This transcript is from Episode 15 of The Savvy Event Planner Podcast
To listen to this podcast, please visit: http://SavvyEventPodcast.com/15
Voice Over: Episode 15.
Announcer: Welcome to the Savvy Event Planner Podcast, where insightful tips, strategies, tactics, and case studies can help inspire you to engage guests and create successful events. And now, here's your host, Tom Crowl.
Tom: Hi and welcome to the very last Savvy Event Planner Podcast
… of 2015.
Yeah, we're not going anywhere. We have lots of episodes already recorded and raring to go, they'll be released every Monday as usual and we're already scheduled up into the beginning of March, with more interviews coming very soon. So we've got a lot of great content to share, a lot of excited guests. You want to stay with us. If you haven't subscribed already, please do. We're available both on iTunes and Stitcher.
Now, we're at the end of December, and December, for me, was a very, very busy month. I flew down to Florida to do a corporate holiday party, I flew to Wyoming to do a corporate holiday party, I was in L.A., I was in Virginia, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania. My routing absolutely sucks. That's the way I actually went to those. A lot of driving, a lot of flying, but well worth it. And I hope that your holiday event season was just as fulfilling and that you got all the slaps on the backs and the congratulations and the thanks for making people's holidays a little bit brighter.
Now, ordinarily, at this point, I would be introducing a guest, but today, with it being the end of December, it's just going to be me, but I've got some great content to share with you, and if you hang in to the end, I've got something very special as a holiday gift for you.
In episode 12, I talked with Christina R. Green about creating and repurposing content. If you didn't hear that episode, it's worth going back and listening. Then, in episode 13, David Spark talked about how his company creates “trade-ables” – and I'm using air quotes for that – but trade-able content to help events go viral.
Content is really king. It gets the word out of your event, it raises interest, it helps build your audience, and it keeps your audience's attention both before and following your event. And today, I'm going to be sharing some tools that can help you create content a lot easier. It's content that you'll be able to use on both social media and your website.
Obviously, before you can create any content, you need to have an idea of what you want to create. And for me, that research begins by going to the social media platforms that I want to use, and seeing what's out there. What are other people doing? What photos are going viral? What videos are going viral? What messages are going viral? What people are sharing, what people are liking – that gives me ideas.
Now, I'm not going to copy anything obviously, but you want to be able to take those ideas, find out what they have in common, and then start to build your content based on those observations.
The next thing you need to do is create your own content map. Now, I use something, when I'm creating a content map, that I call the wagon wheel. It was actually taught to me by my friend, Ken Groves. Some people call this mind mapping, but I like the structure of the wagon wheel a little bit better. It just works for me.
If you think back to the pioneer days when people were traveling out West in covered wagons, they had these huge wheels that consisted of a small hub, spokes that went out to an outer rim, and that formed your wheel.
So, I'll draw the image of the wagon wheel on a large piece of paper, and in the hub, I'm going to place an idea or a theme, and then on each one of the spokes, I'm going to write down something that's related to that theme. It might be a particular quote, it might be an idea that I can share. You'll need to go around and do this for each one of the spokes. And the more ideas that you come up with, obviously the more spokes you'll have, but the more different ways you'll have to disseminate information that's related to that central idea or theme of your content.
So, once you have this content map created, what do you do with it? Well, now's the time to figure out how you want to share this information. And you look at all your examples that you gathered from Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and all the different social medias and go, “How can I use this? How can I make this trade-able? How can I make this shareable?”
And keep in mind, that as Christina Green said in episode 12, you can repurpose this content. So, for example, if you write an article, you can then turn that into an audio that you read and share, or you can turn it into an infographic or a video because people learn in different ways. Somebody who may not pick up something from an article may see it visually and instantly click with an infographic.
Plus, you don't have to worry so much about over-saturating your audience, unless you have a very, very small, dedicated audience. Most people will not see your tweet. It only lasts for about 24 minutes, and then after that it's gone, and you can retweet, you can re-share the content that you create. However, you don't want to try and create all these different types of contents and burn yourself out. It's always good to focus on one or two, get really good at that, and then come back later and repurpose that content once again for your audience.
So, what types of content can you create? Well, that's what we're going to do today. We're going to talk about the content creation and I'm going to share some methods that I use. The first type of content that we're going to cover is actual copy, the written word. And a lot of people freeze when they think, “Oh, I have to write something. I'm not sure what I want to write.”
Well, first of all, that's why we went through and created the wagon wheel, the content map. You have subjects that you can talk about. But for some reason, getting it down onto paper can be very frustrating to people. They're not sure what to say.
Well, these ideas and these tools are going to make it really easy for you. The first is that you want your copy to sound like it's coming from you. If you hire somebody else to write it, it's going to sound a little different. And usually when I'm talking to somebody, that's the way I like to communicate or try to communicate in my copy.
