CREATING BETTER WEB VIDEOS: 10 Tips from the Family Travel Conference

Posted by at 6 February, 2012, 5:18 pm

One of my favorite workshops at the recent Family Travel Conference was on creating better video blogs. Videos attract visitors to your site, and are great for search engine optimization (SEO).  Kim Orlando, founder of, and Kaleel Sakakeeny, of Travel Video Postcards, shared their best video-making secrets.

1. Gear up. Supplement your video camera/smart phone with a tripod to prevent shaky shots. Kim Orlando likes the Zipshot tripod because it’s lightweight and easy to pack. Also buy an external mike to improve sound quality when interviewing.

2. Dress for success. Solid colors are your best bet. Avoid wearing red or white, and small patterns, like polka dots or houndstooth. Be sure you stand out from your surroundings. No beige on the beach, or green in the forest. And accessorize with care—clanking jewelry can ruin your commentary.

3. Record identifying slates/tags in advance to drop into the beginning and end of your video. Mine would be: “This is Ellen Parlapiano for”

4. Watch your lighting. If you’re outside, you don’t want to be squinting into the sun.

5. Do a sound check to make sure you can be heard. “The wind is your enemy,” says Kim. If you’re shooting scenery or locations in windy conditions, consider adding a voice over later.

6. Powder up. Before going on camera, brush on some powder to reduce shine.

7. Have a hook. Start your video with an interesting lede—something that draws viewers in.  For example, my assignment in our video workshop was to interview the head of the Kidz Korner activities program at the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel, where we were staying.  I learned that this children’s program started during Hurricane Irene, when kids and their parents were stranded in the hotel with nothing to do. So my lede was: “How do you keep a hotel full of kids occupied during a hurricane? Omni Kidz Korner showed us how.” I’m still editing the video, but I’ll post it here when it’s ready.

8.  Keep videos short. Somewhere between 1 and 2 minutes is ideal. Think of yours as a short story that entices viewers to visit your site for more details.

9. End with your contact info. Have a text block with your website and other important facts, so viewers can reach you.

10. Store all your videos on a YouTube channel. “A body of work gives you gravitas,” says Kaleel Sakakeeny of Travel Video Postcards.  He also suggests leaving tips on FourSquare, then linking them to your video. For instance, when he’s in the San Francisco airport, he’ll go on FourSquare to offer suggestions of things to do in Yosemite, and then link to his videos of the park. (See an example here.)

Category : Blogging | Websites

Establish yourself as an expert

Posted by at 9 April, 2010, 9:48 am

Howdy folks!  Okay, I’ll get back on track with my series on social media.  Lot’s of great potential media coming!  I have a chapter in a booking coming out by Sherry Sexton.  The book is called “And the T-Shirt to Prove it!”.  As soon as I get a release date, I’ll let you know.  Also, thanks to HARO, I heard back from Self Magazine and am in the running for an article they are doing on women inventors, so keep your fingers crossed for that.  Below are a few “things” from last week. 

 And next week I’m doing an interview at  Tuesday, April 13 from 12:30-1:00 pm EST.  The name of the show is “Believe in Your Fairytale and Your Zing will come True!”  After the show airs, it will be available to download for free .

Before I go into more about this social media thing, just a quick update about my sega with Frontgate.  EVERY THING IS FINE!  J  The ship date wasn’t until the 4th, so I knew I’d be okay with that, and there wasn’t even a slap on the wrist.  YEAH!!!  I feel so much better !!  Today I received an acceptance letter from the catalog Femail Creations for their holiday catalog and it was just the vendor manual with contract, so I signed it and faxed it back.  Now it too says all PO’s need to be confirmed within 48 hours, so don’t you know, I’ll be SOOOO looking out for it!!  I’m not going to make THAT mistake again!!  :)

Okay, onto a little bit more about social media and PR.  Last time we left off, we were talking about becoming an “expert” (or being perceived as an expert) 

This is where my blog came into play but if you are still intimidated by starting and maintaining your own blog, get involved and active and basically ride of the coat tails of your target market or others in your field whom already have established Social Media street cred. 

