Saturday, 31 January 2015

Best Ways to See What’s Trending On Youtube

Checking out what is trending on YouTube is one of the most reliable ways of establishing what content is going to be popular. Most gurus and experienced users of the site will recommend looking at that data before deciding on the next video you will be making – or at least when to release it, as many topics can ebb and flow with regularity, and come in and out of vogue.

Some of the best content I have seen on the web, especially in the humor category, have come to my attention through trending lists. Seeing what is popular will connect you with what the world is watching, so you can be a part of it.

But how do you find these trending videos? What is the best way to regularly monitor the changes? There are a couple of ways to keep up.

YouTube Trends Dashboard

YouTube Trends Dashboard

This is probably the easiest way to find out what is hot right now on the site. It allows you to browse trending videos, search by demographics like age, gender and region, and compare videos to see how they differ in popularity, demographic and range. You can even see the most shared versus the most viewed, to better target your results. Any time you are planning a new video, or if you just want inspiration on a topic to cover, YouTube Trends Dashboard should be your first stop. It is a very fast and simple way of getting the data you need to make an informed decision on content.

YouTube Trends

YouTube Trends

A helpful blog that looks at the big trends rather than the small ones, you can find a lot about the more sustainable viral content that stick around for more than a couple of days. It has a map section that shows what is trending in what region at any given moment, as well. So while the blog itself is dealing with longer term trends, you can see data including the shorter lived ones, as well.

Google Trends

It isn’t just about videos, but about all trending topics on the web. Good Trends offers a Top Charts section that breaks everything down into categories of what is hot. So you can see what is likely to catch attention on YouTube, just as it does on the web at large. This is so much better than the old Google Trends format, which was harder to read and not nearly as informative or user friendly.

YouTube Cloud

YouTube Cloud
It is always nice seeing the basic topic of a video without having to scroll for the description. This site offers a basic look with text in various sizes. The bigger the text, the more popular the video it represents. Clicking on the text will take you to the video itself so you can watch it. You can generate your own cloud based on criteria like the most viewed videos, currently trending and most popular.

Then specify the date, region and category if you choose. The best part is you can view anything through little pop ups on the page, so no having to go back and forth or open new windows/tabs.

Any one of the tools above can help you out, but I would suggest using them all. You might also want to start subscribing to popular channels where content trends on a regular basis. YouTube stars will often have their fingers on the pulse of the web, and that site in particular. Seeing what they are putting out and even commenting on/adding to their favorites can tell you a lot about what is being seen around the web. Or what will be popular in the near future.

Do you know of any tools out there that will show what is trending on YouTube? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to leave a link! We are always looking for more tools to add to our kit.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Looking for the Perfect Brand Story? Let It Find You


Marketing firms these days tend to gush about storytelling as if it had just been invented. The standard thinking is that if the word “storytelling” is thrown into a pitch, would-be clients will begin salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs. The fact that some clients actually do start salivating at the word doesn’t help matters, as it just encourages continued usage of the storytelling term as a catch-all for our creative magic wands.

As content creators, freed from the time bounds of the 30-second spot, we of course want to tell great stories ­­-- but the question of how to arrive at greatness is often veiled in mystery, or thrown into a PowerPoint surrounded by brand language designed to obfuscate. After all, if someone really had a formula for creating great stories, they’d be rich.

It turns out there are formulas, and yes, many people who use them are rich as hell. Just take a drive around Brentwood, California, to see what I mean.
One formula they and others have used very effectively is letting the story find you.

Consider this example: Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer-prize winning historian, set out to write the definitive biography of Abraham Lincoln. As her research progressed, a new story idea came to her, one that was far more interesting: the bitter battle for the presidential nomination, and Lincoln’s politically brilliant decision to hand-pick his fiercest rivals to join his cabinet. All of this set against the backdrop of the civil war, which could only have been won with the help of the extraordinary men who had recently ridiculed him in public. This became her remarkable book "Team of Rivals."

