The secret sauce to become more creative (TEDx talks)

This is the transcript of a talk by Stephen Hall about ‘how to come up with good ideas and the secret to creativity’. For the French speakers, please note the video contains French subtitles.

Furthermore, I have also added bits and pieces from another Tedx talk by Mark Rober, a YouTuber and former NASA Engineer turned Inventor/Entrepreneur. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from BYU and Masters from USC. Additionally, he worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 9 years, 7 of which were spent working on the Curiosity Rover which is now on Mars.

About STEPHEN HALL

Stephen Hall has spent his entire life being creative. It’s not just personality that makes him creative, it’s deliberate practice, process and often a straight-up discipline. Come inside the mind of a Creative Director and find how you can be more creative in your life and where the world needs your ideas.

Stephen spent 13 years in the Science Centre community designing exhibits and programs for the Ontario and the Saskatchewan Science Centre; 18 years as a television director creating TV shows for CBC, HGTV and the W Network; and six years as a creative director at Brown Communications Group in Regina. His current clients include SaskPower and Saskatchewan Health. Stephen’s professional passions are evenly divided between design and storytelling. He is fascinated by the creative process and is a compulsive storyteller.

TALKS TRANSCRIPTS

1. Define the constraints

Before you start engaging in solving the problem, you need to define the parameters of that problem. What have you got to solve it? What is available? Which resources? What time?

That’s difficult to see but that’s Apolo 13.

Apollo 13

45 years ago, they faced a problem that was caused by an unexpected explosion on the way to the moon. It created a lot of problems. The biggest one was that the CO2 level inside the capsule began to increase. It made the air they were breathing more and more poisonous.

Consequently, they needed it to figure that problem out. In order to figure it out, they had to think inside the box.

Think inside the box

Indeed, they had to define what was inside that capsule available to solve the problem. There was no help thinking about what was outside the capsule or box. The first thing to do is to define the constraints. I would say trying to solve the problem without constraints is a bit like playing squash with no walls. It just doesn’t work.

2. Provoke ideas and be curious

However, ideas don’t just happen. They need to be provoked, made happen.

a) Be curious

The first step to being more creative is to be curious and act upon your curiosity. If you think about most creative groups of people on earth, I think it’s probably children. That’s amazing with children because they are always questioning, looking, observing and making connections about the world around them.

b) Newton’ s first law of motion

Now, I’m going to talk about science with Newton’s first law.

The first law of motion

What does it mean?

It means that this chair that’s been sitting here since the start of my talk, will stay there until acted upon by an external balanced force. Simple enough. Forces at play now. There’s a core force of gravity down, of the floor going up and it’s a bounce force. It’s body unrest. It’s its habitual stay of this chair and an unbalanced force comes along to use it.

So, I’m going to mash up Newton and Georges Lois here and come up with what I’m calling ‘the first law of creativity’.

The first law of creativity

Likewise, I’d like to talk about:

unbalanced force = originality

An unbalanced force is an original idea.

Edward de Bono is the father of parallel thinking, a kind of creative guru.

How to come up with good creative ideas - Edward de Bono

He put a weird name on those unbalanced forces, He called them:How to come up with good ideas and the secret to creativity (TEDx talks)

He talks about ‘Po’ as extraction from words like:

How to come up with good ideas and the secret to creativity (TEDx talks)

How to come up with good ideas and the secret to creativity (TEDx talks)

How to come up with good ideas and the secret to creativity (TEDx talks)

How to come up with good ideas and the secret to creativity (TEDx talks)

These words give you a clue as to the nature of the word ‘Po’. It’s also an acronym.

How to come up with good ideas and the secret to creativity (TEDx talks)

That’s what I want because there’s an activity required. Creativity requires some actions in order to happen.

How to come up with good ideas and the secret to creativity (TEDx talks)

That’s the power of ‘Po’.

But, how does it work? Well, let’s do a quick brainstorming session. We’ve all been in a meeting room with a whiteboard.

Brainstorm a new restaurant

So, on the board, you may have heard there are a lot of places in Regina. There are lots of restaurants. What about authentic Mexican? Russian? Or Nepalese? Oh, wait a minute, what about a family-friendly fondue place?

What about higher-end burger place? What about low-end sushi place? Hmm, that doesn’t sound too good! A shout from the back of the room: how about a restaurant that doesn’t serve food? Boom. That’s a Po. A crazy idea that on the surface makes no sense whatsoever. Ok, so what do we do now?

3. Give absurd ideas respect

Well, you must give absurd ideas respect. You don’t toss about ideas. In order for that Po to be powerful, you need to let it breathe, let it live. A restaurant that doesn’t serve food, that doesn’t make sense. It’s easy to dismiss but it’s not, let it live.

a) The marshmallow challenge from Tom Wujec

The marshmallow challenge

What Tom Wujec does is he gives people a challenge with the above 4 items to use. He says ‘in 18 minutes I want you to build the tallest tower you can with the marshmallows on top.’ The fascinating thing about this is after he has done it a bunch of times, there’s one group that consistently beats CEOs, lawyers and businessmen. That group is kindergarteners.

Why? Adults look at the situation starting with the first few minutes as a power struggle, who’s going to be the leader. Once they figured out, they start building something. However, they don’t put any marshmallows until the last minutes at the very end. Marshmallows are acceptably heavy, and the whole structure crumbled.

Whereas kindergarteners, by contrast, they just start building right away without power struggles. Instead of putting marshmallows once, they put them 4 to 5 times. Since they were testing the structure early enough; they were able to get to a solution that actually works.

b) Apollo 13

Another example, in Apollo 13, they didn’t need another Po because the crisis was the Po. The crisis was what set out the circumstances that provoked them to have to be creative.

Apollo 13 flight plan

Moreover, no one would have thought of doing this in any other circumstances. The crisis, the Po, created that situation, which allowed us to consider those things in a new way, to see a creative potential and bring it together to solve a problem. They were up against time, they had deadlines that involved actual death.

Deadlines are another kind of Po

My favourite deadline is:

Apollo 13 deadline

 

JFK speech about sending a man to the moon

31st December 1969 is the deadline implied by JFK in a famous speech that they are going to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s.

Nonetheless, he didn’t manufacture a fake crisis but a real one. He put US reputation on the line and did so with optimism. That brings us to the 4th lesson.

4. Be optimistically positive

a) Be positive

Unquestionably, you need to look at how our problem might work, not how it might not work. You have to be hopeful and optimistic. That crazy idea you are going to give consideration that’s going to provoke new ideas, new thoughts can actually work.

b) Brainstorming

So, let’s get back to our creativity exercise, the new restaurant brainstorming.

Where will the food come from? Do they bring their own food? Maybe we serve drinks. We differentiate ourselves by offering a good selection of drinks. Maybe we could have a sharing table? Could we provide entertainment? What about providing the stage, a space to get together, to share?

 Besides, we wouldn’t have thought of that if we didn’t let that crazy idea exist and actually treat it with some optimism and hope. Some of the things we have discovered through that process can be useful when it comes to restaurants serving food. In terms of a brainstorming exercise and being able to open ourselves to all kinds of possibilities, it’s really useful.

Below is a mark-up of what NASA engineers built on the ground. They built it quickly, in order to test it. Of course, they ran off at the beginning when the crisis occurred. What do these guys have up there? They were believing it will work. They were optimistic.

Apollo 13 mark-up

There is no creative value in being cynical

Remember, there is no creative value in looking for the reasons why it won’t work. It’s far more productive, powerful when you think it will work. I can tell you as a creative person, I always think my creative ideas are going to work. I really do. All the time. It’s good to tap into that force.

5. Celebrate great ideas regardless of who had them

Even, a lot of work I do now is a collaborative work. One of the things I think about in collaborative work is really there’s not much point in working with people who are just like me. People think, act the same ways. It’s really great to have a mixed bag of different kinds of people bringing different perspectives and more creativity in the room.

The value of different perspectives

Inarguably, here’s a greater potential for the crazy ideas to come out. Now, we are going to unpack that idea and make it work. In this process, we must treat other people’s ideas with respect.

How to collaborate to come up with ideas

Below is a picture of the air filter the Apollo 13 crew built and that saved their lives. I didn’t think anyone cared whose idea it was to use these elements. The idea mattered, though.

Apollo 13 air filter

6. Work hard

For every design you see from Apple, for example, behind the scenes, there are like 40 devices’ prototypes that you have never seen. Thomas Edison came up with 10.000 light bolts before Tesla came up with one that worked. James Dyson had 5127 failed prototypes before he had a vacuum cleaner that actually sucked the dust.

Therefore, the point is, whatever you do, do it. If you like a scope, use a scope. Otherwise, if you paint, paint a ton and if you like photography, don’t say ‘ah, I’m not a creative photographer’. Just go out and take a ton of pictures. Fail and learn for basically what you are doing. By doing this, you discover that you get better.

Conclusion

Thus, part of the creative process is just putting in the time. This is a secret sauce to creativity, collaborative creativity.

We’ve got problems in the world that need our attention.

our planet CO2 increases dramatically

Finally, I think we should have a global brainstorming session. It involves a spacecraft that has humans on it. The CO2 level is rising. The level of CO2 is rising dramatically; we are running out of time. We need to solve the problem. Everything we need to solve the problem is right there. We just have to overcome our force of habit. We need to be creative and have new ideas.

Best idea wins

 

The 7 Best Internet Speed Test Sites

This article about ‘The 7 Best Internet Speed Test Sites’ has been written and brought to you by BroadbandSearch.

1. The importance of Internet Connection Speed

A fast internet connection is a necessity of modern life. The UN declared a connection a human right. Schools expect students to have one and a fast connection. They are the ones to enjoy most of the technological benefits of the last two decades. Yet how fast of a connection do you have?

Your internet speed can determine how much time it takes you to perform vital tasks online, such as how connected you can remain to the outside world. Your choice of internet plan and provider is perhaps one of the most important ones you’ll make for your household. You need to have at least a reasonably fast connection.

Here are a few facts on modern internet usage to showcase the importance of having a solid connection in 2019:

  • According to Pew Research, 89 percent of U.S. Adults use the internet in some capacity. All but 2 to 3 % of adults aged 18-49 use the internet. The senior (65+) population is the only outlying group, with only 66 percent of them using the internet in 2018.
  • Home broadband is common. While the number of broadband users has just about evened out over the past five years (it trends from 65-73 %, with 65 % in 2018), it remains a staple of the US household. We noticed that there is an increasing number of adults who do not have broadband, but do use smartphones (20 % in 2018).
  • According to Speedtest.net, fixed broadband download speeds throughout the world on average increased 26.5 % from 2017-2018. The average download speed is now 46.12 Mbps, and the upload speed is 22.44 Mbps. Companies are basing their services on these metrics. Even if optimization is important, you don’t want to be left behind. The quick update files of today would have taken days to download 15 years ago.

worldwide broadband speeds in 2018

You do not need to settle for a slow connection. You do not need to be left behind. Performing a test can help you see if you are above or below bar, when it comes to your connection. This is where the speed test site comes in, which does exactly as you might expect. It performs a test to see what your downloads and uploads speeds are, so you can use this info as needed.

Below, you will find some information on how to test your internet speed as well as our top picks for fastest websites’ speed.

