RocTalk http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk Stay up to date with the latest of Red Oak Cart Mon, 18 Jul 2016 22:58:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Consuming Your Content – White Papers http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-white-papers/ http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-white-papers/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 22:58:58 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=572 As a general rule, people tend to think of white papers as more “academic” than most writing. They tend to be shorter in duration than most books and the content focuses on usually one very specific topic. A good rule of thumb for the length of a white paper is anywhere from 5 to 16 pages. Shorter is generally always better but never at the expensive of delivering quality content. People will read longer papers if they are well written and they are really interested in the subject. That being said, the elements that can affect the consumption of your

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As a general rule, people tend to think of white papers as more “academic” than most writing. They tend to be shorter in duration than most books and the content focuses on usually one very specific topic. A good rule of thumb for the length of a white paper is anywhere from 5 to 16 pages.

Shorter is generally always better but never at the expensive of delivering quality content. People will read longer papers if they are well written and they are really interested in the subject. That being said, the elements that can affect the consumption of your white papers tend to be very similar to the elements that impact the consumability of any book.

Your paragraphs should not be overwhelming, long blocks of text. 5-6 lines at the most before you have a break before starting another paragraph. If appropriate, include visual elements such as charts, graphs, tables, pictures, etc. to break up your text and give the eye a break.

Keep in mind the audience to which your white paper is aimed. For most purposes an 11 or 12 pt. font will be fine. But if you’re targeting older readers with their failing eyesight you may want to consider a larger font. Notice I said may. Always look at how a change in font affects your page layouts and impacts the overall length of your document. In some cases the trade may be worthwhile, in others not so much.

Here are the elements you’ll typically find in a white paper:

#1 Title – make it as attention-grabbing as possible. It should be benefit oriented aimed at the target market you want to reach.

# 2 An Abstract or Executive Summary – don’t assume they’ll get all the way to the end to read your conclusion. You need to grab your reader immediately so include a short summary of what the entire paper is about. A well-written abstract will encourage your reader to read on into the heart of your paper.

#3 Introduction – this is where you’ll want to define the issue you are covering and provide some background discussion to reel your audience in.

#4 Definition of the Problem – Identify thoroughly whatever business problem it is that your solution—whether it’s technology, training, coaching or whatever will help to solve. The viewpoint should be completely from the perspective of your target audience.

#5 Solution – Discuss relevant technologies, including competitors that you will rebut later at a relatively high level. Support your argument with appropriate infographics, charts or tables and don’t hesitate to include quotes from industry leaders if they help to substantiate your position. Remember, you’re educating your target market on the current state of the industry and showing where your solution fits.

#6 Details of Your Solution – Here’s where you’ll provide the nitty gritty details of your solution. A softer sell seems to work better than a hard sell in white papers. You’ll want to show why your solution is clearly superior to any alternatives.

#7 Business Benefits – Paint your picture here of reader’s new world after they’ve implemented your solution, whether it’s going through your training or coaching program or something else. You need to show that you understand their pain and that you are their pain reliever. You might include customer testimonials in this section.

#8 Summary – Some people may read only your summary, so emphasize the benefits of your solution again and point out the risks to your readers of not using your product. This section needs to stand on its own.

#9 Call to Action – Tell your readers what you want them to do next and how to do it. This is a major weakness with most information products. You should always have something for the person who has finished consuming your content to do next.

While most of us think of white papers in a business to business environment they can have applications elsewhere. Just think in advance what you can do to help the readers of your white paper to consume your information as easily as possible.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Webinars http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-webinars/ http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-webinars/#respond Mon, 11 Jul 2016 22:57:43 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=570 The ability to share your content via webinars, whether it be a sales message or straight training has been one of the biggest boons for information marketers in the last ten years. You have the ability to do them live or record them and have them available to watch via replay upon request or at normally scheduled times. Your webinars can include slides such as PowerPoint presentations, screen sharing where you show the viewer things as you do them on your computer, pre-recorded videos or any other number of things. Regardless of the media you choose to incorporate within your

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The ability to share your content via webinars, whether it be a sales message or straight training has been one of the biggest boons for information marketers in the last ten years. You have the ability to do them live or record them and have them available to watch via replay upon request or at normally scheduled times.

Your webinars can include slides such as PowerPoint presentations, screen sharing where you show the viewer things as you do them on your computer, pre-recorded videos or any other number of things. Regardless of the media you choose to incorporate within your webinar, the biggest factor by far in the success of delivering your content is to simply get people to show up for the webinar they signed up for.

I’ve seen in various studies people quote show rates for webinars of 36%, 40-60%, 40% and 30%. Obviously these numbers can be impacted by things such as do the registrants have any skin in the game? In other words, did they pay to attend the webinar or is it a freebie? But, if you average all the various studies you have a show rate of about 40%. That means six out of every ten people who sign up for your webinar will not attend the live presentation.

