Having Confidence With Your Multi Media
Whenever you put yourself out there online, you start to realize that there are eyes and ears turning your way and it can get pretty daunting to force yourself to use new media elements.
It was a good two years before I ever even considered using video marketing as a tool even after my mentor urged me to move into this trend. Once I got the hang of it, it wound up being no big deal, but there were times I felt so nervous I wanted to just pass out.
Audio wasn’t any easier. My Texas twang paired with a bunch of teleseminars made my hands shake and my heart race.
And even though many say I’m a great writer, I wasn’t confident in my text until I had gone through the scared stage and gotten lots of feedback from my target audience.
Feeling Confident With Your Text
More than any other medium, you’ll probably be using text-based content to attract people to your online offers. This is frightening for those of you who don’t feel like your writing skills are up to snuff.
The problem is, many people are still stuck in the high school or college mindset, worrying about how to write in proper English for a letter grade. That’s not at ALL what online writing is judged on.
Online content is mostly judged on whether or not you can connect with your audience and that’s done through personality, not proper sentence structure. For some people, it will be there are always the persnickety people who require perfection, but not most.
When I first started writing for clients online, one of the gurus I worked for came back and told me my eBook was great, but too stuffy. I was writing like I would for a college professor, not for someone like you and me looking for information online.
Some people have taught that you have to dumb things down to an 8th grade level. Don’t try so hard to focus on that. If you stay conversational, it’ll happen naturally for you.
Let’s go over the various text-based content and what you can do to make a connection with your target audience.
Blogs are where you will be building a home and a family of loyal readers. This is where you want your most personal writing to reside. It can still be about business or whatever niche topic you’re teaching, but it should sound like a real person is behind the writing it should never be a sterile article you paid someone else to write that lacks any injection of your personality into it.
The important question is: How do you have confidence in blogging? It helps me to view the blog as my home. People who land on a site that I own are my guests. I’m in charge of the atmosphere (Kumbaya, hostile, etc.), what gets served (as far as content and ads), and so on.
If I know I’m in control, then nobody can push me around. Some bloggers like to screen comments and moderate what gets posted that might help you. I personally don’t mind if someone disagrees with me, so I’ll let it through.
Ask yourself what worries you about blogging. Is it that you think no one will care what you write? Okay, so if that’s the reality, you have nothing to worry about you’ll only be blogging for yourself.
Is it that you think people will call you an idiot? Maybe. They’ve certainly called me a few names here and there but I don’t know these people who aren’t regulars, so my opinion of them is non-existent. I don’t care what they think.
If your facts are wrong, then that’s an easy one to solve get out there and put some elbow grease into your research. If it’s that no one visits your blog, then I have a few simple tips to help you get visitors:
Blog frequently, like daily. Use keywords in your titles at first. Later you won’t have to when Google’s popping in every five minutes to see if you have something new. Basically, let people know what the post is about that’s more important than keywords. Don’t be vague in titles.
Interact with your readers, too. I see some blogs where the blogger puts his or her content out there and then disappears until the next post. If people are commenting, interact with them!
To not do that is like opening your door for a party and when people enter, instead of greeting them, you go up to your room for the rest of the night. It makes no sense.
The more you blog, the more comfortable you’ll get. If you don’t know what to blog about, then get out there and start researching. Look at keyword lists, forum posts, Twitter, bookstores and see what people want to know about the topic.
Be opinionated, too. Nobody likes a fence sitter. It doesn’t mean you have to be rude. You can be as sweet as you want, but let people know where you stand on the topic.
2. Email Autoresponders
There’s emphasis on personalization again something too few marketers do and I hate it! I resent being treated like a cow you’re trying to milk if I’m on your list. You need to let me get to know you, share some real life stuff, be friendly and lay off the canned, sterile messages.
Having confidence with email autoresponders is going to depend on whether or not you have anyone sign up and how you respond to people who unsubscribe to you.
