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Comments Off on Video Content Strategy: What you need to know today

Video Content Strategy: What you need to know today

It’s 2012 and you have a web site, a Facebook page, you’re Tweeting, and sending SMS text messages to your customers.  Are you also using online video to close the sale?  You should be.  The costs of production have come down significantly and the use of Youtube makes it relatively easy for anyone on any budget to get going with video to help spread their message.

A warning though:  if you do use video, don’t just make commercials or people will treat them just like commercials. Give something of value from your area of expertise to your potential audience.  It’s the same advice I give for posting anything in social media.

Onlinevideo.net asked C.C. Chapman* for his take on the essentials of online video and he came back with these recommendations for improving any video content strategy:

1. Do Something Unexpected

Playing it safe gets boring, and your customers will stop clicking on your links if you give them the same content week after week. Freshen up your video strategy by going for the unexpected. Show viewers something they haven’t seen before. Think fun and unique, says Chapman. But remember, unexpected doesn’t mean inappropriate.

2. Plan it out Ahead of Time

People like to dive in and start making videos, says Chapman, often skipping the crucial planning stages. Begin by creating a video schedule for the next six months, brainstorming ideas and mapping out topics. Think ahead of time about what camera equipment and other resources you’ll need for each shoot. Having a plan means you’re more likely to follow through on video creation, and more likely to follow a set online posting schedule. That’s important if you want to attract regular viewers.

3. Talk Like a Human

Jargon is the bane of good communication. The purpose of your videos is to engage with your customers, so leave the acronyms and industry-specific buzzwords aside. “Nobody wants to watch that,” says Chapman. Instead, speak from the heart. If your on-air talent is reading from a teleprompter, make sure it doesn’t sound like he or she is reading from a teleprompter. There’s nothing worse than reading from a script and being boring.

4. Don’t Be a Slave to Length

Anyone making online videos has heard several times that shorter is better, that people will get anxious and click-off after two minutes, three tops. That’s true, notes Chapman, but don’t let it hold you hostage. There’s nothing wrong with going longer when the subject demands it. Keep your video as short as possible, but take the time you need to properly cover your topic. Don’t try to stuff your material into a length that’s too short. If you’re offering quality content, your viewers will watch it no matter the length.

5. Be Helpful

“Share or solve, don’t shill,” says Chapman, and that’s a good rule of thumb for any company making online videos. Chances are your sales team gets certain questions all the time. Online video is a great place to answer those questions. Your customers are more likely to share videos that they found helpful, so try to solve some problems. Whatever industry you’re in, create helpful tips for that industry. “If you can educate and entertain your viewers, you’ve done very, very well,” adds Chapman.

*C.C. Chapman is the author of Content Rules, a guide to content strategy. He’s also currently writing a book on people who made careers out of their passions. Video shot for that book is at Passion Hit TV, and the book should be on sale in the fall.

Comments Off on Is Pinterest something you should be paying attention to?

Is Pinterest something you should be paying attention to?

Have you even heard of Pinterest?  It is a new type of image-based social media that allows you to easily share your interests and items that you find with others on the Internet. This article breaks down how to use it, and gives some valuable hints as to how it can help your business.

Getting started

  1. Go to the Pinterest.com website. It’s found at: http://www.pinterest.com. If you don’t have an account already, click “Request an Invite” on the home page. Check your mail in the next day or so and click on the link that is sent to you to create an account.
    Welcoming screen of Pinterest.Com

    Welcoming screen of Pinterest.Com

  2. Log in. You can log in with either Facebook or Twitter. Create a password to go with it.
    Creating your Pinterest account

    Creating your Pinterest account

  3. Click on images or items that catch your interest. Then click on “Follow People.” Doing this will get you started on the site.
    Choose your Pinterests

    Choose your Pinterests

  4. Check out the people you’re now following. You can unfollow later, if you choose.

Pinboards

  1. Create your own Pinboards. You can start with the titles that the website suggests when you sign up, or you can create your own.
    Creating pinboards

