The Power of a Creative Practice: Video Blogging Inspiration & Mini-Book Review

For me, Video Blogging is more about the power of a “creative practice,” rather than a profit-driven marketing strategy.

Yes, “by day,” I am a marketing strategist, but more importantly, I’m also an explorer and adventurer who loves (OK, THRIVES!) by discovering new dimensions of the “online video spaces.” In other words, I like to play and expand my creative capacity via social media video in all forms.

Through this new practice, I’m also learning by doing and discovering new dimensions of who I am in the world. If that approach resonates with you at all, then this ​week’s video may be a joyful “kick in the pants.” I hope so!

This Week’s Power Briefing, The Power of A Creative Practice: Video Blogging Inspiration & Mini-Book Review

If you are a creator of any kind, you know the power of sticking to the structure of a creative practice. At Representative Elijah Cummings funeral, I heard his wife Maya say that he often said, “80% of life is just showing up.”

For me, before about 3 months ago, video blogging was a dream of mine, a healthy ambition. Now that I’m doing it and showing up (almost) weekly, my life has changed! This video shares about that process in a way that I hope is inspiring to you.

Are you ready to take action on your creative dreams and put yourself out there in a new way? If so, I’d love to hear more about that from you.

​This video also includes recommendations of two inspirational books that I have found useful (and my offer of support). Here are links to those for your convenience:

Edited Transcript:

The Power of a Creative Practice: Video Blogging Inspiration & Mini-Book Review

Hi and welcome to another video blog post. My name is Jon Leland and I am a Digital Marketing Strategist. I’ve realized something in the process of being creative and that’s what this video blog post is about. It’s about the sheer power of a creative practice and I hope to provide inspiration for anybody in particular that wants to be creative and in particular wants to be creative with video blogging. I also have a mini book review (for you.)

Digital Marketing Strategy is Only My Day Job!

The first thing I want to do is correct myself. I said I’m a Digital Marketing Strategist and that is true, you could call it my day job. I play one here on YouTube, but I also am really more truly an adventurer, somebody who is exploring the digital space around being creative and using in particular video to be creative. Also, I explore communication channels, networking and the power of this thing called the creative practice. 

“Creative Calling” & The Power of Daily/Weekly Practice

The book that I want to recommend to you is called Creative Calling. I think I can even bring it up here on my iPad for you. So this is the cover. It’s by Chase Jarvis. The (sub)title is “Establish a Daily practice, infuse your world with meaning, and succeed and work + life.” 

Chase Jarvis is really quite a remarkable guy and his focus—and my focus in terms of doing these video blogs—is around the practice and the power of what happens when you keep showing up. So the reason that I said that I’m an explorer, an adventurer, even more than what I do for a living, is that that’s where “the juice” is for me. 

I’ve always loved the opportunities and this evolution of digital video. I’ve been talking about it, writing about it, and doing videos about it for many years. But it’s only as I’ve dug in and made it a weekly practice that I found this whole other kind of dimension of myself. And it comes from showing up and it comes from not necessarily knowing what the results are going to be, not necessarily knowing what’s going to happen, and in particular, being willing to move through regardless. 

The Crazy Presumption That We Should “Have It Right,” Be “Perfect,” or Even Know What We Should Say 

Another book I recommend is by Steven Pressfield, who talks about Resistance in the book called The War of Art. (This is) another amazing and important book for the creative professionals or people that want to play creatively.  

By showing up, by being here, by being willing to hear all the voices in my head, resist the “imposter syndrome,” and doing this video blog post anyway, I discover new dimensions of myself. I also get myself out there. There are lots of business benefits but that’s not why I’m doing it. 

I’m doing it because at heart I love learning all the time, I’m learning by doing and by experimenting.

The qualities that you don’t necessarily think about when you think about being online and doing a video blog are things like courage and humility. Because the “impostor syndrome” which is the “crazy uncle in my head” says “You’re not good enough,” “Do you really have anything worthwhile to say?” 

All of that kind of self doubt and self talk, I’m allowing that to be there but not listening to it!

Sharing A Journey of Discovery

I’m showing up, no matter what, to do something every week. That’s a lot of what Chase Jarvis talks about (in his book) and he’s had a lot of success from doing the work. It’s the same thing Steven Pressfield says in The War of Art: Do the work. The professional shows up. Seth Godin talks about the same thing. 

So, here I am showing up, doing the work and recognizing that there is a remarkable power in the creativity of just doing it. By doing these kind of video blog posts and inviting creatives like you (if you’re one of those) to connect with me, I hope to help you to be supported and be inspired. I’ve got all kinds of programs if you’re interested and if would like to be on my email list here’s the URL: go.combridges.com/video-launch-pad. 

The Video Launch Pad is a new offer that I’m experimenting with; but again, I’m doing this to learn and to see what kind of feedback I get, and to put it out there and engage in this kind of creative process. 

So let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your comments and thank you so much for your kind attention. I really appreciate you watching and see you next week! 

Vlog Video Production Tips: How I Use my iPhone to Keep Things Simple

It’s been so fun to get myself “over the hump” and start video blogging on a weekly basis.

