Tips for Deepening Your Social Media Presence with actress/coach, Julia McNeal

There’s so much more to authentic social media and video than selling and persuading. A truly meaningful presence is more about engagement and relationship building. In order to deepen that experience, we touch a shared humanity that is very personal.

As Julia McNeal illuminates in this episode of Video Mojo, this is what’s required if you want to be truly authentic; and, the really GOOD NEWS is that along with this deeper level of engagement comes a recognition of a shared humanity that is a service to everyone you touch. Don’t miss this episode.

As always, in addition this “Collaborative Conversation” (interview), Video Mojo also includes a quick commentary called “Tee It Up” (this week an overview of how WebShows™ like ours build on the shoulders of podcasting) and “Luscious Links” resource recommendations (this week two great sources for license-free images you can use without fee or credit, if you so choose).

Video Mojo welcomes your questions and comments during Video Mojo LIVE! which streams every Friday at 10am PT / 1pm ET
on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/jonleland
and via our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/combridges.fb/live

ABOUT VIDEO MOJO
ComBridges’ mission is to help you have a more engaging social media presence and a more vibrant video presence. Our webshow, Video Mojo, combines timeless marketing principles with a playful exploration on the “bleeding edge” of digital video & social media strategies. Producer/host, Jon Leland, focuses on the human side of social media and offers decades of video experience as well as his visionary and up-to-the-minute insights as a media wizard and digital marketing strategist who currently leads his own social media marketing agency, ComBridges, https://www.combridges.com. Video Mojo welcomes your questions and comments during Video Mojo LIVE! which streams every Friday at 10am PT / 1pm ET here on our YouTube channel and via our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/combridges.f…

IN THIS EPISODE
Time markers/Table of contents:

  • Tee It Up: Media Evolutions Through the Ages – 1:48
  • Collaborative Conversation: Julia McNeal (Actress, Teacher, Coach) – 4:57
  • Community Campfire: Q&A – 18:48
  • Luscious Links: stock image resources – 23:06

RESOURCE LINK:

LUSCIOUS LINKS

3 PILLARS OF A VIBRANT VIDEO PRESENCE
Pillar 1: Humanity – https://youtu.be/NGO1m_MFKB4
Pillar 2: Technology – https://youtu.be/g__BRLf0BKc
Pillar 3: Story – To be recorded live Friday, October 16th at 10am PT.

BE PART OF VIDEO MOJO LIVE EVERY FRIDAY at 10am PT at either of these links:
https://www.facebook.com/combridges.fb
(“Like” this page for notifications)
https://www.youtube.com/jonleland
(“Subscribe” and click the bell for alerts)

ECAMM LIVE (Live Streaming App):
https://www.ecamm.com/mac/ecammlive/?…
(affiliate link)

I’d love to hear from you.
Your feedback, suggestions, and reviews on Apple Podcasts or wherever are HUGELY valuable:

Strategic Thinking for Small Business Marketing with Neal “Think Like an App” Polachek

When Gannett/USA Today wanted a speaker who could inspire small businesses to think more strategically about their businesses given the state of modern consumers, they chose our guest, Neal Polachek. He in turn developed the Think Like An App methodology.

This Video Mojo LIVE! includes a thought-provoking and action-oriented conversation with Neal, and also my “Tee It Up” commentary and a Luscious Link about a very useful YouTuber. (Time markers are below.) Click the image below to watch now.

Video Mojo welcomes your questions and comments during Video Mojo LIVE! which streams every Friday at 10am PT / 1pm ET 
on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/jonleland 
and via our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/combridges.fb/live

ABOUT VIDEO MOJO
ComBridges’ mission is to help you have a more engaging social media presence and a more vibrant video presence. Our webshow, Video Mojo, combines timeless marketing principles with a playful exploration on the “bleeding edge” of digital video & social media strategies. Producer/host, Jon Leland, focuses on the human side of social media and offers decades of video experience as well as his visionary and up-to-the-minute insights as a media wizard and digital marketing strategist who currently leads his own social media marketing agency, ComBridges, https://www.combridges.com. Video Mojo welcomes your questions and comments during Video Mojo LIVE! which streams every Friday at 10am PT / 1pm ET here on our YouTube channel and via our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/combridges.f…

IN THIS EPISODE
Time markers/Table of contents:

  • Tee It Up: “Follow the Juice” – 1:18
  • Collaborative Conversation: Neal Polachek, “Think Like an App” – 3:54
  • Community Campfire: Q&A – 15:07
  • Luscious Links: an exemplary YouTuber & resource – 23:50

RESOURCE LINK:

LUSCIOUS LINKS

3 PILLARS OF A VIBRANT VIDEO PRESENCE
Pillar 1: Humanity – https://youtu.be/NGO1m_MFKB4
Pillar 2: Technology – https://youtu.be/g__BRLf0BKc
Pillar 3: Story – TO COME!

