What Does Online Engagement Look Like In 2020?

Are blogs still relevant in 2020? 

The short answer is yes. According to Impact, 7 in 10 Internet users regularly check blog posts. From a marketing perspective, blogs can significantly improve your SEO results as they allow you to create unique content pieces to target the latest keyword trends. 

However, blogs aren’t the only channel to engage with your audience. Nowadays, the attention span online is shorter than the one of a goldfish. In other words, while loyal readers are likely to engage with your blog posts, new ones will need to be convinced in under 8 seconds. Indeed, 8 seconds is the current attention span online for a new audience group. The shrinking attention span requires a change in tactics. When reaching out to a new audience, you need a format that is exciting, entertaining, and touching from the first second.

What Does Online Engagement Look Like In 2020?

Video blogs: Let them watch the film of your life

Video blogs record high engagement rates compared to their written cousins. According to Cisco, video content is expected to make up over 82% of all online consumer traffic by 2022. Therefore, it makes sense to reach out to new “readers” via a video channel. Additionally, over 9 in 10 users who consume video content on their smartphones are likely to share it with others. The statistics are much lower for written articles. A video is engaging from the first image as it creates a complex sensory experience. In a few seconds, you can convey a stronger message than you would in a few paragraphs of text.

Users are likely to watch a video to the end rather than read a blog article. From a marketing perspective, your video content receives high traffic, making you more suitable to join the Youtube advertising network. You can display advertising in the middle of your video, which means you can monetize your content effortlessly.

Interactive storytelling: A journey down memory lane

Interactive storytelling brings the “reader” at the heart of the story. Unlike reading a blog post that tells a story, interactive storytelling turns the reader into a semi-active narrative ally who contributes to the end story. You can create interactive experiences through a variety of mediums, including microsites and ebooks. If you are familiar with classic video games – if not, you may want to consider installing PS2 Roms for Windows on your laptop – with an exciting plot, you can use a similar approach to share your content. An exciting plot such as the PS2 GTA: San Andreas moved the player through challenges to reveal the story. As players choose options, they can find out more about the plot. Interactive content creates an immediate sense of reward as users feel in charge of the progress.

Podcasts: Let me tell you a story

Storytelling is part of human nature. Our ancestors grew up telling and listening to stories. Therefore, podcasts allow marketers to tap into the human psyche and share valuable content. A podcast can replace a personal or professional blog article and maximize engagement. They’re so easy to consume that podcasts are now part of everyday activities, from commute to house chores.

Online engagement varies depending on your preferred format. As popular as blogs are, they are not the best engagement strategy for an audience with a shrinking attention span. On the contrary, making your content appealing from the first second is more effective for video, interactive, and podcast storytelling.

4 Ways Gaming Can Help Boost Your Brain Power

4 Ways Gaming Can Help Boost Your Brain Power

Remember when you insisted that spending more time playing video games makes you lazy? Well, there is a new comeback for that. According to researchers from Queen Mary University of London and University College London, certain games can stimulate the growth of neurons and connectivity in the brain region, enhancing spatial orientation, retention, memory, strategic planning, and fine motor skills. This is significantly more advanced in the right hippocampus and right prefrontal cortex. So, you may just reconsider going for that Madalin stunt cars 3 after all because here are some ways it can help boost your brainpower:

4 Ways Gaming Can Help Boost Your Brain Power
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay


Improved Memory

Scientists have found that certain games enhance retention, improving memory. Games create visual images that represent the information you should remember in mind. This helps jump-start your memory and ability to recall. Through stories that link unrelated words, video games improve visualization and association, which will enhance recall cues. When visualization is integrated with the association, the memory becomes more meaningful, and things become more memorable than before. Games are good at enhancing a better memory.

Makes your Brain Younger

It is well known that physical exercise keeps the body stronger, healthier, and younger. Now, researchers have found that mental exercise keeps the brain in a better position to fight aging. Games often start at more manageable levels and gradually become more complicated and harder to tackle. As you increase your skills, you find that more advanced levels are much easier, enabling you to increase the challenge level on your way up. This stimulates your brain and makes it younger than non-gamers.

Various brain games boost your brain and cognitive function to keep you sharper.