Steven Spielberg’s "JAWS" helped create the summer blockbuster genre. Based on Peter Benchley’s bestseller, "JAWS" certainly had all the makings of a great story. But lots of best-selling books flop when they get on screen. How did Spielberg create a hit? He started out with the notion that he had to bring this monster shark to life. So he had a huge mechanical shark made. The problem was that the damned thing didn’t work very well and kept breaking down.

Just as Goodwin let a new story come to her, Spielberg embraced a new direction. If he couldn’t make the shark a visible terror, he’d play to our imaginations with an unseen terror. The famous first scene in the movie with the swimmer being eaten is notable because we never once see the shark. Pass the popcorn.

Documentary filmmakers are skilled at this craft. They know what they’re going after, but they understand they are not in full control, nor do they want to be.

Many clients today may insist on seeing the complete story in script form before signing off on an idea (or a big budget item). I think they are better off signing off on a process. This process entails allowing the creative team to dive into the research, develop the overall framework and point of view for the campaign, and get started with execution. But they must also remain constantly vigilant for the story that’s trying to find them.

The story is like a living thing -- elusive and brilliantly beautiful. If you’re lucky, and you keep your eyes wide open, it will come into view.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Secret Recipe for Applying Content to Each Stage of the Buying Cycle


You know you need to create content.

Your client wants leads, right?
But how do you determine what type of content needs to be created. Should you focus on blog content, whitepapers, ebooks, or case studies? What is the frame of mind of the person who is interested in each piece of content?

To determine this, you need to map each piece of content to a stage in the customer's buying cycle. Here are four important things to consider when getting started:

Don’t Skip Strategy

You’re going to be tempted to jump right into blogging, landing page creation, and even content creation. Don’t do it. Don’t create a set of personas and think you’re ready for content either. Content that drives leads requires a much deeper strategic conversation with your client. You need to understand the messaging, points of differentiation, buyer journey of customers, and more. Tell your clients straight up that you can’t or better yet won’t start working on content until the strategy is established and approved.

Create an Inventory of Questions

If you want to understand the challenges of your client’s prospects through the buyer journey, the best way to do this is to collect a set of questions prospects ask your client on a regular basis. These questions typically reside with their sales teams, client services, and customer support.

Map the Questions to the Buyer Journey

Now map the question to the various phases in the buyer journey. Top of the funnel questions are going to need top of the funnel content offers. Middle of the funnel questions are going to need middle of the funnel content, and bottom of the funnel questions are going to need bottom of the funnel content. Keep in mind that you’re going to need to tailor your landing pages and forms to the buyer journey, too. Prospects at the top of the funnel are not going to give you all their vitals; they might only be willing to give you an email address. Prospects at the bottom of the funnel should be willing to share much more. This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people skip this step.

Create Content That Answers Each Question

Once the question mapping is complete, start answering the questions in the form of content.

Remember: you need a variety of content types and each format should align with your buyer journey. Whitepapers and ebooks are great for top of the funnel and in-person consultations, and live assessments are better for bottom of the funnel. Don’t forget that keywords are still relevant, and you need to infuse these into your content up and down the sales funnel. You also want to make sure that this content finds its place on your client’s website. You should have top of funnel, awareness pages that have top of funnel content. Apply this page tagging and content mapping to all the relevant pages on your client’s site.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

3 Twitter Search Tricks You’ll Love Playing with

There are a number of positives to using Twitter, especially as a blogger, a writer or a marketer. The first is the obvious connection and communication with readers and followers. The second is the easy ability to have your work shared by others to their friends and the Internet at large. Finally, the third is the ability to monitor any brand name in real time.

Completely unique, Twitter provides a live update system that was the original, and is still unmatched. The simple, for example, use of hashtags has changed the way users can search and monitor information online.

If you want to get the most out of Twitter search, try these handy little tricks to get you there.

