Check out some of my most recent curated content in Cossin’s Corner Deux!
7 Tips to Creating Great Video to Increase Your Audience
by: Kenneth Cossin
With how easy it is today to create video, we, as bloggers, need to think of how to leverage video content to increase traffic to our site. I will give you some video tips that are easy and inexpensive enough for anyone to use to get started with video content for their blog.
Why make a video?
- You can cram a lot of content and information into a short 5-10 minute video than you can into paragraphs of words.
- When used effectively, you can build an audience and gain returning visitors through visual content.
- Video helps to build trust with your audience. They see and hear what you are talking about, therefore they understand better the message you are trying to convey.
Types of Videos
Below are five types of videos that work well with blogs. They can be applied to almost any subject.
- Teasers – These are short 30-90 second videos that show your viewers a product or service. They are much like a TV commercial.
- Leadership – Demonstrate your authority on a subject. You can provide useful and unique information from your perspective.
- Interviews – Open dialogues about a subject related to your blog. These videos can be fancy and shot in a studio or simple Internet conversations recorded with Skype or another video conferencing tool. Check out these five video interviewing tips.
- Demos/Training – These videos show step-by-step how to do something or provide an overview of how something works.
- Storytelling – A narrative related to subject matter associated with your blog.
Starting off with a storyboard is very important whenever you set out to do a video. It does not need to be fancy, have awesome drawings or graphics, or have details that everyone would understand. It is a tool to help YOU plan out how the video will go from how the camera shots and angles will be set up to where the person or object on camera will be placed in the frame.
Start off with some basic tools such as a simple video camera with an on-board microphone and 3-point lighting. There is no need to invest in expensive equipment. Find things around your house that will suffice. For example, locate a lamp that will light up a large area. Fill in the shadow areas with other lamps of varying intensity to minimize shadows. Be sure to strategically set them up to be flattering on the subject. When recording a video over the Internet, you can usually get away with only one light source and the built-in audio and video capabilities.
Whether you are doing an interview or having someone be your talent on camera, you always want to have a specific thought in mind. Therefore, you can clearly convey to your talent why you are choosing them and what you want them to do or talk about.
Assemble a detailed verbatim script of what the person or people will say on camera. Also, have your talent practice the script to avoid bloopers and other mistakes. Your goal is to always capture on camera exactly what you want for your final product so that you minimize the amount of work you have in post-production. In essence, the more work you do in pre-production, the less work you will have in post-production.
Avoid recording outdoors at all costs unless your audio will be replaced with other audio. You do not want to ask your talent to return to your location to do voiceover work for inaudible parts. Also, test your audio to see if the recording volumes are set correctly.
It is very easy to edit your videos using iMovie for Mac or Movie Maker for PC. These software packages are inexpensive and have a small learning curve. They will allow you to cut out any undesirable parts and insert a leader, royalty-free music, images, graphics, cuts, or information.
My last tip is to simply enjoy the process. No matter what type of video you create for your blog, you can make it a fun process with these simple tips above.
If you are ready to start your video adventure take a look at these tips on how to optimize your Youtube channel and how to optimize your videos.
Republished with permission from Marko Saric of How to Make My Blog. Original post: http://www.howtomakemyblog.com/video/creating-great-video/
- 3 Point Lighting (amandaviolet.wordpress.com)
- Lighting for Video (theonlineartera.wordpress.com)
- Tips & Gadgets for Great Online Video Marketing (getresponse.com)
- How Can I Make Quality Videos and Short Films on a Budget? (lifehacker.com)
- 4 Technical Video Marketing Skills for Young Professionals (business2community.com)
- THE Guide to Making A Kickass Video To Demo Your Awesome Product (nextbigwhat.com)
- My first video project (tanschulze.wordpress.com)
6 Ways To Increase Your Social Value
by: Kenneth Cossin
Building social value or clout requires a lot of time and effort. Therefore, planning out your journey to success can be daunting. I offer you six tips to get started. Be diligent in your effort; that is, set aside scheduled time for these tasks to be successful.
Connect with industry experts
A great way to start out is to discover what parts of an industry you are interested in. For example, if you are passionate about internet marketing, you may want to connect with blogging, social media, Analytics, SEO, or mobile experts. You can follow people in your specific niche or choose to follow people in all of these internet marketing categories.
A great way to gain valuable information for your blog and your followers is to do some interviews with them. Ask industry experts if they would be willing to give you an hour of their time for an interview. Give them details regarding your topic of interest and a list of interview questions. Therefore, you both will be prepared. You may have to ask a hundred people before you get one “yes,” but be persistent.
