These days, more and more organizations are turning to video and other digital media to promote themselves. Why is this the case? Consumer preferences are increasingly shifting away from long-form print and instead towards a wide range of dynamic digital media, such as video and audio. Digital media can convey a business’s story in ways that print fails to do so: for online visitors, it can bring a business to life, highlight existing products and services and tell the stories of the real people behind the business.
It’s especially important for business owners to consider including digital media as a part of their online marketing strategies. When developing content for your website, stop and think about what stories are better told in print, and which ones are better told using a more dynamic medium. You have several to choose from:
Web videos can take a wide variety of forms, from content matter to production value. For example, a web video can consist of a formal commercial, an informal interview with a business owner, interview with a selection of the business’s customers or a highlights reel of the business’s products or services. Videos can be used to give online visitors a virtual experience of visiting your business. Web videos provide an added benefit in that they help boost your business’s SEO ranking and help new customers discover your business. Although anyone with an Internet connection and a camera with video recording capabilities can create a web video, business owners should consider hiring a professional videographer with high-quality equipment.
Have interesting content to provide to your customers? Consider developing an audio podcast series. The subject matter is entirely up to you: for example, if you’re a garden supply store, you may choose to talk about weekly gardening tips. Podcasts need not be extensive; often enough, a simple five-minute podcast provides customers with a digestible clip that they can listen to in their cars or at home. Audio podcasts can be promoted online and listed in the iTunes Podcast directory, attracting new listeners and therefore serving as a powerful marketing tool in itself. For a really comprehensive list of audio podcasts, checkout Chris Christensen’s list of the 71 best podcasts.
Although web videos can turn any story into a compelling one, business owners wanting to shy away from the camera or requiring more privacy may choose to develop animated videos. Animated videos have an added bonus in that they can communicate concepts and information clearly and concisely. Although the prospect of animated videos may sound intimidating, they need not be. Animated videos can be as simple as moving text and basic animations, and as complex as 3D, computer-generated graphics, depending on a business owner’s budget and interests. If you’re looking more for simple animation, you can checkout Animoto. On the other hand, using a post-production company in your area is advisable for more complex projects.
Using Digital Media
We already know that digital media can serve as a more powerful storytelling platform than print. As an added bonus, digital media is infinitely more shareable, which helps strengthen relationships with customers and increases a business’s visibility. As a business owner, you have the option to disseminate your web videos, podcasts and animated videos on your various social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Pinterest. Users can discover these videos or podcasts on their own through Google search, YouTube, Vimeo or iTunes, and then have the option to share this media with their friends and family. The sharing potential of digital media—and the accompanying potential of building lasting relationships with customers as well as acquiring new ones—is huge.
Tristan Pelligrino is one of the founders of 522 Productions (web video production) and specializes in developing dynamic content for the web. Tristan also co-owns 522 Digital, a digital media company located in Alexandria, VA.
There isn’t a lot that I can say I wouldn’t do. Let’s remove my personal two caveats: 1) Bad people stuff — killing someone, stealing, etc.. and 2) Life-risking adventures — bungee jumping, skydiving, etc.. Sans those two categories, the list is remarkably small.
So small in fact, that like the list of all of the food that I’d eat, I could name everything in 30 seconds.
Writing a public post about why Gini, in fact, should hire me — well, thats a no brainer. I find that a lot of things that happen, especially the more unexpected or unbelievable they are, tend to fall into the, “That must of been Cox” category. I have a pension for doing things most others wouldn’t. I am not much of a follower, and the context of the word ‘normal’ scares me to death.
My very first kiss was from a girl three years older than me and who my friends, rightfully so, bet me that I had no chance of kissing. My very first start-up company that was funded, small-time in comparison to what you’re thinking, was funded from a first meeting in which I had my feet propped up on the table. My very first BIG client I landed, was fresh out of a failed start-up, bad blood, and a less than stellar professional reputation (based on the first two).
There are three takeaways we’ve learned from that short history recap:
- I don’t scare easily.