Twitter Search Tip #1: Eliminate Links From Results


Shortcut: [YOUR SEARCH TERM -filter:links]
Links in tweets


Eliminate Links From Results

[As you can see, ads will override your search settings but there’s no search command to eliminate that]
I have nothing against tweets containing a link. In fact, most of my tweets are linked to what I’ve written or read and want to share. But in many cases, filtering linked tweets out can be a good way to find genuine conversations.

That is why you should use the “filter:links” command. All you have to do is add a ‘-’ before it, and it will eliminate all tweets containing links from your search results. So the final result would look like this: [“Search Term” -filter:links].

If, by some chance, you want to show nothing but the links that have been shared, you would remove the ‘-’. So the end result would be: [“Search Term” filter:links]. See? Easy!

Twitter Search Tip #2: Eliminate RTs From Results


(This one is especially useful if you click through to ALL results from TOP results and it works for “traditional” user-generated RTs)


RT in search results


No more RTs in Twitter search results

I recognize the importance and usefulness of retweeting. I even encourage it, because it is a simple way to get people to see a relevant message. But it may fill up my updates stream or search results with the same message over and over again, making me see the same link constantly, and sometimes many times in a row from different people.

Cleaning it up is pretty much the same process. You simply put in: [“Search Term” -rt]. This will eliminate all items listed as a retweet, and clear up the massive clutter it can cause in your personal update stream.
By the same token, you can see nothing but retweets by using: [“Search Term” rt].

Twitter Search Tip #3: Let Emotions Work For You


Shortcut: [YOUR SEARCH TERM :( ]

Have you ever noticed how companies seem to be able to find your tweets to address concerns or thank you for endorsements? I have been contacted by customer support more than once based on what I said on Twitter (To be completely honest, I didn’t hear back more than I did but I guess we are still getting there!)

You can do the same with your readers or customers. Whether negative or positive, it is simple to find feedback on Twitter based on you, your company or even your competitor (To track where they are succeeding or lacking).

All you have to do is to search: [“Search Term” :) ]. This will show anything that has a smiley along with the tweet, which people use all the time. Or, you can use [“Search Term” :( ] for negative feedback.

Twitter search emotions

Further reading:
There you have it: three simple ways to use the Twitter search algorithm more effectively. All it takes is a slight tweak to your search terms, a small code and you are off.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

6 Causes of Disastrous Sales Busts


Remember “cramming” in school? You tried to compress three months of preparatory work into 24 hours of nightmarish tension, and you were lucky to scrape by with a barely passing grade. Why would you subject yourself to that repeatedly as part of your career -- constant stress to be mediocre at best?

Sales cramming is caused by a sales team habitually closing little to no revenue in the early stages of a reporting period, and slowly starting to bring in more until a steep revenue jump occurs toward the end of the period.

What causes this early-stage slump? I see six explanations. This flat period is caused by sales teams that are:

1) Resting from the busy end of their previous sales period.

When members of a team cram in March to make their numbers by overworking, they are exhausted and coast for the first few weeks of April. Plus, they have come to believe that they can “make magic happen” at the end of the quarter, so why work now?
These people need an energy drink.

2) Processing all the clients from the previous month.

There are so many clients needing products, scheduling, and services that sellers are distracted by servicing them, rather than by their empty pipeline that needs filling.
These people need calm.

3) Prospecting because their funnel is dry.

At the end of the quarter it is common for team members to have nothing left in their sales pipelines because everything has been won or lost or beaten to death. As a result, the first two months of the next quarter are spent finding sales-ready leads to close at the end of the period.
These people need a compass.

4) On vacation!

Because you can’t go away at the end of the period. Vacations are more prominent at the beginning of the quarter and often disallowed at the end of the quarter.
These people need better scheduling.

5) Reorganizing.

Because the start of the period is always a good time to reorganize files, territories, desks, pipelines, sales processes, or compensation plans.
These people need organization.

6) In meetings.

That is, training meetings, account review sessions, quarterly business review, and all other internal business meetings that were put off because it was the end of the month or quarter the previous week.
These people need a break.

