video_chatting_pc_400_clr_5162When a visitor arrives on your website, do they stick around?  You want to do everything you can to get them to linger, explore and learn more about you.

Online video is without a doubt one of the best methods for keeping the right visitors on your site longer. When you align your  content with what your ideal customer wants, it’s easier to get visitors to consume more on your site and the longer they’re there, the better chance you have to makie a connection, establish a personal brand, win their trust as an expert authority and/or make a sale.

People go online for many reasons, often to search for solutions.  whether they want answers or to be entertained, if they find your site and you don’t deliver, they’ll be gone in an instant. And the second that visitor clicks away, you have lost them; they are unlikely to ever return.

Studies show a video on a site can increase the average amount of time a user spends on a site by about two minutes. That’s two whole extra minutes to convert them into a customer!

Over the past few years, the Internet has become a highly visual place.  If all you have is text on your website, you are missing a great opportunity to attract and hold more attention.

If someone sees nothing but words, they will most likely  read only the headline. If it does not grab their attention, they are gone. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have them read the first paragraph, but it’s even better to have something on the page to catch their eye like photos and video.

When a new visitor arrives on your website, you have very little time to make a good impression or seal the deal, but it is not difficult to get people to watch video. If you have a video front and center on the page, there’s something that compels people to click that play button.

People today simply don’t want to read pages and pages of text. Given a choice the majority will choose video content over copy. Most people are conditioned to watch rather than read. 

People have usually spent years slumped on the sofa watching hours and hours of television. In the past decade, they’ve added browsing YouTube!  Now with a smart TV, they can easily switch back and forth between TV programs and online video.

As a business owner, this trend works to your advantage. It’s a great time to use digital media to build a platform to showcase your expertise. It is much easier and more interesting to establish your authority, show personality, educate, inspire or convey a marketing message in a video than it is in text.

Do you remember “Show and Tell” in grade school? Did you enjoy it more than reading the lessons? Do you still remember some of the presentations? I certainly do.

Your videos can use the same approach. Show people the features and benefits of your product or service in visual form. Tell them exactly how it is going to help them.

If you sell a product, show viewers how to use it, how it works and what to expect. We all know people who refuse to read manuals or instructions.  Sometimes  following written information is confusing. Video demonstrations and step-by step tutorials are a different story and less easy to misinterpret.

If you offer a service, do a video with a brief outline on how you work.  Show examples of how your service helps people solve problems and tell their success stories. It’s especially persuasive to see individuals who have benefited from your service talk about their experience themselves. (testimonials)

Naturally, you still need some copy on your website; search engines can’t “read” video, at least not yet. Plus both consumers and search engines want to see a variety of relevant content on a site. Mix it up! Include different types of quality content in videos, photos, articles and infographics.

Putting videos on your website will help people stick around your site longer. Distributing your videos beyond your website, on social media sites, on video-sharing sites, in email, etc. will increase your visibility and drive more traffic to your website.

You notice I said videos? One video is nice, but one is never enough. A single video won’t make much of an impact in the marketplace.  To see real results, your video marketing campaign should widely circulate multiple entertaining, informative videos online as a magnet to attract your target audience. 

I recommend you produce individual videos for various purposes on your site (ie – landing page, about page, thank you page, sales page) and/or create the online equivalent of television with your own Web TV Show/ Channel on YouTube or another platform for what I call “You-TV.”

Just be sure your video content is engaging and useful to your target viewers so they watch all of it.

If you are not using videos, it’s time to take a serious look at it. Online video is a powerful tool that can grow your business by turning more visitors into fans, followers and ultimately paying customers.

game_plan_whiteboard_1600_clr_36162014 is shaping up to be the year of the whiteboard video.

High end animation (think Disney) has always been appealing, but it is also labor intensive, time-consuming and generally expensive; that level of animation was out of reach for the average small business.

A few years ago, simple animated storytelling became possible at a more affordable price. Online programs like Videoscribe, Go Animate and Powtoon started the trend with lower cost tools that anyone could use to produce doodle-style animations and cartoons without any graphic art training or video production experience.

This year has seen the release of even more animation and sketch video programs with more features.  The list of tools includes VideoMaker FX, Easy Sketch Pro and the newest one. Explaindio.

graph_explanation_visualsFor decades, coaches, business people and professors have made presentations on physical whiteboards. By combining images with the words they were saying, the presenters could illustrate and reinforce their ideas, making it easier for people to understand concepts. There is more than one learning style and involving multiple senses aids the learning process, helping students absorb and retain information better.


For most online video today, the goal is “info-tainment” and animation and sketch videos can deliver that, making even a dry subject more interesting to watch. But while these new tools make the work of creating a whiteboard video easier, they won’t help you develop the content for your videos. It’s still up to you to to craft a story and skillfully choose and weave words and images into an effective video.

