How to Write and Share HUMOR

HowToWriteHumor(final2 (1)Donna Cavanagh is a busy person! She is the founder of HOPress-Shorehouse Books and She has just published “How to Write and Share HUMOR.” Below is the book trailer we produced for her book, available here on Amazon.

You can follow Donna Cavanagh on Twitter @dtcav.

Donna had fans and colleagues take pictures of the book at various landmarks around the country to use as promotional tools for the #SummerOfHumor tour. We assembled some of them in this video. (1min 30sec) For you audiophiles and recording enthusiasts the voice-over was recorded with a large diaphragm condenser microphone mounted upside down with a pop filter.

NEO Givers and Third Friday at the Creative Source

CreativeSourceThere is an interesting group of professionals in Canton, Ohio who participate in a little guild of sorts referred to as the NEO Givers. They meet on Fridays at noon at the Creative Source Design Center which kindly provides the meeting space.

I’m new to the group but if I may be so bold as to speak on their behalf; the basic function of the group is to provide a creative and educational environment where business people can become acquainted with each other to facilitate mutual business growth as well as help each other when possible.  Every third Friday of the month they hold a meeting were one of the members gives a presentation.

Well, guess what? I was the featured member on May 20th held at the Community Room of Creative Source Design Group.

I would stop short of calling myself a marketing expert or someone who has all of the answers to your business advertising and marketing needs. However, over the past 30 years I have been a successful business owner, I have been an unsuccessful business owner, I have contracted out and been subcontracted in, and I have worked both for and with many business people in varying capacities throughout a diverse field of industries. During those three decades the traditional and structured advertising world has morphed into a complex digital universe with new approaches and variable outcomes.

What I talked about was the rudimentary fundamentals of traditional advertising that still work embedded in the cyber jargon of content marketing and social media. It comes down to how you want to run your business and connect with your customer. Podcasts and other digital media are the new tools of creating your business identity.

For more information about NEO Givers and Third Friday please contact Jeff “Ski” Kinsey. (He likes to be called “SKI” and his Mobile/TXT is 330.992.4754.)

Among many other things SKI is the author and founder of

This is a smartphone video of the presentation.

5 Tips for Producing Digital Media Content

DJ Mixer illuminated

The first step to making any good digital media production is to prepare your content. Your message should be clear, concise, and to the point. Once you have prepared your content, you can either hire a professional to help you record a digital media production or you can do it yourself.

I wouldn’t discount out of hand the option of hiring a professional to help you produce your digital content on the basis of the process being too costly. In many cases, pros are streamlining their services to fit the burgeoning market of producing digital media. Also, a pro can help you organize your overall production and will likely get the technical aspects of the project right the first time.

For example, if you own a quality consumer digital camera it is likely that the gap that separates that camera from a more expensive pro model in terms of its specifications is minimal. Yet, the results that a professional photographer is going to get are far superior to what most novices are going to be able to produce. In fact, if the professional was to use your quality consumer camera, he or she would still likely get better results. The professional will have better lighting equipment, backgrounds, and filters. The professional will also have greater composition skills and will be able to better manipulate the settings on the camera to yield the best results.

With that being said many small business owners and others are producing their own digital media for their websites, social media, and other online platforms. Hopefully, these 5 tips will help you achieve better results.

1) Stay within the limitations of your equipment.

For example, a smartphone shoots fairly good video if you stay close to the subject being recorded and use plenty of light. Light is the fuel for any camera. Don’t forget, the microphone is inside the phone too. Therefore, the closer you are to the subject the better the video will sound as well. If you design your production around these limitations and invest in a basic editing app you can achieve good results. For goodness sake, edit out your hands reaching toward the lens to turn the camera on and off. Better yet, add a fade out or other transition when the video is over rather than just having the video cut off.

2) Know how to maximize the use of your equipment.

This, at times, can be done as easily as reading the instructions. The finer points will come with trial and error. Take some time and experiment with the settings and placement of your equipment. Online instructional videos and usage forums can also be helpful although be aware that there can be false information in many of those places. Instructional online information provided by the manufacturers of your equipment and their reps is often the most reliable.

3) Don’t rely on software to create something that isn’t there from the get go.

Let’s use audio as an example. There is an old saying in the recording business. Garbage in, garbage out. Do your research! Know what type of a microphone works best within your budget and in different given situations. Learn how to best set up the microphone with the proper accessories for the results that you are trying to achieve. Record a clean and rich audio signal. Don’t rely too much on signal processing within your software to create something that just isn’t there.

Just as though the truth never changes, your productions will have a greater consistency over time if you stay true to the audio source. The more you tinker with your recordings to make them sound better, the more your results will vary and at times sound artificial.

4) Find simple and efficient production software tools.

Some of the real advantages of software in the digital age are related to editing and mixing functions. For example, in the days of analogue studio recording, mixing a recording down was essentially precision copying. Numerous raw audio tracks that were first recorded onto a multi-track recorder were then run through a mixer, and the subsequent mix of those tracks was rerecorded onto a stereo machine. This would be the copy that would generate what end-users would get with all of the sound levels balanced out.

Now, raw audio and video data can be digitally arranged and manipulated by software into a final version without any external steps resulting in signal loss. (Not all digital formats are the same. Be aware of what you are doing when converting file formats.)

Choose software that operates easily and performs the basic production functions and edits that are the most important to you. Software that is loaded with functions and performs all of them well is expensive, complicated, and requires better computers and interfacing.

