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.

Storyboarding

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.

Equipment

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.

Talent

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.

Scripts

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.

Audio

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.

Editing Software

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.

Have Fun!

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/

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.

Use Visuals

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.

Use Analogies

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/

Résumé

I am a passionate, energetic, and influential marketing executive with ability to take responsibility for corporate brand management and marketing communications.  I have a “can do” attitude with a strategic vision, promote attractive and sticky ideas, and successfully measure campaign performance and success.  I am a self-starter and straight-shooter with exceptional instincts and work well with teams.

Please view my résumé at: kcossin.strikingly.com

 

3 Very Cool Mobile Apps You’re Not Using

by: Kenneth Cossin

 

With over 775,000 apps in the Apple App Store and more than 800,000 in Google Play  Store, it’s always nice to get quick tips and reviews of apps that are worth downloading.  Well, you’re in luck!  There are three apps that you can download today for free that are not only useful but also that you will enjoy using.

TV Show Tracker

There is an app called TV Show Tracker, created by Pixel Perfect Widgets, that allows you to track all of your favorite TV shows.  Simply add your shows to the app, and it will remind you before your show airs.  Therefore, you don’t have to miss that new episode.

Snip Snap

SnipSnap, is a mobile social couponing app that allows you to quickly find, snip, and save coupons for almost any store.  No more forgetting your coupons at home or searching for them in the newspapers or flyers.  SnipSnap allows you to take photos with your smartphone of any coupon, and it will decipher it for you.  You can also find coupons that others have already snipped and save them for your use.  And the pièce de résistance, SnipSnap notifies you a couple of days before the coupon expires!

Paper Karma

Junk mail plagues us all, right?  Well, there is an app that allows you to take photos of your junk mail, add your address, and PaperKarma, created by Readibl, inc., will stop that junk mail from cluttering your mailbox.  PaperKarma does all the work by contacting the company that mailed it and get your name removed from the distribution lost.  You can also request a status of your request to stop junk mail to see if it was successful.

In summary, you can have fun and be productive with your smartphone.  Enjoy!

Image credit: emergingtech.tbr.edu

Top 3 Social Media Outlets

by: Kenneth Cossin

What three social media outlets do you use most?  This question is answered differently for each person, but I believe that there are three that will come out on top.  They are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Google+ runs a distant 4th.

by spinsucks.com

In the world of marketing, the three aforementioned social media outlets are heavily used today.  Facebook is ingrained in our everyday lives, Twitter is a great way for business to reach and connect with other like-minded companies, and LinkedIn provides an avenue for individuals to share their personal knowledge with companies and to get discovered.  Therefore, these three social media tools provide the most exposure with minimal effort.

Just a few years ago, this list of social media outlets was different, and in the future, I am sure it will change again.  Maybe Google+ will move up in the rankings if Google can make their product more intuitive and user-friendly.  Other social media outlets, such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit may have potential, but they do not offer what these three top social media outlets do.  It will be interesting to see where social media takes us in the near future.

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:

Example Mind Map

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.

2. Ideas

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.

3. Color

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!

4. Represent

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.

5. Senses

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.

6. Linearity

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.

7. Brainstorming

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?

8. Planning

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!

9. Studying

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.

10. Memorization

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!

12. Vision

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.

13. Clarity

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.

14. Language

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!

The Right-Brained Revolution

by: Kenneth Cossin

Bring in the Industrial Revolution to the word, argued to have begun in the 17th or the 18th Centuries.  Loosely defined, the Industrial Revolution was a time when manual labor was being transformed into mechanically performed labor thus allowing easier production of goods.

Right Brain Function

Fast-forward to the 21st Century, and we begin to see the growth of, what I call, the “Right-brained Revolution.”  For all intents and purposes, the Right-brained Revolution (a.k.a. The Creative Mind) began with the advent of computer technology in the 1960s and 1970s.

Allow me to take a step back for a moment.  You may be asking yourself, “What about the left-brained individuals?”  I’m getting there!

Psychologists and counselors have developed many tools for us to determine which we use more, our right brain or our left brain.  One very interesting study is simply based upon answering a series of questions and then categorizing the answers into colors.  This test is called The Personality Color Types.

Gold and orange personalities dominate today’s world, and green and blue are very uncommon.  At this point I suggest you read about The Personality Color Types before continuing reading.

