Healthy Habits for Businesses to Practice During the COVID-19 Crisis

Mar 13, 2020 | Business Leadership

Since the coronavirus landed on U.S. shores, the media has been working overtime—not only describing the symptoms and areas affected to those seeking information but also how the outbreak is impacting business. Whether it be the dramatic stock market drop, large-scale event postponements or travel cancellations, organizations need to assess what’s most important to communicate to a concerned public. 

Biz Briefing – OTM CEO, Miles Kailburn

Reported cases of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) are growing at an alarmingly rapid rate, with the first diagnosis officially announced in Colorado earlier this week.

While the virus presents significant health risks, it also presents challenges for businesses who must ride out the pending.

Negative impact as a result of an economic crisis such as this is typically felt by the creative services industry a few months after the negative impacts are felt by our clients. That being said, thought leaders in the creative industry are projecting a 2-8 month “impact” window – which goes to show that all businesses will be impacted in some capacity, at some point.

In a recent virtual meeting with fellow agency owners around the country, we discussed the potential challenges of the current economic landscape.

Through our discussion, we determined that there are likely three tiers of impact to be expected:

  • Primary Impact: Schools/Higher Education, Events, Hospitality/Restaurants, Tourism, and Entertainment Venues
  • Secondary Impact: Supply Chain Driven Industries such as Automotive/Powersports, High Tech and Manufacturing
  • Tertiary Impact: Professional Service-Based Businesses (such as ours in the creative services industry)

In an effort to operate effectively during this evolving and rather unpredictable crisis situation, there are a few steps that business owners can take to mitigate the impact in the long run:

  • Be proactive around shifting existing meetings to video or conference calls
  • Remain flexible and understanding with your vendors and clients to maintain positive relationships with partners. Your relationship will ultimately outlast this crisis situation.
  • Maintain a fiscally responsible position and forecast your finances appropriately

Businesses are likely to feel the impact on their bottom line as it becomes necessary for workers and clients to self-isolate or remain in quarantine. In order to prepare your organization and ensure the safety of your team and customers, we are recommending all of our clients consider taking the following steps, as needed.

Internal Strategy Insight – OTM CSO, Kerrie Luginbill

Communicate with employees early and often. No matter where you are located in the world, if you have not already communicated with your employees about your plans to respond to the coronavirus, you are behind.

Communicating early and thoroughly can help reduce panic and anxiety among your workforce.

While you may still be finalizing details like compensation if employees are unable to come to work or whether or not to close your office, it is important to let your team know that you are working on a plan to address these concerns.

Internal communications should include the following:

  • A message that your organization is aware of the situation and making contingency plans to limit the disruption to business
  • Information about precautionary measures that are being taken, such as restricting nonessential travel, canceling events or sanitizing common spaces
  • Unbiased, fact-based resources that employees can turn to for additional information like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website and the World Health Organization website.
  • Work-from-home policies
  • A specific point of contact for questions

Now is the time to revisit your crisis communications plan and host a meeting with your team to review it. With a crisis of this nature, it is especially important to ensure that you have a clear chain of command detailed in your communication plan, with backup options to account for the potential that key decision-makers may be sick and unable to participate in decision making.

Items that should be included in your crisis communications plan:

  • Chain of command for decision making related to closures
  • Chain of command for fielding media inquiries
  • Phone numbers for all team members and key stakeholders
  • Phone numbers for your local health department
  • Holding statements for addressing coronavirus exposure

After you have updated your crisis communications plan, it’s time to run through potential scenarios and make sure that all key team members are aware of the role they will play should you need to activate the plan. Given the likelihood that at least one member of your team will be impacted by the virus, whether infected themselves or unable to work as they care for a sick loved one, it is critical to cross-train employees.

Remote Readiness – OTM Specialist, Spencer Flores

There is an unprecedented increase in remote work happening around the world due to circumstances resulting from COVID-19.

If you’re implementing remote working practices or are expecting an increase in demand, be sure to consider the following tools are functional and all employees have been trained or provided with instruction on use.

Things to consider include:

  • Remote Server Access to File Share Platforms (VPN) – with more users connecting remotely, administrators should consider their users’ collaboration traffic as part of the remote network planning.
  • Digital Collaboration (Ex.: Google Docs, Sheets, Slides) – keeping a business functional while the workforce is scattered presents multiple challenges. Workers and managers may need to adopt new practices, rely on cloud-based applications and other technologies to keep productivity going.
  • Email Platforms – in a remote setting, decisions are often made with fewer people in the “virtual room.” Whether you continue with remote work or everyone returns back to the office after this period, you’ll be grateful for having a “paper trail” of decisions made during this period.
  • Video Conferencing (Ex.: Zoom) – in non-ideal network conditions, users can connect using the phone numbers associated with their meetings. While video is a valuable part of remote collaboration, limiting video use to only presenters or key users is a way you can lower the network bandwidth used by the client.
  • Chat Interfaces (Ex.: Slack, iMessage, Google Hangouts) – isolation is a significant challenge for regular remote employees. This feeling is heightened when individuals are stuck at home under stressful conditions with limited outlets to connect with one another. Check-in on them. Encourage them to check in on one another—not just to make sure they are working, but also in recognition that they are humans. Remember to check-in on their mental well being and talk about things outside of work.

