The Dos and Don’ts of Audio and Video
Part 3 in the series of a content marketing plan. In case you missed Part 1 or Part 2 use the links provided to catch up in the series.
Using audio and video on your site can greatly enhance your visitors’ experience. It gives them alternative ways to receive information and makes your site more interesting. But it is important not to push these mediums on your visitors, because it may be a turnoff for some.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Try to avoid using audio or video that automatically starts when a visitor arrives at your site. Most people want the power to choose when they watch a video or listen to audio on the web, and if that is taken away, it could leave a bad taste in their mouths.
- If you’re embedding videos, don’t put too many on any one page. This can cause slow load times, and possibly even browser crashes for users who do not have the fastest connections or the newest computers.
- Don’t take a “one size fits all” approach. If you’re streaming audio or video, offer options for those with slower connections alongside the standard options. You can provide written summaries for recorded content, for example.
- Don’t forget to seek input from your website’s visitors. If you’re considering audio or video but have not implemented them yet, consider doing a user survey to find out how they would like to see it used. If you are already utilizing audio and video, ask them if they feel you are using it in the best way possible. You’re providing these things for the benefit of your users, so it’s crucial to make sure that they are benefiting from them.
It’s important not to alienate anyone through your use of audio and video. The idea is to give your users more options, not to make things more complex or decrease usability.
Why Bother With Text When You Can Use Audio and Video?
With all of the possibilities that audio and video have to offer, one might think that plain old text would be outdated. But even though these things add a great deal to the Internet, there still is, and probably always will be, an important place for the written word.
The Internet was founded on text. And while text is no longer the only thing you can find online, it is still what the Internet is based on. It’s largely what the search engines use to determine whether a page is relevant for a given keyword, and it’s often what people want when they are seeking information that they can share easily.
Text is currently the only medium that allows for easy searching. This is not only important to the search engines, but also for the average user. This is starting to change as technology advances, but currently, you can’t type in a search term and skip to each instance of it on an online video or audio recording. But if you’re on a web page and need to find a specific word or words, you can simply use your browser’s search function to go directly to it.
It’s also important to consider that there are people who use text-only browsers to access the Internet. Those who are blind often use browsers that read the text on a page aloud, and if there is not sufficient text to describe what the page is about, they may seek information elsewhere. In addition to this, some users do not have sound cards or speakers, rendering audio useless and video usable but silent.
There are many things online that need to be presented as text. Doing them any other way just doesn’t make sense. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to access your bank account information as an audio file. And you might not benefit very much from your digital camera user guide being presented in video form, although videos showing specific picture taking and maintenance techniques might be helpful.
Text is still an important part of any web page. Audio and video can great assets to your website, but in most cases, they shouldn’t completely replace your text. Text is still favored by many Internet users, and it gives the search engines more to go on when they index your site.
Text Can Be Portable in your Content Marketing Plan
Online audio and video are becoming easier and easier to take wherever you go. They can be downloaded to watch later on your computer, or you can put them on portable audio and video players. But text doesn’t have to be bound to the Internet or computer screen either.
When people find information that is valuable to them online, they often want to save a copy of it for later reference. They can bookmark the web page, but subsequent changes may move or eliminate the information they want. They can save the page in question to their hard drives, but few people do. Making it easy for your site visitors to take your words with them is good for business. Here are some ways to accomplish that:
- Offer printer-friendly versions of popular pages. Your site design may cause pages to print out poorly, especially if you use frames. Making it easy for users to print pages that look like they should allow them to easily archive information for future reference.
- Consider putting certain information in PDF format. This is the file format that is often used for ebooks and brochures, and it provides easy readability. It prints out nicely if your users want a hard copy. And there are now portable ebook readers on the market that allow one to save his ebooks and other PDF files and take them with him wherever he goes.
- Provide options for mobile web users. It is worthwhile to set up mobile web pages and for, some businesses, text alert systems. If your website offers up-to-date information such as news, weather, or account information, your users could benefit from mobile options.
The many recent innovations that utilize text indicate that it is still a medium that should not be ignored. While it may not have the potential for the personality of audio or be as visually stimulating as video, it is easy to transfer and doesn’t require any special software to use.
