Are You Maximizing The Use Of Video In Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Originally posted on Forbes May 16, 2017

Are You Maximizing The Use Of Video In Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Adam Wagner
Chief strategy officer and partner at Raindrop.

We believe in the power of human connections and helping our clients build relationships.

Did you know that more video content is uploaded to the internet in a single month than network television has produced in three decades?

The world of content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) might be complex and constantly evolving, but one thing is certain: Video continues to be a big driver of traffic. How can you use video to strengthen your content marketing strategy and SEO?


Leverage The World’s Second Largest Search Engine: YouTube

YouTube is not simply a website; it is a search engine. YouTube’s user-friendliness, combined with the soaring popularity of video content, has made it the second largest search engine behind Google. With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube’s search volume is larger than that of Bing, Yahoo, AOL and combined. If YouTube’s user base were a country, it would be the third largest in the world.

Since Google owns YouTube, video content hosted on YouTube ranks well on Google. One of the best ways to capture search traffic from YouTube is to create videos around topics people are searching for or talking about, from viral phenomena to commonly asked questions.

Drive Social Engagement

In addition to platforms such as YouTube, social networks are increasingly promoting more video content. You have likely noticed that your Facebook newsfeed is dominated by video content from friends, paid advertisers and the brands you follow. Consumers are hungry for engaging video content. It is critical that your business is creating content that users will want to view and share.

Make sure your video has subtitles if you are sharing on Facebook. Users are very likely to be scrolling in an environment where they don’t want sound but may still want to watch your video. Don’t miss that opportunity to engage with them.

Showcase Video On Your Website

Video is a great way to quickly and easily explain your business’ unique value proposition and showcase your company culture. Explainer and introduction videos are really strong tools for your homepage or a “how it works” section on your website. Don’t assume that people want to read through your services or scroll through a bunch of products. Make it easier for them with video.

Email, Email, Email!

Yes, email marketing still works. You must always be providing value. Email is a terrific way to stay top-of-mind and in front of consumers because it goes directly to them. Also, consumers on your email list have likely opted-in at some point, so it is a warm audience that is ready to hear from you.

There are tools that allow you to embed video directly into email campaigns, but video can be just as effective in email if you simply tease the video in the email and push users to your website. Those who are interested will click through. The key to successful email marketing is to create content that provides value.

What Type of Content Should Your Business be Creating?

You are probably now wondering, “Okay, I know where my video content should live, but what content should I be producing?” Here are a few ideas for types of impactful video content:

Answer common questions. This is a great tactic for SEO since searchers often search in question format. Think of the most common questions you get from potential customers and those are the same questions they are Googling.
Make engaging, funny videos. Humans love to laugh and have short attention spans. Create content that speaks to both characteristics!
Show how your brand works in behind-the-scenes videos. People want to know how your brand works and what makes you great.
Review products or services. Share your expertise with the world by providing reviews on products/services related to your industry.
Create tutorials or explanation videos. The internet is a wealth of knowledge and consumers are using it to research and learn. Capture some of this opportunity by creating relevant tutorials or tips videos for your audience.
Go live on social media platforms, such as Facebook Live. Social platforms are always looking for ways to generate engagement and what better way than live video and interactions? Facebook and other networks are really pushing their live offerings and placing priority on these in their ranking algorithms. Take advantage of the extra traffic potential while it lasts. Be thoughtful with your content. Viewers may not want to watch you playing video games, but streaming your upcoming panel discussion, an inside look at the new office or anything that consumers may find interesting/relevant can drive real engagement in social.
Hold webinars or presentations. Consumers are hungry for knowledge and love hearing from industry experts. Give them what they want.
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Quality Is In The Content

One of the concerns clients have about creating video content is that the production quality will reflect poorly on their brand. Luckily, a content marketing plan should consist of a variety of video content and not all has to be national TV spot quality. As internet video is being consumed in record volume daily, production is becoming more affordable. The quality that people really care about is the content itself — are you providing them with a video that is helpful, useful, enlightening, applicable, entertaining or amusing? Achieve any combination of these qualities and you can expect success with your video marketing.

Video can change the face of your content strategy and bring you closer to your audience. Make sure as you are planning out your next marketing roadmap that video has a prominent place in your content marketing strategy in order to capitalize on the benefits of YouTube, social networks and general consumer interest in video.



