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5 Ways to Save Time on Content Creation

5 Ways to Save Time on Content Creation

Content creation, when done correctly, takes time. But you’re a busy entrepreneur with a lot on your plate. Surely, there is a way to get more efficient about the content creation process.

The good news is: there is! There are ways to streamline the process and save time, while still creating meaningful content that will get you noticed by prospects and keep you top of mind with existing customers.

Here are my top five tips for saving time on content creation so you can get back to the other tasks that come along with running a business.

1. It’s About Quality, Not Quantity

The first thing to remember is that you don’t need to create mountains of content. You’re better off creating less, high-quality content than you are flooding your audience with lots of empty content.

Along with quality, consistency is just as important. When you set a cadence for your content, you want to stick to it. Releasing content every single day and then going radio silent for a week and a half is not the way to build an audience.

Most prospects need to see a brand a handful of times before they even begin to think about doing business with them. If you can be a consistent presence in their inbox and on their social media feeds, you’re far more likely to get their attention than if you spam them with meaningless content for one week and then disappear the next.

2. Create an Editorial Calendar

How do you ensure that you’re creating high quality content on a regular basis? Put together an editorial calendar.

Not only does this help you set a plan and stick to it, it’s also a much more efficient use of your time to sit down and plan out the month’s content in one fell swoop, rather than scrambling to pull it together piecemeal each day.

Set aside a few hours at the end of each month to plan your content approach for the following month. Centering your content around a particular theme can help you to create content that works well together and provides the depth of information that your audience craves. It also aligns with the strategy of creating hub pages for your content, which will empower you to continue to get use out of your content well after it’s been published.

3. Refresh Existing Content

Just because you’re sharing content on a regular basis doesn’t mean that it all needs to be brand new. Refreshing old content is a great way to get additional life out of your content that remains relevant.

Some topics will never go out of style, but may need to be updated as the details change. Let’s say you own a business that handles home renovations. Perhaps you have a blog post about selecting the perfect kitchen countertop. While some of the principles of countertop selection will always be the same, some of the trends will change. You can refresh this content to reflect changes in consumer trends (acknowledging the shift from granite to quartz as the material of choice, for example). This keeps the content relevant, while allowing you to continue to benefit from the material meat of the original post.

4. Turn to Guest Posters

If you’re trying to create content on a regular basis, sometimes you know it will be difficult for you to keep pace. If there’s a week where you’ll be out of town at a conference, or a month where your business is launching a new product that will take up a lot of your time, this might be the time to tap a friend to create content as a guest.

Whether it’s a blog post, webinar, or podcast episode, guest content can serve a few important purposes. First, it frees you up to spend less of your time on content that week. Second, and perhaps even more importantly, it allows you to tap into the existing network of the guest poster.

Like with any strategic partnership, you want to seek out guests who are aligned with what you do and complement the work your business does. This not only adds value for your audience, but it also introduces you to guest posters’ fan base (and vice versa—it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement).

5. Consider Outsourcing

There are a lot of small businesses that aren’t quite big enough to build out their marketing department, but are a little too big for the owner or small team to handle marketing all on their own. This is when it might be time to outsource some of your marketing efforts and content creation.

Fortunately, in today’s highly connected world, it’s easy to find contractors who can work remotely to help you with content creation. Outsourcing allows you to put your marketing work in the hands of a professional, without having to worry about finding the resources to add to your permanent team.

Content Creation can eat up a lot of time and attention for small business owners. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you get smart about planning out your content and turn to others for help, you can continue to create meaningful, effective content without losing too much time in your day.

If you’re looking for help managing your content creation, check out our packages, designed to help you increase your visibility online.

Transcript of Getting the Most Out of Your Content

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John Jantsch: Producing content’s become a marketer’s primary job. But how do you maximize your reach? How do you make sure that there’s some ROI every time you hit publish? Well this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast, I speak with Pamela Wilson, author of Master Content Strategy, and that’s what we’re going to talk about. How to make content drive the bottom line.

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth focused e-commerce brands drive more sales, with super targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast, this is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Pamela Wilson. She’s the founder of Big Brand System, and the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, Master Content Strategy: How to maximize your reach, and boost your bottom line every time you hit publish. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Pamela, thanks for joining me.

