The Art of comm blog

4 Aug

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from OMM blog Follow this but wanted to post it here for anyone that reads this in the future to read the most incredible blog writer next to our dear Laurie Buchanan. He truly explains the business I am in to a T.

 “We just put a video up on our website… it’s really cool, but nobody is watching it”

Video production for business has evolved rapidly over the last 5 years. Video isn’t novel any more. Anyone can, and does, produce video.  Just like websites 10 years ago – when every company had to have a ‘web presence’  but were not sure why, businesses are now starting to use video to communicate to their customers and prospects. But just like websites a decade ago, most of the video produced today doesn’t move the dial. Here’s why:

In the Wiki article: Maslow’s groundbreaking paper  “A Theory of Human Emotion,” Maslow outlined five ‘states’  (Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence  needs) to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. His premise was simple – each state is a foundation layer for the next. You can’t experience a state until you have met the needs of the lower states. I’ve applied this same framework to Corporate Video Production. 

Most corporate videos today fail because they are not built on a solid foundation. When I say ‘fail’ I mean fail to achieve a measurable business outcome. If you want your business video (whatever type of video you are producing ) to make a difference then you have to go through each of the steps described below. There are no shortcuts. You might get lucky by showing up with an idea and a camera but, chances are, you won’t. Corporate video isn’t just about shooting and editing any more. It used to be because video was cool and video was novel. Today video is neither, video is just another content element, another tool to communicate your important messages to your audience. Don’t get me wrong – your video still has to be shot and edited well, really well, but if you ignore these foundational steps… you’re likely just putting ‘lipstick on a pig’ by the time you get to production and post-production.

 

1. What is your business goal?

“We want to update the look of our website.” “Our competitors are using video and we don’t want to be left behind.” ” The guys in sales say they want something really cool.” None of these are business goals. Having a ‘web presence’ was never a business goal. It was just something you did because everyone else was doing it.

The importance of defining business goals for your video cannot be overstated. These goals speak to the reason for your investment. These goals serve as the foundation to measure the success (or failure) of your video. These business goals also serve as the context -the ‘drivers’ for the next level of the hierarchy. You can’t start thinking of building a message platform for your video if you don’t fully understand the business motivation for the video. If you can’t work this first step out, save yourself some money and don’t bother with the video. (I can just picture my industry colleagues screaming ‘shut-up’ at their monitors.) If you and your video production team don’t understand your business motivations then your video won’t have any impact. And you’ll likely stop using video… for a while. (Remember when you asked ‘Why do we need this website anyway – it’s just a brochure in space?”)

 

2. Get the message right.

“Getting the message right” is the single most important AND the single most difficult thing you can do in marketing. Your message underpins everything you do in marketing. It’s the answer to the ‘what’ question. What are you going to say and why are you saying it? You should not be thinking of ‘creative’ at this point. You shouldn’t be thinking about styles and treatments and yet that is often what happens in corporate video production. The tail wags the dog. Someone sees a video and then wants to shoehorn in ‘some of your product or corporate stuff’ into that idea. THIS STEP IS WHERE MOST CORPORATE VIDEOS FAIL. (I figured bold and all-caps would really help me make my point…).

Getting the right message to the right audience at the right time is very difficult. Most companies don’t have a solid grasp on exactly what market they serve, what specific business problems they solve and how to frame their message into a form that will resonate with that audience. Relying on your video production company to solve this little conundrum may, or may not, be your best option. Video production budgets typically allocate a very small fraction of the overall production budget for this important work. That’s not very smart, and yet… that’s how it generally goes,  either because production companies assume the client will “fill all these missing pieces in” or they will magically figure everything out when they are doing their location scouting or other more important video production work. Uh huh.

“The message” is not the final script. The ‘message’ is knowing the things that you want to communicate to your audience. It’s knowing what stirs your clients giblets. It’s knowing what your customers really care about and packaging what you do in a way that they will understand and believe… and knowing what will compel your customers to take that next step, wherever they happen to be in your sales cycle.