2. How You Should Test Your Internet CONNECTION Speed

You should not be splitting up your connection. Your connection shouldn’t be under heavy use when performing a test. This can apply to anything else in the household as well. This might cause interference one way or another.

You should be testing under normal working conditions. What we mean by this is that you shouldn’t be deviating from the norm in terms of equipment or activities (downloading a movie in the next room, for example) when determining your internet speed. Unless you’re experimenting to see if a new set-up provides a faster connection.

Perform a few tests. A single test shouldn’t take long, so we encourage you to perform a few tests to ensure accuracy.

Test over the course of the day. Your current ISP might work great now, but it might very well throttle your connection during peak hours of the day. Counter-act this potential blind spot by:

  • testing over the course of the day a few times
  • seeing how the results stack up.

3. What You Should Look for in a Testing Site

what to look for in a testing site

Ease-of-Use. You don’t want to spend 15 minutes learning how to test your internet speed.

Accuracy. If a site isn’t accurate, there’s no point to using it.

Commitment to real-world testing conditions. The better a site can accurately simulate common situations (such as streaming or downloading a movie), the more useful the site is. Testing under optimised conditions can be helpful for some people. However, most users will want a site that’s true-to-life.

A Simple Design. A complicated design with any additional tools or ads running in the background can affect your results, especially if you’re connection is slow. You want to work with a site that is simple and focused.

A Wide Server Range. If a site only has servers in one region, the results will be skewed by region. Choose a site that has servers across the country to provide you with an accurate reading.

Freedom from Bias. This doesn’t mean a company can’t create a test (someone has to make them), but interference is naturally unacceptable to any test. As such, we wanted to make sure that any selection of ours had no noticeable bias.

4. Our Top List of The 7 Best Internet Speed Test Sites

a) Speedtest.Net

We find Speedtest.net (owned by Ookla), one of the most popular and one of the oldest. It is still a fantastic option for people looking to test their connection, regardless of the platform they’re on.

The service has a massive list of servers based throughout the country. This allows you to perform more accurate tests, regardless of the distance you are looking for. It will also recommend the closest ones to you when you switch, making the user experience just a bit easier.

We were impressed in particular with the:

  • ability for users to keep records and previous data for comparison
  • use a database to learn about stats regarding connections from across the world.

This makes it a great option for professionals or home users looking to notice trends and patterns. The results are also easily sharable, if that is an important factor for you.

We are a bit concerned, however, with some of the ads that show up on the site and some of the graphics. They might interfere with getting a precise result, especially for users with an extremely slow connection to start with.

b) Speedof.me

At first glance, Speedof.me does not look like other internet speed test sites, which we find that to be a good thing. The test displays itself in a chart over time. This allows you to see not only your total speeds, but also the consistency of your connection. This makes it a great choice for online gaming.

That being said, the downside to this is, that it’s a bit harder to immediately see and interpret your results than other speed testing apps and sites. We noticed that the mobile version was very different in this regard, with more immediately accessible information.

But, it works on most devices without the need for an app (making it great for a quick check). It utilises HTML5 to perform the test, a standout feature when compared to many other test sites.

There aren’t as many servers when compared to some other sites on this list, and you can’t keep a record (which would be excellent considering how they display information). Though, many users will find this to be their speed test of choice.

c) TestMy.net

Testmy.net is one of the most comprehensive options we found when reviewing internet speed testing sites. Unarguably, they have fined-tuned their processes to perfection. It is an independent, trustworthy provider, which runs on HTML5. It does exactly what it was created to do without any unnecessary flair or distraction.

For people looking for a comparison, it provides statistics for your speed compared to the averages for your ISP, city, and more. It will tell you exactly where you stand. You won’t need to put in much extra effort to do so. Additionally, you can also create an account to:

  • save records and check back to see if adjustments work
  • check if the time of day matters for your connection.

The only downside is that much like Speedof.me, the results aren’t always pretty to look at (some would even say hard to read, but most certainly not hard to understand). Once you get used to it, you won’t mind! Still, it isn’t the fastest test to get a glance of what you’re working with in a given area. Professionals and enthusiasts certainly won’t mind in the long run, however.

d) Xfinity Speed Test

There isn’t much to complain about with Xfinity Speed Test. There are no distractions such as pop-ups or bits of unnecessary information littering the screen. The design is sleek and easy to read. It also has modern graphics in both the mobile and desktop versions of the programme. You’ll get a quick download and upload speeds.

While it may be produced by Comcast, we didn’t detect any bias when using the tool. Besides, you don’t need to be a subscriber to use it. Readings were accurate and consistent.

There are also a few bonus features, such as being able to change the host location, if you know you’re working with something different on a normal basis. You can also change the protocol if needed. It provides a few tips if you want get accurate results. From all our estimations, it’s a great tool whether you’re looking to change your connection or wanting to optimmise your current one.

It is missing a way to save tests. But for the average user it’s one of our top choices.

e) Internet Health Test

Internet Health Test is a much more comprehensive test of all on this list. For anyone looking for as much information as possible from multi-step testing process. Internet Health Test is your go-to option.

Indeed, it will effectively run your connection through an obstacle course of servers, situations, and locations, so that you get a set of data. It is much closer to real-world results than some other sites testing under ideal circumstances. Nonetheless, while it takes a bit more time than other sites  to get results, you effectively get six tests at once.

Furthermore, it is also simplistic in design. It offers very few additional features. Besides, tsocihere aren’t too many settings you can change. That being noted, we find that it works best when paired with another service for comparison. It does, however, allow you to post your results to social media. You can also email them to yourself (or someone else) for future records. This might come in handy for IT professionals.

f) Speedsmart

The HTML5-based speed test Speedsmart is an easy-to-use and universally accessible option for you, which provides accurate speed test results (they send more data through to create a more fine-tuned test). It also provides you with ping information, which is great for anyone who needs a low-latency connection, like video chat and gamers.

Speedsmart, like a few others on this list, allows you to create an account and check on your previous tests, even across devices. This allows you not only to easily check a single device’s connection, but also a network connection across a home or office.

It has a healthy, but not comprehensive, list of servers to choose from (with a listing of how far each is away from you, as a nice touch). It doesn’t try to do too much with its homepage, either. It’s a great all-around speed testing site for the average user, who might want ping information on top of upload and download speeds.

g) Fast.com

Even more simple than Xfinity’s option is Netflix’s Fast.com, which is the reason why people are using it for. Netflix consumes 15 % of the world’s bandwidth, so they have a good reason to provide people with a speed-testing app. They also have a vested interest in letting you know, when you’re ISP might be throttling your connection. Since they have had a long conflict with ISPs regarding this issue. Fast.com uses Netflix servers, making it perfect for making this determination.

When you start it up, there isn’t even a start button. You get a mostly white screen and some real-times results, before it settles on the ultimate estimation of your speed. You also get your upload speed at the end of the test. Yet, don’t let the first impression fool you, there are still plenty of options such as being able to select several parallel connections. Furthemore, it always shows all relevant metrics, which makes up for the poor initial startup design.

We wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for an overall speed test, but for Netflix? It’s exactly what you’re looking for.

Additional Notes

By no means is this list exhaustive. There are dozens, if not more other sites that you can use in order to test your internet speed. Most of them will work just fine.

Yet after testing, we found that our above selections struck the right balance in terms of:

  • ease-of-use
  • accuracy
  • design clarity
  • freedom from bias.

We would also like to note that our top pick might not be the top pick for your needs. Perhaps you need extremely rigorous testing with more detail for professional IT reasons. In that case, the more minimalist options might not cut it for you. Consider your needs and make your choice from there.

5. What Can Cause Slow Speeds?

Once you test your connection, you might find that you aren’t getting the speeds you are looking for. After double checking and re-running your tests, you will want to investigate further. One or more of the following reasons might be the culprit:

  • Too much usage of the network at once.
  • An outage in the area caused by maintenance or inclement weather.
  • The router or a cable is malfunctioning or overheating.
  • Your WiFi signal is being partially blocked.
  • The ISP is throttling your connection.
  • Your computer might be infected by malware or viruses.

potential causes for slow internet

5. What to Do Next?

That depends entirely on what the source of the problem is. Sometimes new hardware is the answer. Sometimes, you just need to change the location of the router. A clean-up of your system might help as well. If it’s the ISPs fault, then you will need to contact them. If this gets you nowhere, you will need to change providers. This can unfortunately be tiresome without the right resources.

Conclusion

You need to know if you are getting what you paid for, when it comes to your internet connection. We do hope that the above 7 sites will help you get a handle on what you’re looking for. You may need to try a few options and you will want to control your environment as best as you can. But, we promise the information is worth it, when making decisions for your office or household.

We expect to update this list in the future, should there be:

  • better options
  • unavailability of one or all the above sites.

Finally, we hope that the above information provides you with any information you may require.

 

Harness the Power of Marketing Campaign Orchestration

This presentation is from Timo Kohlberg and Doan Than. You will learn here how to harness the power of marketing campaign orchestration by:

  • creating orchestrated experiences with great content
  • driving hyper-personalisation across touchpoints
  • leveraging real-time insights along the entire customer journey.

Harness the Power of Marketing Campaign Orchestration

Hi, my name is Timo Kohlberg. I would like to get you thinking about your favourite coffee shop brand. Why do you go there? Is it about the product itself?

Well, of course, the product needs to be good. But it’s really more about other factors like the atmosphere in the coffee shop. How do I pay? How to order? For example, here in the USA at Starbucks, you can order your coffee and pay right away with an app. Then you can pick it up without waiting in line. Today, it’s more about the experience than the product.

Harness the Power of Marketing Campaign Orchestration

We, at Adobe, identified 5 key pillars for customer experiences.

5 pillars of customer experience management

Content Velocity: Content creation is crucial in a world of so many devices and channels.

There is actually the role of Adobe campaign within Adobe Experience Cloud, being the orchestration engine sitting right in the middle.

Adobe Experience Platform

Adobe Experience Platform lets you handle about everything from:

  • advertising
  • customer acquisition
  • converting customers into turning them into context on your website with analytics cloud
  • to personalising each and every experience you have with them within the magento commerce cloud.

Again, Adobe sits right in the middle as orchestration and personalisation engine.

3 key pillars to achieve cross-channel orchestration success

3 key pillars to achieve cross-channel orchestration success

1. Orchestrated Experiences

First of all, experiences need to be consistent and optimised for each device and each channel. It’s not enough to deliver stand-out email or mobile experiences, while have other experiences falling short on other touchpoints and channels.

2. Hyper-Personalisation

Think about customer data on the steroids. Obviously, brands and accounts need to add transactional data to that. Think about the buyer behaviour on your website and then integrate other data sources like a propensity score for example.

3. Real-Time Insights and Journeys

More and more real-time insights, journeys and information identify where customers are in their journeys, powered by the context you can deliver.

 

1. Orchestrated experiences start with great content

Marketers should not only think in the context of beautiful images, channel optimisation, but also about the content process.

