I’m really excited today to announce three of our speakers, our keynote speakers for The Success Incubator. Firstly, there’s Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, who will be a no stranger to most listeners of this podcast. He delivers amazing practical value. He’s built an amazing business. Secondly, there’s Kim Garst, founder of Boom! Social and someone who is just brilliant, particularly when it comes to Live video. That’s what she’ll be focusing her session on as well. And then there’s Andrea Vowell who is one of my favourite speakers. She’s a very funny person but she’s also very experienced in social media and will be speaking about Facebook Advertising. There’s more speakers to be announced in the coming weeks but I’m so excited to have Pat, Kim, and Andrea joining us.
I’m also very excited to offer you as a ProBlogger podcast listener a special little discount code. You can get $50 off Success Incubator over the next week or so if you head over to problogger.com/success and use the coupon code, it’s really important that you get this right, SUCCESS17. When you go to problogger.com/success, you’ll see there more details of the event and you can get that $50 discount as well. I’ll link to that and have all the details of the discount code as well in today’s show notes.
I really do hope to see you in Dallas this October for our only US event. I’ll be speaking as well and we have a line up of some amazing speakers as well. The other thing I will say about this event is that there’s going to be time on the second day for masterminding and workshopping so lots of interaction. We’re also going to be doing a special thing this year called our Power Sessions which would be short chat practical sessions from some of our attendees as well so there is an opportunity for you to share some of your knowledge if you want to do that too.
Thanks for listening. Again, probolgger.com/success will get you to the event page and use the coupon code SUCCESS17. Let’s get into today’s show.
My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks, all designed to help you as a blogger to start an amazing blog, to grow your audience, to create content for that blog that’s going to change the life of your audience, and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com.
In today’s episode, I am going to share with you a free tool that I’ve been using over the last few weeks to create videos for my Facebook page, for my Twitter accounts and other social media profile, and pretty much anywhere on the web. The amazing thing about this tool is that it’s really working well. It’s, particularly in Facebook, giving me amazing amounts of reach. It’s a tool that enables me and you to take a blog post that you’ve already written on your blog and to repurpose that content that you’ve already written into a short video to promote your blog post.
Yup, you heard me. It’s a free tool that takes a blog post you’ve already written and with a little bit of help for you, 10 or 15 minutes of work, it will help to create a short video that you can then use anywhere on the web to drive people to your post. I’m getting reports that these videos are going viral for people. At least, they’re getting a lot more reach than they’re normally getting from a Facebook update.
I’ve been doing these videos for a week or so now on my own accounts. I’m getting big reach. I’m getting hundreds of thousands of visitors. Now, I have a lot of people following me on Facebook but the exciting thing is that I’m hearing from people with smaller Facebook pages that they’re also getting great results as well. One group member from our ProBlogger group messaged me this morning, very excited to let me know that on her Facebook page, which has about 20,000 followers so not small but also not a massive one, she had a video in the last 24 hours get over 300,000 views, just using this little tool.
If you want to create great short videos from your blog post that you’ve already written and put them on your Facebook page, this episode is definitely for you. I’m going to walk you through how you use this tool and who it’s good for as well. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/197 where I will have some examples of videos that you can use with this tool. Also, checkout out our Facebook Group, problogger.com/group.
Video is so hot right now. You’ve heard me talk about it in previous episodes. I think it was back in episode 189. I had an episode where I interviewed Justin Brown on how to use a smartphone to create videos. In that particular episode, we were talking about you being on camera a fair bit. In today’s episode, I want to talk about a tool that’s going to help you create videos. That means you don’t need to be on camera at all.
The type of videos I really want to talk about today are the type of videos that you probably want to share onto social media to promote a blog post that you have already published on your site. It’s almost like a tool that’s going to enable you to repurpose the content you’ve already got on your blog but turn it into a short video to promote that content. That’s what I’ve been doing with this tool over the last few weeks. It’s so easy to use. In fact, I’ve made a few videos this week with the tool that only took me about 15 minutes to make and then when I uploaded them to Facebook, they got really good reach.
The tool that I want to talk about is Lumen5. If you go to lumen5.com, which I’ll link to in the show notes today, this is a web based tool. It can be used on Macs, PCs. You could even use it on your phone although I looked at it last night on my phone and it’s not really responsively designed so it’s going to be tricky to use. It’s going to be quite fiddly but you can probably use it on one of the larger iPads or tablets as well. I personally think it’s much better on a desktop.