 

3. What do you show?

Assuming that you’ve developed a strong message platform and you know exactly what you need to say, to whom and why, then the next step is to determine what you need to show in your video. This is where you develop the storyboard and script. This is where creative concepts are considered and refined. This is where you determine who is in the video, where the video is shot, what supporting elements need to be in the video, whether or not you need music or a voice-over, motion graphics, on-screen talent and a host of other factors that all contribute to the cost and quality of your video.

An example: You know  your customers pain points and you know how to frame your product in a way that positions your product as their only real choice. How do you delivery this message? Do you get your CEO in front of the camera. No, he’s too dull. How about Steve in sales? What, Steve’s too slick, nobody will trust him? OK, how about Homer in R&D, we’re selling to a technical audience they’ll relate to him right? Great, so where do we shoot this? At Homer’s desk? No, okay how about on the production floor – that will also help us show off our facilities. Too distracting… alrighty, how about Homer talking to one of our clients? Why don’t we have Homer interviewing one of our clients about their experience with our product? Do we even need anyone from our company in the video?  Wait, wait, wait, I saw this cool ‘explainer, cartoony thing, what about one of those… and on it goes. The permutations are endless.

This is where some ‘old school’ and some ‘new school’ video production companies shine. Some. Knowing how to take your important messages and translate those into video glory is a specialized skill. It’s not just ‘creative.’ It’s applied creative. There’s a big difference. Anyone can be creative (think movie script) but being creative with a specific business objective in mind, that’s heavy lifting. Your goal is to develop a storyboard that resonates with your audience. It makes them think AND makes them feel. If you can communicate your messages on an emotional level – you’re waaaay ahead of the game.

* Important Note. Everything discussed above is delivered in pre-production. everything mentioned happens before you pick up a camera. Today this is where all the value is in video production. Being able to light, frame and edit and shot and add cool transitions and graphics to the edit – those are becoming table-stakes – those are the skills that you are starting to find everywhere because everyone now has access to great cheap tools and free online training. The bar for higher and higher ‘production values’ is being raised every day. This is putting even more pressure on businesses to absolutely nail the pre-production piece – because being slick just isn’t good enough any more.

 

4. Filming

You have a storyboard, you have your locations chosen, you have a shot-list, all the on-screen personnel in place, the production crew has arrived well in advance… you’ve prepped your VP who is going on-camera in five minutes and you’re good to go. Lights, Camera Action! Shooting is all about preparation and planning. A seasoned crew will have experienced every problem imaginable and be able to adapt when problems occur (… they always do). A smart director or some other ‘handler’ will be good at getting the right delivery out of the folks on-camera and someone will be listening and watching to ensure that you get everything you need during the shoot. Shooting should be like a concert performance. All the players act in unison and delivery a great performance. What you never see is the time and effort in getting to that stage.

 

5. Editing

This is where your story gets built. Your video isn’t just a recitation of facts and figures. It’s a story.  It has a beginning, a middle and an end. People want to watch it because it informs and engages them. This is where your video is ‘self-actualized’ – using Maslow’s terminology. This step takes great skill but even the most talented editor can only do so much with the material he is given. He has to count on all of the steps before him being achieved successfully before he is able to create magic.

 

 Key Takeaway – Video projects should never start with ‘creative,’ they should start with a business need and a fully defined set of messages that resonate with your target audience. Once that’s in place, then you get clever.

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Insights: A New View of Your Stats

1 Jun

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The WordPress.com Blog

Today we’re introducing a new view of your stats. Insights give you instant access to your all-time numbers, including posts, views, and visitors. Dig deeper into your stats to make the most of your site.

Have you ever wondered what times of day or days of the week you have the most visitors? Insights has you covered!

Stats Popular Day and Hour

Of course, one of the best things that you can do to improve the numbers on your Insights page is to post more frequently. You’ll find a visualization of your posting trends right at the top of the page — one glance, and you can see how many posts you publish when.

Stats Post Activity

The stats that you’re used to seeing haven’t gone away. We’ve moved the Comments, Followers, Tags & Categories, and Publicize sections to the Insights page. Everything else is right where it was before, you’re still able to view the other modules by…

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Apple switches to editorially curated lists for App Store game categories

1 Jun

This guy is fun to follow for Mac users.