I like to call it the content supply chain. From creating beautiful content to managing that content, optimising and delivering that content.

a) Content is fuel of orchestrated experiences

Content is fuel of orchestrated experiences

  • Take a look at sourcing and creating the best possible content. You should obviously have beautiful brand content from your agencies or internal designers. However, think also about integrating music generated content into your communications.
  • Streamlining the content management process with digital assets management. Use a content creation platform, where you can manage, optimise and deliver that content through solutions like Adobe Target and Adobe Campaign.
  • Optimisation here is crucial. So, optimise delivery for all the important channels for you and your customers. Everything that relates to digital like website, mobile apps and any other interactions you have with your customers. If you are a retailer, you have a point-of-sale or a commerce/web shop you want to integrate. Basically, everything really should go towards one-to-one interactions through personalisation of content across channels like email, mobile, offline and even the Internet of Things.

I’m going to show you a quick example on how our customers transformed the way they deliver their content.

b) A Content Transformation from single interactions

So, here is an example of Virgin Holidays, a well-known UK travel company.

A Content Transformation from single interactions

So, above you see how they communicated with customers before choosing Adobe and Adobe Campaign.

This is a representation of journey from someone booking a travel. You can see how the situation was before (from a booking, a payment reminder to an online checking). All those information from a data perspective were stored in different solutions, siloed and not really available to all of the marketers.

From a visual perspective, there were also different systems delivering those messages and emails.

So, what I want to show you now, is the situation of the first campaign they ran.

C) To beautiful and consistent conversations

To beautiful and consistent conversations

So, they had a content transformation to beautiful and consistent conversations with their customers by personalising content. Sometimes it’s as easy as including a booking code in all these information to reduce calls into the call centre, for example. Besides, it is something that affects the bottom line.

2. Hyper-Personalisation is powered by data

Hyper-Personalisation is powered by data

Now, it’s time to talk about the usage of that data, its relevancy through hyper-personalisation, together with the content we just talked about.

a) Hyper-personalisation with the integrated customer profile

Hyper-personalisation with the integrated customer profile

Obviously, think about the data you have in-house over the course of an individual customer journey.

You can actually build that single accessible view by combining information from channel preferences with online and offline channels. Then, bring that into a consistent campaign history. We will actually see that in the live demo, how it looks.

Here is an example from one of our retail customers.

b) Integrated Customer Profile – DNA for Campaign Management

Integrated Customer Profile – DNA for Campaign Management

We have two main data dimensions:

  • Enterprise data: it is still the predominant data source from most of our customers (80 %).
  • Digital Interactions which encounter for 20 % of data coming from those digital interactions and campaign data.

Above, you see different metrics you can track and combine in the integrated customer profile.

It’s really much more than just standard demographic data. Try to use all the customer data in-house as well as captured data based on what you actually do and what they prefer.

c) When Data meets Content

Again, in this section, I want to show you two examples of our customers.

  • Travelocity, US travel brand, part of Expedia – Hyper-personalisation at scale.

When Data meets Content

In this case, it means they use all the information they have to create and send their newsletter.

For example, at the top, you see the mobile information they have on someone. If they know that a segment or a specific contact in their database hasn’t yet downloaded the app, they would push automatically that as the first content in the email.

Travelocity sends billions of emails to their customers. So, it’s very clear they couldn’t handle that manually anymore. They need a solution like Adobe Campaign, which can automate that personalisation process.

d) User Preferences and Customer Feedback

Secondly, in terms of data acquisition, the third dimension underestimated by many brands, is ‘preferences’ from your customers.

User Preferences and Customer Feedback

So, in this instance, Travelocity has what they call a ‘travel profile’. In the preferences’ section, customers can choose what kind of deals they want to receive.

Based on this information, all the personalisation done through email and website is tailored to the needs and preferences of their customers.

3. Real-Time Insights and Journeys are driven by Content and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Real-Time Insights and Journeys are driven by Content and Artificial Intelligence

For the last section, it’s crucial to integrate real-time information (behaviour). Marketers must know as well the context where the customers actually are in terms of their buying journey phase. More and more of that is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

So, again, 3 other examples to provide you with.

a) Connecting email to web

Connecting email to web

What you see above is a contextualised content and offer based on the search history of someone on the website.

So, someone just searched for holidays in the Bahamas. On the next day, they would receive a tailored deal based on their search history and how they interacted on the website. If they don’t want to book right away, they had the option to save it to their deal allots to get more information about the destination and offers in the future.

On average, they have a much higher open rate and click-through rate.

b) Content needs to BE contextual and orchestrated

Second example from one of our travel brands in Europe in Heathrow airport.

Content needs to contextual and orchestrated

On the left-hand site, you see how they use and contextualise all the information from the integrated profile.

I am just highlighting 3 things here:

  • Product based on previous transactions:

You see at the top, it’s actually offers pushed based on previous transactions. In this case, someone has already parked at Heathrow airport; Consequently, they can actually push an offer for parking for the next flight.

  • Exclude known users:

It’s important to incorporate mobile information not just in a mobile message, but also in other channels like email. So, exclude known users from offers, like downloading the app.

  • Tailored brands/offers to segment:

If you are at the airport, they want to drive you to specific shops and brands. They are the right ones for the specific segment.

Think about going into the terminal area for the security check at the airport. If you have downloaded the app ‘Heathrow airport’, you may receive personalised push notifications for discounts or loyalty points in restaurants.

It’s working really well and they can tailor those messages and offers based on where you are in a specific terminal. But they also use more and more beacon technology to send you messages when you walk by a restaurant. This is a great example of orchestrated experiences with digital as well as also at the physical location (airport).

c) Email experiences powered by AI/ML

As a last example for this section, I want to show you an example of Adobe Sensei, our AI machine learning framework.

Email experiences powered by AI/ML

We have a feature here called ‘predictive subject line optimisation’, where you can test your subject line before you send out your newsletter.

So, think about the case you have to send out a newsletter on Thursday and do not have time to do an A/B test for your subject line. With this feature, you will be able to test your subject line based on previous sent-out. It will actually predict open rates for that subject line. It will give you the feeling of whether it’s too long or too short and also find some optimisation with different categories.

d) An orchestrated Omni-Channel Experience

An orchestrated Omni-Channel Experience

To sum up, the integrated customer profile consists of enterprise data, but also more and more digital interactions.

Then, bring that together with Content through the Content Supply Chain, to manage and deliver across different optimised channels.

Through this representation of a customer journey across many channels, we can learn more about the customer based on the data. So, you might start with the channel that activates customers to download the app, by sending a push notification.

In some instances, you might want to:

  • send a direct mail or a catalogue
  • integrate the call centre into the website
  • send a re-marketing email like we’ve seen with Velocity.

This strategy is focused on all relevant and meaningful experiences.

Perfect, so, I want to hand over to Doan to take a live look at a demo of Adobe Campaign.

4. Adobe Campaign Live

Adobe Campaign Live

Let’s start the demonstration by having a look at the data powering the Adobe Campaign Platform that is giving you an internal 360° view of the customer.

Adobe Campaign Platform

Here, we can view a profile as I kept within the Adobe Campaign.

Adobe Campaign Profile View

Adobe Campaign has an internally customisable relational database, which can be extended and modified for your specific business needs. We’ll have a look at what a profile looks like in Adobe Campaign.

Adobe Campaign relational database

Above it is Kevin Blake and we can store all marketing data related to Kevin such as:

  • name
  • location
  • aggregate scoring inside the platform, which can be used to trigger and power message sets from Adobe Campaign.

Please note that no two databases inside Adobe Campaign are the same. They are tailored and customised towards your business requirements.

Adobe Campaign business tabs

On the top, we have all relevant business tabs related to Kevin as well as tracking logs.

Adobe Campaign tracking logs

These tracking logs:

  • keep track of all messages you send out
  • show you how customers interact with them.

On orders’ tab, you can keep track of orders that came in:

Adobe Campaign orders' tab

Data can be used to trigger personal communications as required by your business.

This is not only linked to orders, this could be mortgages. Just depends on what your business needs are in terms of campaign management.

Adobe Campaign Orders' Tab

If we move to the workflow end, we’ll have a look at Adobe Campaign powerful and customisable workflow engine.

Adobe Campaign Workflow Engine

So, here on your right (see below screenshot), we have a canvas, where you can drag and drop different parts of your customer journey.

This customer journey can be digitalised on this canvas. You can see where your customers are in each step of the customer journey that they are on with your brand.

On the left (see below screenshot), we have ‘Union’, which we can drag and drop on the canvas to query for and deliver many channel’s messages to your contacts.

One particular note, we have many channels, which you can set up with Adobe Campaign, it’s not just email.

Adobe Campaign Cross-Channels

You can set up (as shown below):

  • push notifications
  • direct mail
  • in-app messages
  • SMS.

Adobe Campaign Cross-Channels

This will allow your users to create a schedule in multiple different ways. You can send it through these multiple mediums. It will be based on your customer journey phase, their experiences and preferences.

You can also do some basic data management notes (see below), where you can:

  • enrich customer journey
  • update data or save data into different tables or platforms.

Adobe Campaign Data Management

All these below notes combined to create rich contextual customer experience for your contacts, as they go on your brand journey.

Adobe Campaign Notes

Let’s have a look how we can create a relevant and personalised email within Adobe Campaign.

So, inside the Adobe Campaign, there is an in-built drag and drop HTML render. This allows you to easily and seamlessly create professional and customisable emails, that can be delivered under the built I showed you earlier.

Adobe Campaign In-Built HTML Render

The fragments can be dragged on the email canvas, adaptable without a single amount of code.

Adobe Campaign comes from Adobe Sensei, which is an AI machine learning engine. It enables to use Adobe Sensei to make better sense of the data and create predictive sales analytics.

So, here we have a subject line optimisation:

Abode Campain Subject Line Optimisation

We can see below how customers in the past have interacted with email. We also receive different suggestions on how to make this subject line better. Adobe Campaign Sensei will give you a better view of how these emails might perform in terms of ‘opened’.

So, Adobe Campaign is not just about creating a workflow and laying a run-out. It runs a report and continues to be innovative on these features.

Adobe Campaign Report

With Adobe Campaign, it’s easy, flexible and customisable with data points collected in real-time. Preview report will show you the value to quickly get a sense of different views. This allows you to get a better understanding of your marketing performance. Furthermore, it gives you a better idea on how attractive you are as a business.

Metrics such as ‘dimensions’ can be dragged and drop to points. Points are accessible, interactive and all interconnected to devices.

Adobe Campaign Dimensions

Adobe Campaign Dimensions Table

Visualisation is simple, responsive and re-sizeable.

Adobe Campaign Data Visualisation Adobe Campaign Data Visualisation Adobe Campaign Data Visualisation

With Adobe Campaign, you can set dates and apply different metrics depending on these dates.

Adobe Campaign Calendar

These reports will automatically update to see what you are doing and tracking the past 6 days. On the left (below screenshot), you can drag different devices and see how your email campaign is doing in this regard.

Adobe Campaign Data Tracking

Finally, we want to make sure that our customers actually make the most of their investments with the Adobe Experience Cloud, called ‘Experience League’.

Adobe Experience League

At last, we also recommend you these two free whitepapers downloadable from our site:

  • Mobile for the win
  • Get out of your email marketing rut.

Adobe Downloadable Whitepapers

 

 

 

 

Digital Trends 2019 – Data is key to creating greater customer experiences

This presentation from Sean Donnelly and Jamie Brighton will focus on the most significant digital trends 2019 that are driving marketing and customer experience strategy.

