How to Get Started with Video Marketing: A Chat with Amy Landino

Video is one of the best ways to promote your business, build trust and convey your unique brand personality.  So why is it so terrifying for so many?

If video marketing or vlogging is on your branding to-do list for the year, good for you! Video is a great way to build trust, establish your expertise and allow your audience to get to know you. And when it comes to driving traffic, YouTube is the second most popular search engine in use.

But how does one start? Do you need a lot of gear? What will you talk about?

My wonderful interview with globally-recognized YouTuber, author and business video marketing expert Amy Schmittauer Landino is here to help!

I kind of adore Amy #GirlCrush

Amy and I “met” years ago over social media and started promoting each other’s content and collaborating virtually. I even featured her expertise in the second edition of Branding Basics for Small Business. We got to meet in person when I went back to Columbus, Ohio for a holiday visit and it was like we’d known each other forever (the power of virtual business relationships done right). She’s sassy, straightforward and super smart – all the things we love here at Red Slice, am I right?!

Why do video? Well this quote from Amy in the interview says it all:

“At the end of the day, we’re doing this so someone will buy something. But truthfully we’re trying to get someone to trust us to make a buying decision.”

So, in my attempt to do more video myself, I hope you enjoy and get a ton of value out of this lively video interview:

YouTube video

Some highlights:

  • The benefits and ROI you can get from doing more video marketing ([4:00])
  • How video works for both B2C and B2B businesses: “This works no matter who you’re talking to, but if you lose track of you’re talking to, it’s going to be hard to accomplish anything but that’s a B2B or a B2C problem.” ([11:15])
  • How you can make your video content stand out in a crowded content landscape We talk about Search, Playlists, tagging and the YouTube algorithms ([13:22])
  • The YouTube Gold Rush and why it’s much harder to make money simply from ad dollars ([14:27])
  • How to manage your content and production schedule…True Confession time from me! ([34:51])
  • How long should your videos be to keep attention and “win” on YouTube ([50:32])
  • Tips for being on-camera, including lighting ([53:11])
  • How often to post new videos to generate more traffic on YouTube ([15:22])
  • And a really interesting conversation about how video impacts society. Are we becoming too concerned with surface appearances or a false reality? And does video play a role in reducing our desires for real-life interaction and experience? Spoiler alert: No, and Amy and I talk about why. ([1:00:05])

If you’re still not convinced incorporating more video can help your business and build trust in your expertise and brand, I’ll leave you with this quote from Amy:

“I knew that the best way to get myself out there was not just meeting people , because obviously you can never replace that. But the second thing to that in my opinion is allowing someone to have an experience meeting me in a way that I could get out to more people  and I just don’t think there’s anything like that compared to video that is as effective.

Video is that really, really close second place to being able to shake someone’s hand.” (TWEET THIS!) 

ABOUT AMY:

Amy is a globally-recognized YouTuber, speaker, author, and business owner. She coaches people at her popular YouTube channel, AmyTV, on how to go after what they want in life and leveraging video storytelling to make it happen. Owner of two creative companies—Aftermarq and Vlog Boss Studios—Amy presents to and consults with a global clientele about leveraging online communication and content marketing to increase brand awareness. In her best-selling book Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Bloggingshe shares her collection of strategies and tactics to help you create video that gets the attention you deserve and builds real relationships with your community. Amy’s an international speaker and has appeared in media outlets such as The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Inc and more.

Check out Amy’s wonderful video masterclass, Vlog Like A Boss. I can personally vouch that the content is solid (and her action steps manageable) if you want to create great videos…and content overall.

Content Marketing Success. Part 3: Tips and Tricks to Make Content Marketing Easier

Enjoy this special three-part series on how to find Content Marketing success! If you missed it, head back to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

You’re all bought into that content marketing is the right way to attract the right clients and customers, showcase your expertise and build a long-term relationship.

Fabulous. Now, how the heck can you possibly get it all done?

Boost your brand with content marketing. But be super smart + efficient about it!  (Tweet this!)

Here are some of my favorite best practices and tools ensure you can be efficient and more importantly, effective, with your content marketing efforts. 

