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Do you know what problem you solve?

Do you know what problem you solve?

Do you know what problem you solve?

As a voice actor, voice over talent, voice over artist, voice talent, voice artist or any other variation, it always was something I couldn’t put my finger on.

Yes, we are storytellers, yes we convey information to an audience, yes we train people, delight people, and entertain people. We even greet people when you call.

We “do” a lot of things for our clients and their projects.

We narrate scripts into a microphone, which gets converted to ones and zeros into a digital file and transmitted electronically.

That is what we “do,” but not what problem we solve.

Ultimately, every project starts with someone passionate about something that they want to convey to an audience, so they start writing down words.

Those words come together as a script.

It can be vetted, proofed, approved, critiqued, edited, adjusted, and ultimately agreed upon before we ever see it.

Their intention is to get those words into their target audience’s head (information), heart (motivation) or soul (inspiration).

Sure, anyone can read words on a page.

But only voice talent have trained, studied, coached and practiced how to “say” those words in a believable way so the intended audience “believes” what they are being told.

Connecting the dots – from the script to the audience’s head, heart, or soul – IS the problem we solve.

Yes, all the obligatory phrases you hear are still relevant (telling your story, storytelling, spreading your message, or anything else similar), but in essence, if you can’t make that connection, everything else is irrelevant.

What’s your take on this?

Combining video and SEO to get the best out of your website

Combining video and SEO to get the best out of your website

Combining video and SEO to get the best out of your website

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Anyone who runs a business has had SEO drummed into them. Getting your website found. Optimizing content for search, using targeted keywords. The importance of internal and external links. The problem is, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. These days, content is king but it’s not all about writing a good post. Breaking up text with images is useful, giving the reader a point of interest. Better still is video integration.

Why include video content in website articles?

Many SEO experts have written explanations about the importance of video on websites. However, the most convincing argument is provided by Google. They give clear guidelines as to how best to integrate video into your website, noting that it appears in both video search and combined search.

Think about that for a moment…

Every day, billions of people type search terms into their browsers. If your website is already ranking organically, a few of those queries could lead them to you. But of those billions of searches, many will be specifically looking for video content. Additionally, the better your content is, the higher your website will rank on any search. So, it becomes clear that reaching page 1 becomes infinitely easier if you give the reader a little more than written content alone.

5 tips to optimize video for SEO

1 – Enhance user experience – Only use video that is beneficial to the reader. Voiceover needs to be clear and appealing. The voice recording should be supported with titles and captions. Each video should be embedded using a player and format that is widely supported and easy to play. This improves the experience for the user and ensures Google can easily index it.

2 – Create crawlable video – If your video can be crawled, the search engine will generate an image thumbnail and enable preview. This places it higher in search and makes people more likely to click through to it. Ultimately, you are aiming to get your site found. As an internet user, you have undoubtedly clicked through to an article or video and found yourself investigating the hosting website. It is a short journey from curious observer to customer. Google provides detailed information about how to make video crawlable.

3 – Add video descriptions – This gives search engines something else to grab hold of. It makes your video and article more likely to appear in search results and more features will be enabled when it does. While you’re at it, remember to put Alt text on images. If a user cannot see an image because it is slow to load or they are partially sighted, the alt text will explain the purpose of the image.

4 – Consider a video sitemap – Every website should have an xml sitemap. If you receive minimal organic search traffic, it is worth making sure that you have one in place. Adding in a video sitemap brings an extra layer of traffic. It will quickly allow search engines to find your content and glean information about it. Many videos can be described in this one file rather than requiring Google to crawl each page to find your video.

5 – Be clear about updates – Over time, a particular video may become less relevant and need replacing or updating. At this point, it is important to make it clear that the content on that page has changed. If you simply replace the embedded video URL or source file, search engines may not notice the alteration. If you have a video sitemap, search engines will periodically recrawl it and notice any changes. If not, it is important to resubmit your standard sitemap or notify search engines of a change to it so that they know your content is current and relevant.