I will admit I’m a big old crybaby when it comes to unsubscribes. Not the hateful people they’re just ridiculous and I can’t wait to ban them from my list for good (including all my shopping carts).
The ones that make me sad are when someone emails me and I know who they are and I have a connection to them, but they’re leaving me for some reason. I don’t ever take it personally if it’s something like they’re getting out of online marketing, but if it’s because they don’t want to hear from me every day, or they didn’t like my attitude about something, then yes, I get upset.
Still, I get over it. I may not have thick skin initially, but I also know I’ve worked too hard to build this business to let a few people’s personal preferences break me down especially when so many others are content with what I do.
Your list is going to rise and fall over time. I might have 9,000 subscribers one day and 8,880 the next. Oh well. People leave for various reasons. Some leave the niche, some flat out don’t like you, some prefer to visit your blog rather than have their inbox muddied with emails.
Don’t worry about it as long as the end result is that over time, your list continues growing. You can also have the courage to ask your readers what they feel you do right versus what you do wrong.
Here are my best tips for email marketing:
- Email regularly that could be daily, three times a week, weekly, or biweekly. Whatever suits your audience is perfect. But don’t go too long without emailing them because then they’ll reply saying, ‘Who are you and why are you contacting me?’ They will have forgotten they even signed up to your list.
- Be personal – a short paragraph about something funny, sad whatever. Just show them a little of the real you. Don’t always be selling. Mix in some thoughtful emails or tip emails with those selling ones.
- Invite your list to reply. My subscribers know this email relationship is a two way street. Most marketers unfortunately don’t feel this way they couldn’t care less if they ever heard from you. I do. I want to know if you’re going through something and want me to keep you in my thoughts or if you had a breakthrough and need someone to share the excitement with, since sometimes our families don’t ‘get it.’
One other tip you can do your emails one of two ways. You can create follow ups that let you set and forget your email correspondence, which may ease your mind on a regular basis if you get nervous about it.
Or you can create broadcast emails where they’re sent out once to whoever is on your list at that time. To me, this enables you to focus on current trends and news, so nothing becomes outdated, but it also means you have to be on your toes about communicating, which can rattle some people’s nerves.
3. Social Networks
These include Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Forums and everything in between. With social networks, you need to participate, but if you’re not feeling confident in it, it can hinder the way you join in.
Part of the confidence obstacles stem from a lack of understanding how the site actually works. People get frustrated and have no idea how to post, what they’re allowed to post, and so on.
So start by reading the rules, by going over any instructions you can find online. Look for etiquette rules on the various social networks. For example, you can type in ‘Twitter etiquette’ and see what people recommend.
One thing I’ve seen happen a lot is someone new to a social network scene do something the wrong way and get blasted by seasoned users. That embarrasses the newcomer and they leave humiliated.
Once you know how the site works, dip your toes in. Don’t flood ANY social network whether it’s a forum or a stream. People will attack you if you show up out of nowhere and begin overpowering the conversation.
Gain confidence by watching how your peers interact with one another. It’s important to fit in. It doesn’t mean you have to be clone it’s certainly good to stand out but you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb, either.
4. Information Products
Do you lack confidence in creating your own info products? That might be a ClickBank eBook or something you create for Kindle. The most common fear I hear is, ‘Why would anyone listen to me?’
Well why wouldn’t someone listen to you? Are you a liar or are you doing something seedy like giving advice you really don’t understand?
If so, stop that!
As long as you follow a sound moral compass and do your best and try to deliver quality information that you believe in, you’re okay. There will be an audience for you along the way.
If your lack of confidence stems from not being an expert, that’s okay! Be someone who gathers good information to share with an audience. I got my start that way. People are short on time, and they appreciate anyone who can put out a good product of sound advice on a topic.
If you worry about the product’s quality in regards to basics like spelling, grammar and flow then go ahead and write it and then hire an editor online to help you streamline it for a mass target audience.
