Hand holds video cameraMobile video is not a type of video the way an explainer video or a testimonial video is.  Those are video content styles, but mobile is a delivery system. 

Over the years many different devices, large and small, have been equipped to play video. Video can now regularly be viewed on smartphones, tablets, desktop and laptop computers and TVs. 

YouTube says 50-percent of its traffic now comes from mobile and research shows smartphones have the edge over tablets for mobile video viewing: 

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2014/11/smartphones-beat-tablets-for-mobile-video-views.html

Plus the mobile video audience is growing. ReelSEO says mobile video watching overall is up 400 percent from 2012: 

http://www.reelseo.com/mobile-video-views-increase-400-per-cent/

What does this mean to video creators?  You have to think about how your audience will watch your video and take into account the different screen sizes, audio quality differences and other potential limitations as you plan your video.

Take creative and technical steps to make your videos suitable for any device. For example, a high resolution, high definition (HD) video looks great on a big screen, but on a tiny mobile screen, the difference between HD and standard definition (SD) videos is hardly noticeable. 

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you design, shoot and edit your next video project.

TECHNICAL

- Record video in the highest quality possible.  Shooting in a mobile only format will limit your choices for sharing the video and make editing more difficult.  Once you load the video into an editing system,  you can save the edited high quality version in various video formats. These are also tools to convert video into mobile-compatible formats.

-For mobile viewing, you’ll want to make your video size as small as possible without degrading the quality.  A small file is faster to download online and easier to play on video devices that may have limited download space.

-Check your video on your own mobile device(s) before sharing it. Make sure your video will look and sound good on whatever player your audience chooses.

CREATIVE

- Design the video look and feel for the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. Avoid editing a lot of small details that would work on a big screen TV but are lost in a video window of 4 inches.  

-Simple layouts, large plain font styles and sizes, spacing for small screen clarity and strong colors are all important elements.

-Bigger, bolder images will work on most screens, regardless of size.    

There’s more to both the technical and creative aspects of mobile video creation, but these are some basic points to remember.

If you’re thinking about using a mobile device to make the video, this article recommends a number of apps that help produce quality video on the go:

http://ijnet.org/en/blog/best-apps-film-and-edit-mobile-video-pro

Is mobile video in your marketing mix for 2015?  

universe- earthA friend recently shared a conversation she had with her 5 year old granddaughter.  It was some fanciful tale about how the child would fly to another planet when she grew up.

When my friend asked how she would get there, the little girl said she’d find a video on YouTube and build a spaceship!

But, of course! Why didn’t Grandma know that? Today even 5-year-olds know exactly where to go to find out what they want to know on video!

How-to and Show-me videos are just two of the many kinds of videos you can use to attract an audience to your expertise and your business. Most people would rather watch than read a long how-to email or download a big instruction manual. 

With video, you can teach them how to use  your product or explain what your service does. Video lets you share what you know verbally and show what you know visually.

Here are 6 different types of videos to consider.

1-Video Tutorial   

How-to videos are an excellent way to create content that will be searched for, found, and viewed. Many people love to follow a step-by-step video and video tutorials are easy to create. 

The simplest way is to shoot the video on your smartphone or use a webcam.  You sit or stand in front of the camera and show and tell what to do. Here’s an example.

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

If you’re teaching an online skill, there’s software that allows you to  record  your computer screen.  Make a video that shows the screen as you take each step and  explain what you’re doing as they see you do it.

Screen capture software ranges in price from free to expensive.  Two popular ones are Camstudio  and Camtasia, but they are two of many.  

2- Demonstration Video

Show-me videos are similar to tutorials, though perhaps a little less educational. Instead of teaching the steps, you’re generally just showing something without any instruction.

For example,  you might open an item you just purchased to let the viewer see what’s inside the box or do a visual walk-through of how something works.  

A “demo” is also used by musicians, actors and other types of performers to show off an individual’s talent to prospective hiring agents.