Audio and Video Should Complement Text, Not Replace It
One of the most important things to realize about audio and video is that at this point, they often don’t translate into money as quickly as text can. Utilizing audio and video is more about making a name for yourself and building your brand than immediate monetary gratification. It helps generate traffic to your website and boosts your business’s image.
Of course, there are exceptions. Popular videos participating in the ad revenue sharing program with YouTube can earn some decent money. YouTube is also always developing their technology for embedding links and other more interactive elements into videos.
Besides, you may find using video on a sales page increases your conversions and it can work as very well in this regard. So, you should think about this when you’re creating content for your market planning.
But overall, text is so vitally important on any website. Audio and video can enhance a website or sales letter, and they can go a long way toward convincing a visitor to become a customer or client. But ultimately, it is usually text that seals the deal. At the very least, text is the most effective way to instruct visitors on how to order or sign up.
Audio, video, and text can work together to make your website nice to look at and listen to, as well as highly functional. Each medium appeals to visitors in its unique way. Taking advantage of the multimedia opportunities available online can boost your site’s popularity while making it more useful.
Planning your content is up next in this series of Content Marketing Plan so stay tuned. You’re NOT going to want to miss it!
To continue with this series, we’re going to discuss using video in our content marketing plan. Do you use video in your content? Why or why not?
Why Use Video in Your Content Marketing Plan?
Online video’s popularity has grown exponentially in a short time, thanks to video sharing sites such as YouTube. The increasing availability of high-speed Internet has also had a hand in making video so popular, there’s absolutely no doubt about it. More than 1 billion unique users each month to the site shows us we need to pay attention. Add to that, including video on your website can greatly enhance your visitors’ experience.
A live streaming video is a great tool for online tutors and others who can benefit from a high level of interaction with their visitors or customers. It makes it possible for you to communicate in real-time, do live demonstrations, and answer questions with ease. For your audience, it’s the next best thing to being there with you.
Recorded video can also be a tremendous asset to your website. It’s much easier than you might think to make professional-looking videos to showcase your products and services. Your site visitors can watch these videos at their convenience, and if they like them they will often recommend them to friends and colleagues. For added exposure, you could make your videos available for embedding with YouTube or another video sharing service.
Ways to Use Video in Your Content Marketing
Video is a very versatile medium, and it can be used in several ways.
Here are some ideas:
* Make viral videos. These are usually entertaining clips that include a plug for your business and appeal to a broad audience. As a promotional method, a viral video is not usually very targeted, but it can result in a huge amount of exposure at a relatively low cost.
* Hold online video conferences. These provide an unparalleled way to reach out to your target audience. You can use tools like Google+ Hangouts to easily hold your online events.
* Make how-to videos. Create them on topics relevant to your website’s subject matter. Providing informative video content will generate buzz about your website, potentially increasing traffic. It will also help you establish yourself as an expert.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Video Sharing Sites
YouTube site makes it easy for anyone to upload videos to share with anyone with a computer who cares to watch them, and it provides viewers with a wealth of entertainment and education opportunities. It’s easy to do with a mobile phone, from your computer or just about any device. Sharing your videos on YouTube and other sites have some advantages.
YouTube’s immense popularity can potentially result in lots of people viewing your videos. If they find videos they like, they can embed them onto their sites or blogs. That will result in an even greater audience, and some of them may choose to embed your video on their sites as well. You can see why some marketers love the idea of video sharing.
There are, however, some disadvantages to putting your videos on sites such as YouTube as well. One of the biggest concerns of marketers is that video-sharing doesn’t require users to come to your site to view the videos. That means that while your videos may be wildly popular, they might result in very little traffic to your site. It’s important to give viewers an incentive to visit your site once they are finished watching the video. Alternatively, you can change your videos’ settings so that they can’t be viewed on the YouTube site or embedded elsewhere, but that will limit your viewership.
Make sure you use YouTube’s handy tools to include promotions in your videos, clickable links, and more. This will help bring more of your YouTube watchers back to your site.
The sheer power and excellent features of YouTube likely outweigh and concerns you might have.
Embedding Video from Your Own Server
Those who do not like the idea of uploading their videos to sites such as YouTube can upload them to their servers and embed them from there. This gives you more control over your videos and ensures there is no “YouTube” logo on your videos.
