A SIGN OF THE TIMES
We created a list of five core fundamentals to organize, create, and execute a content plan for YouTube and social media platforms in the face of today's pressures on business.
- CLEAN YOUR CONTACTS
- INVENTORY WHAT WORKS
- MAKE A PUBLISHING CALENDAR
- BATCH PRODUCE AT LEAST TWO VIDEOS & ONE PODCAST MONTHLY
- OFFER VALUE: PROVIDE TIERED ACCESS
Corporate teams and nonprofits are grappling with the new realities of life in this era of social distancing. Most are taking a hard look at their publishing and event plans looking ahead to 2021. Companies that formerly relied on in-person sales efforts, high touch event activities, and networking in order to create persuasive environments are running out of options as new realities sink in.
We are not going back to normal anytime soon.
Where does this leave leaders who are already strapped for time, dealing with children at home more often, and reeling from new pressures and dwindling financial reserves? Our research at MediaTech Direct suggests a five point fundamentals framework to take action and win.
We've created a corresponding service line that is simple and straightforward to empower teams with the tools they need — not only to survive business model disruptions, but to thrive while building evergreen online libraries of valuable content and brand engagement.
Your activities on YouTube, email, text, and social media will directly impact engagement — and thereby your bottom line.
FUNDAMENTAL #1: CLEAN YOUR CONTACTS
Not what you expected? We all tend to see more clearly and get more done when we have clean contacts. This also applies to brand-building and stakeholder engagement.
Your contact list is your most valuable asset other than your team and intellectual property.
Shockingly, many organizations use a scattershot, if not downright unorganized approach to contact list management. You may have a CRM or marketing software, but when was the last time you truly used it to reach specific groups of people with targeted messaging and value? Don't worry, we're ALL guilty of letting these efforts fall through the cracks.
Here are key contact cleaning activities we find consistently lacking with organizations large and small:
You need to categorize your contacts (people) into groups. Think of these groups in terms of seats in a stadium. Your closest and most valuable contacts, let's call:
- A List: Box Seats / A-List
- B List: Front Row 50 Yard Line
- C List: First Class Seats
- D List: Economy Seats
- F You List: Nosebleeds/Who Cares
- Do you send holiday cards and gifts?
- Offer your box seats to the game?
- Enjoy a boat trip or meal outing together?
What do you spend each year on average for each person in each group? When you determine the average $$ per person in each group, if guides decision-making about your budget. Remember, your time spent engaging with your network is often more costly than spending money.
FUNDAMENTAL #2: INVENTORY WHAT WORKS
To predict the future, it's often helpful to examine your past. What videos get the best feedback on your YouTube channel? Who is engaging on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn? What email campaigns have been most effective? Which messages from you have garnered high open rates and click through rates (CTR). Write down what emails, videos, print materials, and mailings have worked best in previous years. These questions may seem daunting to answer, especially if your organization isn't in the habit of producing measurable media, but we have found the teams who know the clear answers to these questions perform at far higher rates of success.
We suggest scheduling a communications review session twice each month in a bi-weekly rhythm. Here you will make some decisions about the upcoming year and determine how will you shift efforts to remote or virtual engagement.
How do those shifts and new videos impact your budget? What types of content align with your brand values and expertise? For example, an organization that is heavy on training and technical expertise may choose to provide a free Q&A online session once a month — making a top executive available for questions. USRetina, a client and leading medical association, improved their member satisfaction ratings by 27% by implementing an "open door" session twice a month. They used GoToMeeting to facilitate and employed a three-email protocol to promote these to all 1200 members.
All of these efforts may seem daunting. That's why we offer expert project management support, meaning: You have a dedicated personal trainer for your brand to hold team members accountable for executing agreed-upon initiatives.
FUNDAMENTAL #3: PUBLISHING CALENDAR
Number three is extremely vital for organizational clarity and accountability for all contributors. When moving fast to adapt to the new environment, having a sequential calendar of events is crucial. Know when to publish, who is responsible for the subject matter, and where the content will be published. All of this can be listed at minimum on a spreadsheet and should be viewable (shared via link) to everyone contributing content. Every two weeks, we host a Content Meeting — looking back at the performance metrics for the prior work period and looking ahead to the next two-week period.
We find that even the highest-performing organizations can get hung up maintaining a content calendar — because it often falls by the wayside due to other more urgent pressures. To mitigate this risk, our data suggests a senior level executive should take personal responsibility for the publishing calendar. This statistically makes all the difference. If this responsibility is passed off to an employee or subordinate, adherence to the plan drops by 48 percent.
FUNDAMENTAL #4: VIDEO-FIRST CONTENT GENERATION
We recommend taking a "video first" approach to publishing. Most senior subject matter experts in organizations, given the right environment and circumstances, can speak eloquently about whatever topic they choose. The key is to hone in on where your key content contributors are most comfortable. Is a back porch interview most effective? Is the person more comfortable recording themselves alone in front of an iPhone, or do they prefer help by being interviewed over the phone or via Zoom? Does removing the pressure of a camera in their face improve their energy and ability to communicate with passion? If so, a podcast format may be ideal.
The primary objective is efficient, creative, and consistent content that's impressive. We do not suggest hosting live events online for the first month or two of your publishing calendar. Instead, focus on primary topics required to answer the questions: Who are you? Why are you different? And why should the world care?
We have an exhaustive Brand Launch Checklist — available as a helpful guide for the primary discussions each organization should have with their audience.
Whatever recording format you select, our experts have tips and tricks to most efficiently and comfortably capture the information, transcribe, edit, and publish according to your brand preferences and publishing calendar.