  1. Make Content Shareable: No use creating all that luscious content if folks don’t do some of the sharing for you, right?
  • Use Forward to a Friend or Social Share Buttons on your website and emails.
  • Pre-write posts to share. My favorite tool is ClicktoTweet to enable your audience to share with the click of a button.
  1. Use Images and Infographics: Two very important data points for you:

When people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (LifeLearn, 2015)

Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Buffer, 2014)

  • Use Free Images: Here are some of my fave free image resources. Be sure to add a photo credit, depending on rights agreement and terms.

Unsplash

500px

Flickr Creative Commons

  • Optimize Images for Each Social Network: Each network has its own size requirements so make your image comes out crisp and clear otherwise, there’s no point. Bookmark this Page! It’s an always- updated image sizing guide for every social network. How can you resize for all the right dimensions if you’re not a designer? Easy….use these free image editing tools:

Canva: Get every template you need, pre-sized and with compelling imagery. They have templates you can use or you can upload your own images.

PicMonkey: Re-size images to any size you like and add eye-catching banners, effects, titles, etc.

Milanote is a tool for organizing creative projects into beautiful visual boards. By design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.

  1. Batch And Pre-Schedule Content: Be super efficient by cranking out a bunch of content, whether blogs, videos or podcasts, all in one sitting, maybe for the next month or even six months and scheduling it to publish over the long haul. Many successful bloggers operate this way.
  • Pre-schedule content delivery in advance so you can set it and forget it:
    • Blogs: WordPress https://wordpress.org/ enables scheduling posts in advance
    • Email Platform: All of them have the ability to schedule in advance
    • Social media: Popular scheduling tools include Hootsuite, Buffer, Meet Edgar, and you can use Tailwind specifically for Pinterest and Instagram
    • One caveat: If pre-scheduling to a Facebook brand page, only use Facebook’s native scheduler, not a third-party tool. Otherwise, the Facebook algorithm will not show the post to as many of your fans.
  1. But…Set Aside Weekly Time For Live Engagement: You can’t just quite “set it and forget it.” Remember, social media is SOCIAL so make sure you are active within the platform
  • Schedule 15 minutes per day to dip into social networks and interact, even if you pre-schedule content.
  • Follow proper etiquette for each network. They all have their own rules so make sure you know what you’re doing. This is a great book on that.
  • Respond to comments, give shout-outs, thank people, share valuable content from other trusted sources, promote complementary businesses or organizations if applicable
  1. Recycle and Reuse: You’ve put so much into your content. As your audience grows, many of them may not have seen your earlier stuff–or frankly, they may not remember it. Plus, people like to consume content differently. Avoid reinventing the wheel and repurpose what you have.
  • Spruce up old content for use again
  • Repackage into other forms: A blog post becomes a media pitch; an article becomes a podcast or video. A series of blog posts becomes a free guide.
  • Find at least three uses for every piece of content
  1. Gather Continuous Feedback: Keep polling and interacting with your audience to figure out what they want and need. Do they want to see more of a certain topic? Do they have questions? Use this info to keep delighting them.
  • Monitor social media for questions, comments
  • Provide mechanism to solicit content ideas
  • Ask clients about your content efforts when they come in for appointment
  • Poll your audience annually

How Can I Get It All Done?!

  • Create a plan so it’s easier to divide the workload. This is why an editorial calendar is super useful.
  • Hire a full or part-time content marketing manager
  • Hire a skilled freelancer on Upwork,  Fiverr, or Airtasker
  • Hire a virtual assistant specializing in content marketing/social media from somewhere like Worldwide 101.
  • Contact a local college or university and bring on an intern who is studying marketing, communications or journalism to build the plan and execute the content. You may be able to do this in exchange for course credit rather than pay!

Remember the most important tip: Have Fun!

This is your opportunity to showcase your unique brand personality and voice. Get creative! If you’ve never done video before, experiment with simply using your phone. If you’re a closet artist or photographer, create and capture unique images. The more you can have fun when creating content marketing, the more engaging the content will be to delight your clients, as well as attract new ones.