This is where creative professionals have the edge because their business is storytelling. They know what it takes to tell a good story visually, how to condense and simplify complex topics, how to deliver a persuasive marketing message and the elements that motivate people watching a video to take action.

The most popular use of the whiteboard is for an “explainer” video, but there are certainly other storytelling possibilities. Adding fun images and a bit of humor can make almost any message stand out.

For example, using animation can make a sensitive subject easier to tackle visually than live action video.  I remember a public service announcement on TV about depression a few years ago.  It featured rounded stick figure characters to explain this complex topic and presented important mental health information in an engaging way. I don’t know if I would have remembered the message so clearly, if the video had used actors, just like every other PSA.


  • Advertising – Whiteboard presentations can make great commercials online and on TV. Remember the old UPS whiteboard commercials from a few years ago?
  • Marketing – Use whiteboard video stories on your website, on sales pages, landing pages, on your YouTube channel, on social media, etc.
  • Learning –  this video style lends itself to delivering education and training.  Animation can add visual punch and sizzle to all kinds of instruction.  Your video can even have the same look and feel as a classroom presentation, but you don’t have to stand in front of a camera!
  • Entertainment – tell a funny story, produce an online cartoon series, create an animated skit with a unique character or take viewers on a fantastic adventure featuring your own Super Heroes. Animation and sketch videos can free your stories (and your imagination) from the limitations of the real world.


  1. Keep it short. In general, 1 – 3 minute online videos work best.
  2. Don’t just jump into the software. Plan out your project step-by-step with a script and/or a storyboard. Work out the entire story – beginning, middle and end – on the computer or on paper before you begin. Planning saves time and produces better results.
  3. Avoid too much information.  Resist the urge to stuff everything into one video.  You will confuse the viewer or worse yet, BORE your audience. Less is more. Include only enough information and images to deliver the message concisely and succinctly.
  4. If you are dealing with data, don’t make it all about the numbers, facts and figures. Include some attention-grabbing images and  “wow” information or you will put the audience to sleep.
  5. You do not have to try to match a picture to every word you say. In TV, we’re taught a storytelling approach called “touch and go.” You reference something both in your words and pictures and then can talk about something unrelated to the image.  Make another word/image “touch” anchor and go on again, and again, as the story unfolds.
  6. Study other whiteboard presentations.  A quick online search or visit to YouTube will uncover dozens of examples. Look for videos in your niche. Take note of what you like and don’t like and keep those things in mind as you create your own videos.


I don’t recommend whiteboard video as the only type of video you use. Mix it up. A steady diet of one thing, no matter how clever, is bound to lose its effectiveness over time.

Plus trends and fads come and go. Right now whiteboard videos are all the rage online and you see them everywhere on the Internet but you rarely see that style used on TV anymore, even though that UPS whiteboard commercial was hot about 7 years ago.

Still these new animation programs are relatively easy to use.  If you want to take a stab at making your own simple videos, they are worth a try.

Are you using whiteboard animation or sketch video or thinking about doing it?  What are your challenges?  Please leave a comment.

The POE-try of Media Defined

Paid Owned Earned MediaMedia is one of those umbrella terms that means different things to different people.  In recent years, we’ve added more terms like new media, social media, digital media and legacy media.   Digital technology has eroded the distinction between traditional and online media and traditional forms of print and broadcast media simply are not as effective as they used to be.

The Internet is where the audience is and every business that wants to reach that audience is going to have to become a media business. One way to organize your thinking about media is to divide it into Paid, Owned and Earned Media.  (POEM)

Ideally,  you want a digital strategy that aims for an affordable sweet spot using all three types of media to get found, deliver your brand message and win customers.

PAID MEDIA is what we traditionally call advertising. You PAY to get your message out in print, on radio, TV, direct mail, billboards, with online banner ads, pay per click, social media ads, etc.  Advertising campaigns can get expensive, but the good thing about most ads is  you can get your message seen and heard very quickly,  just about anywhere on the planet.

Quick roll-out = quick results?  Maybe and maybe not. It’s said the average consumer sees or hears more than 5000 marketing messages a day.  After a lifetime of being bombarded with commercial messages constantly, most people are pretty good at tuning out ads and ignoring commercials.

For example, I time-shift nearly all my television viewing and my remote lets me skip commercials.  I watch a few because I appreciate short storytelling, but generally I skip TV commercials and have for 20 years. I am not alone in this habit.

OWNED MEDIA is the content you or your organization create and control.  It’s what you “publish” on social media, on your blog and website, in your emails, newsletter, etc.  You have to invest in developing a strategy, flesh out ideas for content creation, run your completed media pieces through an approval process and once the content is ready, get busy with distribution, follow up and measurement. You’ll need to set up a system to encourage engagement, build an audience, generate leads and sales, whatever it takes to achieve the desired results for your business.

