New Talk Walker Video: Why Play & Storytelling Are New Marketing’s Leading Edge

Let the Good Times Roll!

Play and storytelling are not generally thought of as important pieces—let alone as crucial components—of social media and internet marketing; but they are (and this fact is becoming clearer and clearer).

I’m not just talking about these things. I’m doing them. That’s why my group mentoring program is called The New Media New Marketing PLAYGROUND. Because Like Knows Like, my emerging series of videos is called “Talk Walkers.” This reflects the importance of authenticity in being attractive via the Web, and FYI, I’m also planning to take these interviews into the world of podcasting. More on that in a future post.

New “Talk Walker” Video Below

Meanwhile, recently, I’ve been delighted to get to know David Drake of NarrativeCoaching.com. He’s a real big picture thinker. I like that 😉 And, I hope you agree that the insights he shares about the ironic process of taking an attitude of play more seriously, and in particular, about why storytelling is not only the leading edge of content marketing but it is also important for the process of connecting to your authentic voice (or brand).

Whether you are a solopreneur, an entrepreneur, or a larger company, basing all of your marketing communications on a profound foundation of “why” you are doing what your doing has to go beyond a simply intellectual process. Please watch this video. We will explain:

My first Talk Walker interview was with author, speaker, authentic social media marketing guru extraordinaire, Jay Baer.

In case you missed that one, here it is “one more time”:

Wonderful Revelations on the Way of Play & the Path to Community & Collaboration

Finding Freedom

I think we’ve all felt the frustration of feeling overwhelmed by all of the Internet marketing and social media marketing options the online communications revolution has laid at our feet. Of course, what we would prefer to feel is the exhilerating thrill of our natural and authentic enthusiasm for what we are doing, the freedom of full self-expression without self-judgement, and a palpable connection to the value we are delivering.

Your Social Media Journey Can Be Easy & FunI know this feeling personally which is why it has been so exciting for me to have my new online mentoring community, The New Media New Marketing Playground come together so easily and to have such a wonderful group of heart-oriented people become part of this virtual Playground.

Learning from My New Tribe

What has been particularly encouraging is not only the quality of the people who have joined the Playground, but the opportunity to get actual feedback on WHY they joined.

Three key insights have quickly emerged:

  1. People like the idea of fun and play. It has a real appeal, especially in a marketing world where overwhelm is so much more common.
  2. People trust the space I’ve created with this offering. More than one of the members has shared with me that it feels like a “safe space to play” and that’s what they need.
  3. My recommendations of social media and new media tools and strategies are highly valued.

Wow! I’m gratified and honored. No kidding.

Listening & Leveraging Social Proof

These learnings have been like revelations for me. So valuable! For example, in the video clip below, author, speaker, entrepreneur, and Playground Member, Susan Falter explains (slightly edited):

You are the master of ease and a guy who is a lot of fun and highly creative. I love your approach to things. This really is “a playground.” …It’s a no pressure environment. That’s fun, and that’s what I want.

Suzanne also underscored to me the value to her of the kinds of practical information that I share (in the Playground, via our enewsletter and via social media). How could I not appreciate and value this acknowledgement of my knowledge and expertise? 🙂

You are like a Google of internet marketing. I feel like I can type on your forehead “why create videos” and up will come like fifteen different resources and I’ve never heard of any of them. …It’s very helpful to people like me who really want to know what the best, easiest way is. It’s like instead of trying fifteen different apps you’re going to tell me which one to use. That’s really, really valuable.

Please watch the video above for Suzanne’s complete comments, and please click below if you’d like to receive our occasional enews or become a Member of The Playground. As a special “thank you for reading” if you become a member between now and the end of tomorrow (Sept 17th), enter the Code “wonder” at check out and receive 20% off your Playground Membership.
Please click here to subscribe to our “It’s a Wonderful Web” enewsletter.
Click here to learn more or become a Member of The New Media New Marketing Playground.

How Authentic Value Is Bringing New Fire to My Marketing

Image via @gapingvoidJay Baer likes to remind us that:

Content is fire, social media is gasoline.

But I think there’s something that comes first: The spark that ignites that fire is authenticity, or more specifically, authentic value. After all, not all content burns or even glows. It’s only content that has some real value that matters, has meaning, and thus, has the “fire” or attractiveness to engage others (whether they are prospective clients or customers, friends or collaborators, political constituencies, or whatever.)