Missed the entire series? Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

BONUS!  Download this delicious free Content Marketing Cheat Sheet that outlines everything we’ve covered in this three-part series.

Content Marketing Success. Part 2: What Content to Create?

Enjoy this special three-part series on how to find Content Marketing success! You can read Part 1 right here. And Part 3 here.

Great! You’ve created your Content Marketing strategy as discussed last time and you’re ready to create some mind-blowing content to delight your ideal audience.

Only you can’t think of anything to talk about.

Maybe you think your business is not sexy enough: How creative can you get when talking about accounting services, you think to yourself? Or maybe you think writing is just not your “thing.”

Relax. You are the expert in your field and this didn’t happen overnight. You have years of rich wisdom and important information to share with your audience.

‘Oh, everyone knows that.’ No, they don’t. Share your wisdom!  (Tweet this!)

Content marketing comes in many forms: videos, blogs, podcasts, newsletters, emails, social media posts, free guides, tip sheets and more.

In your content marketing strategy, you determined in which vehicles you want to invest. Maybe you love to write or hate being on camera. Maybe your audience adores podcasts and you love donning headphones and interviewing people. Pick what works for you and your target audience. Remember to only choose one or two things and do them really, really well rather than try to create everything under the sun!

You still need topics and ideas, though. So how do you determine what you should talk about? 

First and foremost, survey your clients. I can’t believe how many business owners miss this obvious source of delicious information. What do they want or need? If you don’t have customers yet, find your ideal customers and interview them.

You’ll get oodles of content ideas. No topic is too basic. Remember that your “basics” could be mind-blowing insights for your audience.

Here are six more content ideas to get your brain in gear:

  1. Answer common questions you get all the time.
  2. Comment on hot trends or current news and give your professional take.
  3. Share important advice you know your clients or customers need to know. Even if they don’t know they need to know it!
  4. Interview other experts that may be of interest.
  5. Curate, don’t just create! You don’t have to create everything from scratch. You are also a trusted curator. Share interesting articles, community events, links to great resources.
  6. Poke around on social media or do Google searches and see what questions people are asking and for what they are searching.

Now you should have at least a page, if not more, of content topics. Enough to fill up the entire year. Build an editorial calendar and slot in the topics by date to keep yourself organized. This way, when you’re not feeling the inspirational buzz, you can just look at your calendar and instantly start creating, rather than staring at a blank page for too long.

In Part 3 of this series, I’ll show you my favorite tips and time-saving tricks to make content marketing fun, effective and efficient so it won’t consume your time and life.

In the meantime, download my delicious  free Content Marketing Cheat Sheet with tips, tricks, and best practices to attract new fans and convert more sales.

Some past posts that may be of interest as you come up with content ideas:

3 Tips to Make Blogging Easier

7 Simple and Stunning Blog Post Ideas to Keep Your Ideas Flowing (this can apply to blogs, videos, podcasts, eBooks….the works!)

5 Inspirations to Spice Up Your Content Marketing

Want to better define your ideal audience so you can understand what content they need and how and where they want it? You’ll love my Brand Bootcamp digital course – self-paced and stress-free!

Content Marketing Success. Part 1: Create A Sensible Strategy

Ready for a free mini-course on this blog? This is Part 1 of three-part series on how to master content marketing, create the right content, and manage it with ease. Oh, and a goodie for you at the end: A free Content Marketing cheat sheet full of tips, strategies and best practices. Delicious! 

Sales has changed. You don’t just pitch your offering cold and shout “Buy Now!”  Unless you have an infomercial. And then it better be damn good!

Most of you offer creative, value-based work to discerning audiences who are not buying solely based on price, whether you put on events, sell cheese, write books, design websites or coach executives.

These audiences greatly differ, but they all expect you to take them out on a first date and court them before they invest in you. You must prove your value and expertise before anyone spends a dime.

Enter CONTENT MARKETING

I’ve talked about content marketing before and it’s not even close to new (remember free DVD’s and brochures if you “call right now?”) but technology has expanded the ways in which content can be created, delivered and consumed.