As the period lumbers on, revenue trickles in skewing upward as cramming starts.
One year, during a New Year’s Eve dinner party at our house, my best friend was monitoring her email for deals closing until a minute before midnight. Our dinner guests applauded her for being a real trouper. I quietly wondered, “Why weren’t those deals closed two weeks ago?” After all, in another minute she was going to be a “loser” again, far behind her goals on January 1!

Unlike roller coasters, successful sales don’t depend on deep troughs to build momentum to climb the next hill. Don't tolerate boom and bust mentalities. Focus on acheiving perpetual boom -- it is possible, I can assure you. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

4 Tools to Easily Create Videos to Diversify Your Content Marketing

Videos work great for content marketing for three reasons:
  • Certain demographics of users LOVE watching videos;
  • Videos open up more marketing channels (Youtube, Vimeo, etc)
  • Videos are highly engaging: People like sharing videos
Now, the days when video content was so hard to create that most people were just shying away are over. Videos are no-brainer now. When it comes to video tutorials and mashups, I am simply using iMovie (free easy time-saver). However, in many cases, you won’t even need any desktop software.

There are some awesome online tools that allow you to create professional videos that will diversify your video marketing and let you experiment with genres, styles and types. The first one that comes to mind is of course Google Hangouts on Air.
But it’s not the only one!
The following four tools are all freemium, so you’ll have a chance to play for free first:

1. Animoto


Animoto is a huge time-saver! Grab your screenshots and videos, choose (or upload your own) music, add text breaks – you are done! A new video is ready to distribute.


I like using it for screenshot showcase (for tutorials) and for summing up discussions, hangouts, etc but I am sure there can be lots of other ideas (this about weekly user photo showcase, testimonial showcase, etc etc.)

2. Powtoon

Powtoon is a freemium tool to create animated presentations and video instructions. The best thing about this tool is that it lets you create video instructions that grab attention and have huge viral potential as opposed to traditional step-by-step video guides.
It has lots of templates with different mascots:


There are lots of available elements inside: Characters, animations, text affects, image holders, etc. The free version will keep its watermark on the final version.

Powtoon is awesome for creating concept explanations, fun tutorials and even promo videos.
They also have #slides project in private beta which I am really looking forward to playing with! Stay tuned!

3. Vidtrack

Vidtrack is a new tool I’ll need to play with. It lets you user-generate your videos by enabling your readers to send you video messages. I think it may work for testimonials, contests, etc
You can try it for free and create 5 videos. I imagine you can use those videos in lots of ways (especially if you need some editing in place).

Just look at some examples of videos featured on the site get inspired



4. Screenr

Screenr is the easiest approach to screencasts out there. You don’t need to download any screencasting software: All you need is a free account to make, host and share screencasts. To use it, remember the basic steps:
  1. Resize the frame on just what you want to record.
  2. You’ve got up to 5 minutes for your recording.
  3. When done, click the Done button or Option + D.
Screencasts will be saved within your Screenr account.


Are there any other time-saving video creation tools you are aware of?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Contextual Advertising: What Is It and Why?

Contextual Advertising, as a phrase, sounds so sophisticated, doesn’t it? Throw that one around in a couple of meetings and it sounds like you, as the marketing manager, know what you are talking about and expert in all things advertising. First, let’s jump into some resources that you can use, to get started with contextual advertising:



Infolinks is the epitome of contextual advertising.

Contextual Advertising:  Infolinks

Contextual Advertising: Infolinks Example
Infolinks is a creative look at contextual advertising, allowing elegant solutions that are less advertising-like and more natural. An example is a pop-up that would provide more information on a specific word (shown above). This allows the reader to click on the infolink and learn more about that topic, expanding their knowledge (while making you money, as the site owner).

The beauty of Infolinks and BuySellAds (described below) is that you could use them together, really maximizing the potential for making extra money on the site.