Pamela Wilson: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. That is definitely the goal, right? To maximize your reach and get your ideas out into the world.

John Jantsch: All right, so let me start with a word that’s in the title. What is content strategy look like? I’m sure a lot of us marketers have been talking about you need a content strategy, but define that for somebody who maybe isn’t a marketer.

Pamela Wilson: You know, it might be easiest to say what it’s not. It is not throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks. It is approaching your content with some kind of over-arching goal for the people you want to reach, and what you want it to accomplish for your business. The way I talk about it in the book is that the needs of your website change during the lifecycle of your website. So, what you need in the early days of your website is very different than what you need if your sight has been live for six, eight, 10 years.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and you know, I actually think that you can take it a step farther, and I mean, one of the strategies might be what can you actually get done? Or, how can you actually do things in a way that allows you to get more done, or to be more efficient in producing your content? Because I think for a lot of my listeners, and a lot of small business owners, this whole need to produce content has become the biggest task of all.

Pamela Wilson: Right. Yeah, and I recognize that, when I talk about the lifecycle in the book, I talk about how one of the big goals in the first year of your site is to just become a better content creator. Just to tain confidence. The way you do that is producing a lot of content. It’s like anything else in life, you get better at it, the more you practice. My recommendation for the first year is to write a new piece of content every single week as your minimum goal. Which sounds really overwhelming, but if you do it on kind of a schedule, and you get yourself into this routine where you’re producing and publishing content on the same day every week, it’s not that bad, and the more you do it, the better you get at it. Plus, as you know, the search engines love that you’re just putting out this nice, fresh content every single week. So, you’re giving your website a chance to get found.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think that ultimately you look up after a year, and you’ve built an asset. I think that that’s the part that is so hard when you don’t have a strategy, and you’re just throwing like you said … You use pasta at the wall. I mean, I think if you look at this as this is a long-term game … What will I have at the end of a year? You kind of map it out accordingly, I think you end up building something that’s going to serve you for a long time.

Pamela Wilson: You’ll have 50 pieces of content, plus a lot more confidence and skills that you can then build on. That’s what I talk about in the book, that once you have those basic skills in place, then going forward you can do slightly more sophisticated things with your content, because you have those skills to count on.

John Jantsch: One of the things, and you already alluded to this … I think a whole first section of the book, in fact, is called, “The Lifecycle Approach to Content Marketing,” so you want to unpack that?

Pamela Wilson: Yes. The Lifecycle Approach basically recognizes that your site needs different things at different points in its life. In the first year, what I recommend is what we just talked about which is try to publish a new piece of content every single week. This is going to build your skills, it’s going to build this content asset. As you said on your website, search engines will find you, I mean there are all these positive things that will come out from that really big push that you do in the first year. Then, in the second year, what I call your second through fifth year, this is your growth time. This is where you can kind of build on the skills that you’ve developed that first year. In some cases, if you have managed to publish every week in the first year, you might be able to dial it back to publishing every other week.

But, what I’m asking you to do in the book is to write deep dive content. Write content that goes into more depth, it’s longer, maybe it starts to incorporate things like multimedia, so maybe you start exploring video or audio, or you build some slide shares, and you weave them into the post or you incorporate images. It’s just asking you to take your content quality to a slightly higher level. If that means that you have to publish less often, that’s fine, during those growth years. Years two through five.

Then what happens, and this point was driven home for me when I took over managing the copy blogger blog back in 2015, what happens is, you get to this point, somewhere around year six. If you have kept this up consistently, where you need to start changing your strategy yet again, because you just have a ton of content, and some of the pieces of content that you’ve created over time you want to resurface those for people who never got a chance to see them.

You’re going to be going back and refreshing things, updating them, in some cases putting a new publishing date on them, and republishing them so people see them again, and you may go back for your most popular posts, and you may add again multimedia. Something that was maybe you did it in your first year, and it was very popular, lots of people are still hitting that piece of content, maybe you add a video to it. Maybe you interview a thought leader in your space, and you add that video to it. Or, you create a slide share. You just kind of polish it up, and give it a new life on your website.