5) Know when to be satisfied with what you’ve got.

I understand what it is like to be a perfectionist. As you work on one project you will learn better techniques and inevitably feel the urge to go back and redo something. Unless it will clearly make a night and day difference, save that experience for your next production. Otherwise, more often than not you will spend an inordinate amount of time redoing material with only marginally better results.

Podcasts Can Be Methods of Creating Audio Content for Your Busy Audience

We also have a podcast available on this topic at the bottom of the post.

Originally the domain of disc-jockeys, music promoters, and internet geeks; podcasts have risen from the ashes of obscurity to become a key promotional tool in the workshop of digital media in regard to content marketing.

Podcasts work better for some topics more so than others. This will vary from case to case. I would not suggest that a podcast is the final answer to all of your marketing needs. A podcast is simply another tool of digital content to grab the attention of potential clients. If you in any way utilize a website, social media, or some other online platform it is likely that a podcast will enhance your outreach by making audio content available to your audience.

An important concept here is that podcasts are becoming a source for content in the form of audio more so than an alternative to broadcast advertising. If you are in a business where people research information before they contact sales people, it may be worth your while to create an audio reservoir of valuable content for your potential client base online.

Content marketing statistics show that the likelihood of a consumer to buy or take further action toward learning more about your products and services will increase greatly after they click on a video. Clickable media is very important. Podcasts fulfill a unique role in this regard because they do not require someone’s complete focus and attention. Your audience can listen to your podcast while commuting or eating lunch. This is important because as the digital marketing world is inundated with content, consumers have less time to read all of the blog posts and watch all of the videos in their news stream.

You may also wish to consider that the way we interact with streaming devices for audio content may change and grow in the near future. I show a possible example of this in the video. We have been asking our phones questions for a long time and the possible applications for this regarding audio content with other devices are endless. The Amazon Echo is an example of this new and interactive audio streaming technology.

In simplest terms a podcast is a radio style or audio program on the internet. A podcast can be done live. The advantage to a live podcast would be the ability to interact with your audience in real time. You could, for example, have your audience tweet you questions that you could then answer. This is more common with entertainment oriented talk-show formats. For the purposes of today’s discussion we are considering podcasts as content marketing tools. In this case it is more likely that the podcast will be prerecorded enabling the audience to listen to it at their convenience. The on-demand nature of a podcast is a big convenience of the format.

Live podcasts can be available for playback at a later time as well, however, an advantage of a prerecorded podcast program is better production value. Your goal should be to create good and interesting content for your audience. The rhythm and flow of the program can be controlled in a convenient production setting much better and with less pressure than a live environment.

Podcasts can be produced at various levels. Starting with the most basic way, there are apps for mobile devices that do a fairly good job of producing a podcast. Keep in mind that podcasts produced with a smart phone will sound phoned in, pardon the pun. I wouldn’t worry too much about that by itself because much of your audience will be listening to your podcast on a mobile device anyway. However, the technical versatility of the production is limited using a phone by itself to produce a podcast. For example, if you are interviewing someone without any audio accessories for your phone you will have to manipulate the phone as if it was a handheld microphone.

Obviously, podcasts should sound as good as possible and if you wanted to be more serious about producing a podcast then you could invest in an assortment of basic audio equipment which may include in various configurations; an audio interface or USB audio devices, microphones and headsets, podcasting software or desktop apps, and possibly a digital recorder with the ability to transfer audio files.

Another alternative would be to hire a recording or podcast production service like ours. With this alternative you are handing the production work to people who have the audio production experience and tools to manage the job. We, for example, have been in the voice-over and audio production business a long time.

The first step to creating a podcast for you would be having a detailed production meeting. We want to capture the essence of your company or organization and create good content that your audience will want to hear. We also want to make sure that your podcast is in step with all of your other content marketing and traditional advertising.

The second step of the production would be the recording process. We generally prefer to record your podcast with a mobile recording system on the site of your business or other location to capture the feel of the environment that you feel comfortable in. We also try to produce the program as if it was live as much as possible in order to preserve energy and spontaneity. Of course we have the comfort of knowing that we can correct an error in post-production or even start over if we have to, but we don’t want the program to sound over produced or have the feel of an infomercial. Thirdly, we then produce and edit (if necessary) an audio file ready for you to upload. We are available to help you with this procedure as well.

It is fairly simple to post a finished podcast online. A completed podcast will be in the form of a digital audio file that will be uploaded to a destination on the internet. That online location will host the audio file for streaming playback or download if you desire. Many websites are capable of hosting audio files and websites are a great place to have all of your digital media content available as a home base regardless of where it is hosted. Another alternative would be to utilize a podcast online service. These internet podcast services are essentially companies that provide online servers to host audio files or facilitate live streaming. These services are often free or cost little for basic packages.

There are three points to consider about using a podcast service.

For one, these services often enable you to connect with other podcasters or people in similar businesses and endeavors. In cases such as these you will set up a profile for your podcast service that is a networking entity unto itself.

Secondly, a podcast service often makes it easy to insert a playable link or window directly into your social media timelines without the extra step of linking back to your website.

Third, a podcast service can provide advanced analytics about your podcast. This information could include the number of plays for each program and other traffic information. However, as your needs grow and you have the podcast service provide more detailed data, larger track storage, and longer live streaming times, the cost will rise accordingly.

Have fun and good luck with your podcast!