Archive for August, 2009

Are You Boring Your YouTube Viewers?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Message from Michelle

Welcome to this issue of Sumèr’s Secrets. Mama and I are finally settled after our trip to see the family (although she really misses her son, Moose).

Recently, a client came to us concerned with dwindling traffic on their YouTube channel and requested we critique their videos. It didn’t take long for us to figure out why no one was watching their videos. Before I continue, it’s important to note that Sumèr does not record or edit videos. We write the scripts and we are in the business of helping our clients create and share a strong brand message.

We figured that if one company was having this problem, there must be more. My team and I surfed business videos on YouTube and were shocked with what we found: video after video had boring, invaluable content.

This issue of Sumèr’s Secrets focuses on the common mistakes businesses make when posting videos on YouTube. From the video content to the messaging, and your dress to the footage quality, your videos should work to strengthen your brand image.

Connect With Me Online at:

Feature Article:

Are You Boring Your YouTube Viewers?

These days, it seems more and more companies (and individuals) are making videos and posting them on YouTube with the expectation their videos will help with search engine rankings and attract new clients. While video marketing has the potential to promote a business and attract clients, many companies find no one is watching or reviewing their videos.

Do a quick search on YouTube and you’ll find videos without sound, ones that make no sense, poorly produced videos, and boring content. The worthless video is everywhere.

These poorly produced videos are fine if you’re uploading footage of your cat chasing your hamster or showing your kids playing in the ocean. But if you are a company using YouTube to promote your services, products, or expertise, then poorly produced videos will do the opposite of what you intended.

Before taking the time to film your video, ask yourself “What is the purpose of this video and how does this video promote my brand?” Perhaps you want to explain a specific product or service, illustrate your industry expertise, or strengthen your brand image by providing viewers with valuable tips and strategies. Once you know the above, you will know what action you want your prospect to take.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when posting YouTube videos:

  1. Posting a video just to post it: Posting a video without a clear purpose is a YouTube no-no. Not to mention a waste of your energy and the viewer’s time. Before you create a video, you want to decide what the purpose is, the best way to provide prospects with valuable information, and the most effective way to execute it.Let’s say a tour company wants to post a video about their latest tour promotion to Niagara Falls. Posting a video that just scans the falls and the spectators isn’t enough. Without some sort of explanation to orient the viewer, the video will have minimal impact. And a video like this does nothing to entice viewers to want to visit Niagara Falls. Sure it’s a nice view, but the video message isn’t powerful enough. A more effective video would orient the viewer and include audio that talks about the tour, gives facts about the Falls, and / or include happy traveler interviews about their experience.
  2. Your video should reinforce your brand, not hinder it: A poorly made video—whether it be bad quality, muffled sound, or flat-out pointless—reflects your brand image. Your videos should be consistent with your brand personality and with your brand message.For example, if you are an adventure travel company and you have a video of you on a zip line high above a rainforest canopy, viewers will be okay with shaky video footage. It not only shows what your company does, but it creates an experience for them. By contrast, if you own a spa and you want to post a video on the latest and greatest facial services you offer, your video should be high quality. Your dress and message should reflect your brand.
  3. Not using a call to action at the end of each video: Although the entire video should be working to drive the prospective client to take action, the last portion of your video should always provide a call to action and be accompanied by the appropriate contact information and links. Having your information readily available after viewers finish your video will help drive them to take action, which could be calling your company, purchasing your product online, inquiring via email, or simply learning more about your company. Whatever the action you want them to take, make it obvious.While the call-to-action usually comes at the end, if you have the appropriate video software you can display your website link and company phone number at the bottom of the screen throughout the entire duration of the video.

What Not To Do On Your Blog: Learn From My Mistake

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Yesterday, I was messing around with my blog, checking the stats, adding a new widget, and answering comments. Something prompted me (or perhaps it was plain old procrastination) to click on page three and four of my comments.

I was happily reading through comments that were months old until I discovered six comments that I had not approved.

I didn’t even know they were there.

I make it a point to reply back when people leave comments because I like bloggers to write back when I comment on their blogs. Also, we market blogs for clients on a regular basis and actively market our blog as well. My number one rule is: leave comments and comment back. It’s the polite thing to do and it helps build relationships.

So, you can image my shock when I stumbled upon these unattended blog comments. To make matters worse, someone had left a message asking to expand on the topic. And another person left me a message on a post that was about how communication is the key to business success. Talk about embarrassing.

How these comments managed to slip past me isn’t important. What matters is that not only did I miss an opportunity to connect with other bloggers, but I may have also lost readership as a result of my neglect.

Let this be a lesson to those of you who blog: stay current with your incoming comments. Reply back in a prompt manner. And it wouldn’t hut you to check comments from months ago. You never know what you might have missed.

