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What’s the Best Online Marketing Opportunity in 2017? YouTube!  Here’s Why

What’s the Best Online Marketing Opportunity in 2017? YouTube! Here’s Why

One of the best online marketing resources available today is YouTubeyoutube

It has fundamentally changed everything

From consumer behavior, advertising to education, news, pop culture, politics, even religion. Sometimes for the worse, by the way. In the future, people will be writing about the demise of traditional TV channels, maybe even of websites themselves and it’s been happening seemingly under our noses. You’ve heard the saying that “people are cutting the cord”, I don’t think that just applies to landlines. You can be entertained and learn anything about online marketing, making websites, learning Photoshop, basketweaving, throwing darts, winning at Monopoly, SEO, and even how to make and rank YouTube videos ALL FOR FREE!

It has become ubiquitous.

Besides being a user-friendly website with a simple, memorable URL, it’s a free app on every new Blu-Ray and other media player from AppleTV to Xbox. It is available online free, or as a ad-free paid service, for any tablet, laptop, or mobile device. The technology has changed from small, poor-resolution short videos on your desktop to very high quality HD that renders well on even the biggest flat screen. Prior to January 2010, users had to have Adobe Flash Player (remember all those annoying updates?). Now, however, it uses HTML5 allowing viewing without the Flash player on several popular browsers. Since November 2009, you could even watch in 1080p HD, and as of 2015 videos are even in 8K format playing at 7680×4320 pixels playing at 60 frames/sec! In January 2015 Google even announced 360 degree videos would be supported which can be viewed with Google Cardboard. Fun YT history here.

It’s also the great democratizer.

Nearly anyone can be on camera. You don’t have to slave at a diner for years waiting to be discovered by a slimy agent in Hollywood. You can start today with your own channel! People are becoming successful entrepreneurs because of it. Some of these “YouTubers” have millions of subscribers and now make well over six figures in ad revenue. It’s top 500 partners each make more than $100,000 annually, with its top grossing channels earning from $2.5 M to $12M. Got a great personality or message (i.e. great content) and you can be a star in your bedroom. You also don’t need expensive equipment. Just decent natural light and your iPhone or that little camera on your laptop that the NSA uses to watch you. Or you can always level up as your channel grows and you make some revenue to afford the professional gear.

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YouTube can help businesses rank their websites on Google search results (with proper help from folks like me). A simple video, uploaded to YouTube, titled with the right keywords, can rank, and many believe Google gives preference to YT videos. Especially since they bought it for $1.65 Billion, with a B, in 2006. YouTube mobile was launched in 2007, and the need for a flash player removed in 2010. YouTube launched the iPhone app in 2012 after it was optimized to be used with touch screens. They also are a powerful social platform with comments below videos, embed codes that can be used on any page on the web, and sharing buttons. You can watch as a unregistered user, but registered users can upload an unlimited number of videos and can comment on the videos.

As a user you are completely in control.

If you don’t like what you see, click or swipe away. It’s often easier to search for content and change channels than your tv remote. You can subscribe to only stuff you want to see, see what’s trending, even use your history to rewatch stuff without a DVR. You can start to watch a video on a iPhone (as a registered user) and switch to your Smart TV and pick up where you left off. Did I mention it’s mostly FREE?! You have total control with tabs for your History, Liked videos, Subscriptions, and Favorites all conveniently organized in a library.

There is so much content on there now I barely see my kids faces anymore.

There are fan movies and music videos that talented people have made that are just awesome. Check out “Adult Wednesday Addams” sometime. Or even some of the full length movies and documentaries. There’s Star Wars, Predator, and a full length Star Trek “Fan Fiction” movie that is as good if not better than all the re-runs on television. Speaking of which, TV executives, traditional ad agencies, and cable companies have a right to be scared. That’s why you are seeing so much network programming on the platform, and in fact many media corporations are partnering with YouTube; NBC, Fox, Disney, CBS, BBC, and Hulu to name a few. There is even a “Vid-Con” every summer in Anaheim for fans of their favorite YouTubers and channels that is eventually going to be bigger than Comic Con.

So if you haven’t checked out YouTube in a while check it out, especially if you haven’t in a few years. It’s updated and changed significantly. I know lots of adults who look at me with a puzzled look if I mention I watched a documentary full-length movie on it. It’s just amazing what content is there, the HD picture quality is now amazing, and its very user friendly and intuitive. It’s popularity is exploding…as of December 2016 YouTube was ranked as the second most popular site by Alexa. If you have a business you have to be using this resource. If you don’t know how to do this I can help!
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Social Media Strategy – How Often Do You Blog, Tweet, or Post?

Social Media Strategy – How Often Do You Blog, Tweet, or Post?

