Get paid to promote your book or video? Here’s how…

Get-Paid-To-PromoteAs a fairly new author, I’ve been exploring a myriad of ways to promote my book Shoot To Sell: Make Money Producing Special Interest Videos. As I’m doing this, I have found some interesting promotional outlets and many of them would work well for promoting videos too! Here is an article by Sandra Beckwith of www.buildbookbuzz.com on an opportunity I hadn’t heard of before and one that I know you’ll find helpful. Read on…

Get Paid to Promote your Book (or Video)

Most authors spend money to promote their books, but some get paid to do it. They’re media spokespersons, hired by companies and organizations to add credibility to a consumer product or service being promoted through a publicity campaign. They are topic experts who have the credentials to back their expertise. And they are paid $2,000 to $3,000 per day to help a company meet its communications objectives by sharing key message points through media interviews, while receiving impressive free media exposure for their books.

The role of a media spokesperson: A media spokesperson has a contract with an organization to fulfill specific obligations, which can range from participating in a satellite media tour to appearing on national or local television talk shows, or doing print or electronic interviews by phone. All of this happens within a designated time frame and for a predetermined fee.

For example, the Soap & Detergent Association (SDA) and its public relations agency recently developed a survey that would generate newsworthy results. The topic was housework: Who’s doing it in American homes, men or women? Not surprisingly, the survey revealed that even women who work outside the home are still doing far more than half the housework, and it’s causing tension among couples.

The SDA could have quoted a staff member in a press release announcing the findings to the media, but this individual would not be qualified to explain the survey results. So the SDA looked elsewhere for a spokesperson to do newsworthy interviews…and found me. As the author of Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman?, a humorous look at what makes men different from women, I write and speak about the lighter side of gender differences. I have the credentials to explain the survey results, offer tips on how women can get more help around the house and suggest to men simple, easy steps they can take to help more without first getting a domestic engineering degree.

Through it’s public relations firm, the SDA contracted with me for three months for a range of media-related services, including traveling to New York City and other locations for in-person

In addition, I received valuable on-camera practice from a professional media trainer who helped me link my anecdotes and experiences to the client’s key message points. My goal, after all, was not to just talk about the survey findings. It was to share specific SDA messages with the public.

How to find spokesperson assignments: Usually, they find you when a publicist searches bookstores for relevant titles or the Internet for your topic. Some companies rely on organizations such as Spokespersons Plus, which specializes in finding qualified experts. Spokespersons Plus works much like an executive recruiter. The client calls the firm and describes the type of individual it needs; owner Deborah Durham searches her database to identify pre-qualified potential matches. If the right person isn’t in her system, she looks elsewhere for the perfect match.

Typically, the spokesperson candidate supplies the client company with materials that verify topic knowledge (your book) and media experience. A videotape with television interviews – even from local talk or news programs – helps the client assess not only your level of interview experience, but your personality, as well. You can be taught how to improve your interview skills, but your inherent demeanor – relaxed, uptight or professorial – can’t (and shouldn’t) be changed for an assignment.

You can also contact companies marketing consumer products or services with a logical connection to your topic and offer your services as a spokesperson. But have a publicity campaign idea in mind before making the call so it’s clear why they might benefit from working with you. Contact Spokespersons Plus, too, but only if you can outline several possible consumer product connections with your topic in a brief note to deb@spokespersons.com.

How a spokesperson is paid: Spokesperson fees vary and are calculated in different ways. Some contracts are based on a day rate while others have fee amounts assigned to specific tasks. Travel days usually earn half the individual’s day rate; travel expenses are reimbursed. Media spokesperson work requires many skills – including an ability to hold your own with hyperactive morning drive time radio personalities – so it’s not for everyone. But if you believe you’re destined to banter with Matt on “The Today Show” and haven’t snagged that interview on your own, consider seeking a spokesperson assignment and letting the pros secure it for you. Then all you’ll have to worry about is what to wear!

