Media 101: Objectives? Goals? Boring?

Goal Setting

Goal Setting (Photo credit: angietorres)

If you’re making a video, a web site, or any other kind of marketing campaign, you need a way to determine, at the end of the day, whether or not your marketing efforts (and the money you’ve put into them) have done what you wanted.

I’d say most small businesses don’t know how to do that, nor do they know how to set an objective.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, goals and objectives are different beings. Goals comprise a single overarching purpose: to inform, persuade, train, or entertain. Period. (more…)

Blogging 101 — Learn to blog

Thornbury Castle chimney detail: brick chimney...

Thornbury Castle chimney detail: brick chimneys built in 1514, in Thornbury, near Bristol, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think I’m going to offer creating blog topics as a sideline. Just to help people learn to blog.

As an objective observer (and web writer), I find it SO EASY to look at your business and determine what your customers will find helpful to read.

But I realize that when you’re busy working AT your business, you can’t always be objective. Also, you might have the idea that blogs are just TOO MUCH WORK. I think after one or two blogs, you’ll find this isn’t the case. (more…)

Web marketing is like a cocktail party

When you give a cocktail party, you make your home beautiful and offer refreshments. You engage your guests by making the evening about them — introducing them to other friends and finding out what’s new in their lives. Making them feel special, yes?

Cocktail parties that are all about the host quickly peter out. No one wants to listen to the host pontificate about his or her collection of martini glasses, ceramics, or beanie babies, and where each one came from. Your web site mission is not to be a bible or an encyclopedia of you. Your web site mission is to serve your customers, to help them find what they came to your web site to find.
(more…)

Does Apple care about social media anymore?

Apple logo

Apple logo

Every now and then I like to run my company’s URL through Marketing Grader, a service of HubSpot. More than just kicking the tires, this free analysis can tell you some of the strong (and weak) points of your web site and social media efforts.

And it’s pretty cool that you can also check the marketing chops of any company you like. A company like Apple. (more…)

"I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

English: Scan of the cover of a Tijuana bible ...

English: Scan of the cover of a Tijuana bible featuring Wimpy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Popeye and J. Wellington Wimpy in E. C. Segar'...

Popeye and J. Wellington Wimpy in E. C. Segar’s Thimble Theatre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

These words by J. Wellington Wimpy (a la Popeye cartoons) epitomize the worst of con artists and those looking to make an easy buck (or burger). I’m pretty sure Wimpy never paid anyone back for those burgers.

But suppose Wimpy had paid his investors back … Then, Wimpy’s words have significance to the honest and hardworking.

I was in a meeting the other day with a nonprofit organization that does good. They help people with serious emotional and physical issues lead more normal lives — get exercise, spend time around others who share their issues, and attend arts and other events. This organization brings in some money each year for operating expenses, yet fundraising is a constant struggle. I’m sure even buying office coffee is an issue at times. (more…)

Video 101: Who is your target audience?

English: Director of Photography Mark Schulze ...

English: Director of Photography Mark Schulze videotapes Revolution 20 at Belmont Park in San Diego. Photograph by Patty Mooney

For any message, you need a specific target audience in mind. Not multiple audiences. One cohesive audience. We writers and producers depend on a one audience to tell our story.

Your might think your audience is “the general public,”  but whose business or interest do you really want to attract? Is it your top funders? Decision makers? Homeowners? Single fathers? Physicians?

Define:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Geography (e.g., North Dakota? A region? The entire United States?)
  • Career e.g., do they all work for your company? Are they welders or engineers?)
  • Current knowledge of your topic (e.g., a little or a lot?)
  • Nationality (e.g., if it bears on your topic or requires language captioning)
  • Special needs (e.g., a video for a low-income veteran may require captioning for the deaf)
  • Socioeconomic status

Some seemingly disparate audiences are actually a single audience. A video about landscaping, if done well, can include clients who are very rich and not so rich.

A video about the importance of breast feeding also might well speak to all women in their child-bearing years, regardless of socio-economics, age, education, nationality, or career status. Or maybe not.

However, a video that tries to address both physicians and patients will fall on its face. Experts and non-experts each require information just for them. One audience, please.

I know you’re thinking, “What about commercials? Commercials have more than one audience! Not everyone buys the same products!” OK, point taken, but (with all due respect) it’s not a really great point.

Consider what commercials are selling: underarm deodorant, laundry detergent, cars and trucks, energy drinks, beer, and so forth. Good commercials try to draw in more customers. Same audience base: people who drive cars or who will drive cars one day.

Definition of a single audience: an audience who wants or needs the same specific information.

If you need a video for more than one audience, consider a “master” video with alternate versions. Alternate versions are a cost-effective way to make your video more flexible.

Yes, with alternate versions you will have to record a separate voiceover and perhaps other material, but that voiceover may not cost any more than the original alone, if you include it in your planning — another reason to hire a seasoned producer to help you manage your budget.

If all versions are produced at the same time, you can reach more audiences for less money than you might think. You’ll require some tweaking in the script and in the editing, if all versions are created at the same time, but that’s it.

BIG SECRET: Corporate producers and directors work very hard to spend LESS of your money. Yes, we want to be compensated fairly for our time. But good producers, writers, and directors have an aversion to spending money unnecessarily. It runs against our grain. We’re a thrifty lot by nature, AND we’d like to curry your favor for future projects. We have no interest in disappointing you or creating change orders. But we’ll do so if we have to.

SECOND BIG SECRET: Out of the three production phases: pre-production, production, and post-production, the most important is pre-production. We can only help you get your message right and save money in the first phase. Planning is everything.

Seventy-five percent of every production’s success is in its planning. Production (shooting) and post-production (editing) make up the remaining 25%.

In short, good producers, directors, and writers are like the proverbial Greek Chorus. We’ll warn you to navigate away from the shoals. But, AFTER pre-production, if a new current heads your boat for a big rock, we’re powerless to prevent the wreck.

We will, however, do everything we can to keep your project on track and within budget.

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