But before you jump into that, it’s important to remember that video files are usually very large. Making them available directly from your server can take up valuable file storage space, and it can also drain your bandwidth. When you upload videos to a video sharing site and embed them from there, you use that site’s storage space and bandwidth.
Whether you should upload a video to a video sharing site and embed from there or keep it on your own server depends on several factors. If you don’t mind having another website’s name pasted on your videos and don’t want to overtax your server, video sharing could be the best option. But if you want to ensure that users have to come to your site to see your videos and prefer not to provide free advertising for a video sharing site, hosting your own videos might be the best way to go.
Stay tuned for the next in the series of content market planning where we discussed the Dos and Don’ts of using Audio and Video in your marketing.
How to Create a Content Marketing Plan
It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, the information presented on the Internet consisted of nothing but plain text. Eventually, HTML came about as a way to format text, and then graphics were added, but even those innovations were nothing compared to what you can find on the web today. The following information can help you create a content marketing plan that will help you communicate with your audience.
The Internet as we know it is still evolving, but it is full of pictures, sounds, and motion. Even the most inexperienced novice can design a web page using current technology and make it full of animation, funny videos, and his favorite songs.
New technology is being developed continuously, and webmasters are often quick to adopt it.
But these fascinating new aspects of the Internet are not only for fun and games. They provide marketers with plenty of new ways to inform and engage their visitors. No longer do we have to rely on the written word to get our point across sufficiently. We can also communicate with our site visitors through audio and video.
Why Use Audio in Your Marketing Plan?
Did you know that a large portion of the population retains information better when they hear it than when they read it? This is one of the many reasons that it pays to offer audio as an option for your site visitors. Here are some more:
* Audio can inject personality into your website in a way that text and graphics can’t. There’s just something about hearing someone’s voice that makes site visitors feel welcome.
* Audio is convenient. Those who want or need to multitask can listen to audio while doing something else. They do not have to be right in front of the computer screen to use it. You can also make audio available for download to an iPhone, iPod or MP3 player (if people still use those things!), so your visitors can take it with them wherever they go.
* Using audio can separate you from the competition. Many sites do not utilize audio, and if yours does, those who enjoy it will be likely to come to you instead of your competition.
Ways to Use Audio
There are plenty of different ways that you can incorporate audio into your website.
Here are a few to consider:
- Record a podcast. This is similar to blogging, only it is done in audio form. Users can subscribe to your podcast so that it is automatically downloaded to their feed readers or iPods.
- Do a streaming talk radio show. This is a great way to get targeted visitors to your website, and it allows you to interact with your audience by accepting calls or answering emails while you’re on the air.
- Offer recordings of online conferences or presentations for download. This gives visitors an incentive to come to your site as well, and it may entice them to participate in future conferences.
- Record a message for site visitors. Tell them a little about yourself, suggest areas of the site to visit first, or just welcome them. This adds a unique personal touch.
Making Your Audio Accessible
There are a number of file formats that you can use when saving audio, but it is important to use popular ones so that your users will be able to listen to them. The most popular format for most types of recorded audio is MP3. It offers great file compression while preserving the quality of the audio. Virtually every computer has an application that can play MP3 files. The Windows operating system comes with Windows Media Player, which will play these and several other types of audio files.
Another benefit of the MP3 is its versatility. It can be easily converted for burning on a CD with most CD burning programs. Users can also put them on their iPhones or just about any other type of portable music player.
Delivering the best content you can to your audience is so important to get you recognized in whatever industry you’re in.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.
In this article, we are exploring the 6 Painless Ways to Be Kind to Others. Being kind doesn’t have to be a big deal. You don’t have to be sacrificial or a martyr to be nice to other people. Remember when you learned about the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s that easy.
Being kind doesn’t have to cost you anything more than a smile or remembering your manners. And it’s easy to develop a kindness habit, once you get into the groove of being kind to people it just gets easier!
Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
Smiling is easy, cheap, and sustainable. It’s also contagious – smile at someone and their immediate reaction is to smile back. The act of smiling is relaxing and floods your brain with endorphins. As a bonus, smiling lowers your blood pressure and your stress levels.
By making eye contact and giving a genuine smile, you are showing respect and making connections.
