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Local Business Analytics and Digital Metrics

While there are plenty of global business models, the reality is that most people prefer to do business with local providers. When all things are equal we differ to the professionals we can look in the eye and shake hands with…

But that idea isn’t so simple to understand when it comes to the collision of online trends and real world usage…

When someone uses a smart phone to search for nearby services they first have to overcome the extreme bias of marketing dollars that control how ‘not so local’ businesses have bought themselves the lion’s share of exposure. While some search engines have limited ad slots to prevent the search results from being completely dominated by advertising, the bottom end of the ‘natural results’ are equally affected by money being spent optimizing information in a way that other local small and mid-sized businesses are unaware of.

But exposure is simply one metric for a local business…. Read more

Online Video Training Checklist

Video Training has a lot to do with thinking strategically and following through with an execution plan.

One way to attract some attention to your website, company or blog is to create some web video. By creating some video content you can often rank for poplar keywords on search engines, generate additional buzz on social platforms, and reach audiences on various devices (iPads, smart phones, web TV,etc.)

This article will review five important online video training elements

  1. Editorial and work commitment schedule
  2. Your content strategy
  3. Your content segments
  4. Video SEO (search optimization) promotion tips
  5. Social optimization traffic tips

 

#1 Online Video Training
Have an editorial and work commitment schedule

One of the hardest parts of maintaining any type of content driven strategy is time commitment. Before you get started on your video project you will need to define how much time you can dedicate to it on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.

You need to keep in mind that preparation is a key part of your success. If you plan on spending an hour a week for twelve weeks (12 hours of work), you should probably plan for spending a similar amount of time thinking about your strategy, video ideas, etc (another 12 hours of work!)

Any experienced videographer will tell you that 90% of the effort put into video is ‘behind the scenes’ work.

This preparation and planning time typically covers:

  • scripting
  • equipment testing
  • test shooting
  • graphic setup
  • technical IT work
  • education, education, education

You can try to skip basic steps that will prepare your ideas to go onto video, but the reality is that you will typically get 80% done with an idea only to realize you need to start over because you skipped a step and didn’t realize the problems it would cause later on.

#2 Online Video Training
Your Content Strategy

Define a consistent topic and conversation for your audience. This could entail simple  how-to videos, tips and tricks, news commentary, or expert Q&A.

Communicate Your Schedule: if you are seeking to build a regular audience make sure they know if you are producing daily, weekly, or monthly content (ask them to subscribe!)
Adhere to Your Schedule: consistency helps build your audience (and also helps with technical elements like search engine optimization)
Make a template/script: having a working script for each topic will give you a few benefits such as managing how long each of your videos will be, along with providing textual information that you can use for closed captioning that will help with your search optimization (see below)
Brand yourself: videos have three important elements that can be branded-

  • Intro Segment: include a 3-5 second clip with your logo, website/blog URL, Twitter handle, etc.
  • Lower Thirds: a “lower third” is the graphic you see on many news broadcast. You can use a variety of affordable software to include names of speakers, brands, and products that are in the video and you can also include copyright/branding. (check out video tools)
  • Ending Credits: include a thank you and a call to action at the end of your video. When your video is  done playing, make sure to have it display useful information instead of simply showing a blank screen.

#3 Online Video Training
Think About Topic Depth

Can you cover your intended topic in one to two minutes?

Most online audiences have an attention span that quickly fades after two minutes. If you are covering a complex topic that requires ten to thirty minutes, try to plan out a two to three minute introduction that SELLS the value of longer portions of content. If you do have a twenty to thirty minute topic, try to break it up:

  • an intro video selling value (2-3 minutes)
  • a 101 level (3-5 minutes)
  • advanced topic 1 (3-5 minutes)
  • advanced topic 2 (3-5 minutes)
  • advanced topic 3 (3-5 minutes)
  • advanced topic wrap-up (3-5 minutes)

Remember that each video segment has the benefit that it can be found on search engines, leading us to the next point…

#4 Online Video Training
Think about SEO
(search engine optimization)

You can find a nearly unlimited number of example videos that can’t be found on Youtube or other video services due to lack of good titles.

In most instances, a video will typically be found via a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Such videos attract search engine users based on the selection of good keywords used when publishing the video.

Using YouTube as an example, keywords can be added to the title, description, captions, and commentary found for each video.
(if you haven’t setup an account or channel yet, keywords can also be integrated into the username and channel name.)

An often overlooked keyword strategy is using a question format such as:

  • how do I fix X?
  • what is a X?

Another typical strategy is to use review and comparison strategies:

  • Review of X
  • X review and technical details
  • X specifications
  • X vs Y comparison
  • X vs Y review

#5 Online Video Training
Social Media Optimization

Make it interesting, on topic, and easy to share.

Many video sites include social media tools to share content on other services.

In an ideal situation, you should embed the content on your own site so that you can control everything your audience is exposed to. By embedding it on your site, you gain the benefit that you can earn valuable links to your site and drive additional long-term benefits for on-going SEO promotion.

You should also take the time to share content on other services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin (and any other relevant sites)

As part of your social media optimization, take the time to reach out to your core supporters and make sure they see your new content and encourage they share it with immediate friends/followers. In many instances you will find it useful to write an e-mail to 5 to 10 friends to generate some initial buzz.

Have you had any success with online video? If so, share a tip!

Competitive SEO and mapping the digital world

You probably have some hefty goals for 2011… and one of those probably has something to do about ‘becoming rich and famous’ online.

To help move towards that goal, I want to share some ideas about the basic mindset you need to have regarding where your online presence is heading in 2011. A key item to consider is what competitive SEO can do for your business. There are A LOT of pitfalls and mistakes you can make, so cutting corners during the training and strategy part is a big mistake.

Lets think about your “competition” for a moment. Read more