Digital Trends 2019: Data is key to creating greater customer experiences

Hi, my name is Sean Donnelly. I’m a consultant and senior analyst at e-consultancy, where independent providers of research train in best practice. I am here to introduce you to a topic that is on the minds of all marketers.

Presently, I am going to talk to you about technology and marketing trends.

We have been working very closely with Adobe to reach out to the marketing community, in order to:

  • ask them what kind of things they identify as opportunities,
  • what they see as challenges and so on.

This gives us a very unique perspective to identify the operational reality in terms of marketers’ findings.

So, we have done a survey of 12 500 marketers, techies and so on. It’s actually the largest global survey of its kind. We also accompany that with a series of qualitative interviews to draw additional insights.

Agenda:

  • State of customer experience strategy

  • Importance of customer data

  • Control of customer data: compliance and walled gardens

  • State of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

PRESENTATION N°1: Sean Donnelly

Just for clarification, we will define customer experience as being the sum of all the interactions a customer has with a brand, and their emotional reactions to those interactions.

1. The accelerated loyalty journey

Importantly, first-class personalised customer experience is really important for sustainability.

So, marketers might remember the 4 ‘P’s: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. But this old model changed. Somewhere along the lines, marketing became very much just about promotion. Promotion isn’t good enough. We need to think about the wider customer experience journey across Google, Social Media…

the accelerated loyalty journey

Clearly, this really expands the role of marketing beyond driving intention to purchase. If you can get a customer to advocate for your brand online, you may be able to deliver him to this loyalty loop for ongoing relations with you.

Now, customer service is increasingly focused and accompanied by technology and data.

Therefore, evaluate if your marketing technology infrastructure is fit for purpose. The technology platform is viewed as the engine room that drives customer experiences and marketing activities. Whereas, the data is the oil that lubricates and empowers this increasingly sophisticated machinery.

2. Data is the new everything

Likewise, a big part of the marketing is the ability to understand and utilise data. As such, data skills are becoming increasingly integral. Marketing continues to transition from being an analogue activity to a digital activity with real-time data analysis.

a) Data and measurement

We can see that data serves 3 primary functions:

  • Customer insight
  • Tactic evaluation
  • Demonstrate value of marketing activities.

We have asked marketers to draw out what they are interested in and what they see as important.

b) The most exciting opportunities in 2019

  • Data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual
  • Optimising the customer experience
  • Creating compelling content for digital experiences.

3. Customer journey management holds the key to personalisation

a) Top digital priorities in 2019

Digital Trends 2019 – Data is key to creating greater customer experiences

There are 4 top priorities which are as follow:

  • Customer Journey Management: key requirement for data informed customer experiences
  • Targeting and Personalisation: right message, right place, right time
  • Content Marketing: continuing importance of creativity and design
  • Customer Data Management (CMS): convert data into knowledge.

Now, to achieve all this requires a highly integrated technology stack. So, the key  is to have a more unified approach to marketing channels.

Example: Unilever increases investment in marketers as it shifts from ‘big ad campaigns’ to smaller real-time campaigns. This results in the:

  • creation of digital hubs in about 20 countries.
  • recruitment of marketers with data capabilities
  • investment in cloud-based tools, in order to be able to centralise and surface data from more than 150 different data points.

Unilever example

3. DATA COMPLIANCE AND WALLED GARDENS

data compilation and walled gardens

As you can imagine, data management and data control are becoming more and more intertwined. So, here are some factors to consider:

  • Security: marketers and developers need to be responsible for the users’ data security
  • Privacy: GDPR is the beginning of an era where marketers need to be very careful about how they use customer data
  • Integration: continued efforts to centralise online and offline touchpoints (by marrying transactional data, sentiment data, social media data)
  • Machine Learning: turning data into insights (google analytics) and personalising customer experience.

Please let me provide you with few examples:

Lloyds bank identified GDPR as an opportunity to educate its email subscribers about the parameters and requirements around GDPR. They did this through an email campaign and  helpful pages using laymen’s language under their website. Following this re-direct of emails (bank statements and so on), customers have been very appreciative of this action. This is a kind of boost of customer trust and loyalty.

L’Occitane did a research into the abandoning shopping cart on their site. Essentially, they fired up a layer onto the screen. This led to an increase by 2.65 % of the conversion rate per visitor. It had a major impact on the bottom line.

L'Occitane revenue uplift

4. Top marketing challenges

Yet, what are the top marketing challenges organisations face?

Top marketing challenges in 2019

Here are the main identified challenges:

  • Lack of internal resources
  • Inconsistent experiences throughout the customer lifecycle
  • Difficulty in tracking marketing effectiveness and media/ad spend
  • Difficulty getting a holistic view of customers across all interactions.

Ultimately, marketers need to think about the flow of information through the entire partner ecosystem.

Withal, interviewees for this report identified issues with walled gardens, principally Facebook and Google. Marketers must determine whether the long-term commercial objectives are best served by operating in these closed platforms. Inarguably, these platforms offer only a bridged insight in customer data. This theme brought an increased attention on data retention of sharing practices of Facebook and Google.

5. Increased uptake of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

We can review on a broad spectrum and split it into two classifications:

  • Human-styled artificial intelligence
  • Task-oriented artificial intelligence.

How is the Artificial Intelligence (AI) being applied?

It’s been mostly used to analyse data. That’s because humans can’t analyse large amounts of data. Inasmuch as AI can mine huge amount of structured and unstructured data generated by campaigns and user interactions. This freezes up time for marketers to deliver higher value tasks.

In terms of analysing data, AI and marketing can be used to:

  • create unique customer profiles (personalisation)
  • provide relevant experiences such as delivering dynamic website content, based on personal behavioural data
  • generate content well to increase engagement rates
  • optimise intelligent digital advertising, based on buying history and interactions.

In summary, I would like to leave few with the following recommendations:

  • Educate your organisation about the potential of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning
  • Strive for integrated customer experience, marketing technology and advertising technology
  • Activate customer data on prescriptive and predictive meaningful analytics insights. This requires the right tools to compile first, second and third-party data, in order to enable that timely and personalised interactions. This can also improve attribution capabilities as well as leading to a better optimisation of the media mix.
  • Cherish your data as a marketing asset to the wider business. Be wary of walled gardens. By combining data from various touchpoints, you can create that personalised experience and a ‘single customer view’. Data must be fully harnessed and companies need to be able to access it without restrictions.
  • Keep pushing the customer-first agenda within your organization. It might also mean educating your customer facing colleagues about their own value proposition. You need to help them understand their role in the customer experience strategy, by empowering them to make decisions.

And now, I’m handing back over to Jamie Brighton.

PRESENTATION N°2: JAMIE BRIGHTON

At this point, we’d like to think what you can take advantage of in the digital trends. Now, I highlighted at the start of the presentation that we’ve seen things like Social Media Management, Video Advertising coming up as focuses.

1. Platform for Personalisation

a) 3 areas of focus for 2019

Digital Trends 2019 – Data is the key to creating greater customer experiences

Needless to say, Personalisation has come out as a key area of digital focus for marketers over the last 9 years of consultancy research.

However, I think it’s probably no surprise to see that Personalisation is again part of 2019’s priorities.  ‘Digital Transformation’, ‘Personalisation’ and ‘Having the right platform in place’ are key areas I’d like to concentrate on.

Let me give you an example. Harvard Business Review shows us that people organisations focusing on Personalisation have successfully:

  • reduced costs by 50%
  • increased revenues by up to 15%
  • improved their marketing capabilities overall within the business.

Personalisation marketing strategy

Often, marketers don’t know where to start due to lack of knowledge. Unfortunately, this is holding organisations back.

However, Personalisation really needs to start with people and process and technology. I’m stating the obvious but it’s really important to remember.

We, at Adobe, believe that there are 3 fundamental pillars to getting ‘Personalisation’ right.

b) 3 Key building blocks to success

building blocks to success

  • Data and Audiences: you need a data platform to understand who your customers are. Then, you need to segment those audiences and communicate with them via your Personalisation strategy.
  • Content: Once you understand your audience, you obviously need to communicate with them and give them the right content. So, having content and data together in the same platform becomes critical.
  • Strategy: When you have those things together, you’ll need to know:
    • where to personalise
    • how to personalise
    • what’s the right time within the customer lifecycle to put a message in front of your customers or prospects.

So, I’d like to spend a bit of time thinking about these key requirements.

2. Key requirements

a) Content Foundation

Content Foundation

Any platforms that you invest in should enable you and your teams to offer content in an intuitive way. The interface/environment should make sense to them to use and re-use core components out of the box (your sites, your apps, your general interfaces).

This means you can get time to add value, instead of investing in re-building, or re-inventing the wheel. Also, content you produce in your team’s build must not be locked up in the Content Management System (CMS) or HTML system (that can only be rendered in a web page).

Intuitive authoring, Reusable content, Content anywhere

We need to be able to:

  • syndicate content, whether it’s to affiliates’ social sites
  • understand how that content is going to be displayed
  • make sure it complies with all the guidelines for your brand
  • get content out to whatever channel/device your customers use to engage with you.

b) Insights

Insights

Insight manifests itself in a number of ways. Fundamentally, we should be able to understand how that content is being consumed. This will allow people who are building that content, to have all the data they need. This will result in informed and intelligent decisions about the next iteration of that content or the next campaign that they want to set up.

Besides, this also means that they need to be able to visualise where customers/prospects are engaging with that content through things like Heatmaps, Clickactivity maps.

Moreover, if you have already the data in a platform like this, you should start leveraging Artificial Intelligence, in order to detect abnormalities in the data.

This means alerting you to how the customer behaviour is changing, in order to present with potential opportunities.

This might be:

  • spiking customers’ visits
  • dropping conversation rates.

Then, you can adjust in real-time the experience for your customers, to make sure you are not missing out.

c) Personalisation

Personalisation

So, it should be very straightforward for you to create a page and an element of content.

Yet, within a couple of clicks, test that content and work out whether it resonates better with different segments of your audience.

Or even, use AI through Adobe Sensei to target individual customers within your customer base with the most relevant experience within their customer journey.

3. Unlocking the value in data

a) Move faster and smarter with an integrated DMP and Analytics

Well, I’d like to get a little bit tactical here. Often, organisations want to marry together their analytics platform with their Data Management Platform (DMP).

Unlocking the value in data: move faster and smarter with an integrated DMP and Analytics

b) How it works

This effectively means bringing together:

  • the first-party data (your owned customers’ data)
  • analytics tool
  • with the second and third-party data (available from the Customer/Data Management System).

As a result, you can get a little grainier about the reports/segmentation you are running on your customers.

How it works

c) Quantify value of 2nd and 3rd-party data insights

Next, let me give you a few examples on how it’s going to help you. Having these two platforms/pieces technology together means you can have a much better understanding about who your customers are and how they are behaving.

Quantify value of 2nd and 3rd-party data insights

Increasingly, organisations invest in second-party data, where there is a trusted relationship between the two brands and an overlapping of their customer base. They share the customer profiles within their organisations. Thus, they can provide a better experience for the customer in the long run, through better targeting of content and advertising.

That also means a better understanding of how your campaigns are performing.

d) Calculate media campaign effectiveness

It also enables to think about how we can use information from on-site behaviour to be more targeted off-site. These first, second and third-party data enable the use of online customer data and information, to drive more advanced targeting of off-site advertising. By using that information and surfacing it in the DMP, we can make more informed decisions about what advertising to serve to customers or prospects, based on that site’s behaviour.