That’s why it is imperative that you record any webinar you present and make the replay available—usually for both the people that originally signed up as well as for newcomers. One study said that 55% of their registrants viewed the webinar recording vs. the live presentation. Assuming there was no overlap in the people attending live and those watching the recording that put total attendance at around 90% for them. Now that’s pretty impressive.

Bryan and I once did an entire 90 minute webinar and then realized we had forgotten to press the “Start Recording” button within our webinar control panel. I can tell you it wasn’t much doing the entire webinar over again right away, as we had to have the recording. It’s difficult to keep your energy levels up where they were during the first presentation and you’ve lost the interaction of your live audience when you have to do an immediate do-over. Always, always, always remember to record your webinars.

Another factor impacting show rates is certainly the day of the week which you do your webinar. Obviously, you want to avoid weekends in almost all cases. But you also typically want to avoid Mondays and Fridays, as those seem to be catch-up days for people and so they’re less likely to take time out of their schedule to view a webinar.

It’s generally reported that Tuesdays are best, followed by Wednesday and then Thursday. Time of day can also be a factor. The most popular time seems to be between two and three in the afternoon east coast time. But like all marketing, you should test to see what works best for you. Some people have great success with evening presentations depending upon who is their target audience. For example, if you’re targeting people that most likely have a nine to five job about a business opportunity they may not be free to watch during normal business hours.

We recommend that for any webinar that has been recorded for playback later that you include a menu bar on the left side of the screen that is essentially your table of contents. Each topic in that menu can be clicked to take the end user directly to a particular section of your content in which they are most interested. Some may opt to force the viewer to watch the content from beginning to end, but what happens if your customer is interrupted one hour into a five hour training? No one will want to have to start again from the beginning or try to find the spot where they left off in the middle of your training.

You should also have a progress meter along the bottom of your screen that shows the consumer how far into your presentation they are and what the total length of time is. If your total time is much longer than even 60-90 minutes we would consider breaking your webinar into multiple parts. That way the viewer gets the psychological satisfaction of seeing that progress bar moving steadily forward vs. creeping along.

Also try to figure out what you can do to encourage audience interaction during your webinar. People are far more likely to stick around if they are actively engaged in the process. Can you poll your audience, open up the line to individuals to ask questions or anything else that will increase overall interaction?

Be sure that you give people a reason to stay around to the end. Our good friend Alex Mandossian does a masterful job during his presentations of incorporating a preview of a coming attraction later in the presentation that encourages people to stick around.

Finally, with the explosion of mobile devices these days be sure that your webinar video is recorded in mp4 format so that it can be played on those mobile devices. You just never know these days how someone will choose to consume your content. You need to make sure you are providing your content in a way which allow people to consume it in the matter they choose.

Webinars will continue to grow as a sales and content delivery method. As with all methods, you need to do everything you can to make your information easily consumable for the audience you want to reach.

Recommended reading—Shelby Britton’s “The Content Marketer’s Guide to Webinars” available at https://onlineevents.adobeconnect.com/_a655548740/webinarguide

 

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Consuming Your Content – Teleseminars http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-teleseminars/ Mon, 04 Jul 2016 22:56:29 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=568 Teleseminars were extremely popular several years ago but have declined somewhat in popularity due to the rise of webinars and Google Hangouts. Yet, they remain a viable means by which to deliver your content and you’ll find Telesummits centered around a central theme featuring multiple speakers still available from time to time. Of course, teleseminars can also feature only one speaker—you—in a single or multi-part series. Whether it is you individually or a group of different speakers spread out over a single to a few days there are definitely some things you can do to increase the consumability of your

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Teleseminars were extremely popular several years ago but have declined somewhat in popularity due to the rise of webinars and Google Hangouts. Yet, they remain a viable means by which to deliver your content and you’ll find Telesummits centered around a central theme featuring multiple speakers still available from time to time.

Of course, teleseminars can also feature only one speaker—you—in a single or multi-part series. Whether it is you individually or a group of different speakers spread out over a single to a few days there are definitely some things you can do to increase the consumability of your teleseminar content.

First, study closely the target market that you want to reach. Is there a particular day of the week and time of day that they are most likely to be available to listen to your content live? Are you accessing a worldwide audience? As best you can, you should schedule your teleseminar for the time most convenient for your audience and not what is most convenient for you.

You’ll get as many different answers as there are stars in the sky as to the absolute best time to do a teleseminar. Most people avoid Fridays through Sundays because people like to keep their weekends free generally. Other says to avoid Mondays because people are just getting into their week and aren’t ready to be mentally “in” to a teleseminar that early in the week.

Generally, Tuesdays through Thursdays are the most popular. A majority of people try to schedule their teleseminars to start early evening on the East Coast in the United States. Again, it depends to a large extent on who is your target market. If you’re wanting new moms to listen to a teleseminar than you might start after 9 pm after the kids have been put to bed. Or, if you’re targeting people who commute to work each day you might try for an afternoon drive time slot.

A majority of your listeners may opt to listen to replays of any sessions rather than listen live, so you’ll definitely want to make replays available for those people who registered for your teleseminar but weren’t able to attend live. In fact, if the content you’re offering is free, you probably want to offer the replay up to everybody on your list. You should always record every teleseminar that you do.

