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”:
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.
I 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
It 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.
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!)
[A Quick Catch Up on Online Video’s Reinvention of Advertising]
As most of my readers know, I’ve been an “evangelist” for the digital video revolution, especially as it applies to the democratization of media, for many years. By now, the explosion and importance of online video via YouTube and other hosting platforms (from Wistia and Vimeo to Brightcove and Ooyala, among others) should be obvious to everyone. What is not so apparent to many people is the opportunity to use online video advertising as a highly-targeted attraction engine.
The game changer over the past few years has been the move to online, streaming video for virtually every kind of communication and entertainment. Advancements in video technology mean huge benefits for society as the power of video is now in everyone’s hands—quite literally due to smart phones, on both the video creation and video consumption side of things. These advancements combined with mobile video’s remarkable reach means even bigger benefits for advertisers.
In fact, the shift from desktop online video advertising to mobile advertising has been nothing short of astonishing. To give you a sense of how big this shift is, consider this: In the fourth quarter of 2013, the number of ads showing on tablets was almost tripled from the previous quarter, according to a FreeWheel TV report in USA Today. Plus, that leap in growth was ten times (10x!) faster than the consumption of video ads on desktops.
Bottom line, this is just the beginning. Mobile is still in its infancy. The original iPad was just introduced four years ago.
Multiple Types of Video Content and Placements
One of the more fascinating aspects of online video advertising is the wide variety of video types that advertisers are starting to use. The traditional broadcast video advertisement, which is served up in 30-second segments and interrupts consumers’ viewing to blatantly peddle a product or service (in a format that is frequently skipped via DVRs), is not what is working in the same ways any longer. In fact, the exact opposite is what is thriving online. YouTube, for example, is full of informative, how-to videos that are less “commercial” and more informative. This approach connects with my marketing philosophy of attracting and engaging, rather than straight sales pitches.
The way video and entertainment is consumed has also driven the adoption of new types of videos that are working in other ways. Skyword reports that a Mobile Marketing Association study showed that video ads of 15 seconds or less and non-skippable were viewed in their entirety 92 percent of the time. If the ads are skippable, only 9 percent were completed. Whether the ad is virtually embedded within an informative clip that “leads with value”( as I like to say), or is delivered in an non-skippable format, these advertising options, again, are just the beginning of a new world that, in my considered opinion, any serious online marketer needs to consider.
In addition, the shorter video formats are getting more popular on stand-alone social video platforms. Between Instagram video and Vine (just to name two), the public is getting more and more accustomed to digesting their video in shorter formats. Few people who are not active on social media realize the reach of these platforms. Some even call Vine “the fastest growing app in the world.”
More Bandwidth Means Higher Quality Video
Another advancement that has made online video an ever increasing opportunity to be considered as part of your advertising budget is the increased broadband data access speeds that consumers are now able to afford. With faster speeds comes better quality video. With mobile comes any where, any time access. Without the distractions of constant buffering, viewers are able to watch longer videos, and companies are willing to invest in better production quality. For example, a large company like LifeLock invested wisely to produce higher quality online exclusive, more informative videos for its target audience to let them know how they can protect themselves and their identity online.
Jacking into Untapped Potential
In many instances, little difference in quality exists between what you would see on television and what is being shown on the Web. And, frequently what’s online is more interesting, more personal, and certainly more highly targeted than what’s on TV. And, in terms of variety, the Internet offers so much more. But perhaps even more significant is online video’s interface options.
According to streamingmedia.com, interactivity is the main function that makes online video consumption different from television. However, many advertisers are still missing the boat on this opportunity. Right now, 85 percent of online video advertisements are simply the same content that could have also run on traditional television, where the audience simply sits back and takes it in. By allowing the consumer to get more involved in the ad or the original content, and by being able to place advertising videos (whether ads or informative content marketing clips) in MUCH more relevant contexts, viewers naturally become more involved and connected to the product or service, and thus, more willing to make a purchase.
The Future of Online Video
The Globe and Mail claims that big things are on the horizon for online video advertising in 2014. Smaller companies that had been hesitant to hop on board will see the light and start spending on the medium. And, speaking of spending, I don’t think there is any doubt that this will be the year that more companies start shifting their advertising dollars from traditional television to social media and online video. Another shift will be that online video production will become more of a specialty for agencies. With the differences between traditional and online video becoming more apparent, through the inclusion of interactivity and highly-targeted contexts, for example, more production companies and marketing agencies will specialize in online video production and distribution (yes, as ComBridges has been doing for some time).