I’m fascinated by the process and uplifted a whole bunch of results that have followed—from more clarity on my purpose, to increased visibility, to business prosperity.

I’m wondering if you might be someone who wants to get going with video blogging but feels overwhelmed or resistant to facing down the camera and/or all the other stuff that goes with it?

For me, I made progress when, first, I separated video distribution from video production; and then, when I streamlined my video production “system,” I finally became consistent.

This Weeks Power Briefing, Vlog Video Production Tips: How I Use my iPhone to Keep Things Simple

In this week’s video, I summarize my iPhone video production “system” and what I have done to simplify and streamline my vlogging production process. This includes using my iPhone to shoot, a simple wired lav mic for good audio, and AirDrop for file transfer. Click here to watch now.

And, if you are serious about becoming a video blogger (or upping your video blogger “game”), I’d love to help. Very soon, I will be offering a special “Kick-Start” services package. Please contact me if you’re interested in becoming one of the first to try out this package (at special “early bird” savings, of course).

In any case, I’d love to hear what works for you and if you find this video useful. Thanks for watching!

Edited Transcript:

Hi there, my name is Jon Leland, I’m a digital marketing strategist and a video blogger. I am here with episode number 9 of my weekly video blog series about video marketing.

I want to help you be a video blogger (or a better video blogger) and share what’s really worked for me. I talked last week about video blogging as a “superpower,” and about the way I got over the hump by separating out the video production from the video distribution. 

Simpler is Better

The other thing that has really worked for me is simplifying the video production and that’s what I want to offer you today. 

Here are the key components and how I get these videos done in a simple efficient way every week. 

iPhone Video Advantages

I have a number of cameras and I’ve been a video professional for a lot of years. I have a nice digital SLR, a DSLR; and I also have a video camera, an old camcorder. But for these videos, I’m using my iPhone. I have a good iPhone, a 10 XS Max. 

I really like my iPhone because of the video quality. The video quality even using the selfie cam, as I do, is going to be better than I would get, for example, out of my computer’s webcam. That’s the first point. 

The second point is that I do these videos by myself. I don’t have a camera person, so the fact that I can look at the lens and frame it with a nice good-sized selfie cam screen definitely makes things easier.

Tips for Better Audio

Another tip that I want to give you is that for audio. I’m using a very inexpensive $20 lavalier microphone. 

An even bigger audio tip to share is that one of the most important things about audio quality is making the shortest distance possible between your mouth and the microphone. So, even with a better microphone that would sit further away, I probably wouldn’t get the audio presence that I’m able to get out of this Lavalier microphone.  

I also have an extension cord that plugs right into the iPhone so that the audio and video are in sync together. Using a DSLR camera means having to separate out the audio which definitely adds a level of complexity that I would not want. 

I also have a nice camera mount that holds my iPhone on a real tripod. You could put your smartphone anywhere but using the tripod enables me to put it in the same position and thus to do the same kind of setup every week. Consistency in your videos is important. 

Video File Transfer via AirDrop 

The other thing that I get out of the iPhone in particular and from the Apple ecosystem is AirDrop. 

One of the other tasks that goes on when you shoot digitally with another camera is transferring the files. This can take time and of course additional effort. I use AirDrop to just take it from my iPhone and move it over (wirelessly) to my MacBook Pro. 

Create a Video “System” That Works for You

It’s simple, and simple is good. Use whatever works for you. Streamline your system. It doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive; but get a setup that you can do week-after-week to be consistent and make it simple enough and streamlined enough that you get it done week-after-week. 

I hope this has been useful. I look forward to your feedback and comments, thanks again for watching.

And, see you again next week!

Watch to Learn Why WEEKLY Vlogging Is My New SuperPower + Why You Might Want to Join Me.

In just the last two months, video blogging or vlogging has changed my life and my business; and this breakthrough has led me to think of these weekly video posts as a new kind of “SuperPower.” 

As a digital marketing strategist, when I finally found the discipline to “eat my own cooking” and do videos every week, I knew it would be a positive step; but honestly, the results have exceeded these expectations. 

Check out this video, won’t you?

This Weeks Power Briefing, Watch to Learn Why WEEKLY Vlogging Is My New SUperPower + Why You Might Want to Join Me.

In this week’s video, I not only share how this practice is working for me, I unpack why any kind of regular blogging or vlogging is so powerful.

To make this point clear, I call on a quintessential video clip from Seth Godin and Tom Peters that I’ve used for years in my social media marketing workshops.

I also unveil the essence of a new video marketing offer that may help you get over the “hump” to do a weekly vlog yourself, including our system for social media video distribution. The truth is that it was separating the video production from the distribution that made this breakthrough possible!

Links and Videos for Resources Mentioned in this Week’s Edition:

Seth Godin & Tim Peters on Blogging

Thanks for watching! I look forward to your feedback.

Edited Video Transcript:

WEEKLY Vlogging Is My New SuperPower. Here’s Why You Might Want to Join Me.

