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DANiEL WiLLiS, blog


Everyone is jumping on to the live video bandwagon. From traditional media outlets to Silicon Valley start-ups, live video is attracting much of the capital, and consumer attention.

Are we really ready for the yawning chasm of “perpetually-on", video hosts clamouring for our idle-attention moments?

Take any off-the-shelf, consumer-grade video product, both hardware and software, and you are well on the way to creating terribly boring, disposable content that is of little value to both the consumer and producer.

Multiply a lack of camera skill by the owner’s non-existent editing chops, subtract the need for licenses and rules and equipment and every smart-phone toting, human being on earth can broadcast their own personal "now ".

In the rush to fill their social spaces with content, video seems to be a rich vein of content in an otherwise desolate landscape of recycled reposts. The social media platforms are hoping that users who never thought of producing may produce; consumers that never thought of watching may watch.

" Walk around Comicon with me, right now "

" Here is my nephew getting ready for his first protest march! Live!"

It's easy to press the record button and everybody wants to be on stage with the band. If you are a social media platform you are begging for this kind of now-ness.

It is a double edged sword however, because filling the channel with noise is different than providing real, quality engagement. The very thing that social media needs may be written off as pap even before it can find an audience.

It is wrongheaded to think that if we can only get more content, then more live things will fall into place. Producers need the right tools, the right challenges and the right outlook to make content incredible.

“Live" has been around for a long time and it's almost always boring. Even some of our celebrities shoehorned into creating live material are faltering. Watching Snoop Dogg mumble through 30 minutes in a television studio is not much better than watching your neighbour do the same from her front porch.

Just because it's live doesn't mean it's interesting.

The trick is for your tools provide everything you need to create a livestream where the audience member can jump right in at the halfway point, immediately understand what's going on and enjoy the content to the end.

So where do you find good live programming? Watch the television networks, of course. Notice that they are highly polished, technically advanced, and they have elements that make them incredibly watchable.

At Omnimedia we know how your audience works and what they want. Two chairs between two ferns, one filled with a notable personality gives you an interview. Sit behind a desk with a moving backdrop and graphic interjections and you have a news program.

Omnimedia, instead of simply providing a blank slate on which to create noise, knows where the lines are and how to colour within them.

Important attributes are a consistent background and settings; knowing your subject matter well; a team of specialized crew to prompt and create feedback. Audio cues can be helpful in between segments and text in the lower third can identify who's doing the talking.

Your smart phone and the products that come with it, those that allow you to press that record button, provide none of that. If nothing else, they have alerted producers and consumers about the possibilities of going live, but when it is your name on the marquee, your brand providing the sponsorship, and your drive to capture an online audience don't take chances.

Don't be boring.

That question came to the forefront this week, when a client ran into trouble with their webmaster. I thought I would take the time to recap some warnings for small business people who rely on the internet for marketing their business.

When it comes to webmasters, ethics count. Small business people depend on their vendors to behave in ethical way. When they don't, it can create a severe strain on the business persons’ resources.

Your website is composed of images and text and colors; maybe a video, graphics, your logo - all of those things. On the surface it may be beautiful. Underneath it could be empty of redeeming qualities.

On the surface your website looks like it belongs to you. But really when you stop paying your hosting fees it will go away. When you stop paying your registration fees it will go away. Sometimes when you stop paying your webmaster, it will go away.

You may own the images the logo but if you aren't careful you could end up not owning anything else.

There are a number of ways to avoid getting into trouble with an unethical webmaster and this week I’d like to tell you about an experience I have never seen before.

First, do you own your domain name? That is the www. that directs people to your website. It goes on your business cards in your advertising and it helps drive traffic to your site.

Do you own the hosting account? Your webmaster has no right to either one of these accounts. Unethical masters will hold your website ransom, if they believe you aren't playing by their rules.

That means if you are unhappy with your webmaster, you are unable to go to a new one.

This week, my client came to me in need of the usual search engine optimization, blogging, and copywriting that many website developers overlook or can't be bothered with or don't know how to do.

What I thought was due diligence, was to find that my client's website was in fact built by their developer on the WordPress platform. I was wrong.

The crafty webmaster had stripped all of the HTML code from the template and wrote the remaining source code to complete the project.

What that means is my client picked out a Wordpress template and thought they were getting a wordpress website. They didn’t.

The website looked like the template that was chosen, but there was no WordPress content management software associated with the website.

What that meant was my client was forced to always and forever use the services of this webmaster to create all changes from correcting a spelling error to doing SEO, to posting blogs, to adding team members, etc.

There was no way my client would be able to make even minor changes to their own website.

There was also no way they could hire easily hire a web designer/developer or webmaster (like me) in order to make changes, to make the website better.

In this case, my client had logins for the domain name, could get into the CPanel and the hosting, and had FTP logins.

Twenty years ago this would have been normal. Expectations have changed however. Today a content management system is an expectation - not an add-on.

Who owns your website? If you can login to the back-end of your website, chances are you do. If you can't log into the back-end, call me. We have ways of working around that little problem.

As an online marketing consultant I often and asked to work on pre-existing websites. In many cases someone who has developed a website has provided the client with a good looking skin and not much else. Things like search engine optimization, keyword analysis and copywriting, blogging, and other strategies are generally not included in the price of a website design.

It makes for a comfortable living, when I can help my clients get their website found on Google.

Employee Recognition

Employees are a company’s most valuable asset, and should be recognized for all the work they do for a company. Motivating them to go above and beyond is extremely important for a successful business, and recognizing employees is a great way to increase productivity and improve workforce engagement and retention. There are many ways employers can motivate their employees. This can include offering rewards such as: extra paid time off, monetary rewards, a free lunch, or even a work from home option. The accompanying infographic provides an overview that can help you increase engagement and foster greater productivity as well as company culture.

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