his work, in this famous talk he explains that people aren’t really interested in what you do as much as why you do it. It’s what helps people get to the core of what you do and see if they resonate with you.

I truly believe in the power of sharing why you do what you do, so I decided to write my own “why”.

I decided to write this post to explain to anyone who’s interested in why I am so deeply passionate about using video marketing to help businesses and how I got here today.

It all started when I was 15 years old…

I would sit there for hours, anxiously awaiting my turn to get on the computer.

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You see, my oldest brother used to throw parties in my hometown, Providence, RI. I come from a very entrepreneurial “get it done” family, so this contributed to my brother not wanting to pay anyone to make the flyers to promote his parties. He bought Photoshop and taught himself how to use.

Enter 13 year old me.

I would sit and wait for hours, wait for my turn to get on that computer and play around with this cool program that is Adobe Photoshop. To this day, my brother talks about how I would just watch and observe, sometimes not saying anything for hours. I was anxiously awaiting my turn to use the program that I was watching him use for hours, Adobe Photoshop.

When I used Photoshop, I felt free in a weird way. It gave me the ability to make stuff and control how I make it, which is what really drew me in. Move things where you want, make them the color you want, erase and place things again, it all seemed so freeing.

Hell, if I got really good, I could even put my face on other people’s bodies. Idris Elba suddenly had nothing on me!

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Eventually, I would get my turn on the computer.

This was before people were really making video tutorials, so I basically taught myself Adobe Photoshop through following image tutorials through a dial-up connection (wow).

Developing this design sensibility made me look at the world differently. Seeing things and knowing how to recreate them technically made me realize I can create nearly anything I want to at an early age, shaping my entire world-view.

I started creating Myspace layouts for my friends, music/mixtape covers, I even had a brief stint designing and selling iron-on t-shirts in high school. One thing led to the next, and as I began to play within the online space more, I realized there might be more to this stuff that I like…

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So I eventually stumbled upon digital marketing

Knowing that my father graduated with a degree in marketing always made me some level of interested in the field.

He would ask me a ton of questions about marketing that made me think critically about marketing decisions. I didn’t know it at the time, but these early considerations helped me get a huge jump in my marketing career.

But if I’m being honest, I didn’t really take marketing seriously until my older brother started working at an agency. He started to tell me about the amazing things he was working on, like a campaign for Barack Obama, which piqued my interest. He was doing “digital marketing”

“Digital marketing? Wtf is that?” I thought.

By 2010, it came to my attention that all this stuff I was doing could actually be used for real business and to reach business goals. This excited me because I knew that I inherently enjoyed many things that come with marketing like design, copy, messaging, etc.

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To make a long story short, this interest eventually led me to a career at both large & small marketing agencies throughout New York City. I graduated in May of 2013 & was living in NYC by the end of June.

I am writing this piece in 2019, and I have now worked for agencies like Ogilvy & Mather, Havas Worldwide, Y&R, Carrot Creative (Virtue Worldwide) & a prestigious advertising awards show called The One Show.

I have worked on brands like IBM, Nationwide, American Express, Wilson Sports & Rolex during my time at these agencies and have learned a TON about how marketing, branding & advertising are done the right way.

To say I have had a great start to my career would be an understatement.

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However, around 2015, I started getting tired of just living the agency life. I realized I needed more things to do with my time outside of work in order to feed that raw creative side of me.

So that’s when I picked up a DSLR camera

Well, I didn’t pick one up right away…

I wanted to start a video food blog called Beyond The Eats. I called it Beyond The Eats because I realized how hard people in food & hospitality work with little to no recognition. I wanted to put a spotlight on these people so I could “share stories & experiences through food!”

I scheduled the first interview, was excited for the day and had to get on the train to get to my first interview! Unfortunately for me, my videographer canceled the day of.

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This made me vow to learn how to shoot and capture these stories & experiences for myself. Since I had designed before, I had no hesitation in approaching a new creative endeavor.

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After shooting about 50 episodes, I was ready for something more

I was walking in the park one day when I had a huge realization.

Although I had worked at marketing agencies and created videos for fun, I wondered why I wasn’t using my skills on a larger scale and how I could. I reached out to friends & family to see what they had going on and quickly realized I could help them with almost anything they were up to in video form!

That’s when I started branching out.

I created a video for my cousin’s t-shirt business, another for my friend’s real estate business, another for a local burger joint & continued to see how I could use my unique set of skills to help push whatever they were trying to achieve forward.

After doing a few of these projects, I realized there was a need. Not only did I have skills that many businesses need, but that there were also many businesses looking for my specific skill-set.