3- Respond to Customers With Video  

A quick video to answer a customer question, provide more information or clarify how your product or service is working is an excellent opportunity to add a personal touch in your business.  It doesn’t have to be a big production. 

A simple smartphone or web cam video response isn’t hard to do. You could post it on social media or send an email with a link to the video. 

Another idea would be to invite them to a video chat or Skype call.  This gives you a chance for a two-way conversation with that customer.

4- Run a Video Contest

This is a fun way to put out more video content without creating it yourself!   Set up a video marketing campaign for a video contest. 

Contests can be a little tricky and there are rules governing how they’re run, but information is readily available online to help you do it right.

One important tip: make sure you set very clear guidelines for your contestants.  

5- Create a Video Series  

A single video is okay, but a video series can get viewers coming back for more. It’s a powerful approach to turn casual viewers into fans and followers and a series of videos gives you a longer opportunity to convert viewers into customers. 

Be sure your content is constructed in such a way that it motivates viewers to want to see the next video in the series. Plan each video to build on the previous one. 

Make it “must-see” Web TV! A video series is likely to receive more views, more likes, and position you to make more sales.   

6- Grow Your Email List Using Video 

One of the mantras of online marketers is “the money is in the list.”  A database of names and email addresses is a powerful marketing tool for your business. You want to consistently take action to grow a list of interested people you can regularly contact through email.

Video content can entice viewers to join your list by presenting a tip or tool and then offering them a free gift that will help them even more, such as a special report, checklist or e-book. 

People who decide to give you their name and email address are in essence raising their hand to say they want to hear from you.  

There you have it!  6 great ways to use video. Why not put one or all of these different types of video to work for you?

Want more videos?  Check out my Kindle book which offers 30 ideas for creating videos.




This book is a video idea book for anyone interested in getting started with online video who is struggling to come up with video ideas.
Whether you are an author, speaker, service professional or entrepreneur, video can help you promote your expertise and grow your business.
In this book, you’ll discover 30 ideas for online videos. It's designed to give you the motivation to create video to stand out from the crowd, make a personal connection and spread the word about your business, your brand, your cause or yourself.
Why video? There’s nothing like video to boost your online visibility and credibility. Video can be more personal and persuasive than print to help potential customers get to know, like and trust you fast.
K-L-T is important because people want to do business with someone who is likeable and trustworthy. With video, you and your business come to life right before their eyes.
Make your business easier to find. With the click of a mouse, you can post video to your blog, website, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and people can watch your video from anywhere anytime, on their computer, smartphone, tablet, even on TV.
Cisco Systems estimates that, "By 2015, 1 million video minutes --the equivalent of 674 days --will traverse the Internet every second. [Plus] The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand [VoD], Internet, and P2P) will be in the range of 80 to 90 percent of global consumer traffic by 2018."
Just think, you could be days away from getting the cutting-edge video advantage over your competitors by harnessing one of the most powerful marketing tools available today.
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Your Content words and arrowsEvery business, whether it’s a solo venture or a global conglomerate, can benefit from a content marketing strategy.

What is content marketing?  The Content Marketing Institute defines it this way:

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. 

Blog posts, podcasts, emails, Twitter tweets, YouTube videos, Facebook updates, Instagram photos, Pinterest pins, white papers, press releases and all the other content you put out into the world allows people to get to know you better and can be the foundation of your business.

Simply put, regularly posted quality content helps attract people who want to do business with you! 

They make a connection with your expertise through your content. If they like what they see, a business relationship can start to take root without you lifting a finger. You create the content once, distribute it in various forms across multiple platforms and it keeps working for you 24-7-365.

Here are 5 steps to consider:

1- What’s My Content?

Compile a list of content ideas. Work from an understanding of the problems your audience faces and the various questions they have. The key to creating good content is to answer their questions in an interesting and entertaining way that provides value. Focus on producing the kind of  content that positions you as an authority in your industry and as an educator and advocate for your customers. 