2. Reach out
Don’t wait for people to connect with you. Send a message, a card, or flowers to someone you haven’t seen for a while. Chances are you’ll brighten their day. If you know someone has been having a rough time, check in with an ‘are you ok’ message.
If you have elderly neighbors, check-in with them to see if they need anything.
Kindness isn’t That Hard
3. Offer some hugs
Offer your partner, kids, or friends a random hug for no reason. So many people are starved of physical affection. And often as children grow up, they get hugged by their parents less and less. A warm hug lifts them and will make everyone feel good.
4. Show up
If you’re routinely too busy for social occasions, or your kids’ school function or sport, step back for a minute and set some kinder priorities in your life. Give the gift of your time and your support.
Kindness is Serious Business
5. Be a kindness role model
Think back to the people who have shown your kindness, maybe a teacher or a boss or mentor. How did they affect your life? By including kindness in your life, you can be an excellent role model for your colleagues, friends, and family. Show them that being kind is a priority for you.
6. Give some random compliments
Notice when someone does a good job or is looking great. You have the power to lift their day by noticing and acknowledging their efforts.
Well, there you have it. The 6 ways you can spread a little kindness in the world. It’s not hard to do and it will even lift your spirits. I dare you to try it!
There are some things we can do in all our relationships to build and maintain strong bonds. This is true because, underneath all our differences, likes, dislikes, and biases, we are all human beings who desire social connections. So, how do you go about building business relationships?
Let me count the ways.
The tips below should be used in all your business building relationships to form bonds that will stand the test of time.
1) Be appreciative
This might mean different things in different relationships, but the overarching sentiment is the same. When they do something kind for you or take the time to support you when you need it, be appreciative – acknowledge their care and concern.
2) Spend time together
It can be hard to find time to get together when we are all so busy, but it’s important for all business relationships. If necessary, set up a standing appointment so that it just automatically happens. This makes sure it happens because you will get used to scheduling other things around it.
3) Communicate honestly
Sometimes you may be tempted to bend the truth to avoid conflict, but building business relationships will be much healthier overall if honesty is held in high regard. It’s possible, to be honest without being brutal. Choose your words carefully and be as diplomatic as possible, while still sharing your feelings openly and honestly.
4) Forgive faults
Forgive them for their eccentricities and annoying habits, and also forgive yourself for any mistakes you make. We all have faults and shortcomings that we bring with us into any relationship. Sometimes to keep the relationship strong, we need to just come to the conclusion that their presence in our lives is more important than the little habits that drive us crazy.
5) Support them
Intermingled between all the good times, there will surely be times when the other person could use a helping hand. Whether it’s helping them move, taking them dinner when a loved one has passed or being a sounding board for a difficult decision, any relationship worth having requires some TLC. And the other person deserves it, just as you do when you need it from them.
6) Do unto others
It’s just a good idea to always live by the Golden Rule, but it’s especially true in relationships that are important to us. If you wonder if something you might do is likely to upset them, chances are it’s better to talk to them about it first. Wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you? It’s better to err on the side of caution.
Looking for ways to building your business relationships? A Relationship Marking Course is just what YOU need!
Let me know if you have any questions. Always happy to help you build relationships with the people that matter to you most in your business, your clients!
The Benefits & Problems of Being a Good Listener
How many times have you listened to someone and found that you have come away knowing them better for it? When a person speaks, they reveal a lot about themselves. So if you want to know a person better and understand their motives, dreams, and desires, then it makes sense to listen more closely. The Benefits & Problems of Being a Good Listener is important.
While most of us can hear, not all people have the ability to listen as attentively as others. This is why listening is often listed as a desired skill set.
Be a Good Listener
When you start to listen to a person you gain more insights such as:
* Understanding what they expect of themselves and you
* Build better relationships with family, friends and your coworkers
* You will be able to resolve issues more quickly
* Have a better understanding of what people are trying to tell you
* Know how to respond properly
* You will become a trusted and respected person
Are YOU a Good Listener?
The moment you present yourself as someone who is not listening, your trust level drops substantially. There are actually physical and mental barriers that you need to overcome in order to become good at listening.