John Jantsch: You mentioned video a couple times, and I do think that there is a need for short form, long form, video, images. How do you reconcile giving people advice on … I mean now, I not only have to produce all this content, I have to have it in all these different formats.

Pamela Wilson: Right. Exactly. And that’s where we come back to this concept of a lifecycle. I am not asking you to do all of this in year one. I just want you to develop skills so that you feel confident, and you can build on those skills very organically over time. Just like any new skill that you’re learning. You learn the basics, and then you start to learn the more complex skills as you go along.

The one thing that I tell people when they’re thinking about multi-media is do not try to master everything at once. Find something that builds on your existing skills. Maybe you feel very comfortable working with images. Maybe you just start by adding more images to your longer posts. You break them up with images that maybe every 400, 500 words you add an image, just to break up the page a little bit.

Or, maybe you are somebody, one of those rare unicorns, who feels incredibly comfortable in video. I’ve met a couple, but there aren’t that many of us. You just do a camera … You talking to the camera on video, where you just chat a little bit about the content of the article, or maybe it’s even a podcast episode. That’s the other thing I talk about is when you’re thinking about multi-media, it’s not so much that you’re always adding video, for example. It’s that you are taking the existing piece of content and changing it into something else.

For example, here we are, we’re recording a podcast. We could take this podcast and turn it into an ebook. It’s audio and it becomes something written. That’s the idea is to repurpose it, so that you turn it into something that has a slightly different format, and it’s going to appeal to a different audience that way.

John Jantsch: Want to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers. This allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation, email auto-responders that are ready to go, great reporting.

You want to learn a little bit about the secret to building customer relationships they’ve got a really fun series called Klaviyo’s beyond black Friday. It’s a docu-series, a lot of fun, quick lessons. Just head on over to Klaviyo.com/beyondBF. Beyond black Friday.

Let’s talk about topics. You mentioned that you work with a lot of folks starting up an online business. Is there foundational content that you need to produce first, or could you keep talking about year two, and year three, but a lot of times, if I’m starting a business, what content is going to serve me now?

Pamela Wilson: Right. Well, typically people go into creating an online business and they’ve been asked questions about their area of expertise. They’re building a business around some kind of expertise that they have, or passion, or interest. They’ve heard questions. You and I have heard this lots of times. It’s a really solid piece of advice. Think about the questions that people typically ask you about your area of expertise, and start at just answering those. That can provide a really great guide for when you are just starting out.

For example on Big Brand System in the early days, I was talking a lot about design, and branding topics. My first 10 posts were called design 101. It was all questions that I had been asked by clients over the years, and all things that I sort of wish they knew, because it was this foundational knowledge. I always recommend that people go back to what is the foundational knowledge, what are the questions that you get from people who are really beginners with this topic that you want to talk about and that you want to build a site around.

John Jantsch: Yeah, it’s funny. I work with a lot of content producers, and a lot of times people will hire a marketing person say at a technical company and tell them, “Go produce content.” They’re like, “Well, I don’t know this stuff.” It’s amazing how much content is in the sent emails of the technicians, and the engineers, and sometimes that can be a great place to find content.

Pamela Wilson: Customer service. Right? You attack your customer service people and you find out what people are asking. Sometimes if the person writing is kind of a beginner, that actually puts them in a wonderful position to know what the very basic questions are.

John Jantsch: You have a chapter called, “The Four Day Content Creation System,” and that seemed like the closest thing to a magic bullet that everybody is looking for. Why don’t you describe the Four Day Content Creation System.

Pamela Wilson: You know, I came up with this, because when I made this recommendation for people to write a piece of content every week, it sounds so daunting. But this is a way to approach it that it breaks the process down over several days, and what I have found in all creative work that I … I’ve done creative work my entire career, right? So whether it’s design or writing. Any kind of creative work really benefits from being left alone to rest for a little while, and having you come back to it with what I call fresh eyes. You see it with fresh eyes. That’s what this system builds on. It’s this idea that you take a break from your piece of content, and then you come back to it.

Day one, what you’re trying to do is create some kind of a backbone for your piece of content. This could be written content, but it could also be a podcast. Day one what you want to focus on is writing your headline, and your subheads. Once you get your headline written, and this … It could change in your final piece, but you want to have a working headline that you’re pretty happy with, and your basic subheads that sort of lay out the premise of what you’re going to be talking about. It’s basically an outline straight from English class in middle school. But we’re not going to call it an outline, we’ll call it a backbone, because it sounds less daunting.