It’s funny the one place I see people being OVERLY confident is in their graphics for their info products. The poor things think they have good enough graphic skills, but they’re really putting out what appears to be an amateurish product.
It’s okay if you lack confidence in an area when it’s for a valid reason and it’s even smart to save up and outsource in those situations rather than spend a huge amount of time on a learning curve trying to master it.
5. Sales Copy
This type of content used to intimidate me a lot. Then I got hired by clients to write their sales copy and they would send me to someone else’s sales copy and say, ‘Write it like that.’
What helps is to look at the layout of someone else’s sales copy that you admire. Write yourself a script like this:
Benefit bullet points
That way you can just go over each element and fill in something to reflect your product.
What I do now that I do have confidence in my own sales copy abilities is go through and think of what I do and don’t like about other people’s copy whenever I consider buying something.
For example, I hate video sales letters with no pause or rewind or forward button. Especially those that don’t show me how long the video is.
Give yourself permission to tweak anyone else’s use of sales copy to suit your own needs. For example, with the video sales letter, I realized that if I use video, I like to have text along with it.
It goes over amazingly well with my site visitors because they’re given a choice. Try to remember that all sales copy can be changed. Nothing is set in stone and you should be split testing. Test one headline against another, then every element on your sales copy.
Most of all, when it comes to writing any content online you have practice. David Lee Roth sang, ‘The more you do it, the less you fall down.’ Now I won’t speculate what he was talking about but when it comes to writing, it’s the truth.
Writing improves with practice.
You also want to become well read. You write better if you read more and see other people’s writing more. Read books for the niche you’re in. See how others connect to their audience and you can adopt some of the same practices.
Slow down, but not too much. Rushing your writing isn’t going to do anyone any favors. But neither is procrastinating. There are people out there who need what you have to offer. Someone is suffering or confused or anxious to find a solution and you hold the key if you can type it out and get it in front of them.
You’re also going to build confidence once you start getting feedback from other people. If the feedback is positive, keep doing what you’re doing. If someone says they dislike your writing, then chances are they’re going to tell you why they don’t like it.
If it’s one person’s opinion, then oh well. Their loss. But if a slew of comments come in saying your content is sloppy or confusing or not helpful, then work on your craft get some non fiction writing courses if you need to and build confidence through learning and implementing tips.
Gaining Confidence in Your Audio Productions
Another media format you might be using online is audio. I went from text to audio for a very short time and then on to video. Audio really doesn’t do it for me but it does for a lot of people who take their time spent working out or running or commuting and put it to good use with a headset and an MP3 player.
I hated being on audio at first. These gurus would call me and do teleseminars with their lists whenever my Squidoo course came out. I hated it because I thought people would react negatively to my Southern accent.
They didn’t. They loved it. I then felt at ease.
I have stumbled with my audio from time to time, anyway. It never bothered me until after the fact, and then I was annoyed that I couldn’t go back and fix things.
If you’re nervous about making an audio eBook or podcast, then take time to make sure everything is set up as it should be.
One big mistake I made a long time ago was in using a cheap microphone. Now, if I do anything with audio, I get a good microphone headset so that my recordings are clear and don’t have a hollow or staticy sound.
Another mistake I made was in not realizing what noises are naturally around me. I’ve made audio where you hear my air conditioner fan blowing more than you hear me. In some audio files, my husband can be heard cursing at the TV when the Jets were losing.
At times, I didn’t realize I kept clearing my throat or sniffing when I had a cold. And don’t even get me started on how many times my microphone was too close to my mouth so it sounded like I was sputtering all over everyone.
All of these instances were hideous to me so I can imagine how turned off an audience must have been.
As a listener, there have been audio files (paired with video usually) where I’ve had to hear snippets of audio spliced together, or listen to someone slurp their hot cup of coffee right in my ear.
All of these amateur mistakes can knock you down a peg when listeners come back to tell you how bad it was. But those are things you can easily prepare for and fix.