Google Adsense


Google adsense, the one that many of us cut our teeth on, offers the ability to choose the type of ads that you want displayed. It is a great tool to get started and to understand the process. But, it is not the only game in town. provides the ability to offer up certain ad spaces on the site and the advertiser can “purchase” those ad spots, similar to the newspaper idea where different ad spots have different price tags. In the same way, traffic, like newspaper circulation, is a factor. For, the publisher/site owner lists the advertising inventory. The contextual advertising part is where you decide whether or not you will accept an advertiser, based on the relevancy to your site. It is not automatic in the same way that Google Adsense and Infolinks are, but it is related. You can think of BuySellAds as a sort of advertising brokerage firm.

Wikipedia has a whole list of contextual advertising networks, including the now-defunct Yahoo Network.

Still Wondering What Contextual Advertising Is?

According to the ever-popular Wikipedia, contextual advertising is “a form of targeted advertising for advertisements appearing on websites or other media, such as content displayed in mobile browsers. The advertisements themselves are selected and served by automated systems based on the content displayed to the user.”

Contextual Advertising

Contextual Advertising

Let me give you a real time example… Just this week, I was met with my own example of contextual advertising. I was visiting different sites and kept seeing my own smiling face smiling back at me. You see, because I enjoy Jazz music, the contextual advertising algorithms on the advertising networks kept displaying advertisements for me, Deborah E. Now, if I lured you into clicking on that link, you will likely see the same thing when you visit sites that use contextual advertising, because your browser activity indicates that you have an interest.

This is why, if you are using a particular online software, say, Zoho, Mavenlink, Teamwork, you will see their ads pop up while you are reading your favorite blog. It recognizes the interest because you have visited and it serves up those ads through the network, which impacts several different sites.
Have you ever visited a site, especially on those one-off visits for a contest or something and then, for the next hour or so you see their ads everywhere where you surf? There you have it. Contextual advertising at work.

Why Do I Want Contextual Advertising?


The key is relevancy.
As a user, you want to see ads that appeal to you and to your interests.
As a business, you want to serve up ads that appeal to your visitors. You may not want to serve up an ad that is from your competitor, but something that is relevant to your visitor and related to your product or service.

If your product or service is social media marketing, you wouldn’t want to have a picture of an elephant on your site, for no reason. Unless.. you want people to be asking themselves why you have that elephant on your site (and click to a landing page for something), or the elephant is the mascot for your company. Otherwise, random pictures of objects and animals may not have anything to do with the product of social media marketing.

Ok, I take that back, cute kitty pictures do well on social media, so maybe…

Keep that Bottom Line in Mind At All Times


Unless you are giving away stuff for goodwill, you are likely interested in making money. So, keep that bottom line in mind. After you have ensured that your site is monetized and that you have your sales funnel, then ensure that the advertising that shows up on your site is relevant. Many contextual advertising sites provide opportunities to go through and select what you want displayed on your site, even, in some cases, the actual advertiser.

Remember, choose complimentary advertisers, but not competing. So, for my video marketing services, I display video equipment ads, but not other video marketing services or production services.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

5 Surprising Studies on What People Consider "Good" Customer Service


In theory, the “tricks” to delivering awesome customer service are pretty straightforward:
  • Empathy
  • Appreciation
  • Helpfulness
Seems pretty easy, right? Just develop these three skills, and you'll be set. Sure, you can tune these by mastering the “thank you,” or by understanding how things like tone and word choice make a difference in support.

But in practice, delighting customers isn't so straightforward -- what actually works doesn’t always reflect what most of us would assume.
There are quite a few counterintuitive truths that can make or break how your customers feel about your service. Below are five surprising data points on what people really expect out of "good" customer service.

1) Should you start with the good news, or the bad news? It depends.

How many times has someone asked you whether you want them to start with the good news or the bad news?
It’s an old cliche, but it turns out that it actually does make a difference. And the order you choose can actually change the way your customers feel and act.

Researchers at UC-Riverside tested the order in which they delivered news to subjects, and gauged their responses and behavior.

What they found was interesting: People who were given the bad news first were more likely to feel better about what they were told, while people who were given the bad news last were more motivated to act on the news.


