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    Community Spotlight Series – Everything You Need To Know To Be Successful

    We are HUGE advocates of video (obviously) and have been doing community spotlight videos since 2015. Between our series #SanteeSaturdays and East County Eats, we’ve filmed over 170 episodes and are continuing to film more. Over these past years, we’ve learned a LOT about what it takes to maximize efficiency as well as optimize our relationships to get the best return possible. This blog post is meant to be a tell all of our best secrets when it comes to the before/during/after of filming a business spotlight, as well as the gear we use to make it all happen.

    Here is our 100th episode of #SanteeSaturdays and how we used this to transition into East County Eats.


    How To Find & Approach Businesses:

    At this point we’re going to assume you have your theme (are you focusing on a specific geographic area, an interest, etc?).  But how do you go about choosing from ALL of the businesses out there that fit your theme?

    Look for ….

    • Businesses with a strong social presence (Facebook/Instagram/YouTube)
    • Businesses owners that are involved in the community (look at local Chamber of Commerce)
    • Unique stories/food/locations
    • Highly rated online (Yelp & Google)
    • People you know that own businesses/know business owners
    • Business that have been around for a LONG time (50+ years)
    • The popular themes on Instagram now are: Food, Fashion, Family, & Fitness

    Our most popular video to date has over 3,450,000 views and featured the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese Tots from Funky Fries & Burgers – a big part of this was the fact that the dish we featured was so unique that the video was shared all over the country.


    How to approach the business:

    • Call & speak to the owner/manager – explain the show & reassure that there is no cost
    • Visit the store & talk to the owner/manager
    • Show a prior example, even if it’s from a show you want to emulate
    • Email (last resort)


    Here is a cold call email I will sometimes send out if I cannot reach them any other way:

    East County Eats is an free online video series focusing on restaurants in East County San Diego with a goal to help small businesses like yours expand your online presence. You can see all of our content on our Facebook page at:

    Whissel Realty produces East County Eats as a part of our marketing efforts; it’s a way for us to give back to our community and to highlight some of what East County has to offer. The whole process takes about 60-90 minutes, and is completely free. The ONLY thing we ask is that you donate two $25 gift cards for us to raffle off on our Facebook Live Giveaways. We have had several videos reach over 100,000 and one has over 3 million (and counting).

    The day of your shoot: our team comes in and will do a quick 60 second interview with an owner, manager, or chef, and then we turn the focus over to the FOOD! We will film a total of 4 dishes being made (3 of your most unique/popular/beautiful dishes. The main dish we will film a second time with a different camera.) If you want the whole breakdown, here is a 5 minute video of the step-by-step process of what happens when we come to your shop.

    You can see all of our East County Eats episodes here:

    We are currently booking for the following dates:



    Before The Shoot:

    The more info you can provide to the business owner, the better. A lot of times they are nervous because they don’t know what to expect, so doing as much as you can to alleviate that will help you a lot in the long run. We also make sure we schedule the shoot when the business is slower – we don’t want to inconvenience the business any more than we have to. I want the owner/chef/manager to be completely focused on the video, so we ask that they over staff so the business can still operate while we are there.

    • Send a “What To Expect” email once it’s booked
    • Confirm 2 days before the shoot (make sure they have seen the What To Expect email) and answer any questions
    • Share examples of videos of similar businesses that you’ve done in the past
    • Send a list of questions you’ll cover during the interview. A few examples:
      • What makes your business special?
      • What made you want to get into this business?
      • Where are you located?
      • How are you connected to the community (chamber, charity, schools, etc)
      • How long have you been in business?
      • What are your best sellers?
      • How can someone reach you?


    Day Of The Shoot:

    Depending on the company, we are typically at the business anywhere from 30-90 minutes, and that includes setup and breakdown times. With that, we’ve learned some valuable lessons (sometimes the hard way) that we’ve compiled here:

    • Show up 15 minutes early
    • Make sure your batteries are charged and memory cards empty
    • Go over the process before you start filming
    • Ask more questions than you think you need  – you will probably cut most of it
    • If they answer a question poorly, ask again at the end of the interview
    • Remain positive and complimentary of your guest the entire time
    • Keep your gear organized and tidy
    • Get gift cards from the business owner to raffle off during a Facebook Live


    After The Shoot:

    We have found that once the video launches, the next week the business gets flooded with new business (great problem to have). So we make sure to let them know so they can be staffed appropriately for it – nothing worse than having new customers come in only to have them leave without being helped.

    One of the biggest reason we do these videos is to help build relationships with the business owners – so it’s vital that they know when their video is being released, where it is, what they can do to help spread the word, and the results of the video. Here are a few more tips on following up with them after the fact:

    • Upload to social media platforms and tag the business
    • Run ads to your target audience
    • Share the video in local groups
    • Create a blog post and paste in transcription for SEO purposes
    • Send an email to business owner with links & tips on how to distribute the video
      • Encourage them to have their friends, family, and employees share/like/comment
    • Send another follow up email after your ad is completed with the results of ad
      • SHARES
      • COMMENTS
      • REACTIONS (likes, hearts, wow, etc)
    • Do a Facebook Live Giveaway a week after the show airs and raffle the gift cards to the business
      • We do about 5 minutes of talking about the show, who we are and why we do it, a few minutes about the restaurant, then do a giveaway based on people we’ve selected who have completed the requirements (Shared, commented, and liked).
      • MEGA Gift Card Giveaway
    • Keep in touch with the business owners
      • Like/Comment/Share THEIR content on social media
      • Invite them to your client events
      • Do follow up interviews/videos


    We all know that in order to make a great video, you don’t have to have the best gear available. While having high end gear can make your video look more professional and polished, it also takes a LOT more time and experience to use. I recommend you start out with something SIMPLE (aka smartphone) and grow from there as the need arises.

    (stock image)

    If you HAVE to buy gear, this is what I’d look for:

    • Find a camera that can shoot 60fps (preferably 120fps) in 1080p
    • Get a camera with a mic input jack
    • A wide-angle lens (~16-35mm on full-frame or ~10-22mm on a crop sensor)
    • Audio recorder for EACH person talking
    • A Stabilizer of some sort (tripod or even better, a gimbal)

    Starter Kit:

    Intermediate Kit:

    Our Kit: 

    There is a lot here, and a lot more that you will learn along the way. If this was helpful, we’d love to hear about it on our Facebook Group.

    Join our Facebook Group! 


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