Monthly Archives: February 2012

Creating Content for Online Visibility: The Challenge

Creating content is part and parcel of maintaining an effective marketing plan. It’s also the most challenging. As if we didn’t have enough to do to forward our respective comBlogging is a cost effective way to increase online trafficpanies already. And now we have to come up with unique ideas to write about that someone might want to read and thus engage our services.

Fortunately, the benefits of creating online content far outweigh the challenge. Really.

If one thinks of the time and money spent creating a postcard and sending it out, only to have all that work vanish the same month into garbage cans (the same day it arrives in the mail box, just to rub it in), the fact that our blogs and articles remain on line forever makes it worth the effort. Consistent organic content creation is a cost effective way to break the visibility barrier online, and it will pay off in the future.

But how do we get there? We still don’t have the time to write content every week, much less daily. And the budget for staff writers just isn’t there. And my cousin Jimmy is a terrible writer. What now?

Now there is Zerys. Zerys is another word for “Awesome.”  That’s capitalized on purpose.

Zerys is the eBay of writing. Need an article? White paper? Blog Post? Custom content for your corporate social media campaign? Zerys has you covered. Create a free account, outline what you want with their step-by-step “I will hold your hand” user friendly approach, and submit your content requests. Writer’s accept the work, write the content and submit the work for your approval. If you don’t like it, you don’t pay. Easy Peasy. The writer’s can even optimize the content with your long tail keyword research.

After a while, you’ll find the writers you really like, and negotiate long-term pricing with them to create your content. Ta-Dah! You have your staff writer! Or writers. The pricing is fair, regular content can be created at about 4 cents per word. So your average blog post costs about $20. Obviously, more complex writing requiring heavy research or very technical concepts will probably cost more, but if you limit those to once a month, it’s still very cost effective.

I’ve been looking for a solution like Zerys for my clients, so I’m very excited to introduce them to you. Check them out here:

Zerys - The Content Marketplace

Paying for performance is the way to go. Now you can get quality content created of any type, while continuing your normal duties uninterrupted. Well, at least uninterrupted by having to write content! Not sure what kind of content you need to write? Do you avoid words like “long tail keyword research” like the plague? I can help you set up your Zerys account and get started. Drop me a line anytime.

What Really Happens at our Canon Camera Classes

Many of you are probably wondering what really goes on behind the curtain at our now famous Canon Boot Camp. So we created a video from our January Boot Camp to share with all y'all.

If you watch the video, you will see we have a lot of fun! The reformatted class is hands-on, more so than ever before, and you learn everything you need to know to set up the camera and shoot. We assume that you have a job booked for the following Monday, so we stress proficiency and skill while you're at the class so that you get the job.

Maybe you have a job booked, maybe you don't. But you're going to know how to use that Canon DSLR by the end of the day, that much is for sure. We even give you our own Canon Certification on your Canon DSLR 5D, 7D or 60D, whichever one you bring along, complete with certificate. Don't have a camera? That's OK too. Sometimes students share a camera with another Boot Camper, or rent a camera for the day from our industry partner, EVS Studios. Most Pro Level I courses are hosted by EVS Studios, so it's super convenient.

Here are the graduates from the Pro Level I Class in January:

Jenna Spellman
Cris Judd – Choreographer, Producer
Stan McClain – FilmTools
Rick Apichairuk
J. P. Brennan
Hannah Murphy
Chad Baldree

We are looking forward to their future Canon HDSLR projects and will share them as soon as we get them! For future Canon Boot Camp dates visit our website or click on the future class dates listed to the right of this blog post.





Online Mobile Videos for Business Development

Creating an custom video production for online use is an important part of any company’s effective marketing plan. "Modern" companies are expected to have a video on their website of some kind, and with numerous options for free hosting, editing software, etc. there’s little reason to avoid the issue.

Classic Old Spice Video that got the video party started.
But posting a video doesn’t guarantee instant success any more than passing out business cards means you’ll soon be flooded with viable prospects. Check out these statistics gathered by 
As many as 150,000 and 200,000 videos are uploaded to YouTube every day, with the UK the second highest uploading nation (6.9% of global uploads – beaten only by the US at 34.5%). It would take you over 400 years to view all the content on YouTube alone, but it proves the popularity of online video. But (and there’s a huge ‘but’) this is not the case for businesses.

