The importance of a video content strategy

An interesting post from Shelley Bowen published on the Content Marketing Institute’s website today:

Video today is like desktop publishing was 15 years ago — everyone thinks they can do it,” a colleague said recently. And the fact is, anyone can create a video. A video worth watching? That’s a whole ‘nother story.

I recently wrote a one-minute video content script for a brand introduction video. It included voiceover, visual text, and descriptions of imagery for context.

I admit, I had more fun than I’ve had creating content in a long time. The voice, the rhythm, even the messages came fairly easily to me — the biggest challenge was to control the voice (I have a tendency to go overboard before drawing it all back to reality) and keep it down to one minute. And they loved it. Which always makes me super happy.

Yes, this kind of project can just as easily be a ROYAL pain in the you-know-what, with a lot of back-and-forth. Or result in something that’s not worth sharing. You know what made it work?

Content strategy!

So maybe that was obvious to you. But it isn’t always to companies that need content written or edited…

Read the full post

Sh*t My Dad Says: On Joining The Creative Economy

I’ve started a new gig, writing a column/blog for Smarter Business Ideas, a magazine and website for small businesses who use Telstra services. Here’s an excerpt from my first post:

When I was at high school, the adults in my life told me I could be anything I wanted when I grew up. By “anything”, they meant a doctor, a lawyer, a professor or a business tycoon.

Instead, I chose to go down a creative path and studied journalism. For this I blame Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman and their representations of crusading journos Woodward and Bernstein bringing down President Nixon.

After graduating from uni I spent months looking for a job, and ended up taking one as a technical writer for a management consulting firm – not at all what I had imagined to start my career, but at least I was using my writing skills.

Since then, I’ve had a series of creative and not-so-creative jobs, in a variety of industries, always related in some way to writing, and now I run my own consultancy. I’ve never regretted my career choice, but I sometimes reflect that life would have been easier if I’d just become a more traditional desk jockey in a more lucrative field.

Fast forward to 2012, and the sins of the father have been revisited upon the children. Both of my kids have just finished uni, with creative-type degrees, and they’re now trying to find a role that fits with their passion and what they’ve studied.

So from the perspective of someone who has worked in the creative space for a generation, what advice do I have for my Gen Y kids as they start their careers? In the spirit of “Sh*t My Dad Says” (but with less profanity), here are my words of wisdom:

• Regardless of what you read about successful people, a creative, stimulating job that starts at 9 a.m. and finishes at 5 p.m. is probably non-existent – at least I haven’t discovered it yet.

• Chances are you will feel caged in by a ‘normal’ job and will want do your own thing. But though you may hate working for The Man, it pays the bills….

Read the full story

Jim Morrison and the importance of relevance

From my NETT blog:

What are the most important factors to consider when you’re communicating ideas to people? How do you get your message across successfully?

From my days as a journalist writing for newspapers and magazines through to my current work presenting digital marketing messages or lecturing to students, a few common themes have emerged in terms of what works consistently.

Actually, I exaggerate – there is really just one fundamental rule in successful communication: make your concept relevant to your target audience.

This is expressed as a couple of acronyms:

• WIFFM – what’s in it for me?
• WSIC – why should I care?

If you can understand what matters to your audience and work out how to relate your message to their concerns, you’ll get your point across.

This principle isn’t limited to written, visual or verbal communication messages: it extends to the communication of ideas, and can include the dissemination of those ideas through a variety of media.

Take music, for example. My favourite band of all time is the Doors, led by the late great Jim Morrison. The Doors tapped into the Zeitgeist of the 1960s with music that protested against traditional mores.

Their sometimes dark messages about love, fitting in and pushing back against parental barriers struck a chord with young Baby Boomers who were just starting to flex their muscles and question the structures of the world that they were inheriting.

Read the full story

New wine, old bottles

From my NETT blog:

Despite working with new technology every day (or maybe because of it!), I like to collect old wares, and my idea of a good weekend includes some time spent trawling through antique and vintage shops.

A recent acquisition was a set of books on ‘modern business’ produced by the Alexander Hamilton Institute back in the 1950s. I was, of course, drawn to the volume on marketing. On leafing through it, I was surprised by how relevant much of the information still was, after nearly 60 years and several seismic shifts in marketing and selling.

Here are a few snippets from the book (with my annotations):

“Marketing concerns itself with all those business activities which begin in the producer’s shipping room and continue until the goods finally come to rest in the hands of the ultimate user.” (This is a timeless reminder as many people equate marketing with just the advertising and promotional aspects of the process. This broad spectrum definition is today even broader as digital and social media marketing extend the process past the delivery of goods and into an ongoing lifetime relationship with customers.)

“The satisfying of human wants depends to no small degree upon the personal and subjective wants and desires of individual consumers.” (This is increasingly relevant as we have moved from the age of mass marketing, which was gearing up when that book was written, to today’s trend toward mass customisation.)

“The basic law of marketing is the ‘law of convention and revolt’. A new mode of life may be created or established, but it will last only until a new style is introduced, often by quick substitution.” (When that was written they were talking about seasonal changes in fashion; now a style can go in and out with days. It’s not strictly a business marketing example, but how long did the planking craze take over public consciousness – was it a couple of weeks, or even less?)

Read the full story

Now in NETT magazine – monthly

I’m now writing a monthly column for NETT magazine. Here’s a preview of the first column – click through to read the whole piece:

What’s the secret to financial success for small businesses? It turns out that Dr Seuss could hold the key.

Everyone has an idea for their dream job. Mine is to be the Australian Stieg Larsson.

Am I doing my dream job? Not yet, but like many small business owners, I’m working towards it by channelling my passion for words and ideas into a more tangible commercial enterprise.

Follow your passion and the money will follow. Opinion is strongly divided on the truth of this aphorism. Is it a good idea commercially to follow your dream? Plenty of passionate people without the requisite business skills have gone broke following their passion. I think the reverse is true: if you don’t have that passion, you can almost guarantee mediocre results.

In his latest book Linchpin, marketing guru Seth Godin talks about emotional labour, some essential part of yourself that can’t be automated or outsourced. This emotional labour, he argues, spells the difference between ‘just a job’ and ‘work’.

Sonia Simone, writing for the Copyblogger blog, says: “When you’re starting out, it’s tempting to look for a paint-by-numbers solution. Something that works a lot like a franchise, with a three-ring binder that explains what buttons to push.

‘The problem with push-button systems is that you can train a robot, or an ultra low-wage worker offshore, to push that button for you.
“What happens when someone comes along who can push the button 104% more efficiently than you can? Or who can push it at 97% of your cost?”

Small business success, she writes, lies with the emotional labour you bring to the task at hand. “It’s about the part that wants your creativity, your strange ideas, your ADHD, your intersection of interests, your passion, your giving a damn, your hard thinking. Simply put, it’s the love that you put into it.”

Read the whole column here:

Ray Welling

We now resume regular programming

Yikes – a digital content consultancy that doesn’t update its blog. 

I’ll avoid all the obvious analogies such as the plumber who doesn’t have time to do the plumbing at his own house, and instead just point to some of the things that have kept me away from the blog:

Also the hundreds of assignments, group projects, essays and exams marked for my uni classes this semester. Onward and upward to more frequent  blog posts!

Cheers, Ray Welling

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.”