At the moment, it’s completely free. I don’t know how they’re going to monetize it in the future. It’s very early days. In fact, it’s kind of almost in a beta test so it’s a little bit buggy but what it can do is really exciting even for a brand new tool. I want to walk you through how I’ve been using it and how others in the Facebook Group have been using it because I shared this on the Facebook Group a week ago now and I’ve had so many messages from listeners in the podcast and members in the Facebook Group saying thank you for sharing it. That’s why I want to share it on the podcast today because I think this is a tool that many bloggers will be able to use.
It’s an entry level tool. It’s not got very powerful features but the features that it has really is going to be really useful to bloggers who want to quickly make a video to promote a blog post. Let me walk you through it. I really think you’ll get a lot from heading over to the show notes today to check out some examples of the videos that it creates. Do that perhaps as you’re listening as well.
Here’s how it works. Firstly, you will need to sign up for an account so that’s really step one. But once you’re logged in, you’re going to find that you’re presented with a dashboard where you can put in a URL of a blog post that you’ve already written. Go to your blog. Look for a list post or a post that is a step by step post. Something that can be broken down into segments because this type of tool is going to enable you to build some little slides or some little modules and it’s best if you’ve already got some structure to a blog post.
What I’ve used this for is to repurpose blog posts that are step by step guides. We did one on Digital Photography School, a post that was a step by step guide to creating what’s called a bokeh background. You don’t need to know what that is but the post itself was five or six steps of how to use aluminium foil to turn into a little photography tool. The blog post itself had features of each step in the process and so this was perfect for this video.
I grabbed that URL from our blog and I plugged it into Lumen5. And then Lumen5 goes to work for a minute. It sort of is a bit of a spinning wheel thing as it looks at that blog post. It actually pulls in the content from your blog post. It’s smart enough to know what’s a content and what’s a sidebar. It just pulls in your content and it all also pulls in any images that you’ve got in your blog post. After a minute or so, I looked at Lumen5 and there was the content, all the text and there were the images that I had in the post. This really cuts down the work.
It actually goes to work for you, pulls in all that content and then you can highlight any text that it’s pulled in and click on it and it will take that text over and create a slide. It’s almost like you’re looking at a PowerPoint presentation for those of you who are familiar with setting up a PowerPoint presentation or using the Keynote on a Mac or if you’re familiar with slides. It will pull that text across into a slide and then you can choose the next slide.
What I do as I look at that bokeh background post that I was looking at, I was looking at the titles. I had five or six subheadings in that post and so I clicked each of the subheadings and within 30 seconds, I had five slides already created for this particular video. Once you are happy with the text that you’ve got into slides, you can preview it and see how long your video is going to take and then you can move on to the next which is adding images to the slides.
Basically, what it allows you to do is to drag an image onto the slide and it will put that image behind the text. What you’re basically doing is creating a series of slides that have text overlays with images. You can get the images in a number of ways. Firstly, you can use the images from your blog post that it has already pulled in for you. You will see any image that is big enough, that’s got high enough resolution, it will automatically pull that in for you. That’s all you may choose to do. You may have some really great images in your blog post already, pull them across, underneath, or the overlays and you’re almost ready to go.
If you don’t have images in your blog post that are suitable, there’s a stock library of images already there for you as well. It has already done some work for you. It’s got some artificial intelligence going on. It’s already got some images that it thinks might be relevant for you. It’s looked at the keywords in your content and if you’ve used the word photography, or mountains, or cupcakes a lot in your article, it will already have images there ready to go. Free images from free image stock library which is amazing. A lot of the images are really good. Some of them aren’t so great. You really do need to scroll in.
If you can’t find an image that it suggested, you can then do a search for image. You can actually do a search for cupcakes or you can do a search for kelby dogs. You can get specific about the type of image that you’re looking for and really dig in. You can find images in those stick libraries and there’s also a few little videos, really short videos that you can put in as well. You can actually have some moving images behind the words as well.
The third option really for images is uploading your own. If you’ve got some other images that you already have on your computer or you find some through a stock photography site that you are a member of, you can use those images as well. As far as I know, you can’t upload videos yet. That would be pretty cool but the amount of images that are already in the stock libraries are a lot there, thousands and thousands of images that you can choose from.
At this point, you have already pulled in the text. You’ve pulled in some images. The last step is selecting some music. It again has a little stock library of royalty free music that you can use. I don’t know how many tunes are in there but there seems to be hundreds of them. You can do searches based on the type of music that you want. If you want a dramatic piece, or if you want a cinematic piece, or if you want a pop, or electronic, or whatever it might be, the different genres, you can do a search through that. You can listen to them and then you can select one that you want.
At this stage, you can preview your video and you can have a look at the images. Some of the images that you’ve got might not be quite high resolution enough so you might want to swap an image out. You can see how long the video goes and you might want to add a slide, you might want to take a slide out, that type of thing. This is I guess that last stage before it’s ready.