Just because you upload a video to YouTube doesn’t necessarily mean it will get viewed, and more importantly by the right audience. Clients often ask us to produce a video for the web, saying they plan to “put it on YouTube”. That’ll be one among 200,000 on any given day – not great odds for getting it seen, unless you’ve really got something worth seeing. But a strong idea, well executed, can rise above the online video mire and reach out to capture an audience for your brand.

©2008-2011 Online Video Guide

Here’s a few points to keep in mind when making a video for business development purposes.

  • Make sure your video can be found through online search by getting a pro to optimize the video with keywords. Search Engines can’t "read" video, so videos must be tagged with well selected keywords AND provided with a written description that also has keywords as part of the content. This is easy to screw up, so either learn how to do it, or get a pro who really knows long tail keyword research.
  • If you have a newsletter and an email list to send it to, make sure to announce your video to drive views and thus increase it’s visibility online. Don’t have a newsletter? Might want to start one. Over time it could be very profitable.
  • Share the video on your blog with a description that also uses keywords. Blog posts should contain anywhere from 150 to 500 words to increase the likelihood of getting indexed for search. Write unique content, don’t copy and paste the same exact description in multiple places.
  • From your blog, ensure you share the content on your social networks. A good video has the potential of getting passed around by your friends, who will probably at least look at the video just because they know you. From there it can go viral in nature, which will help drive views and increase visibility online. Most blogs have social media sharing built in to their platform.
  • Make sure your video is hosted where it can be viewed on a mobile device. As more and more eyeballs shift to mobile use, neglecting this point can be fatal! 

Of course, creating a GOOD video is the first battle. If you need help with your custom video production, give us a shout.  We’ve been producing them for years. We can even teach you how to shoot your own video inexpensively with the Canon DSLR 5D or 7D at our Canon camera classes. Either way, we’ve got you covered! 

The Canon C300 Exploits of Dana Christiaansen, Part 3

As part of our “Tips from the Trenches” series at our Canon camera classes every month, we invite DPs and other industry pros who have hands-on experience with Canon cameras.  Experience trumps a manual any day of the week and twice on Sundays, so our interviews with pros like Dana Christiaansen, ASC are invaluable. Even though we have been featuring the Canon DSLR 5D and 7D in our boot camps, we’re looking at providing boot camps for the C300, which is why we were so excited when Dana agreed to visit our boot camp this past December.

The C300 DPs–Dana Christiaansen Pt. 3 from Fletch/The Association on Vimeo.

Dana discussed his exploits shooting for director Sam Nicholson on the set of the short film “XXIT.”  We broke up the interview into 3 parts.  In this section, the 3rd part of the interview, Dana describes the lighting techniques and custom-built light panels he used for the C300 in the film.image

Ensuring the lead actor looked great in close up shots was accomplished using customized 12″ X 12″ and 6″ X 12″ Rosco pads as the primary key lighting, which Dana discusses in some detail during the interview, as well as a few other lighting gags.

Missed the earlier part of the interview? Check out Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.

Interested in Canon Certification or our Canon Camera Classes? Visit to find out more specifics, or check out upcoming class dates to the right of this blog post! You can also sign up for our newsletter RSS Feed HERE.

Corporate Social Media Case Study: Superbowl Ads & Shazam

While there’s no lack of reading material on actions to improve our corporate social media practices, real-life case studies can be helpful to grasp the possibilities. And maybe get some ideas for our own use.
Some companies promote using social media
Most of the Superbowl 2012 advertisers took advantage of mobile technology and that almost 60% of Super Bowl viewers checked out the game on a mobile device. Several companies leveraged special game time apps that would recognize specific ad content and provide viewers with discounts, sweepstake entries, etc.

Chevy, Pepsi, Subway and Go Daddy are some of the companies that took advantage of apps that recognize content and served up additional offers to viewers.

At the forefront of this cross-platform advertising engagement is a company called Shazam. Shazam’s app recognizes audio content via mobile devices and connects the user to a variety of free/paid offers or other content. Millions of Super Bowl viewers used the Shazam app to tag audio content (including the half-time show).