Most importantly, I loved every second of doing this. Even though every business is different, finding what makes each business special is always fun.

Understanding and sharing the goals, traits & personality of a business isn’t always easy, but it’s always fun!

When I work with a business, I like to get to know the business intimately to see how I can really help.

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Having a wide range of skills helps me come up with many solutions. I’ve worked with clients who weren’t showing their logo in the right places, some don’t properly deliver their real message, and some don’t even know where to start!

Understanding & sharing the unique personality traits of different businesses is a skill. One that takes a high level of curiosity and wanting to help the business grow.

Why my skills are unique is that you are talking to the person making a plan for the video based on your marketing goals. This means your videos have much more direction when it comes to what to say, how you say it and why you’re even making videos in the first place.

Video marketing is a unique combination of my creative skills, marketing background & general ability to truly make a positive change in people’s business, which is why I love it so much.

P.S.  –

I have some resources that might help you with your video marketing!

  • I have a video marketing newsletter for businesses. It’s filled with actionable advice & helpful topics for the business owner/video marketer. If you would like to sign-up, click here.
  • Do you want to learn how to shoot videos using just your iPhone? Click here to take my FREE 5-day video course, Shoot With Your Smartphone
  • I also have a range of video marketing services for businesses! If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you, click here!

Written,

by ‘rouk

I sprang out of bed in a hurry because I was about to miss the train.

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It was an early morning in January and I needed to catch a train going from New York, NY to Providence, RI (my hometown). It was just cold enough that I knew I needed my heavy winter coat, the WINTER coat, you know what I mean because almost all of us have that coat.

I was dealing with a tedious train ride for 4 hours but was excited to get to my destination and shoot another great video with a great person. Often times, it’s the people who I am serving that I get all of my energy from, and today this was definitely the case.

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I was scheduled to shoot with Justin

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On this day, I was scheduled to shoot with Justin Russillo, a hard-working Real Estate Agent who helps people buy and sell homes within the Rhode Island area.

Every video shoot is different. While some clients prefer to be clear about everything that will happen during a shoot a month in advance, others like to figure it out as we go along. Since I have worked with Justin before, we were on more informal terms as we worked together for this shoot.

 

But now it was the day of and I needed to direct the video. A big part of my job and how I help my clients is I help them develop exactly what to say based on their specific goals. It’s something I love doing thanks to my extensive background in marketing, but the big question remained…

Who is Justin? If I wanted the video to be good, I had to dig deeper

I don’t create videos before I ask key sets of questions.

After I know your goal for the video, I go through questions so that we’re both confident that the video you receive satisfies your needs.

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On this day, I sat with Justin and his fiancee Laura at Sydney, a nice cafe in the downtown area of Providence, RI (that secretly has a broccoli sandwich that is A1). I started asking about his life, his work and other general questions around becoming a real estate agent.

About halfway into the process, I asked Justin “why did you become a real estate agent?”, little did I know that this question was about to frame the entire video and bring the story I wanted to share to the forefront.

This question helped us get to a crucial point…

Justin began talking about a car accident that he was involved in 2015.

Sadly, this accident caused him brain damage that sidelined him for almost an entire year. Although it’s often hard to find the bright side of things in this situation, Justin did.

He began to think about his life experiences up to this point and how they could apply to whatever he decided to do next. He knew he had a deep background in hospitality, has lived through many different situations and always had a high level of charisma.

All of these traits together are the reason why Justin felt real estate was the path for him.

Justin didn’t get into the business because of his own self-interests, he truly looked inside himself to find the best and most honest way to serve people.

I knew this side of Justin is what I wanted to convey so that it would connect

The video had the exact impact that I thought it would as it received not only comments of Justin’s past buyers & Sellers commenting, but also reaching thousands of potential buyers in the Rhode Island Area. My goal was to draw people in at the beginning so they were ready to receive Justin’s message.

If you watch Justin’s video after reading this, it’s easy to work backward and see how it came to life, but every video has its own story, its own “life”.

Let’s find yours together…

Oh, one last thing…

My name is Farouk and I help small to mid-sized businesses grow through a combination of video marketing, video advertising & social media.

  • If you want to learn more about my services click here
  • If you want to learn more about me click here
  • Follow me on Instagram! Click here

When you need videos for your business or personal brand, the most common thing to do is to ask around for videographers, but is that what you actually need? Is a videographer going to help you reach your goals beyond getting a video created?

If you are a business owner, someone who is building a personal brand, or an entrepreneur, you need your content to be useful. You need your content to have a “job”.

