Posts Tagged ‘social media strategy’

SEO and Viral Content

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Have you ever looked at a video on YouTube and seen views over 1 million, or even over 2 or 3 million? If you’re a red blooded marketing person you probably drooled as your eyes turned glassy dreaming about that many visitors.

You will hear internet marketers promoting software or programs or techniques that will give you viral content. But you will NEVER see numbers even close to 10,000 by using any of these “tricks”.  You see, these techniques forget a very important fact about content.  The content has to be something someone actually wants to watch/read/listen to.

One of the masters of the viral content game is OK Go.  Their latest video features a choreographed dance with dogs. More than 6.5 million people have watched it on YouTube.

According to Ok Go’s lead singer Damian Kulash, “Content succeeds online,” he said, “because it brings people joy, it makes them smile — it’s interesting enough to be passed along to friends and family members. That’s no stunt,” he said, “it’s just a matter of making something that’s genuine and interesting.”

There’s no amount of savvy or gaming the system that is going to make people like things that are not likable.

We can expand that last statement  (which completely explains why all those programs and techniques won’t work) to read “There’s no amount of savvy or gaming the system that is going to make people like things that are not likable or useful.

Here’s the thing about the net – it’s built around people. Long ago the page rank of a site was an indicator of how many other sites found the content likable and useful. But guess what? Things have changed. Now actual real people “like” content and share it with friends, colleagues, and family. Social has overtaken the net and people, not sites, determine who has the best content. (Which is why page rank doesn’t matter nearly as much as it once did.)

Take a good hard look at your content. Does it talk about you? How great and good and wonderful you are? Be objective – is that content anyone wants to spread to their circle of people? Probably not, unless you have one of those foot long gold statues that are given out at awards ceremonies in Hollywood.

What is your content doing for your visitors? Is it educating them? Is it answering questions for them? Is it making their lives easier? Is it entertaining them?

Are you providing a place for lively discussion of ideas on your Facebook page, your blog, or your forum? Have you built into your site or your social media efforts an engine that will allow more and more content to be built up over time? A repository of useful information in your field?

Or is your site like the millions of others on the net –

  • page one – welcome to my site
  • pages two through 1000 – here are my great products with a one line description and a fuzzy, out of focus product image
  • page three – all about me
  • page four – contact me

This yawner formula is certain to make you a part of the thundering herd of similar sites and prevent you from ever “going viral”.

You see what works on YouTube – the basics – entertain, impart USEFUL knowledge, provide LIKABLE content, works with search engines as well as with people. The more likable content you have, the more the engines will visit and the higher you will climb in the rankings, bringing more and more visitors to your site. Those visitors are asked a ton of questions every single day that begin with “Where do I find…”

This is what viral truly means. When the answer to that question is YOUR site, and YOUR URL gets passed around in FaceBook, Twitter, eMail, and Smart Phone conversations – you’ve GONE VIRAL.

Your site will never achieve the Holy Grail of Viralizm unless you have that likable content in place.

How do you create likable content? Stay tuned and tomorrow I’ll go into the nuts and bolts of how to create that likable content.

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Why SEO AND Social Media Marketing are an Investment

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Are you one of the companies who feels you don’t really need to spend any money on SEO or Social Media Marketing? I know times are tough. I know money is tight. And I know that many companies are tightening the budget. Search Engine Marketing isn’t free. Neither is Social Media Marketing. And cutting corners or even eliminating online marketing efforts completely can look attractive. But money invested in your online marketing can be the best investment you ever make for the health of your bottom line.

Let’s look at SEO first. Do you know what percentage of your visitors are finding your site from organic search? If not take a look at your Google Analytics. If those aren’t available, take a look at your raw server stats. If those are unavailable hop over to Alexa.com and look at their numbers.

Is it 60%? 10% ? 85% ? If it’s above 50% – will you be able to replace that many of your leads and prospective customers without spending any money in any other channel? Can you afford to lose those visitors? The net is a competitive arena, and if you don’t continue a link building campaign, if you don’t continue to create and distribute quality content, you will lose your organic traffic.

Maybe you’ve heard that Social Media is where it’s at. So you might consider pulling your money from the Search Marketing campaign and throwing it all into Social Media marketing. You’ll get some Social traffic, but without a properly optimized site it’s like pouring water into a leaky bucket.