BE PART OF VIDEO MOJO LIVE EVERY FRIDAY at 10am PT at either of these links:
https://www.facebook.com/combridges.fb
(“Like” this page for notifications)
https://www.youtube.com/jonleland
(“Subscribe” and click the bell for alerts)

I’d love to hear from you.
Your feedback, suggestions, and reviews on Apple Podcasts or wherever are HUGELY valuable:

Go Beyond Content Marketing & Storytelling. Conversations Are Now King. – Video Mojo LIVE! Webcast

Our mission is to help you have a more engaging social media presence and a more vibrant video presence. Some call this “content marketing.” Others like to think there’s a silver bullet in “brand storytelling.” In this week’s edition of Video Mojo LIVE!, master storytelling coach and the author of “Narrative Coaching,” Dr. David Drake and I explore what it means to go beyond conventional concepts of content marketing, revealing how authentic storytelling is really a conversation, not a one-way communication, like most marketing. Please click the video below to watch now.

Other insights include my “Tee It Up” opening commentary on “There Is No Finish Line” and a “Luscious Links” movie review of the Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma.”

Time markers:
* Tee It Up – 2:04
* Collaborative Conversation – 4:24
* Community Campfire – 12:49
* Luscious Links – 21:54

Here are the resource links from this episode:

* David Drake: https://www.themomentinstitute.com/

* “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love” by Cal Newport – https://www.amazon.com/Good-They-Cant-Ignore-You/dp/0349415862

LUSCIOUS LINKS
* The Social Dilemma (Netflix Documentary)
https://www.thesocialdilemma.com/

3 PILLARS OF A VIBRANT VIDEO PRESENCE
Pillar 1: Humanity – https://youtu.be/NGO1m_MFKB4
Pillar 2: Technology – https://youtu.be/g__BRLf0BKc
Pillar 3: Story – TO COME!

BE PART OF VIDEO MOJO LIVE EVERY FRIDAY at 10am PT at either of these links:
https://www.facebook.com/combridges.fb
(“Like” this page for notifications)
https://www.youtube.com/jonleland
(“Subscribe” and click the bell for alerts)

* ECAMM LIVE (Live Streaming App):
https://www.ecamm.com/mac/ecammlive/?fp_ref=jon-77 (affiliate link)

I’d love to hear from you.
Your feedback, suggestions, and reviews on Apple Podcasts or wherever are HUGELY valuable:
* Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/jonleland/
* Podcast Home: https://anchor.fm/video-mojo
* Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joncombridges/
* Twitter: https://twitter.com/joncombridges

Thanks!

Whole Lotta Streamin’ Goin’ On. Learn Why LIVE is the Next Big Thing in Social Engagement & New Tools We’re Using

Video Mojo continues as an exciting playful exploration of the bleeding edge of video. Our mission is to help you create a more engaging social media presence and to be your source for insights about how to create a more vibrant video presence.

If you want to know more about what I’m up to, last week’s episode was the transition from Video Mojo, the video blog, to Video Mojo LIVE, the webcast show (stay tuned and I will reveal the whole format). And, we will continue to offer edited versions including a podcast version for your listening convenience (links below). 😉

​This episode shows both a powerful set of new tools for live video streaming and provides a taste of how Video Mojo is evolving into a weekly LIVE webcast (every Friday at 10am PT) and podcast (iTunes, Spotify, etc.) that will be packed with valuable collaborative conversations, luscious links (various kinds of resource recommendations), and opportunities for you to “ask me anything” via the interactive technologies that we are now using.

​Please watch this video to see how we are engaging via live streaming and you are invited to join us any Friday at 10am PT on our YouTube Channel (subscribe), the ComBridges Facebook page (like), or my personal Facebook profile (follow).