Hi there, my name is Jon Leland and I’m a digital marketing strategist. And this is episode #8 of my video blog or Vlog Series about digital marketing and in particular about video marketing. I want to talk to you today about vlogging or video blogging and how dramatically it has changed my life and I think potentially even changed my business. 

The Power of Blogging

So, let me explain. First of all, blogging and vlogging are really, really valuable practices, and I’ve been wanting to do a weekly Vlog for years. And, finally, I have gotten myself over the hump and I have started doing it. Like I said, for eight weeks in a row now. And I want to share with you today about the ways that has changed my life and my business.

I’ve known from blogging the way that doing a regular practice, about getting my voice out there and how that changes things. Intuitively, I knew that vlogging was going to do that as well, but it really has done that and much more. 

I will post a video (link above) with Tom Peters and Seth Godin talking about blogging and they talk about how it really doesn’t even matter if anybody is reading it or in the case of a vlog if anybody is watching, 

“Blogging is free, it doesn’t matter if anyone reads it. What matters is the humility that comes from writing it. What matters is the metacognition of thinking about what you’re going to say. How do you explain yourself to the few employees or your cat or whoever is going to look at it? How do you force yourself to describe that in three paragraphs? Why you did something? How do you respond out loud?”  

Seth Godin

Because what happens is in the weekly practice of putting yourself out there, saying something that you intend to be useful and where you’re really trying to deliver some value doing that week after week really shifts something inside you. You’re able to go deeper, you’re able to discover more about what the value is that you want to share and that you want to communicate with other people. 

“I will simply say, my first post was in August of 2004. No single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important to my life than blogging.”

Tom Peters

So, your voice emerges and also your putting yourself out there with it. I know it’s going to sound very California, but as I experience it, there is an energy shift that happens by putting yourself out there in that way. 

Weekly Makes All the Difference

The other thing is the fact that I’m doing it weekly. This makes it a practice and gives it this ongoing continuity, such as when you want to learn to play golf or learn to play the piano, whatever. It’s a practice and going to the gym is another really good example. It takes time to build up “the muscle” and when you do it weekly, it has this power. I’ve talked in other videos about “The Power of Consistency”. 

So, when you do it weekly you build up that consistency and you begin to develop “the muscle” and just like going to the gym when you start doing it for awhile week after week, day after day it starts to feel good. 

And I’m proud to be telling you that I’ve made this commitment, I’m doing it every week and it’s  feeling good to me. It’s also getting me out there. I believe it’s making me more attractive and the last point that I want to make is the way it shifted my business. 

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be making an offer to help people get over the hump to do this. My offer will help them create their first three videos as part of a package and then take advantage of the distribution system that I’ve built and how I’m getting these videos out. 

Separating Production from Distribution Made This Possible

This reminds me of Derek Sivers, who founded CD Baby way back in the early days of the Internet. He invented CD Baby because he was a musician and he needed and wanted to sell CD’s. E-commerce hadn’t really been invented yet. He helped invent it and suddenly all these other musicians came to him and wanted help getting their CD’s out. 

Well, I needed video distribution because I wanted to do video blogs and I wanted to get it out. What helped me get over the hump was I separated the tasks for doing this out, separating video production from distribution. I now have a virtual assistant who’s helping me with the distribution.  In fact, we’ve designed a whole system where these videos are not only on YouTube, they are also native on Facebook, native on LinkedIn, native on Instagram TV and all have the subtitles and meta information… wherever you happen to be watching it. 

So video blogging really is a practice worth developing. I hope you can get over the hump and, if you’d like, I can help you do it,. 

However it works for you, and, let’s talk if you want help from me. Let me know because we have a system that can help you distribute and “watch this space” for the offer in coming weeks. 

As always, thanks again for your kind attention, I really appreciate it. See you next week!

3 Requirements for Marketing Success in The Connection Economy + Better Learning Through Acronyms

Change is always challenging, and as you’ve probably noticed, the environment for digital marketing has changed dramatically. I think Seth Godin describes this well with his term: The Connection Economy.

But what does it take to be successful in The Connection Economy? In this short video blog post, I cover 3 key ingredients or “Requirements for Success” in today’s online environment: 👇👇 👇

This Weeks Power Briefing: 3 Requirements for Marketing Success in The Connection Economy + Better Learning Through Acronyms

As a digital marketing strategist, I love to help. And to help you learn, each of the 3 Requirements for Success explained in this video is illustrated with an easy-to-remember acronym. Here’s a quick summary for you:

MTRB = Multi-Touch Relationship Building

AV + C = T means Authentic Value + Consistency = Trust

BWTTS = Be Willing to Try Stuff

Thanks for watching! I look forward to your feedback.

EDITED VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

The 3 Requirements for Success in the Connection Economy with Better Learning Through Acronym Mania

Hi, my name is Jon Leland and I’m a digital marketing strategist and I’m here with another weekly digital marketing Power Briefing. This week I’m talking about three essential, requirements for success in the Connection Economy. I’m having a little fun with the three connection ingredients or requirements, I’m calling it, “Acronym Mania” because in order to make them more memorable, I’ve got an acronym for each one. 