Maybe you think that you can pull ether one or both inhouse. After all the mail room guy says he knows all about Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. And he probably does – as a user of those services. But will he know how to set up the profiles in a way that gets them found by the right audience? Will he know how to conduct the conversations that will get users interested enough to visit your site?

Social Media has two important areas. Setup is the most important. If your setup is not done well, you’ll be building on a shaky foundation laid in quicksand. Social Media is a conversion layer NOT a sales channel. You CAN NOT SELL DIRECTLY to friends and visitors on your Social Media channels.

Social Media is like a good ShamWow infomercial. It introduces your and your company and products to prospective buyers. You have to get them interested and then make them want to buy, and then convince them to buy from you.

With SEO they are ALREADY interested, you just have to move them to your site and show them what they want.

Tapping someone to run a Social Media campaign who knows how to use Social Media, not how to market Social Media is like taking your receptionist who knows how to use MS Office and having her pitch your new operating system software to the folks in Redmond.

If you are thinking about cutting back on your SEO or Social Media efforts, or doing one without the other, remember – you’re playing in the big leagues. The day is long gone when you could throw up a site and get visitors and sales almost by default. You’re competing against brands and companies who command armies of experts.

But the really cool thing about the net is that you can STILL level that playing field and you can go head to head against the giants AND WIN if your experts are good at building foundations, engaging in the right conversations, and making your site appeal to your prospects.

Holding back on your online marketing investments can prevent you from building up the momentum you need to overcome your competition. Holding back on your online marketing investments means you won’t see your conversions increase even if your traffic doubles. Holding back on your online marketing efforts means you will lose market share and stop growing. And in the online world, if you stop growing, in time you’ll just be another web site languishing at the bottom of those 5 million pages that aren’t in the first 100 search results for your products and services.

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Social Marketing and SEO

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Site owners who have come onboard for the wild Social Media Marketing ride probably don’t see the common tie between Social Marketing and SEO. Oh sure, Facebook backlinks to your site help drive traffic and rankings, but there is something much more important that ties all of the social world to SEO land.

The underlying rule in Social is exactly the same as the number one rule in good search optimization results. You have to give before you get back.

Those business entities building out their social profiles so they can push their products have hit a ten foot thick brick wall. Quite simply – pushing product on Twitter and Facebook isn’t a good strategy. In fact it can have some negative results – quickly.

The response from consumers in these channels is as clsoe to instant as you can get online. Consumers are giving the same response in SEO land, but it’s more muted and registers only as a fast click OFF your site, to be seen and noticed only in the “bounce rate”.

In the land of blue birds, you’re more likely to get a pithy one liner “u r lame dude”, or in theFaceBook universe “Go peddle your stuff somewhere else. This isn’t the place for it.”

The idea behind Social Marketing efforts is to ENGAGE the consumer. To give them good content in exchange for their “like” or friendship. Just like it’s older brother – SEO – content matters. Quality content. Engaging content. Content with some value.

The best links in search come from sites that find your content useful, interesting, and valuable. They NATURALLY want to link to you because of your content, not because of your sales message.  Becoming an “authority” site, trusted by Google only happens when you are trusted by surfers and other sites.  Authority sites with good, NATURAL linking strategies are rewarded with higher rankings.

Friends and followers talk to each other about you

In the land of electronic water cooler discussions, your engaging content is rewarded by “friends”. Friends talk to others in their circle and recommend the good, warn about the bad and trash the ugly.

When you were in grade school you probably found out that you couldn’t buy friends. Or at least if you could, it wouldn’t work for long. You ran out of money, or the other kids complained to an authority figure, or your “friends” took your money and then turned their back anyway.

You can buy links. You can buy “friends” on Twitter and Facebook and even YouTube. But it won’t work for long. Get caught by Google or the social giants and you could get a virtual size 15 boot in the posterior. No sit down with the principal and a cry for leniency here on the net.

You have to give before you get. You have to have good content, or a good offer. “Friend me and I’ll give you x amount of days on a subscription. Friend me and I’ll give you this super cool whiz bang product.” That’s as close to buying friends as you can get.