Improved Concentration

People who play many games can multitask, perform cognitive activities like rotating things in their minds, concentrate more, and retain information compared to people who do not. It is proven that our brain predicts what’s next, whether it’s a conversation or exercise. And the brain also builds models of the real-world to sharpen prediction skills. Better models lead to better performance, and scientists suggest that gaming enhance and refine such models.

According to research by Harvard University, playing games enhance concentration, especially as you age. Even though games cannot prevent dementia, they help improve some skills that promote overall mental health.
Reduces Anxiety and Stress

An article published by PubMed Central revealed that playing video games can drastically reduce stress. Video games reduce and relieve pain when the player’s mental focus is shifted on the game they are playing.
Taking care of the brain should not be a chore. Instead, you can turn to many fun, enjoyable, and pastime ways to exercise your mind and improve your brainpower. It doesn’t matter which game you want to play; feel free to dive into something that engages your brain. No matter your age or preference, there is always a game to improve your memory, concentration, and overall brain power.

Remember, you are likely to stick to more enjoyable activities, so take your time and figure out the best game for you.

How To Improve Zoom Video Quality: 5 Simple Steps

How To Improve Zoom Video Quality: 5 Simple Steps

Stuck using Zoom instead of going into an office?

I use Zoom and Skype Call Recorder frequently for a podcast I run with my son where we interview professional soccer players.  It's a lot of fun and we've met some amazing people in the soccer field.  (Get it?  Field?)  Anyhow, I've noticed that many people we interview don't know some of the basics of making their video quality great – especially for video recordings.

Check out our podcast here.

But let's get into some basics of Zoom Video Quality.

Zoom is remarkably reliable.  But the default settings on the recordings are really low-quality.  Zoom has poor video quality.  That's a fact. I noticed that even with improving the video quality, the file sizes are not that high.  So there's a limit to how much you can improve the video quality, but here are three ways.

Zoom is easy to use, easy to schedule, and easy for the guest to use.  So it's perfect in that sense.  However, we like recording in Skype using Skype Call Recorder.

The main reasons we like this is that it can do a split-screen, and it also records the files are 3 separate tracks, so you can have a lot more options when it comes to editing.  The file sizes are quite high as the recording quality is better.  If you are doing interviews, I'd recommend checking out Call Recorder from Ecamm, a company that specializes in web-streaming software.  It's a very solid program.

How To Improve Zoom Video Quality Step 1:

The most important adjustment is to tick the “HD” box under Preferences=>Video

how to improve zoom video quality

Make sure to share this post with your guest so they can tick this box, as it is unselected by default, and will significantly improve the quality of your recorded Zoom meeting.

How To Improve Zoom Video Quality Step 2:

First: Make sure you (or your Zoom guest) is not backlit.

Backlit is when you are directly in front of a window.  The computer/webcam senses the light around you are over-compensates for this light, ending up making the figure dark.  Try to position yourself so the light from the window falls on your face directly, or at least on the side of your face.  This makes a tremendous difference.

How To Improve Zoom Video Quality Step 3:

There is an option under Preferences=>Video where you can “Adjust for low light.”  This boosts the light from your webcam and can be adjusted manually by selecting “Auto” and then “Manual” and then adjusting the slider manually until you get enough light.  The key is to make it realistic, as too much light will blow you out.

How To Improve Zoom Video Quality Step 4:

Add more light.  The best way to add more light is to use a simple USB or battery operated ring light.

Here is a simple desktop USB light that comes with an adjustable desktop tripod.

Here is a good example that clips onto your laptop or desktop monitor.

How To Improve Zoom Video Quality Step 5:

Audio.  I know, it's not video, but the audio quality significantly affects the impression and the quality of the overall video.  If you have an external microphone, check that it is selected as the default mics as Zoom will sometimes revert to the default mic if you unplug a USB mic periodically.

So those tips should help you improve the video quality in Zoom, particularly if you are recording your Zoom meetings.

Try this Zoom Promo Code to get a discount on Zoom: 2020CONNECT

Got any other tips on improving your Zoom video quality?  Leave them below in the comments.

Bonus Tips:

If you want to improve the quality of your webcam, digitally, this program works with Zoom to enhance the look and quality of your webcam using proprietary software.

Lastly, you can actually use your iPhone as a Webcam pretty easily.  All you need to do is to download the EpoCam App.