- I go after what I want, passionately.
- I don’t stop until I get it.
<Fast forward music that plays during the transition part of the movie>
Gini Dietrich has been a pretty good friend of mine, digitally, seeings as how we have never actually met in person yet. (I explained why our first meet’n’greet failed here) Gini (pronounced Gin-ee) has been someone I’ve pinged for both personal and professional advice. (More so the professional) She’s also a writer whom I’ve been enamored with since reading my first Gini blog. I liken my admiration for her to this simple phrase: I want to be her, the business owner, when I grow up. She has surrounded herself with a phenomenal team (#highfive to some really awesome business professionals: Lisa Gerber, Molli Megasko, Crister DelaCruz, Patti Knight), she is highly regarded in her field, she is a phenomenal public speaker — but the most *important* thing of all: she’s one of the ‘good guys’ in business.
Yes I’m well aware Gini is a girl, not a guy. My point being this: she is as nice of a person as she is great professional. There are people in the Digital Marketing, Social Media, and PR spaces that I consider #FARmentors — people that I glean information and lessons from everyday while from afar. Some may not know that I do, but I consider them experts worth following in their field. And one of the first people I see them engaging with, and entertaining thoughts of happiness, is Gini. That is actually how I first came across her some 4+ years ago. You see, I indicated her as someone worth getting to know, and someone I wanted to “be like” when I had my own business. Learn from the best — isn’t that the old saying?
- Has she pissed people off? I’m sure she has.
- Do some people dislike her? Hey, no one is perfect.
- Has she failed before? I think she’d be the first person to say UMM YEA RYAN.
But all of that is secondary. Good > Bad | Win > Lose | Kind > Asshole
I didn’t spend the first part of this blog puffing up Gini out of anticipation that was going to land me any kind of a job. I was simply setting the table for why I wanted to work for her. I’ve been given the advice from every mentor I’ve ever had, and every business book I’ve ever read — surround yourself with smarter people. Find people that have what you want, and learn from them how they got it, and how you can create your own path to get it. No two paths are ever the same, and no path should follow a previous path step-by-step. Your story isn’t the same as theirs, so stop trying to rewrite it. You’ll end up failing, and rather miserably.
Gini should hire me because it’ll make her life a lot easier once she has. I’m a tireless worker, I’ve sharpened my teeth learning the ropes of Digital Marketing and PR, and last but not least - I don’t take no for an answer. I don’t need to auto-fill the rest of this paragraph with meaningless cliches:
- I’m the first one in, last one out
- If I don’t know how to do it, I’ll find a way to learn it on the fly
- I’ve built up credibility in the market
- I will do something until I’ve gotten it right
Actions speak a whole heck of a lot louder than words, spoken or written. I place my eggs in the “if you are active enough, potential employers will notice all of those otherwise thoughtless cliches themselves,” basket. Having someone notice a work habit or credibility marker, is infinitely more helpful than explaining it yourself. A wise woman once said, Behave Like a Level 5 Employee. So that is what I aim to do, each and every day.
Whether Gini ever hires me or not, has as much to do with “company fit” and “opportunities available” as it does “great resume” and “interviews well.” We are in the waining hours of 2011. Your current and future employers know a lot more about you than most people currently realize. You see, the biggest takeaway isn’t necessarily that Gini will ever hire me. The biggest takeaway is that I had confidence in myself to make it public, and Gini knows I’m going to keep myself on her radar for as long as it takes.
No matter how you much you think the cards are stacked against you, keep after your dreams. Both the big ones, and the small.
Persistence is a stubborn one. (No curse word there, you’re welcome Gini)
More than two years ago, I was going through a journey to discover what kind of leader I am, where my strengths lie, and what skills I need to look for when hiring.
At Arment Dietrich, we don’t interview people – we interview leaders.
And leaders come at every level – not just at the top (and, sometimes, the people put in leadership positions aren’t leaders).