Sandra Beckwith offers a free book publicity and promotion e-zine at www.buildbookbuzz.com and teaches the “Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz” e-course.

What You Need to Do NOW For a Great Christmas Shopping Season For Your Video Sales

Holiday-Marketing-Prep
29% of people will be holiday shopping WAY BEFORE Halloween…Will you be ready?

Have you seen them yet? They are out there. I just came across them yesterday when I was shopping for a summer top.

I’m talking about Christmas decorations and merchandise in the stores!

Wait, wasn’t Labor Day just a few weeks ago? Halloween is more than a month away too! Doesn’t it seem that retailers start earlier and earlier to set up for Christmas sales? Why do they do that?

Because it’s never to early to start planning for the holidays because people do it too!

Case in point, about a week and a half ago I had an order for an entire collection of books and DVDs we sell on one of our websites! Christmas is a more than 3  months away but she noted on the order form she wanted to get started early – and take advantage of the deal I was offering. (Smart woman!)

On that website we begin our holiday email campaigns the beginning of September. We have created a well thought out and organized holiday marketing campaign we’ve been working on since July. This year it was even more important that we do so early because for the bulk of the shopping season (Mid-October-November) we’ll be on an extended speaking tour, out of state. And we can’t afford to miss those sales!

One key to success in email marketing is the same as advertising – repetition, repetition, repetition. You need to get in front of your customers at least 6 to 7 times before you may make a purchase. In the world of email, that number has probably increased to 20 or so. You have to realize that many of your email recipients won’t open your first email, or your second or third, but somewhere along the line they’ll open it and perhaps respond. Others will either respond, delete it or unsubscribe.

So if your video or other products would be perfect for Christmas gifts, then what are you waiting for? Your competitors have had their plans in the works for weeks now. Need a few ideas to help get you started with your planning?

  • Sit down today with your calendar and plan out your email content and the frequency of your emails to your list. Start emailing your list at least once a week starting NOW. I use Excel to keep track of the dates I plan on sending and the topic. To come up with topic ideas, be creative and look at what is happening in your industry. These emails shouldn’t just be selling your video, they should be giving value too. For example, do you sell Yoga videos? Come up with emails that give  tips for dealing with holiday stress. We sell a video called Those Captivating Cacti and send out emails not only on cactus care but also on Christmas cacti, giving cacti as presents, tools for cacti gardening…you get the picture.
  • Sign up with an email marketing service such as the one we use, Constant Contact or AWeber. Or if you use a shopping cart like MarketersChoice, the one we use, you are able to email your list and customers from within that. DO NOT use your personal email account for mass emails or will likely get banned. Not only do these services deal with larger lists, they also make it easier to import and organize your prospect and customer lists, set up all your emails at one time and give you statistics or reports.
  • Send your email consistently but keep an eye out for list fatigue. There is a lot of extra competition at this time of year, and a lot more clutter in the in-box, so you may have to make multiple efforts just to get noticed. Notice which subject lines are getting the most opens and which email topics are getting the best responses. Using a service like your shopping cart or Constant Contact will give you reports on those rates.
  • As your holiday sales start picking up, you’re going to be too busy to craft enticing email messages. So do that now and use the autoresponder system in AWeber, Constant Contact or your shopping cart that allows you to upload all of your messages now and set them for later delivery dates. As you find which emails perform better, you can go back in and make changes to future emails to improve response rates and deliver what your list is wanting.
  • Invest in a toll-free customer service phone number. (We use and recommend RingCentral.) Some shoppers are leery of purchasing online and during the holiday rush they are concerned that their gifts won’t arrive on time. Phone service has gotten incredibly cheap, but I still recommend a toll-free number. A toll-free number is inexpensive and it sends the message that you are a large company and are willing to spend the extra dime to support your customers. An added advantage is that if you work out of your home, a service like RingCentral can be set to only ring through during the hours you wish…if there is a call, you’ll get an email. That way you have more control and won’t get woken up in the wee hours in the morning. It also will forward to my cell phone which is perfect when I’m on my speaking tours.
  • Look at your shipping service and be sure to let your list knows about holiday mailing deadlines. Make sure you give yourself a few days buffer. We usually include holiday shipping deadlines in all of our emails throughout the holiday season. This is also an incentive for customers to make a buying decision early and not put it off. Shipping deadline reminders are also good topics for emails.
  • If you can, segment your mailing list based on what your customers purchased last year so you can personalize holiday gift suggestions. We segment ours into past customers and new prospects and you may segment yours further. Here’s where having more than one product or title is a good thing. If you only have one title, consider complementary items you can offer to your list and sign up to be affiliates of retail outlets that offer those. For example, if you are an Amazon Associate, there are many items you can promote that would interest your customer who buys your DVD. We do this with our car detailing DVD…customers who buy that will also need car wash supplies.
  • Include a “count down” in each and every email so shoppers know the shipping deadline for their holiday purchases.
  • Add tracking codes in your emails (done through services such as Constant Contact or your shopping cart) and take excellent notes of all the activities and outcomes of your holiday campaign to make it that much easier next year. Do this while it is fresh in your mind. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of each email’s response rate and effectiveness. Constant Contact and Marketer’s Choice saves all my old emails with these statistics so now all I have to do is go back to a similar one, copy and tweak it, then resend this year.