Connecting with My Own Authentic Value

Finding my own authentic voice (the fire that lights me up and thus ignites my best content) is much easier to say that to do. Thanks in part to some coaching from Andrea J. Lee and because I’m committed to walking my talk in this regard, I decided to try to find out more about what makes me different and to connect more directly with what it is that only I can do.

Because I am fortunate enough to have had my own business for many years, I decided to ask someone who has worked with me as a client across decades and during his employment at four different companies. I interviewed Randy Haldeman who is currently CEO / President of Code-N. Yes, as I expected, Randy respects and appreciates my expertise with leading edge marketing communications and gets value from the way I stay on top of all the tech stuff:

I know that I can count on you 100% to know the latest and greatest marketing communications technologies, especially in the online and video worlds. You know what’s over-hyped and what’s for real… Part of your value is figuring out what doesn’t work by putting things in perspective. Knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as figuring out what does work. Because you do that, we don’t have to. We trust you to lead us in that way.

Surprised by the Human Dimension

But what surprised me was the way Randy took the “connect the dots” metaphor in a more human direction:

You have the ability to connect the dots, and that goes beyond the technological components. You can hear disparate points of view and distill them down to their essence so that they can be connected. This enables you to lead, but not via your ego or thinking that you always have the right answer. Rather, you have the skills to incorporate input and feedback from disparate members of our team. You listen well and make people feel they are included. That’s been invaluable for our work together.

Now, that was a real eye-opener for me. Yes, I know that I do that; but, to be honest, that aspect of my value has been under appreciated… by me!

In this way, I think that there is a need for all of us—whether we are individuals or organizations—to take time to contemplate (and wherever possible do research) in order to connect more deeply with the authentic value of what we are offering. Self-appreciation is important and obviously also contributes to our ability to communicate our value effectively to others.

Are you clear about the value that you bring to others? If not, I’m sure you would be well served to spend some time getting feedback from some of those to whom you intend to bring this value.

Beyond “Just More Stuff”

As the image above so brilliantly illustrates, information is empty without the context that knowledge provides. Otherwise, we are stuck with isolated bits of information. For this reason, it’s no wonder that the beauty and wonderfulness of our social media driven Web is also frequently under appreciated. (Thanks to Hugh McLeod a.k.a. @gapingvoid for the graphic.)

For me, a new chapter is opening and I am going beyond the solid foundation of my primer, “Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know.” Yes, all marketers do need to understand how social media, SEO, online video and PPC work and fit together (and I think the book does a good job of illuminating all that), but without the human “fire” of authenticity and authentic value, it’s all just more stuff.

Bottom Line: A Meaningful Future is Calling

Bottom line, there’s more to business than money and profit (although those are good things within reason), and there’s also more to marketing than “lead generation” (although we all want that too.) Fundamentally, I believe that business (and life) is about the quality of our relationships. My goal is to build a tribe of clients with whom I have long term, sustainable relationships.

In order to do that, my marketing needs to create authentic connections and meaningful collaborations that are based on leading with value, rather than giving something in order to get something. I’m pleased to be learning and continuing to explore what this means for me and continuing to learn from those who appreciate what I have to offer.

And the best part is that I know I’m going to have fun along the way, especially with the new online virtual community that I will be leading starting in early September. I look forward to sharing more about my own learning process and to supporting the discovery process of others in my new group mentoring program, The New Media New Marketing Playground. If you would like to join in this fun and explore the human dimensions of the new media, new marketing landscape and be supported to market more from a place of ease, fun and authenticity, please click here to learn more about The Playground. I hope to see you there.

Announcing a New Way to Have Fun & Get Better at Online Marketing

New Media New Marketing PlaygroundIt has been a dream of mine to offer an on-going education and mentoring program, at an affordable price, and to use that to create an online virtual community (or tribe). This dream is now being realized with The New Media New Marketing Playground.

And, because of the very special pricing that I am offering for the first ten people who sign up—and there are only a limited number of slots left—this program is clearly going to get off the ground in September (early sign-ups will get special free programs and early access during August, as well as special pricing). I don’t want you to miss out on these savings and this opportunity. Please click here for more details.