It’s a given that to keep people listening on a teleseminar you should have an engaging style and provide high quality content that is relevant to what folks are wanting to learn. Previews of upcoming content within a teleseminar session and of future sessions at the end of a session should be utilized. By using a “hook” and telling them about something that is coming up you’ll engage their curiosity and they’ll likely hang on to find out more about what you were teasing them about.

How long should your teleseminar be? As long as it needs to be to cover the topic(s) you want to cover sufficiently. We’ve seen people remain on webinars for 2 to 3 hours or more if they are really interested in the topic. We’ve also seen people bail out within 10 minutes if they were bored and you didn’t grab their attention right away. Overall, with our trainings we shoot for around an hour in total length, with the first 40-45 minutes being training and the last 15 minutes being set aside for questions and answers.

Our good friend Alex Mandossian has had wonderful success with his teleseminars by incorporating other media within the teleseminar. He usually has some type of pdf action guide that the listener can download and print out to follow along with the content while they are listening to the teleseminar. This guide will have a lot of fill in the blank pages and the audience will need to remain on the call to get those answers to fill in those blanks and complete their guide.

If you are doing a multiple speaker teleseminar summit event you should have an overall schedule put together early in the game that you’ll share with your participants. This should include specific information about when each speaker is presenting, what they are presenting, and how to access the teleseminar.

Frequent email reminders about upcoming sessions and how to access replays of any sessions should definitely be part of your consumption strategy. People probably won’t want to listen to every speaker but if you communicate effectively and remind people about what’s happening when you should have a better attendance rate to your events. You’ll want to nicely push people to remember to add the teleseminar to their calendar with an appropriate alert.

It’s almost a given that the audio quality of any teleseminar should be top notch. A static filled, hard to hear call will call listeners to bail quickly. You should test your conference service line quality in advance of a call. You should also encourage any guest calling in to do so from a land line if possible because that generally provides better quality audio than cell phones. Not always though, so find what will work best. Always have any guests call in a few minutes early so you can check there audio quality and have time to make some adjustments if necessary.

Teleseminars will definitely remain a viable content delivery method for a long time to come. There are certain advantages you have with teleseminars compared to, say, webinars that sometime make the teleseminar format the logical choice through which to deliver your content. Know your audience and know there desired consumption format and be prepared to deliver teleseminars when that format is called for.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Seminars http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-seminars/ Mon, 27 Jun 2016 22:55:24 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=566 When we think of the term “seminars” we think of multiple speaker events that run anywhere from two to four days in total length. If you are one of those speakers at an event of this type then you certainly will have a number of factors come into play that can impact how well your information is consumed at that event. First, since you are just one speaker out of many during the course of the event it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle. People listen to speaker after speaker, their butts get tired, their brains turn

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When we think of the term “seminars” we think of multiple speaker events that run anywhere from two to four days in total length. If you are one of those speakers at an event of this type then you certainly will have a number of factors come into play that can impact how well your information is consumed at that event.

First, since you are just one speaker out of many during the course of the event it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle. People listen to speaker after speaker, their butts get tired, their brains turn to mush and they start to zone out because they are worn out. How can you stand out from the crowd and really get the audience tuned in to what you are trying to teach?

If it’s your event then you have full control over the schedule and you can slot yourself in wherever you want in the schedule. You can choose to be your own emcee if you want so you’ll have more face time with the attendees, which should help build your rapport with them and have them more receptive to your teaching sessions when they occur.

If you’re speaking on someone else’s stage then you’ll likely be stuck with whatever speaking slot you’re assigned. Most people dread the first speaking slots in the morning or times just before or just after lunch. People will drag in late in the morning, thinking about lunch around noon, or get the afternoon drowsies after lunch. When you’re starting out as a speaker you’ll be assigned some of these less than ideal times because you essentially have to “pay your dues” and earn your way into the preferred speaking slots.

Having said that, how dynamic of a speaker you are will have much more of an impact on how well your information is consumed than the actual time slot in which you’re speaking. We’ve seen some speakers absolutely kill it first thing in the morning or have the audience so mesmerized they stood in line for 30 minutes to meet the speaker after the talk rather than go to lunch.

The effort to build rapport with the audience is something you should work on throughout an event, not just when you’re up on the stage. Don’t be a “hit and run” speaker who slips in a few minutes before their scheduled time, presents, and then is off and gone immediately after their presentation. Be seen throughout the event as an active participant. Meet the attendees during the breaks and over lunch or dinner. Listen to the other speakers so the audience can see you’re an active learner yourself.

Take time before an event to find out who are all the other speakers and, as best you can, what they’ll be talking about. We’ve attended events that had no thought to curriculum or flow of the teaching at all and by the time the third speaker came to the stage to talk about copywriting the audience had totally tuned out. You may need to adjust your presentation in this scenario.