Now, it doesn't always work, but the easiest way I found to do this is the speech-to-text tool. My Mac has a little button, a little microphone. I can hit that and I can talk, and the written words are actually typed out on the page. Now, I'm sure that PCs have something very similar. And if not, there is a great tool, which I also use on my Mac, called Dragon Dictate.
Now, you've been listening to me for a bunch of episodes. You know that sometimes I slur words together. It's my accent, it's the way I've always talked, and I don't apologize for it. It's me. But when you're doing speech-to-text, that can get frustrating, and Dragon Dictate can actually learn your vocal patterns, your speech patterns, and so it makes it a lot easier. And I highly recommend Dragon Dictate.
So, I turn on my speech-to-text tool and then I start talking about the subject on my wagon wheel. I talk about a particular spoke, and I'll talk the article through. Now, I'm not editing, I'm not trying to go for that. I'm just trying to share the knowledge that I have on a subject.
And I don't care about editing. Think of it as a brain dump. If you try to edit as you go, you're basically putting up road blocks, and it means that you're never going to get this thing done. So, just start rattling off the content. Rattle as much as you want. And then later on, you can go back and edit it, or have somebody else edit for proper English and grammar.
The copy you're creating could either be used as an article, like we mentioned earlier, or it could be used to sales copy on your website, it could be used as an email, it could even be broken down into smaller bites and used as social media. So, try out the speech-to-text tool. Again, it's something I love. It's made my life so much easier.
Another type of content that a lot of people love to share on social media – graphics. And graphics and pictures can be a pain. If you have Photoshop skills, it's wonderful. However, if you're creating something and you don't have Photoshop skills, or somebody on your team that usually does the graphics isn't available, I have a cool tool that you can use and it's really, really easy. It's called Canva and it's at Canva.com. That's C-A-N-V-A-dot-com.
Canva is a free tool. You can use it to create graphics, and it's already got built-in templates. You can create templates for you Twitter images, for your Facebook images, for you banners, for your headlines. Just so many different types that are already there, and if they don't have the graphic size you want, you can set it yourself.
Then you can either upload your own photos into Canva, or you can purchase photos. They do have a lot of stock content as well that's absolutely free. You can add wording, you can add little graphics and other images to your pictures, and then you can save them to your computer to share. Even people who have Photoshop skills are often amazed by how much Canva can do. And again, it's an absolutely free tool. It's online, and you should check it out.
Let's say you have an image in mind for one of your graphics and you want to use a photo, but you don't have it in your collection, and Canva doesn't offer it. Well, there are other resources to get photos. You can't just go out on the internet and download something. That's a copyright violation. So I use a company called PhotoDune.net. That's P-H-O-T-O-D-U-N-E-dot-net.
And PhotoDune.net has a lot of different stock images. It's a pretty amazing amount of stock images, and they're all really well-priced. You can create an account there. And I actually have an account where I leave money in the account. The reason I do that, that way I can just go over and purchase what I want, and buy it right there with the money that's already on hand. If you buy single items, they usually charge you a surcharge to cover the credit card processing fees. That's basically what that is. So I find it easier just to leave money in the account and buy as I need, and then re-stock that or replenish that as I go, because I use a lot of different images for my different online projects.
Another good thing about PhotoDune.net is they're part of Envato. And Envato is a company that offers all these types of things in different areas. For example, you can buy website themes, you can buy royalty-free music that you can use in your own productions, your video productions, or as underlayment for your audios. So, there's all different types of things that you can get by having an Envato account. Again, I highly recommend it. Check it out. I'll have the links on the show notes for this episode.
Next, I'd like to talk about audio. And MP3s can be used in so many different ways. They can be used as a podcast like you're listening to now, they can be used as a brief interview or a clip that you can include on your website, they can be downloaded. There's so many ways to share an MP3. One thing that I do recommend, if you're using an MP3, you don't host it on your own website because when people play that back, it will then draw bandwidth off of your site and it can start slowing it down.
For this podcast, and for small projects, I recommend a company called Libsyn.com. That's L-I-B-S-Y-N-dot-com. Libsyn.com hosts the audio file, which you can then embed in your website and it won't draw on your bandwidth, which could really slow your site down if a lot of people are listening to the audio.
Now, for audios, there's a couple of different ways to create them. And the first thing to keep in mind is, you need a good microphone. If you're just using your computer mic and you're talking into it from a laptop or a desktop, it usually picks up a lot of ambiance in the room, and it ends up sounding like you're in a can or it sounds horrible. The better microphone you have, the better the sound quality, and the easier it's going to be for people to listen.