That’s day one. You do that, and then you walk away. Then on day two what you want to do is write your first draft. Start to finish, I always tell people write forward, don’t write backward. Don’t go back and try to edit, you have a whole day for that. But on day two, just get your first draft written. Once you’ve done that, you come back on day three, and you edit. You polish. You get it all ready to publish on the next day, and then on day four you’re publishing it, and you’re promoting it, and you’re really putting it out there, because it’s fresh new content. You want to get out there, and kind of advocate for it on the fourth day.

John Jantsch: I spent the first maybe 10 years or so of my blogging career writing every day.

Pamela Wilson: Oh wow. Yeah.

John Jantsch: I wrote a post every day, including Sundays. I didn’t have the luxury of doing that, but a lot of times, I wish I did, because another thing that your system does is it probably avoids silly mistakes.

Pamela Wilson: You know, the thing is the mistakes kind of … They jump out at you on the page. Right? You can see them, because you’ve given yourself a break, and you haven’t looked at it for maybe 24 hours, and then when you come back to it, it’s like, “Oh well, clearly this is a grammatical error, or clearly I have not supported my argument here, and I need to just add more information, this part isn’t clear.” I mean, things just really jump out when you give yourself a break.

John Jantsch: Back in 2005, ’06, ’07, ’08, I had the grammar police that would come on and make comments, back when we used to have commenting turned on, on all of our blogs.

Pamela Wilson: Right.

John Jantsch: I would hear from people very loudly. But I had fun with it, because I figured that was part of the format.

Pamela Wilson: Yeah. Absolutely. And that makes people feel useful. What can you do?

John Jantsch: One of the things that I like … I like when books do this, and you’ve done a good job with this. You have all of these checklists in the back of the book that kind of walk people through not only the stages, but then each fit promotions to your content strategy, the body of work approach to content creation. I love those. Pamela, where can people find out more about Big Brand Systems and about where they can find your book?

Pamela Wilson: The best place is go to bigbrandsystem.com. They can find my website there. There’s all sorts of great stuff. I have a page where I’m … I’ll send you a link … Where I have lots of free stuff. I have it all gathered on one page. It’s bigbrandsystem.com/goodies.

John Jantsch: We’ll have that in the show notes, too.

Pamela Wilson: Yes. Absolutely. They can find the book right on the website.

John Jantsch: Well, Pamela, thanks for joining us, and hopefully we’ll run into you someday soon out there on the road.

Pamela Wilson: That sounds great. Thanks John, it was good to chat with you.

Getting the Most Out of Your Content

Getting the Most Out of Your Content

Marketing Podcast with Pamela Wilson
Podcast Transcript

Pamela WilsonToday on the podcast, I chat with Pamela Wilson, founder of BIG Brand System. Through her company, Wilson teaches small business owners how to plan for and grow a business through its four distinct stages.

On today’s episode, we discuss her book, Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publishand how any small business owner can leverage their strengths to create effective content that gets their business noticed—whether they’re just starting up or have been around for years.

As a keynote speaker, business coach, and leader of various workshops and courses, Wilson has helped companies across the country learn to effectively communicate with their customers.

She and BIG Brand System have been featured in Entrepreneur, The New York Times Small Business Blog, CNN Money, and Mashable.

Questions I ask Pamela Wilson:

  • What does content strategy look like?
  • Is there foundational content that you need to produce first?
  • What is the four day content creation system?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why the things that your website needs in its first year will be different from what it needs after it’s been around for five years.
  • How looking at what your customers are asking about can help direct your content strategy.
  • How you can build on content you’ve already created to get it seen by a wider audience.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Pamela Wilson:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Klaviyo logoThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

What’s their secret? Tune into Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday docu-series to find out and unlock marketing strategies you can use to keep momentum going year-round. Just head on over to klaviyo.com/beyondbf.

change in lead generation

The Role of Content Has Changed – Here’s How You Can Adapt

It wasn’t too long ago that you could follow the formula below to attract and generate leads for your business:

  • Develop a content upgrade, like an ebook
  • Gate it behind a form on a landing page
  • Drive people to your landing pages through blog posts, social media, advertising, and email campaigns
  • People see the offer on the landing page, are interested, and give their contact information in exchange for the content
  • Voila, you have a new lead that you can nurture to a sale

While content upgrades still work well as a lead capture tool, you need to now get creative with how to get eyes on it. The market is so saturated these days and so many businesses are now following this approach that it can be easy to get lost in all the noise.