Everyone is Being SO Random

People often ask me how often should they post on their Facebook page or when and how often they should tweet. Twittertwitter bird logo has rapidly evolved and is no longer just about what you’ve ordered at Starbucks. Whether you agree with it or not, Trump is making effective use of this platform which is challenging and frustrating the mainstream media outlets. And, he’s a tweeting maniac! For businesses, this new advertising landscape is a paradigm shift that is as confusing as it is overwhelming. Many lack a strategy or blueprint to make the most of it. I’ve noticed that there exists a huge gap between active and passive social media content, especially with business. I suspect most of the businesses who are active daily posters and tweeters are using a third-party to accomplish this, after all who has time for this! How can a small business owner compete without a budget to hire a social media manager? Recently I discovered an awesome strategy we can use known as a “campfire strategy”, which combined with an editorial/content calendar takes all the randomness out.

The Campfire Strategy is Simple

To build a campfire you start with kindling (small stuff) and keep adding to it, graduating to medium logs, until it gets big enough to add the larger logs. You can’t start a fire with just big logs, right? In this analogy the kindling are the 140 character tweets. Mid-size logs are 300-500 word posts for the content sites, and large slow burning logs are the content-meaty, keyword-rich blog articles published on the website. Got it?

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This Little Ghost is a Mystery to Marketers!

 

The medium-sized posts/video/graphics should have a frequency of about three times a week, say Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you pick ’em for which platform that best suits your business target demographic. Hopefully you know what that is. Your tweets, possibly even temporal Snapchats should be daily, even twice a day. One simple trick is to set up a reminder on your iPhone-like this:

a screenshot of setting up a reminder by Siri on a iPhone

In a nutshell, tweet daily…post to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and/or Google Plus page two to three times a week…then write the big articles for your blog at least once a month.  Think 140-500-1500; the bigger the word count, the heavier the log.

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For graphics, images, and YT video can also use them anywhere as light-hearted fluff for weekend-warrior-dreaming Fridays!  Due to the explosion of mobile viewing, video, and live streaming with the Facebook app, and the super short attention spans today we simply want less words on our smartphones, that’s why video marketing is the big thing for 2017.  

Create a Simple Calendar

Thinking backwards from the big article…how often can you write a 1500 word blog post? You’re probably thinking holy crap, that’s a freaking essay! You’re right..unfortunately, but according to research on word count in blog posts, it’s the size that the latest Google algorithm likes. The search engines have an insatiable need for content, so give it to them. If you can commit to even just once a month you’ll be ahead of most of your competitors, who probably write very infrequently.  So take out your Sharpie and mark your calendar the tweet days (daily), the post/image/video days (three times a week), and the one or two days a month you write the big piece. Congratulations, you have a editorial calendar with consistency! Yay!

Get Google To Do The Work For You

The good news is that you don’t have to go way out in the forest to find firewood. Use Google alerts for your niche, product, service, or industry. Google makes this easy and you can specify how often, even what specific days to get the alert. I have set up a Google alert for “SEO” which shows up in my in-box three times a week. It’s incredible the sheer amount of information I read from all over the web about this one topic. Read something your customers could use? You can simply tweet out a link to that article. What about those longer Facebook or big blog posts? You can either set up your calendar app, set Siri to remind you, or use the low-tech sharpie method and put notes on your wall calendar.

Top Content Ideas for Blog Articles

  • Interview the business owner even if it’s yourself!
  • How your product/service just solved a problem.
  • An employee or customer profile and/or success story.
  • Before and after photos of your product or customers.
  • A hot topic in your business, school, or community.
  • What are competitors blogging about? If nothing, that’s awesome!
  • Answer a frequently asked question.
  • You can use tools online like Hubspot Blog Topic Generator – This is a nifty site that generates post topics based on keywords. It’s very helpful and powerful.
  • Your overflowing email inbox might even offer a topic.
  • Use a daily motivation, famous quote, or “this day in history” app and tweet out when you get it.
  • Some businesses are boring, so use storytelling of a customer or your business history and saga.
  • A good Yelp or other review. Tweet it out!
  • You can subscribe to local news sites or industry sources.
  • Make a short video with your phone and demonstrate how product or service is properly used customers and put on both YouTube and Instagram.
  • Try Facebook Live and show people your operation.

Wait, you don’t have a blog page set up on your site? Call me for help!

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Contact forms
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UX and You

UX and You

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Web design tips for the uninitiated

 

User experience

User experience (UX) is a person’s entire experience using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective

A web viewer’s user experience, or UX, seems to me to be the most overlooked and underutilized practice today. With all kinds of DIY websites out there, suddenly everyone is a web developer. Granted, the website builder tools on most hosting platforms and sites like wix make creating a site in just a few minutes pretty impressive. The unfortunate side effect is that we now we seem to be overrun with, quite simply, bad UX. One can argue that the tools available are very user-friendly and can make web design a whole lot less technical and theoretically “stunning”, but it’s we who have to look at these things if we happen to. So as a public service to all of us viewers, here’s some tips to save us from self-styled web designers.