More than ever, I am basing my coaching/consulting/mentoring on my values of ease, fun and authenticity. Thus, I know that if you join us, you will learn how to do marketing with more ease, my enthusiasm will help us all have more fun, and I will support you to connect with your own authentic voice in order to attract and build relationships with your ideal clients via the Web.

So, if you think it would support your online efforts to have a place where someone very knowledgeable, who you trust (you trust me, right?) is available to answer your questions about online marketing technologies and strategies, as well as to share with you what’s new, what’s working, and what mistakes to avoid… and to have this program be very affordable so you can make progress in your business step-by-step and feel good about it, I would love to make myself available to support you via The Playground.

Please click here to explore this offer.

I hope to see you there!

(and, of course, if you know someone who might be interested, please share this page with them; OR if you just want to help me share the love please click one of the abundant share links on this page. Thanks!)

3 Videos That Inspired My Business & My Life Last Week

Jim Carrey QuoteReady for take off? It feels that way to me. Astrologers tell me that when Mercury goes direct on Tuesday, it’s “all systems go!” For me, the latest signs of expansion have come in the form of three videos that showed up in my social streams last week. This clips (all embedded for your viewing pleasure below) inspired and uplifted me by reminding me of what life and business is all about. I feel more hopeful and excited about what I am creating that maybe ever before. No kidding.

As some of you are aware, I am focusing the foundation of my business marketing communications more and more around my values of ease, fun and authenticity. These videos hit home and struck harmonious chords for me along these lines and then, went deeper. All three speakers—comedian, movie star Jim Carrey; successful entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg a.k.a. SwissMiss; and best selling author of “Red, Hot & Holy,” Sera Peak—are willing to “think different.” Each of these shining examples doesn’t even consider “the box” when they think and, more importantly, they consistently act outside of it.

Jim Carrey: Freedom From Concern

This commencement address at the Maharishi University of Management is a joy. And, it speaks to me about the heart of social media marketing as well. For example, he says:

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.”

That’s right. It’s not about the money. “The Experience Economy” is based on how people feel, the effect you have on them, when they grant you a bit of their preciously scarce attention. Carrey really walks his talk about “Freedom from Concern” and he implores you to listen to “your joyful heart.” I think what he says is important.

Tina Roth Eisenberg: Don’t Forget to Play

For some people, it’s a stretch to talk about having fun while working. Not for blogger/designer/entrepreneur, SwissMiss (whose real name is above). She tells the story of her amazing journey from graphic designer to owner of five thriving businesses and mother of two far better than I can summarize. Bottom line for me, she seems to be enjoying herself and the learning process every step of the way. Beyond the fun quotient, is the way she has so clearly found her own unique business path and built her businesses on her own terms by making her people a real priority. Thus, Tina exemplifies, for me at least, how enjoyable and rewarding the business journey can really be. I like that. I really like that. 🙂

Sera Peak: Listening to a Power Greater Than Yourself

Rarely do we see an individual willing to expose her own “Truth Bombs on the Soul Path.” We’ve all had major insights and realizations, and rarely do they make us look good. One of the core values of authenticity is telling the truth no matter what. This video exposes this best-selling author’s learning process on her way to ever-deepening spiritual growth, and she does so with a kind of transparency that I believe uplifts us all. That’s what I call inspiration.

 

Video Rant Reveals the Surprising ROI of Leading with Values

I’m turning a corner in my business. I’ve realized that my values are the more important than my (so called) value proposition. And the real eye opener for me was the way that my business coach explained that this approach can actually open up new revenues. Values = $$? Really?

This blog post explains the fortuitous way that I experienced this strategy directly, and how you can use it as an inspiration for your own online marketing communications…

Values Trump Values Proposition

Why Our Values ARE Our Value

The foundation for this story is the way that I’m discovering that my core values of ease, fun and authenticity have become even more important than our company’s skills and talents with Internet marketing strategy, website design, video production, social media marketing, SEO and the rest. 

Radical, eh?

Sometimes this kind of branding/positioning is as simple as adding a line about these values to an email of introduction (and, yes, just last week a prospective client made a point of telling me that she appreciated the fact that these values were included in my email. There was an added element of rapport created even before we spoke on the phone).