Joy

1 Mar

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Lesson One: This is how you do joy.

lesson 1: this is how you do joy, she said

 

Apple Retail SVP Angela Ahrendts: Apple Watch launching in “Spring”

2 Nov

I want one.

CREATIVITY ~ HOW TO TEACH IT

4 Sep

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“If there was a moment when our crisis in education hit critical mass it may well have been the date Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk went up on YouTube. In just 19 minutes his wry but eviscerating presentation gave voice to what so many of us are living through: our schools are failing to recognize creativity; we’re failing to prepare the next generation for the challenges that lie ahead.” – VANITY FAIR

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education and in business. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers on these topics, with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. The videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been viewed more than 25 million times and seen by an estimated 250 million people in over 150 countries. His 2006 talk is the most viewed in TED’s history. In 2011 he was listed as “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” by Fast Company magazine, and was ranked among the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thought leaders.

Sir Ken works with governments and educations systems in Europe, Asia and the USA, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations. In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province. He was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of South East Asia.

For twelve years, he was professor of education at the University of Warwick in the UK and is now professor emeritus. He has received honorary degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design, the Open University and the Central School of Speech and Drama; Birmingham City University, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Oklahoma State University. He was been honored with the Athena Award of the Rhode Island School of Design for services to the arts and education; the Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States, the Arthur C. Clarke Imagination Award, the Gordon Parks Award for achievements in education and the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for outstanding contributions to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. In 2005, he was named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts.

His 2009 book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything is a New York Times best seller and has been translated into twenty-one languages. A 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative was published in 2011. His latest book, Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, will be published by Viking in May 2013. Sir Ken was born in Liverpool, UK. He is married to Therese (Lady) Robinson. They have two children, James and Kate, and now live in Los Angeles, California.

A Viral Recipe for Your Blog – The 4th Ingredient Will Blow Your Mind

30 Aug

7 Ingredients for a Viral Blog Post

A good blog post can reach more people in one month. Below is a copy of another Blog at author media

[This was the example he used to come up with this ‘recipe’]

1 Cup Novelty

For a blog post to get people’s attention in the first place, it needs to be fresh. If it looks like the “same old same old” readers will ignore it. One way to make your post novel is to pick a provocative headline, but a provocative topic is even better.

Another way to do this is to break a pattern of thinking.

For me, what was novel about the post was that I publicly mentioned a trend that up to this point has been kept very quiet. The trend was that courtship marriages are starting to end in divorce. This is something most homeschoolers thought were isolated incidents in their community. Finding out it was part of a wider trend broke a pattern of thinking.

1 Cup Resonance

For a post to stick with someone, it needs to resonate with their existing worldview. You can’t be so foreign they ignore you or so similar you lack novelty.  The tension between the novel and the known is the essence of resonance. The post resonated most strongly with single, 20-something, courtship-minded women who had never been asked out on a date. The post addressed a primary pain point for them and offered them hope in the future.

One of the most frequent statements shared along with the post was “I have felt this way for a long time.”

A blog post can’t change a reader’s worldview. But it can show how a reader’s current thinking and worldview conflict.

The cookbook and various spices and herbs.2 Cups Controversy

Controversy helps with Social Media. Many of the people sharing the post actually disagreed with it. It was not uncommon to see someone post a four or five paragraph rebuttal on Facebook along with a link to the post. The rebuttal made people curious to read the post themselves. The angrier the rebuttal, the more curious people become.

Controversy can turn your most bitter enemies into your marketing allies.

Controversy helps search rankings. There have been dozens of blog posts responding to and rebutting the post. Most of those blog posts contain a link to the original post, which has boosted the post’s Google Rankings. “Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed” currently ranks on the first page of Google for the word “Courtship.”

Controversy can spread the post offline. The post has sparked an offline debate about whether courtship is a viable system for helping single adults get married.

As we James L Rubart likes to say on the Novel Marketing Podcast, “Love me. Hate me. Don’t ignore me.