There’s a common phrase in the industry that goes like this—“The mind can only absorb what the butt can endure.” If at all possible make sure there is a break prior to your presentation so the audience has had a chance to stretch their legs and people aren’t squirming in their seats thinking about how badly they need to pee rather than focusing on what content you have to deliver to them.

If you’re the event promoter you need to avoid a parade of speaker after speaker after speaker with few breaks. You can’t have marathon sessions without breaks. Your audience will lose focus and be less responsive to any of your attempts at audience involvement in your speaker’s presentations.

As a speaker we like the speaking approach of tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. It is important to manage audience expectations. If you’re making an offer at the end of your presentation of continuing education or something else they shouldn’t be surprised by this. The promoter should have set expectations early in the event to help eliminate the chance of the audience feeling like they’re involved with a pitchfest.

If you’re the promoter we feel it is wise to incorporate content only sessions into your schedule to give your audience a break from offer after offer after offer. You also need to be sure your speakers who are making an offer are delivering solid content first and foremost. In a 90 minute presentation at least 75-80 minutes should be content with only a small portion allocated to the sales side.

These are just a few tips related to helping you have an audience be more receptive to your content. For more we’d recommend you pick up a copy of Bret’s book “View from the Back: 101 Tips for Event Promoters Who Want to Dramatically Increase Back-of-the-Room Sales.” It’s available on Amazon or pick up an author signed copy at http://101TipsForEventPromoters.com.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Private or Group Coaching http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-private-or-group-coaching/ Mon, 20 Jun 2016 22:54:15 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=564 Everywhere you turn these days you seem to find more and more people who are touting themselves as a coach. Life coaches, weight loss coaches, fitness coaches, business coaches, book writing coaches, anything and everything under the sun coaches. You name it and somebody will claim they are a coach on that subject. And that is not a bad thing. Many of us need a mentor, a guide to keep us moving along the path to wherever it is we want to go. If you consider yourself a coach there are a few critical decisions you will need to make.

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Everywhere you turn these days you seem to find more and more people who are touting themselves as a coach. Life coaches, weight loss coaches, fitness coaches, business coaches, book writing coaches, anything and everything under the sun coaches. You name it and somebody will claim they are a coach on that subject.

And that is not a bad thing. Many of us need a mentor, a guide to keep us moving along the path to wherever it is we want to go. If you consider yourself a coach there are a few critical decisions you will need to make. These include:

  • Will you do individual or group coaching?
  • Will the coaching be done via phone, Skype, email, in person, Google Hangout or another way?
  • How frequently will you get together with your students?
  • How much direct access will people have to you?
  • How accountable will you hold your students?

All are important questions and all will have some impact on how well your students consume the coaching you provide them. But first, let’s get real about coaching. There are some people who will join your coaching program simply because they want to belong to the group. Maybe it’s a status symbol to them or they just want to associate their name with your name in some way. Either way, they will rarely actually take action on anything they are being taught.

That’s where question #5 above comes into play. You will have to decide how accountable people will need to be to remain as part of your coaching program. If you set out tasks to be completed or benchmarks that must be met along the path and they fail to complete the task or meet the benchmark are they kicked out of your coaching program?

It can be quite a quandary and only you can decide how you want to handle it. It can be hard to turn down the revenue certainly but you may decide the frustration of seeing some students not take action is a bigger headache and you need to jettison them from your program. If you have a limited number of people you can coach and you have a waiting list of people wanting to join your coaching program then, by all means, get rid of the non-doers and replace them with action takers so you can receive the satisfaction of people actually putting what you teach into action.

Clearly, the drive to change one’s situation, whether it be through consumption of a book, home study course, training workshop or through being involved with a coaching program has to come from within. As a coach you might be able to inspire short term changes but over the long haul the desire has to come from within the person wanting the change.

That being said, there are things you can do as a coach to make your coaching more consumable for your students. First, make sure you have good students. Pre-qualify them to determine, as best as possible, if they will be a good fit for your intended coaching style. Clear communication of your expectations in advance will go a long way toward helping people have success with your program.

Second, if your coaching program is going to include trainings you want them to go through, don’t overwhelm them with too much at one time. If they log into a membership site of yours that is part of the coaching program tell them exactly what to do to get started. In fact, any medium by which you will deliver any training that is incorporated into your coaching program should follow the consumption guidelines we’ve laid out for that medium elsewhere within this book.

The frequency of direct contact with your students is another factor that is very important. If you are going to have “assignments” between your get togethers be sure you allow enough time for people to complete that assignment. We’ve been involved with coaching programs where groups were to get together via phone once per week. We found that people stopped attending those calls because they didn’t want to admit in front of the rest of the group that they hadn’t completed the assignment or made any forward progress over the previous week. This can also be true for one-on-one coaching.

If your coaching program largely consists of on-going trainings provided by you or someone on your behalf our belief is you need to deliver “fresh” content to the participants in your coaching program at least once per week. Any more than that you have the overwhelm factor to deal with. Any less than that and you are not consistently reinforcing the value of the content you are delivering to people.

