The rapid rate at which many startups rise, fall then disappear into entrepreneurial oblivion can be attributed to a number of different reasons.
Perhaps the company failed to solve a real problem or maybe a primary investment fell through. However, one of the most if not the most prominent reasons a startup may never live up to its potential is through failing to become essential.
Companies that are unable to rival their competitors will always be destined for short shelf lives and that is why Dror Ginzberg, the CEO and co-founder of Wochit designed an offering that could not be surpassed.
Wochit, an online video creation platform, was founded in 2012 and has been embraced by some of the world’s largest media companies since its inception.
Ginzberg explains what specific tactics have allowed Wochit to thrive and what it takes to become essential.
With the quick and rampant rise of video, how has Wochit successfully utilized this momentum and integrated itself into the narrative?
I’ve been working with online video really since its advent, which enabled me to get ahead of this momentum and use it as a wind in our sails. We identified social video as our focus and, with the big social networks prioritizing it, it has become a priority for every publisher and media company. We’ve been keeping an eye toward the future and always aim to be first-to-market with new features that allow our customers to leverage trends that drive their growth.
The need for video content spans across many industries and professions. However, is there one specific sector Wochit tries to reach out to and attain users from?
Wochit is primarily a platform created for media companies and other larger content publishers who are looking to produce engaging content at scale that can be distributed across owned and operated sites as well as channels like Instagram and Facebook, where posts can easily be modified to fit the “right” format for each.
We work with a lot of large publications like USA Today and the full suite of Time Inc. brands such as HelloGiggles. We’re also seeing more brands of other varieties. For example, non-profit organizations like The Salvation Army and Change.org use our platform, and increasingly we’re having conversations with consumer brands for whom video is an increasingly essential tactic in their content marketing strategy.
Our sweet spot is short-form, info-bite-type content with either narration - a service we provide - or text overlays, also part of our toolset. The content in our library, all pre-cleared so that publishers don’t need to chase legal approvals or jump through red tape, covers areas like news and entertainment, and we’re increasingly adding material from international providers to meet the needs of organizations worldwide.
With this aforementioned widespread appeal of Wochit's offering, which of the company's many value props are most highly advertised and spotlighted?
I’d have to say our most valuable value ad is everything we do and provide around social. We have specialized tools that make optimization for distribution easier, an otherwise daunting proposition given the range of formats and other nuances that vary from platform to platform. In 2016, we added social content to our library. Now that a single tweet can set the news agenda for the week, seamless, real-time access to this content is a huge bonus.
Our first social content integration was with Twitter, and now over 25 percent of all videos made on our platform include at least one tweet. The most shared so far is the AP tweet declaring Donald Trump the next President of the United States. That one tweet was used by a lot of our publisher partners.
How is Wochit able to compete with companies offering similar services?
Again, we’ve really differentiated ourselves with our social-related toolset and our content library, but perhaps even more importantly is the way we approach automation. While other platforms have gone totally automated, it’s our opinion that the videos resulting look the same. We refer to our offering as semi-automated. This allows for a publication’s brand personality to show through. As so many of their videos will be viewed off branded sites, brands view this custom feature as critical to brand recognition - regardless of where it is viewed - and ultimately audience growth. All brands, newsrooms and journalists offer their own signature spins - our platform explicitly encourages this type of unique production.
What would you say to entrepreneurs whose startup focuses on a very on-trend offering in terms of how to best capitalize on its current popularity?
Well, I’m hoping they started the startup before the offering was on trend, as first mover advantage is exactly that - an advantage. Still, there are plenty of examples of companies who weren’t first that end up being the leader in their area. Facebook might be the best possible example of this. And what did Facebook do that made them take over the Friendsters and MySpaces who preceded them in the on-trend social networking space? They made themselves invaluable to their users.
Any entrepreneur should always be thinking about what he or she can do to make their customers happier and their service more essential. The more your users incorporate whatever product or service into their lives, the harder it will be for them to leave you for a competitor.
What can we expect to see next from Wochit?
More and easier everything? Really, our development focus is across a couple different lines. Automation - in the form of AI - is already present in our platform and continues to be a priority where it proves to benefit our clients. We are especially committed to help publishers take advantage of the social video trend in the various social networks. Plus, we continue to increase our library of assets - images, videos, social posts and whatever the future brings. This enables more media companies from around the world to leverage our platform to make content relevant to their audiences.
Third, we look to support publishers and media companies, for example another area we’re working on is mobile journalism. When journalists are on the field with only their cell phones, we’d like to make their job easier and facilitate the availability of great local content in real time - on video.
Dror Ginzberg has over 25 years of experience in technology with a focus on video and related technologies. As CEO of Wochit, the video-creation platform he co-founded in 2012 that’s used by journalistic storytellers such as newsrooms, media brands, publishers and professional bloggers, Ginzberg is enabling production of high-quality content at the scale and speed needed to meet today’s rapidly-increasing demand.