The most common ones include things like:
* Language and accent barriers
* Noise levels
* Poor attention span
* Hearing issues
Some of these barriers are going to prevent even the best listener to fully understand the issue. A great example of this is trying to listen to someone who is not speaking their native language. They may use the correct words, but the biggest handicap is their accent. No matter how hard they try to pronounce words correctly they are just not understood.
Understanding & Trusting Others
So what can you do if you are having a hard time understanding someone? A good active listener will often try to do the following things to improve their comprehension of the situation.
* Move in a little closer
* Maintain eye contact
* Nod and smile to indicate that you are listening
* Ask appropriate questions
* Try to clarify the issue in your own words
By doing these things you are showing the person that you are doing your best to understand them. This can be very helpful and can put the person speaking at ease. Quite often they are feeling stressed out, nervous and anxious.
By helping them to put their feelings behind them, they can often explain the situation better.
As you can see it is not that difficult to improve your listening skills. Just be aware that there are problems that can prevent you from fully understanding people sometimes.
Share Your Heart & Practice Empathy
We trust people around us who are open and honest with us. We like and trust people who aren’t afraid to share what they feel and what they are passionate about. Share Your Heart & Practice Empathy – yeah, how do you do that?
In other words, we’re willing to be vulnerable around others who aren’t afraid to share their heart. Thus, it’s only logical that if you want to get closer to those around you, pull them in, and get them on your side so to speak, you should open your own heart and share what’s important to you.
Share YOUR Passion
It’s not always easy to make yourself vulnerable by sharing your passions and ideas, but it will pay off in the right context.
If you’re trying to get your team on board with a big idea that will improve the company, the work environment, or how your department works, don’t be afraid to let your passion and excitement show. It can be quite contagious and if nothing else, it communicates how important this is to you and that you’re doing it to better the work environment or job security for everyone on the team.
The Easy Button
This, like many other “people skills” will come easier to some than others. If you’re in the habit of keeping your feelings and important thoughts to yourself, it will take some conscious effort and practice to get in the habit of sharing your heart.
Start small and among people like close friends or family that you feel relatively safe in doing so.
As time goes by, keep practicing and widening the circle of people you share your heart with until it becomes part of who you are.
Skils – skills – skills
Another important skill that’s worth developing is empathy. Empathy is being able to recognize what the other person feels and what motivates them. Here’s why this is important. At our core, we’re motivated by what’s in it for us. When you’re able to empathize, you’re able to see what will motivate the other person and what they could get out of whatever it is you want to accomplish.
When you can communicate that well, it becomes easy to get people on your side and get them on board with what you want to do.
Are YOU Empathic?
Some people are naturally empathic, while others have to work at it a little harder. Try to put yourself into the other person’s shoes. Think about how things affect them from their point of view. The better you get at viewing things from their side, and figuring out what motivates and drives them, the easier it will become to use the right words, acts, and motivators to win them over.
When people treat you wrong, it is very easy to hold a grudge. You may not understand how it could be possible to forgive someone for a slight, especially if the action was especially hurtful. Maybe you think forgiveness is about the other person and somehow, they benefit from you forgiving them. Forgiveness is not about the other person; it is about you.
Do YOU Know How To Forgive?
Forgiving another person does not always mean they stay in your life. Sometimes you do not even let them know you are forgiving them. You do not even need to trust them again. Just forgive them to eliminate the negativity in your life.
Even horrific crimes can be forgiven. For safety reasons, you may want to use an indirect way of forgiving them instead of contacting them directly. Write a letter as if you plan on sending it to the other person. Talk about how what they did made you feel, and about how it made you think about yourself. Write about how you are no longer going to allow them space in your head and how you forgive them for what they did to you.
When you finish writing, seal up the letter in an envelope and put their name on the front. Then either throw it away (shred it first!) or burn the letter. It does not have to actually be read by the person you are forgiving, this exercise is to help you get past the negativity and the chains that are holding you back as a person.
If you find you can’t forgive on your own, you may want to talk with a professional. Therapy can really help you get past this hurdle. Especially if the person committed a serious crime. If you have been abused, particularly over a long period of time, you may need therapy to help you get past what was done to you. There is nothing wrong with seeking help.
