You know, I was planning on moaning about the whole MP expenses row, how you can't trust anyone in power and ultimately you've got to take responsibility yourself . . .
But to be honest, that's a bit boring. And I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it anyway.
Instead I want to share a little bit of fun which will highlight how you can and should market yourself.
When I came home from work yesterday, I made a wonderful discovery. It cheered me up after one of those awful days where nothing goes right. It made me think hard about my business. And best of all it energised me to scrap my planned rant and shame me into taking action.
Zac, my 6yr old son had been off school. He was sick once - probably due to heat and vigorous swimming - but school rules meant he had to stay away an extra day!
As he had time to kill, he went onto the laptop and made a mini movie! (Whatever happened to playing marbles?)
Without any parental involvement he went to http://www.spotify.com/en/ (the online music streaming site) created a personal file, found Carl Douglas' 1970s hit 'Kung Fu Fighting' and hit play. Meanwhile, he opened up the webcam on the laptop, added some special effects and proceeded to record himself miming and acting his way through the novelty hit.
You can see his entire performance here:
The Kung Fu Kid (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVdKunEs-Fs)
Six years old! In one take! And no, I'm not a pushy parent gearing up to include him on the next series of Britain's Got Talent! It made me laugh. And it actually made me think.
Market yourself for zero cost
Now, here's the thing. I told him that I could get his performance seen by at least 1,500 people by the weekend. And that's why I'm including the link in this eletter. I go out to more than 15,000 readers and I guess there's at least 10% of people who will either click through curiosity, loyalty or simply to do me a favour.
I also hope that if you find it funny, you might just send it on to a friend or colleague who might also find it funny . . . or endearing . . . or both.
Hey, it might even become a bit of a viral hit . . .
I'm also going to post the video on my Twitter accounts. You can check it out here if you haven't already: http://twitter.com/nicklaight
I'll also post it on my Facebook.
Look, I'm not sharing all this with you simply out of fatherly pride. I think there is something we can all learn from this . . .
I'm using major social networking and Web 2.0 sites to spread the video.
Now, let me point out that I am doing this purely as a doting Dad. I am not slipping a link to any of my websites, email capture or any other commercial link.
I could, but that would be wrong in so many ways. Not only would it be cynical and exploitative but it would generate negative comments. Most importantly, I would not be targeting the video at the right audience. It has no connection whatsoever to my business.
But the principle is there . . . uploading some kind of informative or instructional video on to YouTube is a fantastic zero cost way of establishing yourself as an authority in a particular area.
It could be anything. You might be a window cleaner. Or a stamp collector. Tennis instructor. eBay seller. Horse Racing enthusiast. Whatever your interest, make a short video.
Be passionate and generous with what you know.
But whatever you do, don't sell!
The important thing - in my opinion - is not to use a YouTube video (or any other social networking or Web 2.0 site) to then sell directly. I would strongly recommend using it as a way of building a community or prospect list. You could then post out regular video or email updates on your subject.
Create a trusting relationship with your viewers. And only after some time should you then subtly recommend your own product/service.
Right, back to the Kung Fu kid
I've learnt something else . . .
What Zac did in 3 minutes, is what I have promised to do myself for the past 2 years! And no, you're not going to see me miming to a dodgy 1970s novelty record. My rendition of Mud's 1974 classic Tiger Feet is strictly a personal thing.
Seriously I have been meaning to post some kind of video of myself onto one of my marketing pieces. There's no secret that having either video or audio element to an online promotion lifts response. It adds credibility and makes a connection with the audience.
And yet I have been putting it off. These days there's no excuse. The technology is now so user-friendly that it's simply a matter of clicking 'record'.
I was making excuses for my inaction. I imagined it would take up too much time. Or I wouldn't have the technical skills. But these are just lame excuses.
Zac had no fear of the outcome or thought of technical challenges. He had no worries about who would watch it or how it would be viewed.
He just did it. In the moment. For the sheer joy of it.
Maybe it's time that I indulged in that 'do it now' attitude!
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