Explore your competitors’ websites and check industry sites and publications to evaluate their content strategy and come up with more ideas.  Develop a snapshot of the current hot topics in your niche. Brainstorm how your content will add value to the existing body of information.

2- What Type of Content?

Once you have the ideas list done, think about what types  of content you will create and sketch out when and where you will distribute that content to reach your target audience.

There are three overall types of content – print, audio and video – and lots of variety within each category. 

What type of content will work best for your audience?  Blog posts? Infographics? ebooks? How-to articles?  Video tutorials? Are your customers mostly readers, listeners or watchers? 

Don’t know? Ask them in a poll or survey. They’re probably a mix of all three but see how most of them like to consume content and what content they’d like you to give them more of.

During this planning process, I recommend you write down the details in two documents, a content plan (strategy) and an editorial calendar.  This will become the road map you follow.

Creating consistent original content is not easy so be sure you plan how to use the same piece of original content in multiple ways to maximize its effect. Here are two articles from content marketing masters Jay Baer and Ann Handley about how to do it:

http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/how-to-make-8-pieces-of-content-from-1-piece-of-content/

http://www.annhandley.com/2014/11/25/simple-content-creation-strategy/

3- Help Prospects Find You

Why make all this effort?  Content marketing is an essential part of a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. 

For example, if someone types a question into a search engine looking for help baking cupcakes, they might search for “how to bake cupcakes.”  Ideally, the results they get are packed with solid information on the topic. If you’re a baker, a cupcake shop owner or a baking cookbook author, your content could show up in those results.

The more you publish on your topic, the more you’ll boost your credibility as a “go to” resource. Your search rankings go up and more prospects find you.

Don’t be intimidated that you have to do everything and be everywhere all the time. With the right strategy, you can leverage what you are able to do, even if it’s only a few tasks, to “appear” to be everywhere.

Media Savvy Tip:  Content marketing is powerful, but producing a steady stream of fresh original content creation all alone can be exhausting. That’s why it makes sense in many niches to augment your own content by sharing relevant curated content.  This Jeff Bullas article suggests tools to make curation easier.

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/11/29/4-content-curation-tools-to-boost-your-content-marketing/

4- Produce Great Content to Build a Community

Another way that content grows a business is through sharing. People love to share great content through social media, email and print.

The more useful your content is to your audience, the more likely they will share it. When new prospects see the shared content and check out your website or social profile, they discover more relevant content which can inspire them to want more from you and ideally, become part of your community. 

One of my mentors, Tina Williams, likes to say,

“Build Community Around Your Business and Your Community Will Build Your Business Around You.”

5- Your Content Profit Plan

Perhaps you just love sharing and growing a community with your blog, in photos, videos, social media posts, etc.  It’s fun and it’s what makes the Internet such an amazing place for niche audiences.

However, if you’re in business, profit is important.  Not all of your content has to be ‘buy my stuff” promotional, but at least some part of your strategy should address how you plan to monetize your content to promote hiring you or using your products and services.

Here’s why. Good content helps prospects make buying decisions and become customers. Research shows the majority of people are motivated to buy something after they’ve read about it on a blog.

http://www.corporate-eye.com/main/the-influence-of-blogs-on-purchase-decisions/

In addition, word of mouth marketing information from “influencers,” a peer or shared on social media is highly valued.

So there you have it. Engaging content can increase your visibility and brand awareness, boost traffic to your website, attract leads and convert prospects into fans, followers, subscribers, members and buyers.  Are you using content marketing?

Below this post is a recommendation for an excellent book by the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi.

 




NAMED one of  5 MUST-READ BUSINESS BOOKS BY FORTUNE MAGAZINE

Publishing is the NEW MARKETING.

 
How do you cut through the noise, commotion, and bad information that is right now cluttering up your customers' digital space?
 
