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93% of marketers are using online video now

Extra effort can make your video worth watching.

Extra effort can make your video worth watching.

Yes, you read that right!  eMarketer just released the stats. 93% of marketers used video for online marketing, sales or communications in 2013, up from 81% in 2012.

Why has online video become so popular as a marketing tactic?

  1. It works like a voodoo charm.
  2. It’s unique and attention-getting.
  3. It is easier and less expensive to produce now than it once was.
  4. It plays well with others: email, ad campaigns, blogs, Facebook, websites, Twitter, and, of course, YouTube.
  5. And anyway you slice it, it looks pretty darn impressive.

Some of the most popular reasons marketers are turning to online video include explaining new products and services, generating sales leads, and increasing SEO, to name a few.

But what if you are still a newbie?  How should you get started with online video for your company or nonprofit?

Well, in my opinion, when you are experimenting with a new marketing tactic, the best approach is to pick a low-risk project that may also be a bit fun. That doesn’t mean that you invest less than 100% in effort and planning.  But while you are in the learning and experimental phase, pick something that is perhaps not critical to your marketing efforts.

That might be, for example, a holiday video, like a Thanksgiving message.  It’s easy to do and it’s heart-felt.  You can embed it in an email and send it to your clients or customers.

Now is an excellent time to start thinking, long-range, about your video marketing plans for 2014.  I would love to have that conversation with you.  And if you would like help with video production, we do that, too.  Be aware that this study indicated that professionally produced video yields better marketing results than amateur productions.  Our prices start at $1200/video with substantial discounts for multiple video packages.  So let us lend a hand!

 

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One Pound Fish

YouTube.  Don’t try to understand it.

I don’t ever want to hear “How can I make my video go viral?” because there are NO rules.  Every time somebody thinks they have found the magic formula, me included, someone comes along and breaks all the rules.  People are going to like what they’re going to like.  There is a market for almost everything.

So, three weeks ago, this guy was selling fish.  He sang to try and attract customers.  Someone thought his song was catchy.  Two weeks ago he put up this video.  Now he has millions of views (and that’s just on his channel) and CNN featured him today.  CNN, people.

This fish he’s selling (1 British pound) would be about $1.62 U.S.  No clue what he’s making from the advertising revenue on this video!

 

Fletcher Prince’s YouTube and video production capabilities

Is your company on YouTube?  We produce videos and design branded YouTube Channels that are fully optimized for online search.  We also makeover Channels and video settings to enhance SEO and branding.

  • Pre-video consultation
  • Video production
  • Branded YouTube Channel development
  • Facebook video uploads
  • Video marketing
  • Video podcasts
  • YouTube logos and custom backgrounds
  • Integration with social networks

Marketing Ideas and Content Themes for your October Editorial Calendar

Tuesday, October 2  The informative conference Digital East takes place in Herndon, VA today and tomorrow.  There are a dozen registrations left for $375 each.

Wednesday, October 3  The first Presidential debate between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney airs tonight.  If you choose to post to Twitter, keep your tweets topical this evening.  All the debates this month will be aired live on YouTube.

Monday, October 8  Columbus Day is a federal holiday, kids will be out of school, and people will be online in numbers. This is a great time to reach out to your Facebook Page followers.

Today is the last day of the George Bellows exhibit at the National Gallery of Art.  See it before it leaves!

This is also Fire Prevention Week.  Use the Twitter hashtag #FPW.  This would be an excellent time to remind your followers to check the operation of smoke alarms and hold home and office fire drills.

Tuesday, October 9  Learn how to pitch the reporters at the Washington Business Journal at their Power Breakfast and presentation today at 8:30 a.m.  Register for $25.

Wednesday, October 10  Wish Fletcher Prince’s David Hyson a Happy Birthday today on his Facebook profile.

Thursday, October 11  The Vice Presidential debate airs tonight at 9 pm.

Tuesday, October 16 Wish Happy Birthday to social media sweetie Meghan McMahon, aka @Meggiepoo on Twitter.

The second Presidential debate airs tonight at 9 pm; also live on YouTube.  Use hashtag #

Today is also Boss’s Day.  I wouldn’t forget that one if I were you! 🙂  Send a card around the office to sign, and treat your boss to lunch.

