Now appearing in NETT magazine

I was asked to put together a workshop article on how to promote your business online using video for NETT magzine, a technology magazine for Australian small and medium businesses. The article has been published in this month’s issue (see a PDF version here).

Here are a couple of excerpts from the article:

“Online video is no longer a nice-to-have addition to your marketing mix: it’s becoming an essential tool for small businesses trying to stand out in a crowded market. Yet, often the biggest challenge for SMEs interested in creating online video is taking that first step. Your dream may be to create something that goes viral, but where do you start? How do you make it interesting enough to get people to watch – and then spread the message? The good news is, creating online video is getting cheaper and easier to do.

“….The biggest challenge for businesses, especially SMEs, is taking the first step. Video can confound people who are only familiar with traditional marketing. Developing an interesting concept is the next challenge. Viewers have been conditioned by years of television watching to expect video to be entertaining as well as informational, so that talking head presentation from your MD is an online video no-no.

“….Each video and each campaign is different, so work out ways you candetermine the success of your video in meeting your goals.How can you tell whether increased sales are due to your video? You do things like link from the video to a particular landing page on your site instead of the home page. Measure hits to this page and add a call-to-action…. As you produce more videos, you can see what type of content gives you the most business impact.”

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This Internet thing will never work (and other comments that come back to bite you…)

Hindsight’s a wonderful thing… a couple of blogs have picked up a copy of an article printed in Newsweek back in 1995 that dismissed the Internet as a fad. I love the title: “The Internet? Bah!” Writer Clifford Stoll dropped a number of clangers in his original article. Here are a couple of examples:

  • “Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney.”
  • “…no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”
  • “…Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.”
  • “…the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don’t know what to ignore and what’s worth reading.”
  • “Computers and networks isolate us from one another. A network chat line is a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee. No interactive multimedia display comes close to the excitement of a live concert. And who’d prefer cybersex to the real thing?”

In one report on this article, Clifford Stoll himself commented on his article, saying, “Wrong? Yep.

“At the time, I was trying to speak against the tide of futuristic commentary on how The Internet Will Solve Our Problems.

“Gives me pause. Most of my screwups have had limited publicity: Forgetting my lines in my 4th grade play. Misidentifying a Gilbert and Sullivan song while suddenly drafted to fill in as announcer on a classical radio station. Wasting a week hunting for planets interior to Mercury’s orbit using an infrared system with a noise level so high that it couldn’t possibly detect ’em. Heck – trying to dry my sneakers in a microwave oven (a quarter century later, there’s still a smudge on the kitchen ceiling)

“And, as I’ve laughed at others’ foibles, I think back to some of my own cringeworthy contributions. Now, whenever I think I know what’s happening, I temper my thoughts: Might be wrong, Cliff…”

At least he’s man enough to admit he got it wrong…