MTRB = Multi-Touch Relationship Building

The first one is MTRB, MTRB stands for “Multi-Touch Relationship Building.” It’s kind of amazing to me how many people think about marketing in kind of a one-and-done way. Almost like the old days when you would print a brochure and think that your marketing had been done or people carry that forward into websites being produced or oh, I have a Facebook page now I’m doing social media. 

It is not at all like that. It’s multi touches – which can be email, can be Facebook ads, can be social media posts, YouTube videos. Whatever it is you’re doing, do more of it and make it multi-touches because people are not going to do business with you, people are not going to believe you, if you’re only doing one thing every once in a while. 

AV + C = T Authentic Value + Consistency = Trust

And that really leads us to the second acronym which is AV + C = T. So, this one is really near and dear to my heart because AV is “Authentic Value.” Authentic Value is important because if you’re not offering something that really illustrates what it is you have to offer – what you’re authentic true expertise is and why people would want to do business with because you really have something to offer you’re missing out. If so, you’re not really making a difference because you really need to demonstrate first and foremost that Authentic Value. 

Then the second, “C” is Consistency and this has been a big lesson for me. This is number seven of my weekly video series and I have to tell you the consistency of doing it every week, not only makes a difference to the audience and the viewer because you see me, I’m demonstrating multi touches where you see me on a very regular basis. 

This has shifted my own presence and my own kind of confidence. I have stuff to share that I do think is authentically valuable but the weekly consistency at a minimum makes a huge difference. 

And then the bottom line – the kind of the Holy Grail if you will – in the Connection Economy is Trust. So, if you offer Authentic Value on a consistent basis that equals trust and that trust really is a key ingredient of being successful in the Connection Economy.

BWTTS = Be Willing to Try Stuff Experimentation, Play, Creativity, Fun, Originality

Thirdly, and this is kind of the most fun one is BWTTS, and that stands for “Be Willing To Try Stuff.” 

One of my earlier weekly videos was about “Experimentation” and this is the same point again which is that you need to be willing to try stuff, you need to be willing to experiment, play, be creative, be original, but be original in your own way. 

I really like this saying, I think it’s a book title, “Be yourself because everybody else is taken.” And that you know applies to brands as well as to individuals. 

So, when you do a multi-touch approach and lead with authentic value on a consistent basis, you build trust and then when you do that in a playful experimental way and you, then you try things to find out what works, right? Some things do work, some things don’t work and that’s fine. That’s par for the course, you’ve got to be out there playing, be willing to try stuff. 

Those are three big key ingredients that I think may really make a difference if you’re interested in expanding your online visibility. 

As usual, thank you very much for watching. I really appreciate your attention and I look forward to hearing from you, any comments or feedback are more than welcome. Thanks again, see you next week!

Watch & Learn How Video Connection is the Future of Digital Marketing

Making a personal, human connection via video is more than a trend. It’s a MEGA-trend.

Video is also the one essential marketing strategy that you can’t afford to skip. Here’s why:

I believe that authentic relationship-building is at the heart of meaningful marketing. Given that nothing you can do online builds relationship more powerfully than video, video has become absolutely essential. It’s not only the future of digital marketing, it’s digital marketing’s SUPER-POWER!

Please check out the video below to learn more…

This Weeks Power Briefing: Watch & Learn How Video Connection is the Future of DIgital Marketing

Resources Mentioned in this Video: 

  • The Book: Rehumanize Your Business: How Personal Videos Accelerate Sales and Improve Customer Experience: https://amzn.to/2MLKmcr

Thanks for watching!

EDITED VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, my name is Jon Leland and I’m a digital marketing strategist. I’m here this week to talk to you about why video connection is really the future of digital marketing. 

Connection & Putting People First

I know that that’s a big claim but if you are not creating video connection with the prospects and people that you’re engaging with online, I really think you’re not only missing the wave of the future, you’re missing the opportunity to make meaningful connections and build meaningful relationships that can support your business in the long term.

I was listening to an audio book this week with Seth Godin and he calls what’s going on with all the changes in the ways we communicate, the “connection economy.” And I think that really is apt because we are now making connections and that’s the currency. 

The currency is not just how good you are with the technology, for example or how much you hustle. It’s really the authentic connections that you make. That’s where the real value, that’s where the important stuff happens and the fuel for the connection economy is humanity. It’s your humanity, it’s my humanity, it’s our ability to relate and engage in a meaningful way. 

So, that reminds me to give you the big mega trend – and I can do it very quickly. When I started doing websites back at the beginning of the web in 1995, people were just doing text and then  the next generation was when people started adding images. And immediately I talked to people to tell them don’t use boring stock images that don’t have a face on them, they want to see your face, they want to know who they’re doing business with. 

Going Beyond the Explainer Video

So, I encouraged people to take photos and have their own picture up there. Well, now that video has become so integral to how we engage online, I think we need our faces just like this, on the website which means that your simple two-minute explainer video, all the popular whiteboard animations really are not doing what needs to happen. 