This values-based approach really gets juicy when it’s applied to a new breed of video that I’m calling a “rant.” Rant videos are further explained and illustrated below.

Another unexpected result of this awakening for me is that my long-established axiom of “Leading with Value” (Key Concept #8 in my book) is causing me to choose to position myself and my company’s work more clearly around our own core values.

How Audacious Authenticity Can Attract New Revenues

“When you reveal your passion for being of service through your business in the boldest, most transparent and vulnerable way possible—for example, in a series of online video rants about things you care most about—this does more now for opening up revenue flow than almost anything else, particularly if other things have failed and you find yourself extremely stuck. Video is THE medium that carries genuine emotion the very best, online. Use video to allow money to find you, as a reflection of the full expression of your heart.” — Andrea J. Lee, WealthyThoughtLeader.com

The video above is my latest experience with both real time marketing and the art of the video rant.

My friend and client, veteran executive coach and management consultant, Nancy Monson and I were having a marketing consulting session. The day before I had been on a group coaching call with Andrea J. Lee where she had said what’s quoted above about the power of the video rant to both reveal passion and open revenue flows. As I directed Nancy to speak her truth about why most executive coaching doesn’t produce the desired results, she lit up. Recognizing that we were getting to the heart of her values and her commitment to make a meaningful difference, I said, “Let’s capture this, so we don’t have to write it down.” At first she thought I was going to make an audio note. But, after a slight hesitation, she agreed to let me record this video with my iPhone.

The video rant above is the result. I salute Nancy for her courage to swing out in this way and I’m pleased with how her knowledge and commitment to results have been made visible.

The Zen of the Real Time Rant

rant quote“The art and science of marketing is now about focusing on real-time connections and social exchanges.” 
Vocus blog post

It’s widely recognized that because of the explosion of social media and mobile communications, real time communications are the leading edge of what I call New Marketing. What better way to leverage these trends along side the New Marketing requirements for authenticity and engagement than with a video that is spoken with passion, from the heart? (And, it’s easy to see why formal production values are not required.)

More to come. I look forward to your feedback; and by all means, if you like what you’ve read and seen here, please share in every way possible (links below). Thank you! 🙂

PS. If you are interested in bringing more of your authentic passion and core values to your online marketing, please contact us. We’d love to help.

Authenticity Rant Video #2: Why “Live Your Own Life” Makes Marketing Matter

Who among us has never done something because someone else told them they should, even when all along their own gut intuition was telling them to do something different (which, of course, would have been “the right thing”)?

Live Your Own LifeHow many of us do the same kind of “giving ourselves away” with Internet marketing, for example, by thinking that social media marketing, blogging, content marketing or video is something we really “should” be doing, despite that fact that we really don’t have any passion for it?

Unfortunately, we’ve all done some version of this; and this kind of behavior, usually both personally as well as professionally.

That’s the subject of my new Authenticity Rant video (#2) that I recorded this morning via Google Hangouts On-Air with my colleague, Peter Klein. We used Peter’s incantation, “Live Your Own Life,” as our theme; and I connect the dots between that and the best kinds of “sparks” I know that can light the “fire” (that I think is necessary) for the success of your Internet and social media marketing.

Yes, there’s more to successful marketing than formulas or even strategy. And, “living your own life” with regard to your marketing communications is not necessarily easy; but in my experience, it’s worth every ounce of effort that you put into it.

I’d love to hear your thought on this video and these ideas. Thanks!

New Video: Authenticity Rant #1, KISS Meets the Meaning Behind Your Brand Messaging

Image via @gapingvoid. Messaage via @briansolis

Image via @gapingvoid. Messaage via @briansolis

Ease. Fun. Authenticity. These three words summarize what I’m about and what differentiates the most important dimensions of how we serve our clients.

Our new focus on these values is a quantum shift for the ComBridges brand. It makes saying “We are a web design company” seem pedestrian. Even my clarity about being “an Internet marketing strategist” pales in comparison to this more meaningful description of what lights me up and what I think makes the biggest difference when I work with people (and their organizations). 