Here are the resource links from this episode:

ECAMM LIVE(Live Streaming App)
https://www.ecamm.com/mac/ecammlive/?fp_ref=jon-77 (affiliate link)

LUSCIOUS LINKS:

* Henny Tha Bizness: https://www.hennythabizness.com/
“HOW TO SETUP A PROFESSIONAL LOOKING LIVESTREAM IN 2020 using ECAMM LIVE – MY QUARANTINE SETUP”
https://youtu.be/WSy-Me6znBQ
* Pat Flynn: https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/
“This is the Best Live Streaming Software for Mac – Full Tutorial”
https://youtu.be/z0ddCZOmgCM
* Ali Adbaal: https://aliabdaal.com/
“My Favourite Mac Apps in 2020 | What’s on my MacBook Pro?”
https://youtu.be/Kppgzbun71I
* Purple Air (air quality)
https://www2.purpleair.com/
* Whimsical (mind mapping with charts)
https://whimsical.com/
* Restream (multi-casting)
https://restream.io/

3 PILLARS OF A VIBRANT VIDEO PRESENCE​

OTHER CONNECTION POINTS

Thank you!

Improve Your Video Connections with These 4 Recommended Video Software Tools

Are you looking to up your video communication skills?

Whether you are using video for marketing, to share software tips with those you work with, or to share valuable information via social media, you have choices to make in order to find “the right (video) tool for the job.”

​I’ve got recommendations! The episode of Video Mojo (video below) will help you by offering a quick overview of four video software tools that I have used to create casual, but informative videos, especially for clients and colleagues.

Click above to watch this week’s Video Mojo video blog & podcast episode.

The first three apps are particularly useful if you need or want to share your screen, including if that screen is sharing a presentation. The fourth video software tool is particularly useful when you want to make a more powerful video connection via email. Links to all four video apps are below (FYI, none are affiliate links.)

​About Video Mojo

Video Mojo is a weekly video blog and podcast hosted by award-winning media innovator, Jon Leland. It combines timeless marketing principles with a playful exploration on the “bleeding edge” of digital video & marketing.

Resource Link from this episode:

I’d love to hear what works for you and if you find this program useful. If you’ve got questions, feedback or suggestions, please comment below, or let’s connect (and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever):

* Video Launch Pad: https://go.combridges.com/video-launch-pad​
* YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/jonleland​
* Video Blog Home: https://www.combridges.com/blog​/
* Podcast Home: https://anchor.fm/video-mojo​/
* On Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/video-mojo-jon-leland-tips-strategies-for-better-world/id1489867374?uo=4​
* On Spotify Podcasts: https://open.spotify.com/show/1ORM2qja8iMWM9ykwvhaXk​
* Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joncombridges/
* Twitter: https://twitter.com/joncombridges​/
* Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/combridges.fb​/
* LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonleland/

Thanks!

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Improve Your Video Connections with These 4 Recommended Video Software Tools

Hi and welcome! 

My name is Jon Leland and I’m a digital marketing strategist and the host of Video Mojo, a weekly video blog, and podcast that connects timeless marketing principles with the bleeding edge of video communications, technology, and marketing. 

So today we are going to talk about four applications that can really help you get more fluent in the language of video and increase the power of the connections that you make via video. As you may have heard from other episodes of this video blog and podcast I’m a big advocate of the practice of video. I am passionate about learning by doing and experimenting, but most of all getting yourself out there so you develop the video muscle. These are four applications that can help you do just that in order to make better connections with the people that you are working with or that you want to influence. 

I will include all of the links for the applications that I’m talking about and some other resources throughout the description.

Loom

The first application is called Loom. Loom is very popular because of its simplicity and also because of its free level robust application. It operates both as a Chrome plug-in and as a desktop application. I’ve only used it as the Chrome plug-in because I find it really convenient. When you use Loom the limitation is that you do not have many customization options. Your talking head video will be a small circle in the lower-left corner. You then will be able to share your screen and show people what it is that you want to communicate about. We use it frequently and I’ve seen it used to explain things that are going on within software or websites. It’s very powerful and relatively easy to use. 

Snagit

A step up from that is Snagit, which is a kind of a Swiss Army knife of video tools. It has both the ability to do still frame captures as well as various forms of video interaction. It introduces the sophistication of being able to switch back and forth between a screen share and the full live-action video talking head. I got turned on to Snagit by Steve Dotto of Dottotech. He is a resource that I recommend and I’ll also include a link to his video review of Snagit for a lot more detail. Snagit is a paid application. It is a one-time fee of about $50 unless you get some kind of discount. It will give you a more sophisticated ability to produce videos where you’re switching back and forth while recording but NOT in post-production. 