Creating a holiday email campaign requires some planning – so get started now! Expect to spend at least several hours designing your plan, crafting and testing each individual message. Once the holidays are in full swing, you’ll be glad you did!

7 Reasons Why You Want Images On Your Website

Website images are just as important as video on your website. Invest in some great photography to keep visitors on your site longer and coming back for more!

Think your website images aren’t as important as video? Although videos have become important elements in your websites, don’t let the popularity and lure of videos blind you to the enduring power of great photographs and well written captions.

Here are 7 reasons you want to include photos in your websites:

1) A dull, drab site doesn’t entice.

You’ll want to include images that will capture your visitors’ interest, illustrate your services, products and message and arouse them to take action: i.e., opting in to your list, buying your product, shopping at your store, etc. We’ve all become accustomed to visually stimulating websites, so you have to strive for visual excellence.

2) Video is a powerful tool but sometimes your visitor doesn’t have the time to watch it.

What I love about photographs is that a good one can tell a story in one shot. With a two sentence caption, it tells a story that can be consumed in la few seconds. Right after I roughed out this post, I had a comment come in on this photograph I had posted in Facebook.

“I love the fact…you love photography, like I do and in addition to that you are creative with the posts that accompany your photos.”

3) When you do include captions, you can put your tags and keywords in there as well for more SEO juice.

4) Another wonderful thing about photographs, images and illustrations on the web is that they are easy to use and don’t take up much bandwidth.

Photos should be optimized for web delivery so that they are served quickly, but this process is simpler and faster than optimizing videos. You have no browser viewing issues with photos like you do with video, i.e., iPhones and iPads can’t view Flash files.

5) Additionally, showcasing photos that capture you and your business in the best light go a long way toward establishing your brand.

6) Google knows people like to look at images and will reward you with a higher page rank for providing this kind of content.

Although computers don’t read pixels, they do read the image title so make sure you include your keywords and tags in the name of your images. I am surprised at how many people overlook this one simple Google-friendly way of getting more keywords onto their site.

7) Photographs are a great way to deliver links, which Google likes.

Add valid links to your photos whenever you can. Most people are used to images taking them places and will expect your image to link to more information. If they click and just your image opens up, they may get confused and frustrated. If you aren’t going to link this photo anywhere within your site or another site, make sure your image won’t be clickable to avoid a possible visitor frustration.

Have you come across some great use of images on a website you’d like to share? Or do you have a clever, enticing way you have included photographs on yours? Leave your comment below!