We recommend our clients hold a quick check-in meeting daily, whether in-person or virtually, to review key roles, new developments, and responsibilities, as they may change quickly in this rapidly evolving situation.

PR Perspective – OTM Specialist, Jana Beasley

During times of crisis, maintaining a calm, collected brand voice and keeping open channels of communication with clients, team members, and stakeholders is critical.

Remember: consumer response to the crisis in any given situation is driven by timing, trust, and transparency.

At this time, practicing proactive communication efforts is vital to companies across all industries. Doing so helps to ensure minimal impact on the overall external sentiment for the company or organization.

Given the rapid spread of the virus and the likelihood that a majority of organizations will be impacted in one way or another, we recommend that all organizations begin communicating with clients and external stakeholders about their preparedness. The purpose of such communications is to reassure your clients that you are aware of the severity of the situation and have contingency plans in place to address the situation, should your organization be directly impacted.

Another important factor for a successful messaging strategy is to ensure that your organization does not spread any misinformation. It is important to clarify your media policy with your entire team and clearly identify which of your employees are authorized to act as spokespeople and make sure all team members know who to refer media inquiries to.

Issuing Media Holding/Response Statements is one outlet commonly overlooked:

  • Be sure to update your holding statements to include messaging addressing coronavirus.
  • If your organization is directly impacted by coronavirus or an employee or client becomes ill, time will be of the essence.
  • Having statements prepared will allow you to move as quickly as possible to share information with key stakeholders.

The general public will also rely heavily on digital information updates, most citing their news from social media platforms, primarily Facebook. Now is the time to implement an organized, yet flexible messaging schedule, with relevant and carefully curated content.

Social Strategy – OTM Specialist, Natalie Omiecinski

We live in a world of misinformation on social media. When crises like this happen, it’s your responsibility, as a social media manager or strategist, to ensure the integrity of the information put out on social media.

It is also important to remember that social media strategy is not one-sided.

A recent guide released by Twitter states “brands must understand the unique roles they play in people’s lives, how those roles have changed due to the coronavirus and what they can do to help, rather than copying what other brands are doing.”

This reminds us that you can’t just put information out in the ether – a good strategy involves “social listening.” This means that it is key to respond to comments and messages from concerned parties. Work closely with your PR team to ensure that you are responding to these messages with the same sentiment that they would. Social media should enhance your PR communications.

Tips to follow:

  • Work closely with your PR team
  • Make sure that your posts are empathetic
  • Only post accurate and truthful information
  • Listen to your audience and engage with them
  • Do not play into fear-mongering
  • Do NOT try to capitalize on the crisis as a “marketing opportunity”

Email Insight – OTM Specialist, Hailey Bouche

By taking quick action to speak about how a crisis is being prioritized, your client is more likely to trust you and your business.

In a time of crisis, email newsletters offer an effective and reliable way to communicate. Considering email lists are received by targeted audiences, typically made up of current or potential clients or customers, sending information regarding safety and awareness is necessary. Posts on social media have an ability to reach masses, but with the influx of posts in one day, it is likely that the audience you need to reach will not see your post.

Emails are almost guaranteed to be seen.

While you don’t need to share the entirety of your crisis plan publicly, we recommend including the following items:

  • A statement about how you are prioritizing employee and client safety and will continue to closely monitor the situation
  • Details about preventative measures that are underway within your organization
  • A link to a webpage where clients can find the latest information about your response. The information below discusses what to include on this page.

Be Resourceful to Remedy Symptoms of Stress

Launch a Resource Landing Page
In a quickly moving situation, having a centralized location where updates and the latest information can be compiled is key to avoiding confusion. Many organizations have already created landing pages dedicated to providing information about the coronavirus and their mitigation efforts. We recommend that clients place a link to a dedicated resource page on the homepage of their website.