Wistia’s Soapbox

I really like the third tool, Wistia’s Soapbox. Wistia is a video hosting application that I do recommend to get away from the YouTube noise that happens when you host videos on YouTube. For example, on my landing pages for the video launchpad, I have embedded videos that will not recommend other YouTube videos by using the Wistia platform. Soapbox is an application that Wistia has developed and is also accessible by a Chrome plug-in. It has a really clever post-production editing interface. You record once and then in this editing interface you have the ability to switch between the live talking head and the screen share as well as a  third view which is one-third talking head in two-thirds screen share. So if you’re doing “mini-tutorials” soapbox is a pretty cool application that will enable you to produce a kind of presentation that looks like you’ve used much more fancy editing software that has a nice combination of the live talking head human presence and the screen sharing. 

BombBomb

Then if you want to move up to the next level BombBomb is a really cool application, particularly if you’re doing a lot of email outreach and you want to move to a more sophisticated level. For example, if you are a real estate marketer that wants to stand out above the crowd in how they communicate with their prospective customers, BombBomb integrates with email like nothing else that I’ve seen. The way that they do that is when you record a BombBomb video for somebody the first two seconds is an animated GIF that can be embedded into an email. In fact, they have a whole email integration for outbound marketing. That means the learning curve is higher and the cost is definitely higher as it’s a professional application. But it will give you the ability to communicate via email and really make personal messages that can attract and engage in a very powerful way. 

So there’s a quick overview of four tools that you can use to increase your video muscle. You know, it’s a practice. It takes determination and perseverance to stay with it. Each one has a learning curve starting with something like Loom (it’s simpler), and walking up the ladder to something like BombBomb (it’s much more complex). Whatever you do I really encourage you to get out there, make yourself more visible, and do the kind of engagement that these kinds of video tools enable. 

Thanks again for your kind attention. I really do appreciate you being here and I’ll see you next week!

Go Beyond Storytelling – Hear Your Authentic Voice with New Ears

“I’m trying to say out loud the things that my soul is streaming.”

— Tim Grahl at ConvertKit’s Craft & Commerce conference

I’m delighted to report that my soul is showing me ways to discover what wants to be said, rather than “should-ing” myself into trying harder via the “buzzword du jour” (which is most likely “storytelling”).

It’s a subtle distinction that’s requiring me to up my awareness so that I can distinguish a story that’s naturally in tune with my soul’s “streaming” vs trying to make something happen. Joyfully, recently, in a number of ways (including those described below), the Universe has been teaching me to pay more attention to these kinds of authentic messages.

A Blast From the Past

The Artist Formerly Known as Dancing Bear.

Recently, I reconnected with the importance of authentic storytelling at a workshop with Michael Kass in San Francisco. Very unexpectedly, I found myself rediscovering the story of how I got and then embraced the name “Dancing Bear” in the 1970’s. The story that emerged re-energized the ways that that name still resonates for me. (For more on this, read “The Revolutionary Resonances of Dancing Bear” on Medium.)

Connecting with My Business Creator Tribe

Even more recently (in early June), I traveled to Boise, Idaho to attend the Craft & Commerce conference put on my email marketing provider-of-choice, ConvertKit (affiliate link), “an email marketing platform designed specifically for creators.”

Not only did I hear a quite dazzling array of main stage speakers (including the ones quoted above and shown below); but more importantly, I felt connected to a business (my email marketing service provider) as a community or tribe. Who knew that this was possible? And, because it was so real, so fun, and so inspiring, that’s another story that, for me, wants to be told.

A BUSINESS THAT STANDS ON VALUES

Suffice it to say that it is inspiring for me to partner with a business that stands on its values to such an extent that their service becomes as much (or more?) about the way they connect people than it is about making money… or even making great software. And, of course, they are making money and making great software.

What made this conference so special is what makes ConvertKit so special, and that’s their commitment to “creators.” It’s not just a “lip service commitment” as evidenced by the extraordinary collection of creators that Craft & Commerce attracted and the quality of the uplifting, valuable speakers that they curated. That’s was meaningful.

