Tag Archives: writer

Website Advice From Cincinnati Marketing Experts

Cincinnati is lucky to have so many website and marketing experts. I have asked some of the best to give you easy tips to improve your website and make you stand out in a competitive online environment. In this new video series, we’ll get right to the useful information. In just two minutes, you’ll find out some of the secrets these folks use. I don’t know of an easier way to keep your website and marketing fresh. The experts I will be interviewing are extremely helpful and easy to talk to. They would love to hear from you if you’ve watched the video and found some useful tips. Contact information is right at the end of the video.

My first guest is Beverly Richards of LDR Interactive Technologies. Beverly and her team not only make websites pretty, they make websites that work. Beverly is a wealth of information when it comes to marketing your business online. In this video, three tips for fixing your ABOUT US page. Every website should have one. Take advantage of these tips now to better connect with your customers.

Thanks, Steve

Steve owned a company that made computers. Steve wanted to buy some commercials. I was one of four radio and television stations to meet with him one day. I sat next to the account executive while he detailed the proposed buy. Then, I was introduced as the one who would write and produce the commercial.

I went through my usual list of questions, asking Steve about his business and more importantly his customers: who they were and the kinds of problems they were bringing for Steve to solve. When we finished, I had a pretty good idea of what I would write if we got the order.
The next day Steve called. “I was really floored,” he said, “Out of all the stations I met with, you were the only one to ask about my business. Everyone else just told me what I should be doing.”

We got the order. Not only that, but Steve hired me to produce all of his commercials for the entire market.

When someone asks me what sets Videos On Your Website apart, I tell them about Steve and how he doubled his business because he partnered with someone who asked and listened about his business.

Thanks, Steve.

–that’s a wrap.

Videos: Working Wonders or Wonder Why?

I really try not to rant too much in this blog. When I do, it’s usually because I’ve just something that I find disappointing. I will let you in on a secret: when I visit someone’s website, I always look for the “footer” that is a link to the web designer.

The one I visited today did really pretty work. They just left off the page titles from their own site. That’s the title that shows up in the top bar of your browser, and it’s really important. But the real kicker was that the web firm also produces video. They have one on their home page. It’s titled “Our Commercial”.

(facepalm)

It actually WAS a commercial. And it gave no reason why someone should hire them. They also thought enough to include the line, “having a video couldn’t hurt.”

(facepalm)

I can’t stress this enough: People Don’t Search For Commercials.  Commercials are not suited for the web. Why would a web designer put a commercial on their home page?? Why not a video about how a well designed site brings a return on investment?  Or video testimonials from clients? Even a series about marketing best practices.

Content that people want to watch. That’s where video works wonders.
What’s on your website.

–that’s a wrap

Seven Steps To Writing For Reading On Camera

My friend Rick Dearborn had some great tips on his MARKETVIDPOST blog. I asked his permission to share them with you, and he graciously accepted. Here is Rick’s post:

Most marketers are already good writers. They’re involved in carefully choosing words and crafting marketing messages all day long. But writing a script to be read on camera is a whole different experience that requires a few new skills. Here are a few useful tips that will help you create scripts that area easier to read aloud:

1. READ IT ALOUD. No matter what you’ve written, read it out loud to yourself. See how it flows and feels, and make changes accordingly. Then put it down for a while, and do it again. You will be surprised at the edits that will be needed.

2. CONTRACTIONS. When writing we rarely use contractions, but they’re commonplace in our speach. When writing to be read aloud, contractions are essential. After you write your script, read it over an look for places where contractions make sense. Here is an example that shows what a difference contractionscan make:

Before: “Now you are ready to get started. We are sure you aready know there is a best way to begin. But, if you do not, here is how you can start. You will need to write a draft first and you will need to read it aloud. It is always a good idea to start that way.”

After: “Now you’re ready to get started. We’re sure you already know there’s a best way to begin. But, if you don’t, here’s how you can start. You’ll need to write a draft first, and you’ll need to read it aloud. It’s always a good idea to start that way.”