    Creating pinboards

  2. Start by checking out the Pinboards of the people you’re already following. When you first sign up, you’ll be asked to choose interests. Pinterest will assign you people to follow based on these interests. Click on the name of anyone on your homepage to view their list of pinboards.
    Click a name to see the user's list of pinboards

    Click a name to see the user’s list of pinboards

  3. Look for more pinboards to follow. If you want, you can search to find pinboards beyond the ones assigned to you. Enter your query into the search bar at the top of the page and press enter. Then, click on “boards” at the top of the page. When you find one that you like, click Follow.
  4. Repin pins. If you find a pin on a user’s board that you like, you can repin it to your board.
    • Roll over the image and click “repin.”
    • Choose whether you’d like to add the pin to an existing board or create a new one.
    • Write a description and click Pin It!
  5. Like Pins. Another way to show your appreciation for certain pins is to “like” them. To do so, roll over the picture and click “like.”
    • To view your liked pins, go to your profile by clicking on your name in the upper right corner. Then, click “Likes” at the top of your profile.
    • Read the full article on wikihow..
Comments Off on Two ways to ensure that your entire email is rendered by default in the iPhone & iPad

Two ways to ensure that your entire email is rendered by default in the iPhone & iPad

By Michelle Klann

While using the native email clients for the iPhone and iPad, we noticed that in approximately 10-15% of our test emails, the reader only displayed a small segment of the original email. When this happens, it renders the loaded portion of the email with a button at the bottom which reads: “Download remaining XX bytes.” Often times the button appears below the fold, especially in landscape view, making it easy to miss.

Most of the time, when the button is touched the remainder of the email is rendered. In other instances, we’ve

seen it load a second portion of the email with no option for downloading the remainder. When the device is flipped from portrait to landscape the entire message shows, when it is flipped back the entire message remains – which leads us to believe that this is an iOS glitch.

In this particular example, the only thing that is loaded from the beginning is the header image and the button appears well below the fold. Also, the email doesn’t fully download after tapping the button. If you flip the phone to landscape view, it looks ok. If you flip it back, everything still looks ok.

Another thing to point out is that most of the original email was not loaded from the beginning. Therefore there’s no content being displayed just under the subject line in the inbox:

This might cause people to avoid opening the email in the first place. Yikes!

If you’d like to see this in action on the iPad as well, here’s the original HTML version.

So what’s the fix?

  1. Make sure that you have a minimum of 1,019 characters before your closing head tag (</head>) including spaces and carriage returns.If you don’t have any need for more styles nor a style block, try inserting several lines of empty spaces.

    Strange right? This fixed the problem in each of the emails we tested. Oddly enough, I think 1,024 characters totals a single KB – so this might actually be caused by some type of iOS buffering issue.

  2. If your email is below 10k, you can try removing all carriage returns and double spaces. We’ve seen instances where the download button no longer showed up if the email was at or below 7k. This option would by my last resort.

Here are some of the notes we took while testing just in case the above suggestions do not work for you:

  1. The issue occurs with the exact same emails on the iPhone and iPad which leads us to the conclusion that it’s an iOS thing, we tested in iOS4 and iOS5.
  2. It’s not sender specific – this eliminates issues with sender reputation.
  3. It’s not column specific.
  4. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with nested tables.
  5. Some tests that are over 25K render just fine yet others that are less than 10K cause the issue.
  6. The amount that is left to download is not consistent in each of the emails that triggered the issue.
  7. There’s no clear reason why it gets cut off and from where within the email.
  8. Doesn’t seem to be due to meta tags, DOCTYPE, nor media queries. Note: When tinkering with these variables, you might create/resolve the issue because you are switching up the total number of characters before the closing head tag.
  9. It has nothing to do with the internet service (ie: being temporarily interrupted).
  10. There doesn’t appear to be any caching – if an email is opened, then downloaded, the same issue will happen if the exact same email is sent again.
  11. The date/time settings on each of my devices are correct.
  12. I have seen people say that it happens when receiving mail on an Exchange account, I am using a POP3 account and I’m still seeing the issue.
  13. It doesn’t seem to be effected by images, I was able to recreate the issue with all images removed.
  14. It is not caused by html entities (&nbsp).
  15. I tried replacing all the content with Latin and that still didn’t fix it – that rules out content.
  16. It’s not caused by empty table cells.
  17. It’s not a special character – I tried cutting/pasting into Notepad and then I resent the email.

