Saturday, June 29, 2013

Do-it-yourself marketing videos

In The Advantages of Video Marketing, Sté Kerwer wrote:
The thing that puts people off video marketing has to be the fact that a video must be created in the first place – for those who aren’t perhaps "tech-savvy," it can be a daunting task.
From personal experience, it is a daunting task.  One that takes many doses of patience and persistence.  If you have a business, brand or organization to promote, and your marketing budget is tight, then it may be worth your while to give it a go à la DIY (do-it-yourself).

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Here is an overview of fundamental steps and questions to consider:

Clarify your purpose

What do you need a marketing video for?  What are you trying to accomplish?  It may not be crystal clear to start with, but do take the time to clarify your purpose and set workable objectives.

Conceptualize your video

Filmmakers call this story-boarding.  They sketch in cartoon-like frames what they're going to shoot.  It is a similar process as outlining a paper, first, before jumping into writing it.  This way, you have a working plan for the video you're going to make.

Create video content

Most smartphones have decent video capabilities, so if you haven't yet, play around with it.  Give it a go.  Video cameras can reach in the thousands of dollars, in the blink of an eye, so weigh your budget first, if you want something more than a smartphone videocam.  Take informal videos of your friends and family, to start with.  

Remember, video is just one type of content.  You can also use photos, slides and text as the raw content for making a video.

Edit video content

This is the most tedious, time-consuming part.  Whenever we watch any film, from feature-length movies to commercial ads, there is a great deal of editing that goes on behind-the-scenes.  Just as a diamond in the rough must go through cutting, polishing and sizing, before any such gem makes it as a piece of jewelry, so must your video content go through something similar.

For me, Movie Maker as an editing tool serves my purpose very well.  Upload your video content to the editor, and examine what you have.  Movie Maker has quite a few features that help:  for example, viewing your content, adding voice or music tracks, and applying visual effects.

This is very much a roll-up-your-sleeves process.  But, if you're like me, the effort is well worthwhile, as the video literally takes shape and comes to life, before your very eyes.

As Kerwer added:
Make sure the video that you make is informative, entertaining, and maybe even a little bit edgy.
Upload finished video

You can upload it directly onto Google+ or Facebook, but I choose to upload it up to my YouTube channel.  Why?  Because it has additional features that help make sure I have the most compelling video possible.  

Promote your video

Once uploaded, it's easy enough to share your video from YouTube, to Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.  You can also post the link to your video right on these sites.  Be sure, though, to include a descriptive, catchy comment along with you share or post.

Let me know what you think!  Please feel free to send me the link to your video:    

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blogs are content drivers online

Whether or not you read blogs with any regularity, you may have thought about writing one yourself.  Whether the blogs you read are social and casual in nature or more formally business and professional, it is a fact that millions of us have one.  Tumblr alone reports 118.9 blogs on its site, as of today.  Certainly it is top-of-mind for marketers.  Me, I have 10 (so far), as I am fortunate that writing is both a passion and a talent of mine.

In What Makes You a Blogger - Nurture or Nature? Ray Hiltz sounds off on the new book - "Born to Blog" - by Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford Smith.  By his account, it looks to be a compelling, blogger-focused book with generous helpings of advice and encouragement.  It's for the seasoned blogger who may just want to refresh or elevate his or her blog:  "Building your Blog for Personal and Business Success, One Post at a Time."

“Blogs are the content engine driving the social web” (image credit)
That said, Hiltz appears to tilt his review to those who are just at the cusp of blogging, but hesitate to go forward for one reason or other.  The following are skills you may already possess, and if so, you may very well channel them into a blog.

