Monthly Archives: February 2011

Online Visibilty and Press Releases, Part II

Trevor Eisenman's Press Release SeriesNote: This is Part II in an seven-part series I’m writing about Press Releases. Press releases are possibly an overlooked item in the enterprise social media toolbox, so I’m going to cover a few points and talk about how I’ve used them successfully for client campaigns.

How long does a Press Release stick around?
I wish there was a standard answer to that question. We’ve had press releases hang out on the 1st page of Google for as long as a year. Typically press releases start to drop off the news search engines after 28 days. They aren’t news anymore! But if the research was done well, PRs can continue to show up well on search engine result pages for several months. Or more.

An important factor is how much competition there is for the topic and the search keywords that were chosen. Having long tail keyword research experts on hand for press release writing will potentially save you a lot of grief!  If a lot of other companies are vying for the same spot, it might be hard to keep a press release on the 1st page for more than a few days. Maybe even for a few hours.

Again, this is where experience really counts. A well researched, well thought out press release might make it to the 1st page of a search engine results page. But if it drops off just as quickly as it arrived, what good is it? Pick a good topic and the right keywords.

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Digital Camera Class Creates Thriller Short

Canon DSLR 5D Boot Camp Instructor Snehal Patel and Model ham it upOne of The Association’s 2010 innovations was our Canon DSLR Boot Camp. Realizing the game changing nature of the Canon DSLR 5D and 7D, we took it upon ourselves to provide training for both new videographers and seasoned pros.

There are two levels to the boot camp. Level I is more of a beginner’s class, so pretty much anyone interested may take it. We’ve given our own Canon certification to still photographers looking to add video to their repertoire, all the way up to pros such as Daniel Pearl, ASC and Geary McLeod, ASC.

Level II is where the real hands-on action occurs, and the students film a short. The Association staff come up with a script, and the students shoot it using the Canon DSLR 5D. If the students don’t have their own cameras, we provide DSLRs as well as any related equipment. This gives everyone a chance to give the theory they learned in Pro Level I a swing in the real world, as well as walk away with credits on a great visual asset. So it’s not just any old Canon camera class!

The vampire short below was created by the Level II grads from the Pro Level II Boot Camp we held in October 2010. We chose a Film Noir, black and white setting to show off the exceptionally thick, rich (no grain) blacks the Canon 5D can produce.

The class used a dolly, jib arm and car mounts to follow the nun’s escape from a dangerous, blood-sucking casting call:

Special thanks to EVS in Burbank for the use of their facilities and generous support, to all our talented cast and crew, and to Vara Reese for her editing. If you’d like information on the next available Canon camera classes, the upcoming classes are posted here.

Jeff Murphy – Head of Production and Director of Photography at The Association

Jeff Murphy, Production Manager and Director of Photography at The Association

Jeff Murphy is a partner at The Association and a crucial part of our corporate video production services. With an eye for detail and a professional grip on all aspects of video production, Jeff has overseen all of The Association’s projects for the past 22 years, expertly guiding them from start to finish. No matter how big or how small, your production is in good hands with Jeff.

Jeff Murphy – Head of Production and Director of Photography at The Association

Jeff Murphy, Senior Production Manager/Director of Photography at The Association

Jeff Murphy is a partner at The Association and a crucial part of our corporate video production services. With an eye for detail and a professional grip on all aspects of video production, Jeff has overseen all of The Association’s projects for the past 22 years, expertly guiding them from start to finish. No matter how big or how small, your production is in good hands with Jeff.

Importing Panasonic’s AF100 AVCHD Files into Final Cut Pro ( A Workaround for Power PC Computers)

There continues to be a lot of buzz about Panasonic’s new AF100 camera, and whether or not it’s going to deal a deathblow to DSLR’s like the Canon 5D MkII. While I think not, there are many applications, from corporate video productions, Indie Films and even commercial productions, where the AF100 will be a perfect fit. The camera is already in the hands of many video production crews and filmmakers, and reports I’ve seen are very positive.

I recently had the opportunity to work with some test footage shot with the AF100. We set up a comparison of the AF100 and the Canon 5D in a side by side shooting scenario.(More on those results in a later article.)


 FCP Logo



Excited to see how the footage between the two cameras compared, I dumped the AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition) files into my computer using the USB adapter that comes with the AF100, and thought to myself, “USB, this is going to take a while”. But, it was surprisingly quick due to the MPEG-4 AVC/H264 compression codec that the AF100 uses to record.