For more info and visual examples, please see the original article…

Comments Off on Teaching Good Customer Service

Teaching Good Customer Service

By Dr. David G. Javitch

Is customer service important? Is customer service every employee’s responsibility?

The clear answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes! And more important, the major responsibility for creating a customer friendly atmosphere begins with you, the boss. Not only are you responsible for teaching first-rate customer service skills, but as their leader, you must demonstrate these behaviors and be a role model for your employees. Without positive examples from you, they’re not likely to improve.

But just why is customer service so crucially important to the success of your company?

Whether or not your employees work specifically as customer service people, as the head of your organization, you must instill in all your employees one key strategic thought and direction: If you’re going to create a positive and productive business environment, everyone must speak and relate to customers and potential customers as if each person were their paycheck. Because, in fact, they are.

Tell your employees to seriously consider this startling truth: If customers don’t keep coming back and purchasing your company’s products or services, there will be no company. And obviously, if there’s no company–or if you’re forced to downsize–many of the people working for you now may lose their jobs.

I bet you’ll have your employee’s complete attention.

Read the full article at Entrepreneur…

Comments Off on Responding to Comments on Your Company’s Blog

Responding to Comments on Your Company’s Blog

Most business bloggers come to the social media world with an inherent fear of opening yourself and your company up to comments from whomever might want to make them. Even those of us who have been doing this for a while recognize the challenge of encouraging healthy conversation while propelling the company image forward.

Here are a few useful pointers when preparing to respond to comments, on a blog or elsewhere in the social media world.  It’s vital to have a plan for how to manage comments—not just the workflow with respect to approving, reading, responding—but also, the perspective necessary to distance yourself from the sentiment or opinion being expressed.

Don’t Take It Personally
One of the key things that will help you is to forget about getting people to agree with you all the time, but rather, work on maintaining the momentum of the conversation you started, and guide it back to your central point. It’s not important whether everyone agrees with your view, but it is critical to acknowledge and appreciate reader participation, keep the conversation interesting, and to guide the conversation in the desired direction.

Categorize Responses
If you’ve only experienced  comments on your local newspaper site or YouTube, you may not have a very good opinion of user generated comments. Contrary to the sometimes low-quality comments you find there, most blogs where the author participates find a higher level of discourse. If you want to build an online community, blogging can help if you have a plan in place to foster participation.

  • Good comments are those that propel the momentum of the conversation.
  • Bad comments can be weak, spammy, or try to bait the author.
  • Ugly comments use profanity or abusive language toward author, readers, or others

By defining comments in this manner, you remove sentiment or agreement from the equation—a comment that agrees with the opinion of the author (and may even be complimentary) could fall under good, bad, or ugly, depending on how it is expressed.

Good blogs stimulate vibrant conversation—they don’t try to control it.

Comments Off on Placing Your Ads on YouTube with Google AdWords: Part 2

Placing Your Ads on YouTube with Google AdWords: Part 2

by Chris Crompton, ROI Revolution Blog

video-targeting.png

In Part 1 of this series, I showed how to launch YouTube promoted videos through Google AdWords.  When you promote one of your videos, you are paying YouTube to funnel more traffic to the video… but the traffic still stays on YouTube.  (Of course, you can include a call-to-action link in your video that goes to your website, but that is more a feature of the video than a specific advertising strategy.)

You probably want to do more than just get people to watch one of your videos in an environment controlled by YouTube.  You want to get people to come to your website where they can take a desired action and you can make money.