HDSLR Cameras VS Phone Cameras – What is the big deal?

Photography How To: Camera VS Phone – What Should You Use?

Last year we went on a vacation and brought along our Canon Eos Rebel DSLR. I was happily snapping away during a particularly spectacular sunset when I overheard someone behind me telling her friend, “Why do people want to bring those big hulking cameras on a vacation?” She was implying that I was a dinosaur for using a “real” camera instead of their cell phone camera, like everyone else around me.

That gave me a lot to stew about. I guess I’m still stewing.

I seriously got  into filmmaking and photography over 40 years ago, so I am pretty sure I have a little deeper perspective on the subject than she does, and I’ve spent some time thinking about this issue.

I’ll tell you why I think there is a time and place for a “real camera” and a cell phone camera.

Shortly after that vacation experience I uploaded my photos to my Facebook page and received all kinds of praise and positive comments about my sunset photos. I’m really enjoying using my Canon and posting photos to Facebook, Trip Advisor and various blogs and websites, and I always get great feedback on my photos.

To me, there’s just no comparison between the quality of a snapshot taken on a cell phone and a photo from an 18 megapixel dedicated camera with a high quality lens, coupled with the knowledge of how to creatively use exposure, depth of field and composition to create a professional image.

I also use the photos I take in my videos so I want the highest quality I can get.

Now I recognize the convenience of a the cell phone camera. I use mine all the time. So I get that.

But that lady apparently didn’t appreciate that there are tradeoffs when you take your photos on a device also shoots videos, plays games, checks email, surfs the web, sends and receives texts, is a GPS and, oh yes… is a phone. There’s a reason you don’t see professional photographers shooting weddings, ads, magazine covers, wildlife photos, sports, news, etc. with a cell phone.

In my opinion, I wouldn’t dream of taking a trip or hard earned vacation WITHOUT my HDSLR.

Here’s a quick comparison of the pros and cons of using a dedicated camera and a smartphone or pocket camera:

Pros Of Using An HDSLR Camera

Besides the fact that you can shoot beautiful, film-like video footage, there’s a lot to like about these types of cameras.

High Definition Single Lens Reflex (HDSLR) cameras are incredibly low priced for what you get. People are shooting feature movies with $2,000 HDSLR cameras that look like they were shot on Panavision film cameras costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This is partly because of the large image sensors these cameras have. Some have sensors equal to 35mm film, the same as professional movie cameras. Whether used to shoot still images or videos, these large sensors create very high resolution images with a wide dynamic range and lots of data that can be creatively manipulated in post production.

These large sensors also mean they are better in low light. Most come with a powerful built in flash. I use fill flash almost all the time, even when shooting outdoors. You can also add accessories to them such as an accessory flash.

HDSLRs offer control over shutter speed, aperture and film speed, the essential components photographers have been using creatively to create stunning images since the dawn of photography. You can choose from a wide range of high quality lenses for any situation. Most of these cameras are mini-computers with very sophisticated processing options that far eclipse what you can do with a cell phone.

All of the above points were referring to digital SLR cameras. I have friends who still love to shoot film and slides. I’ve shot tens of thousands of photos and slides myself. I love the look of film. Kodak stopped making my beloved Kodachrome and most photographers are going digital, but whether film or digital, a dedicated camera offers more creative control, hands-down.

Cons Of HDSLR Cameras

As I’ve shared, I use the camera on my iPhone A LOT. I especially like to use it when I don’t want to carry around a large camera. It is convenient, while an HDSLR is bulky and conspicuous. Carry a few lenses with you and you’ll need a gadget bag, lens cleaning brush, extra batteries, etc. That can be a pain.

You can’t upload your images directly to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram directly from it. All it does is take a photo or video. Because the photos are so large, you probably have to resize them before sharing on the internet, and you’ll need a computer to do that.

Worst of all, you can’t make a phone call or send a text from it.

Pros of Smart Phones & Pocket Cameras

See a UFO or Sasquatch? Use your cellphone, by all means.

