Archive for May, 2008

Working With Multi-Channel Video Players (1 of 3)

May 28, 2008

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As word spreads about the marketing power intrinsic in web video and web TV programming; more businesses are coming online with their own web videos, some compiling sizeable web video programming inventories.  What to do with all of these videos scattered about your site?

Multi episodic web video players allow you to consolidate your video inventory as program episodes into one single, compact player. Look at these players as your personal online cable or satellite TV interface. Now if that is not cool enough, these players feature simple but powerful content management tools allowing you to easily organize your web videos.  Finally consider that these tools offer additional features like real time viewing statistics, channel creation, viewer photo and video uploads, syndication and even advertising revenue opportunities.  Popular players include Splashcast, Brightcove and even YouTube enables this functionality through their shared player customization options.

I can almost see brows furrowing as some contemplate what mix of content to feature in their players. In the second installment of this series I will discuss several approaches to organizing your web video content in ways sure to engage your prospects and compel them to take action.  Until then, your homework is to review the various web player options in the market and tell us the one you would use and why? Okay, get to work!

Related topics:

  1. Create Your Own Web TV Show
  2. Turn Your Event Into a Web TV Show
  3.  5 Secrets to Producing a Great Web TV Show
  4. Watch Our Streaming Video Channel

What to do next?


Does Your Brand Travel?

May 27, 2008

There’s a faith-based organization in Charlotte, NC called CharlotteONE that offers a seasonal worship and teaching series to young adults and singles. The series has attracted 500-plus people to each event since launching in 2006. David Hickman, the organization’s Executive Director, sent me the below photo that was taken by a CharlotteONE attendee during a recent mission trip in Darfur. CharlotteONE on dispaly in Darfur

Having your brand on display in another country (let alone another continent) is a remarkable achievement for an organization of any kind. Are your customers or supporters eager to share your brand with the world? This is something that all businesses should think about, and aspire to achieve daily.

Related Topics:

  1. The Right Idea, The Right Time
  2. Simple Tools To Monitor Market Trends
  3. Turn Event Sponsorship Into Gold
  4. Referrals for Life

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Your Own Media Juggernaut!

May 26, 2008

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I pride myself on my ability to come up with creative marketing and business development ideas but I recently met an entrepreneur who matched my enthusiasm and knack in every way; so I had to share her perspective with you. Donna Maria Coles Johnson is an award winning attorney, blogger, publisher and helps women and families successfully manage home and business through her Indie Business Radio Show. She is the founder and President of the Indie Beauty Network, a membership based trade organization providing business services to 700+ cosmetics manufacturers nationwide.  

Anyone who knows me has heard my mantra, “how would you market your business if you had a television station, radio outlet, magazine and newspaper totally dedicated to your business?”  Mrs. Coles is the living embodiment of this ideal and has seen fit to impart some of her wisdom and experience with us.

Q:  What has web video done for your business?
Video allows me to reach more people with the Indie Business messsage of self-sufficiency and empowerment. The message is powerful on its own, and whether it was my blog, radio show or magazine, it has always been well received. But video is a medium that engages the senses more completely than the others. Video allows me to share in a way that not only educates and informs, but is also entertaining. Additioanlly, video allows me to connect with people in a memorable way. I often hear from viewers that, when enjoying one of our videos, they have been made to feel like they were chatting with me over tea, and like I was speaking directly to them. Now that’s powerful! Finally, because my husband is a long-time video professional, it has also allowed me to collaborate more with him so we can expand the business beyond where either of us could take it separately.
Q:  How do you use video?
Four ways. First, by sharing an empowering and heartfelt message that I feel is important. For example, at the start of the New Year, I taped a segment called, “Ready, Aim, Fire” to get people excited about moving their business into 2008.

Second, I create packages that share Indie Business owners’ personal stories. I usually do these on location, just as a news reporter would, interviewing the Indie Business owner, showing video of them at work and sharing a bit about how they successfully combine their family responsibilities with their business ones.
Third, I use it to promote other things I am doing. For example, if I am having an especially exciting guest on Indie Business Radio, I’ll tape a “program note” to encourage viewers to tune into the radio show and enjoy the show live.
In each case, we load the video to social networking sites so that it can be played by millions of people the world over. This promotes our message and our work while we are asleep. Technology is great for that!
Q:   If someone is considering web video, where should they start?
They should start by setting goals. What do you want a video to do for you? I have seen too many videos thrown together at the last minute that make a business owner look so bad that even if what they are promoting is good, it’s ruined with bad video. So set a goal first. For example, if you are a self help author, perhaps you want to use video to promote your book. A 60-second promo message is great, especially if it includes a testimonial or two from some sincere people who can vouch for how your book has helped them. On the other hand, if you own a yoga studio, you’ll probably want less of you talking and more video of people in your yoga studio performing yoga routines and enjoying healthful time at your location.
A combination of things must come together for a good video: a good camera, appropriate lighting, proper makeup, a good set, good sound quality, and a powerful and organized message. Because good video is more than just “pointing and clicking,” I suggest engaging the services of a professional who can get to know your business and help you not only produce a professional quality video, but who knows enough about your business and your goals to actually help you script and produce the video.
Start small at first. Even 45 to 60 seconds is long enough if your message is powerful and professional.
4.  When does do-it-yourself video work and when should you bring in a pro?
Do it yourself video works for your hobby or personal ventures. But if you have a business, and you are using your video to generate sales leads, you have to have a quality product. Not many people are going to pay for your product or service if you are not professional, and if you have an unprofessional video, you will not look like a professional. This is why it’s important to have a goal in mind. If you are short on cash, start with a goal and a plan in place to recoup that cost as quickly as possible so you can start to enjoy a profit sooner rather than later.
Having said that, I realize that everyone has to start somewhere and that not everyone has the budget for a professional quality video. There are plenty of free or low cost resources online to help you make your own video until you get to the point where you can afford to engage a professional. You can get free video at or You can get free music at or go to and find some music you like and ask the musician if you can use it. Then get “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Videos” by Steven Beal, a great book to get you started.