In customer service, we generally want our customers to be happier, so it’s a good idea to lead with the bad news. But if you need to persuade the customer to act, then start with the good.

2) There are things more important than speed in great customer service ...

Conventional wisdom would suggest that the faster a customer gets help, the happier they’ll be. And in general, that’s true.

However, there are other, often-overlooked elements that are even more important than speed.
One survey by Gallup measured how engaged customers felt after getting service at a bank.
While customers who felt that the bank offered speedy service were six times more likely to be highly engaged, customers who gave the bank high ratings on “people” factors (like the tellers’ courtesy and willingness to help) were nine times more likely to be fully engaged.


As William J. McEwen puts it in Married to the Brand, “Speed is one factor, but it is markedly less important than having tellers who can deliver services in a friendly and competent manner.”
Rather than a laser focus on speed, try emphasizing thorough, attentive, and friendly customer service.

3) ... Except on social media, where speed matters most.

Customer expectations -- the expectations that customer happiness hinges on -- change based on the medium you’re interacting in.
While speed may not be most important for email, phone, or in-person support, in social media, speed trumps all.

In a survey by The Social Habit, 32% of social media users who contact a brand expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42% expect a response within 60 minutes.


And customers don’t like to wait just because it’s a night or weekend. 57% of customers expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.
It might not be fair, but it’s a fact: Customers expect speedy service on social media.

4) Want loyal customers? Go beyond "delight."

There’s a lot of talk about ways to delight your customers. It's a great habit to get into, and it can be a great way to grow your business.
But delighting your customers doesn't mean you should just be extra nice to them. There's another powerful way you can develop loyal customers: reduce their effort.

In a 2007 survey by the Customer Contact Council, more than 75,000 customers were surveyed about their phone, chat, and email interactions with customer service representatives. The study found that the single most important factor in increasing customer loyalty is reducing the amount of work the customer has to do to get their problem solved.


How can you apply this?
Simple: If the customer needs to do something to resolve their issue, do it for them.
Does your customer need to follow a link and fill out a form to make updates to their account? Make the updates for them.

Do they need to take steps to troubleshoot an issue they’re having? Set up a screen share on Skype or Google Hangouts and walk them through it.
Customers are often asked to do a lot of work to solve their problems:
  • Call another number
  • Send in a letter
  • Fill out a form
By taking the work off of your customers’ plates, you can both reduce their effort and delight them, as they’ll be more than a little bit surprised by your (unfortunately) unusual approach.

5) What’s the biggest reason people stop doing business with a company?

The answer might surprise you.
Here’s a hint: it’s NOT ...
  • Price
  • Product shortcomings
  • Advertising from competitors
Yes, those can all leach customers from you. But, according to the 2010 Customer Experience Report by RightNow, the biggest reason people stop doing business with a company is due to a poor customer service experience.

In fact, 82% of people have left a company because of a bad customer service experience.
On the other hand, creating good customer experiences and happy customers delivers a big -- and predictable -- return on investment: Happy customers, on average, tell nine people about their experiences.


Happy customers also reduce your costs, and the probability of selling to an existing happy customer is up to 14x higher than the probability of selling to a new customer.


So while bad customer service can crush you, delivering excellent customer service can help build loyal customer relationships, reduce churn, increase retention and referrals, and quickly grow your business.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Reality Check: Shoppers are not that Loyal [Infographic]

It’s the holiday season and the promotions are aggressive! This week’s infographic examines shoppers’ loyalty when it comes to promotions online and offline, courtesy of MarketTrack and Nowsourcing.


tweet infographic
  • 80% of shoppers are willing to switch brands or stores because of a promotion Tweet this
  • 78% of shoppers have engaged in showrooming, 76% in webrooming Tweet this
  • 80% of shoppers use more than one media type when making purchase decisions Tweet this
  • Shoppers say promotions account for 83% of unplanned purchases (65% of these in-store) Tweet this