Similarly, John Friedman, a San Francisco-based CFP, is a one-man shop and a one-man video production crew for the videos that appear on his website. His home page features five short videos of roughly one minute—plus change—in length describing the different ways he helps people improve their financial lives in his work as a financial coach/planner/manager/educator/health advisor.

These are very basic videos with a tight field of view in front of a plain beige wall. They are homespun, a term Friedman says is appropriate—both in terms of production values and regarding the ambiance he’s trying to create.

Friedman shot the videos himself with a Canon point-and-shoot camera with a video function. “And it wasn’t a super-duper point-and-shoot at that,” he says. “I didn’t have a serious tripod, just like I didn’t have a serious camera, so I wound up using some milk crates.”

He says he’s been doing videos for a while; he used to do them in his office in downtown San Francisco. He says he was looking for a certain look with his current batch of videos. “I looked for the most blank wall I had in my life,” Friedman says, which turned out to be in the guest bedroom in his home.

Friedman’s biggest investment in this project was his time, noting that it took about two days to make those five videos. He doesn’t use a script, but works off of an outline, and the actual language comes during the making of a video. “I keep refining the message till I get ‘MVP status,’ a Silicon Valley term for “minimum viable product.” I get as close to perfect as I probably could get, which is maybe about 90%, and that takes a lot of time.”

Plus, there were other factors to contend with. “Since I’m doing it at home, I’ve got things going on like the cat climbing up the crates that the camera sits on.”

All in all, Friedman believes his videos—and his overall website, which is a basic WordPress website—get the job done. “If someone looks at a video, I can see the data on the back end,” he says. “And I know if someone looks at all five, or even two videos, I’ll probably get a call from somebody.”

Friday Five
Thomas Quealy Jr., CEO of Nottingham Advisors Asset Management in Amherst, N.Y., didn’t plan to shoot videos for his firm’s website. But after Nottingham adopted the portfolio management software program from Orion Advisor Services, he took a trip to Orion’s headquarters in Omaha, Neb., where he met folks from one of Orion’s affiliated companies, Blu Giant Advisor Studios.

Blu Giant, also based in Omaha, helps financial services companies develop branding, web development, video and social media strategies. It works with financial advisors both affiliated and not affiliated with the Orion network of companies.

One thing led to another, and Nottingham made its first video a couple of years ago through a partnership with an ETF provider it works with that engaged with Blu Giant to make some videos. That particular video featured Quealy and president and chief investment officer Lawrence Whistler in suit and ties talking about the firm’s separately managed accounts and how they craft ETF-based global, multi-asset-class portfolios focused on asset allocation. “The first one was a bit more planned in both questions and responses,” Quealy says.

That video was shot in San Francisco, and was on the ETF provider’s nickel. “We were impressed with how the video came out and began to realize it’s a great way for us to convey who we are and what we do in a more personal way,” Quealy says, noting that Nottingham hired Blu Giant to redesign its website, too.