Sound is so very, very important. And I didn't realize this until I was doing a project for the PI machine, which I'll tell you about later. But I was doing videos, I was talking into the Blue Snowball Microphone that was sitting on my desk, and then one of my clients said, you know, I'd like to have the audio for this so I can listen to it in the car.
And when I took the audio off the video, which I'll also talk about, I listened back to it and I thought, “Wow. What I thought sounded good on video really sounded bad when it was just an audio file.” So the better quality microphone you have, the better your audio is going to be. So, concentrate on a decent microphone, and I'm going to share some of those in the show notes and in the free gift that we're going to talk about at the end of this show.
So, once you've got a decent microphone that's attached to your computer, usually by a USB port, what can you use to record the audio? Well, the good news is there are free audio recorders available. On my Mac, I use GarageBand for something like I'm doing right now – just talking into the microphone and recording the audio.
You can also, if you're on a PC, use Audacity. And Audacity is a free program that can be downloaded, and I believe they even make a version for Mac. But personally, I'm a GarageBand person. And when you find one that works, just continue to use it because as you learn it and grow and become familiar with it, it's going to make it much easier for you to produce this content quicker.
Now, one thing I do want to tell you, as you start talking into a microphone, your first attempts may not be that good, but don't let that stop you because it's going to take practice, but the more you work at it, the better you'll get. And don't wait until something's perfect. It's always important to get it done, get it out the door, and then concentrate on making the next one better. The main thing is, always provide great content for the people listening.
Now, if you're adding music or talking to different people on your audio, it's important that you level the volumes. And that can be really, really complicated, but luckily there's a free tool available on the internet that you can download and level the audio so that you're not constantly messing with the controls. It's called Levelator, and I'll have a link to that as well on the show notes.
Levelator is so cool. I simply save the file from GarageBand. Then I have to convert it to an AIFF file because Levelator won't handle an MP3, but that's fine. It's easy to do. There was a free program that I found that did that for me, and I'm sure there's going to be some that will be there for you, and I'll try to find those and include the links in the show notes. But if you drag your audio file into Levelator, it levels everything out.
And when you listen to the podcast, you'll notice that I do that with my interviews, and that's pretty tricky because we record the interviews over Skype, which is another way you could record, and they sometimes come out at different levels. So, by running it through Levelator, everything comes out nice and even. People aren't boomed with somebody being much louder, or the music coming in too loud. Levelator just makes it all easy to listen to. So, those are some of the free tools you can use to create your audios.
But now, let's talk about creating video. First, I want to go over a couple of the different softwares that you might want to consider. I use QuickTime on my Mac to record from my webcam. You can also use Camtasia if you're on a PC. And there's also a product called Snagit, which will allow you to do a screen capture. Now, I believe Camtasia comes with its own version of that. I know that QuickTime does, but I prefer Snagit over the QuickTime screen capture.
What's a screen capture? Well, let's talk about the different types of video you can create. A screen capture is when you're doing something on your computer screen, and you see what's happening on the screen, the person viewing the video sees the screen. That's the most common use of screen capture, and it's often used for teaching software. So, chances are, you've probably seen a screen capture video.
One of the biggest pet peeves I have of screen capture is sometimes people will capture their whole screen and they'll be doing something, and you can't quite see what it is. So if you're doing a screen capture, keep your viewer in mind so that they can see exactly where your pointer or your cursor is pointed, exactly what you're clicking on, exactly what you're doing.
Following screen capture, the next type of video is called the VSL or video sales letter, and these were a popular way for online sellers to create and promote products back in the late 2000s. And actually they're still used to this day because there's something compelling about a video sales letter.
What is a video sales letter? It's on-screen text that someone is narrating. In other words, the narrator is talking and the screen is popping up the words, and the viewer just naturally follows along with what's being said. And for that reason, video sales letters tend to be watched beginning to end.
Slide presentation videos are also very popular. PowerPoint and Keynote make it very easy to create slides that are often animated, and you can use those and record them, and then create a video from that.
The final type of video that I want to talk about is on camera, and that's exactly what it sounds like, someone is on camera talking to the viewer. Now, there are a couple of ways to do this. First, you could go to the expense of buying a high-def video camera and going around and shooting people to put in the video. Or if you need to do something, what I call the fast, cheap and dirty way, is to simply use a webcam.
Now, the quality of your camera and your lens is going to result in the quality of your video. And just like with audio, if the quality isn't good, people aren't going to pay attention. So, I use a Logitech C930 webcam. It was, I think, just over $100. And they have the C920, which is a little bit older technology, but it still shoots in high def, and they're available for, I think, around $75 or maybe even cheaper. They shoot a beautiful video. They have a built-in microphone, although I still recommend that you get a decent mic that you can plug into your computer to use so the audio quality is excellent.