I’d love for you to leave a comment. Oh, come on, you know you want to. Or share it on Digg or StumbleUpon.

Never Again Hear the Words “I Can’t Find Your Video”

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Optimizing your video posts on YouTube is essential if you want viewers to find them. Discover the tips and strategies  for optimizing your videos from YouTube’s project manager, Matthew Liu.

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Catching a Thief on Facebook

Friday, August 21st, 2009

It appears that dusting fingerprints, taking hair samples, and performing DNA analysis might not be enough to catch a thief. For Daniel James, owner of Las Olas, he did some of his own detective work using Facebook.

Where most companies use Facebook for promoting their businesses, Charleston’s own surf apparel shop Las Olas took Facebook to a whole new level. Below is the incident report.

Incident Report

Report Entered: 2009

Case Title: To Catch a Shorts Thief

Reporting Officer: Las Olas Facebook Page


Role Name

Las Olas Store Owner           Daniel James


Status Name

Shorts Thief                            Mr. Pánts-Stuffer


I was in Las Olas when a group of teenage skateboarders came in to browse. I had met one of the boys before and wasn’t suspicious of anything. They came in and started browsing; meanwhile, I had a friend asking about surf trip pointers as I rearranged merchandise—so I was a little busy. I was at the counter, and the boys were in the back looking at shoes. I had just rearranged the men’s shorts, and when they left, I noticed a pair was missing. At this point I called the police who showed up very quickly. I reviewed my security video from my computer and saw one of the boys had stuffed some shorts down his pants. The police did a sweep based on my descriptions but to no avail. So, I took still pictures from the video, enhanced them, and made a Facebook photo album with a reward for whoever could identify the thief.

Within about one hour, I had a dozen or so responses and suggestions. I followed the leads and found out the thief’s name.  I then called the detective working on the case and gave him the information. I wasn’t too surprised that people recognized this boy from the Facebook album I created.  Charleston is a small town, and if you live here, someone has seen your face before.

Report Status:


Las Olas was opened in May 2007, during a time in which mainstream surf clothing had evaporated everything unique. Las Olas tries to promote unfiltered products to let the customer decide what is in fashion. Bringing Southern California style to Charleston, SC, Las Olas has now been open for two years, despite a fluctuating economy. You can reach the Las Olas store via phone at 843.737.0488, or visit them at 441 King Street in Charleston, SC.

If you have a great Facebook story, we’d love to hear it! Leave us a comment.

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Social Media Vulnerability: Could You Be Affected?

Friday, August 21st, 2009

More WebProNews Videos

Although popular social media sites are some of the greatest tools to use to market and promote your website, they’re not the ONLY tools you should be using. The above video discusses how Twitter, as well as Facebook, were recently the victims of a hacker. When these systems were down, tweets and Facebook updates could not be passed through. This event should inspire you to use other online channels to market and promote your business. Other channels include discussion forums, blogs, and email.

What else are you doing  to market and promote online?

Redefining the Way Businesses Gain Exposure

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Message from Michelle

Greetings from Kimberling City. For the past week, I’ve been in Southwest Missouri visiting my family and relaxing.

It’s a much-needed break as my team and I have been busy this summer helping clients ramp up their publicity on- and offline. And it’s working. This past Sunday, our client Ears of Experience was featured in the Travel and Arts section of the Post and Courier. In addition to the article, within days after their optimized press release appeared online, they received four calls from prospects that saw the release.

In the past few months, more and more companies are contacting me, asking for help with promoting and marketing their companies online. This issue of Sūmèr’s Secrets focuses on how to gain more exposure-both on- and offline-through integrated PR.

Connect With Me Online at:

Feature Article:

Integrated PR: Redefining the Way Businesses Gain Exposure

When most people think of PR, they understand it to be the act of relaying news to a media source via a press release. They believe once they submit a press release, that’s all they can do. They wait to see what the press release can do for them. Too many people submit a press release to a variety of news outlets–thinking they have a great story the media will pick up–but they hear nothing back.

Instead, they wait, and wait, and wait. Nothing happens.

Ever since the first press release was published on October 30, 1906, public relations has been shaped and defined by more than a written release. Networking, relationship building, trustworthy practices, and brand presence are just a few additional elements that help define public relations.

Today, with a wide variety of news mediums to choose from, the public has spread itself across several channels. If you choose to convey your company message only through one medium, such print media, you may find the public is elsewhere and your efforts wasted.

If you’re not using online platforms to enhance your public relation efforts, then you’re missing an opportunity to expose your brand to the public, generate leads, increase sales, and boost credibility.

Some of the most innovative and effective ways to reach your target market online include PR 2.0 and optimized press releases.