There are multiple ways you can get your ads to show on YouTube searches, inside and alongside other people’s videos.  With the right targeting, this can be a very profitable way to take advantage of YouTube’s enormous amount of traffic.

Read more…

Comments Off on How to Put Your Ads on YouTube

How to Put Your Ads on YouTube

original article on ROI Revolution Blog

In search volume alone, YouTube is the #2 search engine behind Google itself. Yet even with its gigantic size, it is easy for YouTube to get passed up by online advertisers. Many advertisers ignore the opportunity due to the convoluted process required to explicitly target YouTube with ads. This means there is less competition for ad space on YouTube and great rewards for those who can crack the code.

youtube-promoted-video-example.png

YouTube is both a search engine when searching for videos and a content site when watching videos. While there are a few high-dollar ad buys available directly through YouTube, most of the ad inventory can be purchased through Google AdWords on a CPC or CPM basis. Generally speaking, YouTube as a search engine is reached through a search targeted AdWords campaign. YouTube as a content site is reached through a content or placement targeted AdWords campaign.

YouTube Promoted Video Ads

When you do a search on YouTube, two types of ads can show up: sponsored text ads and promoted video ads. The sponsored text ads are brought in through YouTube’s search partnership with Google. If your campaign is opted into the search partner network it is automatically eligible to display on YouTube search results. You can’t explicitly target your text ads on the YouTube search results page — it happens behind the scenes.

You can, however, explicitly target the YouTube search results page with a promoted video. A promoted video is a YouTube video you pay to get people to watch. You’d probably only want to do this if there is some call to action in the video itself that will encourage viewers to visit your actual website after watching your video.

If there is a promoted video eligible for display on a YouTube search result page (i.e. if you are bidding on that query), it will always rank higher than sponsored text ads. This is because YouTube wants to keep people on their own site. The sponsored text ads link to external sites while the sponsored video ads link to a specific video on YouTube.

How to post your promoted video ad…

1. Create a Google AdWords campaign opted into both Google Search and Google Search Partners in the campaign settings. If you want your promoted video ad displayed on relevant video watch pages across YouTube, you must also opt into Google’s content network. You may wish to create a separate campaign for this purpose so you can use different keyword lists for YouTube search vs. YouTube content targeting.

search-partners-target.png

2. Create your ad groups as you would normally, but skew the keywords toward searches that woudisplay-ad-builder-select.pngld be popular on YouTube. You can use the YouTube keyword suggestion tool for ideas.

3. The ads themselves are what makes this a YouTube promoted video campaign. Don’t include any standard text or image ads, otherwise the network settings above will kick in and you’ll indeed be targeting Google search + partners. Include only ads of a specific format: a Display Ad Builder ad using the “YouTube Promoted Videos Template.” This is found in the “Audio and Video” category of Display Ad Builder. Once you choose this format, you’ll be able to select the YouTube video you wish to promote.

youtube-promoted-video.png

What about getting people to your own website? You’re paying Google/YouTube to get someone to visit another page on YouTube’s site. That can’t be your end goal. Of course your video will probably mention your website and you’ll probably have a link to your site in the video description — but YouTube gives you another call to action link you need to use: a Call-to-Action Overlay.

A call-to-action overlay resembles a sponsored text ad at the bottom of your video. It shows up at the bottom of your video for a brief period of time during the video and then at the end of the video. The difference from a sponsored text ad is that it doesn’t say “sponsored ad,” it is free for you to use, and it links to your own website.

Before posting your promoted video campaign, perform the following steps to activate your call-to-action overlay:

1. Sign in to your YouTube account
2. Click Account at the top of your dashboard.
3. Click Edit next to the video you will be promoting.
4. Fill in all required fields under Call-to-Action Overlay.
5. Click save changes when you’re done making all changes to your video.

Here are helpful tips from Google on how to optimize your promoted video campaigns.
In part 2 of this post you’ll lean how to target the content side of YouTube and get your ads displaying on relevant videos.