If you are going to publish these interviews on your blog, be sure to get permission and a signed release to use their likeness and record them. Having interviews for your blog readers to watch is always a great way to build your audience.
Write guest blog posts
Why not share the love? Be willing to write guest posts for popular blogs that have a great following. You can get your name out to others that read your guest posts while building your trust and authority. Also, be willing to let others guest blog on your blog. Doing so will help them build their trust and authority while you gain the mutual benefit of their knowledge.
Understand that in life, you are always going to be learning. So, why not seek out new knowledge? You will be surprised at the new things that you can learn each day if you take just a few moments to read and listen to the people around you. Be sure to make an extra point of applying the new knowledge and ideas regarding your industry.
Go to industry events
Most of us know that going to industry events provides a great networking opportunity. In addition to listening closely to the great presentations at these events, be sure to walk around and introduce yourself in the halls to everyone. Don’t be surprised if the most unlikely person you talk to winds up being the person that helps you out the most!
Monitor your brand
This goes without saying, no matter what social media platforms you choose to be part of, monitoring your brand, your tweets, your posts on Facebook, regularly updating your LinkedIn profile, and so on is imperative. Anything that detracts from the message you are trying to give people is extraneous. Therefore, get rid of it. Also, know that even the nicest people still judge. Be sure that what you put out there is what you would want them to judge you on.
These tips are just the beginning of your quest to finding social value. As you learn and practice, you will find that some things work better than others for you. Use what you know and what works best for you. Be open to new ideas and suggestions no matter how seasoned of an expert you are, and remember to stay inquisitive.
Republished with permission from Marko Saric of How to Make My Blog. Original post: http://www.howtomakemyblog.com/social-media-2/social-value/
photo credit: NewToWallpapers.com
Communicating through Color
by: Kenneth Cossin
Using color effectively in all kinds of imagery is a great tool to enhance your non-verbal or written communication. Businesses, entertainers, marketers, the media, and so on use these to gain our attention and to convey their message quickly without us even knowing it. Color that is used in a familiar context can be quite effective at building brand identity by creating a comfortable environment for the customer. Thus, getting across a message to prospective consumers is much easier. So, how does this all work?
Let us start off by taking a look at the common meanings for different colors. These meanings are very typical for western culture and may vary based on the culture to which you are visually communicating.
Red – strength, power, love, energy, danger
Orange – creativity, enthusiasm, determination, happiness
Yellow – Sunshine, cheer, happiness, yield, caution
Green – harmony, health, nature, safety
Blue – trust, loyalty, intelligence, wisdom
Purple – royalty, power, wealth
Black – Formal, elegant, power
White – Purity, innocence, cleanliness
Variations of these colors as well as combinations of them have an effect on how you perceive the message. In addition, colors that complement one another, when used effectively, can combine the communication effects of color.
When using color, you must always think of the context in which you are using it. For example, if you are selling your home and you have decided to give it a fresh coat of paint, it is best to look to neutral and earth-tone colors. These colors convey a message of wealth and richness. Bright, flashy colors, such as pastels, do not typically sell houses. There are exceptions in the tropical and subtropical climates, but as with every example, there are cases in which it will not fully apply.
Let us take another example. Let’s say that you are furnishing your new baby’s room. You would want to go with bright colors and entertaining themes. These bright colors stimulate a child’s mind and positively affect his or her happiness. According to some expert sources, some colors can affect your baby’s mood, behavior, and even feeling of well-being.
In marketing, companies will use color in their logos and in their messaging to influence buyer decisions. They use color in their logos, designs, and ads to influence buying decisions. The intent is to change your mood or your feelings toward their brand so that you will make a purchase. Take a look around you next time you are in the store. Identify what colors attract you, and think about how they make you feel. You will be surprised by how much thought is given to color.
One of the best color coordinators is nature. When seeking complimentary colors, look at the natural world, your environment. As you will notice, the colors that we see are not exact or standard hues. In addition, colors are typically a gradation of color, that is, things are not monochrome. Therefore, you need to closely inspect the color combinations in order to ensure a natural complement.
Another awesome effect that occurs in nature is the ever-chaging color of our environment based on lighting and seasons. Take advantage of these variations when choosing colors that communicate. Remember that much of our communication is non-verbal, therefore, use these color choices in your clothing and accessories.
Depending on your age range, your choices of color will typically change. For example, children will gravitate to reds, yellows, and oranges whereas adults will gravitate to greens, blues, and purples.
As we get older, social acceptance for color preferences changes which may strongly influence our color choices. Therefore, if we are given the societal message that, “blue is for boys,” grown men are not going to say that their favorite color is pink. Even women see the color pink as a color for young girls and, therefore, shy away from this color.