Marketing Calendar 2017

New Year – January 1 Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed) Valentine’s Day – February 14 President’s Day – February 20
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 April Fools – April 1 Easter – April 16 Earth Day – April 22
Mother’s Day – May 14 Memorial Day – May 29 Flag Day – June 14 Father’s Day – June 18
Independence Day – July 4 National Night Out – August 1 Labor Day – September 4 Columbus Day – October 9
Halloween – October 31 Veteran’s Day – November 11 Thanksgiving – November 23 Christmas Day – December 25

6 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns And Boost Sales Online

Originally Posted on Forbes May 10, 2017

6 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns And Boost Sales Online

[caption photocredit="Image Credit: Leatherology, Mealpal, Postmates"]

Gabriel Shaoolian , CONTRIBUTOR
I critique digital marketing.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Mealpal, Leatherology, and Postmates, exemplify the effectiveness of email marketing.[/caption]

We all get emails. Far too many emails. As a decision-maker at Blue Fountain Media, a digital marketing agency, I get far too many emails myself. I am bombarded by them. But perhaps what is more aggravating than the sheer volume of email I receive, is how poorly many of these emails are done.

Each email in a user’s inbox only gets a split-second of attention. Everything from how the email starts off to how it’s formatted has a big impact on whether I’m going to give it another three seconds of my attention or not.

Our agency does email marketing for many of our clients. We use certain best practices to get some pretty darn impressive results. These practices are quite straightforward, and not complex, but they represent simple ways to help your business improve your email marketing. Let me share what those rules are.
1. Know your audience

Know who your audience is and make sure to send them messages that are relevant to them. One of the worst mistakes you can make with your email marketing is to simply blast every subscriber on your list with the same message.

As I’m writing this I just received an email from my health clinic promoting a female wellness program. It’s obvious that the content in this email is not relevant to me or my health needs, and yet, it ended up in my inbox. Using list segmentation to send the right message to the right audience is critical to success with email marketing. You can be sure that the email I just received from my health provider is not going to do much to improve my relationship with that business because I know they don’t care about who I am and what my specific needs are. Not to mention that when you’re dealing with serious topics like health-related information, blasting the same content to all your users can have some pretty bad results.

List segmentation is simple to do. I suggest working with an email marketing platform, like Marketo, to make sure your email campaigns are segmented to reach the right audiences.

2. Keep it short

In the early days of email marketing it was common to get email newsletters that had two or three columns packed with content rendered in small text. Even though they’re less common now, those types of emails still get sent with surprising frequency. When you receive one you’re immediately overwhelmed by the amount of content to take in. Your eye has no idea where to focus.

People want to read one main message. They don’t want to look at a spreadsheet, a table of contents, or an entire article contained within an email. Keep your emails simple by writing messages that are clear and concise. If users are interested in what you’ve presented, they’ll go to your website to read more. Don’t try to cram too much information into your email. The truth is that simple messages are the ones that people react to.

One big reason to keep your email messages short and to the point is that most emails are read on mobile. There’s no way around it — the emails your business sends will be read on mobile devices. Decision-makers especially are busy people. They’re reading emails on their way to and from a meeting, or when they’re in transit because when they are at their desktop, they’re using that time to get work done, not to sift through their inboxes.

So be sure to keep emails short and concise. Get to the point. And remember that four sentences in an email on mobile looks like a novel. Keep that in mind when determining how much content to include.

3. Cut out the fluff

How many of you get emails that begin with “Hello Sir, Good day to you?” Or my personal favorite, “I’m sorry to be bothering you.” Or, even better, “I know you’re busy, but…”

Not only are these opening lines stiff and awkward, but they’re also a huge waste of valuable real estate. The opening of your email has to immediately capture the user’s attention and make him or her feel compelled to read further. Your opening needs to grab the user by speaking to his needs. All of us, especially the decision-makers a lot of email marketing campaigns target, are pressed for time and we aren’t going to read past the first sentence of an email if we don’t see clear value in doing so.

If you have value to offer to your customer or prospect, get straight to the point and tell them exactly what you can do for them. Your email marketing is about what you can do for your customer or prospect. So make sure they don’t miss the point because they got lost in the pleasantries. Cut the fluff and get straight to presenting a clear, compelling message that speaks to a user’s needs or desires.

4. Make it personal

Along with the fluffiness factor, there’s another strong reason not to begin your emails with “Dear Sir” or “Dear Mrs.” or “Dear Customer.” Those aren’t personal introductions and in email marketing, it pays to be personal. Email intros that begin with “Dear Sir” sound generic and are a signal to users that the email content is probably not very tailored to them.