  • Skill #1 – Dreaming.  “If you can dream, you can blog.”
  • Skill #2 – Storytelling.  “Can you tell a story? Yes. And you can blog.”
  • Skill #3 – Persuading.  “Do you have passions and opinions? Then you can blog.”
  • Skill #4 – Teaching.  “What questions do your readers have? If you can answer them, you can blog.”
  • Skill #5 – Curation.  “Are there subjects that you can’t resist critiquing, labeling and categorizing into a list of the very best? Yes? My friend, you are a blogger waiting to wow the world.”
So, how about it?  Please feel free to e-mail me, if you have ideas or queries about blogging:  If you're already blogging, send me the link, as I'd love to read it!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

`Website and Blog Design

For good reason, it’s your home base. It's where your customers, friends or colleagues can visit you.  Anytime they want, and you can inform, engage or entertain them.  Even when you're not home!

You can design it yourself for free, or you can save a lot of time and effort by having Ahrvey do it for a low cost.

Starting at just $95 per site 
  • I design a website with Intuit (3 pages) or a blog with Blogger (unlimited posts) 
  • I set up your domain name and hosting on Intuit or Blogger 
  • We review-revise-approve a draft of your site 
  • You have full control of your site, when I do a walk-through with you on Skype 

What I need from you 
  • Preferred domain name, plus alternatives 
  • Specific content to upload onto your website, i.e., text, images, videos [me creating, added costs] 
  • 3 sample websites you like, plus a sketch 
  • Completed questionnaire (purpose, theme, personality) 

Stuff you may want to know 
  • Additional website pages [$15 per page] 
  • Preferred e-mail address [$15] 
  • Unique logo [$15] 
  • Domain name and website hosting on Intuit [nominal monthly costs] 
  • Domain name and hosting are free on Blogger, unless you want your own unique domain name [nominal yearly cost] 

e-mail me:
Skype me: DrRonontheInternet

Let's talk, and see what works best for you!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

`Social Media Management

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Perhaps you are on the Big 5:  Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Manage all of these sites actively, so you engage your audience, understand their interests and needs, and build lasting relationships.

You can do it yourself, or you can save a lot of time and effort by having Ahrvey do it for a low cost.

Starting at just $19 per day
  • I check one of your social media accounts, three times a day
  • I post stuff, as you instruct and-or with content you provide
  • I respond to comments and queries, and acknowledge problems or complaints, as you instruct
  • I alert you to issues, opportunities and ideas

What I need from you
  • Your social media objectives and strategy
  • Your instructions for posting, commenting and responding
  • Your content, i.e., text, images, videos etc.
  • Administrator's access to your page, profile or group

Stuff you may want to know
  • The actual daily fee depends on your requirements, number of accounts to manage, and amount of activity at each site.
  • I can advise you on social media strategy [fees depend on requirements, complexity, and extent].
  • I am active on Google+YouTubeTwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.  Feel free to connect with me!

e-mail me:
Skype me: DrRonontheInternet

Let's talk, and see what works best for you!

Friday, June 21, 2013

`Promotion Videos

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Many people make a video with a smartphone, tablet or camcorder, and use editing tools like Movie Maker or YouTube.

But unless you know these devices and tools well, it can be tricky and time-consuming to make a video yourself.  On the other hand, having some video makers do it can set you back hundreds of dollars.

Starting at just $119 
  • I create a 30-second promo video (with or without voiceover) 
  • I upload it onto your YouTube channel 
  • I attach a soundtrack from YouTube 
  • We review-revise-approve a draft of your promo video 
  • You have full control of the video, after I do a walk-through with you on Skype 

What I need from you 
  • Purpose, requirements and timelines 
  • Text and its positioning on the video 
  • Clips (your own and-or creative commons) 
  • Images (your own and-or royalty-free) 
  • Voiceover (if any) in MP3 
  • Soundtrack (if any) in MP3 

Stuff you may want to know 
  • Longer videos [$119 at 30-second increments] 
  • Live videotaping [costs depend on requirements] 

Sample videos for your reference

Skype me: DrRonontheInternet

Let's talk, and see what works best for you!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Social media advice for entrepreneurs

Regardless of your level of understanding or involvement in social media, you have an opportunity to raise it or sharpen it vis-a-vis your business or profession.