With owned media, you control what you make and put into the world. Some think it’s less costly than advertising because you’re doing it yourself.  But creating and sharing quality content takes work and even if you keep expenses low for creating your media content, Time = Money.

EARNED MEDIA is the realm of public and media relations.  PR pros or DIY publicists reach out to media influencers, online and off, to pitch their client’s story for publicity and hope the media bites.  Pitching is a numbers game and many pitches fail.  No one can tell the media what to write or say about you and your business or convince them to do a story they’re not interested in. If the media decides to do your story, you will give up control of the content.

PR is about developing and maintaining relationships with members of the media which takes time and is not likely to produce quick results.

I spent many years in TV newsrooms fielding thousands of pitches and story ideas.  I can assure you there is no secret formula to win media coverage. Sure, there are some common Do’s and Don’t when dealing with journalists.  But even if you pitch a great story, there are variables beyond your control.  Unless you are a mind reader, there is no surefire way to guarantee the media will say yes.

However, while it takes work, traditional (earned) media still has prestige and clout.

I recently heard about a businessman who unexpectedly got tons of traffic to his niche website almost overnight because a national TV network included a link to his site on their news site   That link delivered boatloads of organic traffic and was pure serendipity.

He hadn’t bought any ads (paid media) or pitched anyone. (earned media)  He hadn’t even been contacted or interviewed for the story!  The producer apparently came across his site, realized it had a lot of valuable content (owned media) relevant to their topic and included his site as a resource link when they posted the TV story online. Wow. You can’t buy that…but you can’t count on it happening either!

When you share your (owned media) brand stories online, you  in essence “become the media,”  and can speak directly to your target audience.  As a side effect, your stories may put you on the mass media’s radar.  Imagine a journalist scouring the Internet for ideas and finding you!

What kind of story to tell?  Here are some classic story models to think about:

Bottom line: Whether your business is large or small, it’s time to start thinking like a media company and media companies tell stories.  Who’s telling yours?



lPodcasting CC 1024x768 large_31207113Here’s one last post about podcasting before I explore other digital media methods to claim your fame. 

I’ve focused on podcasting because media trend spotting experts predict podcasts are the next big thing in digital storytelling. 

Nearly one in 5 U.S. adults currently listen to an audio podcast at least occasionally with the average consumer listening nine hours a week!

Now is the time for brand storytellers and publishers to build an audience in a digital media space that is less crowded than video or social media before podcasting explodes in popularity!

(BTW, these same experts say my first love, VIDEO, will remain tops as long as the content has quality and is compelling which makes me smile, but that’s a post for another day.)  

Let’s go over five simple, effective ways to get more listeners for your show.

As we discussed before, the way to create an effective podcast is to focus on topics that your audience cares about and that are closely related to your business. It’s also a good idea to think about what sets you and your business apart from your competitors and make sure your show reflects that.   Share information with your listeners that helps you stand out in their minds and helps them connect with you better. 

While it’s great to talk about topics you know well to show your expertise, you don’t have to be THE expert on every topic you cover. A terrific strategy is to interview guest experts in areas that are not your strong suit and add value for your listeners by tapping into the wisdom of others.

Conducting expert interviews allows the “glow” of your guest’s knowledge and celebrity to rub off on you and positions you as the educator and advocate for your audience. 

With interviews, you do the “digging for diamonds” in a sea of information so your listeners don’t have to! That saves them time and effort and can make you their “go-to” trusted authority and source.

Tip: Keep in mind people are  generally overwhelmed with too much information. Keep it simple. Most of the time listeners want practical how-to advice and tips that will help them accomplish something more easily.

1- Follow a Schedule

One of the main reasons popular radio show hosts are able to build loyal followings is because listeners can count on them, same time, same station every day. If they weren’t consistent, it would be hard to build a fan base because no one would know when to tune in.

The same idea applies to your podcast. Set a publishing/broadcasting schedule and stick to it, so your listeners know what to expect.

2- Podcast Directories

Your relevant quality content is the draw and should always be the focus of your efforts. Still, conventional wisdom says submitting your feed to as many directories as possible can lead to more exposure and more listeners.

Paul Colligan of The Podcast Report recently opined that podcast directories can be about as useless as the Yellow Pages. Listen to his reasoning on Stitcher at this link and make up your own mind. 

A quick search finds literally hundreds of directories available online dedicated strictly to podcasting and RSS feeds.

If you decide to list your show in multiple podcasting directories, some of the main ones are the iTunes store, DoubleTwist, Stitcher AmigoFish, Digg Podcasts, Podcast Pickle and All Podcasts.

3- Use Tags

Podcasts are audio files so tagging is essential to help listeners find you, whether it’s on iTunes or through the search engines. Always use SEO-rich keywords and tags in your descriptions when you submit or post links to your podcast. This helps attract targeted traffic and listeners to your show. 