And After – Forgiveness
Once you have forgiven the other person, you will feel like a weight has been lifted, or chains have been removed. Grudges are not healthy for you and they do not affect the other person. When you bottle up negative feelings, you can increase your risks of developing heart disease, and other health conditions. You tend to age faster as well. Not forgiving others can dim your overall outlook on life, so why put yourself through all of that?
Remember that forgiveness is not about the other person, it is about eliminating the negativity in your own life.
So free yourself today by forgiving others for the wrongs they have done to you.
The best way to eliminate negativity is to develop a positive attitude. Your thoughts and outlook on life have a profound effect on how you live your life. They are also contagious and affect those around you. You can’t have both positive and negative in the same space. So why not focus on turning the negativity into something more positive?
You will find you have more energy and enthusiasm when you have a more positive attitude. People will want to be around you more and will be more positive as well, leading to a cascade effect. Negativity tends to bring you down and steal away your energy. It can also cause health issues over time.
Some ways you can develop a more positive attitude are:
Read Books about Positive Thinking
There are many books out there that can teach you about how to develop a positive mindset and eliminate the negativity in your life. Reading is not only a great way to learn, but it helps your brain build more connections which keep it healthy for a longer time. You can even find many very good books on this subject in your local library and read them for free.
Affirmations are a way of reprogramming the negative thoughts you tell yourself – and in many cases, you may not even be aware that you have them. By doing affirmations, you can change these negative thoughts into positive ones. You can start thinking better of yourself.
Meditation is a great way to help eliminate negativity and turn it into positive thinking. It also reduces stress. Because you get past the conscious level, you can really help reprogram your mindset with meditation. If you combine this with the affirmations, you can increase the results.
Spend time with positive people
How to Eliminate Negativity
Try to eliminate or limit contact with people who tend to have a negative mindset. Sometimes you can’t completely break off contact with them, especially if they are family or people you work with, but as much as possible try to spend time with positive people. Not only will you find it easier to be positive around them, but you may learn new ways to help yourself be more positive.
Just Do It
You can eliminate negativity if you set your mind to it and use tools and techniques to make it happen. You will not only feel better about yourself and have more energy and zest for life, but you will be physically healthier. Negative people drain their mental and physical well-being of their mindset. So, learn to have a positive attitude.
How to Be Kind
Being kind isn’t difficult. Once you set your mindset to ‘Kind,’ you’ll notice all sorts of opportunities throughout your day to reach out and be kind to someone.
As a bonus, once you’re in the kindness loop, you’ll notice you feel happier and more fulfilled. Scientists call this ‘the helper’s high’ as altruistic acts trigger the same endorphins as a ‘runner’s high’!
Here are some simple everyday ways of including kindness in your day.
1. Stop to let a pedestrian cross the street or to allow another driver into the traffic.
2. Say please and thank you.
3. Say good morning and good night to your colleagues.
4. Smile at a stranger.
5. Hold the door for the next person.
6. Hold the elevator.
7. Let someone with only a few items go in front of you in the grocery store.
8. Do a coffee run for your colleagues.
9. Hug your loved ones.
Here are a few more
10. Push the trash bins out for your neighbors.
11. Mow your elderly neighbor’s lawn.
12. If you’re going to the store, ask your neighbor if you can pick anything up for them.
13. Try volunteering at your local soup kitchen or shelter.
14. Be the bigger person and let the other guy have the coveted parking space.
15. Stand up for someone on the bus or subway.
16. Ask a stressed-out co-worker if you can help.
17. Help wash the cups after a meeting.
18. If the photocopier is running on empty, replace the toner and fill the paper bin.
19. Buy surprise flowers for your partner.
20. Give some coins to a street entertainer.
And a Few More
21. Pledge to stop grousing for a week.
22. Join your company’s mentor or buddy program.
23. Leave a book or magazine on the subway or in a bus station.
24. Donate your excess art supplies or craft materials to an elementary school.
25. Encourage your kids to sort through their stuff and donate items in good condition to charity.
26. Donate money to your favorite charity or non-government organization.
27. Notice what your partner or colleagues are wearing and pay a few compliments.
28. Ask friends or colleagues how they are, and listen to the answers.
29. Reach out to family members or friends, send a text message, or call them to see how they are.
30. Clean up your neighborhood. If you see trash in the street, pick it up and put it in the bin.