Which is showing who you are and engaging in a meaningful way. And then it really goes to the next level, I’ve been experimenting with an application called “Bomb Bomb” and I want to offer a resource. This is a book by the people that started that application, “Bomb Bomb”, which is a video strategy where you are creating videos inside emails and people are literally creating thousands and thousands of personalized one-on-one emails. And that’s a whole other subject that I’ll get into. 

Relationships Require Multiple Touches

But the bottom line is not only do you need human video to create real engagement, but relationships as I’ve been talking about in these weekly videos which happen through multiple touches. 

So, multiple touches mean you don’t just do that one explainer video. You just don’t do the kind of that one corporate “who we are” video. You really need to have a conversation and be present in a way that people engage with you and I believe that means a minimum of a once a week frequency. 

And I’ll be honest with you, that’s something that has challenged me for a long time. This is actually video number six for me and I’m now ongoing on a weekly basis because I want to walk my talk and I, more importantly, I want to really create the kind of meaningful engagement that I’m talking about. 

So, video connection is the future of online marketing of digital engagement, of digital marketing, all that good stuff. And I’m hoping that you’re doing it too.

I hope this is inspiring and useful, I look forward to your feedback. And as always, I thank you for your kind attention. I really do appreciate that you’re here and you watch and I thank you for that, see you next week!

Here’s Why Experimentation is An Essential Attitude for Successful Digital Marketing

Please FORGET the old “one-and-done” approach to marketing. 

Today’s digital marketing requires EXPERIMENTATION. 

In this short video, I explain why experimentation is absolutely essential for online success. 

While experimentation can be scary for some people, there’s no other way to learn, no other way to get the value of marketplace feedback, and most importantly, there is no other way to build meaningful relationships online.

This weeks Power Briefing, Here’s Why Experimentation is An Essential Attitude for Successful Digital Marketing

It’s true in life and it’s especially true in marketing: You have to be willing to experiment, to try new things, to take risks, and yes, to make mistakes and “fail.”

It’s what I love about the online world: I am always learning, and I have the opportunity to keep trying (and sometimes succeeding) at creating new relationships. That can actually be fun in this crazy online world.

The video below is my latest effort in that regard. At the end of the day, a life (and a marketing plan) without experimentation would be BORING! ☺️

In my considered opinion, if you’re not experimenting, your chances of long term success are basically nonexistent. What do you think?

EDITED VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, my name is Jon Leland and I’m a digital marketing strategist and in this week’s digital marketing Power Briefing, I’m talking about why experimentation is absolutely essential for successful digital marketing. 

As I said before, digital marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. And in fact one of the really amazing things about being involved in online marketing and working a strategy when you do it, is that you get real-world feedback. And the only way that you get real-world feedback is to try things and to experiment. So, that’s why experimentation really is essential: it’s very, very powerful.

But the bad news is that it’s not a one-and-done environment just because you’ve got a website upgrade but that doesn’t mean that you have an online presence. 

It takes communications, consistently like this, that’s kind of why I’m doing weekly videos. I want to be here on a regular basis and I want to reach out and create a relationship. So digital marketing is not one and done. Your website doesn’t mean that you’re finished and even having done a Facebook live video doesn’t mean that you’ve done a video marketing campaign. 

The good news is that you get to explore and you get to experiment and you get to find out things. 

Now a lot of people find that kind of experimentation to be scary, there are all these payoffs like I’ve been talking about. What I find and one of the reasons that we’re now doing monthly retainers with clients is we want to get to know their message, we want to get to know their audience and getting to know, as it implies a relationship. It means that there’s a give-and-take, that you do things, you get feedback, you do things, you get feedback, you make mistakes, you correct them, you do things and learn. 

That’s why experimentation is crucial. It’s the only way you learn, it’s the only way that you can discover and have an adventure with it. And most importantly it’s really the only way that you can develop a relationship and see what works, see what connects and find out. 

So I’ll leave you with a quote, “success is not final, failure is not fatal it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill. 

So thank you so much for watching, I really appreciate your kind attention. I look forward to hearing from you and your feedback. I’ll see you again next week!

Why a Website Without ROI is like a Bank Account without Money

As a digital marketing strategist, I HATE seeing businesses waste their money with ineffective websites and lame online marketing.

For this reason, I champion strategies that produce real tangible results. Why would you have it any other way?

In this week’s Digital Marketing Power Briefing video, I address both the challenges and the strategies that are part of a website that produces a measurable return on investment (ROI):

This weeks Power Briefing, Why a Website without ROI is like a Bank Account without Money

Don’t fall for the “get rich quick” BS or let yourself be overwhelmed by all the software options. Your web presence should impact your bottom line, and that’s the real bottom line! 🙂 

EDITED VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, and welcome to this week’s digital marketing Power Briefing. My name is Jon Leland and I’m a digital marketing strategist and this week we’re talking about why a website without ROI is like a bank account without money. 

You know, we do online marketing for a lot of reasons, I’ll start with a quick caveat and say, you know if all your business needs is a brochure website: great, no problem, good for you. 