It's all about what works. Consistency and creativity over time equal results.
We must not fall into the trap of believing our own hype. Traction requires multiple touches, frequent valuable interactions, and a patience that is derived from confidence that you are providing your audience with helpful information, access, and inspiration.
Production days for video and podcasts have been refined and simplified many times over the years. Our teams have worked with a lawyers, doctors, educators, inventors, celebrities, and nonprofits. It's vital to integrate with your workflow and tap into your talents and expertise. Put forward your most knowledgeable, attractive, and engaging content contributors. This may be your CEO, this may be a secretary, this may be a board member.
Whoever you identify, reach out to them to request participation. Set a "content quota" that you mutually agree upon and get them calendared!
What gets measured gets accomplished.
An example content quota for a primary content contributor could include:
- One blog article each quarter
- One podcast interview each quarter
- One video per month
- Two social media features
- One appearance on an online Q&A or networking call
Engaging a TEAM of content contributors spreads the load and makes it easier to share the burden of content creation. Note: the executive in charge of the organization's content calendar should be the point person to interface with each contributor about upcoming deadlines.
If a piece of content is scheduled to be published on a certain date, we suggest it be completed seven business days prior to publishing so the creative team can format and prepare the content for publishing.
FUNDAMENTAL #5: OFFER VALUE IN TIERS
Finally, brands must offer value in accessible tears. Organizations often make the mistake of setting their products and services at unrealistically high barriers of entry.
You want people to "say yes" to something every time you reach out to them.
These are some examples of micro-interactions where your audience has the opportunity to "say yes." They open your email and click. They share a post with someone. They comment. They Purchase or Donate. It's that simple. When consumers receive your content, begin tuning out, disregarding your communications or declining to be involved, you have a problem. This often means you've set the bar of engagement too high or required them to expend too much effort to get onboard with your program. It's just human nature in a hectic world.
Perhaps an entrepreneurship organization teams up with a local university and offers a $20 six-week course. That offer has HUGE perceived value for the price. Brendon Burchard calls it: the Funnel Ladder.
Perhaps you offer a free Q&A call to your entire network — giving some sort of social value. Perhaps an interview with a famous or influential friend of yours, perhaps a knowledgeable investment insider, perhaps a free chance to ask questions or simply share time with you one on one. However this looks to your organization, don't skip the free or low-cost stuff.
When you reach out and offer opportunities to a person via email — offer that recipient immediate perceived value or products at greatly discounted rates (exclusive friends and family pricing). This creates brand loyalty and your contacts will reward you with long term engagement, reciprocity, and advocacy.
Ask yourself: what can we offer for a low monthly fee and sweep as many people into our program as possible?
For example, an education nonprofit might offer $20 gift cards for kids (sponsored by donor funds) for students to access an exclusive video series on resilience and champion mentality. 500 gift cards can be printed within a week from Moo.com and distributed to each of your "class A" contacts.
The second tier could be a $200 one-time offering with personal coaching. A third tier could be a full-scholarship program. Remember, brands that offer access and perceived value win!
YouTube is a perfect medium to offer value because certain videos and playlists can be published yet remain unlisted. Specific groups of your contacts can be sent links that are unaccessible to the broader public. Most CRM services include a content paywall feature where your audience must sign in or pay for access.
GETTING YOUTUBE & TIKTOK CONTENT PRODUCED
We suggest a three-step "BATCHED" Production Plan to create great videos efficiently each month.
- Plan ahead: pre record your thoughts in a conversational tone with stories and examples using voice transcription tools like otter. Bring these transcripts and content to your regularly-schedule "Content Planning" day.
- Schedule two dates each month (45 minute Content Planning meeting) the week before a video production date.
- Schedule one video production date each monthly. For example, this can be a three hour production session on your back porch, in an outdoor location, at a video studio, or around your dining room table.
Videos can be recorded in the following ways:
- On a platform like Zoom
- Using iPhones, a tripod and a ring light
- Fully produced interview or explainer video protocol (with on-location production team or in-studio.
There are significant advantages to hiring help through MediaTech Direct to coordinate these efforts via FaceTime or in person so we can troubleshoot and walk you through any issue that may arise in real time.
Teleprompter apps transform most smartphones and tablets into studio-quality prompters —allowing you to copy and paste your pre recorded notes and transcripts directly into the app. It takes some practice and planning to get comfortable, but the advantage of at-home production: you can take as much time as you need in the privacy of your home to get it right.
NERVOUS ABOUT LIGHTING & AUDIO? DON'T WORRY
The fundamentals are simple. Hire an expert from MediaTech Direct unless the DIY tips below don't make you comfortable:
LIGHTING — Use soft ambient lighting (facing a window) or use an LED or ring light.
AUDIO — Make sure the camera is within four feet of your face to capture quality audio.
Framing — Simply ensure that your eyes are in the top third of the screen composition.
TAKING ACTION ON THIS PLAN
If these five fundamentals appeal to you or you would like to discuss taking action on cleaning your contacts, evaluating your current media and taking inventory of what has been effective, creating a publishing calendar and an accountability plan, producing batched videos once a month with corresponding editing services, or advisor support to help productize your services — we are available.
Simply purchase one of the service options at this link to begin. For a limited time, if you choose our complete plan with monthly coaching and media production for 6 months, we'll wave our one-time $1400 setup fee to establish your animated intros, video outros, sound design for podcasts, and branding for your YouTube and TikTok channels
Get started engaging your audience on YouTube, podcasts, and social media.