I’m attending Open Camp this weekend.
While people who read The Juggling Writer regularly may wonder what a recap about a conference focusing on Web technology has to do with writing, so far every panel discussion I’ve listened to has offered things I can do and use as a writer to get what I write seen by more people.
The first panel of the morning I attended was Giovanni Galucci’s (@giovanni) Practically Illegal Blackhat SEO Techniques. Giovanni asked that what he discussed not be shared, so I’ll respect that. I will say that while he discussed many ways for bloggers and other people online to get higher Google rankings, beneath it all was still a sense of, “You gotta make great content!” [My words, not Giovanni’s].
What I liked even more than the tips Giovanni shared was his manner of presentation. It’s clear that doing frequent videos online and presenting all the things he discusses allows him to speak to a big group and get his points across. I think I learned more just watching him present than I did from the information he shared. A good example: he put the presentation together this morning–and he presented this morning!
Now, this wasn’t out of not caring about the presentation and rushing at the last minute; Giovanni likes including timely things in his presentations, and there were slides and videos shared for things that just happened yesterday, and that are happening today.
As a writer of mostly fiction, what I do is planned out and reworked over and over [and over and over].
But when it comes to blogging and sharing with the people who read my blog and follow my Twitter feed, Giovanni’s presentation was a reminder that I still have the ability to offer fresh content about things that just happened, or about to happen.
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The next presentation was by Cali Lewis (@calilewis), host of GeekBeat.TV. Cali’s presentation, Success with Multimedia, was one of the sessions I was really looking forward to, since I’m planning to begin podcasting next month, and since I’ve wanted to do more with video.
Cali discussed the importance of determining if you want to shoot for worldwide success in online media, or if you want to focus on things more local. After getting people to think about their goals with online multimedia, she discussed some of the pros and cons of blogging, podcasting, and video blogs and streaming video.
Of blogs, Cali said that the written word can be flat to many people. Obviously, as a writer, I focus on words. The point Cali was making wasn’t that blogs are inherently boring; it’s that unless you’re producing original content people want to read or need, there are better ways of getting your content seen online.
With audio, Cali talked about how hearing people provides a sense of meaning. We can hear the inflection in a speaker’s voice; we can tell that what might come across as sarcastic in print is actually meant as humorous when we actually hear it [my words, not Cali’s].
When it comes to video, we can have a much stronger influence over an audience. Video allows us an easier way to evoke emotion and create a connection.
Cali believes that video is a conversation–even going as far as mentioning that some people admit to talking back to her when they watch the videos she produces.
While Cali loves video, she admits that it’s important to first figure out what it is you’re hoping to accomplish online, and then decide if video is right for you.
YouTube vs. RSS
Going with the theme of deciding the best way to use video online, Cali discussed the benefits of YouTube and RSS feeds.
If you’re creating random videos (one-offs), YouTube can be a great place to share your videos.
If you’re creating ongoing content, an RSS feed on a blog, iTunes, etc. may be the way to go. (If you’re creating something ongoing, giving viewers the option to subscribe and have new videos delivered is a better guarantee they will receive content than having them remember to keep visiting a YouTube channel.)
Of course, most people using video successfully online use a combination of a YouTube channel and an RSS feed. Again, it’s all about deciding what’s best for your needs.
Cali said streaming video online is where things are moving at this point. Having the ability to have a presentation or appearance live, supported by a chat room where you can receive instant viewer feedback, really creates the connection and conversation Cali mentioned in her presentation.
Using social media in conjunction with any multimedia you’re doing online is vital. Cali can schedule tweets to go off while she’s streaming live to remind viewers to come to her site and interact as things are happening. Using media in combination with social media creates an even better sense of community and awareness that you’re out there doing your thing.
As a writer, I can see the benefits of doing more with audio and video. For published novelists, streaming video of limited appearances allows people in rural areas you’re skipping to still take part in the fun. Cali’s presentation left me with a lot to think about–definitely worth the price of admission to Open Camp!
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I also attended a couple other presentations this morning (Trey Ratcliff’s Clever Tricks for Your Blog and Scott Kublin’s Online Marketing Mindset), but they’ll have to wait until later. Right now, I need to get back to the sessions!
I’ll babble more this evening…