But if you’re looking for your website to be part of a marketing plan, if you’re looking for your website to be part of a business plan then it needs to have a return on investment. There needs to be a real ROI, it’s common sense of course; but so many businesses have websites and no real strategy to get a return on investment and it’s easy to understand. 

Digital marketing, online marketing can be frustrating. It can be overwhelming and worst of all, it can be infested with get-rich-quick schemers and unprofessional, you know, marketing people that just don’t get the job done and get a return. 

I’m here to tell you that online marketing could be fun, it can be about creating meaningful relationships. I hope that’s what we’re doing here, that I’m communicating some value and you appreciate what’s being offered. 

Regardless of whether we ever do business together, business is about relationships. Websites need to build relationships for the long-term and have a strategy with multiple touches then you can get a real return on investment, a real ROI. That makes digital marketing a whole different animal, a whole different ball game. 

So, don’t fall for all the BS, don’t waste your time on BS, get real marketing strategies that are designed for a real return, even if you have to experiment and take action. 

Have a plan, have a marketing plan, have a business plan, and work strategies that produce a real return on investment. 

I want to keep this video short but if you’re interested in more information about what I call Relationship Funnels, which is a strategy that returns on the investment then go to bit.ly/website-broken. And that’s this week’s digital marketing Power Briefing. 

I look forward to your feedback, let me know what else you want to hear about. Subscribe, follow, and all that good stuff. Thanks so much for your attention, bye for now!

Why “SEO” is So “Yesterday” For Small Business Online Marketing

This week’s Digital Marketing Power Briefing video (below) is about an online marketing subject that is widely understood, and in my opinion, it has become quite passé for businesses looking for immediate results.

In fact, SEO is often the first kind of marketing support that people request after they’ve done a website redesign. The truth is that for lots of businesses, SEO is the only website marketing strategy that they have ever heard of! Sad but true. But SEO is not really a strategy, it’s only one tool among many; and in many ways, it’s out of date… or “so yesterday!” 😎

I made this video to explain why:

This week’s Digital Marketing Power Briefing video. Your feedback please. Any questions? What would you like me to cover in future weeks?

I’m not saying that SEO is meaningless, but in terms of online marketing strategies that can produce REAL results, in a reasonably short period of time, it has become, well, passé.

I’m passionate about this subject because I’m committed to supporting progressive and forward-thinking organizations to make a difference, and that means implementing digital marketing strategies that produce tangible results (like list-building and opportunities for multiple “touches”). This is important because these “more modern” strategies help build meaningful relationships and offer a respectable ROI.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask from an investment in marketing. Do you?

I explain more about why SEO is so “yesterday” for small business online marketing in this video, OR if you want to hear about the very modern strategy that I call “Relationship Funnels,” please check out my “Your Website is Broken Power Briefing” videos herehttp://bit.ly/website-broken 

Thanks for watching and I look forward to hearing from you.

Edited video transcript:

Hi, my name is Jon Leland and I’m a digital marketing strategist. This is another in my new weekly series of digital marketing Power Briefings. Today I’m talking about SEO and why SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is so yesterday in terms of small business online marketing. 

Businesses say they need help with “SEO” when they mean lead generation.

In fact, I get inquiries in my business from small businesses looking for SEO services. (They say:) “We need more SEO on our website.” Really they’re not talking about SEO, they’re talking about we need more traffic, which really means we need more business. And those are really different things! 

SEO is just one way to drive more traffic but just driving more traffic is not a digital marketing strategy. 

Have You Asked “What Happens Next?”

So let’s dig into it. I have four specific reasons to share with you. First of all, I really need to say that when you think about a digital marketing strategy, the question that I always want businesses to think about is “what happens next?” 

That’s a really important question because to me, marketing and business in general is really about relationships. I’m making this video as an invitation for us to have more of a relationship; and relationships happen through multiple touches, through interactions, through ongoing presence in the marketplace… having a real conversation. 

Just getting traffic to your website does not create a conversation. 

If you’re interested in more about how that kind of relationship develops, I want to invite you to the bigger Power Briefing (video) that’s at http://bit.ly/website-broken. That’s where I really delve into Relationship Funnels. 

So sorry for the unabashed little promo there, but that is where I talk about this with more depth.

TIME TO MARKET: What’s Your Time Window to Get Results? 

Let’s talk about the four reasons why SEO is so yesterday in terms of online marketing. 

The first reason that SEO is really kind of “yesterday” has to do with the time frame or the time to market, you know, how long are you willing to wait to get the traffic that you want in order to have the meaningful interactions that you need. 

SEO as a strategy takes at least six months, probably six months to a year, as opposed to Facebook Ads or Google Ads, or what have you. Those can get a more immediate result. 

So, that’s something that a lot of businesses don’t really understand, (and many) don’t really have the patience, or sometimes they need the cash flow quicker, so they need faster results. 

So, thinking about implementing a strategy that’s a long-term commitment like six months to a year to get SEO traffic is has obvious limitations. 