 

Snagit 2021 Review

Snagit 2021 Review

Snagit 2021 review

The internet is entirely visual.  As the interest speeds increase and the cost of hardware and hosting comes down, graphics, and video are obviously going to become more and more important.

Snagit 2021 is a tool that does just about everything you can think of in terms of image and video editing.

It's a tool I am very familiar with, as I have been using it regularly since Snagit 2013, nearly a decade ago.

Are you ready to learn about Snagit 2021?  Read on…

So who is Snagit 2021 for?

Snagit is for anybody that is in charge of marketing for a brand.

If you participate on social media, and you might not want to after watching the documentary, the Social Dilemma, which I highly recommend watching on Netflix…but that's another story.

You need to manipulate screenshots.

If you run your own business, or are in charge of the marketing for your own brand or business, you need a simple, versatile tool like Snagit.

Snagit is made by Techsmith, which also has created the popular cross-platform softwares like Camtasia, Jing and the streaming software, Relay. Techsmith also runs the image and video hosting service, Screencast.  The fact that they own screencast.com should show you how early they were to the party.  They are based out of Michigan and have a high standard of quality.  I actually used Camtasia extensively back when I used a Windows machine before converting to becoming a MAC guy.

And it's important to point out that Snagit is a cross-platform program.  So whether you use Windows or Mac, you can use Snagit or any of the Techsmith products.

Snagit is a great entry point for moving beyond just taking screenshots.

And I think that's the point.

Any browser extension like Awesome Screenshot can take and share a screenshot.  Snagit is about moving to the next level.   It's about doing a little bit more with your screenshots and images (and videos) and still being very simple to use – but ultimately professional.

Before I started using Snagit, I was using a bunch of sometimes reliable, sometimes not chrome extensions.  And I would end up being frustrated.  If I wanted to capture an entire webpage, past the fold, for example, the extension didn't do a good job of that.  I found that relying on browser extensions would be a bit more cluttered – I could never locate the screenshot I took a few days ago and now wanted to use it again.  Little annoyances like that.

By the way, I use Brave, which runs ALL the Chrome extensions and earns me free crypto while I browse.  Download Brave here.

And while you can do the basics of taking a screenshot and sharing it, with a screenshot browser extension, it's limited and a bit fragmented.

Once you want to do a little but more, you need to graduate to a program like Snagit 2021.

Some of the problems you may run into using a free browser addon include:

  • taking scrolling screenshots or hard to take screenshots of a very long page.
  • Or even of taking screenshots of a drop down menu.

Snagit has multiple ways to do those things and more.
So if you want to get into blurring, or combining some images into a step by step checklist, for example, you need something a little more robust.

Delegating Tasks to VAs Using Snagit

I find it essential to delegate tasks to my VAs either by recording a video or creating a polished little instructional document that doesn’t take long.

Recording Your iOS Device (Easy Method)

One of the nice features is integration with iOS.  You can record your iOS device with Techsmith Capture – with or without voice narration – and then you can easily have it magically ported to your computer inside Snagit.

The annoyance of getting video files from your iOS device over to your computer has been solved.  And that's probably the #1 reason you're not doing as many iOS screen recordings, am I right?  It was for me.  So that, in and of itself is worth it!

This makes it easy for non-techies to get really great iOS recordings to show gameplay or tutorials on how to use a certain app for example.

These often grab thousands of free views and subscribers for your YouTube channel.

So let's get into the Pros and Cons on Snagit.

Snagit Features:

So I created a YouTube video where I explain HOW to use most of the features in Snagit 2021.  It's a little but long, but I edited it down to be as concise as possible.  Check it out if you want to know what Snagit can do, or if you already have Snagit and want to learn some of the different features and tools that are inside.

Snagit Pros and Cons:

Snagit Pros:

  • very reliable
  • Can handle recording screens for webinar for multi-hour events
  • Can do a bunch of little things
  • A plethora of image editing tools to make your vision come to life
  • Super-easy to record an iOS video on your iPad or iPhone and get it on your computer
  • Keeps your video and images organized and easily accessible
  • Replaces the need for multiple tools

Cons:

  • it is a paid tool
  • Video editing is limited
  • Can't rename images inside the editor

So Do You Need Snagit?

Great question.  That all depends.  If all you ever do is take an occasional screenshot and share it on social media – and never do anything to it, you probably don’t need Snagit.