3. COMMAS. Commas make good gramatical sense, but in most cases they don’t work well when reading aloud. The reason is, when we read aloud we feel we need to pause when we see a comma. The gramatical use of a comma does not necessarily result in the best phrasing when reading aloud. After you write your script, take all the commas out and read it aloud. Where it feels natural to pause, put dashes in instead of commas. Then read aloud again and adjust as necessary.

4. UNDERLINING. If there are particular words you need to emphasis when reading aloud, underline them. But, don’t go crazy with it. Use underlining sparingly, only on the words that are really important. Some techniques recommend single, double, and triple underlining of words all through your script to ensure different levels of emphasis. If you go crazy with underlining, your reading can sound mechanical. It should be natural and real. I recommend using underlining only for the words that really matter.

5. PARAGRAPH PHRASING. Don’t hesitate to break your script up into smaller, shorter paragraphs – it will help you phrase the concepts when reading aloud. I’ts ok to even make a paragraph out of a single sentence.

6. FONT SIZE AND LINE SPACING. It really helps to write the script in a larger than usual font, one that is easy to read aloud. I also recommend greater than normal line spacing. I like 24 point Arial font, with 1.5 to 2.0 line spacing. That gives you a little space to enter hand written underlining or other small changes. (But, don’t get too carried away with hand written edits on your script. They can get hard to read. It’s always better to make them in the computer and print out a new copy, if you can).

7. ALL CAPS. When you write a script in ALL CAPS, you can focus more on the emphasis of the meaning, rather than on the structural, making it easier to read.

That last tip is controversial to some, but I have to say that when I write scripts for myself, I write in all caps. Maybe it has something to do with the teletype copy I used to read. Those machines only had caps, and everyone in radio learnedly to read copy that way. I hope this helps.
— that’s a wrap

Which Videos Keep Viewers Longer?

Lady Gaga’s newest music video, or your demonstration and customer testimonial – which do you think would win? Basically, we’re talking entertainment vs. information.

You Tube’s Insights analytics tool is now showing graphs of where viewer interest drops off. The results are pretty surprising.

Most entertainment videos start off with high interest and drops off quickly as the video plays.

On the other hand, informative videos start with a lower level of interest, and that level increases the longer the video plays. What does that mean for YOUR videos? Well, what it says is people who watch the first 30 to 45 seconds of your video are more likely to watch it all the way through.

My suggestion would be to have a great opening, and if you have a hook, or a terrific point to your story, tease it within that first 45 seconds. There are things you can do within that time to ensure that folks will stick around until the end.

You can still be a star without having the latest I-tunes hit. Just be yourself and let your customers shine.

–That’s a Wrap.

My Cat Eats Small Meals

I work with a few clients on a monthly basis helping them build their video blog.

When a business decides to do a video or two every month, they’re understandably very excited.  Come the day of the shoot, they are in one of two camps: They have a three page written script  –or—they have no idea what they’re going to say.

I have the same advice for both of them:  My cat eats small meals.

A few times a day, my cat will saunter over to her bowl and take a few bites.  That’s all she needs. After that, it can be playtime, naptime, or she’ll sit on one of her favorite surfaces in my office and watch me work.

Humans can be the same way with information: don’t give them too much to digest.

Instead of putting all of your messages into one video, think about what you want your viewer to come away with.  What inspires you? What motivates you every day?  Those are great video blog posts.  It doesn’t always have to be about your product.

By breaking up your information into small “bites” you can feed your customers and prospects just the right information diet that will have them coming back for more.

That’s a wrap.

4 Times When Video Is A Bad Idea

Videos for SEO, Videos for product demonstrations, and for customer testimonials. Videos to show your expertise to prospects or build credibility. They’re all great ideas. They’re ideas that can help and grow your business.

Unfortunately, there are times when using videos can be a bad idea. This all falls under the heading of “read your contract”. Here are some real world examples. I can’t believe there are companies who actually do this, but there are.