If you’re sending out a letter, put the person’s name in the introduction. If you’re sending out more image-driven emails that won’t have an introduction, you can still personalize the email with the user’s name in the subject line. Both of these things are easily done in most email platforms with minimal effort. Personal introductions show users that you care, and they’re likely to be more effective at capturing user attention than generic introductions are.

5. Have a Call-to-Action

Of course your email needs to have a call-to-action (CTA). Otherwise, how will your users know what they’re expected to do? The trick is to have one single CTA in your email directing users what to do next. Multiples CTAs in one email risks confusing the user and making them less likely to click altogether. The job of the email marketer is to make the user’s life as easy as possible, so provide one clear CTA that leads to a landing page that matches the expectations you have created for users.

6. Make it easy to read

One of the most important components of email marketing is to make sure your emails are easy and enjoyable to read. Don’t make users squint or strain their eyes to see your content. Use large, readable fonts that can be easily seen on desktop and mobile. For text-heavy emails, always use black text on a white background — that’s the most readable combination. Not white text on a black background, or white text on a neon blue background. If you’re serious about your business, make your emails professional and easy to read.

How frustrating is it to open an email on your mobile device and have to pinch and scroll back and forth vertically in order to read the content? Pretty frustrating. Frustrating enough, in fact, that you might abandon the email and never return. That’s why, from a mobile perspective, it’s a good idea to use a stacked layout, which presents content in a vertical alignment that works better on narrow screens. This will ensure maximum readability on mobile devices.

Leveraging Email Marketing To Drive Sales

Take note of these best practices. Designing an email that is clean, simple, and focuses on one clear message takes less time than it does to design one that’s crammed with extraneous content. Simple, straightforward emails are also more effective. Save your creative flourishes for your oil painting hobby. When it comes to email marketing, err on the side of simplicity.

For nearly all companies within the B2B and B2C world, if you have something of value to say, get to the point, say it simply, and make follow-up action clear and easy to accomplish.

Marketing Calendar 2017

New Year – January 1 Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed) Valentine’s Day – February 14 President’s Day – February 20
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 April Fools – April 1 Easter – April 16 Earth Day – April 22
Mother’s Day – May 14 Memorial Day – May 29 Flag Day – June 14 Father’s Day – June 18
Independence Day – July 4 National Night Out – August 1 Labor Day – September 4 Columbus Day – October 9
Halloween – October 31 Veteran’s Day – November 11 Thanksgiving – November 23 Christmas Day – December 25

The Fatal LinkedIn Mistake 90% Of Job-Seekers Make

Published by Liz Ryan, Forbes May 7, 2017

The Fatal LinkedIn Mistake 90% Of Job-Seekers Make


Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


The fatal LinkedIn branding mistake almost every job-seeker makes is to hedge their bets.

They brand themselves too broadly. The result is that the job-seeker’s description is so vague or task-oriented that we cannot tell what they want to do or what they’re especially good at.

They try to cover too much ground!

Listing all the things you know how to do only makes you sound desperate for any kind of job at all.



Your personal brand cannot be desperate, or your brand will not help you. It will hurt you, in fact.

What hiring manager would have confidence in your ability to walk into their department and make a difference when your branding says you aren’t sure what you do professionally?

When your LinkedIn profile says “Multi-skilled Business Professional” you have already eliminated most of your potential audience.


They’re not looking for a Multi-Skilled Business Professional.

Who in history ever was?

Hiring managers have pain in specific areas.

When you have pain in your body, it’s specific, too. Nobody says “I have pain!”

They have a back ache, a tooth ache or a pain in their knee. You can’t brand yourself to appeal to everybody — that’s not how branding works!

Good personal branding is more specific than any of these overly general self-descriptors:

Diverse background in aerospace, consumer products and legal services (who cares what you did already, unless you want to do it again? Tell us what you intend to do, and why you’re qualified for it!)
Skilled at Marketing, Sales, Operations and Customer Support (what does this even mean? No one who has dug into any of these functions in depth would continue to describe themselves as skilled at all four!)
Trainer/Instructor/Instructional Designer/Training Specialist (tell us what you are dying to do most of all. Commit! The world will reward your belief in yourself)
Open to Any HR VP, Director, Manager or Coordinator Position (you cannot call yourself an executive but also mention that you’re open to junior-level positions. Nobody looks at the same candidates for high-level and lower-level jobs. Decide what you’re best at and use Indeed to learn where the job openings are, and brand yourself right there!)
What’s a better branding approach? Choose the sweet spot at the place where your experience, your talents and employers’ pain intersect.