Good, consistent content will boost your visibility, attract your ideal customers and make your brand irresistible over time.

#Contentmarketing helps you woo your audience before you ask for marriage! @redslice Click To Tweet

Content marketing helps you woo your audience before you ask for marriage!  (Tweet this!)

But where to start? And how do you do it right?

In this three-part series, I’m going to share how you can make good content an effortless and integral part of your brand-boosting efforts.

Part 1: How to Create a Sensible Content Marketing Strategy

Before going on any trip, you need a map to get you there. Don’t just dive into tactics without a strategy.

First, as always, start with your brand strategy and story. Clearly determine your audience, your value, and your personality. Then build your content marketing strategy based on that.

A content marketing strategy lives above any specific vehicles, topics or dates. It should drive all of your efforts.

The strategy includes:

  • What are my content marketing objectives?
  • What does my audience want? What do they need to know?
  • What will I create?
  • Will I have monthly themes and seasonal topics?
  • Which vehicles will I use? What does my audience want AND what do I enjoy creating?
  • How will I measure success?

Taking a step back before you start cranking out blogs, videos and newsletters to answer these questions will guide your efforts for the rest of the year.

A word of caution as you plan: Don’t go overboard! Are you really going to write a daily blog, post three times a day on Instagram, film a video every week and whatever else you dream up? I get it, marketing is fun, but you still have to do your actual work and sleep, eat, spend time with your family, etc. Start small. Make it doable.

You want to make this easier on yourself, right? Take a few hours to unplug, pour yourself a latte and craft your content marketing strategy.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll tackle how to come up with brilliant content ideas and topics.

In the meantime, download my delicious free Content Marketing Cheat Sheet with tips, tricks, and best practices to attract new fans and convert more sales.

Some past posts that may be of interest as you build your strategy:

The ABC’s of Good Content Marketing

The Art of Seduction: 5 Ways to Woo Your Audience With Good Content

Want to dive even deeper on how to actually create great content and attract more customers, visibility and sales? You’ll love the MOMENTUM Pro digital course – self-paced and stress-free!

Image Credit via Réginald Sion

How to Make Great Videos: An Interview with Nathan Agin

Blog-VideoCamera-LauraLeeMoreau

Do you freeze like a deer in headlights when a camera starts filming you and your important message to the world?

We all know video is a fabulous way to communicate your brand. But something seems to happen when we turn that RECORD button on. Doesn’t matter if we’re surrounded by lights on a fabulous set – or recording on our iPhone.

As an actress, I totally get this – and it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to me either. You freeze. You forget your lines. Or worse, you come across monotone and robotic. What is about that little flashing light that makes us lose all of our passion and focus?!

Never fear. Making great videos to amplify your brand is easier – and cheaper – than you probably think. And you can overcome your fears to come across brilliantly. Video is one of the best ways to really convey your story and personality so you gain that sought-after trust you seek from your audience.

Today, I’m talking with Nathan Agin to help you get over your video fears and create something simple, stunning and effective. Nathan is the founder of Videos in One Take, which helps entrepreneurs become more powerful and captivating in their videos, leading to more engagement and conversions. Nathan has appeared in feature films, a Super Bowl commercial, and on Jimmy Kimmel Live; he also produced and hosted a TV-quality travel/food pilot. He’s a classically trained actor and has created over 400 YouTube videos; on his Videos in One Take blog, he explains how he does it–and how you can, too.

In this interview, we chat about:

  • Why video is so important to an online business.
  • How you can get over your fear of being on camera.
  • The simple keys to creating great videos (without expensive equipment or fancy editing…as Nathan says, “You don’t need a crazy setup!“)
  • Different ways you can use video to promote your brand and your business..while showcasing your unique personality.
  • The challenges that even stump the pros!

YouTube video

As Nathan shares, “The videos you have the ability to create have more power than you realize.” (Tweet this!)

And don’t miss….Nathan is launching a new Videos in One Take course to teach you everything he talks about in the video and more!. Check out the details right here!