Use other people’s social media savvy to spread the word about your product or service.  Regardless of the fact that I have my own blog, I still write articles, contribute and “guest post” on other people’s blogs.  (Of course, always linking back to mine as well as add to my “news” page.)  Bloggers are always looking for well written content.

Get reviews on your business, product or service from bloggers in your industry.  I would search out the higher ranking blogs of my target market foodies, grillers and believe it or not, mom’s / women. (because Grill Charms are such a great gift item and we all know who buys the gifts in the house!)   I would get active and comment on their blogs and follow them on twitter and make it a point to RT some of their tweets.  (RTing is one of the highest forms of flattery)  and eventually reach out, introduce myself and ask for a review.  Once I get a review, the first thing I do is post on FB Grill Charms page which is linked to my twitter and then put it up on my news page with a link to the story.  Then I would blog about all the links I had for that week.  (as you all know)

Oh, social media success story from this week:  The article above with Basil Magazine… Here’s how that went down.  I followed her on twitter, she followed me back, I asked if I could email her some product info, she DM’d me back with her email, I shot off my “schpeel” and she CALLED ME 5 minutes later saying she loved the product and wanted to feature it!  This stuff WORKS people!!

You want to be an expert?  Have your own radio show.  With blogtalkradio all you need is a decent microphone and you can have your own show.  If you don’t want to devote the time, simply ask to be a guest on an already existing radio show.  I’ve done about a dozen online radio interviews.  Once again, those “in the know” of social media and “content marketing” already have radio shows you can contribute to.  Just go to  and search for your industry or topic, then reach out to the host (if they are on blogtalkradio, GUARETEED they are on FB, Twitter, LinkedIN and have a blog you can comment on to break the ice) I know I sound like a broken record, but it needs to be done…once the podcast goes up, I tweet, FB, and Blog about the link then post it with an icon and link to my “news” page.

Establish yourself as an expert by posting a video on Youtube and embed into your website or blog.  You can buy a flip camera for $30.00 and in 10 minutes have it up for the world to see.

Don’t like being ON video? Use and make a very professional video with content you create and photos you have, all set to music for $3.00.  It’s sooooo easy, even I did it!  Animoto will post to Youtube for you, than you can embed it in your blog or on your website.  Here’s what mine looks like:

That’s about it for today.  I’ve still got so much more to talk about, but we will wait for next week.  Happy Friday!!

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Blogging | Inventing | Marketing | Mompreneur Stories | Social Media | The Journey of Grill Charms!

Simple Ways to Get More Visitors to Your Blog

Posted by at 10 September, 2009, 7:43 pm

You’ve picked the domain, decided on the design and started posting great content that showcases your expertise.  The hard work is over, right?

Not exactly-after all, you need people to actually read that useful content that you’re diligently cranking out. So how do you get those eyeballs to your site? There are literally hundreds of ways to drive traffic to your blog or website, but here I will highlight just a few of the ways to drive traffic and generate interest in what it is you have to offer.

Write articles: Most of the article directories online are free to submit your articles to. They usually allow you to add a resource box at the end, which can include a blurb about you and your business and a link back to your site.  Some of the directories I like to use include EzineArticles, Go Articles, Idea Marketers and Articles Base.

Comment on other blogs: When you comment on other high-traffic blogs in your niche you not only get a link back to your own site, you’re also boosting your site’s visibility in front of the blog owner and the others leaving comments.

Social media: Provide links to your latest posts on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and invite your friends and followers to leave their thoughts on the particular topic in the comments.  You don’t want to do this for every post as it might be viewed as spamming–but it’s perfectly acceptable to occasionally encourage others to click through and read a post you feel particularly proud of.  Also, be sure to include your site’s URL in all of your profiles.

Hold a contest: A great way to generate interest in your site is to hold a contest where the entries are comments left on your post.  For example, you could give away someone else’s product in exchange for writing a post about it and then publicize the contest through your social networks.