Sure, every business needs followers, but we look for people who have leadership skills in various areas; areas that complement where we have weaknesses on the team.
Because not everyone is a leader in everything (which is why I hire people who are strong where I am weak).
Unfortunately, we can’t interview people in social situations to see whether or not they’re wallflowers or light up a room when they walk in. What we can do, though, is interview for skills and talent that exceed the 9 to 5 workday.
So, what do we look for?
We want to know:
- If you push yourself to learn more.
- If you do, how so.
- What you read and what you subscribe to daily.
- Which conferences you attend and what you’ve learned.
- Examples of times you’ve been innovative and creative.
- Examples of when your creative ideas have been squashed and how you’ve handled it.
- Whether or not you are self-motivated, driven, and a self-starter (we’re not micromanagers).
- Whether or not you “steal” your colleagues’ ideas as your own.
- How you inspire the people above, at your level, and below you.
- What you do very first thing when you go to a networking event.
- Whether or not you’re involved in our industry organizations.
- Examples of taking one for the team or sticking up for a colleague.
- How you handle conflict.
- Examples of when you’ve asked for additional responsibility.
This may seem like a crazy long list, but I can tell you what this kind of stuff tells us:
1. If you read and subscribe to blog posts, articles, videos, and podcasts, we know you’re continually learning.
2. If you attend conferences, networking events, and are involved in the industry organizations, we know you will always be asking for more responsibility.
3. If you participate online through your own blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, iTunes, and/or LinkedIn, we know you aren’t a believer in the 9 to 5 day.
4. If you can give examples of how you handle conflict and taking one for the team, we know what kind of communication skills you have.
Granted, we are a digital marketing firm so we look for people who can already use web and mobile technologies.
But every business looks for people who can add value, both financially and emotionally. And people who act like they own a piece of the company, have accountability, are exceptional team players, and never talk down to others are the ones all of us are excited to work with every day. You can’t always choose your co-workers, but you can choose the way you behave.
Behave like a Level 5 employee.
Guest post: Digi Jeff (@digijeff) provides digital strategy for entertainment brands as well as a facebook app and web development.
Entertainment brands such as music artists are the biggest leaders on all social media platforms. Eminem is the king of Facebook, Lady Gaga is the queen of Twitter and Britney Spears is the Queen of Google+.
Technology is constantly changing industries, look at Spotify. People have been saying record labels won’t exist soon. If that’s the case, what would be the most important role to make an artist relevant? An online community manager has been coined for managing the social media / digital side of things. They are the most important roles for an artist not the labels.
Music artists should wisely invest in this position because they are too busy. There are certain tactics that I feel a lot of artists themselves are doing poorly when running their own social media. Many music artists upload a song to some random file sharing site and post the link, this is idiotic. Stop using sites that are thrown together with ads filled all over them, use good products like SoundCloud where you can stream / download the song.
I recently wrote an article on why you shouldn’t use your Tweets on Facebook. Tweets look sloppy on Facebook and Facebook users are not use to the @ and # symbols. I think it’s very important when you post a link on Facebook the thumbnail and description are properly displayed. Too many times users are posting links that have the descriptions and thumbnails broken. What I’m trying to get down to is, music artists make a lot of these mistakes by posting themselves whereas a community manager knows the right techniques.
Eminem has 7.6M followers on Twitter and you can tell his record label runs his social media account. Personally, Eminem is one of my favorite artists to listen to but the most boring artist to follow. Personal engagement is a great way to keep fans interested. @Eminem provides zero personal engagement. If you look at his tweets they are all about promoting an album, this gets redundant. If you have X followers on Twitter and you tweet your new album is coming out on Z date, do you really need to tweet Z over and over again the same day? No. All you are doing is annoying the same users and not new ones that your album is coming out. Think about how fun and crazy it would be to hear Eminem tweet about regular stuff, as Eminem. Epic. I would rather RT something funny he said than “pick up my album on Z”. Eminem should have a community manager rather than the labels doing his digital strategies.
