Make this Pandemic the Reason You Publish Your First Video

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects worldwide. You know this. I know this. We all know this. It has affected every area of life for billions of people and, for many of us, doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. The sad reality is we all know at least one local business that couldn’t sustain the catastrophic loss and made the heartbreaking decision to close its doors permanently.

During this time, we’ve seen many service-based businesses transform day-to-day operations and products, or pivot entirely, in order to survive these darker times. We’ve also witnessed certain industries modify their service and adjust to the circumstances to effectively wait out the storm.

A good example of visible brands who have done their best to modify how they operate would be some of our favorite talk shows, such as The View, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert billed as A Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah billed as The Daily Social Distancing Show, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. The hosts and their respective production teams have proven once again that in this age of technology all we really need is good internet connection and a little ingenuity.

While it’s no secret that many of these show hosts have openly expressed frustration due to limited resources and creative opportunities, not to mention seeing more than a handful of technical difficulties and on-air snafus that would have normally been edited out, this could also serve as a glimmer of inspiration for many small business owners. The reason is, because most people think of talk show hosts as being television superstars. However, being a star on camera is a heck of a lot easier when you’re on a legit soundstage with an entire team of professionals handling all the technical details. It’s a completely different story when that same person is forced to record from the attic or spare bedroom and has to multitask handling the bulk of operations.

If these television heavyweights can put together enough content to cover multiple segments spanning anywhere from 20-40 minutes on a daily basis using only their laptops and smart devices coupled with downloadable software and free social media apps; then there’s no excuse for entrepreneurs who are hesitant to use these same readily available tools to communicate with their customers. Starting out, this could be a very simple three-minute video delivered on a weekly basis for the purpose of informing customers and building awareness. That’s it. It doesn’t need to be elaborate and this can be easily incorporated into your online marketing strategy.

For those that have been on the fence with video content creation or have been reluctant to start for one reason or another, then let this worldwide slowdown be the exact opportunity you’ve been waiting for to begin. Time is no longer a factor because the pandemic has afforded most of us more than enough time on our hands. As mentioned above, many nationally recognized and admired talk show hosts have openly shared their previously limited expertise with technology and the need for a crash course in software and social media tools if they had any hope of staying connected with their fans. They’ve also laughed about the many glitches and blunders with their makeshift home studios. If they can do this to reach their millions of viewers nationwide then you can do it to reach the people in your online sphere.

To help get the ball rolling, let’s focus our attention on three main areas.

[1] Choose content that your audience wants to know about.

Take a moment to think about those frequently asked questions that you receive. These could be common questions about your particular service, the industry in general, or typical problems and pain points of your ideal customers. Imagine someone approached you to ask one of these very common questions. How would you respond to address the individual’s concern? More than likely, you’ve answered this question so many times that providing a well-thought response would be second nature. Well, that’s all you’re doing with these informative and content rich videos for your audience. The only difference being that this conversation will be rehearsed and recorded for public consumption.

Typically, I’ll have my clients write down ten frequently asked questions or common problems their customers face. That’s all we need to begin. Once you have these ten key points written down, then it’s time to take a closer look at how you’ll structure and deliver the information.

[2] Choose a format that can be easily applied. Here are three basic video styles.

Q&A –Pose the frequently asked question at the beginning of the video and then provide your expert answer. Be sure to include supporting information for the sake of clarity. Remember your viewer probably doesn’t have your extensive background and knowledge base so keep it simple.

Did You Know –This informative style can be causal and even conversational as you express your message. You’ve probably started thousands of friendly discussions like this over your lifetime. Use this format to build awareness with your audience.

How to –Just as it sounds, this format shows the person how to do something. It may sound counterintuitive because you’re essentially teaching the person how to do something, that you would normally be paid to do. But that’s the beauty of it. By doing this, you are teaching the viewer how to do an easier and smaller job, perhaps even one that you wouldn’t have the time to do, which establishes credibility and proves you are an expert because you just solved the problem in front of their eyes. Empowering your audience to learn more about your work establishes trust and builds rapport, plus it increases the likelihood that they will return for more direct assistance when they need help solving those bigger and more complex issues.

[3] Press the red button.

The final piece is to actually record the video. You are the expert. You know the material. Take a deep calming breath and start recording. If you need a small notecard nearby to stay on track, then use it. If you mess up and need to record it again, then keep trying until you’re satisfied with the final product. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be professional. Practice makes progress. Like anything in life, the more you do it the better you’ll become. In the beginning the videos might take a little bit longer until you find your flow and delivery style. This will come in time. Stay focused on the objective, which is to create a premium piece of original content that will educate your audience and provide an opportunity to engage in a personal and direct manner.