Epic Content Marketing.
 
One of the world's leading experts on content marketing, Joe Pulizzi explains how to draw prospects and customers in by creating information and content they actually want to engage with. No longer can we interrupt our customers with mediocre content (and sales messages) our customers don't care about.
 
"Epic Content Marketing" takes you step by step through the process of developing stories that inform and entertain and compel customers to act--without actually telling them to. Epic content, distributed to the right person at the right time, is how to truly capture the hearts and minds of customers. It's how to position your business as a trusted expert in its industry. It's what customers share and talk about.
 
Once we hook customers in with epic content, they reward us by sending our sales through the roof.
 
Epic Content Marketing provides everything you need to:
 
* Determine what your content niche should be to attract and retain customers
 
* Discover and develop your content marketing mission statement
 
* Set up a process for creating and curating epic content
 
* Learn how to leverage social and email channels to create--and grow--your audience
 
* Measure the performance of your content--and increase your content marketing budget
 
With in-depth case studies of how John Deere, LEGO, Coca-Cola, and other leading corporations are using content to drive epic sales, this groundbreaking guide gives you all the tools to start creating and disseminating content that leads directly to greater profits and growth.
 
Whether you're the CMO of a Fortune 500, a digital marketer, or entrepreneur, "Epic Content Marketing" gives you the tools you need to vanquish the competition. Start your epic journey now!

Check out EpicContentMarketing.com for book bonus material and to download "20 Epic Examples of Content Marketing"
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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.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

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.

USES OF WHITEBOARD VIDEO

  • 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.

TOP TIPS FOR BETTER VIDEOS

  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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

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:

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/09/ancient-archetypes-brand-storytelling-should-use/

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?

Update 12-13-14: 

Here’s an interesting post from Convince and Convert about expanding the P-O-E marketing mix in the digital age.

The POGLE Media Model

 

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:
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/6-podcasting-tips-from-the-pros

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.

PLAN YOUR PODCAST

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.

PODCASTING GEAR

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: http://audacity.sourceforge.net

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: https://creative.adobe.com/products/audition

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: http://www.hipcast.com

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: https://www.podomatic.com

HOSTING

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: http://aws.amazon.com/s3

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: https://soundcloud.com

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: http://www.podbean.com

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

DISTRIBUTION

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 Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2007/07/04/podcasting-toolbox

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:  http://create.blubrry.com/manual/getting-started/create-new-podcast-checklist/ 

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. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/create-podcasts-with-google-hangouts-on-air

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:  http://www.problogger.net/what-is-rss 

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 Podcast? Learn from the best! John Lee Dumas, host of the top ranked Podcast EntrepreneurOnFire, is an undisputed authority in launching a Podcast that attracts a massive audience and income. EntrepreneurOnFire was awarded 'Best in iTunes 2013' and has generated over 12-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 (income reports at EOFire.com/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 explains:
  • What is a Podcast?
  • Why Podcasting is exploding.
  • The entire podcasting workflow.
  • Podcast Equipment.
  • Identify your Podcast name, topic, and avatar.
  • How to record and edit edit your Podcast.
  • Add intros and outros.
  • Tag your MP3.
  • Upload to your Media Host.
  • Schedule and publish.
  • Submit your podcast to iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Blackberry;
  • How to GROW your Podcast audience
  • How to MONETIZE your Podcast
  • And much more!
Ready for more?

FreePodcastCourse.com is a 15-day free Podcast course that takes you through every step of the Podcasting process via video tutorials.

John also created the Podcast: Free Podcast Course Podcast to reveal even more knowledge about Podcasting. Just go to FreePodcastCoursePodcast.com!
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.

IDENTIFY YOUR CONTENT

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?

WHAT FORMAT?

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.

LOOK WHO’S TALKING?

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.

DEVELOP YOUR CONTENT

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!)

FINAL THOUGHTS

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.

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