Popular Color Usage
It is fun to learn what colors are used most in marketing. The type of product being sold can strongly influence the color choices. For example, red is the most common color for beverage logos with blue running a close second and purple being the least common.
Next time you are designing something, think about the color choices that you make and why you are making them. Use nature to inspire color combinations to help you effectively communicate your message.
image credit: freecolorsource.com
6 Great Storytelling Tips For Bloggers
by: Kenneth Cossin
Coming up with topic ideas for your blog can be very frustrating at times. Below, I offer some great storytelling tips to help get your content ideas flowing. If you need more blog ideas, check out this list of 31 types of ideas you can post.
Stories usually tell about a journey, whether it is a personal passage, a conflict, or a challenge. Along this journey, we hope that the hero will transform into a better version of himself. As bloggers we need to capture and translate these same concepts into our blogging to better engage our readers. Here’s what you can do:
Gather Your Raw Materials
Keep a journal of your topics and decide on what categories they fall into whether you are providing tips, tricks, creative ideas, suggestions, or opinions. For example, think about how we categorize films into genres of comedy, drama, thriller, and so on. The categorization process is the same.
Outline your ideas and jot down key words as they come to you. As a rule of thumb, make sure that you can express your ideas in about 800 words or less.
Break Down Your Story into Segments
Create a compelling introduction that grabs your reader’s attention within the first 2-3 sentences. If your reader is not continuing on with your entry after the first few seconds, he will quickly move on to another one. Touch on your key points clearly and concisely. That is, be detailed but brief. While this statement is rather vague, try spicing your reading up with a sprinkling of adjectives – not too many or you’ll lose your reader in the details.
Give your reader a sense of conclusion, a sense of closure. Therefore, briefly summarize your points at the end.
Relate the concepts you are trying to present to something that people use or do every day. Use photos, videos, and podcasts to help visually draw in your reader. While videos and podcasts take a lot of time in terms of planning, coordinating, setting up, recording, and post-production, there are many simple tools that you can use as an individual to accomplish this goal.
Telling stories often incorporates complex ideas. Therefore, it is always a good idea if you can relate an everyday task to what you are explaining. Also, you will want to make sure that your analogy relates directly and translates easily to the complex idea. For example, if you are showing someone how to play a grand piano, you may wish to equate it to playing darts or some other simpler task that still requires a keen sense of accuracy.
Leave out the Sub-plots
Note that there is no time for sub-plots to your blog entries. Sub-plots detract from the overall story that you are trying to tell. Be sure to remain brief and to the point.
Build to an Epic Conclusion
What is your reader getting from reading your blog post? Is it knowledge, ideas, solutions, answers to questions… Or is it simply them wishing they got those 10 minutes back in their life? Make your reader feel like it was worth their while to spend time with your post. Make it dazzle them; make it epic.
In summary, your blog posts should always be something that you are proud of. Bring creativity and excitement to your work through storytelling.
Republished with permission from Marko Saric of How to Make My Blog. Original post: http://www.howtomakemyblog.com/writing/storytelling-tips/
Combining Creative and Technical Knowledge
by: Kenneth Cossin
I was thinking about the truly great people that I know or have known in my lifetime. What makes them stand out in my mind? What makes them special? What makes them interesting? Why do I wish to emulate them? There is one common thread that each possesses — it is the unique ability to merge creativity with an analytical mind.
Let’s take a quick look at technical thinking. In most cases, technical thinking involves some sort of predictable outcome. When there are many possible answers, we draw on past experiences to structure how we think. We create a logical flow in our minds, focus on the answers or what outcome we want to achieve, then seek the safest route to achieve our objective.
Looking at creative thinking, we see that there is a less ordered or focused approach. Typically we think with our emotions, daydream, and even brainstorm ideas. We are inspired by our creative thinking to do things that are unexpected and unpredictable. It is very important to realize that we also demonstrate an attitude through our creative thinking, therefore, we need to focus on portraying a positive attitude.
People that can truly connect with both ways of thinking will typically find that they have richer lives. They often employ the ideas featured in my post on “The Right-Brained Revolution” to solve everyday questions. I find these individuals fascinating and quite wise, thus why I wish to emulate them.
Each of us has the ability to be both creative and analytical. It depends on what we choose to exercise most. I would love to challenge everyone to do both. You just may be surprised by the results!
Great Idea to Help Build Your Blog Followers
We all love deals and incentives, and we especially love things that are free, right? So, why not apply this simple concept to our blogs?
