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June 15, 2021
As a Senior Director at Cox Business, John Muscarella is responsible for the overall readiness strategy for the indirect business sales channels. His team has the primary responsibility to develop, implement and sell solutions utilizing the Cox Communications network throughout the country. John has more than 25 years of experience in business management, which includes sales and leadership positions with companies such as Polycom, Sprint and EDS.
In the past few months, I have shared tactical advice on how to build an effective marketing machine for your business, even if your marketing department is just you. In this final installment of our series, I will talk about reaching your customers and prospects however they best receive information. Some of us like to read, others prefer video, and others prefer to listen to podcasts to stay informed.
It takes about six to eight touches to generate a lead. Mixing up the mediums that you employ to connect with prospects and customers ensures that you stay top of mind wherever and whenever they are getting their information.
Formats like video or podcasts can seem inaccessible and difficult to produce, but there is now a plethora of free tools and low-cost equipment that can make creating both of these easy for any SMB to leverage.
Before we talk about delivery, let’s talk about the message.
I’ll delve into the how-to of podcasts and videos in a moment, but first we need to start with the message. When building a plan, remember that often the best content is sharing or teaching, not pushing a particular product. In my last post, I wrote about knowing your audience, and that includes the topics and issues important to them.
Speak to skills and information you believe your audience will value. And leverage industry contacts who are willing to create joint content with you. That type of content is relatively fast to create, and most people are more than willing to build their personal or corporate brand while helping you build yours.
For example, if some of your business comes from work-from-home residential services, find someone in your network (leverage LinkedIn) who has a lot of great information on optimizing your work-from-home day, including the technology people can use to be most effective. Let them talk about what they know, give your audience something useful to implement, and build your brand in the process.
Building content doesn’t have to be overly burdensome. However, it does require some planning and, most important, consistency. Pick a drumbeat (weekly, monthly, etc.) that you can commit to for pushing out new content. Then stick to the schedule.
Video creation has become incredibly accessible with today’s technology. To record videos of just yourself, you can use your phone and a table or floor tripod to keep it steady. For interviews or conversations, you can jump on a Zoom or Webex and record the interview. When using a teleconference tool, however, make sure your internet connection is strong enough so there isn’t lag.
Native tools on your computer, like iMovie on Macs or Video Editor on Microsoft-based PCs, make it easy to edit videos. I recommend adding your logo in the corner of the video and at the end. Both tools are intuitive to use, and, with a little practice, a video can be “wrapped” with your branding and ready to go within a few minutes.
There are four cornerstones to a good video:
Hold the phone horizontally: This only applies if you are using your phone, but you never want to hold the phone vertically to record. It doesn’t fit any video format shape and you will end up with distracting black bars on either side of your video.
Good lighting: Make sure your light source is in front of your face, not behind you. You can use natural light or artificial light; inexpensive lights called a ring light or selfie ring light are great options. The light source should be a bit above the height of your head, not below. (I use a couple of stacks of books at home to get the desk light to the optimal height.)
Sound: A quiet room is always important, and I recommend getting an inexpensive microphone to help direct the sound. There are some that attach to a tripod. If you are using one, connect directly to the device you are using to record.
Length: Effective videos are brief. About 1 to 2 minutes in length is the goal. You can effectively focus on a specific topic or update within that time frame, or even have a customer do a video testimonial. A video interview with an industry expert can be up to about 5 minutes.
There is no hard-and-fast rule, but remember that people’s attention spans are short. The video can be just you, or, as we discussed above, it can be you talking with someone else who has something to say that your audience will value.
Podcasts are longer than videos, but make sure you keep them interesting and moving at a good pace to keep people engaged as they are driving, working out, or doing whatever they like to do when they listen to their favorite podcasts. Also, to keep people coming back, make sure you create consistent timing for when you’re going to do your next podcast.
Podcast recording follows many of the same steps as video recording. When you record a video from Zoom, you will receive an .m4a file that is sound only, along with the video file. You can also record from Skype. You can keep it simple and record a sound file on your phone, or use a native app like Garage Band on the Mac if simply recording yourself. Regardless of what app you use to record, always use that external microphone you purchased for your videos.
There are several free and low-cost podcast tools and players for hosting and sharing your podcast. When you’re getting started, worry less about syndicating your podcast. Just make it accessible to your targeted audience through your marketing channels. As you find your rhythm, tone and consistency, you may find you want to expand your reach.
Once you’ve figured out your message, consider experimenting with mediums for getting that message out. Often these alternate delivery methods end up being faster than simply writing articles; they can be engaging, and they can enable you to partner with peers and customers to lift all boats and build your brands together.
We value our Cox partners, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help you grow. Reach out anytime at [email protected].
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
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