Obviously, the ComBridges team is here to help if you are interested; but more importantly, I wonder whether it will be you or your competition that will take the lead by leveraging the amazing power of online video and online video advertising.
I’ve seen again and again that it’s those market leaders who stick their necks out to engage with these leading edge trends that grab a significant competitive advantage, especially over time. “A word to the wise” should be sufficient. Yes?
Riding the Wave
The major trend in social media marketing that I call “The Visual Web” is becoming increasingly important. Fortunately, I’ve found a new iPad app that makes creating animated videos both FUN and EASY. I like that. 😉
If you still haven’t jumped into creating your own videos and visuals, I’ve got one quickie example for you below, and perhaps this quote from a true, social media marketing thought leader will also inspire you?
“From a trend standpoint, the trend towards visuals in inescapable... Everything that people are paying attention to now fundamentally has pictures or video.” — Jay Baer’s video blog post, Why Visuals Are the Most Important Element of Content Marketing
For me, being able to create on the iPad, without a mouse or trackpad, sitting in my easy chair is more fun and relaxing than sitting in front of a computer, even a light laptop. As an innovator, I also notice the creative juice that flows through the Apple’s iPad eco-system. The fact is that this app as well as others that I use regularly—like Paper from Fiftythree.com—are iPad-only apps… and, by the way, they are also both totally free.
Quick, Easy Animated Videos with Adobe’s New Voice App
Last weekend, I heard about Adobe’s new free iPad app called Voice. It uses your voice as a sound track. You record the audio one scene at a time. Lots of templates, clip art and royalty free photos are included. I found it to be a positive experience and intend to put it to further use.
Below is my first test video created with Adobe Voice in about 20 minutes. Not bad for my first time out.
One lesson that I learned in the process is that next time I will keep all of the individual scene audio snippets shorter. It would also be nice for the app to enable you to post your videos to YouTube and other video hosting services. Right now, you can share a link, post to social media, or use an HTML embed code as I have done below; but I’d have to re-record it with a screen capture program in order to post it to my YouTube Channel.
Otherwise, I liked the user experience a lot and once I really get the hang of this production time will be even faster. Overall, using Voice was fun and I think it’s a great new option for communicating on The Visual Web.
In a blog post over two years ago (see Social Media Goes Visual: Why Pinterest is More Than You Think), I started calling the next frontier of social media marketing, “The Visual Web. This morning, I extended this conversation with a Google Hangout interview with Ekaterina Walter, the author of “The Power of Visual Storytelling.” Here’s that 30 minute conversation:
Fundamentally, humans are predominantly visual creatures, and according to a study from National Formosa University in Taiwan, this is reflected in our computer environments—especially in this age of social media!
Bottom line, you may produce the most compelling written content for your business blog and social media marketing efforts, but if you don’t have the right visual content to make it more engaging, you may never see decent conversion rates.
Here are some basic tips (with more to come) as to how to effectively use visual content to engage readers and get a better ROI:
Vary Your Media
To effectively promote content in social media, mix up what kind of visual content you’re using.
- Photos. Whether you’re using your own photographs, stock photography or a digital vector, you’re going to need a relevant image(s) to go along with your content. Case in point: Marketing blogger Jeff Bullas reports that articles with images get 94 percent more views, and on Facebook, photos get 84 percent more click-throughs than their counterpart text-based posts, according to Kissmetrics. Failing to add a photo can mean a major loss of conversion. Also, let’s face it—the article just looks nicer with an image or two.
- Video. Integrating video into your social media campaign not only grabs people’s attention, but it helps you stand out as an authority in your field. To create customized video about your area of expertise, use a marketing service like ComBridges or just shoot and upload via YouTube, or use Google Hangouts On-Air as I have done above. If you simply need royalty-free stock video, try a site like Shutterstock.
- Animated GIFs. Sites like Buzzfeed, Distractify and Tumblr use animated GIFs frequently. These sites get shares into the tens of thousands and views into the millions. With the widespread use of broadband, these kinds of images are far more high-tech and user-friendly than they used to be. They’re a great way to market pop culture events or tutorials without requiring the user to watch a video. If you’re trying to get a quick point across, use a GIF.
- Infographics. Your target audience may not want to read a wall of text. Instead, offer them quick and easily accessible information (with credible sources) in the form of a visually engaging infographic. In fact, infographics have become so popular in recent years, you can search for just about any topic you’re interested in followed by the word “infographic,” and chances are, there is one available.
And all of this is just the beginning. In future posts, I’ll write more about things like Instagram, Pinterest, SlideShare and more. Please subscribe via the links above to be notified.