Creating original content like this allows you to build value and stay connected with your audience. It provides a platform to demonstrate your skills and expertise. You won’t need to tell them that you’re an expert because you’ll be demonstrating your proficiency right in front of them. Actions speak louder than words and this will prove how good you are with every new video published.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like this pandemic will be going away anytime soon and the medical experts emphasize the need for flexibility and frequent adjustments. But you can use this time to differentiate yourself as a proven leader in your market by creating video content that attracts your ideal customers. Keep the conversation going by engaging with viewers and build your online community. Use this opportunity to turn misfortune into the golden ticket that strengthens your business and keeps customers coming back for more.

This article originally published on Entrepreneur

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5 Ways to Leverage Podcast Features in Your Marketing Strategy

Today I’m going to share a common mistake entrepreneurs make when it comes to getting on podcasts and how you can get the smart advantage by optimizing your expert features.

I see so many entrepreneurs work tirelessly to get featured on podcasts. They do the research, send the pitch, and land the booking. They make the necessary preparations and rock the interview. They even put out a blast on social media to alert their fans to tune in. Up until this point they’re killing it. They’ve done everything right.

But here’s where most mess up, so pay careful attention.

After the interview is done, they quickly move their focus and attention to the next feature. Their big mistake is treating the interview as a one-off event rather than optimizing the feature by incorporating it into their marketing strategy. They work so hard to get on the show but once the recording is finished then they’re back to the beginning to do it all over again.

As the saying goes: Work Smarter, Not Harder.

That’s why today I’m giving you 5 ways to leverage your expert guest appearances in your marketing strategy.

[1]  Promote your interview.
If the show airs live, then announce details in advance so your followers can make arrangements to attend the broadcast. If the show is prerecorded, then let your audience know when it will air. Post important details across all active channels to make sure your fans don’t miss out. Once the episode airs, then share the replay link for those who might have missed the live broadcast or earlier announcements.

[2]  Tell your email list.
These people subscribed to your list for a reason. They’re interested in your business and what you’re doing. Be sure to keep them in the loop with timely news and updates.

[3]  Download the interview and feature it on your website.
This is a great way to establish credibility with first time viewers. Someone who comes to your website for the very first time is going to look for some form of verification that you are the expert you claim to be and can actually help them solve their problems. Featuring a few interviews from reputable podcasts can be great form of social proof that not only demonstrates your skills but starts to build trust with the viewer.

[4]  Create a video.
People consume content in different ways. Some people have a preference for certain types of content or might only be active on specific social media platforms.

One way to reach more people and broaden your audience would be to take the original audio recording and create a video for viewers who prefer visual content. Incorporate slides to emphasize key talking points and important information. You can upload the full-length interview to platforms like YouTube or create shorter length videos with targeted information for channels like Instagram.

[5]  Repurpose the content.
Take the information and convert it into different formats. As noted above, you can transform the audio into a video for visual learners. You can also transcribe the audio and convert it into a blog article and/or series of social media posts. Another thing you can do is extract key talking points or specific bits of information to make attractive visual posts using tools like Canva. Circulate these posts across your favorite social media channels.

Implement these five tips in your marketing strategy to leverage your expert guest appearances. Use this information to work smarter, not harder!

If you still don’t have a solid strategy to reach your audience then this is where I can help. Let’s schedule a conversation where we can discuss your business goals and design a plan together that gets results.

Photo by Chase Chappell on Unsplash

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3 Ways to Share Your Message and Be Seen as an Authority Figure

As an entrepreneur, communicating your message effectively is one of the most important things you can do to grow your business. This is how your potential customers will learn about your business and the services you offer. This is also how existing customers will learn about advanced services, new products, and special offerings.

People buy from those they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST.

First, they must know that you exist in this ever growing and crowded business space. If they’ve never heard of your business, then how can they buy from you? To be frank, they can’t. It’s that simple. This is why you need to start sharing your message with existing and potential new customers on a regular basis.

Once these people are aware of your business, then you must give them an opportunity to like you. I’m not talking about a superficial “like” on Facebook. I’m talking about a level of active interest and attraction to your business. You’re cultivating a relationship. Think about the relationships in your life. There are some people you really like and enjoy being around but there are others that you avoid. Sharing your message with the right people will help you build a relationship that will lead to a win/win for you both.