But think about this. About a year ago Ashton  Kutcher threw down the gauntlet to CNN and said he could hit 1 million followers on Twitter before they could. And he did it. In the Social Media scene, being a part of a movement, a part of a group, a part of a cause if you will, yields the really big numbers.

Ashton Kutcher and CNN ENGAGED their audience. They bypassed greed, and the other deadly sins and went straight to the mind. Irreverent, funny, silly, maybe even stupid, but it WAS engaging! And CNN now has more than that first million followers and I am certain that they haven’t limited their engagement to fluff Tweets and updates on their Farmville progress!

They have leveraged those followers and friends into an audience that visits their site and consumes even more content.

Social Media AND SEO marketing efforts need to ENGAGE before the visitor, friend or follower can be LEVERAGED into a customer. Keep that in mind and you may just find Social Marketing is YOUR new best friend.

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How To Win The Internet Marketing Game

Friday, October 8th, 2010

I feel incredibly fortunate to have lived through the beginnings of the biggest revolution our society has ever witnessed.

The Internet.

It may be called the Electronic Revolution, it may be called the Digital Divide, but make no mistake. Computers, smart phones, and electronics all have on thing in common – the Net. In less than two decades it has swept just about every corner of the world, changing our lives and how we view ourselves and others forever.

The faceless, nameless millions who work, play, shop and hang out online are really not so faceless. There is a real live human being behind every keystroke, behind every post, every sale, every tweet. And yet we tend to forget that those real people exist.

When I put my first site online back in ’98, a community site that in it’s own way was a precursor of the socialReal people are behind internet marketingmedia world we know today, I was stunned. I sat there in all my geekiness watching stats. OH someone from Germany just paid a visit! How cool!. Hey there’s a person from Norway! Oh and look – East Bofunk is hooked in, too!

I sat at my computer into the wee hours of the morning watching people coming to my site from all over the world, people I didn’t know, had never met, people who were mere wisps of electronic signal. I visualized these people, they were more than just dots or numbers, they were real people reaching out to me across thousands of miles and THEY WERE BUYING my services – without my having to do a single thing.

This was heady stuff! And then these people started conversations on my forums. They exchanged information with each other, they talked about the net and their own lives. They were real people, there was flesh and blood behind those electronic signals. A hundred sites, then ten thousand, and today 10 billion are serving these people in ways never imagined. An integral part of their lives, a place some call home. A social revolution undreamed of just a short time ago.

Today, 92% of babies born have their picture online before they are 6 months old. Today, smart phone carriers breeze through a living maze in minutes thanks to Google Earth maps. Today, we have a front row seat to every event happening anywhere in the world (except maybe China) whether it’s a flood in Pakistan, a political upheaval in Iran or the new Fall line of a major fashion house. Today, 1 in 3 products is bought online.

Are you a part of this revolution? Are you engaging your audience on Twitter and Facebook and chat boards? Or are you still waiting for a flesh and blood person to walk through your door? Even if they DO walk through your door, they will be changed. They will be better informed, thanks to their online research. They may ask you why you have negative reviews about your shipping process. They may ask you what your Facebook Page address is in case they have questions after the sale.

You see, no matter how much things have changed, no matter how much online marketing and social networking have become a part of the sales process, your customer is STILL real. They are still flesh and blood, they still respond to the same sales process, just in a different media.

Have you embraced the social revolution or are you being trampled by it? If you don’t understand it, if you don’t engage in it, you’re not hanging out where your customers can be found. And you’re losing prospects and sales.

It’s easy to jump in. Just remember that those faceless people are real. The way you speak to them when they walk into your establishment, or call you on the phone works just as well in online marketing as it does offline. No matter how far reaching, or how pervasive the revolution, one thing has NOT changed. REAL people are sitting at that keyboard. The same people who used to walk in or call your business.

The only difference is now you can reach a LOT more of them, and they won’t be your real life friends and neighbors. Make them your digital friends and neighbors and you’ve won the internet marketing game.

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Are you Ready for Tomorrow’s Customer?

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Web 3.0 and the Evolution of the Internet MarketingYesterday I rambled on about Web 3.0 and the evolution of the net. But what about tomorrow’s shopper? There’s some pretty exciting changes for them just around the corner, and anything that changes a customer’s experience is going to change how business owners must deal with that customer.