Most everyone carries their cell phones with them, so you always have a camera handy. Because of this you may be able to capture that once-in-a-lifetime photo that you can’t get any other way. Definitely an advantage.

Also, you can email and upload your photos and videos and share them immediately. There’s a great deal of power and convenience in that, no argument.

Cons of Smart Phones & Pocket Cameras

As I’ve mentioned, they generally lack the creative control over depth of field and motion that you get with shutter speed and aperture, and the smaller sensors are less sensitive in low light. They also don’t have the onboard image processing power that the HDSLRs offer. Most do not have a flash or only have a weak flash, at best.

My suggestion if you’re serious about taking outstanding photos and getting those once-in-a-lifetime shots is to invest and carry both!

Recommended Resources

EOS Rebel T5 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm and 75-300mm Lenses Bundle – retails for $499 at B&H.

<EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera with 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM Lens – At $1,849 (with lens), this is a powerful, professional camera. It is one of the more popular cameras among filmmakers. If your budget can justify it, this is the one I’d get.

(As you can see, I’m a Canon fan. Nothing against any other brand, I’ve just worked with Canon equipment most of my career.)

The Glif iPhone Tripod Stand – At $10, a must-have, in my opinion, if you want to do serious video and photography with your iPhone.

So, I’m curious.

Any other “dinosaurs” out there who carry around an HDSLR?

 

You Should Use Photos in Your Videos – Here’s Why

Photos can’t be overlooked in producing your videos! Here’s why:

Sometimes that is all you have to work with.

Your video can be made up entirely of images – without you ever getting your video camera out and shooting a frame!

Ken Burns’ incredibly powerful film series, “The Civil War” is one that immediately comes to my mind. It was done so well and draws you in so completely that it doesn’t seem like it was composed almost entirely of still photographs. Can you think of others?

Sometimes you can’t get video footage of what you need.

Since it was impossible for Ken Burn’s to get footage from an era before the technology was invented, he had to make a choice. While he could have shot his series with re-enactors or through interviews with historians or a combination, he chose something entirely different that I feel actually worked so much better! Also shooting with re-enactors and lining up interviews, expense was probably a consideration.

There are many times you may need a video from a location that is too expensive to get to, or impossible to shoot, like Mars for example, where you can use a photo instead.

The key to using still images compellingly is to give them some motion otherwise it’s about exciting as watching your great uncle Charley’s slide show of his mushroom harvesting trip to the Catskills last summer.

A panning technique was used in the Civil War series. Along with haunting music, sound effects, i.e, the sounds of battle and wonderful dialog, that effect worked really well.

With Photoshop (or other similar programs), you can save images in different layers and animate each of those layers in your editing software. I see this a lot on the History channel. They’ll take an old painting, select out a person, animate it so that it gets larger in the screen while a separate person in the painting gets smaller.

Sometimes these effects can be done with photographs and it totally looks like a video. I did this once with a train track photo. The photo was taken looking over the tracks as they converged in the far distance. I converted it to black and white, then over the course of 10 seconds or so, I slowly enlarged the image. When I was done, it looked just like someone had shot film from the front of a train in the 1940’s.

When we shot our documentary, Patrick Smith’s Florida: A Sense of Place, on my dad, we relied on extensive use of historical photographs throughout the production, ala Ken Burn’s style. This film went on to win a Telly and a couple of film awards. I knew that just showing him on camera, a “talking head” if you will, would not be as powerful without the photos.

Prepare your photos before you import into your editing software.

Your photos don’t have to be more than 72 DPI but they should be a fairly large dimension  if you are going to pan around inside them. I usually have one dimension at is 2,000 pixels and that gives me plenty of room to pan and scan. Save as a PSD with all the layers if you plan on animating each layer separately.

Any photo you use should be in RGB color space, preferably a JPG or PNG. PNG’s carry alpha channels so if you want to maintain transparent areas in your photos, save them as a PNG.