Finally, you must establish and build trust. You want them to invest (money) in purchasing services and products but you must show them that you are worthy of this investment. They must firmly believe that you have their best interests in mind and that you can help solve their problems and make life easier. As noted above, authenticity is key. Integrity is a big part of this. That’s why it’s important to project yourself as both a knowledgeable authority figure but also a trustworthy and upstanding entrepreneur.

Here are three powerful ways to communicate your message and position yourself as an authority figure:

1. BLOGGING
If you enjoy writing, then blogging is a highly effective way to begin positioning yourself as a recognized and trusted expert. This can take many forms. Launch your own blog or submit your work to be featured on established websites and online magazines. You can also share content across social channels. Believe it or not, you can use social media for more than just sharing cat videos and taking online quizzes to find out which Star Wars character you are.

2.  VLOGGING
Do you enjoy speaking on camera? If so, then vlogging is for you. Most major social media channels allow for video recording and publication. Currently many even have recording capability built into their platform features. As a vlogger, you can prerecord and edit the content to your liking or shoot a video on the fly and upload instantly. The most daring and confident will also enjoy using the Live Broadcast feature, which allows the user to engage with the audience in real time.

3.  PODCASTING
The podcast industry is booming right now. Get interviewed as a featured expert or launch your own show and define yourself as the go-to source of information in your niche market. Did you know that people who listen to podcasts are more likely to earn over $75,000 a year? A majority of listeners are avid fans, meaning they consume multiple episodes a week and listen through most of the show. These listeners are interested in learning and growth and have the means to invest in professional services that will help them attain their goals.

There are many cost-efficient options for new podcasters who are looking to get into the industry without spending a ton of money up front. Even if you’re not interested in hosting your own show, there will be a never-ending supply of great niche specific podcasts that you can pitch to be featured as an expert guest.

I go into greater detail on this subject in my “How to Get Featured on PodcastsMASTER CLASS where I’ll take you step-by-step through the entire process and show you how to properly research and make selections based on key demographics, design your media kit, and create your perfect pitch not to mention all the details in between.

Whichever medium you choose, focus on the path that resonates best with you. Select one or make it a combination to reach a wider audience. The important thing is that you play to your strengths so others see you in the best light and you can begin to position yourself as a credible and respected authority figure.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

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Connecting with Your Audience Through Video Creation

Nobody wants to be just another average joe business struggling to be seen and heard in a rapidly growing marketplace. It’s noisier than ever out there and if you’re not defining your brand and standing out from the crowd then, unfortunately, you will be lumped in with everyone else. That’s no way to build brand identity and certainly isn’t going to help scale your business.

In terms of marketing, one powerful way to both define your brand and establish authority is to publish original content. This might include blogging, podcasting, or vlogging, which is both a simple and efficient option for companies getting into content creation.

More than likely, you already know that creating your own original content could dramatically improve and amplify marketing efforts. It’s also likely that many readers, despite knowing the power of content marketing, remain reluctant to include original content creation as a key component to their marketing strategy.

If this is you, then it’s time to get honest with what’s really holding you back. If this ongoing worldwide slowdown and the various levels of quarantining have shown us anything, it’s that people are searching for new ways to connect with the influencers and brands that are important to them. Take advantage of this opportunity to stay connected with your audience and use technology to deliver information directly to them.

One of the most popular forms of content creation right now is vlogging. A 2019 forecast by Zenith estimates that in 2021 the average person will spend 100 minutes a day watching videos online. This is up from 84 minutes a day by the average consumer as of 2019.

In addition to the amount of video consumed each day, it’s important to also note what people are looking for as consumers. When asked about the qualities of online videos that would prove valuable to the consumer during the decision-making process, 48% of people said the video should reflect the products and services that interest them. The survey also showed that 43% of people wanted the experience to be interactive, meaning they could determine which content to watch and when to view it. (CMO Council / Pitney Bowes)

Consumers are spending time each day watching video content on their favorite social media platforms and they’re actively looking for information on products and services that can help them solve their problems and make life easier. These consumers are looking for this content, but they won’t be able to find it if it doesn’t exist.

When you’re just starting out with video creation it can seem a bit daunting, but rest assured that, like anything else, it becomes easier the more you do it. Here are three quick tips to remember as you begin to incorporate video in your marketing strategy.

Tip #1 – You are the expert.

This is your area of expertise and nobody knows your business better than you do. All you’re doing is sharing information with an audience that is eager to learn. These consumers are interested to discover new and original products and services that will make life easier. Deliver this relevant information. Share your best tips, tactics, strategies, and unique insights that will help turn casual followers into loyal customers.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this:

  • Were you able to provide a solution for a problem that’s been holding them back?
  • Did you deliver valuable information relevant to the viewer?
  • Is the person in a better position to grow after viewing your content?