Where most people lack confidence is in knowing what to say, and worrying about saying ‘um,’ ‘ah,’ or ‘er’ too often. Those awkward silent moments where your mind can’t catch up to your mouth.
There are ways to combat this. You can prepare a script if you want to, but to me, it ends up sounding like you’re reading from a teleprompter. Some people are good at that, but most aren’t.
You can talk off the cuff if you want to, but if you realize that you struggle to keep the momentum going, then you might want to do what I do and give yourself a bullet list.
A bullet list that I prepare ahead of time helps me stay cognizant of what I wanted to say next. But it doesn’t come out sounds so rehearsed. Sometimes I do one-word bullet points and other times a phrase.
As you can do with text content, try practicing your audio skills on a regular basis. Ignore the internal ‘I hate the way I sound’ voice everyone hates the sound of his or her own voice. That’s normal.
Your mindset is going to come through on your recording. If you’re nervous, it’ll sound shaky. If you’re confident, that will come through. So if you have to record it a dozen times until it becomes old hat to you, do it.
Video Confidence Tips
What makes you nervous about making online videos? For me, it was being fat or not having one of those beachfront condo views that some of the gurus were shooting from.
What I realize now is oh well.
Make that your motto, okay? I actually had someone unsubscribe from my list because she didn’t like my ugly brown couch pillow in my videos.
To me, this doesn’t shoot a hole through my confidence it makes me realize there’s a seriously disturbed person who would rather look at the color and style of couch pillows than gain any insight from what I’m teaching.
You’re never going to please everyone. But there are a few things you can do to make the process less nerve-wracking.
First, if you worry about your looks, get as spiffed up as you can for yourself. Don’t wear a dirty t-shirt and leave your hair messy if you’re later going to complain about your looks.
If you really think about it, very few people are absolute knockouts and the ones who are aren’t in our local neighborhoods. Everyone’s pretty average, and most aren’t even that. It’s okay to have imperfections.
I feel them, believe me. I can’t stand it when I make a video and I realize I forgot to color the roots of my hair. Or I zero in on that one tooth that sticks out but again, so what?
I’m not making a video on how to be a beautiful person like me. No, my video is about marketing. Marketing has nothing to do with looks unless that’s a strategy you’re teaching, which I’m not.
What if it’s not looks for you, but just nerves that people are watching you in your video?
That’s okay. If you don’t have a big following, then nobody’s looking. And if they are, they’re probably tuning in because they want to learn about the topic. Now does this mean you won’t have haters?
Oh we all do. They’re called trolls and they go around the Internet looking for ways to cyber bully people. I’ve been told to get off the computer and hop on the treadmill. I’ve been told to stop wearing cakeup (too much makeup).
Stuff that would have hurt when I was child now only makes me look at the other person in disgust. Who gets off on cyber bullying? Kids and adults, too unfortunately both males and females.
It’s pretty pathetic, so you just have to suck it up and brace yourself for it. Turn off comment abilities if it helps save you some hurt.
There are some simple video tips you can follow to help calm your fears about video marketing. As with audio, you want to move through your content without pauses and stumbling, so use a bullet point list again if you want to. It will show if your eyes are obviously reading from a script.
Give yourself some pleasant surroundings and lighting. While I might offend an occasional weirdo with my brown pillows, I want my surroundings to be comfortable so I’m not fidgeting online.
My big, brown comfy couch is just right for me. Find a place where you’re comfortable. That might be outside on your patio but use common sense. If you live in the desert and it’s 114 degrees outside, you don’t want to be dripping sweat in your video.
Use a good video camera, too. I used to love Flip Video cameras, but they quit manufacturing them. Many times, the built in or attachable web cam with a computer produces grainy looking video, so avoid those if that’s what yours delivers.
If you have a smart phone with video capabilities that can help you make a decent online video with confidence. Set it at a comfortable distance from your face and just start filming as if you’re making a video for one good, non-judgmental friend. Video helps you make connections you just have to go for it.