Back in the old Web 1.0 days it was a  common belief that all you had to do was toss up a web site, built by your neighbor’s nephew’s son for a 6 pack of Snickers, enter your products and you were done. Customers would come in and buy and you’d never have to deal with them again. Until they whipped out their wallet and bought again of course.

Customer service is important and many companies seemed to think it was totally unnecessary for online shoppers. Boy were they in for a surprise! Not only did the web sites who offered really good followup and proved to shoppers that they would still love them in the morning thrive against their larger and better funded competitors, Web 2.0 came along and demanded transparency on all levels.

Web 2.0 is the great water cooler of the internet. People gather around and make comments, share their experiences and recommend (or trash) companies and products. You can’t hide behind a corporate image or do business as usual with cleverly spun releases when something goes wrong.

I was going to take a flight to Cleveland – and yes I have family there because that’s pretty much the only reason people will put up with the incredible hassle of flying to Cleveland. I was checking Twitter to find out about an airline I hadn’t flown before when I caught a conversation from a disgruntled flyer. Lost bags, late flight, missed connections – the whole ball of wax. But someone at that airline company had their head wrapped around what Web 2.0 is all about. They responded in a courteous, friendly manner at the Twitter water cooler. They made the angry customer feel that he was being listened to and corrected his problem, along with a generous apology and a hefty flight voucher.

I flew that airline, even though there were others that had more positive consumer comments in other parts of the Web 2.0 arena. I did it because Twitter gave me a glimpse behind the curtain, because I could see their customer service in action. And yes that impressed me far more than the other airline’s boring corp speak tweets that merely mouthed slogans and read like ad copy.

Web 1.0 was the primordial first steps from the ooze of college Univac systems. The novelty, the “wow” factor. An awful lot of people didn’t get it. (Remember all those startup companies that crashed and burned?) Web 2.0 is the great block party. Neighbors meeting neighbors, sharing their lives, in excruciating detail at times. Sharing their opinions of companies, products, services.

Now let’s think about the next part of the shopping experience. If I want to find a restaurant all I have to do is hit a smart phone and I can see everything I want to know about them. Directions, comments from customers, all the things I need to make up my mind where to dine at that moment.

Now let’s expand that a little. I’m in a grocery store, wandering down the aisle with my iPad. I hit the bar code and suddenly I have the ingredient’s list for that product, comparisons to similar products, consumer contributed recipes that use that product, a coupon for it, store prices for it within x miles of my current location, recall notices, everything and anything I could want to know about it right there in front of me. That’s one tiny example of the driving force behind Web 3.0 – personalization on a grand scale.

Look at your web site. Do you describe your products and services in great detail? Or are you content to say “Blue Widget – great for kids” ? Do you engage and interact with your clients and customers – beyond the testimonials in your side bar “Bob is the greatest guru on the planet. U r in rt place” ? Is your site written in corp speak? “John is dedicated to providing differential experience levels to all Yak herders in the homogeneous arid and semi arid caverns of Iolo.”

As internet marketers and search experts, we will be challenged by the companies who do not “get” Web 2.0 yet, let alone Web 3.0. Those who don’t realize that  they MUST engage their audience to prosper. If these business owners haven’t wrapped themselves around the community aspects of Web 2.0, it’s doubtful they will be prepared to enter the uber personal world of Web 3.0.

I well remember arguing with clients about using the word Best. Online the consumer determines who is “best” in the field, no matter what the owner may think! The wise owner does not become enraged at negative comments, but engages the customer and uses those comments to improve, while letting the world of the web see what they are doing. Those companies are well equipped, with the right mindset, to enter the super personalized world of Web 3.0. They know that there are millions of buyers out there, and they need to engage, educate and constantly win their hearts and wallets.

Remember – your competition is only one tiny mouse click away. With Web 3.0 odds are good they’ll be sharing the same screen with you. Are you prepared to get personal?

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Are You Ready for Web 3.0?

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Back when I lived in Wyoming one of my favorite events was the weekly trip to the feed mill. Saturday morning found it filled with farmers and ranchers, and we’d all stand around in our weathered cowboy hats and scuffed boots with our big pickups growling in the lot. We’d talk what was going on in our world, what had happened with the weather, livestock prices, politics that affected the agricultural livelihood. And most of all what was going to happen next season.