The words you use often show up in the search engine listing so make sure your descriptions are inviting. A captivating description might be the main reason people click through and listen to your show.

4- Create a Companion Blog

Blogging can be an effective way to generate interest in your podcast. A blog can reach a different audience that may not know about your podcast. Blogs are one of the fundamental activities for crafting an enticing online presence and they are great for getting search engine rankings.

Be sure your podcast is highlighted on your blog with well-placed subscription links. You can even place samples from your latest shows, so people can get an idea of what your show is like.

5- Be Social

Set up social profiles on the major networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Linkedin. Join some forums, answer questions and engage in discussions about your topic. Post comments on other popular blogs in your niche.

Podcasting is all about building a following and developing a relationship with your listeners. You can’t sit back and expect listeners to find you. You need to go out and get them.

Plus podcasting is growing in popularity and a lot of podcasters could be competing for the same listeners’ attention as time goes on.  You will want to do everything you can to get noticed.

Is Podcasting Worth My Time?

Podcasting takes commitment and only you can judge what is right for you and your niche.  But if it interests you at all, do a quick online search. You’ll discover plenty of success stories of individuals who had NO visibility until they sat behind a microphone and used the power of the human voice to share their story and attract an audience.

Audio is a powerful medium. When you deliver the content your niche wants in an informative and entertaining way, persistently and consistently, you can make a name for yourself that opens doors.

To explore even more options for expanding your audience, take a look at this article from Social Media Examiner:

You never know who is listening and hosting an engaging podcast can lead to other opportunities to share your message, your products and your services everywhere and anywhere, in ways you never imagined.

Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about your podcast or idea for a podcast.

Photo credit: TimWilson via photopin cc

figure listens to mobile audio_1600_clr_9035This week I want to go over some first steps for developing a podcast for your business, but before I do, I’d like to call your attention to a new podcasting software suite that releases today.

Audello is the latest creation from the makers of Easy Video Suite.  As I mentioned last week, it’s an exciting new all-in-one tool for podcasters. (This is an affiliate link which I rarely do, but this tool is powerful.)

Audello is a podcast marketing platform to help you engage an audience with audio. Audello gives you an automated system for creating and uploading your podcast to the existing distribution networks to attract leads more quickly and easily. Check it out.


The first steps are to decide what you want to do and create an action plan.

Questions like these may help you craft your action plan:

  • How will a podcast help my business?
  • Will my customers respond to audio information? (Are they auditory learners?)
  • Will the podcast be my main product or only one method of marketing communication?
  • Will it be the primary way my business attracts new customers?
  • Do I want to use it to brand myself?
  • Do I want a podcast to become a niche expert or Internet Business Celebrity?

There is no one surefire way to use podcasting. It really depends on how well you know your niche, how your content serves your target audience’s interests and the passion and comfort level you bring to podcasting.

Once you have a good idea of what you want to do, it’s time to figure out the equipment and services you’ll need to get started.

There are a lot of ways to record, edit, store and distribute a podcast.  Again, let your comfort level and technical skills be your guide.


Start with a good microphone and recording software. Good audio is paramount to the success of your podcast.  I recommend buying the best quality you can afford without going overboard or breaking the bank. 

It’s okay to choose “good enough,” or what I’d call the “minimally effective dose,” to produce your first podcasts. You can always upgrade later once you’re a profitable podcaster. 

Microphones come in all shapes, sizes and prices so do some research to explore the possibilities.  Be sure you choose a “mic”  that produces good quality sound and has built-in noise reduction.  You can buy a microphone at your local electronics store or order one online.

Audio editing software also varies in features, learning curve and price and includes some free options:

Audacity – this is a free, open source software for recording and editing audio.  There are versions for Mac OS X, Windows, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. It’s a great choice for beginners.

Find out more here:

Adobe Audition – This is a more advanced software for editing audio from Adobe. It works with Windows and Mac. You can download a free trial and see if you like it, before you purchase the full license.

Find out more here:

Hipcast – This service makes it easy to record high-quality audio from your web browser or your phone with no software to download or install. This is a good option for people  who aren’t tech savvy or comfortable learning new tech.

Find out more here:

Podomatic – This is another service that allows you to record audio and even video directly from your browser. You can even receive in-line calls from listeners who want to leave voice comments.

Find out more here:


You will also need a place to host your podcast files. You can host them on you own domain, but as you create more and more episodes, they will take up a lot of room and require a lot of bandwidth, which can become expensive, if you don’t monitor it closely. 

There are website completely dedicated to hosting podcasts.

Amazon S3 – This hosting is nice because it offers quality hosting at a lower price in comparison to other paid services and it grows with you. Meaning you only pay for what you use. It also has a free plan with a limit of 5 GB of storage and a limit of 20,000 get requests.