Key information to include on the page:

  • Details about your contingency plans. If you serve clients in-person, include information about whether your locations are open or not and how you will or will not serve clients if you close.
  • Preventative measures that are underway. If your organization is encouraging employees to work from home, reduce nonessential travel, implement additional cleaning procedures or take any other precautions to minimize the risk of exposure, share these details.
  • Links to external resources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website and the World Health Organization website.
  • A statement that the webpage reflects the situation as it currently stands and as this is a rapidly evolving situation, your organization will continue to evaluate the best course of action and update the page with the latest information as it is available.
  • Contact information for your primary media spokesperson and leadership team member overseeing coronavirus preparedness.

Resource Implementation – A.S. Dir., Rachel McIntyre

Now is the right time to evaluate your resources, as well as provide resources of benefit to your audience. As a liaison between our clients and their audiences, we value our role as a trusted resource for both parties. We recommend extending your expert insight or services as able to support your brand, your audience, and your industry. 

Some examples of our clients enacting this role:

Regardless of the type of brand, reacting and preparing for a coronavirus outbreak should follow the rules of a typical PR crisis, even though this seems to be a newer threat with unknown repercussions. Looking at a crisis strategy is the remedy for a quick recovery, and can help brands get a head start on how to communicate with their audiences.

We hope this article will act as a guide for businesses of all varieties during this trying time, and we encourage our existing clients to reach out to us for support in the creation and implementation of crisis communications-related services.

Video is an often overlooked method of connecting with future (and current) patients and building credibility, especially in the medical industry. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more and more services have switched from in-person to hybrid or 100% online and people are utilizing digital platforms more than ever for things like finding credible providers and hosting virtual visits.

Video marketing for doctors is becoming more necessary in helping form personal connections by allowing people to get a sense of their doctors before scheduling a visit.

In this blog, we will cover why you should use video marketing for doctors, types of videos to make, and tips for ensuring your videos are successful.

Interior of modern photo studio with professional equipment

Why Use Video?

Video marketing for doctors isn’t just about making specialist introduction videos to post on a website. Patient testimonials, informational videos, introductory videos for doctors, and office overviews are great tools to engage your audience and turn curious viewers into lifelong patients.

The first and most important outcome of video marketing for doctors is establishing trust and credibility.

When a patient can watch a quick interview with their physician, they feel a connection and gain an understanding of the doctor’s background, qualifications, and personality.

Many people searching for a provider will automatically self-disqualify if they feel a practice or particular physician may not be a good fit, so providing them with a glimpse into a doctor’s personality will help them feel at ease, knowing in advance who will be trusted to care for them.

They may feel drawn to a particular physician based on personal or medical backgrounds, forming a bond that helps the patient feel at ease with their provider choice.

On top of building trust, video marketing for doctors establishes a platform for education. People turn to the internet to search for medical information that pertains to their situation, so being a source of accurate information is a valuable way to position your practice. It also helps deter misinformation, as these videos are being produced by experts in the field and hosted by credible sources.

Video Types for Successful Marketing

Professional digital equipment recording video blog of businesswoman, online business coach making presentation for website, filming popular vlog or master class for videoblog channel, focus on camera

Informational Videos

Many people search the internet to learn about their diagnoses and potential treatments, which is where informational videos come into play.

As a doctor, you may often find yourself explaining complex concepts to your patients repeatedly. If there’s a topic that comes up often in your practice, it’s probably a great subject for an educational video.

People usually turn to the internet to learn about a diagnosis or treatment before visiting a specialist, so providing accurate information is a great way to help guide a patient on their health journey. As a bonus, you’re establishing your expertise while providing education.

 

Patient Testimonials

Patient testimonials are another great tool to show your audience proof of credibility. Since video is more personal than a text-based review, patient testimonials can feel more like a friend’s referral. The audience can see the patient’s genuine enthusiasm and may feel more invested, as a result.

 

Introductions and Office Tours

Introductions and office overview videos provide a glimpse into the world of your practice. Viewers can get to know doctors, their backgrounds, their personalities, and take a tour of the office before even scheduling an appointment. Providing this type of content is an important part of video marketing for doctors, as it establishes a welcoming atmosphere for anyone considering an appointment.

For example, check out this introduction video we did for a new doctor joining the team at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies.

This video is great because it’s short, informative, easy to embed on on a website, use for a social post, or include in an email newsletter.

Tips and Tricks for Great Videos

Female hands with cinema clapperboard on color background

Sound

Consider recording audio separately from video. You can find inexpensive, great quality unidirectional microphones to use, and this is an easy way to automatically increase the production value and professional feel of your video. A great tip to remember is to use a clapboard or have your subject clap in front of their face when sound and video are both recording, as it helps when the time comes to sync audio to video during editing.

Lighting

Lighting is another simple way to increase production value and make your videos look more professional. Simple, soft lights are preferred (even a large ring light is a great investment for this) and will help fill in any dark shadows if you’re also using overhead lighting, which can be unflattering on its own.