If your coaching program is more about being deeply involved in the business of your student then that’s a different scenario. If you’re providing detailed step-by-step instructions on what to do that are tailored specifically for them then our earlier comments about the need to pre-qualify your students definitely comes into play.

You want motivated students without a doubt. That motivation must come from within themselves but you don’t want to throw up roadblocks during the process of your coaching that create unnecessary frustration on the part of your students. That’s why the clear expectations and the framework of your coaching program must be laid out and agreed to in advance. If you change the rules of engagement after the fact you will lose some of your students.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Podcasts http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-podcasts/ Mon, 13 Jun 2016 22:53:04 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=562 Another format for delivery of audio content is the podcast and their popularity has grown rapidly over the last several years as the ability to download content directly to your mobile device has made it so much easier for end users to get your content. A podcast can be consumed almost anywhere. Daniel J. Lewis of TheAudacityToPodcast.com reminds us of the many ways people consume podcasts and how you can make it a better experience for your listeners. In noisy environments – because of the amount of noise, you need to ensure that your podcast is loud enough that the

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Another format for delivery of audio content is the podcast and their popularity has grown rapidly over the last several years as the ability to download content directly to your mobile device has made it so much easier for end users to get your content.

A podcast can be consumed almost anywhere. Daniel J. Lewis of TheAudacityToPodcast.com reminds us of the many ways people consume podcasts and how you can make it a better experience for your listeners.

  1. In noisy environments – because of the amount of noise, you need to ensure that your podcast is loud enough that the listener can hear you. Evening out your volume levels helps.
  2. Through noise-suppressing headphones – watch out for over-processing your audio. You may think you sound great with the base-boosting radio voice when you listen through speakers, but that processing can literally cause headaches for listeners with certain kinds of headphones or earbuds.
  3. With one earbud – your voice should always be balanced in the center.
  4. At faster speeds – many podcast apps will allow consumption at 1.5x or 2x speeds. Listen to your own audio at faster speeds and you may quickly notice annoying patters or things that make your audio unbearable.
  5. On your website – more than 50% of my podcast downloads come through my website so make sure that your podcast can be listened to, downloaded, and easily found on your website.
  6. With interruptions – podcasts are on-demand media and may be consumed throughout the day with many interruptions. Keep this in mind as you present your content.
  7. Over mobile data networks – smartphones and Internet-connected devices are taking over and these often come with mobile bandwidth limits. Either release your podcasts in a simpler format that takes less space or offer a lower-quality edition.
  8. While falling asleep – a lot of people listen to podcasts in bed to help them fall asleep. This is a good reason to avoid sudden loud noises in your podcast.

If you don’t have your own smartphone app in the iTunes store, Amazon Store and Google play store—then maybe your podcast is not as easy to find and consume as your peers. If you want your podcast to go big you should consider having your own smartphone app developed to make it even easier for people to consume your content.

Thanks Daniel for some great input on how to make your podcast more consumable. The first hurdle is, of course, to be noticed in the first place. A sexy title can help you catch more attention and possibly get people to check your program out. If you can get people to download your app or subscribe to your show then you’re way ahead of the crowd.

If you really want to stand out from the crowd you should consider also making a podcast transcription available for any episodes. An audio transcription of a recorded show or an interview is a good move for three major reasons.

First, a written transcript allows the search engines to better index your content and this will ultimately drive more traffic to your site.

Second, a transcription on your page does enhance the user experience because you may have users who are unable to listen to your podcast for some reason but who can still consume your content by reading your transcript. You’ll also have the ability to include clickable links within the transcript that can drive visitors to further content of yours.

Finally, it simply makes you look more professional. Visitors who know you’ve gone the extra mile for them are more likely to spread the word to their friends about your show.

Once you have someone begin to listen to your podcast you’ll want to do whatever you can to keep them paying attention throughout the entire episode. Of course you’ll want to deliver high-quality, interesting content. And of course your show should have a great energy to it. But pay attention to regular radio for cues on how to keep people listening. Teasers before a break about what’s coming up are widely used in radio to keep listeners engaged. You should do the same.

Of course, your show should feature quality audio. All the things we talked about in the chapter on consuming your audio products will apply equally to your podcasts. You don’t need wildly expensive audio equipment and audio software to put out a high quality podcast. A decent microphone and a quiet environment in which to record are the major prerequisites to delivering a good podcast.

Podcasts will continue to grow in popularity as the proliferation of mobile devices continues to grow. You should have content available through the iTunes store and other marketplaces where more people can find you and begin consuming your content.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Online Membership Sites http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-online-membership-sites/ Mon, 06 Jun 2016 22:51:56 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=560 Membership sites are great. Your ability as an information marketer to go into a month with knowledge already of some baseline level of income you’ll have from your members can significantly reduce your stress levels. The biggest regret most well-known online marketers have is not building some type of continuity revenue component, such as a membership site, much earlier into their business. But, just like flash drives, you have to deal with the “out of sight, out of mind” issue you have with flash drives. But it is even worse with online membership sites because there is typically no physical

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Membership sites are great. Your ability as an information marketer to go into a month with knowledge already of some baseline level of income you’ll have from your members can significantly reduce your stress levels. The biggest regret most well-known online marketers have is not building some type of continuity revenue component, such as a membership site, much earlier into their business.