Photo credit: Laura Lee Moreau, Unsplash

After watching the video, please share in the Comments which tip or trick you’ll try out today to get started on making compelling videos. Do you currently use video or are you dipping your toe into the water?

What Content Do I Need to Create and How Can I Make a Plan?

6.9.15 ContentMarketingCommittment (blog)

You’re a one-person business owner and you need to be 500 places at once. You’re the accountant, the website admin, the account manager, the marketer, the janitor, IT, and – lest we forget – the person who actually has to do the work your business provides.

Given all of these demands on your time and budget, does the mere mention of “content marketing” make you want to curl up in a ball and sob?

Let’s take a deep breath and exhale together. I’m going to share my journey with you.

Even though I’m a writer and marketing addict, content marketing almost destroyed me.

“Whaaaaaat?! But Maria, you manage to blog almost every week! You, like, live on social media.”

Yes. And this is how my breakdown started. And why I’m making changes. And why I want to help you do the same.

I recently told my entire audience that I was retrenching to work on my content plan.

Creating content brings me joy so I’m going to stop treating it like a one-night stand and make it a long-term commitment. (Tweet This!)

So I took a step back and have been working away, my friend. Seeking counsel from others. Spending time in coffee shops thinking about you and what you need. Marrying that with topics I’m passionate about and thinking about how to structure things.

Not sure what content you need to create for your audience or how to create a solid plan? Here is an 11-step plan to determine your content strategy. You should know I am following each and every one of these steps myself right now so I feel you:

  1. Determine Your Goals: Before you create a stich of content, what is your goal with it? Are you trying to walk prospects down the sales funnel? If so, you might need to create 2 or 3 pieces of content to get them hooked. Do you simply want folks to sign up for your email list? Then you’ll need some sort of opt-in freebie or guide. Do you want a regular weekly audience on a global basis and to interview various experts? Perhaps podcasting is the way to go? What are your goals? There is no one right answer for WHAT to create, but the answer gets a lot clearer if you know WHY you need it.
  2. Revisit Your Ideal Customer/Client Profiles: Remember all those times I’ve told you how creating ideal customer profiles is the single most important part of your brand strategy? Here’s Reason #972 as to why. To create the right content, you need to know your audience. What do they need, want, desire, fear, worry about? What type of info do they like to consume? What are their lives like? So dust off those ideal client profiles and update them or flesh them out if need be.
  3. Start With Your Wheelhouse: Good, now you know who you’re talking to. Before we dive into the format of your content, let’s focus on the content topics. You want to cover topics around your area of expertise and what your business provides. Sounds simple, right? But you have to be organized about it. Write down every topic associated you do for people and all associated areas that it touches. Are you an accountant? Those topics would be money management, bookkeeping, tax tips, expense tracking, budgeting, record-keeping. Are you a life coach for women? That would be work/life balance, love, relationships, goal setting, stress management. You get the idea.
  4. Layer in Your Joy: Which topics do you enjoy talking or writing about? Download all the things you love. Now, compare your lists and see if there is any overlap. Can you talk about website design AND wine? Graphic design AND dogs? Career advice and Walking Dead? If you can find ways to weave these passions into your content, you will enjoy creating it more – and people will enjoy engaging with it more.
  5. Bucket Your Topics: I’m going through this exercise right now. Of your laundry list, are any of the topics related? Can they be grouped together or do they overlap? I have advised many clients on this approach but it wasn’t until I consulted with and took a course recently with social marketing expert Amy Schmittauer of Savvy Sexy Social that I finally did this exercise for myself. We are indeed our own worst clients, aren’t we? Create your “channels” or categories or magazine columns or whatever analogy resonates with you to organize this vast list.
  6. Ask Your Tribe: Yes, you will actually have to ask your target community what they would like to hear from you before you go out, guns blazing. Revolutionary, isn’t it? I recently sent a dedicated email to my list asking them to tell me their biggest challenges, obstacles or pain points and I have now turned those responses into a list of content ideas (of which, this post is one!) If you don’t have a huge list, ask former clients or customers or simply contacts that fit your ideal customer profile.
  7. Brainstorm Content Vehicles: Now that you have an idea of your topics and “buckets” you can spend a dreamy afternoon thinking about how to package these up. Do you like blogging? Maybe they are a year’s worth of blog posts. Do some topics lend themselves to demos or lengthy explanations? Make those videos. Are some topics so rich you could write a short eBook or create an ongoing podcast? Don’t think of vehicles that are absolutely painful for you to create – you will never do them. If quick visuals or tweets are your things, then maybe you just create Instagram-worthy images with captions around each topic or craft short tweets on each topic. At this point, you could also ask your audience again how they prefer to consume information, but I bet you’ll get a thousand different answers so may as well stick to what you enjoy creating!
  8. Create Your Calendar: This is the part I struggle with, to be honest with you. I try to make pretty little calendars only to go off-road as soon as my attention wanders. I’m like a dog that sees a squirrel. But it’s a place to start, right? Look out 6 months (or 3 if that’s less scary) and plot out what you can talk about when. This will save you time and energy when you’re not sure what to create or are staring at a blank page. Be ruthlessly realistic here. Don’t say you’ll blog or create a video every day if you won’t. What does a realistic schedule look like for your life and sanity?
  9. Make Space to Create: Of course you need to allot time to create all this great content so be realistic. That first video won’t go live tomorrow. So map the efforts into your personal calendar. And then schedule meeting on your calendar for when you will write/record/design – whatever. Not just 15 minutes but 2 to 3 hours worth of dedicated time each week if that’s what you need.
  10. Gather Your Resources + Outsource: I’m a good writer, but not a designer. If I want to create eBooks, I need to partner with a cool designer. So think ahead about who can help you create each of these content pieces. Do you have a VA who can upload and format your finished blog posts and find a good image to go with each of them? Can you pre-schedule Tweets or posts with Buffer? Do you know a good designer who can help you with all ten of the eBooks or free guides you want to create? Have you priced out a videographer for your video series (or are you simply planning to use your iPhone and send it to an editor – or DIY). Consider all of these once you determine your content plan, get everything lined up and then you can just press play and start cranking out content. Turn to resources like the ones I blogged about last week!
  11. CREATE! Start at the beginning and work your way down. Time to start doing. See your list from #10 above and start assigning out work – to yourself if appropriate or to one of the resources you’ve gathered. If you need to write raw content, can you hire a copywriter to polish your rough drafts? Can you get an intern to write the social media posts? Can someone else conduct the expert interviews for you?