With the advent of the Industrial Age, we were forced to focus our minds on the qualities of gold and orange personalities.  Green and blue personalities did not serve as important of a purpose during this time.  I even believe that the gold and orange personalities played an integral part in the transformation of our world.

As we move into this new Era that I am calling The Right Brained Revolution, I am noticing that green and blue personalities are emerging as leaders.  “How can a creative mind be a leader?” you may ask.

It all comes down to the simplicity of creating complex projects.  Think about how easy it is to create whatever your mind can dream of on our computers simply by using the tools we have on our computers.  Crafting designs, creating music, developing Web sites, drawing, painting, creating games… these are all readily accessible to the right-brained, blue and green thinkers.

Thus, why I foresee a new Era called “The Right-brained Revolution” on the world’s horizon.

11 Tips for a Great Video Résumé

by: Kenneth Cossin

For almost any employer, creating a video résumé is not the end-all be-all for applying for a job. But a video résumé can be a great way to showcase your portfolio of talents. Here are a few tips in creating this supplemental visual that can really make you stand out from the crowd.

  1. Maintain the length of your video from one to three minutes; much longer and you will have lost your chances.
  2. Dress appropriately for the camera.
  3. Use an eye-pleasing backdrop if you do not have access to a green screen.
  4. Make your background appropriate for the job that you are applying for. For example, a mountain landscape would be great for a Forest Ranger, but obviously not for a Public Relations Director.
  5. Be aware of ambient sound, especially outdoors. The audio should be your voice, that is, no airplanes flying overhead.
  6. Have a script prepared and practice it!
  7. Be sure to include not only voice-on-camera but also voice-over work while demonstrating your portfolio.
  8. Use both close-ups and mid-shots. What about long shots? – Not so much… This one is common sense.
  9. Have several friends and trusted working professionals look at your video before finalizing your post production.
  10. Hand out your video résumé during the interview if possible. Be mindful of the employer; some may wish to view it after you have left.
  11. Have fun! Enjoy the creation process. If you are stressed or “stiff” on camera, you will be perceived in that fashion by the viewer.
Below is a great example of a video résumé.  How do you think it could be better based on the 11 points I mentioned above?

5 Useful Tips on Developing Social Media Conversations with Your Customers

by: Kenneth Cossin

As marketers, we have heard so much about how social media allows us to rapidly build our brand, get the word out regarding our products and services, target different demographics, and optimize consumer engagement. Yet we need to take social marketing to the next level.

Thus, I pose the question: Is your company simply using social media channels to create an online marketing presence, or is it creating social media conversations with your customers?

For example, as a professor at Full Sail University, my students are my customers. I use many different social media channels to get each student to “buy into” my courses. I develop student engagement, but then I also intentionally develop a professional relationship with each individual student. By doing so, each student gains a sense of personal investment in my courses.

Here are my five tips for creating social media conversations with your customers:

1. Your attention, please! Gaining our customer’s attention is pretty simple for us marketers. It is something that we have been doing since before the days of social media. Thus, continue to bring attention to your brand and develop your brand story through your social media channels.

2. Get your customers to opt in. Remember, everyone loves a good story. Therefore, the better your brand tells your business story, the more customers you will get to opt in. Once you have an engaged consumer, it is imperative that you learn what attracted him/her to your business. Traditional marketing methods of gathering metrics on your customers remain important. And with social media, you can discover why a customer is choosing you.

3. Determine your customers’ individuality. Find unique ways to get your customers to tell you how they found you. What about your customers makes them choose you? How are you fulfilling their unique wants and needs? What incentives do you provide to keep your customers engaged?

4. Focus on conversation. Typically, businesses will ask customers a series of questions through the use of impersonal surveys, questionnaires, or cold calls. At this point, many marketers usually stop. With social media, you cannot stop here. You must follow through and build a personal conversation by leveraging social media in new and unique ways. So what are we to do?

5. Develop interaction. Through the use of social media interaction, periodically make intentional contact with your customers. Remember to treat your customer as you would a good friend. We do things for our friends because we care about them; thus, demonstrate to your customers who connect with you through social media that you care about them. Communicate with them. Give them the service they deserve: prompt responses, incentives, and other cool offers. You will receive in return the continued trust and loyalty you need and desire to grow your business.

Reposted via permission of Social Media Marketing Magazine dated 11 January 2011.