We write blog posts and create great content to our blogs in hopes that our readers will gain knowledge and insight from our hard work. It is not easy coming up with new content, and many times when we start creating the content, we really aren’t sure how it will be recieved by our audience.
By putting forth a deal or incentive to have new followers or to keep your current followers, you can always create a deal or incentive, such as a contest, to entice audience members that land on your blog to not only read what you write but to sign up to follow your blog.
Thus, for all the new members that sign up for MY blog within the next five days of my post, I will enter your name into a random drawing to receive some Full Sail University swag! Please follow the rules within the following form to enter.
14 Ideas to Creating a Mind Map
by: Kenneth Cossin
For all the great thinkers in the world, we need a way to put into pictures the great ideas that our minds imagine. Thus, the purpose of mind mapping. Allow me to take a step back for a moment.
When we have ideas, we need to find a way to effectively convey, through words, the thoughts we have. If we think about verbal and written language, we are quite limited. But when we think about drawing or painting our thoughts, our minds wildly express our senses, emotions, and concepts.
Here is a list of 14 ideas I have regarding mind mapping:
1. Graphical Representation
Begin by drawing an image that represents your brain. Be creative, because everyone views their own brain differently. This picture will typically be something that demonstrates how you think. We have two trains of thought – analytical and creative. The left brain handles analytical thinking, and the right brain handles creative thinking.
Draw lines out from either side of the picture of your brain to single words. This process will allow you to analyze your thoughts, comprehend your feelings, and both synthesize and generate new ideas. Be sure to determine whether the thoughts are analytical or creative, therefore, you put them on the correct side of the brain.
Our brain does not think in black and white like the words on this blog post. We think in colors. Therefore, choose colors that represent certain feelings and emotions to you. Color theory is an actual area of study, therefore, use the colors that mean something to you!
Be sure that you are being true to your brain. Be honest with yourself regarding how your brain thinks. For example, if you find that you’re just not the artistic type of person, then focus on drawing the left side first. Create the right side as your creative mind kicks in.
Think about all five senses that we have: touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. Certain senses are evoked when we encounter a physical or mental obstacle. Imagine how you are going to overcome the obstacle by using these senses.
By creating a mind map, understand that we are breaking or changing any linear thinking that we have. For example, if you think that A leads to B, you may find out that you are wrong. The problem is more complex than that. Maybe A leads to J that leads to X that leads to B. Not all solutions to a problem are solved with linear thinking.
After beginning your mind map, you will find that you start thinking more about the solution to a problem than the actual problem itself. Why, isn’t the solution to the problem what we ultimately wish to find? For example, think back to a time that you encountered a problem and became obsessed with the problem. Were you really thinking about an ultimate solution?
Mind mapping helps you with planning out a solution to a problem. Therefore, for all the analytical individuals reading this blog post, know that mind mapping is not just an exercise in futility. It is an opportunity for you to find real and concise solutions to your problems!
Since I work for education, I am an advocate for individuals to continually educate themselves. Therefore, mind mapping is fluid; it is dynamic. Therefore, we, as students of society, can continue to “study” the world around us and modify our actions and behaviors based upon predicted outcomes.
I admit, I am not a person to memorize anything! If you were to ask me to recite the alphabet, I would have to recall the song that goes along with the letters. Mind mapping helps us with remembering what we need to do with respect to the big picture. If, as a CEO of a company, you forget the big picture, you may be potentially creating the ultimate reality that you have been trying to avoid.
11. Re-imagining Creativity
Here is where I reach out to all the right-brained individuals. By creating a mind map, you can continue to change and modify your creative mind. In addition, you can build upon previous creative thought. Thus, the ultimate in creating new creations!
Remember, as I mentioned earlier, that color theory is actually a field of study. But remember that not all colors represent the same thing to you as the five senses of the next person. For example, the color green may represent serenity and clam to me. But the color green may represent anxiety in someone else. Therefore, pick the colors that YOU find most representative of your feelings.
Everyone loves clarity of thought. Therefore, use the colors and words that best clarity your thought projections. When developing a mind map, you never want to compromise the clarity of your thoughts especially when conveying those thoughts back to yourself.
Lastly, do not limit yourself to the English language. Just because you only know English does not mean that your mind does not think beyond the language that you speak.
In conclusion, I challenge you to create a mind map that incorporates both your analytical and creative thoughts into one image. Remember that this image is your own. It is YOUR mind map. It is for your benefit. Therefore, allow yourself to explore whatever “language” you wish. As a reminder, do not forget that you want to create a graphical image of how your brain thinks. As needed, make changes to your mind map and explore each and every creative and technical thought that you have.
Happy Mind Mapping!
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