Here in Phoenix we have a similar gathering, but now I’m surrounded by fellow geeks from Intel, GoDaddy, Cable One and other internet companies. The other day we were sitting at lunch talking net trash and got on the subject of Web 2.0. What was it – really? When did it make it’s true appearance? What was in store for the coming year in Web 2.0 land?

In the corner one of the quietest members of our little group said, “Who cares about Web 2.0 – Web 3.0 is almost here.” There was a dead silence then we all started firing questions at him.

By the end of our luncheon we’d pretty well defined Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. Here’s what we came up with.

Back in the early days of the net website provided information. You couldn’t add comments, you had little interaction. Marketing was limited to banner ads for the most part. You went to a site, digested information, and moved on.

Along came Web 2.0. Ah now we have social networks, Facebook, Twitter, every site seems to have user reviews, comments, user generated content. Social media has taken over the net in a big way. Connecting with people is the focus of vast amounts of time spent online.Ready for Web 3.0 search and marketing?

Web 3.0 will become a virtual world. There is (and has been for many years) software that will allow you to “walk” into an online store and browse the shelves. Search engines will be smarter. For all my tongue in cheek poking at Google Instant, it IS the forerunner of what will be. What it is now may only be the first baby steps, but what it will become is a very important part of Web 3.0.

Our little group concluded that Smart Search will be the backbone of Web 3.0.  No longer will you conduct separate searches for airline tickets and local dining places in the destination city. You’ll have everything you would be looking for in that destination area on one page of results. Those results would be determined by your search patterns and online shopping habits. You might have burger joints and sports equipment stores on your page, while I might have Chinese restaurants and computer stores on mine.

Look at the subtle changes at Google as they prepare for Web 3.0. Google Places are the first thing you see for many search terms. What you see is way different than what I see unless you’re secretly living around the block from me. Google has an ENORMOUS amount of data on your own personal search and surfing habits. The results I get back for a term are very likely not the same as the ones you get back, because my location and my habits are different than yours.

Google already returns some results from my “friends” and contacts. While these are currently shown at the bottom of the page, as my network grows and Google evolves, I’m pretty sure they won’t stay at the bottom for long. Those articles, websites and comments from my friends and contacts will end up right under Google Maps I’m betting.

Evolution, even in net time, is not an explosive event. Changes are ushered in quietly, with baby steps until all of a sudden we realize we are looking at something that is operating in new way – the next iteration of the web.

Those changes are upon us, we just haven’t seen the end result – yet. Google Instant is merely a harbinger of what’s to come – highly personalized, incredibly relevant search results that eliminate the need for sifting through massive amounts of irrelevant search results. (Hear that spammers? Your days are numbered!)

This is the Holy Grail for Google – delivering the most relevant, useful content to each user as quickly as possible. It’s the path they have been on since the first day Sergey 1 and 2 moved out of their garage.

Are you ready? Is your site ready? Is your marketing and SEO team ready? The net isn’t built on the “Big Bang” theory, it’s more like the “Big Burp” evolution. There is a progression towards a defining moment, a “Burp” in the landscape that quickly separates the winners from the losers as the “new” technology is embraced by those billions of netizens.

So fasten your seatbelts, the next “Big Burp” is coming.

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The Internet Never Sleeps

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

The Internet never sleeps - it's always collecting and presenting more infoNew York City used to have a tagline – The City That Never Sleeps”. People knew that if you went to NY there was a different energy, an under current of excitement, a pulse that was fast, ever moving and overwhelming. I believe all cities have their own unseen energy, their own pulse and movement. So too does the Internet. And as internet marketers we get caught up in this maelstrom  of activity and movement and must either sink or swim with that current.

I often talk to business owners who are frustrated. They have hired a consultant or a company to improve their online presence and the project results never seem to match the expectations. These people walk away shaking their heads, thinking they were “fleeced”. In actual fact they probably weren’t. They were the victim of change.