Keep Color Psychology in Mind
Because “The Visual Web” is all about graphics and images, color is key. Color sets off certain signals in your brain, even if you’re not aware of it. For example, the color red is exciting and stimulating, while blue is considered calming and trustworthy. Take a look at different business logos and advertisements as you’re driving down the street. Note what kind of an emotional appeal they have for you. Use this same type of approach in your social media efforts. Depending on the emotional response you want to convey, choose your imagery and colors within the content carefully. Visual.ly has a great infographic on the psychology of color that can help you make good color choices for your social content.
More to come! I look forward to your feedback and your shares. 😉
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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…
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.
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
“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.
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”)?
How 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!
Google+ now claims more than 300 million active users every month, boasting more than 58 percent growth over the past few months, according to USA Today. Although Google+ has a long way to go to match Facebook’s 1.19 billion monthly users, its rapid adoption rate and sprawling community makes it clear that Google+ is not merely another social network nipping at the heels of Facebook and Twitter. Google’s social centerpiece has become a powerful social tool for marketers and businesses looking to increase their brand values and expand their visibility.
Personally, I find Google+ to be less noisy with a higher quality of professional level engagement and features like Google Hangouts On-Air and its photo sharing features that make it more attractive than other social networks.
But, even more importantly, the Google+ social network has several features that deliver significant SEO value beyond what other competing networks can provide:
Google+ Authorship Creates Social Authority
Google authorship is a search ranking concept that aims to stratify content and web pages according to the credibility and authority of their authors. With Google Authorship, content creators use small bits of code to attach a page to its author. But in order to do this, you need to have a Google+ account.
For this reason, a Google+ account can bolster your credibility online—not just within the Google+ network, but in search rankings as well. Thanks to Google Authorship, as your credibility grows, as measured by your clicks, followers and other variables, content can become more prominent online by having your name attached to it.
The ‘Like’ Button That Boosts SEO
Facebook has its “Like” button, Twitter has favorites, Pinterest has re-pins. But none of these directly affects the SEO of your content. This is where Google’s +1 feature is so valuable. The +1 button can be easily integrated into any web page or piece of content, and Google’s search algorithm uses it to assess the quality and popularity of content. Each time you receive a +1 from another Google+ user, your SEO ranking improves. As a result, users are rewarded for creating content that is valuable to their followers and the benefits go beyond what any other social network can provide. We call this earning authority the old fashioned way, and Google agrees. Because it’s fueled by authentic value, this kind of quality content that people want to share is the only sustainable social media marketing strategy.
Generate Feedback Through Community
For all its value in affecting SEO rankings, Google+ is still an effective platform for engaging consumers and generating feedback to improve your overall product positioning and awareness. For example, you can set up Google+ Communities to create spaces where you and your customers meet and exchange ideas, information and other comments. Similarly, you can join communities on the network and make new connections with other professionals, gathering new ideas and possibly some valuable business connections. This opportunity is somewhat analogous to LinkedIn Groups, but the added SEO benefits and a more rapid growth rate would seem to give Google Communities an edge.
This kind of community-based engagement can take more traditional text-based forms, or in multi-platform media. Google+ facilitates video-based engagement, which is where it differs from most other major social networks. Of course, this increases the demands placed on your Internet connection. Managing your social media efforts requires a fast Internet connection, and it’s particularly important with Google+, where media-rich content is widely used. If you plan on streaming video to run Google+ Hangouts, you’ll need a fast connection to make sure your video doesn’t skip.
Google Product Integration
As most people know by now, Google offers a wide array of products and services for businesses and consumers (from Gmail, AdWords and YouTube to Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Local and more). Most of these are available for free. What they do require, in many cases, is a Google+ account—at least to access all of the features of these products. The good news is, Google does not require a Gmail address. Your Google+ information can follow you wherever you go (including via Authorship as discussed above), simplifying processes and helping various Google products deliver better services.
With Google Maps, for example, your Google+ profile can establish your default location, recall your search history and display saved map routes. In a similar way, your Google+ account can and should also be integrated with your YouTube channel (you have one, right?) YouTube integration and connectivity is yet another benefit of Google+ participation; and one that can be expected to expand over time.
Likewise, every local business (businesses with an actual physical location), in my opinion, MUST have a Google Local listing. Not to do so is leaving money and web traffic “on the table.” 😉
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FYI, ComBridges is currently adding capabilities to enhance local SEO listings and social media integration across 50+ local web directories including Yelp. Please use the form below if you would like more information:[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
Also, thanks to Sidney Peters for his writing assistance in crafting this post. Sid is a UK transplant who develops apps for social networking sites. He is also training for a marathon.
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