This innovative company has managed to tie a typically static advertisement into a dynamic platform that connects interested viewers directly to other specific offers that entice further participation. I nearly always have my cell close to hand, so it’d be super easy for me to access the Shazam app and engage with audio content no matter where I am. How many other millions of mobile users would do the same?

It remains to be seen if this will increase the use of direct response TV ads or take away from the production of TV commercials. I think companies like Shazam create a compelling environment for direct response to expand. We’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile I’m going to keep blogging, which is a surefire way of increasing visibility online (well, as long as you use long tail keyword research!).

The Fabulous Anna Easteden Visits The Canon Boot Camp

Anna Easteden

As The Association enters it’s 3rd year of Canon camera classes, we’d like to take a moment to visit with the fab Anna Easteden. Anna in an International model, actor, director and producer, as well as an important part of several Canon boot camps for The Association. We wanted to catch up with her other adventures, so during the January Boot Camp I sat down with Anna to get the latest skinny.

What projects is the talented Anna Easteden working on right now?

Well, right now I’m shooting a few things! I’m playing a cop in an Indie film called Avenging Daughters. Originally I auditioned for the part of a lawyer in the same movie, and while I was at the audition they asked if I would audition for the prostitute. So I figured it was "another one of those…" Then the Director called me and told me I got the part. I asked if it was the lawyer or the prostitute, and he said neither, it’s the cop! And it’s a bigger and better role, so I’m excited about that.

The film is about 3 daughters whose father has land that’s being taken away from him by some bad people. It’s a drama set in current times, out in the desert. The father is played by John McCook [known for his role as Eric Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful], and the director’s name is Raffaele Marraffa.

I’m also shooting a series of 10 short films in Palm Springs where I play 10 different characters. So for I’ve played a Russian women and a French girl with different wigs and outfits, it’s a lot of fun.

I was also recently in the Chinese New Year’s parade, in a white brand new Bentley waving at the crowds as a VIP guest. It was a fun celebrity momeAnna Easteden Wants You - At the Canon Boot Camp!nt! As a surprise I got one of those declarations officially recognizing me for my contribution from the city of Los Angeles. 

You’ve been a great help by being an "official" Canon Boot Camp actor. What do you like about the Boot Camp?

I love helping the Canon Boot Camp because in addition to being an actor, I’ve directed and produced my own shorts, so I love there’s an easier way to shoot films using something like the Canon DSLR 5D.

What shorts did you produce?

I actually directed and produced 9 shorts last summer, and those premiered at the FinnFest in San Diego in August. I’ll be doing more of those this year! Directing and producing was a blast. These shorts are in English, but they all have to do with Finnish subjects. Two of them are comedic, playing on the words "Finnish" and "finished."

Aside from Fletcher Murray, who’s your favorite Director?

Clint Eastwood! I’d love to shoot a film with him.

What role do you aspire to play?

I’d love to be a Bond Girl! In the meanwhile I’m auditioning for lots of projects! 

We highly recommend Anna! Contact her by clicking HERE.

Demystify Social Media Webinar

Social Media is like Spaghetti

Enterprise social media and online promotion is sort of like trying to organize spaghetti. No matter how much you try to line up all the pieces into straight lines for an effective marketing plan, it all comes unglued and globs together in a sticky, ball of a mess. But it’s ok, because it’s going to taste good no matter how it looks. Well, it will taste good if you know the secret sauce!

So what is the recipe for success when it comes to Social Media? Well, first off, how about understanding the pieces that comprise the general topic? I realized early on that there were a few basic parts to this puzzle that most people had heard of, but had incomplete or even false ideas of what these parts were or how they fit in the overall picture. Thus, the Demystifying Social Media Webinar.

In this webinar, I take apart the most common pieces of social media and explain what they are, and give an overall perspective to the topic. Armed with this framework, you will be able to move forward with your online promotion with more confidence and understanding.

