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It’s hard to figure out what to say in your marketing videos, especially if you’re trying to produce content yourself without the help of a production team. When you’re just dipping your toes into this powerful medium to see what happens, it’s best to start simple.

Good videos have a message. Good videos have a story. In an earlier article, I offered four questions to help you find the story of your organization and draft a basic script that will speak to your audience. Then, I examined the first question, “Who are you?”

In the past, if you wanted to advertise, it was complicated. There were a lot of steps and a lot of contacts to get from idea to impression, and not many alternative paths were available.

Today, social media gives organizations a direct path from idea to impression. If you want to let your customers know about a sale, you no longer have to do an ad buy with the cable company (although you may still decide to). You can just post an update on Facebook.

Moreover, social media gives you an all-new way to market to your customers by striking…

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical works really well, and that’s kind of crazy.

Rather than performing in full, mascot-esque costume, like Disney on Ice, or even using puppetry like The Lion King, the SpongeBob cast appears on stage in limited makeup and surprisingly normal clothes. This scaled-back approach is used throughout the musical, with props and sets patched together from dollar store bric-a-brac, including enough foam pool noodles to unsink the Titanic.

Instead of trying to replicate the look of the beloved cartoon, the producers put all of their efforts into capturing the feel of SpongeBob: The whimsy, the offbeat…

For the first six months I practiced Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I got absolutely dominated.

I didn’t have the technical skill yet to go on the offensive, so I was constantly playing defense. My defense lacked technical proficiency, too, though, so I got submitted over and over and over again. Chokes. Armbars. Shoulder locks. I experienced it all, often coming home battered, bruised, and sore.

There was only one way to get past the misery. I had to keep coming back, no matter how discouraging it might be. I had to get a little better each time. So that’s what I did.

Stan Lee did not invent the comic book superhero. By the time he and Jack Kirby published the first issue of Fantastic Four in 1961, Superman and Batman had three decades of adventures over at DC, and Marvel had already entertained WWII-era readers with pulpy tales — the sea-dwelling prince Namor the Submariner, the original android Human Torch, and Captain America’s mean left hook to Hitler’s chin.

In 1961, it was believed that there were no more fans of comic book superheroes. The genre had run its course. Books sales were dropping. Nobody was interested.

Then Lee and Kirby brought…

Customers rely on online reviews to aid in making purchasing decisions now more than ever. 90% of customers consult online reviews before buying, and 75% say they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. If you’re sitting pretty at 5 stars, this is a huge boon to your business. Every review feels like a victory. But when negative reviews come in, it’s easy to wonder: Will this cost me business?

A one- or two-star review from a dissatisfied customer often comes with a scathing story attached. The details are sure to denigrate your product, service, staff, cleanliness, reliability, or other…

Using online reviews as a marketing opportunity is an approach that I’ve been pushing for years. In that time, I’ve personally responded to thousands of reviews on behalf of my clients, with a unique response every time.

These thousands include primarily positive reviews, four- and five-star. Without doing an extensive audit, I’d estimate they have been about 97% positive, 3% negative or mixed. They include reviews as long as multiple paragraphs or as short as stars with no comment at all. They are on platforms that range from the general (Google, Facebook, Yelp) to the more specialized (Expedia, TripAdvisor, Zillow).

One of the funniest things to me about Seinfeld is the way that Kramer, ostensibly the screw-up of the group, occasionally has these moments of brilliance. There are times throughout the series where Kramer surprises you with his ability to influence people. He’s weird and funky and a little creepy, but he sure is charismatic. And he’s an effortless salesman, as it turns out.

One of my favorite Kramer moments comes in Season 5, Episode 10: “The Cigar Store Indian.” The titular Indian statue, a gift from Jerry to Elaine, has managed to offend multiple people (and one person multiple…

Social media marketing isn’t a chore, and it shouldn’t feel like one. Obviously, I’m not denying that it’s an important marketing function in modern organizations. I’m a big believer that any organization that you can name could benefit from social media marketing.

Amid all of the confusion about what to post, how often to post, what to make of insights, and how many followers we have, though, it’s easy to look at social media marketing as a slog: Something that’s to be endured, rather than anticipated. …

A smiling blue collar man with tons of personality

One of the biggest challenges that organizations face when they set out to create video marketing content is this: “What do I put in it?”

Good videos have a message. Good videos have a story. In an earlier article, I offered four questions to help you find the story of your organization and draft a basic script that will speak to your audience. In this piece, I’ll go more in depth about the first, how to pull it off, and why it’s important.

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Why do you do it?
  4. Why should we care?


Jon West

Twenty-something entrepreneur passionate about marketing

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