Ready to plan for and create all that killer content without losing your mind? Make sure you’re on the Red Slice email list down below to find out the next time I’m offering  Bring Sexy Back to Your Blog, In this on-day virtual course, we talk about how to bring sexy back to all your content, not just blogging and you’ll leave with an actual plan and sample content piece, plus tons of feedback from me and others.

Image Credit: Matt Biddulph via Flickr

5 must-watch videos to delight your brand, brain and heart

12.16 videos that inspire (blog)

There is such a treasure trove of great videos out there. Videos that make us think, cry, and laugh. Videos that inspire us to action or give us pause in our own lives. And videos that crisply and clearly offer tips to move us closer to our goals.

Today, please enjoy these 5 great videos I’ve curated for you, in hopes they will inspire and delight your brand, heart, mind and soul. (Tweet this!)

The Power of Reinventing Ourselves. Dorie Clark’s inspirational, personal (and funny) talk about being yourself, living your truth and parlaying that into your personal brand so that you can uniquely stand out. Dorie’s first book, Reinventing You, is a recommended read in the 2nd edition of my book, Branding Basics for Small Business. Dorie’s next book, Stand Out, is now available for pre-order. It’s a book about how to become a recognized expert in your field – something we all need to discover these days in order to gain true professional security.

7 Problems Every Extrovert Understands. Hilarious! And I’m willingly to admit they are all true and have happened to me on my multiple occasions. Introverts in the house: you will love this as well, as you are the saints who put up with us.