Email signature: Most of us send numerous emails in any given day-capitalize on this by adding a link to your site in your signature line.

Basic SEO: You don’t need to be super-knowledgeable about search engine optimization to benefit from it.  If you use the WordPress blog platform, install the All in One SEO Pack plugin. This post gives some simple and easy to understand tips on SEO in general.

Post in forums: Many online forums and message boards will allow you to use a short signature line at the end of your posts.  You can include a link to your site here.

Blog directories: A simple Google search will reveal that there are many blog directories online where you can list your site for free.  These sites are important because they provide a way to get links to your site–which boosts your ranking in the search engines.

Guest post: Reach out to fellow bloggers in your niche and offer to guest post for them.  Make sure you find out specifically what kind of topics they are looking for and that your audiences both compliment each other.  Offer them a spot guest posting on your blog as well.

Link to other blogs: It’s a good idea to give “link love” to other bloggers by mentioning them in post once in awhile and providing a link to their site.  Think of it as good blogging “karma.”

Post valuable content regularly: I’ve saved what is probably the most important strategy for last.  Many times, this is what makes the difference between blogs that succeed and those that fail.  The above tips are effective for sure, but in the long run this is what will keep people coming back for more as well as draw new readers in.

Category : Blogging | Social Media

Hurt Me-I Can Take It!

Posted by at 15 June, 2007, 10:27 am

I have a lot going on…no question, but I just took on a major undertaking that has brought me into this dark place of wanting everything to be perfect! After several months of careful review and tracking of my web statistics and lots of feedback from customers and peers, I have come to realize that the website I had so carefully and lovingly nurtured was not meeting my needs. I have had the site for 2 years….it was my baby….i thought is was pretty-and so did everyone else….but it did not work at making me money!!!!

300-400 hits a day with TARGETED keywords…I have mastered SEO and feel confident in my abilities, but why am I STILL after 2 years only getting a couple of sales a week? I KNOW these people are coming to site looking for what I have…but why is my bank account then still empty?

Here is what I have found (through some painfuly honest feedback!):

-Just because YOU like you site doesn’t mean others will.

-Your site may be easy for YOU to use-after all you have seen it every minute of everyday for how many months now? Have you really figured our a navigation system that works? I cannot tell you how many people have made comments to me like”I wish you sold so and so….”….guess what, usually I DID sell so and so they just couldn’t find it! Learn about HOW your customers shop. Places like are really great about helping you find these “magical” words.

-IMAGES are the SINGLE most important thing to sell you products with the description pulling up right behind. It does not matter how flashy or pretty your site may be, if the pictures of your products do not showcase them at their best-your sales will suffer.

Funny thing is that I am a photographer too—and after really looking at my site I am almost embarassed of some of the images up there! I will do a post at some point about how to best photograph your images..there are a few tips and tricks out there to help you!

-Descriptions of the products MUST be witty and fun. This is where I really suffer-my mind is NOT good at writing….but I will be working hard at this one. I want my website to be FUN to read. I want my customers to imagine themselves with my products. Give them ideas of “alternative uses” and things like that. The layout of the description is just as important. I cannot tell you how many sites I have been to where the description is this one long paragraph that I have to sift through to get information-well I don’t ever actually do it…I jsut look for a website that is laid out easier for me!

These are just a few of the major things I am working on with my new website so I thought I would post them here to share and hopefully to get others to evaluate their websites with their “hardhats” on!

One thing I have learned is that I want TRUTHFUL responses to my requests for feedback. I think the Mompreneuers team is one of the best resources for honest feedback and it should be utilized! I have in the past given feedback to people only to be told my opinion was “wrong”….I NEVER look at any opinion as wrong…but I take all the opinions and combine them to see where I can strengthen my business.

So you know what….post a thread for a quick look at your site….you may be surprised to hear all the good stuff and your bank account may be much happier to hear about the not so good stuff!

We are all here for the same reason right…….to run SUCCESSFUL businesses! Now go to your own website and shop….what do you REALLY think…..

Category : Search Optimization | Websites