However, if you want to have all of our digital assets in one place and learn how to do things in a more polished way, then I think you’ll love it.

So if you want to start creating a more polished look about the images you screenshot, share and edit online, then you should take a look at Snagit.

One thing I don’t love is you can’t rename the images from the editor.  You have to toggle into the library to do that.

Another thing some might not like is that it is a paid tool – and there is a new major release every year.  While it’s not expensive, it’s not free – and let’s face it if you want to use multiple tools you can use something like Loom to record videos (which is not as high resolution) and Awesome Screenshot to capture screen captures.

Snagit 2021 Bottom Line

So I really like Snagit.  It’s one of the first 2 or 3 softwares I install on a brand new computer. I use it not daily, but certainly multiple times per week at minimum.

It handles all my screenshots and screen recordings and the editor make it really easy find the stuff I’ve been working on recently.

I love that it stores all the files in a separate directory, as it makes it easy to backup.

Want to take a FREE Trial of Snagit?  Click here to download it.

If you buy through my link, I’ll give you a free class on image editing that you will love.  Just let me know you've purchased or taken the free trial and I'll send it to you right away.

Give Your Business A Boost Through Digital Marketing

Give Your Business A Boost Through Digital Marketing

Perhaps you’ve noticed that recently your business has taken a bit of a dip in regards to its route to success. Maybe you have found that for one reason or another, your business is struggling to maintain the momentum that it previously had and you’re not sure why that is. The fact is that right now, a large percentage of businesses are struggling – the pandemic has had a huge impact on the business industry – however that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to give your company a success boost, it’s just a case of getting the approach right, that’s all.

Often, when a company is failing to see the required results, it’s a result of a lack of effective marketing. Today, digital marketing has the potential to completely change a company’s success – it’s just a case of making sure that you get the approach right, that’s all. When it comes to your business’s digital marketing strategy, there are a few key factors that it’s vital you get right.

digital marketing

Wondering what these factors are and how digital marketing can give your business a boost? Below is a guide to how digital marketing has the potential to give your business the boost it needs to see greater success going forward. For everything that you need to know, have a read of this!

Perfect your organic strategy

First things first, if you want to see some incredible results from your marketing strategy, you need to perfect the organic strategy that’s in place. You also need to ensure that your organic strategy fits perfectly with your paid strategy. In regards to organic marketing, you need to ensure that the content that you are putting out is unique, consistent and has the right focus. There’s no point pumping out post after post if the posts lack the quality needed to be successful.

Your strategy needs to be a SMART strategy – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – to give you the very best chance of seeing success. It also needs to be a professional strategy – unless you’re a marketing whizz, it’s best to put your business’s marketing needs in the hands of the experts. Either hire an expert in-house or outsource the work, but either way, make sure that your marketing is managed by an expert in the field.

Hone your paid approach

Once you’ve perfected your organic strategy, the next step is to hone your paid approach. What it’s important to understand about a paid strategy is the fact that it needs to compliment your organic strategy perfectly. If you are going to see success from your digital marketing, it’s vital that you create an immersive strategy.

In regards to how you should approach your paid processes, it’s important to opt for the very best quality solutions, such as efficient Google Ads management using scripts. What you want to do is source marketing solutions that have a track record of creating strong results and are backed up by research. When it comes to your PPC – pay per click – strategy you need to ensure that you’re working with a marketer who is highly skilled and experienced and is able to offer the results that you need.

Be clear about content

You’ve probably heard the saying ‘content is king’ – that’s true content is king but only when the content is of the right quality. Content is a crucial element of your digital marketing strategy and it’s crucial that the quality of the content that you’re putting out there is high. It’s for this reason that it makes sense to work with a highly skilled and experienced content writer – or to utilize a content writing service.

You want to be sharing content that’s unique, innovative and well-written, as well as being interesting and relevant. In order to be able to create that kind of content, you need to work with a content writer who understands what it takes to create blog posts, social media content, and email content that is designed to make an impact. Content is king but only when that content is designed to pack a punch – content marketing is an art form and not something that everyone is able to do, which is why you need to invest in the skills of an expert.

When it comes to giving your business a boost, digital marketing is a great way to go as a fully immersive strategy has the ability to give any business the boost it needs to see sustainable success.