The one thing I will say about the images is that the images actually move and you need to go and have a look at the show notes to day to see some final videos that I’ve created but the image is sort of panned across the screen. You actually need quite large images or images with good resolution to make this work. If you have images in your blog post that aren’t big enough, it will actually not let you use those images. I think they need to be 500 pixels high. But even then, I’ve imported some images from my blog post and they weren’t crisp enough and they weren’t quite high enough resolution so I did have to find some large ones as well.
Once you’ve got your slides ready, you’ve got your music in, you’ve got your images in, you’ve got your text in, you can then add a call to action slide at the end. This is where you can add in a call to share the video so by default I think it shows the logo of your site and again it’s already pulled in the logo of your site for you. You can change that if you want to something else and then it will by default say share this video but you could write anything at that point. Followers on Facebook, you could write buy our ebook. You could write click the link above this video. you could do any call to action at that point.
There is also a stage where you can add some branding. You’re seeing the videos that I created, there’s a little watermark on the videos that has the logo of Digital Photography School or ProBlogger. You can upload the logo that you want to have as a watermark and also a logo for that last slide as well. Once it’s all ready to go, you hit publish and it goes to work at rendering the video. This can take a little while. The shortest that’s happened for me is three or four minutes. Yesterday, it was pretty slow. I noticed that they were having some issues with their rendering on a Facebook Group that I’m a part of. It took I think 20 or 30 minutes but usually, it’s just a few minutes and it will email you when the video is ready.
At that point, you can download it and you can then use it wherever you want. You could upload it to Facebook. That’s where I’ve been using it. You could upload it to Twitter. You could upload it to YouTube. You can upload it anywhere that you can upload videos. For me, I’ve been putting mine mainly on Facebook and Twitter. You may have seen them if you’re in the Facebook Group already. I’ve shown a couple of them there. If you follow us on the Facebook page, you will have seen a couple as well.
Lumen5 is so simple to use. I was amazed. The first video took me about 15, 20 minutes to make. The one I did yesterday took me about 10 minutes. I’m getting faster at doing it. Really, you could spend a lot of time doing it and just tweaking things but it’s very simple to use. Having said that, it doesn’t have a lot of heavy features. You are limited in a few different ways.
You’re limited in terms of the font that it uses. There is only one at this point to choose. You’re limited in terms of the size of that font. You can have it as a larger size which they call a title. You can have a smaller size which they call text. You can also do a quote type font. It puts a box around your text. You can actually have no text on a slide as well. You’re limited in where you can position that particular text. They have nine options. You can have it right at the center. You can have it upper center, lower center, or in one of the corners.
You can change where it sits on your image so if you’ve got an image with a person’s face on the left, you can position it off to the right. It does a bit of a best guess to where to position it for you but you are limited in that. You also have some choices when it comes to the text in terms of color. There’s quite a few choices there but you are limited. You can only use that one font style or size. You can’t change, as far as I can see, the length of time that each slide shows. It seems to take a guess at how long you should be showing that particular slide for in the video. If you’ve got a longer sentence, you will show that slide for longer as far as I can tell. If you’ve only got a couple of words, it will show up for a shorter time.
There are limits in terms of how long you can have each phase although I guess you probably could have two of the same slide in a row to make it a longer stage. You could probably get a little bit creative there but there are limits at this point in what you can do. But it’s so simple to use. If you are someone who wants to use video on Facebook and Facebook at the moment really is elevating video. It gets a lot more reach of video. It gets a lot more reach than it takes to update or a link update or a feature update.
If you know that Facebook wants video and felt like you can’t create video, this could be a really easy way to do it for you. After I did about five videos, so far none of them took me more than 20 minutes to make although there is the rendering time which adds a little bit to that. The videos I’ve been creating have all been about the one to two minute mark. You’ll see the examples in the show notes. They actually recommend you don’t go over one minute because once you go over one minute, you don’t get as much traction on this style of video. I have uploaded these to Facebook and then I’ll leave a link next to the video where people can read the article.
For me, I guess the case that I’m using this for is to take a post and repurpose the basic ideas of a blog post. This is almost like a summary of the blog post and then I have the further reading link. People are viewing the videos. They’re liking the videos. They’re sharing the videos but they’re also clicking on that link and they’re visiting my site. As I said before, videos are getting a lot of reach on Facebook at the moment. It does seem to help you get a little bit more reach for your content.
I think these videos would be ideal for list posts so any post that has 10 points in it or 5 points in it, any kind of post that is a step by step guide, if you do how to posts, and this step by steps, particularly if you’ve got blog posts that have lots of images of the different stages in a process, that would be perfect for this type of post. This would probably be good for quotes. If you had a series of quotes on a particular topic, you can then put some images behind that. Sort of a motivational post, I guess you could use them as well.