Wednesday, October 17  Join your Fletcher Prince friends for networking and a lunch of authentic German fare at Cafe Mozart in Washington, DC.  Cost of lunch is on your own.  Register here.

Thursday, October 18  Every ad agency account executive has a story to tell, and not all of them are pretty.  Attend Ad2DC’s  MadMemoirs – Horror Stories from Behind Agency Walls  and vote for your favorite tonight at 6:30 pm at Bus Boys and Poets ($15).

Saturday, October 20  Step back into 1771 and check out the 18th century Market Fair today and tomorrow at Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean, VA.  $6 adults, $4.50 for AAA members, $3 children.

Monday, October 22  Wish Happy Birthday to Ascend Communication’s principal Lorelei Harloe!

The third Presidential debate airs tonight at 9 pm (also on YouTube).

Tuesday, October 24  Learn how to leverage LinkedIn for your business and networking at this Reston Chamber of Commerce event, 8:30 a.m., $10.  Register here.

The Town of Vienna presents its 66th annual Halloween Parade today at 7 p.m.

The Washington Ballet presents Dracula at the Kennedy Center, tonight through November 4.

Thursday, October 25  The DC chapter of the American Marketing Association celebrates its 80th anniversary and recognizes the Top Marketer at a gala this evening.

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce holds its B2B and B2C trade show 2012 Connections from 4 pm to 7 pm today.  Admission, parking and food are free.

Friday, October 26 Wish Happy Birthday to U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Sunday, October 28  The 37th annual Marine Corps Marathon takes place today

Monday, October 29  The Hunter Moon rises tonight.

Wednesday, October 31  Happy Halloween!  Bling out your Twitter and Facebook profile photos with Halloween themed logos.  If you’re downtown today, check out the exterior Halloween decorations at the White House.

Today is also Dan Rather’s birthday.  Follow @DanRatherReport on Twitter.

How YouTube Video Builds Trust in Your Company

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Thinking about using video to market your company or organization?  Do you see your competitors on YouTube and wonder: should we be there, too?

There is one good reason to invest in video.  It works.  It works because nothing creates trust online like video.

Trust is key

Let’s talk about trust and marketing.  People buy products or services they need or want, but they buy from companies they trust.  They support causes they believe in, but they donate their time and money to nonprofit organizations they trust.  Trust is key in any relationship, and especially in marketing.

If you are reaching out to a consumer or a supporter who doesn’t know anything about you or your company, what is the first thing you have to do?  You have to gain their trust.  So they’ll believe what you have to say.

So how does video help you achieve trust?

Video is real.  Authenticity builds trust

Let’s imagine a scenario.  What if every potential client or customer were recommended and introduced to you personally by their best friend?  If you could then meet each person, and talk to them when they were relaxed and in a good mood and interested in what you had to say, persuading them would be a lot easier.

But that scenario isn’t practical for most of us.  So how else can we build a relationship built on trust?  With video.  And why is that?

Well, video is “real.”  Honest.  Most people can’t fake who they are, or what their products can do, on video.  Nothing can touch video for authenticity (except connecting in-person).

If you can make your case on YouTube or on a video podcast to a receptive audience, with real people and actual demonstrations, you have achieved a big step in winning the trust of potential customers or supporters.  We have found this to be true with out own clients: their videos position them as subject matter experts, obtaining the attention of prospects.  Another, more well-known example is the Will it Blend? YouTube videos.  Those videos achieve what a magazine ad could never do – they proved that the blender works.  People believed in the brand, and sales increased 700%.

Video is found in search

Another huge advantage of online video is that it reaches people when they are most receptive to what you have to tell them.  When someone watches your YouTube video, chances are they were searching or looking at other search results on the same subject.  They’re actively seeking.

So from the outset, they’re receptive to the content of your message, on their schedule. Whether it’s 1 a.m. and you’re asleep or it’s Saturday afternoon and you’re at your child’s recital, you don’t have to worry about it because your video is speaking for you, and for your brand, 24/7.

The great advantage of YouTube video is its ranking in search.  When you optimize your YouTube videos, you make them more likely to be found in search engine results by people who are actively looking for information on that topic.

Maybe that person is one of the many journalists who say they use YouTube to find background information on organizations and products.  Maybe that person is a legislative assistant or congressional representative who is informing themselves about your product or cause, because it relates to some key policy decision and they want more information, and we know from research that legislators and their staff do refer to YouTube videos for that reason.  Maybe it is someone who is thinking about buying your product, or supporting your cause, and did a search and your video popped up.