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now and began testing an approach that I had seen to start to emerge that I want to share with you. While my results have been significant, it may take time for business who are just getting started to see the same results, but in my opinion, it’ll be well worth it in the long run.

The key is to continue to position yourself as the expert in your field, and the best way to do this is to create and aggregate content into one place to show not only your visitors that you know what you’re talking about, but search engines as well.

Have I lost you? I hope not! To understand what I’m talking about, take a look at the details below.

Creating content – An evolved approach

As content continues to grow in importance for your business, it now must take on an elevated position in your strategy and planning.

The use of high-quality, education-based content has become a necessary ingredient in creating awareness, building trust, converting leads, serving customers and generating referrals.

Marketers these days have a lot in common with the traditional role of publishers. The good news is that the days of creating an infinite amount of thin content are over. You can create content less frequently, provided you structure it correctly and include a ton of value within it.

Today we have evolved into the “less is more” approach. Big content projects, even if there are only three per year, is better than writing a blog post every week, just because you think you should.

I’m currently experiencing great results with something that I’m calling Hub Pages. This is something many have already started doing and I understand why.

Content planning has really risen to the strategic level. It’s no longer an SEO tactic or simply content marketing. While we should certainly use it for those things, we must plan it at a foundational level.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, content really is now air for your business as it impacts every channel, which elevates how we have to think about it.

Content becomes an asset over time

Content is no longer created for today or tomorrow. It is created as an asset that can be used throughout every stage of the Marketing Hourglass. Because of this, you need to think about the time and energy you need to invest to get it right.

Hub themes

local marketing

I’ve talked about the Total Content System for years and it’s really driven by what I’m starting to call “hub themes.” These themes can be monthly, quarterly, or whichever timeframe you think is best.

Let’s say the theme for the month is “local marketing.” You’d want to drive all the attention you have to this idea of local marketing, so one of the main tabs on your website may become “The Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.

Instead of it just being a page that talks about local marketing services, it becomes a foundational page that has a tremendous amount of value about what local marketing is, with tons of resources and links that people can click through to for further information (it may even end up looking like a course).

All of the content you have pointing to it are like the sub-chapters of the hub theme. I not only have all of these internal pages driving back to this one hub page, I also include links to external, high-quality content on the page that can also be linked back to the hub page.

Hub pages are also a great way to organize existing content and get more use out of it. Driving it to, and including in, these hub pages is a great way to give old content new life.

With so many pages driving to one another, you’ll start to gain a lot of trust and authority from Google, which will eventually help to increase your rank in search engine results pages over time.

The role of content upgrades

Content upgrades are still the new free. When you put these hub pages together, still include content upgrades, like an ebook or webinar signup, on these pages. People will now see these content upgrades because you are driving more traffic to these pages and they are easier to rank for instead of individual posts.

So, what do you think about this approach? Have you started to implement these types of efforts in your business?

If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Building a Small Business Marketing Consulting Practice…see what I did there?

video

The Ins and Outs of Getting The Most Out of Video

If you’re looking for advice on how to shoot or edit video, this is not the post for you (well, it could be, but not for that reason). If, however, you want to know why you should use video and the various ways you can use it, you’ve come to the right place.

Video today should absolutely be a part of your marketing mix and in some cases, it should be a core part of it.

Let’s dive in.

Guiding a journey

Marketing today is about guiding a journey. People are going out and conducting their own research and deciding whether or not they want to buy from companies. In many cases, companies aren’t even aware that these people are looking at them. Content can help to guide the stages of the customer journey, while also providing insight for the companies themselves. Video can be a great tool for this.