Calculate media campaign effectiveness

Another idea is to consolidate online and offline data.

e) Consolidate reporting across online and offline assets

Through analytics platforms, there is the ability to import purchase history and behaviour in physical points of retail, for example. By tying these together, we can understand the impact of digital behaviour, digital experience on the in-store or offline experience, and vice-versa.

I’ll just call out an example here. A travel company is able to:

  • overlay destination preferences with purchase behaviour
  • see which audiences have a high propensity to book with this particular travel organisation.

That can be used to re-target individuals off-site. It could be somebody who has abandoned half-way through the booking process. That information can be used to do a much more targeted serve. This will get them to come back later and complete that transaction on the site.

Consolidate reporting across online and offline assets

f) Audience Analytics: Real World Success

Consequently, organisations are starting to take advantage of this type of capability.

Audience Analytics: Real World Success

4. How we can win a digital transformation?

McKenzie’s research shows they are some challenges to getting digital transformation right.

What is blocking your digital transformation?

The organisation fails when it is not making sure that organisational culture is actually on-board for the change they are trying to bring about.

a)The Adobe digital marketing capability maturity model

First and foremost, we, Adobe, believe that one of the best way to understand this, are to:

  • benchmark your own organisation and its competition
  • understand where you fit within a maturity scale.

The Adobe digital marketing capability maturity model

The Adobe digital marketing capability maturity model (continues)

b) Prioritise areas of improvement with your stakeholders

Indeed, Adobe can help you focus on recommended actions for each pillar and dimension via a workshop with an Adobe representative.

Any output of the process is a very detailed report, which shows you:

  • your current score for each of those 7 dimensions
  • any gaps between where you are and where you would like to be.
  • a set of recommendations on how to bridge that gap
  • where you can have the biggest impact with the most effective spend.

Prioritise areas of improvement with your stakeholders

c) Re-evaluate priorities based on resources, complexity and reward size

Furthemore, you can also apply a standard cost/benefit analysis to understand where are the gaps compared with how the spend is going to be. This wil make a difference to your particular business.

Re-evaluate priorities based on resources, complexity and reward size

Additionally, that helps with building a case within your organisation.

d) Build the case beyond Return On Investment (ROI) and cost-saving

Build the case beyond Return On Investment (ROI) and cost-saving

So, to wrap up, a maturity assessment will give you an understanding of where your strengths and weaknesses are. They identify as well the key opportunities you can embrace when it comes to people processing technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skyrocket your reputation and attract new clients by becoming your own publicist

How to rapidly grow your email list, credibility and visibility without paid advertising or expert credentials.

1. What you’ll discover:

    • Why  guest posting to media is a must for you NOW (even if you don’t feel ready)
    • Everything you need and don’t need to rock your business and life with guest posting on your side!
    • How to nail it despite your already packed schedule
  • How to level up fast by just being yourself, right now!

If you want to attract quality clients and grow your email list like crazy, you want to stand out from the noise! Make a big impact with your gifts and be discovered for your unique, personal magic…

Guest posting is the most low-risk, high converting way to, grow your email list, authority and business FAST…

2. About Susie Moore

Susie Moore picture

First of all, Susie is from the UK, lived in Australia and now living in the USA.

She used to work as a business developer and started working as a coach on a side-business.

Also, she would be reading lots of great content from blogs and websites. She was worried about how people would found out about her beyond the family and friends’ circles. A website she was paying most attention to was MindBodyGreen

As a life coach, she started becoming more aware of other coaches. She read a lot about coaching on that website and started submitting her first article to Mind Body Green. That became her very first guest post. She received nearly 4000 shares on her very first piece and got a massive reach with this guest posting tool. She became hooked.

3. How does guest posting work?

Susie Moore How Does Guest Posting Work

Basically, you submit your piece of content normally between around 600 and 700 words to a media outlet that speaks to you, that has your ideal avatar/audience reading it.

Additionally, at the end of your guest post, you have your call-to-action, meaning you are asking your readers to click to something. That can be your blog, your website, your landing page, your books.

As a result of your call-to-action, you will get all sorts of benefits such as increase of subscribers, one-on-one clients, social media followers, webinar sign-ups, sales’ page visitors, book sales, programmes and so much more. In fact, all Susie’s one-on-one clients come through referrals via her online contact form after seeing her in the media.

Using this guest posting method, she grew her email list by 29000+ subscribers in just 9 months for FREE (sometimes she was getting paid to contribute) and landed coaching clients at $1500 + per hour (with a waiting list).

4. Guest posting is the root of all the best publicity.

First and foremost, let me clarify what she means when she talks about media. Media includes online newspapers, magazines, radio, tv, facebook lives.

Susie Moore - examples of online media outlets

Secondly, there is another cool thing that happens once you start sharing your work and stories, influencers start to pick it up. They start sharing your stories because it’s out there and relevant as well as speak to their audience.

Susie Moore - example of influencers

But, fear not if you have a different background and no connections, this works for every market and media. Even being from a foreign country can be a real advantage to you.

5. So why should you be doing this?

Well, you get the edge because people know about you.

Indeed, it’s pure and simple: discovery, i.e, get more clients buying your products or services.

Of course, you get more credibility and authority from getting your name appearing in big media outlets.

As a consequence, you can increase your rates just as a matter of getting media.

Besides, more opportunities open up to you such as speaking gigs, bookings.

You also get an expert status and make a bigger impact. If you have something of value and use to people. It also works forever, since your articles live forever. People can discover you at any time or day.

Since she has had regular students and clients, she has refined this highly teachable and repeated system for guest posting opportunities and hot leads on the regular…

6. So, tell me…

Have you ever guest posted? Are you happy with the results? If not, why?

Not all media is created equal.

    • ROADBLOCK #1: I don’t have time to invest in this!
  • ROADBLOCK #2: I’m not an expert!

Think instead what you have to share and contribute to the world?

Here are a few topic ideas:

Susie Moore - ideas of guest posts

NB: Inside Secret!

Once you started creating content and getting featured for it, you get quickly known for your topic, because it’s the sharing that makes you an expert, not the other way around!

Susie Moore - Become an expert

  • ROADBLOCK #3: Isn’t it easier to run Facebook Ads?

Well, Facebook Ads cost a lot in the long run. Furthermore, with all of the advertising noise on Facebook and Instagram, standing out has become much harder.

Not to mention, you get more quality leads from guest posting than ads.

7. What you need is a process.

Indeed, this is all you need…

  • The best kept secret content creators know
  • How this stuff actually works
  • How to make it happen as fast and easily as possible

Now, let’s dive in the best kept secret content creators know.

Write like you are talking to a friend by using your voice the way that you speak.

Use short sentences, dialogues and share a message.

Finally, she shared with us her 5 time-saving media secrets to increase your impact (and not your to-do list):

Part 1) Pitch your existing content (or pick your first area of focus, i.e topic). Eg blog, youtube video…

Part 2) Write for places that syndicate

Susie Moore - places that syndicate

For example, Susie has a column with a website Greatist. This website shares/syndicates content with others. She never wrote one blog posts for these websites like WebMD. This is what she calls writing one blog post and turning into twenty.

Part 3) Share guest posts on your website or blog.

Part 4) Repurpose and share your content again and again.

Susie Moore - Repurposing content

Part 5) Finally, rock those warm leads!

Business Tips on how to use Video and Networking

I listened to two business tips’ presentations at the Local Enterprise Dublin City Women in Business Network on:

  • ‘How to use Video in Digital Marketing’ with Niamh Guckian from Go Motion Academy
  • ‘How to network’ with Melissa Curley from Social Bee

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

FirSt OF ALL, Let me start with Niamh Guckian’s presentation about developing a video strategy that works.

1. Videos create engagement

When doing an email campaign, research shows that an email with a video has a 96% increase in Click-Through Rate. Furthermore, videos up to 2 minutes get the most engagement. Additionally, 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others.

2. Other considerations to think about with video marketing

However, when you plan your video marketing campaign, you must remember to start in the funnel by following the customer journey. Next, you need to drill down with video content and think about which type of video content would suit your business most. Do not ever do videos for the sake of it!

3. The customer journey

Indeed, when doing video marketing, take into consideration the different stages of the customer journey:

  • Awareness – your product/service is unknown to your targeted audience
  • Consideration – your audience has found your product/service
  • Conversion – your audience is ready to buy your product/service. It’s the sale stage
  • Retention – your audience is ready/open to come back and buy your product/service again.

4. Who is your audience?

This is the key question you need to ask yourself.

  • Where are your potential customers?

Insider Business Tips: Statistics show that 88% of Business-to-Business (B2B) videos are viewed on a desktop. Consider as well if Social Media would a good platform for your video. Note that YouTube is very competitive.

  • What do they want?
  • And you, what do you want from them?
  • What are the others doing in the business?
  • Do you need a disposable content (punctual events) or an evergreen content (tutorials/explainers)?
  • Is your content relatable (not over-emotional)?
  • What is the story (curve)?
  • Is your content useful/educational?

5. Choose a video genre

Once you have identified your audience and what content to go for, choose a genre:

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

  • Ask Me Anything – responding to questions, providing an engaging expertise
  • Vlog
  • Video tour
  • Event highlights
  • Review
  • Tutorial
  • Explainer
  • Demo
  • Interview
  • Live Streaming

At the end of your video, remember to add a strong Call-to-Action by asking your audience to do something. Your call-to-action must be specific (not just ‘subscribe’) and get people talking/guessing.

6. Video genre and the customer journey

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking
Incontestably, each video genre corresponds to a specific stage in the customer journey.

  • Awareness stage: A video tour or a vlog
  • Consideration stage: Ask Me Anything, demo or explainer video
  • Conversion stage: Event highlights or tutorial video
  • Retention stage: Review, interview or live streaming video.

7. Video marketing campaign CALENDAR

In that regard, you need to know if your video will be episodic (occasional events) or if you want to stay in your audience’s mind (evergreen content).

Consequently, if you want your audience to follow you through, you will need to create between 6 and 12 videos. In other terms, you must remain consistent in your posting and sharing of videos. If you are short with time, you can start your campaign by sharing one video a week.

8. Other BUSINESS tips

Finally, if you are going for an explainer video, you must ensure it is animated and engaging enough. Other genres can be used for a more personal and authentic delivery.

Budgetwise, if you want to hire an agency to do it for you on an episodic basis, forecast a budget between 800 and 2000 Euros for several videos.

Otherwise, you can make your own videos with the following sites:

Then, let’s move on to the second and last presentation of the evening by Melissa Curley about small talk for big gains.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

1. Why is networking a key marketing tool for business growth and success?

Foremost, we need to be interested in and curious about one another.

Why? What matters about networking?

  • The creation of Like/Trust/Respect
  • The importance of conversation.

In other words, networking allows you to grow your social capital before you ever need them. It’s like a social currency. To be good at it, try to have fun at it!

2. What is a conversation about?

Most importantly, a conversation is a two-way listening and talking. Therefore, you need to focus on listening to understand, not just on saying something. So, to be a good networker, you need to understand emotions and feelings about words.

3. Tips to improve your listening

Undeniably, listening means:

  • Receiving
  • Appreciating
  • Summarising
  • Asking.