You can create the a terrific video, but if it isn’t optimized, chances are it won’t reach its search potential and it won’t be discovered.  But, if you optimize the video, you have not only tapped into all the powerful benefits of the medium – it’s visual appeal and authenticity factor — but also the incredible value associated with search.

Allow the customer to drive

Importantly, when we’re talking about video, the consumer is in control of the interaction.  This minimizes the potential invasive or annoyance factor, such as you may have with television commercials, making them that much more receptive to your message.

On YouTube, they can choose whether to watch a video.  The ball is in their court.  They can stop in mid-stream and go on to another video.  They can watch it again and again.  They can email it to their best friend, or share it on Facebook. They can look at related videos that appear alongside the video, and get more information.

They can do a lot of things with YouTube video that they can’t do with broadcast commercials (unless of course, that commercial appears on YouTube).  But just the fact that they are in control of how they receive the message amplifies the trust factor.

You know, commercials have to be entertaining or surprising because they really are intrusive in nature.  But when a person is looking at a video, the chances are they were looking for content on that topic.  So, as I said, he or she is already receptive to receiving information.  You don’t have to resort to cute or funny techniques.  It doesn’t hurt to be entertaining on YouTube, but it’s not a requirement (unless you are monetizing your YouTube videos).  You can go for informative.

So, take for instance, Geico.  Geico car insurance uses a talking lizard and other gimmicks which are entirely unrelated to cars and safety to sell car insurance.  Since commercials are intrusive, and they’re selling on price, they really have to be as entertaining as possible.  Probably because they are a big name brand already, and they are targeting a price-sensitive audience, they have chosen not to market on trust.  I mean, there is nothing relevant or trust-inducing about a talking lizard, right?  He’s just cute and funny and memorable (e.g., “gecko” sounds a little bit like “Geico”). So that works for their print and broadcast marketing.

But, if they chose, they could take a different strategy with their YouTube Channel than they do with their commercials.  They could, for example, upload customer testimonials, case studies, consumer information about selecting car insurance, seasonal safety demonstrations, interviews with the top executives and regular employees, and other relevant content.

They don’t happen to do that, but if building trust was a marketing goal for the company, and they were interested in reaching the kinds of consumers who were less concerned with price value than with quality or reliability, they might choose to put those kinds of videos on their YouTube channel.  And because of the way consumers interact with this medium, that would work.  It would work in the way that those trust-building marketing messages would reach their target consumers who were ready to buy car insurance, not in the way that the videos would achieve millions of views.

Sharing = Endorsement

Another way video builds trust is the way it can be shared.  Remember how I said wouldn’t it be great if every client or customer we wanted to get came to us personally on the recommendation of a friend?  In a way, that can happen with video.

When a friend shares a video, that action carries their personal endorsement.  They’re saying: what I’m about to show you is worthwhile and deserves your attention.  Nothing is more powerful in marketing than the referral and recommendation of a friend.

If my sister sends me a YoutTube video to watch, there is a 100% likelihood that I will watch it, and then talk to her about it.   That good relationship can be extended to your brand with a successful YouTube video.

How Fletcher Prince can help

We are huge proponents of the power of YouTube.  It can work for many kinds of businesses and nonprofit organizations.  We can work with you to create a YouTube video strategy that integrates with your ongoing efforts to attract customers or supporters.  We can help you plan and schedule content, design a YouTube Channel, and produce your videos.

Have you tried it? Google+ Hangouts

So, Google+ Hangouts are taking off in a big way.  We are on Google+ and we’re experimenting with Hangouts and how we can use them to bring value to our subscribers and clients.  We have already used Livestream and are excited about the capability of livestreaming Google + Hangouts to our YouTube Channel.

So, we are in the experimental phase, but how about you?  Are you using it Google+ Hangouts?  In what ways?  Let us know in the comments!

Authenticity marketing and how it can work for your brand

I have been thinking lately about how brands are using social media and advertising appeals that revolve around how authentic, true, and personal they are.

As we s-l-o-w-l-y recover from the economic recession, consumers are definitely less trustful of individuals and institutions, such as universities, banks, and political leaders.