If you’re using Final Cut Pro or Premiere to edit, images saved in CMYK and as TIFFs DO NOT WORK. Yes, you may be able to import TIFFS, but it will mess a lot of things up. Other editing systems may work the same way so to be on the safe side, always convert your images to JPGs or PNG. Nine times out of ten, when I’ve imported a photo and my editing system went crazy, it was because the photo was in CMYK mode.

You can turn your photos to video without having editing software.

There are some really cool programs available that allow you to turn your photos to video. One we use is Animoto. You can use it for free but the length of your video is limited to 30 seconds. For only $30/year you can upgrade and make longer ones. You can also incorporate videos with your photos in Animoto. Another option is Photodex’ ProShow product.

Use your video to make still frames.

What if you want to use photos but don’t have them? Use your video footage. You can pull still frames from your videos and use them as still photos. Sometimes it’s a good way to fix a shooting error (yes, those things happen even to the most professional.) but other reasons  include using it for a graphic, title, emphasis, or doing special effects.

In what ways do you like to turn photos to video? Please share below.

How To Make Your Book Cover Or DVD Stand Out

As I mentioned in my post on using photographs in your press releases, photographs are still very important today. Even with all the growth of online video and music, physical DVDs and CDs are still around and so is the need for the packaging art that comes with them.

One of our professionally designed DVD covers and discs

Videos are not the only way people are digesting information. There’s still the old-fashioned written word. You’re reading this aren’t you?

Photos can say so much, and you can’t put videos in books or on your CD or DVD covers.

If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you’ll notice that if we don’t have a video to share, we always include an image or two in our blog posts. Not only do they act as illustrations, statistics show that people will read and share your posts more when there are images. It may be the attraction to get you to read further.

The same is true with DVD, CD and book covers.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what we do. The title and copy on the DVD or book are very important but having a good strong cover image will grab a person’s attention. That, along with the title, are what draws me to pick up a video or book I’ve never seen before. Do you find that true for you?

HowToMakeMoneyWithVideoeBook

Here’s an example of one of our eBooks

In the digital world, you want to do the same with your digital video downloads and eBooks. We’ve done testing on the eReader books we publish and found that adding a nice cover photo increased our sales dramatically. You also want to always include an enticing description as well.

Adding images to the reports you sell or giveaway takes them to a more professional level and it isn’t hard or expensive to do. Many stock photography sites like Dreamstime have a large collection of free images you may use. If one of those doesn’t appeal to you, spending a few more dollars will get you what you are looking for.

We use Photoshop to add titles and copy to make our eBook and DVD covers. If you don’t have access to Photoshop, another good option to use is Pixlr.com which is an open source free downloadable software.

If you’re going to self-publish a printed book or DVD, I strongly recommend hiring professionals to design your cover. That is one area where investing in your image will truly set you apart from the rest.

3 Tips To Getting Your Press Release Photos Published

Your press release kit should include great photos. Last week I talked a bit about what you need in your photographs so you’ll increase the chances of getting your press release run. I advised that you want them to be well exposed and saved at a high resolution. While those are important considerations, what your images also need to be is powerful.

So beyond a nicely done head shot, what should you include in a PR photo that a magazine, newspaper or website will want to run?

A good photograph:

1) Needs to engage readers.

You want to have photographs that will stop the reader as they flip through the pages and grab their attention. Think about how you read the paper or engage in blog posts? The first thing to catch your eye is the image.

A good caption is also important. You want to include these with the photos you send; it make the editor’s job easier. When you do that, it increases the chances that your story will run.

2) Needs to elicit emotion.

One of the best ways to engage people is through emotion, and powerful photographs do just that. Remember, you are giving them a story, not an ad. Great photographs and images enhance and add to stories.