That’s what made me go to the conference. I had a sense of this from their culture which promotes values like “Create Everyday,” “Work in Public,” “Teach Everything You Know,” and the new one that was on the t-shirt we all received, “Default to Generosity.” The experience of the community of creators who share these values and the individual creators who I met there took this to a whole new level. I’m already committed to going back again next year, and that says a lot!

Yours truly with Nathan Barry, Founder & CEO of ConvertKit.

Recommended Resources: Luscious Links

  • Running Down a Dream: Your Road Map to Winning Creative Battles
    by Tim Grahl
    Tim was one of the main stage speakers as the ConvertKit conference and I’ve been really valuing the vulnerability and insights that he shares in this book. It’s a kind of extension of one of my favorite all time books, “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
  • ConvertKit email marketing software
    As discussed above, this company excites me through a unique combination of its culture, its software and its focus on serving Creators of all kinds to make a living from their creative work.

Thanks for reading!

Insta-LOVE: How We Leverage Instagram to Make Clients Shine

This post illuminates how a creative digital marketing strategy can find meaningful opportunities to shine a positive light on a client’s value.

A recent, fun example of how this kind of content marketing works is the way we brightened the Instagram feed of our client, Marin Airporter. In this case, we used passenger produced photos (also known as “user generated content” or UGC) to leverage the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Beyond our recent website redesign for Marin Airporter (described here), we now help this client stay connected with its passengers (and potential passengers) with engaging social media content.

How the Golden Gate Bridge Became a Social Media Asset

It’s not unusual for small companies—many of whom struggle to engage successfully through social media marketing—to still be playing catch up with regard to leading edge social platforms like Instagram. Nonetheless, every company’s customers are already on these networks, and often they are communicating in ways with which any business would want to interact. Marin Airporter offered us this kind of “golden opportunity” because, prior to working with us, they had no Instagram presence whatsoever.

Once ComBridges got involved, we noticed that many passengers on Instagram were sharing an exciting aspect of riding on Marin Airporter, a memorable trip across the iconic, world famous piece of art deco architecture known as the Golden Gate Bridge! They were even sharing videos in the rain, at night, and in the dark.

The passengers themselves made it clear that the Bridge crossing is an important part of the Marin Airporter experience. So, we decided to celebrate these customer posts by compiling some of the best videos and pictures of their buses’ Golden Gate Bridge crossings into a blog post on the Marin Airporter website. As you can see, it showed just how special the Marin Airporter route is. Check out the full blog post here.

Content Marketing Meets Customer Listening

Through this example, you can see how well-conceived content marketing leverages customer awareness to create content that shines a spotlight on our client’s value.

In this way, ComBridges opened another door for our client to connect and communicate. With our support, Marin Airporter now reaches and interacts with its passengers in a 21st Century way. Because social media is a two-way medium, these messages also provide critical feedback, questions, or moments of gratitude from happy customers. And, thus, they are a form of customer service that needs attention.

In today’s world, this kind of creativity is a critical dimension of successful digital marketing. Done correctly, it is also an important branch of customer service and customer listening.

If you are ready to shine online and make better connections with your customers, please let us know.


Create Authentic Connections: Website Video Production Insights

Anyone doing online marketing faces the challenge of how to engage and inform visitors, while also communicating clearly enough that people get the intended message. Without the human face of a home page welcome video, most websites miss a crucial opportunity to engage with authenticity.

At the end of the day, at least in my opinion, there’s no point in digital marketing, if you don’t make an authentic connection with website visitors. Given the fact that website visitors, in general, have the “attention span of a gnat,” the power of video has become paramount. (For more on this, I produced this video in 2010 that’s still relevant: Why Online Video is Now a ‘Must Have’ for Internet Marketing)

Videos Starring You Are Essential

One of the best ways to grab people’s attention is video.  I am fond of reminding people that a video is starring you, has the added advantage of making a virtual human connection that only a human face and voice can deliver. Video does this quickly and in the exact way that brief home page visitor encounters require.

For more on why a human face should be in videos and not just hidden behind a whiteboard animated video, I recommend Wistia’s recent post, Your Business’s Videos Should Include Faces. Here’s Why.

The authenticity of human connection in video is one of the main reasons that I’ve been promoting video for years. I love opportunities that help my clients tell their stories by producing “welcome to my website” videos. Recently, I’ve produced two of these videos for clients. I’m offering them here as examples of how to do this, including some detailed production insights.