  • PR 2.0: By definition, PR 2.0 is a social media press release. This newly developed public relations tool was born from the rise in social media popularity. As more and more people use flickr,, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Digg, they are more desensitized to newspapers and traditional media outlets. Because of this shift, using modern media forms, in addition to traditional forms, is the most effective way to get across time-sensitive news items related to your business.PR 2.0 incorporates a variety of interactive social media elements including video, Twitter pitches, share options, bookmarking capabilities, photos, slideshows, bulleted information, links to your website, blog, and social media sites, and contact options. Because PR 2.0 is viral, the audience base you can reach with it is infinite.Click here to view one of our client’s latest PR 2.0 releases.
  • Optimized PR: Also known as SEO PR, an optimized press release is search engine optimized to ensure it pulls up on search engine result pages. In other words, the press release is written to incorporate important keywords that prospects may be using as search terms. One of the most popular places the public and even the media go for their daily news dish is the Internet. Google News, Yahoo! News, and Bing, to name a few.

If you post an optimized press release in popular search engines, you can be sure to get some hits off of it. Similar to PR 2.0, an optimized press release is viral and has the ability to reach a countless number of prospects.

It’s obvious the public relations model has shifted over the years, but public relations still, without a doubt, embodies the same principles it did over 100 years ago: provide the people and the press with truthful, accurate information that is both newsworthy and valuable.

Want to see more marketing articles like this one? Visit Michelle’s marketing blog, Sūmèr Blog.

Tip of the Month

According to WebProNews, PRWeb shared a case study that involved a firm that usually sees a 50% increase in website traffic after issuing a press release. One of their most successful releases led to a 400% increase in website traffic. In order to drive additional traffic to the releases, this same firm used social media sites to increase press release exposure.

Like this post? I’d love for you to share it on Digg, StumbleUpon, or the other social media tools found below.

Christophe Artisan Chocolatier-Patissier: Business-to-Client Gift Ideas

Friday, August 14th, 2009

You know the power gifts and thank-you cards have when it comes to customer retention, yet, you can never think of anything new to send. Well, if you’re tired of giving another plant or bouquet of flowers or gift basket . . . you’re in for a treat.

Sūmèr has found the perfect solution to the stress of gift giving. And that solution is chocolate.

At a recent networking event, Sūmèr was thrilled to meet co-owner of Christophe Artisan Chocolatier, Carly Paume, and to find out that Carly’s husband, Chrisophe, is the master chocolatier of Christophe Artisan Chocolatier.

Christophe Artisan Chocolatier is located in Charleston, South Carolina, and specializes in handmade chocolates, which can be customized with company logos, specific designs, flavors, and more. With customized gifts to match any budget and personal preferences, Christophe Artisan Chocolatier should be on the top of everyone’s gift-giving list.

Sūmèr: What makes your chocolates the perfect gift for companies to give to their clients or employees?

Carly: Chocolate is wonderful for many reasons. It is a gift that is truly for everyone. Most people can find one piece that they love no matter what. It is also a gift that is genderless; both men and women love chocolate. And, it is a gift that can be shared. One box can be sent to an entire office. Giving a gift of Christophe Artisan Chocolatier heightens the level of appreciation, as it is also a gift of art—edible art. Also, with the focus on buying local, it is a great way to support a local company.

Sūmèr: What is the price range of your chocolates? Specifically, what can customers purchase for a very affordable price, and what can they purchase for a more expensive price?

Carly: We have a gift option for every budget. A one-piece box of chocolates can be purchased for $2.00 or a 144-piece box for $250.00, and there are options in between. A 4-count box retails for $9.95, a 9-count box for $18.95, and an 18-count box for $34.95. These are the boxes that we carry on a typical day, and they are made from faux-crocodile leather, which makes a very upscale gift. We can also make it more affordable by choosing different packaging, as we work with a few different companies. The possibilities are endless.

We do offer a discount based on the level of purchase. For purchases between $1,500-$5,000, we offer a 10% discount. And, with purchases above $5,000, we offer a 15% discount.

Sūmèr: We believe gifts with thought are a great customer-retention tool. If a company were to send chocolates to valued customers, why should they choose Christophe Artisan Chocolatier over another chocolate company?

Carly: We can customize the packaging and the chocolates more than most companies can, or will. There are more choices to the personalization of a gift. Our chocolate is also made here locally and by hand. These are not mass-produced chocolates filled with preservatives or low-grade cocoa butter content. Our chocolate does show a higher thought level, as we specialize in hand-painted chocolate, which typically gets an “Ooh” and an “Aah” even before it’s eaten.

I have a year of specialized corporate-gifting experience in chocolate from a company that I had worked at before, and therefore, I am knowledgeable about how details play an important role in gifting. The smallest detail can make a lasting impression. Using Christophe Artisan Chocolatier can take the stress off of gifting, since all we need is a list of whom the chocolates are going to, along with an address—we take care of everything else. You don’t even have to worry about shipping or delivering.