Comments Off on Eight Steps to Powerful, Irresistable Emails

Eight Steps to Powerful, Irresistable Emails

Email marketing is powerful, inexpensive, and frankly, a must for most small businesses and organizations today. So how can you make it work as well for you as you want it to?  We’ve adapted the following eight steps from a white paper by the email service, YesMail.

The content for your email is of course, hugely important, and the structure of your email matters more
than you might think.  By following these 8 steps, people won’t be able to help themselves; they’ll want
to open your emails and act on them (translation – they’ll read then buy).

1.  The more you know
The more familiar you are with your target audience, the better you can determine what the best
message is to convey to them.  Your message needs to be tailored to suit your objective and your
audience at the same time.

2.  Don’t go all “Tolstoy” on them
It’s not the time to struggle with your inner author. If you want to get overly descriptive and drawn
out, go write a book.  For email, you always need to keep your messages short and sweet. One or
two short paragraphs with brief sentences should be enough to get your message across.  People
don’t want to think too much and you’ve only got a few seconds to impress the reader enough to
click and take an action within your message.  Try being clever, or bring in some humor to the mix.
Think about how you react when you get a good email offer that engages you, and actually contains
something you really, really want.  Something you just have to have.  The response you desire is
almost caveman basic: “Offer good.  Me want to buy.”

3.  Get their attention
Clearly spell out the offer right up front.  Don’t let your audience lose interest in your message before
you even hit them with the goods.  Highlight the top reasons the offer is a must have and emphasize
the valid time frame for the offer right away.  This sense of urgency will be a nagging inner voice,
reminding them about this great deal.  Example:  “Limited time offer – 25% off Pool Repair when you
buy a deluxe pool cleaning kit by April 3rd, 2009!”  Summer is around the corner, that crack might get
bigger, and that kit will help Johnny keep the bugs and leaves out!  You get the idea.

4.  Taking action
Be sure to have call to action links to make it uber-easy for a customer to take the next step.  Include
links right at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of your email to help them take action.  In
addition to the offer itself, provide supporting documents, a free download, and a link to your website
for more information.  They are going to hop, skip and jump around your message.  Be ready for them
– and collect their contact information whenever it makes sense.

5.  Sally sells sea shells
You need to make sure your content reads well.  Read it out loud.  Seriously – find a quiet space, and let
it roll.  If your content reads like a tongue twister, or feels like you’re stumbling trying to get the words
out, it’s not going to be an easy read for the recipient.  It’s time to rewrite. When you’re confident in
your masterpiece, ask someone else to review it – they might have some great suggestions that you
didn’t even think of, or catch some grammatical errors that you skipped right over.

6.  Simplicity in design
A simple design is the most pleasing to the eye.  Don’t get overly complicated with format.  Loads of
graphics put the brain on sensory overload.   However, you need to strive for the right balance.  Have
a picture of your product or offering?  Add it in.  Offering a service of sorts?  Add in a nice graphic to
illustrate.  The right balance of pictures and text are an email’s best friend.
Be sure you are consistent with your style and image for follow on email campaigns – it helps the
customer remember you, and respond accordingly.

7.  Match the shoes with the bag
The subject line is the first thing folks will read when your email hits their inbox, so you need to make
sure your subject line relates to the topic of your email.  After your email is all laid out, it’s time to
think of the perfect subject line that will entice folks to open it up.

8.  Learn the lessons well, Grasshopper.
Track and measure your email campaigns.  Note how many emails bounce, get trashed without being
opened, and record how many visits you get to your website.  After a time, you can compare the
effectiveness of your campaigns and discern why one did better than another.  This will allow you to
learn from past mistakes, and make any tweaks you think necessary for the next round.
Your email marketing campaigns are sure to evolve as you fine tune your offerings with lessons learned
from past campaigns.  Give these proven and sound tactics a try. You’ve got nothing to lose, and many
sales to gain.