Content is king – but only when it’s relevant

Any video content you use must be specifically relevant. Google gives the example of a peach pie recipe. If writing about peach pie, it is not good enough to embed a video about pastries in general. If you want the video content to enhance both SEO and user experience, you’re going to need a peach pie video. This is a really interesting example because it shows just how relevant a video needs to be in order to be of benefit. So, creating a bespoke video including carefully created voice recording and appropriate captions could be more beneficial than you realize.

Have a video that needs a professional voice over? Let’s chat about your needs. Click here to get started.

Are You a Purple Chicken?

Are You a Purple Chicken?

Ok, well, not literally, but if you want to be exceptional it’s a good thing to start thinking about becoming a purple chicken.

Let me start from the beginning, courtesy of and inspired by a chapter in Terry O’Reilly’s book, This I Know (a MUST read for any business person in my opinion), where the topic of counterintuitive thinking is explored in more detail.

We all have some level of intuitive thinking that helps us get through the day and make educated personal and business decisions quickly. It’s how we naturally cope with challenging situations without knowing all the details. One definition is “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning” or rather basing our decisions on our “gut” feeling or “hunches.” So while “good intuition comes from years of knowledge and experience that allows you to understand how people and the world works,” counterintuitive thinking forces us to abandon all of our preconceived notions. 

How many times do you really look for out-of-the-box solutions to problems or opportunities? Really find some creative solution other than the tried and true, most obvious, or “what everybody else is doing

When you hear these kinds of solutions in hindsight, they seem so blatantly obvious, but opening your mind and getting to then can sometimes be excruciatingly challenging.

The Meat of the Story

The story goes like this. Chicken farmers in Nakuru, Kenya, of modest means, were having a big issue. They were losing 80% of their chicks to hungry hawks and eagles that would swoop down and grab them in their outdoor coop as they couldn’t afford anything more than simple fencing. No canopy. No building. No protection from air attacks. Once the chicks were older though, they learned to run into the shade when they see a shadow of their predators overhead.

Faced with an untenable situation, and without resources to build a proper coop, they had a lightbulb moment when they realized there was one colour in the natural world birds of prey don’t see as food – purple. Changing the colour of their chicks was the goal. 

They got together and developed a harmless, biodegradable paint and started a new sub-industry painting chicks for about four cents each. Voila!

When the Hawks now swoop down, take a look at the purple chicks, decide they’re not edible and fly off. Brilliant, right?

However, now they were faced with an even bigger problem. Instead of losing 80% of the chicks, they now had 80% surviving and had to figure out how to feed the multiplying flocks of birds without any extra money for poultry feed.

Along came an unexpected resource – insects.  Chickens love to eat insects, which by the way, are a great source of protein. And, there are tons of termites right under the soil in Kenya, but without an easy way to access them it was half a solution. A local NGO helped with some research and found another community in Kenya that liked to eat termites and used an ingenious way to capture them – by using bundles of water-soaked waste crop stalks. Termites loved these and came right up to the surface to feed, making them easy to capture.

That’s what the farmers did. Using waste crop by-products – which cost them nothing – they fed their now growing flock of chickens with an endless supply of termites and the chickens couldn’t have been happier.

Problem solved. More chickens surviving while providing a better lives for their families – and a better ROI, all using counterintuitive thinking.

As Terry summarizes in his book, “The key to counterintuitive thinking is understanding human nature. Or in the case of Kenyan chicken farmers, understanding Mother Nature. The colour purple is rarely the colour of food, so animals don’t “see” purple chicken as dinner. The colour blue has a related effect on humans. Very few foods are blue – even blueberries are really purple – so when people diet, they are often told to paint their dining rooms blue, because it diminishes appetite.”

Or to put it succinctly, “As the word implies, a counterintuitive idea is counter to one’s normal instincts. It is often brazen, it ignores conventional wisdom, and it takes the path less traveled.” And “great marketing is about taking leaps.”

So, the next time you face a business or even personal challenge, free your mind to think of alternate solutions that are counterintuitive and completely out of the coop.

You just might surprise yourself with a purple chicken of your own.

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