Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 53 – Digital Main Street – Grants for Ontario Businesses

If you own and operate a business in any “Downtown” area of any city or town in Ontario, then you might qualify for this digital marketing grant called Digital Main Street. It is funded by the Province of Ontario in partnership with the Ontario BIA Association. It is pretty awesome because they are giving away grants called Digital Transformation Grants which are $2500 to do things like enhance your digital marketing and adopt digital tools, technologies and services.

What is really great about this program is that they have an onboarding process that will help you assess your digital marketing needs and put together a personalized to-do list to help you reach your goals. It is a requirement that you go through this assessment first before you apply for the grant but I think that is really key because money won’t make you a better marketer but having educational tools and resources, plus a solid plan, will make you a better marketer.

So who can apply? Almost any Registered or Incorporated business located in the downtown or within a BIA of any city or town in Ontario could be eligible. They have a full list of the requirements and eligibility on their website so I highly recommend checking it out at digitalmainstreet.ca. If anything, go through the onboarding process to learn more about what you could be doing to enhance your digital marketing. But do it soon because there are only 2000 grants available until March of 2020. So don’t wait too long because they’re going to be gone soon.

I will note that businesses that are ineligible are Franchises, Charities, or service providers of digital marketing. So businesses like mine or web developers, designers, social media agencies, etc., are not eligible. However, they do have a directory of digital marketing service providers so if you do fall into that category you can create an account and promote your services to the thousands of businesses going through the program.

And there you have it. I hope that’s helpful. Be sure to share with anyone you think might also benefit from this grant and have a Happy Freakin’ Monday and a great week and I will see you in the next video.

Have A Great Week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 52 – 1 Video Every Monday For A Year – 5 Lessons Learned

Welcome to episode 52 of Happy Freakin’ Monday which means that I’ve been creating and posting a video per week for one full year. Ok, so not every video was specifically about marketing and there were 2, or 3 at most, that were just to say “hey not doing a real video this week...” but it was either because I was on vacation or that time I just got out of the hospital. However, no matter what was going on in my life I have made it a priority to post a video with the end goal of helping you be a better marketer. New content, every Monday for the last year and here are 5 things I’ve learned from this experience:

#1: It can always be better

This is something that I had to come to terms with early on in order to just get the videos out. In the beginning, I hardly had a plan, I just started with a basic concept of sharing marketing insights and knowledge as an Entrepreneur and Dad working from home. If I had aimed for perfection with those first videos it surely would have worn me out and I don’t know that I would have made it a full year. Instead I’ve looked at each video after the fact with a critical eye to find ways I can improve and over time I think the content has definitely improved. Little by little I’ve developed and fine tuned the look and feel from the camera and lighting to the background and wardrobe. By the end of year 2 I’m certain it will again look very different but hopefully even that much better than today.

#2: A Script Always Makes Things Better

I’m definitely not one of those people who can hit that record button and spit out a video that is concise, informative, and entertaining in a single shot. I am still working on my ability to be all of those things within a reasonable amount of time. Until that day however, I need to prepare ahead of time what I want to say for my sake and for your sake as well.

#3: Keep it consistent but mix things up

This seems contradictory but what I mean is there should be consistency in terms of your branding, your personality, your topics (which I developed over a long period) but also don’t be afraid to mix it up. For example, I’ve done almost all of my videos from my office except a few where I’ve done something different like my recipe for marketing success shot in my kitchen, or my holiday sing along in my living room, or just two weeks ago I did a vlog of my Family Day that was nothing like any of my previous videos. To me, the consistency is important for long term growth and development but mixing things up every now and again is a way to keep things fun and engaging for everyone.

#4: Audiences don’t build themselves

There is always more I could be doing to grow my audience, to get more people watching, I know that. I really need to work on YouTube the most and there are things that I know I should be doing to help that but it all comes down to a matter of time; how much i have to dedicate to this project. But again, if I aim to improve, little by little and do things like be more involved in the YouTube community or advertise my channel, I can continue to grow. I know I won’t have a million subscribers anytime soon but all I can do is work on producing better content and work on the little things that will help that growth.

#5: It takes a lot of time. More time than you think.

When I talk about finding ways to improve I’m not only talking about the content and look of the videos but also my own workflow to get them out. To give you an idea, on average I spend about 5-8 hrs on each video from start to finish. That includes scripting and writing the blog post, shooting, and editing(which I often try to keep to a minimum). Then I create 2 video thumbnails, one for YouTube and one for IGTV. Posting the video actually takes quite a lot of time as well. I post to YouTube, share that on twitter and LinkedIn, then Facebook and I’ve started using the auto generated captions which always require editing. Then I share that to my personal profile. Then comes Instagram which I’ve been working on a lot with a post in my feed plus a customized, vertical version of the same episode posted to IGTV. then I do a story to promote the topic as well. If I can finish all of that by 2 pm on Monday I’m happy but sometimes, as you may have noticed, I have posted as late as Tuesday once or twice or just around midnight was when I posted the Family day Vlog.