The number one reason for bad UX is verbosity

I see it all the time, even from my peers. Mark Twain once wrote “Brevity is the soul of wit”; I am going to adopt it to our century (and web design) to write “Brevity sells more”.  Ad designers will tell you that it’s images, not text, that make good adverts. It’s the same, if not worse, on the web. People tend to scan pages and posts anyway, so as a rule let’s use 50% less text with 50% more images and graphics.

Stop with the giant pictures!

Images, people, need to be optimized for the web. Stop taking photos from your iPhone and putting them on a site without resizing them first. That pic of you from Burning Man, uploaded to your steampunk blog, straight from your phone, while convenient, is killing your page speed. Most probably don’t realize that images taken on a iPhone 6 plus are HD with 8 Mb and are a giant 1080 by 1920px, which just bogs down your site, especially if someone is viewing mobile at a public wifi. There are apps that will allow you to resize an image, and are is also a setting on some of the CMS platforms (like WordPress) that allow you to set a default image size. So think smaller, like 300x300px, and we won’t have to wait for the “spinning wheel of death” as often.

Get to the point and allow me to buy

So now everyone has a eCommerce site, too. Just get me to the buy button soon, ok? There have been eye-movement studies done, and people’s eyes tend to track in an “F” pattern while viewing sites. They start at top left, go a little to the right, then back down usually ending up bottom right. People are just trying to get to the pertinent information to decide to buy or not. You just need a small simple image of the item with straight-to-the-point information about the doodad you’re selling, then a “buy now” button. That’s it. You can, if it’s needed, make the whole listing a hyperlink to a detail page, for those who want to drill down on the specs. Save the words for the blog, where pontification is a best practice for SEO.

So with your help, let’s ask the newbie sites out there to keep it short, small, and easy. 

Want To Start a Blog, But Have No Idea What to Write About? Here’s Some Tips!

Want To Start a Blog, But Have No Idea What to Write About? Here’s Some Tips!

Want to start a blog but have no idea where to get content?  Read on!

Blogging is a great way to get your creative juices flowing, and for many it’s a way to make money and get their ideas and their point-of-view across.  While there are very many successful blogs out on the interweb, tons of people start one only to give up after period of time. I am so guilty of that one!  The number one reason blogs fail…they take considerable time and effort, and most are not willing or able to commit.  Six months of writing good content two to three times a week (or more) is a time-management challenge at a minimum, and can tax even the most creative.  So if you don’t have the budget to outsource your weekly content, follow some simple guidelines while starting out and you’ll not waste our valuable time. The first tip here is so important it is not a rule, but LAW, and that’s PASSION.  You have to have passion about your subject or you’ll never keep at it.  So if you’re not interested that much in your subject matter, don’t kid yourself…you’ll never keep at it.

Rule Number One…Patience!  It will take some time to get a following.  Minimum six months of good content to gain traction.

Rule Number Two…Sharing!  Quality content will get shared across the social platforms, it will help you grow.  Make sure you link your content to all relevant sites.

Rule Number Three…Calendar!  Yes, and use a WordPress plug-in like this Editorial Calendar. This is a tried-and-true way to keep at it.  Always post content according to a schedule. Content marketers also like to use Content Calendars to keep social posts on track.

Finally, here are some pro-tips for finding content:

  • Write about a problem that your target customer has
  • Write about a recent (or past) success story of a client.
  • Write about data your firm recently acquired.
  • Write an in-depth piece about an attribute of your product or service
  • Write about a news event that impacts you or your industry.
  • Write about your most frequently asked questions.  If your site has a FAQ page, write in-depth answers to each, maybe one a week.
  • Write about yourself, or your company history.
  • Write about what you love/hate about a current opportunity/problem   (ok, there is four there in that bullet-point if you cross-ref!)
  • Steal ideas! Just Google “Top blogs for X” with X-being your subject, and see what else is being written about it.
  • Perform a YouTube, Instragram, Facebook, Vine, Pinterest, and Twitter search for your topic.   You’ll find all kinds of material to write about.
  • Perform a  Ebay, or Amazon search for your keyword or business.  You’ll find content surrounding products, books, movies, and everything else they sell.

Now, combine the editorial calendar to some of the tips above.  Maybe every Monday is about the news over the weekend and how it effects you.  I know a guy who just published a “Giveback Monday” post on a Facebook group I belong to and have benefitted already from it. I now look forward to his Monday posts. So create a simple plan like “giveback Monday”,  “problem/solution Wednesday”,  “personal story Friday” and before you know it you’ll be blogging like a pro.

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