Find out more here:

Soundcloud – They offer free and paid plans, which are reasonably priced. The free version has some limitations but is good for newcomers. The pro version has extras like tracking so you can see who is listening, where they are from and other statistics that will help you improve your podcast.

Find out more here:

PodBean – This is an easy-to-use podcast host for casual podcasts that don’t exceed 30 MB.  Another excellent choice for beginners, it offers a free account with a very friendly user-interface, mobile options and a RSS feed for your podcast.  You can also get statistics and creative themes to spruce up your podcast page.

Find out more here:

Other services to check out include Libsyn, Stitcher and Blubrry.


iTunes – This platform is the Big Kahuna for syndicating your content. To gain “fame” and exposure from your podcast, you’ll want to make it available in the iTunes Store asap. 

iTunes doesn’t host podcasts. You must host your media files and RSS feeds on your own web servers or a third-party hosting provider like the ones listed above. 

Publishing a podcast on iTunes is relatively easy.Once you get your show uploaded to your feed, you can submit it for their review. If it is approved, it will be added  to the iTunes Store podcast directory and become searchable once it is indexed which may take up to 24-hours.

You can discover even more podcasting resources in this  2007 article on

And remember if you’re serious about creating a podcast of your own in 2015, the new software Audello is a strong “all-in-one” solution.

Get Started with Podcasting

podcasting These are exciting times to be the Media.  You can be both a consumer and CREATOR of digital media more easily than ever. 

And a hungry audience is waiting  to hear from you.  Did you notice the latest iPhone/iPad IOS update made the podcast app a pre-installed default app?  CommScore reported in August that the majority of today’s digital media consumption is now through mobile apps.

Many digital media creation and distribution tools are available and more are coming out all the time.  In fact, a  new podcasting software “Audello” is in pre-launch this week  and looks interesting.

Producing podcasts is on an upswing because people on the move are listening to all kinds of  content on mobile devices in their cars, at the gym, etc.  I’ve written before about the power of podcasting and its growing popularity.  (You can read my past post here.)  Audio is easy to consume on the go. Just put on your headphones or ear buds and you’re off.

If you haven’t included podcasting in your marketing plan before, perhaps now is the time to consider starting your own show. (I am planning mine for 2015.)

Why podcast?

Hosting or co-hosting a podcast, even being a guest on a top influencer’s show, is a fun and effective tactic to establish your media authority and show your knowledge in your niche.

You can have your own radio-style talk show centered on what your business offers. Interviewing experts is one of the fastest and simplest ways to get exposure, attract an audience, build credibility, grow your list and create a profitable venue for products and services.

Your Podcast can help you:

  • Reach more people in your target market
  • Produce quick valuable content
  • Position yourself as an expert authority
  • Build business “fame”  in your field
  • Make a more personal connection to help potential customers get to know, like and trust you.  (Essential for long-term profits)

You’ll need to gather recording tools and equipment, decide on the title, format, frequency and content of your show and arrange distribution channels but don’t get overwhelmed.  Here is a simple checklist to follow: 

You can create basic audio files or  go fancy with a video podcast. One recording can even be delivered as both a video and an audio-only (mp3) podcast,  giving you two pieces of content for two audiences from one session.

If being on camera isn’t your thing,  you can do an “enhanced” podcast,  displaying images and screenshots as you speak, similar to a slideshow presentation.

Many people are also creating their podcast now with the free service Google Hangouts.  Here’s a good article about how to get started that way.

One of the powerful benefits of podcasting is the wide distribution that is available through syndication. People can listen anytime, anywhere automatically by subscribing to your podcast using RSS (really simple syndication). Here’s an article explaining the RSS concept: 

Imagine if your podcast, like David Siteman Garland’s “The Rise to the Top,” became the foundation for a Mediapreneur empire!  You could leverage your show to create products, offer services, training and coaching programs, promote events, attract sponsors and advertisers and more.  The possibilities are almost endless and can be extremely profitable!

Do you have a favorite podcast?  Tell us your favs in a comment!

Book Note: John Lee Dumas is a successful Podcaster featured in the launch videos for the new podcasting software Audello. I’ve included a link to his book about Podcasting which includes video tutorials.


Are you ready to launch your very own Podcast? Learn from the best! John Lee Dumas, host of the top ranked EntrepreneurOnFire, is the undisputed authority in launching a Podcast that attracts a massive audience and income. EntrepreneurOnFire was awarded 'Best in iTunes 2013' and has generated over 7-Million downloads since launch.

In Podcast Launch, John shares how he launched EntrepreneurOnFire and turned his passion into a top-ranked business Podcast that generates a SIX-FIGURE monthly income. It started with an AH-HA moment, and passion has guided him since. John shares his journey with complete transparency so you can emulate his successes and avoid his failures. Your final result will be a podcast of your own and we couldn't be more excited for you!