It’s said that the amount of information on the internet doubles every 6 weeks. I’ve seen other numbers, but the time span doesn’t really matter. The internet is constantly growing and changing and there is an enormous amount of information to absorb and implement. Even if the net stopped right this minute, it would take several lifetimes to catch up on even a small portion of that information. This is mind boggling. This is game changing. This is why it’s very difficult to hire the right internet marketing or search optimization firm. They could be very knowledgeable – using last week’s best info. But by next week how much of that has changed?

I spend on average 30 hours a week in an almost futile attempt to keep up with my areas of interest. It’s a full time job in and of itself just so I can do my real full time job! And I could easily spend double that time and STILL miss a new technique or the beginning of a new delivery system or a new source of good traffic.

When I started online back in the late 90’s it was easy. No one really knew how things were supposed to be done so we improvised and made up our own ways of attracting customers, presenting products, getting traffic. It was a heady time much like wandering down a pristine white beach and picking up gold nuggets along the way. And then only picking up the ones that were easy to reach or were of a specific size and color. A lot of people made a LOT of money back then, they merely had to be on that beach. If they haven’t grown as the net has grown, they probably aren’t doing so well today.

In a little more than a decade things have changed dramatically. I can no longer run a successful online marketing campaign by myself. With all the areas of knowledge I have, with all the years I’ve spent “doing it all” – I no longer can do it all myself. A very painful admission I assure you!

Today I need a team.

I need a video wizard who is well versed in many different editing and special effects programs.

I need a marketing expert who has their finger on the pulse of social media – aware of the latest changes occurring almost daily on a wide variety of social sites.

I can’t even just drop into my favorite HTML editor – my constant companion of the past 12 years – and toss together a site. It doesn’t do HTML 5.0 and all new sites need to be done in that iteration of the language. It only surfaced a few scant months ago and already Bing and IE 9 are making headlines by giving it “favored” status.

No matter where I look, no matter what part of my marketing, advertising, site optimization, design or implementation, I need a specialist. Someone who concentrates on just one area of the internet and is constantly aware of the changes, of the new methods, the new technology, the new procedures.

But at the same time they need to have a solid grounding in the basics. Because oddly enough, no matter what area of online marketing you look at, the basics still haven’t changed. A solid foundation is needed to optimize a site. No matter how many new things Google has added, without that foundation, built with new tools and new methods to be sure, you will not weather the storm of new search algorithms.

Without knowing your customer, and their habits – even though those habits change every few months – you won’t be talking WITH your prospective customer, engaging them and working them into the sales funnel. “What’s in it for me?” has NOT changed. It’s still the driving force behind any type of sales page.

The path to that sale still hasn’t changed.

  1. Get the eyeballs, grab their attention.
  2. Get them to come to your site. Get that click!
  3. Convert them from a “looker” to a buyer.

Even though I mourn the passing of the “good old days” when I could do it all myself and didn’t need a bevy of experts to be successful, I take comfort in knowing that the basics, the rock solid foundation of each and every exchange of money hasn’t changed. The delivery will always evolve. The implementation will change with the rapid advancement of technology. But in the end – I’m still talking to another person on the other side of that keyboard. Or touch screen, or smart phone. And that will never change.

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If These Librarians Can Do It You Can Too!

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I couldn’t help myself. I saw this video and thought of all the people who are afraid to start doing their own videos and just had to post it here.

Come on people if a LIBRARIAN can do this – YOU can get in front of the camera too!
Seriously – check this out – it proves you can get your point across with video no matter what that point is! If a library facing budget cuts is turning to YouTube, isn’t it time your business was there?

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Hiding in a Gorilla Suit Doesn’t Work

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

OK, we’ve established that video marketing works, and we’ve looked at WHY it works so well to attract attention and potential customers. We’ve gone into the different types of videos and established the easiest and quickest way to get started. Ah, but here’s the rub. While the company spokesperson standing in front of the camera discussing the products, services and the company itself is the easiest to do fromVideo marketing can't be done well in a gorilla suit an equipment and knowledge standpoint, it’s also the one type that stops business owners cold.

I’m here to tell you that pretty much everyone who has only spent time in front of the camera at family birthday parties believes two things to be true.