If you’re thinking about doing your own content marketing or video series, the best thing I can tell you is to just start. Don’t worry about making it absolutely perfect because perfection is often not sustainable. Start with one and try to make the next one better and go from there. The benefits have been great for my social media channels and brand awareness. Consistent content marketing is about building an audience through shared value and keeping your brand top of mind. So I will continue to try adding value to my content and making them fun and entertaining as long as I possibly can.

Speaking of fun videos, I have to say that looking back, my favourite one I think so far was my montage video. That one was a lot of fun to make and the end result was pretty ridiculous. What was your favourite episode or moment? What about that time my son puked on me? Wasn’t that awesome? Let me know in the comments below.

Have A Great Week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 51 – Ads from Nike & Tim Hortons You Need To Watch

Today I was just going to talk about Tim Horton’s recent “Legends of Roll Up” series as part of the “Roll Up The Rim To Win” Campaign but Nike dropped another new “Dream Crazy” ad, last night during the 2019 Oscars, and damn, it’s another one worth talking about. I mean, I don’t know that anyone will be burning their shoes over this one but It’s a good one for sure that you need to watch.

The Tim Hortons spot is far less serious but it caught me off guard. For a brand that typically puts out sappy, emotional ads, (don’t get me wrong, I often do like sappy and emotional) this one was different and that’s why I think it’s great.

The “Legends of Roll Up” is done in a mockumentary style that follows 4 “Legends” of the, quite obviously fake, sport of roll up the rim to win. In case you’re not from Canada, this is a campaign that goes on for the whole month where hidden under the rim of every cup is a chance to win a prize. If you are Canadian, you know that we take Roll Up The Rim very seriously and that’s what Tim Hortons is playing on here. They are poking fun at those people that we all know who might take it a bit too far. There are 4 videos, profiling 4 different people from the office rivals, to the grandmother, and a few more.

Here are all 4 spots in the Tim Hortons series:

Nike's New "Just Do It" Ad

As for Nike, what can I say? They’ve done it again. It’s another amazing example of a powerful script, combined with equally powerful imagery that just goes a little bit against the grain. What I really like about what Nike has been doing in their last two ads, is that instead of featuring obvious stars, they’re championing the underdog. Ok, Serena Williams is certainly no underdog, but what I mean is that they are telling a greater story of not just physical hurdles but social and economic hurdles that can make it more difficult for some athletes, and in this case, women in sport. If it doesn’t give you goosebumps, then I don’t know what will. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Have A Great Week!

Summer Baycation Tourism Video – Sponsorship Opportunity

BFresh.Media is looking for a sponsor for our "Summer Baycation" tourism and lifestyle video of Collingwood and The Blue Mountains. We have big plans to create a new viral campaign and you could be the headliner as Presented By.

This campaign is based on a proven concept that generated over 10,000 views in 10 days with our Winter Baycation video. It all started when our Newfoundland (in ten days) video had viral success with now over 585,000 views on Facebook. Because the video was just for the fun of it, we wanted to see if it were possible to commercialize this concept and repeat that success. Winter Baycation was that test and it was very successful. In 10 days it reached over 20,000 people and generated over 1,000 engagements from likes, comments and shares, all organically. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Experience The Lifestyle

So why does this concept work? Well it is designed to be fun, fast, and entertaining plus include lots of people and businesses who will want to share it. That’s the key. It is very different from most typical tourism videos because it focuses heavily on the experience in a very up close and personal way.

My only regret with the winter video is that we released it very late in the season on February 13th and within 10 days, our winter and thus the video views, had ended. So I don’t want that to happen again with the summer version. Which means the clock is ticking and we will aim to shoot mid June to get the video out by early July when summer holidays are in full swing.

OUR GOAL IS 100,000 FACEBOOK VIEWS

Who Are We Looking For?

We want to connect with a business who understands the value of sponsorship and brand advertising and we will work with you to ensure you have lots of coverage and final approval before the video goes out. So obviously a Tourism Association, a Real Estate office, or a Resort might be a good fit but if you think your business would benefit, we want to talk... and soon.

Sponsorship Fee - $3,500 (+HST)

The sponsorship approach is a way to have a video produced for a fraction of the price. Consider how much time and energy goes into a 4 day shoot and then a massive edit that consists of hundreds of clips. Not to mention the pre-production scheduling and planning that it takes to actually put this together. To purchase full copyright ownership of this video is $10,000. Which is a possibility too but potentially out of range for many local businesses. So the sponsorship is a way to cover our costs while you get the benefit of attaching your brand to a (proven) successful viral video.