Podcast Launch walks you through the entire podcasting workflow, from the very beginning stages of helping you identify your Podcast name, topic, and the equipment needed; then we focus on how to record and edit your podcast, add intros and outros, publish, embed onto your website, submit your podcast to iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Blackberry; and much more.

Podcast Launch also focuses heavily on your Podcast Launch strategy, the best methods of growing your audience and platform, and an entire chapter is dedicated to the exciting world of MONETIZING your Podcast.

Ready for more?

Take your Podcast to the next level by joining the #1 Podcasting community in the world: Podcasters' Paradise

Podcasters Paradise is THE place to CREATE ~ GROW ~ MONETIZE your Podcast.

Podcasters' Paradise is made up of 3 components:

1. An ever-evolving library of video tutorials for the beginner, intermediate, and expert Podcaster.

2. A thriving private Facebook group and community forum where you can engage with thousands of Podcasters, exchange honest reviews, find guests for your show, find shows to be a guest on, and share the latest tips, tools, and tactics. Have questions? This amazing community is here to help.

3. To top it off, we have monthly Webinars where today's top Podcasting experts, like Pat Flynn and Amy Porterfield, Michael Hyatt, and Lewis Howes share their insider tips with the Podcasters' Paradise community. John Lee Dumas also holds a monthly Q&A session and boy do we have fun!

John Lee Dumas Bio:

John Lee Dumas is the Founder and Host of EntrepreneurOnFire, a top ranked podcast named "Best in iTunes 2013". John interviews today's most inspiring and successful Entrepreneurs 7-days a week and has been featured in both TIME and Inc. magazine, and is the founder of Podcasters' Paradise; a community where Podcasters can create, grow, and monetize their podcast. EntrepreneurOnFire generates over 550,000 unique downloads a month with past guests such as Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Barbara Corcoran, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Guy Kawasaki. Recaps of the 600+ episodes and MUCH more can be found at
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

stand out from the crowdMy title is meant to be tongue-in cheek because anyone who has heard the “rules” for producing online content has probably, at least briefly, scratched their head and thought, “Huh?”

We’re told: Your content has to be compelling. It must be remarkable. Make it sizzle. Make it buzz-worthy. Make it EPIC! Make it influential. Make it go viral! Oh, my!!!

No pressure, eh?  It’s enough to make a content creator freeze in place. How the heck do you do that? What does it REALLY mean to be remarkable? Who defines what is compelling? Plus, even if you knew the secret, could you produce content like that consistently, day after day?

Give yourself a break.  Just create content that is “useful” and presented in a way that enlightens and entertains YOUR audience. That’s it!

If you know your niche and know your customers, you have the raw materials for an endless stream of relevant content. Figure out what your target audience cares about and wants to read, hear, see and share about your field.  If you don’t know, ask them in a survey or poll or email or social media appeal. Then, give it to them.


Here’s an exercise to create a long list of topics. Write down on paper or on your computer the questions your customers ask you all the time.  You could probably list 100 of them. I’m sure you’ll have at least 10. 

Now think about what your customers fail to ask. What don’t they ask that would help them be better consumers of what you offer? Peel back the curtain with useful nuggets and factoids about your industry, the “should knows.” Another 10 items or more?

Think about the pain points and fears your clients express. What keeps them up at night that your expertise, product or service can help with?  Toss in some offbeat, just for fun topics you know will delight them. 

Keep in mind, if you don’t want to read it or watch it, your audience won’t either. How long is your list now?


Next, map out what kinds of content you will create to share this information wrapped up with your expertise, ideas, suggestions, tools, resources and a call-to-action. Once you know what you want to express, you can slice and dice the same material in multiple formats.

Examples would be different versions of the same information presented clearly and concisely in a blog, articles, emails, social media posts, white papers, case studies, infographics, photographs, slide shows, podcasts, videos, hangouts. 

Plug your plans into a content calendar and start producing.  (There’s also the little matter of strategically distributing or syndicating your content.  Great content is useless unless you pull in a growing crowd to consume it, but that’s a post for another day.)

Overtime, this wealth of relevant, interesting content could grow into your own digital media empire. You could compile, re-purpose and “publish” the materials in Kindle books, digital magazines, Web TV and Internet radio shows, online courses, membership sites…and so it goes.


By the way, your content does not have to be all you, all the time.  One voice can get boring.  Tap into the wisdom outside yourself to enrich your content.

Reach out to others in your field and related fields to contribute content and collaborate on producing content together. Be sure their contributions fall into the“useful and fun” content parameters you’ve identified that serve YOUR audience.