4. Preparation for a networking event

Still, if you are introvert and uncomfortable with networking, don’t worry.  Remember this!  Extroverts don’t always make the best networkers, as they aren’t always good at listening and connecting with the others.

Business Tips: before you go to a networking event, ask for the attendees’ list. This way, you can organise, who you want to connect with. This will make you more focused and efficient.

5. 10 pointers to a better conversation

Now, let me share with you a few tips on how to be a better conversationalist.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

  • Be present
  • Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Go with the flow
  • Have courage
  • Avoid engaging in conversational narcissism
  • Refrain from repeating yourself
  • Don’t get tangled up in small details
  • Listen
  • Be succinct.

6. Networking budget

On the other hand, 50 -60% of your budget should go into your networking. Likewise, concentrate on building mutually beneficial relationships.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

7. What networking is and isn’t

Thus, it’s good to be aware of behaviours to avoid or adopt when networking.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

AS A MATTER OF FACT, Networking isn’t:
  • Salesy/Pushy
  • Fake/Insincere
  • About shameless self-promotion
  • Only extroverts are good at it.
CONTRARILY, Networking is ABOUT:
  • Making connections
  • Gaining knowledge
  • Adding value before you extract it.

8. How to create an effective network

IN summary, follow these last business tips:

  • Do research about people’s businesses and follow-up
  • Keep in touch, nurture contacts through social media and face-to-face meetings.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

All in all, did you find this blog post helpful? Do you have further business tips or tricks to share?

 

 

7 Hobbies to Strengthen Your Mental Resilience and Lead a happier Life

Mental resilience

A hobby can be great for your mental resilience and health. Hobbies can help people who feel a little bit down and stressed out. Learning a new hobby has tremendous value because it opens up a new outlet to release stress, and when it’s done with other people, it offers a practical way to interact with other people and build a social support system. Here are a few hobbies that can give you more mental strength.

7 Hobbies to Strengthen Your Mental Resilience

1. Poetry

According to The Atlantic, learning to write poetry not only offers a unique means for self-realisation and expression but also encourages the writer to carefully experiment with the structure and function of words. This can help develop a more creative and critical literary style. When trying your hand at poetry, don’t be afraid to let loose a little and get a little zany. Poetry isn’t meant to be perfect, so have fun with it.

2. Learning an instrument

One of the best ways to overcome barriers that might prevent you from learning to play is finding the right instructor who can give you guided and applied direction. The chance to play and practice around someone else can help a novice such as yourself become more invested in improving. It also offers important social opportunities to make a fantastic product with other people, so try learning an instrument with friends.

3. Gardening

Large meta-analyses have used careful critical review and statistical analysis to demonstrate that gardening can have positive benefits on mood, mental state, quality of life, fatigue and BMI. The effort that you put into gardening shows pretty clearly, and the rewards are very satisfying. You may think you don’t have a green thumb, but try starting off with some small plants that are easy to take care of and move up from there.

4. Drawing

Research on the connection between art and the brain shows that certain parts of the brain are more developed in the artist’s brains. Regardless of whether you consider yourself right brained or left brained, you can work on developing this fantastic hobby. Drawing is a new way to look at the world. You unlearn how you initially view objects and learn how to capture an object, a face, or a landscape. Anyone who can write can draw.

5. Cooking

Start simple and learn easy skills, like filleting meats and vegetables, prepare simple soups, or cook whole-grain pasta. This can give you a better idea for things you might want to experiment with, and it’s a great way to heat up your social life with your partner or friends. Try hosting potlucks with friends and show off your latest dishes and recipes. You can find a number of courses online that can help you cook what you want to cook, from baking and decorating wedding cakes to cooking Thai food.

6. Camping

Exposing yourself to nature is a great way to help with mental illness or addiction recovery. Getting into camping doesn’t have to be a complex experience that requires you to sleep in a remote backcountry. Practice camping in your own backyard or area. Learn to set up a tent and learn how to sleep comfortably in a sleeping bag. You can also learn to prepare foods that you can make while outdoors and experience a comfortable fire. Set up a hammock with friends and enjoy the night skies.

7. Learning a new language

Studies have indicated that learning a second language can improve executive cognitive function. It also helps you understand other people’s meaning or intent during social conversation since you have to learn visual cues and body language. Learning a new language introduces you to new cultures and people and widens your outlook on life. It can be tricky at first, but challenging yourself is good for your mind.

Hobbies can be good for people who are dealing with mental illness or are on the path to addiction recovery. They allow you to explore your own curiosities and develop new skills, which can give you confidence and more joy in life. Try on a few and see which ones work the best with your personality.

About the author:

Julie Morris – LIfe and Career Coach

Julie Morris thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.

You can get in touch with her by email to: julie@juliemorris.org

 

What is a content upgrade and how can it impact your conversion rates?

What is a content upgrade and why does it help you increase your conversion rates more than a lead magnet? Kevin McGrath from Beacon will explain you this and how you can create it with Beacon tips and tricks.

But before delving into the topic, let me start introducing you, Kevin McGrath.

About Kevin McGrath

Content Upgrade

Kevin is from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Beacon, a plugin that can be used with WordPress to help you generate more leads.

He has a background in Design and initially ran a web design agency called Starfish for about 6 years. But he is now more focused on Marketing and Growth.

Through his webinar, he talks about:

Lead Generation

  • Every marketer looks for more leads to gain more clients. However, most people don’t buy on their first interaction.

Indeed, people like to do research before they make a purchase (web price comparisons, shipping rates..). If people spend a big budget, they will want to make sure they get it right. When you do your research, you want to find out things like: How does this company work like another business like mine? Can this company offer a solution to the problem that I’m facing?

  • As marketers, we want to help you with your research and also available and stay in touch with you through the course of that research.

We want leads and email addresses from people who are likely to buy from us in the future.

  • Better Leads.

Avoid having an email list of poor leads not interested in your products. This will be a waste of your time to target these people.

So, in order to get email addresses, marketers have been doing this for decades. If you give somebody something of value in exchange for their email address, they are more likely to give it to you. We can give something like an eBook in exchange for an email address.

Generally, when people offer eBooks, they do so on a dedicated landing page to offer the prospect a lead magnet. A lead magnet is essentially a downloadable piece of content like an eBook, or a whitepaper or something that is basically information-based that you are giving your prospects to help nurture to become your customer.

Now, there are two points in this strategy:

1. Landing Page

2. Lead Magnet.

content upgrade

The Problem with lead magnet strategy

The strategy is flawed. Basically, if you are putting a lead magnet up on a landing page, you are going to have to spend a lot of time preparing the content for that lead magnet.

  • Large lead magnet.

The lead magnet will have to be impressive and well package (100 pages long).

  • Another page to drive traffic to.

That’s a new page in your website. You are not having the benefit of, say, a blog post, that is already gaining lots of organic traffic. You are going to have to come up with a new traffic acquisition strategy, in order to drive customers to the page.

  • Visitors need to be ‘warmed up’.

Once your visitors get to the page, you are going to have to warm them up to get them to download an eBook and see its benefits. You are essentially starting from scratch.

  • Trying to appeal to everyone is another issue with this lead magnet strategy.

I’m sure, guys, to have familiar with various customers’ personas, various stages in the buying cycle. Say, you have 2 or 3 personas with their individual needs and problems that they want to resolve, each may be at a different stage of the buying cycle. Some may not know you at all and others may know you well and just need a gentle reminder note.

  • eBooks aren’t anymore the new kids on the block.

They have been around for a while and as marketers tend to overdo these strategies with this as soon as we see some success with that. People have become jaded with the overall eBook strategy and do not take the time reading a lengthy book.

But don’t worry, there is a solution to that.

the SOLUTION WITH content upgrade system strategy

content upgrade

A content upgrade is a targeted resource for individual blog posts.

So, instead of having a dedicated landing page for a big eBook type of resource, it’s just a bonus offered as part of a blog post. You will place this free bonus just after the introduction of the blog post in a centred embedded box for better results. If you click on the box, you will get a pop-up asking for your details. It will bring you to a checklist or short 1-3 pages long content.

  • So, a content upgrade is a short actionable download like a checklist or resource guide.
  • It will build on the subject of the blog post.

So, the blog post is the theory and the free bonus is the practical application of that theory. So, you are educating people with the blog post. They are already interested in and read it and you are helping them to implement the advice in the blog post with your download.

  • It’s just a simple strategy and that’s why it’s so effective. You basically capitalise on that existing blog traffic.
  • It is also very targeted as related to a blog post for a specific persona at a specific stage in the buying cycle.

After anyone downloaded that targeted content, you can segment them as, for example, ‘a copyrighter who is interested in SEO’ if that’s the blog topic.

  • When you have that extra information, you are more likely to sell and market to them more appropriately in the future.

So, they are more likely to purchase his premium products from him.

  • But most importantly, this content upgrade system strategy results in high conversion rates.

Your conversion rate is essentially the percentage of people that come to your blog post and give you their email address. For eg, if you have 100 people visiting your page and 10 people downloading your content, you have a conversion rate of 10 %, The higher conversion rate is, the more efficiently you are using your traffic. It means the fewer resources, i.e time and money, you will have to spend driving traffic to your blog posts. So optimising for conversion rates is important. You can generate between 5 and 16 times more leads for your business. It’s a life-long evergreen strategy.

So, why is it working? You are offering something is short.

  • It’s a short article. Most people are more likely to download something short as they have a short attention span.
  • It’s useful. It is directly related to the blog post to help implement tactical and practical advice. It helps reader getting closer to the goals they want to achieve.
  • Because this is part of a blog post, readers are already engaged. The next part is to convince them that you can help them further by doing the content upgrade. People are more likely to opt-in when they are already engaged.

People tend to ignore pop-ups when they scroll down the page. So, if you can include your call-to-action within the main flow of the blog post, you will see better results. I would say to use the in-line forms.

Actually, LeadPages did some research into the number of clicks required to opt-in. They said that the two-staged call-to-action is more effective/ than the single stage one and perform better in terms of conversions. So, if you show an email box with an input form straightaway, people will try to avoid it.

So, before we move on, I’d like to recap.

What is the difference between a content upgrade and a lead magnet?

Content Upgrade Lead Magnet
 

  • Embedded within a blog post
  • Builds on the content of a blog post
  • Is short
  • Is actionable
  • Uses existing traffic
  • Prospect is nurtured by the blog post (more qualified traffic)
  • Has high conversion rates
 

  • Has a dedicated landing page
  • Lies on a standalone content
  • Is long
  • Is educational
  • Has new traffic required
  • Prospect needs to be convinced by the landing page
  • Has lower conversion rates

 

Content upgrades should be part of your blogging routine and go along with it.

So, your blogging strategy probably looks like this:

Content Upgrade

What I’m proposing is that you add an extra step to that process:

Content Upgrade

I want to show you how you can create these content upgrades.

Beacon can help to speed up the content upgrade strategy for you. I want to show you time-saving tips to implement these content upgrades into your blog posts quickly.

Beacon Time-Saving Tips and Tricks

  • Set up brand colours. This is quickest overly most overlooked feature within Beacon.
  • Create a re-usable content library, so that you can drop in any pieces of content into any content upgrades you create in the future.
  • Create a re-usable template so that you can create your branding and keep re-using it, instead of having to work from scratch every time.