LIMITED TARGETING: What’s Your Targeting Strategy?

The second reason that SEO is pretty “yesterday” is the limited nature of the targeting. When you work an SEO strategy, on the organic side of Search Engine Optimization, you really are looking at building a web page-per-keyword phrase. And that’s really pretty clunky in terms of the ability to get your message out there. 

The targeting, for example, with Google Ads, you have no limit to the number of keyword phrases, as opposed to needing landing pages that are optimized for each keyword phrase that you want to target and bring traffic, attract traffic with. 

So, SEO is also pretty yesterday given the fact that the targeting is so limited. 

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING REQUIRES MULTIPLE TOUCHES

The third reason that I don’t think that SEO is a very viable approach right now is that it doesn’t reflect a marketing strategy. 

A real relationship building, marketing strategy requires multiple touches. When people say they need SEO on their website, they’re only thinking about the need for more traffic. They’re not thinking about a strategic process that involves multiple touches, real engagement, and real relationship building.

And the other reason that SEO is very limited from the point of view of relationship-building is it doesn’t involve any remarketing. When you install the Facebook Pixel on a website, you have the ability to remarket to those people. When you make your email list a custom audience for example, inside Facebook advertising, again you’re having multiple follow-ups and multiple touches.

SEO just doesn’t have that capability. 

FLEXIBILITY & CHOICE

The fourth and final reason is flexibility and choice. I look at digital marketing as a kind of experimentation and you really want to involve lots of different ways to bring traffic to your website and begin the process of engagement, relationship building and multiple touches.

SEO it’s not a strategy. It is a way to bring organic traffic; but it is a very limited one and something that I am saying is “yesterday.”

And again if you’re interested in an approach to real relationship building, I want to invite you to check out my Relationship Funnel Power Briefing at http://bit.ly/website-broken. Most websites are broken because they’re not doing the kind of engagement that I’m talking about. 

So, in summary, SEO is a limited strategy, I want you to get involved in more, real relationship building, with multiple touches, and an ongoing presence in the marketplace. 

I hope that this video was useful and valuable, as that’s what these Power Briefings are all about. 

Please let me know what you want me to cover in future weeks. I’m happy to do that. And thank you so much for your kind attention, I really appreciate it and I look forward to hearing from you!

5 Reasons NOT to Hire an In-House Digital Marketing Manager

Shine Online with Less Stress & More Profitability

The need to create an effective, engaging and profitable online presence can present serious challenges, and many organizations struggle to find appropriate resources that help produce meaningful results. A frequent mistake is to think that hiring an in-house digital marketing manager will make things easier.

Nagging Questions

Do you have a nagging feeling that your customers are out there on social media or searching on Google, but you don’t have the expertise to get your company or organization the visibility that it needs? Do you hear about other organizations profiting from online/digital marketing but feel like you’re missing out on opportunities?  Do social media, email marketing, blog posts and other kinds of content marketing just feel like a waste of time and a money sinkhole?

Making this situation even more frustrating, you would like your in-house staff to take care of this for you, right? Perhaps you could hire a low-budget young person? Don’t all young people understand how to use social media? Well, from the point of view of results-oriented strategy, no, they don’t.

Warning: A Word to the Wise

This blog post is your warning. Be careful. Hiring new in-house staff might not really save you money and, more importantly, you might not get the meaningful results you want and need. And if you don’t get the results you need, what’s the point?

Before you interview for a new team member, take a breath, pause and consider the key benefits of working with an affordable, talented digital marketing agency like us.

Yes, no doubt, we are making a self-serving point here. But don’t let that hold you back. We are ONLY interested in win-win relationships. Your success is our success. Seriously.

So, if you are considering an in-house digital marketing manager, here are five reasons why we think that we can do a better job at a comparable cost while saving you a ton of frustration and stress:

1. Simpler, Powered by Experts

Hiring a new employee who you have to manage in an area that’s not your expertise takes your focus away from your other responsibilities. If online marketing isn’t in your particular skill set, chances are you don’t want to manage a new hire and clutter your day and your mind with things you’d prefer to leave—and that would be better off leaving—to someone else. Why not be guided by experts?

2. Fewer Hassles, Fewer Expenses

A new hire costs you both time and money. But with ComBridges doing your online marketing, you don’t have to pay benefits, employee taxes or overhead costs. There’s no need to find space in your office, nor do you need to do employee on-boarding. The HR staff will save time, too. A new member of your in-house team can also affect company culture and morale in unpredictable ways. Simpler can be better.  

3. More Scalable

Your success is our success and we are built to grow with you, without you ever having to invest in increasing overhead expenses. As long as what we are doing is working for your organization, we keep going; and as appropriate, we keep growing with you. In other words, we will grow our efforts as you achieve new levels of success. All along the way, our work together will never create space and cost challenges for you.

4. Talent You Can Trust

No matter how carefully you check resumes, no matter how thorough your interview process, there’s no certainty that your new hire will meet all your requirements and be a good fit for your culture. Why struggle with a newcomer who may still be trying to figure things out, when you can work with experienced experts? We produce results that you can trust.