You’ll find that sweet spot by thinking about and writing down your favorite activities and favorite past roles, as well as things you love to do and are good at outside of work. Then, you’ll check out job ads to learn which positions companies are looking for.

Many people are confused about their career direction. That’s okay. You can leave your overly-broad branding on LinkedIn until you figure out what you want to be when you grow up — at least for this job search!

Read LinkedIn profiles to spot job titles, job descriptions and specific responsibilities that sound like a fit for you. Now, brand yourself for the jobs you really want — not every job you’re qualified for:

Freelance Travel Writer and Editor
Sales Manager for Pharma/Neutraceuticals
Office Manager/Bookkeeper Seeking Overbooked CEO to Support
Startup Marketing Manager with Press Contacts
Your LinkedIn branding is important because it tells the world how you see yourself.

Everyone else will see you the same way the minute you stand in your power and tell us “Here I am!”

Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.

Marketing Calendar 2017

New Year – January 1 Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed) Valentine’s Day – February 14 President’s Day – February 20
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 April Fools – April 1 Easter – April 16 Earth Day – April 22
Mother’s Day – May 14 Memorial Day – May 29 Flag Day – June 14 Father’s Day – June 18
Independence Day – July 4 National Night Out – August 1 Labor Day – September 4 Columbus Day – October 9
Halloween – October 31 Veteran’s Day – November 11 Thanksgiving – November 23 Christmas Day – December 25

How To Give Negative Feedback In A Positive Way

How To Give Negative Feedback In A Positive Way – April 14, 2017

Feedback can be a powerful tool. Of course, positive feedback can make you feel like king of the world. “Your report looks great.” “You are exceeding the expectations of your team.” “You’re an effective leader.”

But negative feedback can set you back, make you depressed and rattle your confidence. “Why can’t your numbers look like Joe’s?” “Why are you always late with your report?” “You really need to manage that customer better.”

Get the picture?

Today, instead of talking about negative feedback, Promotional Consultant Today is focusing on “constructive feedback” —identifying and promoting change in behaviors that detract from high performance with these tips from published author and business executive, John Reh.

1. Be calm. When giving constructive feedback to improve an individual’s behavior, you want to be calm in your approach. If it’s an emotional issue, let your emotions subside before addressing the person, even if it means waiting a day before providing the feedback.

2. Never deliver negative feedback in front of team members. Being respectful to the individual is very important if your goal is to improve behavior and build confidence. Find a private place, like your office or a private conference room, to have the discussion and make sure the setting is professional and business focused. For example, a loud public setting like a Starbucks is not the best option. And do not address anything in front of colleagues or discuss it with colleagues. Keep the discussion private.

3. Focus on the observed behavior, not the person. As Reh points out, the purpose of constructive feedback is to eliminate behaviors that detract from high performance. If the individual perceives he or she is being attacked personally, the person will quickly turn defensive and the opportunity for a meaningful discussion will be lost. It’s important to not make it about the person’s character but about the action itself.

4. Be specific. In order for someone to change behavior, you have to be very specific about what change needs to take place and why it needs to change. Explain the impact to the business. Simply stating that “You need to do better” or “You screwed up” is certainly not effective.

5. Be timely. According to Reh, the best time to give constructive feedback is as soon as the action has taken place so that it’s fresh in that person’s mind. Also, you can focus on something tangible that the person can change right away. Feedback of all types should be given as soon as possible after the event.

6. Reaffirm your faith in the person. Most important, remind the person why they are on your team. Reinforce the good qualities that they bring to the table and why you have faith in their abilities. End on a positive know and give them the confidence and energy they need to make a change.

Feedback is a key component to growing as an individual. View constructive feedback as a positive action that can help someone, and be compassionate in your approach.

Source: John Reh is a senior business executive whose broad management experience encompasses managing projects up to $125 million and business units including up to 200-plus people. A published author, most recently as a contributing author to Business: The Ultimate Resource, Reh has set aside time throughout his career to mentor newer managers, often women and minorities, in the art and science of management-a skill that can be taught and learned.

Repost from PPAI Publications April 14, 2017



Marketing Calendar 2017

New Year – January 1 Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed) Valentine’s Day – February 14 President’s Day – February 20
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 April Fools – April 1 Easter – April 16 Earth Day – April 22
Mother’s Day – May 14 Memorial Day – May 29 Flag Day – June 14 Father’s Day – June 18
Independence Day – July 4 National Night Out – August 1 Labor Day – September 4 Columbus Day – October 9
Halloween – October 31 Veteran’s Day – November 11 Thanksgiving – November 23 Christmas Day – December 25