Things to keep in mind when you're shooting video on camera is to make sure, one, that you look good, that you have good lighting because if you have high lighting – and high lighting can be very, very hard. But just play with it and look at it and say, “Does that look good to me?” And if it does, move forward, and if somebody says something to you about the lighting, get their opinion and then make changes as you go. Remember I said don't wait for perfect. Get it out there and then keep improving.
One thing that you do want to make sure of is to keep your background looking good. If you have a busy, distracting background, it makes it harder for the viewer to focus on what you, as a speaker or your on-camera talent, is saying. If you decide to use your webcam to record your on camera video, you can either use QuickTime on the Mac or Camtasia Studio on the PC. Now, if you're using an outside video camera, you're then going to need to import it. And chances are, you're going to need to edit using a video editing software.
Luckily, that's not that expensive either. You can use iMovie on a Mac, although I wanted something a little more robust, and I ended up purchasing Final Cut Pro. I love Final Cut Pro for a couple of reasons. One, if it's beyond me to do something, I can always job it out. There are plenty of Final Cut Pro editors out there. Plus, I save money by doing the mock-up myself and then it makes their job that much easier. But, if you're on a PC, you can use Camtasia Studios, the exact same software you would use to record your screen capture or your webcam because it has a built-in video editor.
Now, I'd like to skip back a couple of minutes to where I was talking about the VSL, or video sales letter and I explained to you why they were so compelling. A lot of people seem to think that a VSL could be very hard to make, but it's actually very easy. You use the same software you would use to create a slide presentation video, which would be either Keynote or PowerPoint, depending on which system you're working with, either Mac or PC.
A video sales letter is individual slides where the text is on the screen. And you can create hundreds of slides to present a VSL, but that's time consuming. So, I want to share the coolest tip that I possibly can with you because you've hung in so long today. The VSL can actually be made, all the slides, in less than a minute. I've done over 180 slides in less than a minute. How do I it? Well, you're going to love this. Now, again, I work with Mac, but there is a way to do this on a PC. I end up using Pages, which is the Mac equivalent to Word, and Keynote, which is the Mac equivalent to PowerPoint.
So what I do is I start out in Pages and I use the template format. And then I can talk my script into Pages so that everything is there, and I can even record that message so I don't have to go back and do it again. In template, you then make several words a line. In other words, you're going to break your sentences down so that they're only a few words long – five, six, maybe eight at the most – and then you hit return for the next line, and you do this all the way through.
Then, you set up the font you want, and the size you want, and you save it. Then, you go into Keynote and you create your slide, your master slide. It's the same thing with PowerPoint. You would create your master slide. And then, you go into the outline layout, copy al the words from your Pages file, paste them into the outline and it instantly creates all the slides.
Now, that can be confusing when I'm explaining it to you on an MP3, on the podcast. You're going, “Oh, what the heck is he talking about?” That's why I want to show you exactly what I'm talking about on video. And in fact, I'm going to share with you everything that I talked about today for free. I'm going to show you how to create all this stuff on video.
You see, at the end of 2014, I was asked to speak at a convention, and my talk was about passive income for entertainers. Back in 2012, I think it was, I created an online video course that taught ventriloquism and it was very successful. I'm really blessed. A lot of people have gone through that course and it's earned me a decent income. And people are saying, “How could I create something like that?” And that's what that talk was all about.
Well, I started creating a product to show people how I created my products, and it was called the PI Machine, which stands for Passive Income Machine. Now, the PI Machine has not been a major focus for me. I've released two books on Amazon Kindle and I sold a couple of the modules. But again, it's not a major focus for me. My focus has always been on going out and entertaining audiences. But, I have this content there and because you're a loyal listener to the Savvy Event Planner Podcast, I want to share it and give it to you.
If you head over to the SavvyEventPodcast.com website, slash 15. So that's savvy, S-A-V-V-Y, for the spelling impaired, EventPodcast.com/15. The show notes for this episode are there. And at the bottom, we'll have a link to the PI Machine, a special registration page where you can go and create a username and password, and you'll have free access to the first two modules, which are all about content creation.
I'll talk you through how I developed my content, and then I'll show you how I create the content to distribute on the web. And all of this information will be helpful to you and your team, so that you can develop content to promote your events. That's my gift to you. My thanks to you for being a loyal listener, to being there, to responding to…for the ratings on iTunes, for the comments on the blog, just for subscribing to the podcast, I appreciate you so much. And I hope that you'll find this information valuable.
Folks, thank you so much for tuning in. I hope you had as incredible a December as I did, and I look forward to seeing you again, and talking to you further in 2016. Until next time, this is Tom Crowl saying, as always, I'm wishing you an incredible event.
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