Helping an Expert Witness to Testify

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Mark Levy, a forensic psychiatrist whose firm provides expert testimony for legal matters. His new company website for Forensic Psychiatry Associates Medical Corporation, fpamed.com, needed a new video for its home page. Mark was clear that his earlier “do-it-yourself” effort didn’t represent him in with a professionalism that reflected his services. This collaboration took the form of a low-budget video shoot with my Canon DSLR camera.

As you can see in the video above, Mark is an excellent speaker; however, one issue with his earlier video, was that it ended up being a bit unfocused. Without wanting to toot my own horn too loudly, I was pleased to be able to add value, as a director and performance coach.  I’m not just a cameraman who sets up the camera and records “pretty pictures.”

In this case, I felt more like a “crafter of communications” because I guided Mark in ways that ensured his video had a structure, a beginning, middle and end. Now, he has a website welcome video that includes an engaging and direct welcome message and a call to action at the end.

Beyond YouTube for Online Video Delivery

Another capability that I provided and applied to Mark Levy’s videos was optimizing them for YouTube search. Behind only Google, YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. If you aren’t already aware of this fact, let it sink in. Many small businesses consider SEO optimization for their website, but most don’t think about optimizing their YouTube video clips to be found in search. This is a very common mistake and often overlooked by a video novice.

In addition to YouTube for attracting new viewers and potentially new website visitors, for Mark, I also recommended and implemented video hosting on Wistia.com so that when Mark’s video clips are embedded in his own website, they can be customized to match his website’s colors; and, more importantly, so that YouTube doesn’t have the opportunity to “steal” traffic away from Mark by pushing other psychiatrist’s videos to his viewers at the end of his clips.

Bottom line, Mark’s website is his own “owned” virtual real estate. Why let YouTube leverage it for their objectives? Owned media is a thing and we should all maximize this kind of control on our own websites as much as possible.

Wistia’s call-to-action and other integrated features within the video are more robust and attractive than YouTube’s. Because of this, videos look more seamless as they are integrated into websites.

Giving Wistia a try is easy given that their free introductory level includes three videos hosted on their video delivery platform. Beyond that, it’s $99 a month. This pricing may not work for every small business, but I recommend it for companies that have a serious commitment to video marketing. The image to the right is how this video looks embedded in Mark’s home page.

A More Scripted Approach & Cool Piece of Video Tech

I would also like to share a second video client case study. The second home page welcome video that I produced recently was for physical trainer, Adam Hirsch of adamhirsch.net. A significant difference, in this case, was that before the video shoot, Adam and I collaborated on a script.

Truth be told, while Adam is extremely knowledgeable about his expertise with physical training, his expansive perspective of this subject can also result in him being a bit verbose. Because of this, we needed to find a way to help him be more concise, especially given the online environment where, as I mentioned, holding people’s attention is at a premium. By collaborating on a script, we were able to co-create a straightforward and concise description of what Adam offers.  

However, this creates a different challenge. I didn’t expect (nor was there time) for Adam to memorize and deliver this script like a professional actor. So, while Adam’s new home page video was also shot with my Canon DSLR camera, we used a nifty little piece of technology in the form of a small affordable teleprompter that uses an iPhone for the scrolling text.

Another example of how advanced small electronics are becoming, the Parrot Teleprompter costs only $115 (plus shipping) and fits virtually any video camera. I loaded the written script onto my iPhone before the shoot, and used the voice-activated PromptSmartPro ($19.99, free version also available) so that the text scrolled right along with Adam’s pace of delivery. No teleprompter operator required.

Not only was the hardware a small fraction of what it used to cost, personnel costs were also significantly reduced. The use of a teleprompter, when appropriate, has become remarkably accessible!

I believe the result is a clear presentation, well-articulated and precisely-focused in a way that would not have been otherwise possible. Take a look and see what you think.

At Your Service

Bottom line, I approach online marketing as relationship building. The quality of communication, when done well, enables authentic connections to be built via whatever medium is at play and regardless of what technologies are used.

Sure, innovations like Wistia video hosting and the Parrot Teleprompter help make this happen, but there’s no substitute for quality content and that’s what we do.

I believe that the human beings who are such a crucial part of every forward-thinking organization or business needs to be “front and center,” right from that first nano-second that a web visitor spends on your website. After all, if you don’t engage with them in a personal way, right away, you will lose them.