Each item on the list you wrote could potentially be broken down into 5 or more hooks and angles. Keep your audience up-to-date on changes in your field. Talk about how new developments came about and show them how to capitalize on them. Trace a topic’s history or ask guest experts to look at it from a variety of perspectives. Be a contrarian about an issue in the news or express controversial opinions on a topic, if that’s your style.

Elicit thought-provoking insights in discussions with  your guest contributors and encourage your audience – viewers, readers, listeners – to ask questions and share their views. (Getting audience members to make a remark = remarkable!)


Don’t over-think your content creation. Step back and breathe. Have fun! 

There’s no one standard for producing remarkable, compelling, sizzling, epic or whatever content. It’s in the eye of the beholder! Just aim for readable, useful, quality content and serve it up consistently.

Not everyone will LOVE your content and that’s okay. Deliver value that suits your target audience. When you find their sweet spot, your content is sure to be compelling.

Reach more customers than ever with TARGETED CONTENT

Epic Content Marketing helps you develop strategies that seize the competitive edge by creating messages and “stories” tailored for instant, widespread distribution on social media, Google, and the mainstream press. It provides a step-by-step plan for developing powerful content that resonates with customers and describes best practices for social media sharing and search engine discoverability.

Joe Pulizzi is a content marketing strategist, speaker and founder of the Content Marketing Institute, which runs the largest physical content marketing event in North America, Content Marketing World.

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

Young woman in sunglassesIn this Digital Age, it’s possible to run a business as an entirely “virtual” venture. No face-to-face customer contact, no office, no employees.  Just you, your computer and a mobile phone. 

Many people dream of running this kind of business in their pj’s, from a coffee shop or on the beach, either as a sideline venture or as their main income producer.  But while owning a  “virtual” business can sound romantic and care-free, it can also present unique challenges.

In an increasingly searchable world, your online presence may be the only way potential customers will ever know about you or connect with you. You want to be visible and accessible and use every digital media means possible to establish that you are worthy of their trust.

As the Internet has grown more mature and mainstream, online buyers have become more savvy and skeptical about what they see online. The website of a real business and a fake one can look “virtually” identical.  Let’s talk about a few factors to consider to enhance your credibility and authority, key steps to show you’re not trying to hide behind your computer and ARE the expert you say you are.


When someone comes to your website, “googles” your name or checks your social media presence, what do they find?  Can they easily get the following information?

  • The name of your business?
  • Who the people involved in your company are? (The “about” page is one of a website’s most visited pages. Be sure you put a human face on your business because people want to do business with people, not impersonal entities.)
  • What does your company do?  Do you explain your mission, who you serve and note your products or services?
  • Is there a telephone number where you can be reached?
  • How about a physical address? (Tip: Get a Skype number that goes to voice mail and a P.O. Box for your business address)
  • Do you have testimonials from satisfied customers?

It goes without saying you will want to provide useful products, services and information at a fair price. Developing a customer base of repeat business is the path to success and you won’t get repeat customers, if you deliver poor quality products and services or fail to respond to customer service requests.


  • Share quality content regularly
  • Be contact-able (I know, not a real word)
  • Promote repeat business
  • Encourage Word-of-Mouth
  •  Media credibility

In addition to the useful information you produce in your blog posts, videos, articles, books and other online media content to highlight your expertise and attract potential clients,  it is important to your credibility that your visitors see accurate, up-to-date information about you and a method to reach you. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer or prospect than to want to contact a business owner directly and not be able to find something as simple as a contact form on an entire website or blog.

On the flip side, once you deliver real value to your customers for their investment and show you care by keeping in touch and addressing their questions and concerns, not only will they be glad to purchase from you again, they will recommend you to others which will boost your credibility.  Word of mouth marketing is powerful, and the very best word of mouth you can get is a happy customer who raves to everyone about their positive experience working with you and signifies how much they trust you.

My favorite authority tactic (but, of course 8-) ) is  to get implied third party endorsement through media mentions, quotes and features from respected media outlets that you can display along side your customer testimonials and quality online content.(Contact me here for help with this.)


Online hype may lead you to believe there’s an “easy button” for everything, but in my view, developing a stellar reputation for quality and service takes time and vigilance. You want a system with elements that all work together to position you as the “go-to” authority in your niche,.  No one online authority tactic will make or break your credibility, but one false move could open a floodgate of online complaints and negative reviews that quickly topple your carefully constructed expert image. As anyone who’s gone to high school knows, a reputation lost is very hard to regain.

Make a commitment to hone all aspects of your online presence to show you’re a trustworthy credible authority in your field and an expert worth doing business with. You don’t want to leave anything to chance in showcasing your abilities and value, if you plan to stand out from the competition online successfully.

(NOTE: I don’t design websites but know many quality people who do. What I can do is help you assess what you have and what you want and construct a custom strategy blueprint to help you build your digital assets and gain media authority.)