The AVCHD files have a .mts (MPEG Transport System) file extension. I wanted to transcode them to ProRes 422 Quicktime files for importing into Final Cut Pro. Piece of cake, right? With an Intel processor running FCP 6.02 or higher, yes,  it’s easily accomplished using FCP’s Log & Transfer function. Just make sure you include all the folders to keep the file structure intact.

However, if you’re on an older Power PC platform like I was, it’s a problem. The AVCHD format is not supported on Power PC processors. So what do you do if you’re in a similar situation?

Fortunately, there are workarounds.

You can use MPEG Stream Clip, a free software from Squared5  to transcode the files To ProRes 422. I’ve used this software many times in the past and it works great, but it does seem to introduce some gamma shift,  crushing the blacks a bit. This is correctable in post, but I wondered if there was something else out there to do the job.

You can use Compressor, but it doesn’t recognize .mts files. The files need to have the Quicktime wrapper.

After trying a few things I settled on a software called ClipWrap from Divergent Media. ClipWrap rewraps the files into Quicktime very fast, and with no affect on the image in my opinion. You can then take those files into Compressor and transcode to ProRes 422. Or, ClipWrap can also even do the transcoding to ProRes 422, eliminating the need to use Compressor. But, at only $49.00, I’m doing further testing to see if it holds up to the quality of Compressor.

For rewrapping, ClipWrap worked great. At $49.00 it’s certainly worth investing in, especially if you happen to be working on an older Power PC platform. Try the free test version first, and see if you like it. We’d love to hear your results!

Online Visibility and Press Releases, Part I

Trevor Eisenman's Press Release Series
Note: This is Part I in an seven-part series I’m writing about Press Releases. Press releases are possibly an overlooked item in the enterprise social media toolbox, so I’m going to cover a few points and talk about how I’ve used them successfully for client campaigns.

News vs. Information

Search engines categorize news and information differently. News kind of has an expiration date. Is the Grand Opening of a new store in downtown Metroville still news 6 months after it happens? Not really. It’s just information. This is where Press Releases have an advantage over articles, blog posts and other information, when it comes to short term visibility.
By nature, press releases are about news. Normally a press release wouldn’t be written about a restaurant’s menu or how to get rid of pond scum. That’s just information. But if there is a newsworthy angle to pond scum, a press release could be written about it. And you can get that press release to show up on the 1st page of a Google Search for certain keywords, practically overnight. I had one client’s Press Release show up in 8 hours on the first page of Google once it had been distributed.

Of course, you have to know how to research, write and issue press releases in an optimized-for-search manner for it to work right. But if reputation management is on the agenda for your corporate social media campaign, press releases can be a powerful tool.

Even if reputation management isn’t on the menu,  press releases can be used as part of an effective marketing plan.  I suppose press releases aren’t technically an enterprise social media topic, but I often suggest them for creating immediate online visibility, while leveraging other social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for medium range to long term online visibility.

Whether a company has been around for awhile, or is just starting out, Press Releases can offer visibility without breaking the bank the way a Pay Per Click campaign might. First, try to nail down what news you’d like to make known. Is there a niche or aspect of your business that’s newsworthy? What sets you apart from your competition?

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Two Big Reasons Your Company Needs to Show Up on Search Results

If you’ve been in business for any length of time recently, I don’t have to explain why it’s important to show up on the 1st page of a Google Search. But just to be on the safe side, if today’s the first day you’re considering an effective online marketing plan, let’s briefly cover two main reasons any business would want to show up front and center on the consumer’s computer screen: Referrals and Search

Many businesses rely on referrals, but today’s referrals rely on the Internet. A few years ago, some of my current clients would have told me they didn’t need a website because they got plenty of referrals. In fact, they didn’t really need any marketing at all, they were so busy. That’s changed.

Why? Possibly because few consumers are unscathed by some kind of scam. Whom should one trust? Consumers often want to validate that amazing offer they just saw on TV, and these days, probably even what their friends are recommending. And even a great salesman is probably going to get checked out on The Internet before or after an appointment. What will the prospect find? Nothing? Hopefully they find your corporate social media campaign.