You could use it for most types if post but I think particularly any kind of blog post that has structure to it, that has subheading to it will be very easy to repurpose over. A few tips that I would give you in terms of creating these videos with Lumen5, keep your videos to one or two minutes max because you can’t add in your own voice. You can add in longer video like talking head type video. It’s going to be hard to keep people interested in the video for 10 minutes so keep it fairly short particularly if you’re going to use it on Facebook.
Choose your images really carefully. Some of the images I noticed in the library don’t have as good resolution as others. I’m not sure whether that’s the image’s problem or whether there is some issue or bug going on there so you do want to preview the images, how they look in the video before you publish that video. If you want to use your own images, make sure they’re big enough. Make sure they’re more than 500 pixels high. The higher resolution, the better.
Also, do try out adding in some little videos behind the text that you use as well. You’ll notice in the stock library that there are a few videos there. That can bring the video alive a little bit more, have a little bit more movement.
Last thing I’ll say is that this tool isn’t perfect. It’s new as far as I can tell. It’s pretty basic. It’s a little bit buggy at times. There’s been a few days where their service have been a bit slow, particularly the day after I shared it on Facebook to our Facebook Group. I think several thousands of our members must have gone across at the same moment and so their service didn’t really cope with that. But they have been adding server power to it and they’ve been really responsive on customer service as well. They actually have a Facebook Group for users of the tool as well and they’ve been very interactive with me.
I’m going to give them a warning when this podcast goes live as well to up their service. It had been a little bit buggy. As I said, it’s sort of in a beta phase and so they’re still developing it and they seem to be adding new features as well. It’s not perfect but for what it is, it’s pretty amazing. It’s free. All those images are there and it’s relatively easy to use and it automates the process as well. You just put in your URL and it starts creating the video for you. What could be better than that?
They do have a feature in there called smart templates which hasn’t worked yet for me but the idea there that they’re working on is that you can put your blogs RSS feed in and then it sends you the videos. I’ve been really interested to see that working and I hope it does get developed a little bit more because that would be pretty cool if they sent you an email after your blog post went live and say here’s the beginning of your video. That’s pretty cool if they can do that.
Last thing I’ll say is literally 10 minutes before I started recording this, I got a Facebook message from one of our group members who messaged me saying that they created a video using Lumen5 and published on their Facebook page 24 hours ago. Their Facebook page has 20,000 followers so it’s a medium sized Facebook page and the video has already been viewed 300,000 times. She is ecstatic that she gave this a go. To say that is kind of an understatement, she used so many exclamation points in that message, I couldn’t believe it.
It is something that I think if you choose the right blog post to repurpose, and you take your time with it, and make it look as good as you can, this could really help you to get more reach on Facebook and to drive some traffic to your site as well. Give it a go. I put some examples in the show notes of some videos that I’ve created. I’ll embed them from Facebook as well. You can go and have a look at how they’ve gone on Facebook. They have had quite a few views. I haven’t gone quite as viral as that person but they have been really good for me.
The last thing I would say is if you do give it a go, come over to the ProBlogger Facebook Group and share your video. I’d love to see what you used Lumen5 to create. I’ll set up a thread in our Facebook Group, the ProBlogger Community group on Facebook. If you go to problogger.com/group, you’ll get forwarded straight to that group. I’ll set up a thread where I’d love you to share your videos. There’s already a thread going when I went to it last time with a few examples but we’ll start a new one where you can check it out.
Again, Lumen5 is the name of the tool. lumen5.com. Give it a go. Let us know the results. Let us know how you used the tool. It’s a little bit buggy because we’re all trying to do it at once. Be a bit patient with it. Maybe come back to it again but it’s pretty cool.
The last thing I will say is you can save your videos and then edit them later as well. You can come back in if you want to change a video or if you want to use that same sort of template, I guess you could create a second video as well.
Check it out. Let us know what you think. Check at the show notes, examples as well and over in the group.
Thanks for listening. If you’ve got a cool tool like Lumen5, let us know because I’d like to feature a few more of these kinds of tools as well for bloggers. Thanks for listening today. We’ll chat with you next week.
I really hope you enjoyed today’s show and check out Lumen5. Just a disclosure, I have no affiliation with Lumen5 whatsoever. Don’t get any better for promoting this particular tool. Just want to be really clear on that.
Check out our event Success Incubator. problogger.com/success. Get that discount code SUCCESS17. Check out the show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/197. Also, check out our Facebook Group, problogger.com/group, where you can submit the videos that you create today.
Thanks for listening today, I’ll be back with you as we approach that 200 episode mark with next week’s episode 198. Thanks for listening. Chat with you soon.