How to Increase Your Twitter Engagement. My girl Amy Schmittauer of Savvy Sexy Social creates the most entertaining – and USEFUL- videos about how to use social media more effectively. Her sharp advice can even be found in the 2nd edition of my book, Branding Basics for Small Business – that’s how much I love her. In this video, Amy shares a little secret for how to tell if you’re doing what you need to do to increase your Twitter love.

Lennon and Samaras Share Title Success With Young Fan: OK, if you missed my post on this a few weeks ago, get ready for your heart to burst out of your chest and your eyes to well up with joyful tears. I showcased this heartwarming video of a young fan getting the experience of a lifetime at the Scottish Premiership soccer match as a great example of how need to make your customers be the hero of your brand – just like Celtic FC did here. The joy in this boy’s eyes says it all.

I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much: The previous soccer video is about making a fan the hero because of his loyalty and not simply because of his developmental challenges. Stella Young was a humorous and tireless advocate for disabled rights. Read more of her story here. Alas, she just came onto my radar this past week when she died at age 32. This TEDx video is a sharp, funny, wise call to arms to stop treating people with disabilities like they are exceptional JUST because they have disabilities and that it is insulting and unfair to treat them that way. Her advocacy and push for change – not her failing body – is what makes her an inspiration. You will crack up at her reference to “inspiration porn!”

Got other videos you love that you’d like to share? Please tweet me the link and I’ll share it out!

Photo Credit: Waferboard via Flickr

4 tips to create magnetic brand messaging

How can you engage and delight your audience without sounding like everyone else?

Brand is communicated through more than just a pretty logo. It’s actually communicated in three important ways: visually, verbally, and experientially. I call this the Three Legged Stool of Brand. I’ve talked about this in a past video.

Visually is what you think of when you think of brand: logos, colors, design.

But your brand is also communicated verbally: your copywriting, your tone, your messaging personality.

And finally, where the rubber hits the road, your brand is communicated experientially. Now that you’ve promised me a brand visually and verbally, do you deliver? If your brand screams hip, cool and innovative, then your products and services – even your employees – better walk the talk!

In today’s Red Slice TV video from MySourceTV, I’m focusing on the verbal aspect and sharing 4 tips that will help you craft magnetic messaging that engages, informs and delights your audience. This is oh-so-important in everything from your About page to your sales copy.

The way your business “talks” is one of the most vital ways to convey your brand (Tweet!)  What is the “voice”? How should you write your copy? What is the story that you tell?

Photo credit: Brendan-C, Flickr

How to Define Your Target Market? Channel your inner Aaron Sorkin

What can the screenwriter of such TV and movie hits as West Wing, The Social Network and my new obsession The Newsroom teach you about defining your customer niche or target market? A heck of a lot.

Doesn’t matter whether you have a business, blog or book. It’s vital to define who will realistically consume what you have to offer. Specifically, who is your ideal customer, client or reader?

Here’s a simple and fun exercise to flesh out just the right buyers and ensure all your marketing efforts will attract the right people at the right time. You just need to channel your inner screenwriter (or Inner Sorkin)

When you intimately know and understand your audience, you can better connect with, talk to, and engage with them (Tweet!)

One of the biggest mistakes I see small business owners, aspiring authors – or even blog writers – make is that they boil the ocean. They claim their target market is “Women” or worse, “Everyone.” That creates too large of a target to which to connect and speak. If your target is that broad and wide, how will you know a good marketing investment or tactic when you see it? They will all look good but few may actually work.

As much as you want to believe that anyone and everyone would (or should) engage with you, I have news. They won’t.

It’s a better idea to focus on your IDEAL customers or clients. And that means creating Customer Profiles. Time to put on your creative hat and channel that inner screenwriter. Create a detailed character sketch of your ideal customer as if you were writing a script or casting a show. I recommend that small businesses or bloggers stick to no more than three profiles/segments. You just don’t have the time, money or resources to spread your marketing efforts too thin.

Build a character sketch of your ideal customer. Yes, think ideal, not average because you want to make this person real to you. What is her name, age, occupation, household income? Where does she live, what is her family life like? What does she like do to do for fun? Which websites does she visit, in what stores does she shop, where does she go out to eat (or does she cook at home?). Where does she get her news and info? What books does she read or movies does she see (does she read books and go to movies)? What is her favorite movie or TV show? What are her fears? What does she value? What keeps her up at night? What does she struggle with?