Innovation is the best part being a good community manager that sticks out. Not everyone can do it. I am always looking for a good artist/athlete/brand to blow up with digital strategy.
There are so many more reasons why a community manager are the rockstars behind the scenes but I didn’t want to turn this into a Stephen King novel.
This post is written for all the little guys (or gals) interested in starting their own businesses, especially those interested in using social media to market their business. There isn’t a secret formula , although I wish there was, that explains the ins and outs of starting a company from the ground up. Most of us learn by going to school, reading books and watching others and applying our own common sense. We all make mistakes but the trick is to keep at it, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life! Here are some tips I wish I had been told along the way:
Faith In Yourself
You have to have as much faith in yourself as others around you do. This isn’t the time for shying away from compliments or letting others go first. You are a business rockstar and everyone around you knows it too! Invest in yourself by making sure you self esteem is up to par. Just by making the step to start your own business shows confidence and intelligence. Listen to those around you and give yourself a big pat on the back. Your competitors have faith in themselves - you need to have some too! Having faith in yourself means you are worthy of success. Don’t second guess your decision or listen to the naysayers either - they are bound to pop up along the way.
Don’t Be a Me-Too Company
Your business needs to fill a specific niche within the business world. How is your service or product different from the rest? Don’t become a me-too company that replicates what someone else is selling. Copying is flattery when you’re six years old, but it’s not the case now. Even if you’re selling identical things it’s important to do it differently. Make your website stand out. Treat your clients better. Be a little controversial - talk about sex, drugs and rock and roll if needed! You get the idea here - I’ve seen thousands of me-too companies pop up on my radar and they all fail miserably.
Metrics For Everything
What are your main goals when starting your own business? Yes, we all want to make millions, but what else? Are you looking to improve your expert reputation? Get a couple thousand website visitors per month? Answer these questions first and then define how you will measure your progress. Tracking your name and your business’s name across the web is a great way to track your reputation, Google Alerts is a great place to start. Google Analytics is a great tool to measure website traffic. Do your research first and create baselines to track your success. Re-evaluate every six months.
Starting your own business will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. The great thing about using social media to promote your business is you will be joining a supportive community of like minded individuals all in the same boat. Dig your feet in for the long haul as it takes time, dedication and consistency to grow a successful business. You are in for the ride of your life!
Guest Post: Harper Schmidt of Ruby Media Group
In the PR world, email often takes the place of a phone call, especially when pitching a reporter, so it’s important to be able to craft an email that is not only eye catching but well written. The following tips will help you write an email to a reporter that is sure to get a response!
A clever subject line can be the difference between a reporter opening an email or automatically hitting delete. If you are pitching a reporter, creativity can go a long way.
Always proof your emails, releases and pitches before you click “send.”
Another way to ensure that you will not be hearing back from someone is to misspell their name.
When pitching a reporter, always remember that reporters do not want to have to dig around for information. As the liaison between a client and the reporter, it’s a PR professionals job to provide the reporter with all of the necessary information for their article in a clear and concise manner. This can include high-resolution images, a bio, jpg and eps of the logo, and a press release attached and embedded into the email.
Releases and pitches are time sensitive. There is no room to “sleep on it” or put a project on hold, or you will lose the press opportunity. As soon as you get a query for a pitch that you have a good source for, act on it immediately. Pay close attention to the reporters deadline, and always respond immediately if you hear back from them.
Your emails should always include your professional signature to make it easy for a reporter to contact you directly if they are interested in your pitch. Your signature should include your name, company, phone number, email address, website and social media links. It is also helpful to submit the contact information of your source as well.
If your pitch was successful and you hear back from a reporter, it is always important to thank the reporter for their time! Even if your source is not right for this particular story, it is always good to develop great relationships with journalists, because they may use you again for a future article.
About Ruby Media Group: Ruby Media Group is a Public Relations, Personal Branding and Social Media Agency. For more information, please contact email@example.com or visit www.rubymediagroup.com.