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 6 – Promoting Others

Promoting others in your marketing? I know that sounds completely contradictory to the very definition of Marketing but hear me out. I’m not saying go out and get a billboard for your competitor, no I’m talking about a really simple way to get social on social media.

When it comes to Content Marketing specifically, it shouldn’t always be about you. Finding any excuse to talk about and then most importantly tag other businesses or people is a great strategy that has worked really well for us. The tagging is important because if you don’t do that then they may never even know you mentioned them.

I first started doing this when shooting travel videos and tagging businesses that were featured because if they are featured in a positive way, then they have a direct interest in sharing it and seeing it do well.

The same goes for pretty much any other business as well. Giving a positive and sincere testimonial to another business is a potential way to branch out to new audiences. Not to mention, if you do it in a way that is relevant and valuable to your own audience then you’re still providing great content that they can use. What I mean by this is let’s say you are a handyman that does content videos with simple DIY solutions. Well if you mention or review a relevant product for your audience like WD40 then you’re adding further value and potentially getting a share from that brand. 

Here are links to the websites mentioned:

  1. http://gerardbuckley.ca
  2. https://www.facebook.com/stylemeb
  3. http://collingwooddentistry.ca

In my video I didn’t focus on anyone relevant to my business specifically but used these as examples which could be thrown in as an aside to any other video.

Now I will say it’s definitely more likely to interact with smaller brands but just last week I tagged a camera in one of my instagram posts and that company liked the photo and commented, so you never know.

Well that’s it for me, remember to share the love and keep it sincere otherwise that’s just spam.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 5 – Content Marketing

Content Marketing. What is it and why does it work? Well to give you a hint, what I’m doing with the Happy Freakin' Monday video series is a good example. 

Content marketing is a strategy that involves the creation and distribution of valuable content which could be video, blogs, or social media posts. The key word here is value but that could mean anything from useful information to just pure entertainment. 

The goal is not a hard sell like direct response where you want immediate results. On the contrary, you want to stimulate interest and build your audience over time because people won’t tune in regularly if you’re just constantly trying to sell them something. The only exception to this might be a retailer doing product reviews where viewers might have the option to buy a product after watching a review but still, your message should be more informative than sales pitch.

So why does it work?

Well for one, when you focus on providing value to your audience instead of a hard sell it becomes more watchable and engaging.

Building an engaged and educated audience means keeping your brand top of mind and more importantly, showing up in public news feeds as people comment and share your content.

Being more engaging is especially key when it comes to Facebook because they have been making it harder for pages to get their content seen in newsfeeds. Which is smart for them because it just means that you’re going to spend more on boosting posts just to get in front of people unless you up your Content Marketing game.

It’s taking a farming instead of a hunting approach when it comes to your marketing. What I mean by that is that you’re planting seeds for long term growth instead of focusing on the immediate.

So focus on providing value instead of a hard sell and look forward to a successful harvest... get it? Still with the farming... Ok I need more coffee.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 4- Promote Videos on YouTube

If the only digital advertising you do is boosting your Facebook videos then you need to watch this. YouTube is an equally massive audience and promoting your videos is just as easy!

For most of my clients, navigating through Google Adwords to set up a campaign is not an option. Most business owners and marketers want a simplified solution to promote their material in an effective way. 

That's why I think most have stuck with boosting posts on Facebook because it is so easy. But there is a simple and effective way to promote your videos on YouTube and I will show you how. 

 

As far as I know, it used to be that the only way to get your videos to play as an ad before other Youtube Videos was through Adwords, Google's advertising platform. You have to set up an account and then link it to your YouTube Channel in order to build your campaign.

While that option still exists, there is another way to do it right from your YouTube Creator Studio. (basically just the admin area).

Assuming that you already have a YouTube Cahannel setup and a video uploaded, Just go to your Creator Studio and then select Video Manager. Find the video you want to promote and click the downward arrow next to the edit button.

This will show you a menu and promote is the very last option.  Once you click promote, you have the option of playing “in stream” - that’s before another video on YouTube, or “in-display” which is at the top of the thumbnails on the right.

Obviously in stream will get more views but users can skip the ad so be sure to make those first few seconds count. You can also set your budget and refine your audience by location and interests just like Facebook.

Anyway, that’s it for me. If you want a step by step guide on how to set up your YouTube ad, just YouTube it... I gotta grab another cup of coffee and get my day started.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 3 – Kids!

Apparently in Hollywood, directors often say, “never work with kids or pets”. When it comes to your marketing, the opposite applies.

Kids can make the most boring videos worth watching. Take for example real estate listing videos. A few years ago, there was an agent out of the GTA who wanted to switch things up from the usual boring video and had a young girl give a tour of a property listing. That video went pretty viral and landed them on the local news. How often does a property listing video go viral? I’m guessing not very often.