The temptation is to give in to fear and tone down your writing as to not make waves. But those waves are what will cause your idea to spread. It can be hard to see people attack you and your ideas. Realize those attacks may be exactly what your ideas need in order to spread.

1/2 Cup Curiosity

For an idea to spread, it needs to make people curious. Creating a curiosity gap that only your post can fill can be great marketing. This is why you may have scrolled down to read the fourth ingredient of this post. Curiosity can be like a mental itch where reading your blog post is the only way to scratch that itch. Is your mind blown yet?

My goal with the post title “Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed” was to make readers curious to see if courtship was really flawed —and, if so, why.

Some tips for making people curious about your post:

  • Use Numbers – Lists make people curious
  • Put Question Words in Your Title (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How)
  • Break a Pattern of Thinking.
  • Read 5 Keys for Magnetic Blog Titles

1 Cup Shareability

For something to spread like a virus, it needs to be easy to share.

So to make it easier to spread the blog had:

  • buttons at the top and bottom where people could share the post with one click.
  • a list of “Tweetables” that made it easy to quote on Twitter.
  • an image and meta description that would appear on Facebook etc.

If you want something to go viral, shareability is sometimes more important than brevity. The post on courtship was a lot longer than my typical posts. I could have broken the post into multiple mini posts. But I decided that putting the entire idea in a single URL weaponized the idea into its most viral form.

2 Tablespoons of Ask

I ask at several points for people to share the post. Once I ask readers to share the post on Facebook and in another place I ask readers to share the post with their parents. Asking someone to share a post increases the likelihood they will share it. This is an important principle that is easy to overlook. One of the most retweeted phrases on Twitter is “Please RT”.

Think of this like salt. You can overdo the ask, but without it your post can be a bit bland.

If you want an idea to spread, ask people to  spread it. As my dad always says, “You have not because you ask not.”

1 Tablespoon of Timing

Good timing can help a post go viral. Several recent sexual scandals among the biggest proponents of courtship have caused people to question the system. So people are not as confident about the teachings of those men as they were this time last year.

This is Not The Only Viral Recipe

viral-blog-post-recipie-2At the same time my post was spreading around Facebook, people were posting videos of themselves dumping buckets of ice water on their heads. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge uses a different viral recipe.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Recipe:

  • 1 Cup Novelty – Dumping a bucket of ice water on your head is pretty novel.
  • 1 Cup Celebrity – Celebrities participating in the challenge have have given the phenomenon credibility.
  • 1/2 Cup Cause – People are more willing to take action to promote something if its for a good cause. The specific cause was not that important to the spread of this idea. The cold water challenge was initially linked with cancer, not ALS.
  • 2 Cups Social Proof – Your mom may ask “If all of your friends dumped a bucket of ice water on their heads would you do it too?” The answer for many people is “yes”. Never underestimate the power of social proof.
  • 1 Cups Ask People are asked individually and publicly to participate.
  • 3 Tablespoons Timing – The ALS IBC would not have spread in the Winter. It also helps that the news has been so negative this summer with three wars, race riots, an earthquake and the death of Robin Williams. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought levity and laughter to an otherwise dark summer.
  • 1 Tablespoon Controversy – The ALS foundation funds research based on destroying human embryos in order to find a cure. This controversy helped generate extra buzz.
  • courtship-pageviews

There are many ways to help something go viral. What viral recipes have worked for you?

In this blog post he will walk you through the blog recipe that he used.

TweetableS:

  • Want your blog to go viral? Here is a recipe that will show you how.  Click to Tweet
  • Controversy can turn your most bitter enemies into your marketing allies. Click to Tweet
  • A blog can’t change a reader’s worldview. But it can show how a reader’s current thinking and worldview conflict.  Click to Tweet
  • Don’t be afraid to be controversial. Love me. Hate me. Don’t ignore me. Click to Tweet 
  • Creating a curiosity gap that only your blog post can fill can be great marketing. Click to Tweet
  • If you want something to go viral, shareability is sometimes more important than brevity. Click to Tweet
  • If you want an idea to spread, ask people to  spread it. You have not because you ask not. Click to Tweet

Ice Bucket Photo Credit:  Kymberly Janisch