Our company has a 34-year track record with results-oriented marketing communications. We have an already-established “tool kit” and systematic strategies that we use to customize social media presence and to implement digital marketing strategies that we know work.

5. Consistent Results

In-house digital marketing managers often take a hit-and-miss or shotgun approach. On the other hand, we understand that online marketing is about building relationships. We will customize a strategic approach that is designed to build authentic, sustainable relationships with your customers and prospects.

That’s what we do.

Recommendations to Help You Make the Right Decision

  • Be clear about your goals for social media and digital marketing. Focus on real results.
  • Choose resources and virtual team members that you can trust to make your investment in marketing more profitable.
  • Consider all of the possible pros-and-cons of hiring in-house.
  • Aim to make your work easier rather than more complicated.
  • Build your team with empowering collaborators who can help take your company to the next level

If you can see that this approach may have benefits for your company or organization, we would welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have.

Click here to schedule a free consultation.

The Marketing Power of a More Human Web

What Makes the Biggest Difference? People Who LOVE to Help Others.

Some things should not be counter-intuitive, but they are.

The fact is that, despite the “muddy waters” created by “get rich quick” hucksters on the web, the web that I know and love is populated by some really good people who love to help others with their online businesses.

Yes, while it is true that the internet has many trolls and political “flames,” with this blog post, I would like to illuminate, via example, the dynamics of “the more human web.” It’s where I prefer to hang out, and it’s full of people and businesses actively creating meaningful, valuable relationships.

When Authenticity Pops-Up at You

Here’s a little story—and a new online course platform that I’ve discovered. It illustrates the fun and exciting ways that humanity can intersect digital marketing and business.

Recently, I was researching options for hosting an online course. Thanks to a referral by a new email provider, ConvertKit, that I’m using to segment and better target my various email lists, I stumbled upon the online course hosting platform, Coach.

As I arrived at the Coach website, in the usual way, I was immediately greeted by a live chat.

Because of my conversational nature, however cautiously (because these kinds of chats are not often useful), I began interacting with Spencer, the rep on the other side of the live chat. I presumed that Spencer was an agent, employed by Coach to help the sales process.

However, as we chatted, the banter was above average and his joyful enthusiasm for his online course platform seemed more authentic than I would have expected. He seemed authentically interested in helping. And then, much to my surprise, it wasn’t long before Spencer made it clear that he is one of the founders of the company.

How many founders have you seen on the front lines of customer service? I was impressed.

The truth emerged that Coach is committed to authentic engagement and exemplary personalized customer service, and their founder was walking his talk on the front lines. What more can you ask than to have a founder on the live chat, instantly ready to assist you?!? And, beyond my own instincts, the truth of Spencer’s authenticity was brought home when I discovered his enthusiasm for helping entrepreneurs via his personal blog post, “Why I started Coach: The 3 reasons I decided to launch my 4th company.” Both reasons #2 and #3 are about loving to help people.

Relationship Marketing: More Than a Buzzword

This is precisely what relationship marketing is about: The Relationship. And when it manifests organically like this, it isn’t a tactic. It’s not something that you can fake. It requires a company culture when the players genuinely care about the potential clients and how they can authentically help them. This goes WAY beyond tracking “engagement statistics.”

For me, when you find it at a company and a quality of service like I’ve experienced at Coach, I naturally want to become an advocate. Right here, right now, it’s fun for me to share with you about how this personal relationship evolved out of what is more often a mundane sales interaction.

Isn’t it only right that when you find this kind of relationship, you stay loyal to it and you tell others about it?

This concept is so simple, yet so few people actually make it a reality.

Taking Our Relationship to the Next Level

I’ve heard it said that what you focus on expands. I know the kind of web that I want. One that is built on authentic relationships. Thus, as a result, I’ve enjoyed getting to know Spencer and have begun to experiment with Coach (my book, “Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know” is already available via Coach here, and online courses on Squarespace website creation and Social Media for Social Action are in the works.)

And, more immediately (drum roll please), I’m also going a step further! Next Thursday, June 8th, Spencer will be my special guest on a Social Video Sandbox Session (my somewhat regular informal webinar-style interviews) where we will be sharing insights about online course creation. I hope you will join us and get to know both of us better!

Marketing Tip: I’m finding these kinds of live streaming video sessions to be a great way to extend relationships with members of my lists and online communities who are interested. More info and the opportunity to join us, click here.

The Real Bottom Line

It’s been a long held value and a core operating principle of mine that “business is about relationships.” When I speak and lead workshops (and also in my book), I articulate the fundamental goal of digital marketing to be “building authentic, long term, sustainable relationships.” Without that, I don’t think we are building a better world, no matter how much money we might make.

So, please be one of those people on the web that is doing good. When you do, you will find that you are part of wonderful networks or tribes of people that are doing likewise by “paying it forward.” If you’re not already working and playing in this way, try it. You’ll like it. It feels good and it works.

More importantly, this approach, in my opinion, is what makes doing business worthwhile.

I look forward to your comments please!