I’ve said it before that doing the unexpected is one way of getting people talking about and sharing your video. That’s what makes kids so special because they really do say the darndest things and they bring that element of the unexpected without fail.

That is why incorporating them in your marketing is just a stellar idea and if you don’t believe me then try this: Go to YouTube and search for “Buzzfeed Kids” and see how adorable they can be. Or how about just start typing “Kids Explain... “ and select any one of the suggested searches. Did I just ruin your entire day? Sorry but you’ll thank me later.

Seriously, there are hundreds of ways to bring children into your marketing strategy with relevance. Have them review products, they could explain complex elements of your business or just pretend to be your sales staff. There are so many ways for it to be fun entertaining and even informative.

So if you are interested in doing something different and fun with your marketing, think about incorporating kids. Those adorable little people can turn any boring subject into something worth watching. Include baby animals too and you might just win the internet.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 2 – Embed Facebook Videos

Welcome to my new video series Happy Freakin' Monday. This is my wake up call to kick your marketing strategy out of bed. Coming Every Monday morning, I will be sharing insights and marketing strategies from the comfort of my PJs. Grab yourself a coffee and settle in; it's gonna be fun. 

Today's episode is for those of you who have been uploading your videos to Facebook for your audience, and then to Youtube, just for the single option to embed them into your website?

While there are very good reasons to upload videos to both platforms, you don’t always need to do this.

Many of my clients have a much stronger presence on Facebook than Youtube and I’m not surprised. The business and advertising tools that Facebook has introduced and improved over the last few years have certainly put them strides ahead of the competition in social media marketing. So if you use Facebook primarily for your business and you want to track the success of your videos and help them perform even better, than this tip might be for you.

I discovered it over a year ago, but I only realized a few weeks back that most people don’t know you can embed Facebook videos into websites and blogs just like Youtube.

 

Like this!

It’s super simple. Just click the three little dots in the top right hand corner of your Facebook post and select “Embed”. This will give you an iframe code that allows you to customize things like the player size, controls and even include or exclude the original post.

What is great about embedding your Facebook videos is that now your website visitors can like or share the video to their own pages without leaving your website. They can also click through to comment on the post or to discover and like your business page.

The key here is keeping all of your marketing channels cohesive.

That's it for me, see you bright and early, next Monday!

Winter Baycation – A New Approach to Tourism Videos

We had a proven concept. Our “Newfoundland in 10 days” video has been viewed over half a million times and continues to perform (whenever people start planning their trips to Newfoundland) with extremely positive engagement.

That video has increased our Facebook page likes by about 330% but that is a very broad audience and where do you think most of those new likes are coming from? Newfoundland of course!

My primary goal with Winter Baycation was to recreate that same success closer to home, engaging an audience in the Collingwood, The Blue Mountains, and broader South Georgian Bay area.

The secondary goal was to try and monetize that model. The first video was just for fun, and once it’s online, noone has to buy it. Anyone can freely share it and use it to engage their own audiences which is what the official tourism board of Newfoundland and Labrador did among others. And that’s completely fine because all those views are counted at the source - the BFresh.Media facebook page.

So to monetize this we decided on a sponsorship model. The main reason was so that BFresh.Media would retain copyright ownership and therefore have full creative control. We wanted to execute our own vision and not let client influence pull us too far away from that. The second reason was to keep the cost more affordable for those involved.

The Georgian Triangle Tourism Association (AKA Visit South Georgian Bay) saw this as a great opportunity to promote their brand, our region, and provide value to their amazing Members by taking on the Title Sponsorship. We worked out a deal for exclusivity to feature members only which worked out fine because all of the destinations and experiences that were on our checklist were already members.

The result was another fun, fast paced adventure featuring real people and real experiences. For your viewing pleasure here is the video:

Winter Baycation Presented by Visit South Georgian Bay

The video launched on February 13th and was viewed over 10,000 times in 10 days. As of March 15th it has been shared 193 times and received 983 post engagements, all of which have been extremely positive.

Each participating member also received a short teaser clip to post on their own Instagram or Facebook accounts.

The video saw huge success but the only issue was that winter was effectively ending, something that was obviously out of our control. As of February 26th there was no longer any snow on the ground and we had been seeing temperatures as high as +15 for a few days.

While there was little we could do to get this video out earlier, it’s now ready for next season and that’s the good news. As we see all the time with our Newfoundland Video, when it’s relevant, it has just as much potential to take off as the first time. It might need just a push to get the ball rolling but all we need to do is share this video again next season and it’s sure to perform even better at the beginning of the season.

To learn more about South Georgian Bay and some of the amazing experiences that await, check out http://www.visitsouthgeorgianbay.ca

Thanks again to our amazing partners, we couldn't have done it without them.