So, in Beacon’s normal interface, I create a workbook with one of our standard templates. The template contains a cover page, a short introduction, a worksheet with some questions to answer. This kind of school-like exercise helps people think about strategic things by working through the process on their own. The content upgrade finishes with a call-to-action.

  • If you choose that template, go through each page to see what you can customise for your business. First thing, you are going to have to change that logo. You will need to pick your brand colour on all pages to get the colour scheme in line with my brand. I would advise a more sullen kind of colour but there is no colour to avoid.

Obviously, that’s not ideal. So I want to show you this trick. It is buried a little bit under the document settings (4th icon down the left-hand side). Once you click on it, it will open this ‘default styles’ panel. You will notice that the colour template is set up for you. This means that if you set up your template colours, this will be updated throughout the document.

  • What you are going to find in content upgrades is that you may be re-using certain types of content in every single content upgrade that you make.

One example of that would be an ‘about the author’ page to give readers context about who prepared the content upgrade. Why should they trust you? The purpose is to nurture prospects into qualified leads.

Let’s create an ‘about the author page’. Underneath the first ‘pages’ tab, I’m going to click on the ‘Add New Page’ button. I’ll look for a text focused page template. I’ll filter that. I’m going to choose the two columns layout. I’ll include an image. It’s always good to add an image of the author. I’ll also add some information from social media in a headline box/card at the bottom.

Every time I make a content upgrade, I don’t want to go through all those steps each time. Instead, I’m going to go to ‘Pages’ tab, then click on the 3rd button down ‘Page settings’. Then I’ll click on the ‘Convert’ button under ‘Convert this page into a template’. I’ll save that template and refresh the page. So, next time you click on ‘Add New Page’, you will have your template saved if you scroll down the templates.

  • How to convert an entire publication into a reusable template. I want to show you how to convert a document into a template.

Let’s create a re-usable template as a starting point. We are not going to have a worksheet in each template, so let’s delete that. You can your logo/image. You will be able in a week time to save image library as well.

To convert this into a reusable template, I’m going to click on ‘Document Settings’ tab on the left-hand side and click on the ‘Convert’ button. I’ll give this template a name and save it. Then I’ll leave the editor, go back to the ‘Dashboard’. When you go and click on the ‘Create New’ button, then ‘New Editor’. This will lead you to the ‘Pick your Magnet’ screen to choose a template. Let’s say we create a ‘Checklist’, select ‘No’ to import content. Then, on the next screen for ‘Choose a theme’, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll find your re-usable template. Then, you’ll click on ‘Add New Page’, filter for the checklist and add what you saved.

Note: Some of the features that I did show you are Premium Features. The part where I showed you the convert templates (page and document), you need a paid account to use that feature. However, the brands and colours are available for free. To justify going for a paid account, you will get exclusive bonuses.

EXCLUSIVE BONUSES

These will be available to you if you upgrade to a paid account after this webinar (Kevin will be notified once you do so). For that, just shoot an email to Kevin so that he can send them to you.

  1. Lead Magnet Learning Pack is a swipe file of 13 content upgrades used on our blog to help Beacon grow to 25000 users. This is a good source of inspiration for a content upgrade to make. They are all different in design.
  2. Expert Audio Interview with Laura Roader, founder of MeetEdgar. Laura has grown to 7 figures business. She developed a software product that uses content marketing, content upgrades and lead magnets to grow her business. I’ll be sharing with you some of the strategies she uses.
  3. Free Beacon Template Design that I will personally design for to your business worth $1000. I’ll have a consultation with you to understand your needs (2-3 days work).

If you have any questions, drop an email to Kevin@beacon.by and he will be more than happy to follow-up with you individually.

To finish off with this talk, you want to watch its demo and presentation:

Finally, if you are interested in, you may explore these 30 Content Upgrade Ideas to Grow Your Email List (Updated).

How to Create a Stunning Short and Long Film with any Skills Levels

This is a guide for anyone who wants to improve their filmmaking skills regardless of their professions and levels.  You will not only learn how to create a stunning short or long film but also how to succeed in the filmmaking industry! 

This talk comes from a 1h webinar. I have transcribed its content in his own words.

The agenda points are as follow:

1. How do I get started?

2. Top 10 secrets to cinematic film shots

3. My 6 steps to making money.

About the presenter @parkerwalbeck

How to Create a Stunning Short and Long Film

First of all, I am 28 years old based out of Salt Lake City, Utah and I spent about 3 years working with a YouTuber named Devin Super Tramp. I had the opportunity to travel all over the world creating content for top name brands.

Some of the brands I work for during those travels include Ford, Champion, CityBank, Mattel, Turkish Airlines, Ubisoft, and many more…

On these high budget projects, I worked as a cinematographer, editor and even director at times. So, if you take nothing from this training, at least take away the confidence of knowing that the things I’m teaching you today, if applied, will give you the know-how to produce high-end video content for big names companies like these.

More recently I branched off and started my own production company working with some big names like Sean Johnson, Tony Hawk, and I grew my own YouTube channel to over 200 000 subscribers in just the first year. Creating content on my own channel for some big brand names such as LG, Canon and receiving sponsorship from companies like Glidecam, Zhiyun and Wescott and many more.

In a nutshell, I have learnt what it takes to create high-quality videos in a tracked high paying clients. I am super excited to share with you my insights right now. So let’s dive in.

1- How did I get started?

Secondly, I’m going to share with you my story and steps I took to get where I am today without going to film school.

So let’s rewind. Five years ago, I was knocking doors, selling network tv in the hot weather of Texas. I was absolutely hating my job and dreading getting up every morning to get to work. But I needed the money to figure out what I really wanted to do for a career. One night, I came across a quote by Steve Jobs that completely inspired me and changed my life. It reads: ‘Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.’

So, I quit my job the next day, drove back to Utah and started searching for my real passion. That’s when I came across a video on Youtube by a guy named Devin Super Tramp and I immediately fell in love with his style. He had these perfectly smooth shots, vibrant colours and moving music. This is it, that’s exactly what I want to do with my life.

I used my life savings to buy my first camera to buy a used Canon T3i, a Tokina 11-16mm and Glidecam HD 2000, totally $1,300. You need to be willing to spend money in good professional gears if you want to be treated as a professional.

But as soon as my fancy new gears arrived, I realised I had no idea how to use it. So, I spent the summer watching frustrating Youtube tutorials trying to teach myself how to do everything. I’m sure a lot of you have been in the same scenario where you spend an hour looking for a tutorial. Finally finding one that looks promising but it’s 20 minutes long and you are lucky if you get 30 seconds of useful information out of it. Huge waste of time!

But after 3 or 4 months of tutorial watching and learning by trial and error, I took my limited knowledge down to Southern Utah University attending school at the time. That’s when I had my first opportunity to create a name for myself.

The first event of this school year was that awesome Pink Dancing. While dancing with my friends, I noticed that nobody was filming the event. I immediately recognised this opportunity to pose myself as a professional filmmaker on campus. I pretended to know what I was doing and like I was the one hired to film the event. And this is a huge principle to my success, be confident! Take the opportunities that present themselves to you. Because that’s the only way to grow and get better. I often refer to this principle as ‘Fake it until you make it’.

I then took that footage home, editing together a video, posted it on Youtube the next day. Everybody started sharing it like crazy. Everybody loved the video including the administration who saw the video and pulled me in the office. They said ‘we love this video you just made, we’d like to offer you a scholarship to film the rest of our events for the rest of the year’.

Within a couple of months, I was able to make a return on my initial investment by landing a full scholarship and paid gigs around campus. But I didn’t stop there. A huge part of my success was continually learning and growing. So, instead of being content with my new found success, I pushed myself to the next level by upgrading my camera set with a Canon 5D M3, Canon lenses of 16-35 mm and 70-200 mm and a Glidecam HD 2000, totalling of $6500.

This new set up was a huge key to being able to take my next opportunity. About a month after buying my new gear, I saw a Facebook post by Devin Super Tramp needing somebody for shootings. I replied to it. He responded back ‘Perfect, see you tomorrow’. So I spent the rest of that weekend doubling as Devin’s arm model for his far cry treat video on Youtube. While I was working on the set with him, I started picking his brain and said ‘Devin, who is doing all these videos?’. He replied ‘You know what? I’m actually looking for somebody right now. I have been doing all this by myself until now’.

So I’ve sent him all my work and said ‘Look, I don’t have the most experience but I can promise you that I will be more passionate and hard-working anybody else can’. He asked ‘What camera do you shoot with?’ And for me being able to reply ‘the exact same gear you do’, it gave him a lot of confidence to hire me. But it wasn’t easy.

Following this, I started working for him for a couple of months working for him for free just to add value to his business. And that’s another principle I live by is ‘Add value first’.  After he saw the value I added, he hired me full-time and I was able to pay back my debts for my equipment purchase.

However, after working for him for 3 years, I left the job because I wanted to continue learning and growing. I then broke up, started my own production company and ‘full-time filmmaker’ class.

After that, I asked all my Youtube followers ‘What do you want to learn from me?’ I received two hundred replies, which I ordered them chronologically from beginning to end. Then, I set up a plan to reply to what people needed to know to become a filmmaker, even if they were complete beginners. For this, I spent the next 6 months to create this full-time filmmaker programme, 20 hours of content.

2-  My top 10 secrets to cinematic FILM shots

Thirdly, let me share with you my cinematic shot secrets.

  • Buying the right gear: what camera should I buy?

Well, it completely depends on what you want to shoot and what your budget is.

a) First budget range

If you don’t have any budget, just use your phone. Most smartphones have decent cameras integrated. I can assure you that you can get similar results to that of high budget cameras. If you are using your phone, make sure to use of a manual camera app like FiLMicPRO. It only costs $10 (17 Euros)  that allows you to manually control your image for best results. Also, to get smooth shots, I recommend using a stabiliser. The Zhiyun (Smooth Q) is a good option.

b) Second price range

You can get a DSLR for $600. The best beginner camera I recommend is the Canon SL2. There are other great options like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Mirrorless with 14-42 mm lens. But I prefer Canon cameras for their amazing in-camera colours, the superior auto-focus and great lens options. However, every camera manufacturer will have pros and cons.

c) Third budget range

If you have around $1000, I’d say look into a nicer lens and stabiliser for your DSLR. Lenses are just as important as the camera bodies. Depending on what you shoot, I’d recommend either getting a wider lens like the Tokina 11-16 mm for Canon cameras, a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 or a standard lens like the Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 zoom lens for Canon.

As for the stabiliser, I’d recommend a Glidecam HD-2000 hand-held stabiliser that helps incorporate cinematic movements. You can also get the Zhiyun Crane 2 for a similar price as the Glidecam.

d)  Fourth price range

For around $1000 just for the camera body, you can get a Panasonic Lumix GH4, Canon EOS 80D or the Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless. Each grade for different reasons like the sensor size, resolution, frame rate.