Tip #2 – Breathe.

Putting yourself out there and speaking in front of others can be intimidating. Sometimes our nerves get the best of us. We can experience feelings of anxiety, nervousness, or become overly stressed because we want the final product to be perfect.

Take a moment to calm your emotional state. This is especially important in the beginning stages because when you’re just starting out it may feel uncomfortable speaking on camera. This is a common experience and can be overcome in time. Prior to pressing the record button, center yourself by taking a few deep breaths to relax. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, calming your mind and body. Allow the information to just flow naturally in your delivery.

Tip #3 – Practice makes progress.

The only way to become masterful in any given activity is to practice. There’s no secret formula or magic pill that can fast track success. If you want people to love your message, then practice sharing it. You can start garnering the right attention with one 3-5-minute video a week. It can be that simple. Use each new video as an opportunity to grow and develop your professional flow and style.

Incorporating video content in your marketing strategy is a powerful way to define your brand, establish credibility, and position yourself as an industry authority. Be consistent with publishing solid value-based content that appeals to your audience. Develop and strengthen the relationship you have with your audience by regularly engaging with viewers. This shows that your customers are more than just sales figures. They are people and you care about them. Show them through committed action that you have their best interests in mind. Do this and turn casual followers into loyal customers.

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

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Shoot Your First Instagram Video in 3 Simple Steps

You already know that growing your business is much easier when you’re seen as a recognized expert. Once you establish yourself as an expert in your field, you’re no longer jumping through hoops trying to get people’s attention. Proven experts have already demonstrated proficiency and their audience is well aware of what they can do. Their audience knows them, likes what they represent, and trusts that whatever information is shared or products being offered that it’s something of value and should be considered.

According to Statista, there are about 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram as of January 2020. About 500 million of these are active daily users. That is a large chunk of people and, more than likely, your ideal customers are part of this population.

We live in a visual world and people are consuming video content more and more. Hootsuite reports that posts containing videos receive 38% more engagement than still photos. To reach these people effectively, business owners can begin to use video creation as an integral part of their online marketing strategy.

For some individuals, making videos just comes naturally. The rest of us have to work at it by putting in a little extra effort. Maybe it’s not just the act of shooting the video that is the problem because when you think of it, it’s easy to tap a button. Even little children don’t seem to have a problem with the mechanics of pushing the red button. It might have more to do with a fear of messing up or the anxiety felt when your mind goes blank. 

If that’s you, then today I’m going to show you an easy way to shoot your initial Instagram videos while developing your own unique style and flow. The only things you’ll need besides the obvious recording device will be a pen and a regular sized sticky note that can be found at any office supply store. In fact, I call this the sticky note method and it’s been a helpful tool with my own videos and those of my clients.

This method is primarily used for shorter videos like the ones you’d find on Instagram. In a moment you’re going to see just how easy it is to create a 60-second video using this technique. You could even use this for a 2-3 minute IGTV or YouTube video. However, once you start looking at longer content such as training videos then you’ll probably need something else. But that’s getting outside the scope of what we’re currently discussing.

For right now, we’re only going to focus attention on those quick informative 60-second videos that can be found on the standard Instagram platform. This is a great starting place to demonstrate your expertise and position yourself as a recognized expert in your industry. Plus, it’s a powerful way to communicate with your audience and give them more opportunities to support your business.

As noted above, you’ll need a recording device such as your phone or tablet, sticky note, and a pen. That’s it.

STEP 1:

Determine the topic you will discuss. Make sure it’s clear and concise. Sixty seconds goes by quickly so you’ll want to be laser focused on one central idea.

STEP 2:

Flip over the sticky note so that the sticky side is facing you and write down 2-3 key discussion points that support the topic. Again, this is only going to be a 60-second video so having 2-3 main talking points is more than enough. Affix the sticky note to the backside of your recording device just above the camera so that you can visibly see the talking points.

STEP 3:

Take a deep breath, smile, and press the record button. Use the sticky note to guide your message. Convey those main discussion points and then you’re done. If you don’t like the way it came out the first time, then do it again. Practice makes progress. Record the piece until you’re satisfied with the final product. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be professional.

Once you’re happy with the final result then upload to Instagram. Remember to always include a description in the body of the post. Even though you’re uploading video content, it’s good practice to provide at least a basic written description for the viewer so that they know what they’re about to watch.

That’s all there is to it. Record your first video today using the sticky note method and see just how simple it can be.

This article originally posted on Business2Community

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