But, just like flash drives, you have to deal with the “out of sight, out of mind” issue you have with flash drives. But it is even worse with online membership sites because there is typically no physical component whatsoever that might sit on their shelf or desktop to remind them that they have your product and should be going through it.

How many digital products have you purchased and downloaded that you were going to get to later? Only later never came and that audio mp3 or video mp4 file languished on your computer for years, never to be found again.

When someone signs up for your membership site the first thing you want to try to get them to do it to create a desktop icon for your site that will always be on their computer screen. That way whenever they turn on their computer there’s an opportunity for them to see your icon and be reminded of the great content that they have waiting for them within your membership site.

Next, you need to be sure you are communicating with your members regularly and frequently. They need to know you’re out there providing them fresh, relevant content that can help them take their business to the next level. You should preview coming attractions, whether it’s a live training or some new content going into the members’ area so they are aware of it.

Don’t hesitate to remind them of older content within your site. You should be regularly attempting to drive them back into your membership site to consume additional content. Now we know of some marketers who operate from the premise that they don’t want to communicate with their membership because if we remind them we’re here they’ll drop out.

Frankly, we abhor that approach to the business of a membership site. You should be about providing on-going value to your members and not trying to hide for fear that they’ll leave if they remember they’re a member. If you’re all about a money grab and not about providing service and value then, in our opinion, you’re in the business for the wrong reason and your future will probably be short-lived.

Email will certainly be your major tool for conversing with your membership. And you should have within your email system an on-going set of autoresponder messages that drive people back to the membership site. Autoresponders aren’t just a great sales tool, they’re also a great consumption tool for any information product including membership sites.

If your pricing allows it consider incorporating an offline element into your membership. A monthly physical newsletter or magazine can be used to provide additional content and to highlight other content inside the members’ area they should take advantage of. This physical component also seems to have a positive impact on the length of time someone remains a member of your program. That once a month reminder of the value they’re receiving that doesn’t rely on them having to access your site is worth it if the numbers allow. You can’t do it for a $7 per month membership but if they’re spending $97 a month or more I’d definitely consider adding a physical component.

Now, like any physical information product, with membership sites you have to guide them through the consumption process. Chances are, over time, your membership site will contain a lot of content. Someone visiting the site for the first time (or at any other time) can easily become overwhelmed and not know where to start. So they don’t.

You should have a Welcome Video on your main page when they login that gives them the “lay of the land” of your site. Highly encourage them to watch this video first. Some memberships have had great success with burning this welcome video to a DVD and including it as part of an initial welcome package that is sent via mail to a new member signup.

This video should also provide them a suggested path with which to consume your content. Start by listening to this audio or watching this video or whatever it might be. Be sure any piece of content within your site has, at a minimum, a 2 to 3 sentence description of what that content is all about stated from a user’s benefit perspective.

If you have a lot of new members sign up within a short period of time (for example, maybe you promoted your membership at a live event from stage) then you should do a live welcome call where you guide them through the site and answer any questions they have. The warmer and fuzzier they feel about you the more likely they are to remain a member for a longer period of time and consume your content.

On-going new trainings will continue to add value to their membership. It’s important that fresh content be added to your site on some regular basis, be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly so your members feel like they are getting current information and your site isn’t growing stale. Don’t hesitate to call upon your own membership who have expertise that would benefit the other members to help provide some of those new trainings. People are more likely to participate in things which they helped to create. So involve your membership in helping to determine what additional content might be added to your site.

One of the key things you’ll need to decide early in the game as you’re structuring your membership site is how much direct contact they might get with you, as the principal, as a part of that membership. Typically, the more people pay as part of a membership the more direct access they expect with you. It can be a tough decision, as the time suck on you can become a bit of a problem. So think carefully about whether your membership is just content within a site or whether it’s going to involve interaction with you personally. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of this in more depth later on when we talk about coaching programs.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Newsletters http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-newsletters/ Mon, 30 May 2016 22:50:35 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=558 If you decide to use a newsletter to distribute content you’ll also find you have at your fingertips a great customer retention tool. Appearing in your customer’s actual mailbox or in their email inbox on a consistent basis helps you build that all important know, like and trust factor even more. The first question you have to answer though is, which mailbox are you going into? Yes, that old physical vs. digital debate that we discussed in the Key Concepts section earlier in the book. Both physical and email newsletters remain popular devices for increasing customer retention and for the

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If you decide to use a newsletter to distribute content you’ll also find you have at your fingertips a great customer retention tool. Appearing in your customer’s actual mailbox or in their email inbox on a consistent basis helps you build that all important know, like and trust factor even more. The first question you have to answer though is, which mailbox are you going into? Yes, that old physical vs. digital debate that we discussed in the Key Concepts section earlier in the book.