In 2018, it is not about your video alone, but what the video can do for you throughout its life, and that is where I come in.

3 significant things make me different from your average videographer that I will expand on within this piece. For each point of uniqueness, I share my personal story of why I was doing each in the first place. I did this so that you can understand how I arrived at each point of originality through my life experiences.

I never planned to pick up any of these skills, but they have all contributed to what makes me unique as a videographer.

The 3 things that make me different from other videographers

1 – A marketing background that I apply to businesses I work with

In 2011, my brother launched a project called Daily Fresh Clothing, a website that sold clothing through content.

He was much more serious about digital marketing than most people were at the time. Of course, him being my older brother made me want to learn the ins and outs of the digital world through him.

I studied social media, posted often, ran advertisements, and we even had a series of small successes that were huge in their own ways. My father was a great marketer who always made me aware of the marketing messages around me, this is where my passion for digital marketing began.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2013. It was my final semester of college and I was doing two internships at the same time. One was in Providence, Rhode Island at RDW Group and in New York City at MRY (when I worked there, it was still called “Mr Youth”).

Taking the bus back and forth between cities was tough, but I knew that I wanted to be in the advertising agency world. I was determined to figure out how to get my “spot” and nothing would stop me from attaining that dream.

Since this time, I have worked for agencies in New York City like Carrot Creative (VICE), Havas Worldwide, Young & Rubicam & Ogilvy to name a few. Through this time, I worked on brands like Wilson Sports, Rolex, Nationwide, American Express & IBM to name a few. I have worked across analytics, strategy (brand, digital, social) and community management.

This experience taught me a lot about how the “big guys” do things, but I was always able to find ways to make what they were doing unique and my own. That is what truly made me feel alive.

I use the experiences that I have had at agencies to assess every business separately and create a plan based on that businesses unique needs.

My time at agencies was valuable, but one skill that I developed on my own is my design sense…

2 – A strong background in graphic design

When I was about 13 years old, all I wanted to do was watch my brother use Adobe Photoshop. I would sit there for hours, simply in awe of what he was able to create.

After a while, I would wait behind my brother for my chance to use Photoshop to create whatever my teenage heart desired. He would finally get off of the computer, and I would play around in photoshop for hours.

To this day, I remember how free it felt just to be able to create. No expectations, no goals, just unbothered creativity. I eventually found tutorials, and they changed my life. I realized I could learn about any effect I wanted and really make my graphic design projects shine.

Fast forward a year and I was creating everything I could for my friends and family. Myspace layouts, designing t-shirts, making CD covers, anything to do Photoshop and make a couple of bucks!

Although graphic design did not become my main career-choice, my Photoshop skills and design sense have always come in handy.

When people watch videos I created, there is always a sense of “this looks good, but I can’t quite put my finger on why”. But I know why.

It is very easy to overlook, but my design sense comes through in everything that I create. These design skills have been a handy sidekick in preparing anything that will look good in people’s eyes.

3 – Studying what makes videos engaging

Towards the end of 2015, all I wanted to do was interview restaurant owners & chefs. I had watched a ton of episodes of Food.Curated. by Liza De Guia and fell in love with the way she was able to capture stories, it was magical to me. This sense of wonder led me to explore the stories of restaurants & chefs through my video-based blog, Beyond The Eats. I was determined to capture and share stories too but in my own way.

It’s safe to call it a blessing in disguise now, but on the day of my first shoot for Beyond The Eats the videographer cancelled on me. I will never forget how I felt on that day.

I took the train from Brooklyn to Harlem (because that is far in NYC terms) just to apologize for rescheduling, I honestly felt terrible.

So terrible in fact that I vowed that I will get my own video equipment. Since I started, I have made mistakes with videos, had a couple of hit videos, but one of the biggest things I have learned is how to keep people’s attention.  Many people say attention is one of the greatest currencies in modern society, which I agree with.

If you have seen some of my promotional style videos, you’ll notice that many of them are fast, engaging, and you do not want to look away. Although I can make many different styles of videos, this was a style I wanted to own.

I wanted to know how to make people keep watching my videos and have learned a lot about exactly how to do that over the years. It depends on the project, but I apply these skills to certain businesses when necessary!

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, or you are trying to build your personal brand, look no further…

I hope this piece has helped you see how I am different from most videographers. Although my journey has been anything but straight-forward, I am excited to continue on the unbeaten path.
I love what I do, I am happy about everything that has happened during my life to get here, and plan to help a lot of people grow through the power of video.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out my Get Started page or Portfolio.

Written
by ‘rouk