Sūmèr: How do you personalize gifts?

Carly: There are many different ways in which to personalize the gift. We can place a logo transfer on the chocolate itself or use a chocolate mold that would represent the company. We can also custom print the packaging with a logo or choose a specific color that represents the company. Customized stickers and ribbons are also an option. We work with many great packaging companies that can do some wonderful things with business logos.

Christophe is also great at making sculptures freehand, so we don’t always need a special mold. For the upcoming holidays, we’ll be making a lot of great items, such as a toy soldier, nutcracker, candle, ornament, and more. We also offer personalized message cards in the package as well, where a company logo and special message can be placed. Gift bags and baskets are always an option as well.

Sūmèr: Do you send chocolates across the nation? Internationally? Will people eventually be able to purchase from you online?

Carly: We can ship throughout the United States but have not yet tackled international shipping. We will also deliver corporate gifts to the company placing the order or to their clients as long as they are in the Charleston metro area. We would love to have an online store by next year for purchases, but, for now, we can take call-ins.

Sūmèr: What’s the best way for prospective clients to contact you?

Carly: By email at or by phone at (843) 388-7495. The earlier the client contacts us the better. This way we can work more on personalization and make sure that we secure the packaging the client prefers. But, we also have options for someone the day before he or she needs the gift, or even the day of.

Check out the new website at:

Letterman Doesn’t Know How To Tweet?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

In this hilarious video from the Late Show with David Letterman, Kevin Spacey tries to explain Twitter to David in the simplest way possible.


Image Merchants Selects Sūmèr to Market and Promote Website and Products

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Image Merchants has chosen Sūmèr to market and promote their website and unique imaged gifts. Sūmèr will develop and implement a unique PR strategy that tells the Image Merchants’ story, enhances company exposure, and positions them as the place to purchase imaged gifts. Through a strategic Life after Launch package, we will generate exposure online and offline to drive qualified traffic to the main Image Merchants’ website and blog.

Image Merchants provides gift baskets and note cards, hand-carved gift boxes, corporate and executive gifts, hotel room gifts, and holiday gifts.

The Website Alternative: Creative Business Blogsites

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Celebrated for her creative, one-of-a-kind designs, Hannah Craner, graphic and print collateral designer and owner of Sherbet Blossom Designs, has positioned herself as a blogsite designer and custom-designed print collateral guru. In this exclusive interview, Hannah shares with Sūmèr her design expertise and her inspirations:

Sūmèr: What is your design background?

I graduated with a BS in social marketing and took some computer / design classes in school, but most of my design experience came after I graduated. My husband started a nonprofit organization that sends doctors and dentists to third-world countries. Since we were a true nonprofit organization with little money to spare, my husband asked me to design a logo and website. I had a graphic design friend who mentored me through the process and helped me gain the passion I have now. I soon began doing websites and wedding invitations for a wide clientele and landed a job as a graphic designer for a magazine publishing company. I have been designing my magazine for almost four years now and absolutely love print work.

Sūmèr: Why blogs? How did you get into blog design?

Print work is actually my passion, but blog designing fell into my lap. I began Sherbet Blossom Designs two years ago and immediately had people asking me who designed my site. When they found out I designed my own blog, they asked if I could do theirs. After more than fifteen people asked me to design their blogs, I decided I should make a business of it. My greatest passion is still print work, but I do love blog design as well.

Sūmèr: How do your blogsites differ from traditional  websites?

Each of my blogs is custom designed. I design to the client’s taste and work with my client to create a site that is uniquely his or her own.

Sūmèr: What do you love most about what you do? Why?

I love to see the design in my head become a reality on screen and even more in print. To hold something in my hand that I created is a thrill. I love that I am constantly looking for beauty and shape in everything around me. Everything is inspiration.

Sūmèr: What is your source of inspiration?

Inspiration comes from everywhere. Shapes, signs, magazines, fabric, antique books—I have a hard time looking at anything without analyzing the design. I keep a sketchbook and camera with me to draw or take pictures whenever I get an idea.

Sūmèr: You have quite an extensive portfolio. How long have you been designing blogs / banners / websites / print collateral?

I have been designing blogs for about two years, but 80% of my designs have been done in the past ten to twelve months. It seems the more I do, the busier I become.

Sūmèr: What does the future hold for Sherbet Blossom Designs?

I plan on selling premade blog designs at bargain prices and also revamping the print work section of my site to focus more on invitations, ads, and packaging. I am very excited about the changes coming in the next three to four months.

To view Sherbet Blossom Design’s exceptional portfolio,     visit

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