Thus, the video embedded below is  a walking-my-talk-style expression of this commitment to focus on the qualities that are most meaningful to me. At the same time, this short video also includes a strong recommendation that you bring the human qualities of your brand to the forefront of your marketing communications. And, finally, thanks to my partner-in-crime on this Google Hangouts video, Peter Klein, we also underscore why, in today’s media-cluttered world, you need to do this kind of positioning as simply as possible. Not bad for only four minutes, right? 😉

I’ll blog more about this trend toward the human dimensions of marketing communications in the near future; but for now, one addition link that I found valuable recently is Bryan Kramer’s post on Social Media Today, There Is No More B2B or B2C: There Is Only Human to Human (H2H)

If you don’t know, KISS is means Keep it Simple Stupid.  😉 As always, I’d love to hear your feedback and appreciate any sharing or commenting you feel moved to do. Thanks!

An Online Video Project That Makes a Difference by Addressing the Crisis in Our Family Courts

There are online video projects… and then there are online video projects that pull at your heart strings because they are so important that they take your work to a more meaningful level. As our new client, Kathleen Russell and I have been saying, “We are not just selling widgets.” 😉

Becca screen grab

Rebecca, a survivor of Family Court abuse and corruption.

ComBridges’ recent last minute video shoot, quick turn around video edit, and posting to YouTube project, reflected in the three video clips embedded below, (for Kathleen Russell Consulting, KRC, a social advocate and political PR firm and her non-profit Center for Judicial Excellence, CJE) was just that kind of project. 

The video shoot followed Friday night, January 10th’s premiere of a revealing new documentary called “Divorce Corp.” The title kind of tells you what it’s about. I’ll add that as bad as our healthcare system is, the mercenary way that lawyers and courts have turned divorce into a $50 Billion business makes the healthcare system look, well, almost healthy (but not quite.) 😉 (HuffPo review here)

KRC’s tag line is “Telling Stories, Moving Mountains.” In this case, the story is the shocking corruption and dysfunctionality in the US Family Courts, an almost entirely “untold story” that really NEEDS to be told. The tragic fact is that the lives of children and their families are being absolutely ruined by a Family Court system that (sad but true) has absolutely no independent oversight. I find this to be shocking and hard to believe, but it is clearly true.

I won’t try to tell that whole story here. Hopefully, the three video clips below will inspire you to want to learn and do more. And there’s more information here on the CJE website.

However, I must say as a video professional, this is the kind of project that I LOVE. Video is not just a technology. It’s a communication platform. “Eye candy” is like sugar. No nutritional value. But when we use online video to tell important stories that really do need to be told, then we get an opportunity to make a real difference. I am very grateful for that.

For me at least, this kind of work is what having my own business is all about. Many thanks to Kathleen Russell and the Center for Judicial Excellence for the opportunity to be of service! And BRAVO to the three courageous people shown below. I know that it takes remarkable courage and commitment to speak up and speak out.

Please share and spread the word if you are so moved. Thanks.

UPDATE: A directly-related international news story is breaking here via Australian TV. Savannah Todd is yet another survivor of the US Family Court abuse, although her mother may end up in one of our prisons for protecting her daughter from another example of family court legal-style evil. 🙁

The Heart of Online Marketing: My Google Hangout (Video) with Jay Baer

Internet marketing and social media are discussed by Jay Baer in our first "Talk Walker" video interview via Google Hangouts On-Air

Yes, online marketing does have a heart. It’s the people.

In particular, it’s the people who contribute real value by what they do and who understand that what works, more than any particular technique in our New Marketing environment, is authenticity.

In fact, Jay Baer’s new book, Youtility says this quite well in it’s sub-title, “Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype.”

I’ve been following Jay for a long time via his blog, Convince and Convert, and his many other content marketing initiatives (please see this YouTube video’s description for more links). Jay is also one of the most sought after keynote speakers on the subjects of Internet marketing and social media, author of two books, the leader of a successful consulting company, and much more. We are honored to have him as our guest. Thanks again, Jay.

This 20-minute video interview was conducted via Google Hangouts On Air (the fastest way I know to conduct this kind of online video interaction), and this is the first in our new series of “Talk Walker” videos that will shine our light on people who are bringing real heart, authentic contribution and real value to the Internet marketing arena. Jay is the perfect place to start.

We look forward to your feedback. And if you like, please share, Like on Facebook and YouTube, and all that other good stuff. 🙂 Thanks!