The Canon C300 Exploits of Dana Christiaansen, Part 2

Canon Boot Camp Logo

Canon Boot Camp Update:
Dana Christiaansen Interview Part 2
The Canon C300: "Under the Hood" 

brought to you by The Association’s Canon Boot Camp
Hands on DSLR Training with the Pros
If you’ve been keeping up with our past updates, you already know that our Pro Level I students on December 10th, 2011 were treated to special guest speaker Dana Christiaansen, who shared his experiences working with the new EOS C300. Dana also gave us a taste of what it was like to work with him on the short film directed by Sam Nicholson, ‘XXIT’, shot with the C300. Basically, you have to be ready to run!

In Part 2 Dana takes us "under the hood" and describes their excitement after the first tests with the C300, and, as he says in the video, "This is just the beginning!"

Keep an eye out for Part 3 of Dana’s talk, where he discusses lighting for the C300. Missed Part 1? Visit our Vimeo site by clicking HERE and catch up on Dana’s talk.
To see Part 2 of Dana’s talk, click HERE or on the picture below:

The C300 DPs–Dana Christiaansen Pt. 2 from Fletch/The Association on Vimeo.

Interested in Canon certification and/or our Canon camera classes? The Association has been delivering the best DSLR Boot Camp in Los Angeles for 3 years. This year we are taking the Boot Camp on the road as well as continuing our classes in Burbank, CA.

In February we have our Pro Level I Canon Boot Camp (Feb 25th – Burbank), which is available to anyone whether or not experienced with Canon cameras. Pro Level I classes usually feature guest speakers from the industry who have experience with DSLR Filmmaking, such as Dana Christiaansen or Eric Schmidt.

In March, Creovision will host both Pro Level I and Pro Level II (Level I Grads or IndustryCreovision, host of Prague Canon Boot Camp in  March 2012 Pros only) in Prague, Czech Republic! Class dates are March 10th & 11th, and March 17th & 18th (Level I and Level II, respectively). The classes are open to anyone, but seating is limited. Visit the Prague site HERE for more information and to download the class application. We are very excited about the Prague Canon camera classes as Polly Morgan, DP, will be joining the Boot Camp Team as an instructor! 

Future Boot Camp Dates are listed on the right side of this blog, or email me at for more information.

Simplifying Social Media with Blogging

Persistent Blogging=Great Marketing

Sometimes the only thing that seems to stay the same in the social media world, is that it is constantly changing. Facebook and other social networks constantly update their look, add features, and generally confuse the rest of us with a dazzling array of change, change, change.

While this might whet the appetite of the early adopters, keen to stay on top of the very latest technological advances, the rest of us might not be as happy with yet another “thingy” to figure out. Personally I’m very happy to let a big tech corporation update and advance their technology, but I prefer to have the benefit of their work be in the background, so I can focus on my work and make a living. Also, it’s obviously easier to focus on ONE thing rather that 20 things that keep changing.
Confused by Social Media Sites? Simplify your life with Blogging!
Maybe it’s just because I’m male, but it’s challenging to keep up with 20 social network platforms that don’t stay still! Blogging, however, has essentially stayed the same over the years.  And blogging is a crucial part of keeping your company on top in search results. Additionally, a well setup blog can be the hub of an effective marketing plan and simplify any corporate social media effort.

A key, key aspect of blogging, is that you OWN it. Marketing exclusively on Facebook or other free platforms is risky if that’s the only marketing plan you have. Why? Facebook owns everything you put out. Ask yourself this very important question: Do you pay Facebook for your Page? For your personal profile? No, you don’t. Facebook can literally yank your page at any time. Same with Twitter or LinkedIn.

But a blog is different, especially if you are paying for the domain and hosting. It can’t just be taken away because someone complains or flags your content. Wouldn’t you rather own your content, and retain the ability to push content out to the same social networks you have now as a “distribution campaign?” Keep in mind, posting something on Facebook has a shelf life of about 1 hour. It’s soon gone, pushed out of sight by a constant stream of content. Blogs are consistently located in one spot (owned by you) and are easier to find in search results today, tomorrow and in the far future.

I recommend looking over your activities and start writing about what you do every day. Give people a taste of your company and how you help people. Give away free tips. Help someone every day and write about it. Interview other people in your industry and give them a platform to promote how they help others too. Do it every day, but at least once a week. Technically, there are some really good reasons to blog which I’ll get into in later posts. For an overview of social media, watch my free webinar, Demystifying Social Media for Business, which includes a section on blogging that might be helpful to the novice.