You want your images to have impact. Here’s a tip on how to add impact: move in close to your subject. Far away shots of people just don’t have the impact of a close-up. Try different angles and be aware of how light and shadows are playing on your subject. Use these as a painter uses color and shade in a painting. It is said that the “eyes are the window to the soul.” Pay attention to your subject’s eyes and try to use them to show emotion.

Every picture tells a story. For example, want to get a story published about your fishing DVD? Include photographs of people fishing and showing off their catch. Make your viewers feel they are right there. Or are you wanting exposure for your coaching seminars? Photograph the excitement of your participants and include those. Make sure you have them sign model releases.

3) Needs to be clear and descriptive.

The photograph also has to relate to your story and show clearly what message you want to get across. Although close-ups of adorable puppies will most likely illicit oohs and aahs and catch people’s attention (I mean, who doesn’t enjoy looking a cute pictures of puppies and kitties?), if you’re promoting a video on fishing lures or an educational film on farmers in the midwest, they don’t relate to that topic and won’t do you any good. However, they’d be perfect if you’re selling a video on house training your puppy!

First and foremost, be creative with the photographs you submit with your press release.

Don’t shoot people like mug shots. Turn them to the side or even have them looking back at you. Look for interesting backgrounds. Look at them from the perspective of an editor and reader, what would capture your eye?

Photos added to press releases should add to the story and be eye candy, so try to make them fun, interesting and informative for your readers. They’ll get more out of them and you’ll have more fun taking them.

Get Your Press Release Published – Here’s What You Need In a Photo

A press release is vital to getting PR and key to getting that exposure to work for you is giving the media access to great photos.

While using video in your marketing is a key way to get a lot of exposure, photography is still very important…especially for branding and public relations. I feel that there is so much emphasis on the need for video on websites that people overlook the power of good still images. Add a well written caption and a photo tells a story in a flat second.

I’m not saying video isn’t important, it is, but always be on the lookout for good still photos to support your messages and add to your press releases.

With the advent of the internet, you can now send out press releases digitally. However while you can now send out videos with your electronic press kits, newspapers and magazines can only print photographs so make sure you include good quality images with them as well.

They should be the best you can do, remember this is how the world and your customers will see you and your company so you’ll want to them to show your business in a good light.

Make sure they are well exposed and well lit. Also make it easy for the editor by giving them a nice range of different photos to choose from but only include your best. Be sure to write a descriptive caption, naming all the people in the photo if possible, and give the photographer credit. Editors will want these details and it will give your photos a better chance of being used.

The photographs for your press kit that will be printed need to be a higher resolution than the ones you use for the web. Typically you should save them at 300 DPI in CMYK mode in a .jpg, .eps or .pdf format.

In Chapter 38 of Shoot To Sell: Make Money Producing Special Interest Videos, we cover other forms of marketing and dig deeper into what you need in your press kit. You can find information on Chapter 38 here and access some great resources you can start using today.

Writing A Press Release That Won’t Turn Off The Media

Press releases aren’t just good for promoting big events in your business, they can be successfully used to promote your videos and products too! And when you get picked up in a publication, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the power of the press to bump up your sales. But when writing a press release, you have to do [Read more…]

Marketing 101: 3 Tips To Get You Started

One of the biggest challenges most people face in this industry is marketing. This is an area where many people either don’t know how to do well, don’t want to do it, or do it piecemeal without an overall plan for their marketing activities. Even if you hire someone to do your marketing, you have to take charge of this process! This is one big mistake I’ve seen a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs make in every industry, not just video publishing. They got into their business because of an expertise in one area (like a doctor or dentist), the desire to be their own boss or the hopes of making easy money (internet business anyone?), and don’t feel that marketing is what they need to be doing.

Wrong!

One of the most important roles in any small business or entrepreneurship is marketing! While it’s important for the owner to stay involved in marketing throughout the life of the business, it’s especially vital for the new video publisher to personally engage in marketing strategies when the business is starting out.