Both physical and email newsletters remain popular devices for increasing customer retention and for the sharing of content with your list. For an email newsletter though there are several things you can do to help your newsletter be more easily consumed by your audience.

First, be sure to use a familiar “From” name for each issue of your newsletter you send out. If people don’t recognize who an email is coming from they aren’t likely to open it.

Next, be sure you take full advantage of your subject line. Avoid boring subject lines like “July Newsletter”. You need to tease them to begin reading the actual newsletter, so employ some creative copywriting to drive people inside. Don’t have the first words your subscribers see be “Not Displaying Correctly?” Your newsletter isn’t about how to view emails in your browser. Use teaser text.

Be sure to break your newsletter into bite-sized chunks. People tend to skim over an email looking for items of interest so writing a text-heavy email newsletter isn’t the approach that will usually work best. Break up your text with other elements. The HTML vs. text discussion from the chapter on Email series is entirely relevant here.

For email newsletters consider segmenting your list and sending different content to your subscribers using dynamic content based on their criteria. A more personalized newsletter is far more likely to be consumed.

According to CampaignMonitor.com, the average time spent reading a newsletter after opening it is just 51 seconds. Since you’ve got such a short attention span on average that means you need to visually engage the reader with images and visuals since the brain processes visuals thousands times faster than straight text.

Be sure that you use benefit-focused headlines and body copy for all your content. Remember, people skim—so you need to be able to write those compelling headlines to get them to read on into your body copy. Just like a book—if a block of text looks too overwhelming to read people likely won’t read it.

If your content has a call to action at the end you can do this with a text link or a button. Buttons usually get better click-throughs because they stand out more than text links. You have to decide what mix of content vs. sales you might have in a newsletter.

Whether your newsletter is an email newsletter or a physical newsletter be sure to mix things up a bit. Don’t necessarily include article after article after article. Mix in some entertainment pieces or fun facts. It’s okay to have some white space within a newsletter to improve readability and give the eye a break.

We talked early about the using your subject lines effectively to entice people into your email newsletter. While you don’t have an email subject line if you’re doing a physical newsletter you do still have the issue of getting them ready to open your envelope if your newsletter is mailed in an envelope. The well-known information marketing experts GKIC utilize a clear envelope in which to mail their No B.S. Marketing Letter. Armand Morin mails his monthly Traces magazine to his AM2 members in a 9” x 12” white envelope with a large sticker that is a duplicate of the magazine front cover on the front of the envelope. Both can be effective.

Others will say to just make your newsletter a stand-alone mailer. We’re not big fans of mailing newsletters without an envelope ourselves although you can do this. The postal service usually requires one or more tabs to make sure the magazine stays closed and doesn’t get caught up in their sorting equipment. We receive several newsletters that come tabbed and, invariably, they either arrive already somewhat damaged or you end up tearing pages or damaging the newsletter yourself in some way when you try to open it up. We feel this detracts from the professional appearance you want if you’re going to the time and expense of sending out a newsletter.

While full color newsletters are certainly more eye popping than black and white newsletter it is considerably more expensive to print a color newsletter. You’ll have to decide if the additional costs are justified yourself. Whether it’s color or black and white the elements we mentioned about white space and readability apply equally to either format. Your newsletter should be easy on the eyes and you definitely want to avoid the overwhelm factor by trying to back too much text into too small of an area.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Home Study Courses http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/home-study-courses/ Mon, 23 May 2016 22:49:38 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=556 What most of us know as a home study course is an interesting beast, because it can consist of any mix of the content delivery methods talked about separately in this book. Commonly, a home study course will consist of some printed component (often a 3-ring binder) and some combination of CDs, DVDs and additional printed components. It can also include a flash drive, some content that is delivered online via a membership site and any number of other things. As such, any of the consumption tips and techniques talked about elsewhere for a specific content delivery method can be

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What most of us know as a home study course is an interesting beast, because it can consist of any mix of the content delivery methods talked about separately in this book. Commonly, a home study course will consist of some printed component (often a 3-ring binder) and some combination of CDs, DVDs and additional printed components.

It can also include a flash drive, some content that is delivered online via a membership site and any number of other things. As such, any of the consumption tips and techniques talked about elsewhere for a specific content delivery method can be applied to a home study course if it contains that type of component.

The biggest factor you need to try to mitigate with any home study course is the overwhelm factor. Picture this—your customer is at home and the post office delivers your new home study course which arrives in a big white box. The customer opens up the box and pulls out the first component—a thick binder containing a few hundred pages worth of material. Then they pull out another binder with more material, followed by a set of DVDs and a few CDs. They pile all the components on their kitchen table and admire the massive amount of stuff they’ve received from you. And then their reaction is commonly something like this—“Oh my God, where do I even start?”

Since it’s not clear to them how they should best start consuming your content they decide to put all the items back into the box thinking they’ll get back to it and sort it all out later. But life gets in the way, later never seems to come and when they realize the time for getting a refund is running out they tape the box back up and return it to you to get their money back.

Obviously, if you can’t even get them started with consuming your content they’ll never finish it. They may well return it for a refund and the chances of them coming back to you to buy other products drops down to nearly zero.