  • By raise it, I mean you may need to spend more time and effort in social media, in order to advance your business and achieve your aims, for example, learning how LinkedIn helps managers recruit staff and candidates find jobs.    
  • By sharpen it, I mean you may focus more on those sites and activities that pay off best for your purpose and gain you more efficiency in the time and effort.  YouTube, for example, has convenient share functions for Google+, Twitter and Facebook.  

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For more good entrepreneurial advice, Robert Patrick Eha offers the following 5 Social Media Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know:
  1. Produce quality content
  2. Be open and engaging
  3. Focus on a specific niche
  4. Use social media to build your business, and vice versa
  5. Embrace each social media's unique culture

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

LinkedIn is tops for business

If you're an entrepreneur, manager or professional, and you're not on LinkedIn, yet, now is the time to mosey on down to the site and create your profile.  The Big 5 of social media - Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - may have some similar features and algorithms, but they're fundamentally different in their culture and communities.

For business stuff, LinkedIn is tops for me.

So here's a must-see infographic on this hot social media site:  10 Years of LinkedIn.  I highlight the following from this article:

By the way, to use a baseball analogy:  LinkedIn in the leadoff hitter, followed by Google+, Twitter, XING and EFactor, in my batting lineup.  So, batter up, friends!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

To use or not to use social media apps

Social media takes time and effort, but if you have a purpose and social media clearly serves it, then that time and effort are worth it.  Things to consider:
  • To truly engage others, put your heart into it.  Your purpose may be business, organizational or personal; regardless, your posts and conversations must be genuine and sincere.
  • To succeed in social media, keep it going.  How much time and effort you put into it is a matter of choice.  But whatever the amount, it ought to be reasonable and sustainable for you.  
  • To help you keep at it, use apps responsibly.  Whether it's the trusted hammer, or a sharing tool, you should use it to serve your purpose.  

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Using apps simply for convenience or efficiency is very impersonal, and it undermines engagement.  So not only is this irresponsible, but also it undermines your purpose.  

Diana: Help! Does anyone know of a social media management tool that allows you to tweet, post on a google+ PERSONAL page and LinkedIn all in one? I know hoot suite allows you to do business google plus pages but not personal. Please let me know!

I have added extensions this far on chrome but not sure how much I like it

Samuel: Yeah, I have been trying to look for a program to post to Google+ personal profile.
I guess we're looking for the same thing :)

Diana: Have yet to find a tool that does it all!

Samuel: Yup :)

Me: Hoot Suite is the only one that a friend suggested to me, but I never used it. Twitter, Google+ etc. may all fall under social media, but they're actually very different 'animals': from their platform and functionality, to your circles or networks, even culture. So while some of my posts are the same from one site to the other, I think them through carefully to make sure they're a fit for each site. Otherwise, I post things that are meant only for one site, such as sharing certain things from my home page on that site. It's a time-consuming manual effort, but I've learned to be efficient and found a decent rhythm of doing it. In the end, I don't think there's an app or tool for genuine participation and engagement. Just saying :)

Samuel: There no replacement for one-on-one engagement, but with all the responsibilities that comes with a website, it is nearly impossible to succeed with mere engagement. Don't get me wrong, I engage and update my social statuses manually most of the time, but when I am away or need to catch up with another task, a management tool comes in handy at the right time, just like emergency help!

Diana: I agree with you both above! Just trying to make lives easier for those who are pressed for time! Each platform definitely should be targeted intimately.. So to speak. Thanks for sharing I really appreciate the feedback :)

Me: Well-said, Samuel and Diana! An app should serve the purpose of engagement, first, then efficiency follows suit. Social media can become unbearably tough and tedious, otherwise, without tools.

I haven't done a lot of research on social media apps, yet, but those I've seen on Facebook and Twitter are awful and some of the people using them aren't very responsible. For example, I get a lot of automatic thank you's after following someone new on Twitter. I've deleted all of them, because they're mostly another attempt to get you to visit their website etc. without bothering to engage you first. Same on Facebook with chat pop-ups. If some of these apps can at least address me by name, then I may actually read those messages. But I imagine creating an algorithm to do that is easier said than done!

Whew, enough said :)