  1. Their voice sounds like frogs rehearsing for a new Bud commercial
  2. They look like Phyliss Diller on a really bad hair day in front of the camera

Neither of these two beliefs is probably true. Your voice never sounds the same way to you as it does to other people. The camera may capture images, but what it really captures is the inner you. Your body language and the hundreds of semi-hidden emotional cues are present on camera in ways that still images usually miss entirely. Even if you honestly believe that you have a face only a mother could love, it doesn’t matter. After about 30 seconds, viewers are no longer “seeing” your face, they’re actually reading your passion, your enthusiasm, all those hidden cues and your face no longer matters one whit.

Don’t believe me? Test it out. There are videos circulating the web on a woman who had a total face transplant. While it is a vast improvement over what she looked like prior to the surgery, she will never walk down the runway at a beauty pageant.

Watch one of the many interviews where she speaks for longer than 30 seconds on what this transplant means to her and her life. As she speaks, her face is no longer the focus of your attention. You’ve already gotten past that, your brain has processed it and moved on. Now you’re listening to her words and the emotions behind those words.

In short – her inner self has conquered her face.

You WILL be nervous your first time out. And maybe the second, fifth or even the tenth time in front of the camera. Don’t worry about it. Practice makes perfect and after a while you won’t even notice the camera IF you do two things.

One. Have a good friend or colleague standing off behind the camera and speak to them. Make the camera become a minor bit player – a mechanical thing that is merely recording the much more important conversation you’re having with your friend about your business. This will almost force you to become more natural, less “stiff” and may even do away with the need for any type of cue cards.

It’s really tough to get used to speaking to “thin air”, but when you’re talking to a real live human being, it becomes much easier and the results are infinitely better.

Two. Forget about mistakes. I mean totally forget about making mistakes. With the editing software that’s available today, it’s pretty easy to remove the “bad bits” in post production. Starting all over from the beginning breaks your rhythm and often makes you sound and look preoccupied as you come up to the place you’ve fluffed your lines or made a silly face by accident.

If you “goof” do this instead of starting over. Stop. Let the camera keep rolling. take a deep breath, or chuckle, or whatever and pick up again from the point before the mistake.

Instead of wearing a gorilla suit so no one will ever know your face, follow these two simple guidelines, and you will be surprised how quickly you become comfortable with that camera that’s following you around.

Tomorrow we’ll hit some of the equipment and planning issues that help make a good live action video.

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Hello Internet Marketing world!

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Hello to the internet marketing worldAhh don’t cha just love the smell of a fresh new blog? All that beautiful pristine white space just waiting to be filled with thoughts and ideas. The first post on a new blog is usually a welcome to you – our unseen readers who inhabit this incredible space we call the web. And like this first post it’s often written by that elusive workaholic – Admin.

So, let me officially welcome you to our blog space and tell you a little bit about who we are and what we’ll be sharing with you here.

We’re Marketing experts, with decades of experience both on and offline. In our time online we have identified the many puzzle pieces that need to come together to form a successful online business. Then we went one step further and not only put those puzzle pieces together, but automated all the hundreds of tasks that must be combined to achieve the goal of making money online.

The world of Internet Marketing has grown to include so many puzzle pieces that it’s almost impossible to put them all together to form the winning picture. On page SEO, organic SEO, rankings, video marketing, YouTube channels, MySpace, Twitter, Google Places, Blog Rolls, RSS Feeds …. the list goes on and on. And the rules and major players change every day.

For example, did you know that Google makes 550 changes, on average, every year that affect how people find you through search? And what’s with that little blue bird and the Fail Whale? How do you present your business on Facebook? In short – how do you market your company, your products, your services on the internet?

Then just when you think you have it nailed, it changes!

I love this fast moving world of the net. I love it because I KNOW there are millions of people out there looking for answers and products and services. I can sit here pecking away at my keyboard and almost hear the babble of voices as they hunt through the billions of pages of information that form the interweb. When I get a website to the first page of Google, when I see visitor traffic on an uphill track, when I see sales start to rise it’s a real rush. I know I’ve managed to reach into my arsenal of internet marketing weapons and  score a bullseye on the constantly moving target that is the world wide web.

As the days go by, we’ll be filling these pristine pages with advice and tips and discussions on the many facets of internet marketing. We’ll cover social media, search engine myths, good email practices, video marketing and production and much, much more. We’ll make it simple. We’ll make it fun. We’ll bring our expertise and our passion for the web to these pages. Won’t you come join us?

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