Websites today can no longer just serve as digital brochures. They must serve many roles for your business and should help you:

  • Get found online
  • Educate and inform visitors
  • Nurture visitors to a conversion

On top of all that, your website needs to build trust with your audience, and in my experience, this is where video shines. Short of a live, in-person presentation, I’m going to say video is the most important tool to do just that.

Why video?

Video is not only effective, it’s practical. Video is:

  • Portable (thank you technology)
  • Chunkable – For example, you can take a 30-minute presentation and repurpose it into numerous impactful videos.
  • Emotional – This is key for getting the attention of your audience.
  • Flexible in terms of where you can put it and the various mediums you can publish it on

What I don’t hear people talk about enough though, are the benefits of repurposing video into other forms of content rather than the other way around. You can actually get a ton of leverage out of video that will help your content generation skyrocket.

For example, what if you shot a video and then stripped the audio from it and turn it into a podcast episode? From there, you could get the transcript from it and with very little editing, turn that into a blog post or multiple posts. See how that works? If you come from a video-first standpoint, you’ll find it’s easier to create more content overall.

Benefits of using video

It’s undeniable that videos provide many benefits, but did you know that 80% of online visitors will watch a video? In fact, website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video. A few of the reason behind this include:

  • Video is engaging and easy to consume
  • It can be highly effective at influencing buying decisions
  • It’s easier to grab your audience’s attention with video than a text-based message

Where to use video

Now that I’ve mentioned some of the many benefits, let’s dive into where you can use this form of content, starting with the optimal areas of your website.

  • Homepage – An overview video is great for an introduction and helps to keep your audience on your website.
  • Product pages/How-tos – Placing videos on these pages provide full transparency for your audience and allows them to better understand what it is that you’re selling.
  • Demos – Once you get near the purchase, walking potential prospects through demos via video can really help to build their trust with you.
  • Testimonials – You want people to see positive reviews others give you, and using video testimonials is a great way to do it.
  • Contact Us page – Placing a video here is great for increasing conversions at a critical point in the customer journey.
  • FAQs – Rather than responding to questions with text, use a video!
  • Blog posts – Mix up your written posts with video posts to mix up the format and keep your audience engaged.

The value of video in social media

Perhaps the place that we see video the most these days is social media, and this is because:

  • It’s visually impactful – Videos stand out much more than a text-based post in your newsfeed
  • It’s engaging – People want to watch videos
  • It’s low-cost – Video ads are one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise

What’s great about video is that you can use them across the board. You don’t have to create new videos for social. You can repurpose the ones on your site and promote it across various platforms.

Using live video

Something I’m seeing more and more of is the use of live video (especially with Facebook Live), which is great if you use it correctly. Don’t use live video to just take footage of the sky or of you making pancakes. Use it with a purpose to make it valuable. Some of the ways I find it helpful include:

  • Training – Live video is great for internal purposes, especially for recordings if people miss the class
  • Events – Live video allows people to witness an event even if they can’t make it in person
  • Announce – Live video is great for announcements and to generate buzz

YouTube video ads

It’s nearly impossible for people to watch YouTube videos without an ad being played. When it comes to these types of ads, it’s easy to come off as annoying rather than engaging. People just want to watch their videos! But if you are engaging in this space, the rewards can be infinite. It’s a great tool for targeting and expanding your reach. To give you the best chance for success, be engaging and entertaining, and get your point across within the first 3-5 seconds of the video.

Equipment for creating videos

A decade ago, video was kind of hard to come by. Today that is not the case and it doesn’t need to be expensive. You really don’t need a lot to get something off the ground.

Basic setup

  • iPhone
  • Lav mic – Plugin to the iPhone jack
  • Tripod – For stability and more professional looking shows
  • Hosting
    • YouTube – Great for immediate uploads and search potential
    • Wistia – Good player that is:
      • Flexible
      • Easy to edit
      • Provides control of who sees it

Advanced equipment

As you can see, it doesn’t take a whole lot to get up and running to create great video content.

Editing videos

Once the footage is shot, you need to be able to edit it to what you want. Consider using the following tools to get this done:

  • iMovie (Mac) – Comes with Macs
  • Final Cut Pro (PC)
  • YouTube
  • Animoto

Final tips

Last but not least, consider these recommendations to get an ideal final product:

  • Pay attention to the sound. If the quality is poor, you’ll risk losing your audience.
  • Keep videos short to stay in line with the average consumer’s attention span.
  • Get to the main point early on in the video in case your audience drops off further in.