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”  – C.G. Jung

Good intentions and planning are wonderful and necessary, but often experts, entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants get stuck in a “getting ready to get ready” mode. 
We put barriers in our minds, telling ourselves we’ll be ready once we have more training, more equipment, more something in place. This ‘getting ready” takes all our focus and can keep us from using media to become visible and recognized as an authority in our field.

A Simple Action Plan

Last week I wrote about the foundational questions for crafting a Personal Publicity Plan. You can read it here.  Now let’s look at harnessing the power of media to get your message, products and services in front of your target audience. 

A quick jump start could be to write an outline or draw a mind map, sometimes called a spider or wheel diagram, to visualize a plan. A starting example might look like this:

 Spider DiagramTactics might include developing a business website and separate personal “celebrity” website, producing a blog or video blog, authoring a book or being featured as an expert in a chapter in a published book, getting media quotes, mentions and interviews online and in print, radio and TV, finding speaker opportunities, etc.  Sketch out from each heading a list of steps.

One Action One Focus

Your action details will depend on your goals and strengths. Choose one area to pursue, get out your to-do list and calendar, write down the steps you’ll take daily – weekly – monthly and set a deadline.
Start small. You don’t have to do everything; you can add other tactics incrementally. Often people build massive visibility and credibility as media authorities without ever moving beyond a couple of tactics.

The Key to Success

This is the most important piece of the puzzle. Create monthly newsworthy “events” for yourself and your business. Consistently build buzz to leverage your brand with social media content, in a press release, on your blog, in a video, etc.

Ready, Set, Go!

Recognize your media platform won’t happen overnight and nothing happens without taking the first steps. Don’t get stuck in preparation mode. Make a preliminary Fame Game Plan and take action today.


5 Steps to Brand YOU Visibility

Microphone and Red Theater Curtain Personal PublicityHere’s a basic framework to begin to create a personal publicity plan.  As I often say, there is a formula to fame and while individual media tactics may differ, the foundational steps are the same.  Consider these 5 “big” questions as you chart your course.

1- What is Your Goal?

Before you take a road trip, you need to map out where you want to go.  Start with your current level of visibility and the media tools you are using. Then, think about where a personal publicity might take you. How do you want to be known?  Define what you stand for and what problems your expertise can solve. What is your story? What’s your dream?  What would “fame” in your field look like for you?

2- What is Your Message?

Your message is the central theme from which your media “fame” will grow. Tap into your passions. What are your main areas of interest? What in your personal or professional life makes this topic important to you? (This will be part of your media story. )

For example, my professional arena is media. My story is: I spent a lot of years working in traditional radio and television news and information programming and loved it.  What evolved in the early 2000’s for me was a passion for the emerging field of online media (called “new” at that time). That led to a desire to use my professional knowledge, experience and skill to help experts and entrepreneurs use digital media to develop a polished presence, build a media expert platform, get known and grow their business.

Think about  some well established media authorities. For example, Richard Simmons  and his passion for helping obese people lose weight and Suze Orman who offers no-nonsense personal finance advice. Their over-the-top personalities don’t appeal to everyone and what they say is information you could probably get from others in their field.  Yet they’ve packaged their passion in a way that sets them apart.  Their personal story and empowering “you can do it” message attracts legions of fans.

When you are clear on your message, care deeply about a subject, put your unique spin on it and express it consistently across media platforms, you stand out from the competition.

3- Who is Your Audience?

Do you want to make a splash and draw a crowd locally, nationally, internationally?  Do you want to attract members of your own profession or get in front of a particular demographic such as baby boomer women or entrepreneurial millennials?  Maybe your audience is people working in government locally or nationally.  Perhaps your audience is in a very specialized community such as tattoo artists, comic book collectors or artisan bakers.  Define the audience you want to serve in as much detail as possible.

4- What Do They Care About?

When you niche down and  understand your specific audience fully, you can research what they want to hear, why they would appreciate your message and deliver what they want! Set up google alerts on the topic. Read and scan niche magazines and newsletters.  Ask within your circles!  Send a brief survey to your email list or social media contacts. Talk to friends and colleagues in the niche about what thrills them in their industry, what issues bug them and what they’d like to see done.

Use this data to think about what you can say or do to educate and enlighten your audience…and perhaps most important…motivate them to action. (ie- want more from you!)

5- Where’s Your Audience?

Now you are ready to find an audience to express your expertise in a way these people want to hear. This article on The Buffer blog has lots of ideas and tools for tapping into a community online:  Find Your Audience and Build a Community

There’s more work to do to produce a strategic personal publicity plan, including some objective assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, but this is a good start.

Once you have a clearer vision and framework to make yourself “famous,” it’s time to craft the Action Plan.  I’ll talk about that next week!






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