That’s why it is critical for you to have some type of “Read this First” or “Getting Started” guide is printed out and the first thing that they see when they open your home study course box. You need to tell them exactly what to do first, to do second and so on to consume your content as effectively as possible. You can have a “Quick Start” DVD or CD but we really recommend a printed document that they see right away and that doesn’t require they take some additional step in order to use it.

If you want them watch a particular DVD first, tell them. If it’s listen to an audio CD first then tell them. If it’s read a particular part of a manual first, tell them. It is your job to help guide people through your content.

Home study courses often have a higher price point—several hundred to several thousand dollars. We have one client who sold a home study course in the Forex market for $10,000. And it sold very well. But with that higher price point comes a bigger hit to your pocketbook if they opt to return your product for a refund. So in addition to the “Read This First” guide you should incorporate as many “Stick Strategies” as time and costs allow to minimize the chances for returns. Be sure you review the section on “Stick Strategies” near the beginning of this book for ideas on what you might use.

One consumption strategy that you’ll definitely want to employ with your home study course is a series of well written follow-up autoresponder messages that go out on some pre-determined schedule. These messages are designed to be sent out via email and drive your customers back into your content. Autoresponders can be used with any type of content delivery but they are particularly important for higher ticket items such as home study courses.

Again, if your home study course includes things such as CDs or DVDs be sure to utilize some of the techniques mentioned for that particular format of content delivery as part of your consumption strategies for your home study course.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Google Hangouts http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-google-hangouts/ Mon, 16 May 2016 22:47:19 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=553 A Google Hangout is a relatively new medium by which one can deliver content and I had the rare privilege of interviewing Alex Mandossian about Google Hangouts, via a Google Hangout, in order to help create the content for this chapter. You can watch that entire Hangout by clicking here or by copying and paste this URL into your browser – http://bit.ly/1QMJEDe. I consider Alex to be the leading authority on Hangouts and during the course of our time together Alex repeatedly stressed that he views a Google Hangout, first and foremost, as a content creation tool. Yes, you are

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A Google Hangout is a relatively new medium by which one can deliver content and I had the rare privilege of interviewing Alex Mandossian about Google Hangouts, via a Google Hangout, in order to help create the content for this chapter. You can watch that entire Hangout by clicking here or by copying and paste this URL into your browser – http://bit.ly/1QMJEDe.

I consider Alex to be the leading authority on Hangouts and during the course of our time together Alex repeatedly stressed that he views a Google Hangout, first and foremost, as a content creation tool. Yes, you are delivering your content via the Hangout, but the repurposing of that content you’ve created during your Hangout is where the real power lies.

You can take the recording of your Hangout and put it up on your website or on a YouTube channel. You can strip the audio from the recording and turn it into a podcast or an audio product. You can have the Hangout transcribed and turn that into articles or blog posts. We discussed repurposing in the Key Concepts section at the beginning of this book and you should review that section if necessary.

Aside from being a fantastic content creation device Google Hangouts are an excellent delivery medium for your content because of the engagement you can create with your audience. While many content delivery methods are entirely one way communication, Google Hangouts allow you to involve your audience in the training process at a deeper level. Alex utilizes Facebook comments for viewer input during his Hangouts and he feels that by engaging his audience more into the process he creates a better learning environment.

He builds that engagement right from the get go by having audience members enter into a chat box their name and where they are watching from. He is getting people to consume his content by essentially involving them in the creation of that content. After he’s done his introductions he queries his audience about where they would like to see him focus the majority of his time during the training phase. He discusses what he plans to cover, anywhere from 3 to 5 major points, and then gets the audience to input what their preference of what should be emphasized is.

Alex has always been a big proponent of the concept that people will support what they have helped to create and by getting them to help craft the focus of the Hangout they are more engaged and, as a result, better content consumers.

To keep the audience watching the Hangout the use of ‘teasers’ such as “At the 33 minute mark of this Hangout I’ll have a special bonus for those of you watching” is another tactic used by Alex and highly recommended. It is just like the teasers used by radio DJs to get listeners to stay with them through a commercial break.

Getting people to stay with you after they’ve signed in is just as important as getting them to show up after they’ve signed up. Do everything you can to make it as easy as humanly possible for your signups to add the Hangout to their calendar so they’ll get additional reminders. Of course, reminder emails right up until the start of the Hangout are important.

Finally, another tactic employed by Alex that positively impacts his show up rates is the encouragement of people to invite their friends and colleagues to also participate in the Hangout. You’re far more inclined to show up for a Hangout if you know someone you’ve invited is also going to be there. Who wants to hear, after the fact, that they missed you at an event that you invited them to?

Whether Google Hangouts remains the medium of choice for this type of content delivery remains to be seen. New technologies and competing platforms are seemingly popping up all the time. You’ll need to do your own due diligence to determine which platform best suits your needs. Regardless of whether it is Google Hangouts or another platform there is no doubt this kind of content delivery method will continue to grow in popularity.

 

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