Please let me know if I can help you or your organization. Thanks!

 

Beyond a Brochure Website. A User Experience. Marin Airporter’s New Site Illustrates.

If you live in Marin County, CA (just North of San Francisco) chances are you’ve used Marin Airporter to get you to or from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). This comfortable bus service has been around for decades and offers a reliable and relaxing way to start and end a trip. For ComBridges, of course, Marin Airporter also is a nice high-visibility new client.

Their old website, on the other hand, was not so easy to use. Rather than making things easier for the steady stream of customers who use the service, their website presented challenges.

For starters, there had been changes to some of the stops, parking at those stops, and more. But more importantly, there was nothing mobile-friendly about their old website. In addition to a non-responsive design, the bus schedule, for example, was displayed only as one big PDF.

So, even more than a graphic design assignment, bringing MarinAirporter.com into the age of mobile information access was a creative challenge in information architecture. The fundamental requirement was to improve the user experience in a major way.

And, to make matters even more interesting, after being a “cash-only” service for many years, the launch of this new website also included the introduction of electronic ticketing.

Honestly, this is the kind of challenge that I truly enjoy.

How Did the New Website Design Address These Challenges?

Of course, the low-hanging fruit was to integrate everything on their website into a 100% responsive, mobile-friendly design.

Then, instead of the old “one-page-fits-all” PDF schedule (which is still available for those who prefer that sort of thing) each stop now has its own page of information that is easy to access via a simple click on a user-friendly route map graphic (with an “alternate route” to each bus stops page also available via links on the main navigation menu). Because each stop’s information is now provided on a stop-by-stop basis, it’s easy to find just the right information you need for your trip without your having to wade into the weeds of data about the other six stops.

The web page for each stop has a convenient accordion-style menu which opens when clicked.

Then, each of Marin Airporter’s new bus stop web pages gives you quick access to specific chunks of stop-specific information that was either difficult to find or unavailable on our old site. Once you arrive at the page for the stop that’s most convenient for you, a list of big blue buttons offers you the following choices:

  • Pick Up Schedule
  • Buy Tickets
  • Map and Directions
  • Parking Info
  • Questions

Everything you need to know. How early? Departing how often? When? How long to the airport? Done and done.

The Map and Directions tab is great for travelers not familiar with Marin, and for those of us who get confused from time to time or need to use a different stop (because maybe we’re taking the new SMART train to Central San Rafael for the first time). The text directions from all points are accompanied by a detailed bird’s-eye view of the area.

When a Website is More than a Brochure

Obviously, there are many, many different kinds of websites. I’ve been doing simpler website designs—often in collaborative done-with-you “1-to-1 Get-It-Done” sessions—using Squarespace. For more sophisticated sites with more complex and custom requirements like this one, I often use WordPress. MarinAirporter.com is a highly-customized WordPress implementation.

My delight as a creative director and digital marketing strategist is helping organizations, large and small, to clarify their communication and user experience objectives so that we can meet those goals effectively.

Please contact me if you have questions or if we can help in any way.

Bringing Business Inspiration & Marketing Motivation to Mill Valley

Every small business person that I know sings a similar song: “I’m overwhelmed!”

Furthermore, for most of us, whether you are an entrepreneur or founder of a small business, the “rules” seem to keep changing. These days, there’s more to having your own business than just figuring out how to make money. For example, motivation matters and the whole meaning of “marketing” has changed. And that’s just for openers…

That’s why I’m honored, delighted and (no exaggeration) super-excited to be bringing my beloved friend, the extraordinary business coach, author, and leader, Andrea J. Lee to the SF Bay Area for a one-day workshop called “The New Rules of Business and Social Media Success.” She and I will be co-presenting an uplifting, informative and highly interactive “Playshop” that will include everything from decision making and relationship building to creating online video and social media marketing. All of this will be live and in-person on Monday, January 25th from 10am – 5pm in Mill Valley. You can register here. And, I even created this special video invitation just for you 😉

 

Please let me know if you have any questions whatsoever.

I look forward to seeing you there!

[callout title=”The New Rules of Business and Social Media Success” button=”I Want to Learn More or Register” link=”http://www.combridges.com/event” buttoncolor=”blue” target=”_blank”]An Inspiring, Highly Interactive, Experiential Playshop: Monday, January 25th, 10am – 5pm, Mill Valley, CA, USA[/callout]