At around $2000, I’d say the Panasonic Lumix GH5 is probably the best for a quality image for the price. Or the Panasonic Lumix GH5s for 500$ more and few extra features.  For around $3000, I’d say your best options are the Sony a7S II, which is amazing in low-light for shooting events like weddings, or the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Both these cameras are full framed sensors, which give you a more shallow depth of field compared to smaller sensor cameras like the Panasonic GH5.

e) Jumping into $5500 mark, the Canon EOS-1DX Mark II shoots 4K at 60 frames per second (FPS) and has the most amazing in-video auto-focus tracking system on the market. Now if you have outgrown the DSLR world and are looking into getting into the higher grade cinema cameras, a couple of good options would be the Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro, the Panasonic AU-EVA-1 and the Canon EOS C200 EF. They are all sitting around $6000-7500. The next one up would be the Red Raven for $6000 body only, a type of camera used to film Hollywood films, like Pirates of the Caribbean.

However, keep in mind that it’s not the camera that makes the most difference but rather the skills and creativity behind the camera. So, I always tell people it is pointless to buy expensive cameras if you have no idea how to use them.

  • Choose the right settings: how to get a cinematic look?

  1. Shoot at 24 frames per second (fps)

This is what they shoot Hollywood films at and this is what your eyes are used to seeing when it comes to high-quality films. The reason is that it gives a certain motion blur that is easy on the eyes and makes it feel more like a film. If you shoot at 30 frames per second (fps), it looks smoother but it will make it look like more like a soap opera or a news broadcast. They shoot at this speed to make it feel more ‘live’ and less like a film. If you shoot at 60 fps you will convert that to 24 fps in the editing room if you want to create a slow-motion effect.

2. Picture profile settings

A standard profile with sharpness down to zero, your contrast turned down 1, saturation up 1 and colour tone up 1. These settings will give you a super vibrant saturated happy look.

How to Create a Stunning Short and Long Film

3. Auto White Balance

I highly discourage you from anything auto on your camera. Instead, learn how to use your manual settings. Every light source has a colour temperate. The temperature of the sun during sunrise is 2500 Kelvin-3500 Kelvin. In the auto balance, everything except the sun will look blue. To change this, go and set it manually to 6000K. It will warm everything up and make it look like a true sunset. As a rule of thumb, if you are shooting outdoors with direct sunlight, I’d recommend shooting between 5600 and 6000 Kelvin and if you are indoors, you usually want to be between 3200 and 4000 Kelvin.

4. Auto ISO

Furthermore, avoid using it auto. With this auto setting, you will either expose for the sky and under-expose the subject or under-expose the darkest part of the subject and expose-expose the sky. While choosing the exposure, use this histogram graph. It will tell you if under-exposed (left) or over-exposed (right). If well exposed, it will be spread out evenly throughout the diagram.

  • Get smooth shots: how can I get smooth shots?

  1. Good balance
  2. Lens choice
  3. The off hand
  4. The way you walk.

1. Good balance

First and foremost, focus on getting a good balance and smooth shots with your Glidecam stabiliser. There are 3 points of balance with your Glidecam: left/right, front/back, top/bottom. The top to bottom is the one people are struggling the most. The way to correct that is by having a drop time between 2 and 3 seconds (not too fast). The drop time is the amount of time it takes for the glide to come from horizontally to vertically. This will prevent the glidecam from swinging back to forth as you walk.

2. The off-hand

Secondly, the off-hand is the biggest key next to your balance. I personally recommend holding the glidecam with your least coordinated hand and stirring the glidecam with your best hand. Do not touch too much the shaft of your Glidecam, the less you will stir the glidecam, the smoother the shots will be.

3. Using the right lens

For starters, I will recommend you use a wider lens (16 mm). This will give you a wider view making less apparent when there’s a camera. As you improve, you can upgrade to a narrower lens (70 mm).

4. The way you walk

Pretend you are carrying a hot cup of coffee across a room and bend your knees to absorb your foot sets.

  • Create Movement: how do you make your shots look so dynamic?

So, here are my top 10 Glidecam moves:

  1. Push-in shot. This is the most commonly used for establishing shots like real estate, landscape. This is a great alternative to static shots.
  2. Pull-out shot. This is something to re-build something in the image.
  3. Parallax shot. This is the one I used the most and is my favourite. I move my body in one direction while panning the camera in the opposite direction. This makes you look like the subject stays in the same spot on the frame while everything else around them is moving in the background. It creates movement while focusing on a subject.
  4. Rise up shot. This is just going straight up.
  5. Reveal shot. That’s when I find something in the foreground to reveal something else in the background.
  6. Tilt-down shot. This is when there is something interesting above me. I use it to glide up against to reveal something else below me.
  7. Tilt-up shot. I like to use this for intro shots to establish a location in a video or to reveal a character to open up the scene.
  8. Change of focus shot. This is when I set up close to my subject. I start further away from my subject (out of focus) and move closer to focus on it (into focus).
  9. Tracking shot. Lead tracking, follow-tracking, sidetracking.
  10. Transition move shot. This is where I use two different objects from two different scenes. I match the two shots together creating a cool transition making seem like I’ve been from one place to another by using something in my frame.
  11. Low mode shot. I turn my camera upside-down, stir my subject up against the sky and giving a fresh new perspective.
  • Create depth: what aperture should I shoot at?

In this regard, I personally like filming at aperture 2.8 or lower for most things. The reason being is when you use a low aperture; it knocks the background out of focus and gives a shallow depth of field. This helps the viewer focus better on the subject as the background is blurred. It also looks more cinematic because that shallow depth of field is creating layers and depth to the image.

But, depth can also be created using foreground. When filming, I’m always looking for some foreground to glide up against to make my image feel more 3 dimensional.

Other than that, another tip for creating depth is finding natural leading lines, whatever it is around you, to help you lead your eye to the centre of the image.

  • Camera angles: what camera angles should I cover?

  1. Let’s start with the 5 angles they will teach you in school:

a) Wide angle for establishing shot

b) Long/full body: a wide shot that covers your subject from head to to

c) Medium shot

d) Tight/close-up which is usually just a face

e) Detail/extreme close-up shot which focuses in on a particular detail.

Of course, you can mix up those angles by doing low angles to show more power or dominance or high angles to show more vulnerability or weakness.

2. 5 shot rule covers 5 angles of the important action

  1. Wide shot to establish a location
  2. Front using a GoPro
  3. Top to give more perspective
  4. Side right in the action
  5. Back using a GoPro.

Then in the editing room, I can cut between the different angles and piece them together to show the viewer different perspectives. This adds life to your story. You can add some music to make your video look the same scene more dynamic and action-packed.

  • Perspective (lens choice): which lens should I use and when?

By far, my favourite one is the widening angle lens (16 mm) for wide group shots, landscapes, real estate to give an impressive look and close-up to action feeling.

The second one is the narrow-angle lens (70-100 mm) to create a better face-tight shot as it’s more flattering and doesn’t destroy facial features. So, when I’m shooting a wedding or a portrait, I always pop up on my standard 24-70 mm lens, as it allows me to get either the wider group in the image (24 mm) or the close-up spouses (70 mm).

My next lens is the 70-200 mm telephoto lens for the times when I can’t get physically close to the subject. I can use the zoom at up to 200-yard distance to focus on the subject (200 mm).

Now, as far as prime lenses go, I go for Sigma Arts series 20-85 mm costing between $800 and 1200 mm.

  • Focus: how do you keep subjects in focus while moving?

These are the 4 tips to stay in focus:

  1. Get a camera with a good auto-focus tracking like Canon for any predictable moving subject (interview/wedding)
  2. Set focus and maintain the same distance to my subject
  3. Handheld continuous focus pulling. I will help the glide shaft while moving away or closer to my subject.
  4. Use a high aperture between 16 and 22 mm so that everything stays in focus.
  • Polarisers: what filters do you use?

I rarely use filters and I’d rather use polarisers. Polarisers make your colours look more vibrant. This gives you the appearance of better dynamic range as it softens those highlights from the sun reflection for outdoor shoots.

At present, the polariser I use is B+W 82 mm HTC Kaesemann circular polarizer with multi-resistant coating costing about $140 depending on the size of your lens.

  • Lighting: how do you get the most out of natural light?

3 factors:

  1. Time of day.

Indeed, the best time of day to film is during the ‘Golden Hour’. The golden hour is the first hour of the day (sunrise) and last hour of the day (sunset) when the sun is low in the sky. If you shoot at noon when the sun is overhead, it’s much less flattering. The colours outside are less saturated. The harsh sunlight creates hard shadows.

2. Camera direction

Besides, I love shooting in the sun because when you use the sun as your backlight (golden hour), it gives you those beautiful sun flares coming in and out of your image creating a cinematic look. It also creates even more light on the subject faces (no squinting eyes and unflattering faces).

Now and then, I like to have the sun as a frontline source, it’s for landscapes. It gives vibrant colours.

3. Nonetheless, If you can’t wait for the sun to come out and it’s cloudy, don’t just put your camera away

For instance, for weddings, the clouds act as a giant diffuser, which softens the light and creates a more flattering look on people’s faces. So, just figure out to utilise the weather patterns to your advantage. For me, I use the rain and the snow in slow motion creating movement and epic look to my film.

  • Bonus secret: editing. What software? Editing tips?

The editing software I use is Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X. But I’m sure you want to know how to use them.

Hence, here are my post-production tips:

  1. Audio is equally important to display a good quality film.

Yet, do not neglect audio. Make sure you are getting close enough to the subject to make sure you are capturing a good quality sound. Also, the sound design added on top of what you recorded that will help everything come to life. You can use stock sounds. Throwing as many layers (sound effects) as you can to help your viewer feels it’s actually there.

2. Choosing the right music

My four go-to music licensing websites:

  • Premiumbeat.com
  • Audiojungle
  • Soundstripe
  • Artlist.

Moreover, be patient with finding your piece of music and picks one that helps tell your story best. Additionally, you can also use a list of independent artists.

3. Colour correction and colour grading

– Colour correction:

Within Adobe Premiere Pro, I use a ‘lumitri colour’ in colour effects. Next, I will adjust my white balance using my temperature selector, then adjust exposure if needed, add some contrast and saturation. And last, I’ll go to my RGB curve and create an ‘S’ curve to bring highlights up and shadows down. It helps colours and image pop.

– Colour grading

This will give your footage a specific look or feel. You can do so again within the ‘creative lumitri colours’. These are basically colour grading presets you can choose from to give a look that fits your story. One of the most popular colours grading out there are:

The Orange and Teal look or the Blockbuster look or the Flat Profile or Brown Aqua RMN, Brown Aqua RMN.

Though,  remember, practice makes perfect!

Now, I’d like to talk about how to make money within the film industry.

3- My 6 steps to making money

a) Video Revolution for brands to promote their products:

– Youtube/ Webcam/ Drones…

– Digital Ad Revenue: $9 billion in 2016.

b) Furthermore,  you can set up into any of these film industries. Likewise, there is plenty of variety.

– Events

– Corporate

– Travel

– Independent films

– Luxury Real Estate

– Weddings

– Actions/Sports

– Documentaries

– Business Commercials.

Consequently, don’t give out your dreams because you feel you are too late in the game and the market is over-saturated. There is plenty of work to go around for everybody!

c) Last but not least, here are my 6 steps to making money:

– Invest in yourself: gear, education and time

– Master your skills: what separates you?

– Build a portfolio

– Market yourself

– Build relationships

– Add value first/free to fee: start working for free and then get charged for your work. Do negotiate to be paid at the right price.

Finally, for those who prefer watching a video over reading, please find his webinar below.

To close the topic, do you have any questions? Is there anything you would like me to clarify?