Like screenwriter, build a fully-formed character. Maybe 2 to 3 paragraphs long. Find a stock photo online to represent this person and hang it up by your desk. Every time you write content, or build a new offering, think about Jane or Steve or Charlotte and craft it for them.

Once you have this profile, you can pull out the buying drivers and that will help you craft your offerings and marketing to speak to what matters most to him or her.

You won’t be leaving people out, trust me. It doesn’t mean others outside this profile will not ever buy from you – if others land in the net, great. This is simply about where you will target your limited time and resources on outbound content and activities.

It’s not about who you’ll let into your Open House; it’s about who you are targeting with invitations! (Tweet!)

Just spend an hour on your ideal customer profiles, if that’s all you have. I guarantee it will save you time and money and make your marketing more compelling and effective!

How to use video and social media to boost your brand: A chat with Amy Schmittauer

Today’s digital economy has introduced us to countless people I like to call “artsy-techies.” They geek out on things like hosting options, social media network features and today’s audio/video/web technologies but they are a far cry from the A/V Club nerd of yesteryear. With their savvy style, easy wit and delightful charm, they crank out more creative innovation before lunch than I do all year. It’s truly their time to shine: and what’s great is they love to teach us mere mortals how to easily put our art, story, value, services and products out into the world, too.

I’m not quite sure how or when Amy Schmittauer, the President of Vlog Boss Studios entered my orbit – most likely via Twitter! Vlog Boss Studios is a creative digital marketing agency that specializes in video content marketing. And as the Founder and Face of Savvy Sexy Social, she walks her talk and produces videos of her own. Hilarious videos (like this recent one about how you’re probably using Twitter the wrong way). Little snippets of video love that make you laugh out loud even as she’s teaching you how to use the latest social networks the right way so you can connect, promote, and attract rabid fans.

How does she describe herself? “I’m a social media frenzy!”

Today, Amy drops some mad advice on us about using video to build your brand, how to produce and host those videos in a snap and the fact that many of us are using social networks in the wrong way (one size fits all….not). Enjoy!

RS: Welcome Amy! Tell us, why should we be using video for brand building and social networking?AS: Plain and simple: People don’t build relationships with brands. They build relationships with people. (Tweet!) Video is the unbeaten opportunity to truly let your personality shine through and give your audience the opportunity to really understand and get to know you. Let them see how something is done. Let them see your expressions. Your opinions. That direct connection is huge for making relationships that count and make social media worth your time.

RS: But isn’t this stuff hard? What are my main options for creating/hosting videos?
AS: YouTube is the second most popular search engine only to Google. So it’s kind of a no-brainer to have a presence there if you’re creating video content. The visual learners go there to learn so that’s a great opportunity to tap into. But creating videos is easier every single day. You can record all the footage you need with a smartphone and edit with apps. Even YouTube has a built in editor. Don’t assume the tools are out of reach because that’s an impossible thing to say anymore. (Tweet!) My advice for new creators is to look into strong digital cameras like the Canon Powershot. It takes flawless HD video and the price point is perfect for budgetary restrictions.

RS: OK, truth time. Most of us don’t have enough hours in the day and are simply posting the same things on all our social media sites. But should we be leveraging each social media profile differently?

AS: Abso-friggin-lutely. Platforms are different for a reason and you need to respect the audiences that use each so you can customize your content to their liking. Do not auto-post between social networks. Facebook updates are not being read on Twitter. And your tweets are getting pushed down by the news feed algorithm. Saving time just means you’re making any time spent worthless. (Tweet!) Take the extra steps and watch engagement increase. One thing is for sure and that’s that people don’t like to read. Keep it close to 140 characters no matter which platforms you’re using for best chance of increased engagement.

Want more Amy in your life? Get the social action plan you’re looking for and pick her brain.

Are you using video in your social media efforts? Want to but not sure where to start? Fire away your Q’s for Amy in the Comments below!