Why? No one knows your product better than you do! Most likely your budget will not allow hiring a marketing professional or expensive marketing firm to do it for you. Even if you do have that money to invest in a team, it’s still imperative that you understand marketing concepts, strategies and the language of marketing so that you can determine if their marketing efforts are worth what you are paying them.

One client who consulted with us had gone the route of hiring a marketing firm that was supposedly one of the best in the business. When our client’s sales dropped significantly, he became frustrated and turned to us. It only took a few minutes to look at his website and see some glaring marketing errors. The marketing company may have been good but they didn’t know this man’s type of business very well, which was selling products, in this case videos on demand (VOD), online.

With that said, here are 3 important steps to take to get started in marketing:

1) Get knowledgable.

It’s important to become familiar with what marketing is and is not. You have sales, advertising, public relations and marketing, but is there really a difference? Isn’t it all the same type of thing?

There is a difference and when you understand that difference it’s easier to understand what tasks and strategies you need and how it all relates. Good marketing is critical to the success of any business and understanding what it is will help your business get started on the right foot.

2) Get focused.

There is such a plethora of good information on marketing that it can be overwhelming and you can easily lose focus. Ask a handful of people what you should be doing, and you’ll get many different answers, such as: You MUST get into video marketing! You aren’t doing Pinterest? You HAVE to do that. Are you doing webinars? You need to start doing those NOW!

My advice to keeping the overwhelm at bay is to start with learning the basics of good marketing. Much of what you will see and hear pertains more to the tools and techniques you can use in your marketing, not the basics of marketing itself. If you jump too soon into some of these without understanding that distinction, you’ll probably become frustrated with the results and may end up spending money needlessly.

Get to know key concepts such as sales funnels, copywriting, direct mail, etc. Learn the difference between advertising and direct marketing – they are different! And by all means, start building a prospect list. You can find many great books on marketing basics on Amazon. Also one of the best programs I’ve found that has helped me is Jessica Swanson’s Shoestring Marketing Kit. Best part? It’s free!

It is easy to get tripped up and feel you need to get on board with ALL of the new tools and strategies available today or you’ll be left behind, but the basics of marketing will not change even though tools and strategies will. When you know the basics, you can then make focussed decisions on what tool and strategy will work best for your business.

3) Get a plan.

The essence of marketing is to understand your customers’ needs and develop a plan that meets those needs. It serves as a roadmap when it comes to your marketing strategies. A detailed marketing plan will show you what to do and help you understand why you are doing it. It will keep you on track. It will also help you see the potential marketing and business mistakes that will cost you money, time and future growth potential. When you are equipped with a marketing plan, you will feel more organized, have more confidence and enjoy a clearer vision when it comes to your marketing goals.

When starting out, keep it simple and include:

  • A short description of your product,
  • The marketing advantages and challenges you face,
  • Threats posed by your competitors and any outside forces that will affect your business in the future,
  • A description of your target audiences and markets. The profile should include demographics, including age, gender and any other important characteristics.
  • A list of your marketing goals for the coming year. Make your goals realistic and measurable so that you can easily evaluate your performance.
  • An overview of your marketing strategies and a list of each of the corresponding tactics you’ll do to execute them. Include all the actionable steps you plan to take for advertising, public relations, direct mail, trade shows and special promotions.
  • A schedule of these steps. You could do this on an online calendar but getting a large dry erase calendar you can put on your wall is a good tactic because it is always in your sight, reminding you that you have to stay on track.
  • A brief breakdown of the costs associated with each of your tactics. If you find the tactics you’ve selected are too costly, make revisions before you arrive at a final budget. A simple tool to do this is a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Spreadsheet.

You can adapt this plan as your business grows and your marketing programs evolve. Soon you’ll find it’s a simple tool you can’t afford to be without.

A marketing plan should be fluid and not set in stone. You have to make adjustments as the market changes and as new opportunities arise. Also plan at least six months in advance, a year would be even better. Once you have some experience you’ll be able to look a year out and plan based on previous experience.