You have to crawl before you can walk.
After crawling through websites, tutorials and audio books on content marketing, it’s time to take my first baby steps. I think I know enough and I’m ready to go!
The wonderful thing about content marketing is that it’s for everyone. Anyone can do it! Well, what I really mean is that anyone can start to do it. The challenge of content marketing really lies in whether or not you’re ready to go the distance. With content marketing you need an end goal, a perspective. But you have to understand that this end goal is over the horizon and you might not have it in clear sight for a long time. Content marketing is a journey across an ocean filled with wind and waves, but if you have a compass – a strategy – then you will go in the right direction.
Taking the first step in content marketing
When I wrote my first ever blog post, I quoted Lao Tzu: ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.’ I quoted him referring to my journey of finding out what content marketing is and how to use it in business. Now I’m taking my first step in content marketing with my first video blog or ‘vlog’ on YouTube.
Set a goal
There is no point spending so much time and effort posting videos unless there is a goal. Each video should be an objective which guides viewers to that end goal. In order to grow an audience, it’s vital to post videos regularly and consistently. If you post your first video on a Wednesday, try to post all future videos on Wednesdays. Your audience will learn that Wednesday is the day to check out your channel; that’s what I’m doing. And don’t skip a week! Imagine you sink deep into your sofa with a bowl of warm popcorn and turn on the TV only to find out your favourite TV show isn’t being aired that night without any explanation as to why. That’s right – be consistent.
Stay on track
As well as regularity and consistency, the content of each video also has to be relevant for your audience and your end goal. If it’s not directing your audience towards your end goal, it’s a wasted effort and might even frustrate your audiences’ expectations. You know what it’s like talking to your grandma when she wanders off topic to explain something completely off the point and of no value to anybody, even herself. Just stick to the point and your audience will stick with you.
I fell down after my first step
After making my first video, I was rather disheartened by the lack of comments, likes and subscriptions. I received some useful feedback by colleagues and friends which is going to improve the way I make future videos. Here are a few things I learnt:
In my first video the subtitles were plain white and hard to read when clashing with white furniture in the background. The subtitles were up for just a few seconds and then disappeared. I improved this by making the outline of each letter black and giving the subtitles a few extra seconds on the screen. The text now requires very little effort to follow.
Loud and clear audio
In my first video the sound of my voice was too quiet on full volume. This caused me to sound unclear and lacking in confidence. I used the laptop microphone. I improved this by using my smartphone . Now the sound is louder and clearer. There is still background acoustics, and a microphone could be an idea for the future.
Video and lighting
I recorded my first video using my laptop webcam, at night. Both wrong. I used my smartphone which gave much better quality to the picture and colours. I recorded myself during the day, taking advantage of natural daylight. My face was much more vibrant and appealing.
I started off well, looking at the little lens on my laptop, but then kept staring at the screen as I spoke. This gave the impression of uncertainty, and lack of confidence. After watching myself, I have learned the power of eye contact and now I look at the lens over 80% of the time. Talking to your audience makes it personal.
My first video was depressing. It was slow and boring; I couldn’t even watch it to the end. If I can’t watch it, why should you? Using the same script but being upbeat changed the game. It was suddenly relatively interesting and eye catching. A smile and a nod from time to time keeps your audience engaged. Dips and rises in intonation also keep your viewers on the edge of their seats and leaves their ears itching for more.
Practice makes perfect
If your earlier videos are better than your latest one, you’re doing something wrong. Each video should be better than the last. Your audience are very demanding you need to meet their ever increasing expectations.