The most important point I want to drive home is at the core of every great video is a strategy. Before you do anything, identify the objective of the video and the action you’d like your audience to take by watching it. Knowing the “why” is invaluable.

So there you have it! What tips would you add to this post?

3 Content Creation is Dead – Long Live Storytelling!

Photo via BlogMutt's CEO, Scott Yates

Photo via BlogMutt’s CEO, Scott Yates

Since the first cave drawings, storytelling has been an integral part of society and the intellectual evolution of man. And that’s what we always called it: storytelling.

And then the Internet happened.

And somewhere along the way, storytelling started getting replaced by “content creation”—a term that didn’t exist before the Internet. Google’s Ngram viewer (a tool that charts the usage of words in printed sources from 1800–2008) shows the precipitous rise of the words “content creation” around 1993-1994. This was also the time web browsers like Internet Explorer and Netscape launched.

Coincidence?

As companies started coming online and search engines became the de facto discovery tool for prospective customers, the battle for keyword relevance on SERPs grew. Content volume outperformed content value, and that’s when we stopped telling stories and started creating content.

Storytelling’s Triumphant Return

As search engines become more discerning about content quality and consumers more shrewd about how they spend their time online, storytelling works and content creation doesn’t.
There’s simply too much out there to read and not enough time to read it. And wouldn’t you rather read a story instead of something called “created content”? Stories are what make us uniquely human and different from monkeys. Content creation sounds like storytelling between two search engine algorithms.

Tell Your Story

It sounds obvious, but only you can tell your story. So many marketing articles talk about having a content strategy. Having goals. Having an editorial calendar. Having a call to action.

First: Tell your story. Then worry about all that.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Patagonia or Joe’s Plumbing Service. Every company, of every size, has a story to tell. Potential customers get jaded with clickbait, listicles, and inaccurate information every day. Article headlines over promise. Content underwhelms. Rinse. Repeat. Customers want something to sink their teeth into. Something meaty and unique.

Start with a Belief

Good storytellers don’t need an MFA in creative writing. Telling your story starts with a belief. A belief in your business and your customers. Your belief justifies your company’s existence. Every piece of communication should contain elements of your belief.

Ted Manasa offers this definition of belief to get you started: A brand is a belief in a better world that differs from your competitors’ worlds and is a world that your customers want to live in.

[Tweet “A brand is a belief in a better world that differs from your competitors’ worlds and is a world that your customers want to live in”]

Belief is the glue that holds a good story together. Ever sit in a movie and see something happen that was so unbelievable it negatively impacted your opinion of the whole thing? That’s the power of belief. And the same rules hold true for your business. Customers have to believe you before they’re going to buy from you.

Act on Your Belief

Since the Mad Men-era, we’ve been inundated with get-rich-quick schemes, “As Seen on TV” cure-alls and healthy-looking people in cigarette ads. We’ve become cynical consumers.

The companies who act on their beliefs end up telling the most authentic and compelling stories. Some of the most discerning consumers aren’t just buying a product anymore. They’re buying a belief system. A product gets prospective customers in the door. A belief system keeps them there.

Don’t Forget the Human Element

The best stories have a human element. Without a personal connection, a story is just information. Don’t forget about the human element when you communicate to customers on your blog, through your newsletters, videos or on social media. Remember to believe in a better world that differs from your competitors and your customers also want to live in. Show them this world so they can believe in it too.

Become a Great Storyteller

Start with a belief. Act on your belief by showing customers the world you believe in. Make your belief a reality in your eyes and your customers’ eyes. This is accomplished through your customer service, the emails you send, the blogs you write, the product you sell, and the relationships you develop.

Every outbound piece of communication should have an element of your belief within it. Successful companies use each element as an opportunity to show customers a better world than the one they live in today.

patrick armitagePatrick Armitage is the Director of Marketing at BlogMutt—a content writing service helping businesses and agencies get their blogging done. Follow his miscellany (@Pat_Armitage) and all things BlogMutt (@BlogMutt) on Twitter.