With scandals, crises, and ever increasing amounts of counterfeit products on the market, you can’t blame people for being wary.

The Edelman Trust Barometer measures people’s level of trust in business, government, and other institutions.  2012 saw sharp drops in trust.  The credibility of CEOs fell 12 points.

On the other hand, people thought the information they discovered in search engine results and found in traditional media, such as newspapers, was the most trustworthy information of all.

I see growing consumer preferences for authenticity played out in all kinds of ways.  To name a few,

  • The trend of featuring  local, fresh ingredients on restaurant menus.
  • The broadcast predominance of reality television and news programs.
  • The tremendous popularity of social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.

Even Oprah decided to go natural in her hairstyle and show her “real” hair on the cover of her September 2012 issue of her magazine, and the move made news and drew positive Facebook comments from her fans.

Clearly, people are drawn to brands they perceive as real and authentic.  So, how you can you deliver the real while communicating the key messages associated with your brand?

Here are my suggestions:

  • Create content that will be found in search engines.  So, you may want to scale back your efforts on Twitter and Facebook updates, and devote more resources to producing content that will be discovered in organic search engine results: blog posts, website pages, YouTube videos, and digital images.
  • Use real stories and examples in your advertising.
  • Emphasize testimonials on your website and marketing materials.  Use photos to put faces to your testimonials.
  • Tell your story online with YouTube and blog posts, which come across as most authentic.  Feature (brief) videos with executives and staff members.  Demonstrate your products and services on YouTube.  Showcase your expertise (but in a visual way).
  • Take photos and share them frequently: on your website, on your blog, on Facebook, and on Pinterest.

All of these tactics depend on one premise, however: that your business or organization is scrupulous in its operation and practices, as these methods will heighten your visibility.

Watch this Forbes  video that demonstrates how an executive used the attribute of authenticity to build trust in his brand’s products.

How have you enhanced the authenticity of brand in your public relations and marketing efforts?

Tips for creating an attention-getting online profile

As you may know, online profiles appear in a number of social media platforms and online directories: Google+, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, Twitter, Flickr,and YouTube, for example.  Here are my tips for crafting a brand-building online profile.

1. Write for your customers.

Online profiles give you a limited amount of text space to describe yourself, or your company.  This is valuable real estate, so think about how it might appear in search engine results, i.e., use keywords.  When composing your company or personal description, think about what differentiates you from others, or your company from other companies.  One tip for profiles is to write from your customer’s perspective. Think, “If I were my customer, why would I want to read this, and what benefit would it offer me? What problem will knowing more about this company help solve for me?”

2. Tone down the superlatives

I read a lot of online profiles that make me wince.  It does not build credibility to call yourself a rock star or a diva, or what have you. Don’t use promotional language, unless you have something external to back up your claim.  Just be matter-of-fact — that’s believable.  For example, on my Twitter account, I do not identify Fletcher Prince as a top PR agency, but rather as a Washington Business Journal top PR agency.  See the difference?

3. Include details, like location. Details build trust.

The more specific and transparent you are on your online profile, the more trust and interest you will build for your expertise or for your company.

Your profile should also clearly indicate the location of your company (or self).  Social media is global.  So don’t make people guess if you are from the U.S. or the U.K. Make sure you include a reference to your city, if you want leads.   Here’s an example:

“Carousel30 is a full-service Digital Agency with national clients based in historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.”

Perfect. The Twitter profile description says what they do and where they are located, but it makes it clear that they work for clients nationwide.

4. Build in a call-to-action.

Why are you online?  What do you want people to do?  Put it out there!  And if you’re short on space, then at least include a website link.  Then your URL is your CTA.  The URL can be your website address, blog address, or Facebook Page.  I also try to include my phone number on my online profiles, when space allows.

5. Don’t include distractions

What you probably don’t need in your profile description: a disclaimer stating that tweets represent your own opinions.  Whose else would they be?  Are you truly afraid of getting sued?  As long as you add #client or #ad to tweets that represent a paid relationship, you don’t need to take up valuable real estate on your profile with what is really a negative statement.

6. Be personal…but not TOO personal

Many people add a little interesting tidbit in an attempt to make their profiles memorable.  If you choose to do this, then think carefully about what you include in your profile.  For example, one online profile says the person likes chocolate.  Well, very few people don’t like chocolate.  So think of something that really says something about you.