1. The video is not created specifically for your business. Just like there are templates for websites, a producer can create a video template. This usually has a minimum amount of your information. It’s built around pretty graphics, or generic pictures.
2. You don’t own your video. Can you imagine that? Anything you planned, pictures you took, ideas you might have had – they can all vanish, because you signed a leasing agreement rather than a sales agreement. Yes, it actually happens. And if you don’t pay for another round, they’ll pull your video.
3. You do all the work, and they get paid. I know of companies who want their clients to shoot the video footage, and then send them the files so they can edit. Or they want you to write the script. I mean, if you’re paying for professionals, shouldn’t you get professionals who can give you their expertise?
4. You have no control over the final product. “Double check your work carefully”, one video contract says, “If we have to make any changes after you sign off, we will charge you.” Really?? Even in a restaurant, if you don’t like the meal, they’ll make it for you again. What’s wrong with this picture?

There are things about technology and marketing that scare some folks. But if you’re making an investment in a professional looking website, ask questions, and make sure that it’s going to be more than an online brochure. Engage your customers and prospects with compelling content. You’ll find that it starts paying for itself quickly. And it pays over and over.

— That’s a wrap.

24 Things You Can Say In Your Next Video

When small businesses begin to think about making a video to put on their website, they usually start writing things to say about the products or services they’re trying to sell. What else is this process called?
video subjects,
Commercials.

Since no one searches the web for commercials, there has to be another way to tell a small business’ story.

There is. And it’s the process that businesses and professionals are using to build their video library.

There are probably at least ten questions that every customer asks you.
There are ten more questions you WISH they would ask. That’s a total of twenty different videos so far. Are you following?

But in the title I said 24 things.

The other four videos are actual showcase pieces about your product or services. No, not commercials. That’s where we come in. We’ve been producing those kinds of messages, those UN-mercials since before there was an Internet. And we’re still having fun.

–That’s a wrap.

Are You A Videographer?

I never know how to answer that question. I don’t really like the word. To describe what I do takes a little more. So I looked it up.

vid?e?og?ra?pher [vid-ee-og-ruh-fer]
–noun someone who makes films with a video camera.

Empty. So, what is the best way to describe what I do? I can’t think of a really good one, although, I like Content Producer. It really is all about content. That’s why it at the top of my web pages.

If you want to capture a wedding day, you can call a videographer. If a reporter needs someone to get pictures of the story he is telling, he’ll take a videographer. And let me say, that I’m not knocking those tasks at all. The term just does not describe my business.

My first role is as a consultant. In the preliminary stages, clients ask about the process, subject matter, and we brainstorm ideas. I’ll take that information, do some additional research, and come up with a script. That’s one of the things I love. I’ve been writing professionally since I was 16.

On the day of the shoot, I’m with my client for less than two hours. If we’ve done our planning, that’s all the time we need to get the images.

I transfer the files into my digital editor and start piecing together the message. Many times, scenes are shot out of sequence, or maybe a scene needs to be moved to give it more emphasis. I have to create the graphics, find the right music bed, and maybe do a couple of voiceover pieces.

I’m not through yet, I’ll watch it a couple of times to see how the shots match up and do some more tweaking. I’ll do a rendering to see how the video is going to look online. Does it have a great opening? Will the colors go well with the website it will be shown on? More tweaking. Finally, it’s ready.

After client approval, I make a number of renderings in different formats: Windows Media, MP4 Quicktime, MPG, Flash, and start uploading to the most effective video sharing sites. Yes, there are a couple of dozen others besides YouTube that show up in search engine optimizations. Many times I’m also working with my client’s web master or designer.

So there you have a condensed version of what goes into every project.

There has never been a better time to start using Videos On Your Website to promote your product or service than right now! And as you can see, you get more than just a video. You get my decades of experience in knowing how to reach your target audience.

Give it whatever name you want. But know that it neither starts nor stops at the camera.

–That’s a wrap