If you aren’t in the room with the prospect, how are you going to sell anything?
Think of a Google Search Results Page as a room with 10 possible solutions in it to the searcher’s problem. Pretty simple math. If you’re solution number 11, you’re in a different room than the one the prospect’s in. You might as well be solution number 72.

Search is a logical approach. The consumer figures out what words make the most sense to enter in the search request box. That’s where your long tail keyword research pays off. Once he’s arrived to your page the emotional reason to stay as well as purchase hopefully kicks in. Ah, but that’s a subject for another day, called Consumer Analysis.

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What floats my boat….

An effective marketing plan is based on the simple concept of connecting with your audience.  To do that, you need market research data about your audience.   Not just statistical totals and pie graphs, but what moves your audience emotionally, since many buying decisions are triggered by an emotional connection.

Our Optimized Market Research (OMR) is the secret to making that emotional connection with your target audience. If you skip the OMR research step, you’re marketing blindfolded. OMR takes the guesswork out of marketing.  That’s what we like to do. Our conversion rates are 4 to 8 times greater than industry average.  That’s why we’ve been in business 24 years.

Online Social Networking Sites and Creating New Relationships

In my book, 3 main reasons for a strong personal online presence are asSocial Media Logos follows:


1.      78% of consumers trust peer to peer recommendations (referrals). Social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have built-in referral tools AND they show up very well on Google search requests (usually much faster than a new website can). That’s a great combo deal, and it can be “supersized” by someone who knows what they are doing.

2.      If you aren’t telling your story, either someone else is or the customer has to make up reasons why you aren’t showing up online (such as, “maybe he’s out of business now…”).

3.      People prefer to have a relationship with an actual person, not a logo. By honestly representing yourself and who you are will resonate with plenty of people. And the ones who don’t like you (for whatever reason) probably won’t buy anyway.

This is good news! Well, maybe not good for criminals or the sort of folks that like to scam. But any service provider with a decent product and good service will do well with an enterprise social media campaign. They will be lifted up by their own customers and shared, with or without an “official” market development strategy. And at low cost. So jump in the social media pool if you haven’t yet. The water’s fine!

Qualities of a Good Online Presence

Navigating a social media can be overwhelming, any way you slice it. The simplicity is ANY presence onTrevor Eisenman, Senior Strategist at The Association of Film and Video Producers ANY social network is going to be better than none. Buy why waste time opening and creating accounts on less effective sites when good ones can be used first? So here’s a list of qualities I look for in a social networking site for corporate social media campaign:

        Are there plenty of places to include text? If you’re going to take a few hours to create a bio for yourself and your company, make sure to include words matching what people are already searching in Google or other search engines. Google can’t “read” audio files, pictures or video, so having text or at least being able to add captions to is important. Don’t forget to include your long tail keyword research anywhere you can in the text you create.

        Is the site photo/video capable? People like pictures and video, regardless of Google’s inability to “read” them. Include some visuals, at the very least a decent profile picture.

        Does the site look professional? Easy to navigate, clean and simple is best when it comes to business. Someone searching for an answer to a problem probably isn’t interested in suffering through fancy moving pictures that take a long time to load.

        Can potential prospects connect to you personally and publicly? Just by being connected to current clients online could generate new business if the connection is visible to their contacts. Facebook is a great example of public, easily viewable connections between people.

        Is it easy to reach you using modern channels? Email, text message, fax and phone?

        Does the site showcase more than just the “standard” information one might find in a Yellow Pages listing? People look for answers online, so make sure you give them answers in your text. What are your products and services? Who are you and what sets you apart from the others in your industry? What kind of customers are you best able to help?

        Can you modify the content and appearance of the site yourself, or does it require an IT Department or webmaster? Granted some elements will never be under your control (Facebook just might always be a hue of blue regardless of your preference). But social networking sites are usually set up so even a novice may just fill in content without having to hire someone technical.

        Interactive. This is where business cards and online social networking part. And although this is listed last, it’s perhaps the most important, tying into the relationships aspect inherent in social media. Facebook has set the pace in this department by making practically everything on their site “shareable,” with or without a personal message from the sender. If everyone you know shared your business with just one person this year whom you could provide a service for, how many new clients could you gain? How much would it cost you? Hopefully the answer is “a lot of clients” and “it cost nothing.” This aspect alone is worth getting on board with online social networks.

Social media is an effective part of a modern effective marketing plan. Hopefully the above guide will help you find an appropriate site to use for your business.