Another Twitter profile I saw today was a bit too revealing: she said was into cocaine and a particular sexual practice.  The reason why I saw her post is that she was inquiring with an acquaintance about a job in public relations with her firm.  Even worse, the acquaintance replied that the job was available.  Seriously.  I am not making that up.  So, watch what you put in those profiles.  And don’t tweet back to just anybody.

7. Maximize the visual impact.

As you may know, people scan content they view online.  Looks matter (when it comes to branding) and recognition builds trust.  When you think about how your profile appears, it’s important to take advantage of the branding and recognition opportunities.

Every profile should have a logo (if it is for your company) or a high quality photograph, if it is for yourself.  Most social media sites display a square profile image, but not every logo is designed to be square.  Guess what?  This means you need a special logo, just for social media.  There is no getting around this branding requirement — attempt to make a rectangular logo in the square space, and your company will just look unprofessional.

Add all the images you can. If you can upload more photos to the profile (as you may do on Google+ and Yelp, for example) take advantage of that potential by showing off images of your employees, company headquarters, products, or portfolio examples.  Most sites permit video now, so include at least one short online video.

So, those are my recommendations for today.  What other ways have you found to customize and brand your social media profiles?  Leave your suggestions in the comments.

A public relations to-do list for the dog days of summer

summer-wallpaper7-1024x768Rosemarie Esposito wrote a terrific post last week on ways to keep yourself busy and productive during the notoriously slow summer months when you work in public relations.  Some of her recommendations included taking clients out to lunch, blogging, and organizing contact lists.  Check out her blog post to see all her suggestions.

I like her ideas and I would like to add a few more to your downtime to-do list:

  • Draft an editorial calendar for the rest of the year — for your blog posts, social media updates, YouTube videos, Pinterest boards.  Sure, you can’t plan everything in advance, but an editorial calendar will give you a terrific head start, if you aren’t using one already.
  • Create a Twitter list of media contacts that you hope to cultivate.
  • Write a LinkedIn recommendation for a vendor, intern, or volunteer committee colleague.
  • Record a YouTube video.  There’s no better time to record video than in the summer — when you’re feeling relaxed, looking great, and probably not congested with a head cold!
  • Take candid photographs around the office and create Facebook Page albums.
  • Write case studies to share on the client work section of your website.
  • Create a presentation related to your area of expertise — with a PowerPoint presentation that you can upload to SlideShare.  It’s nice to have a presentation in the wings in case you are asked to fill in last minute for a cancelled speaker — I’ve been asked to do this.
  • Plan your winter holiday communications — it’s never too early, and now is the best time when you’re not harried and overworked.  Some people get their holiday shopping done before Labor Day and some people plan their holiday events, video greetings, and mailed cards early.  Fletcher Prince can design your holiday print card or e-card, and we are known for our holiday greeting videos.
  • Submit an award nomination. Washington Women in Public Relations is accepting nominations for Washington PR Woman of the Year.
  • Get a head start on your company’s annual report.  We’re halfway through the year.  If you start on it now, and save the draft, it will be that much easier to complete at the end of the year.

Now, that should keep you busy for a while!  Whether you’re working or taking some time off, I hope you have a fun and relaxing summer!

P.S. Here’s an explanation why we call these days the “dog days.”

 

How to get more views for your YouTube videos

There’s no more compelling way to tell the story of your brand than with YouTube video but using YouTube effectively for your company or organization does take serious effort.

In this Social Media Week DC presentation, Mary Fletcher Jones of Fletcher Prince ‪http://www.FletcherPrince.com‬ will talk about the marketing advantages of YouTube for your business, agency, or nonprofit organization.

Mary will suggest practical tips for producing high quality video that obtains lots of views, focusing on the core aspects of content, production quality, and search engine optimization.

Download the slides and notes for this presentation here: ‪http://www.slideshare.net/Fletcherprince

This session was recorded live at Thomas Jefferson Library in Falls Church, Virginia on February 14, 2012 for Social Media Week DC.

Please excuse the production quality; it is not up to our usual standard since this is a video taken from a Livestream broadcast on a webcam — but we promised to make this content available to our attendees.

Thank you for watching, and please subscribe to Fletcher Prince on YouTube!

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