Related Subjects:

  1. Entrepreneur Magazine Talks Video
  2. Do It Yourself Video: The Quality Myth
  3. Using Video to Boost Direct Mail Results
  4. For hundreds of ways to get customers to call you (subscribe to our newsletter) (browse archive)

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Simple Tools To Monitor Market Trends

May 22, 2008

Last week, I wrote a post called “The Right Idea, the Right Time.” The basic premise of the post was that it only takes “the right idea at the right time” to propel your business to the next level. One suggestion that I shared to help find the “right idea” is to monitor market trends that identify the need for a new product or service among a particular target audience. I promised that I would follow up with several basic vehicles that you can use to monitor market trends, so here goes:

Google Alerts: Google offers FREE Web searches on a variety of topics through a service called “Google Alerts.” Select a list of key words or drill down to a specific topic and the search results, pulled from Google’s powerful search engine, are delivered right to your inbox. Monitor your competitors, clients, or news that impacts your industry. I encourage businesses of all sizes and concentrations to use this service. You can sign-up at

Blogs: I subscribe to a number of blogs to stay on top of trends and to generate ideas for upcoming projects. Signing up for a blog is easy to do. John Easton recently introduced me to a service called viigo, which allows me to access blog and news content directly from my trusty BlackBerry. I also suggest completing a Web search to find the blogs that report on what’s important to you. This might even inspire you to start a blog of your own. Two places to begin your search are the popular websites and

E-zines: I subscribe to several e-zines, which basically is an electronic version of a newsletter or magazine delivered to my inbox. E-zines vary by topic and frequency. One of my favorites is “Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week” by Joan Stewart. Subscribers receive weekly tips and tools for generating free publicity. A web search will help you identify an e-zine that’s of interest to you.

Newspapers: Contrary to popular belief, newspapers are still a great source to identify market trends. Read articles in the newspaper sections that impact your business (i.e. lifestyle, sports, money) to see what the experts are reporting. Most newspapers are now available online, making this process faster and easier.

Word of Mouth: Talking with people is still an excellent way to find out what the “word on the street” is. Strike up a conversation in the gym or visit a business function. Online forums like Yahoo! Answers also is a fun way to spark conversation and identify trends among large groups of people.

These are just a few of the tools that I use to monitor market trends. There are many, many more vehicles in this arena, ranging from free surveys (basic surveys are available for free at and to costlier tools such as focus groups and research reports.

Now, I want to hear from you – what tools do you use to monitor market trends?

About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; media planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and article, website, advertising, editorial, and sponsorship writing.

Related Topics:

  1. The Right Idea, The Right Time
  2. Embrace Your Citizen Marketers
  3. Referrals for Life
  4. Avoiding the Broke Zone
  5. For hundreds of ways to get customers to call you (subscribe to our newsletter) (browse archive)

What Should I do Next?
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If You Don’t Do PR Video Now, You’ll hate Yourself Later

May 21, 2008

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30 minutes ago I appeared on a teleseminar with Internet PR phenomenon, Joan Stewart where I covered 9 Clever Ways to Use Video to Become a Publicity Darling in your Industry or Community and let me tell you I am even more psyched about the opportunity to use video to get the media to cover you.  The speed of Joan’s questions, audience queries and the general energy of the seminar did not allow time for me to share some “horse’s mouth” input I received from a local print publisher on this subject, so I will share the Q and A here.  

 The reality is that print publications are trying hard to determine how to remain relevant in world where people are flipping through less paper in their media consumption and web video is the publisher’s tool of choice.  Gerald Johnson, Publisher of the Charlotte Post Newspaper weighs in with his opinions.

Q:  Would your publication feature web video content produced by local citizens if it was of acceptable quality (video and audio) and directly spoke to the interests of your consumers?

Gerald:  Yes. We look at it as being paramount to “letters to the editor”. It is a great way to expand your audience and your community reach.

Q:  What should business owners consider to successfully pitch video stories to the Charlotte Post?

Gerald:  It is important to:

  1. Have knowledge about the current demographics of the publication.
  2. Know who we are targeting to expand our current reach.
  3. Get an understanding of our corporate and editorial culture.
  4. Pitch us on how your video stories fit who we are and where we going (1, 2, & 3)

Related Topics:

  1. For hundreds of ways to get customers to call you (subscribe to our newsletter) (browse archive)