There are tons of great resources online that explain three-point lighting, if you’re looking to step up your lighting game even further. If you don’t want to use separate lights, natural lighting is a great supplement. For this, place your subject facing a window (don’t place the window behind them) and the natural light will be much more flattering than overhead indoor lighting.

Young blogger recording video indoors, focus on camera screen

Framing

When framing your scene, keep it simple. Avoid clutter in the background, and have your subject stand slightly off-center. While we love visual interest, a lot of background items can be distracting, so it’s a good idea to stage an area so it feels welcoming and clean, without distracting from the subject matter.

Part of white wall clock with yellow second hand hanging on wall. Close up image of plastic wall clock over turquiose blue background with copy space. Photo of time management or time is going concept

Length

You may have a lot to say about your subject matter, or want to help a new doctor get a complete introduction out into the world, but keep in mind that most people do not have the attention span or interest to watch a long video online.

Keep it simple! Ask yourself, “what are the main points I want to get across?”

It’s always better to provide the necessary facts and invite a viewer to contact your office for more information, or refer to an article or blog post that explains your video topic in more depth.

We want to establish trust, get to the point, and invite people to interact with your content. Keeping videos under two minutes is a great rule of thumb. If you have a longer video, consider breaking it into shorter clips for social media.

GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) banner and concept. Block letters on bright orange background. Minimal aesthetics.

Include a CTA

A CTA, or “call to action,” encourages follow-up from viewers. It’s as simple as listing your phone number or website at the end of the video and saying something like, “for more information, get in touch!” You may want to offer a link to one of your blog posts or to the contact page from your website. The point is to encourage people to do something based on the content you’ve provided. Video marketing for doctors isn’t just about getting your practice seen; it’s also about creating a comfortable space for interaction with people who may be looking for guidance or services you offer.

making a plan on a white board

Why a Distribution Plan is Important

Once you make your videos, where do they go? If they sit on your website, you may notice very little interaction, so creating a distribution plan will ensure you make the most out of your videos. When deciding how to utilize your content, you should first establish the purpose of each video. Is it short and educational? This may be a great candidate for not only your website, but YouTube and social media. Is it a tour of the office? In addition to your home page, this may be a great video to embed in a marketing email for new or potential patients. For more information about full funnel marketing check out this blog we wrote.

Think about what you want your video to accomplish and where it could best achieve those goals. Don’t be afraid to post cross-platform, either! The more people your video can reach, the better! Video marketing for doctors can be tricky, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a marketing agency with a video production team if you want help figuring out a plan or managing distribution.

No matter where you are in your marketing process, video marketing for doctors can be an effective way to humanize your practice and establish your expertise. Video brings people together and offers a more personal experience, which is why people are often more receptive to video marketing. With these helpful tips and ideas to keep in mind, you’ll be able to up your game and see more online interaction with easily made, high-quality videos.

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Video is an often overlooked method of connecting with future (and current) patients and building credibility, especially in the medical industry. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more and more services have switched from in-person to hybrid or 100% online and people are utilizing digital platforms more than ever for things like finding credible providers and hosting virtual visits. Video marketing for doctors is becoming more necessary in helping form personal connections by allowing people to get a sense of their doctors before scheduling a visit. In this blog, we will cover why you should use video marketing for doctors, types of videos to make, and tips for ensuring your videos are successful.

Why Use Video?

Video marketing for doctors isn’t just about making specialist introduction videos to post on a website. Patient testimonials, informational videos, introductory videos for doctors, and office overviews are great tools to engage your audience and turn curious viewers into lifelong patients.

The first and most important outcome of video marketing for doctors is establishing trust and credibility. When a patient can watch a quick interview with their physician, they feel a connection and gain an understanding of the doctor’s background, qualifications, and personality.

Many people searching for a provider will automatically self-disqualify if they feel a practice or particular physician may not be a good fit, so providing them with a glimpse into a doctor’s personality will help them feel at ease, knowing in advance who will be trusted to care for them.

They may feel drawn to a particular physician based on personal or medical backgrounds, forming a bond that helps the patient feel at ease with their provider choice.

On top of building trust, video marketing for doctors establishes a platform for education. People turn to the internet to search for medical information that pertains to their situation, so being a source of accurate information is a valuable way to position your practice. It also helps deter misinformation, as these videos are being produced by experts in the field and hosted by credible sources.

Video Types for Successful Marketing

Professional digital equipment recording video blog of businesswoman, online business coach making presentation for website, filming popular vlog or master class for videoblog channel, focus on camera

Informational Videos

Many people search the internet to learn about their diagnoses and potential treatments, which is where informational videos come into play. As a doctor, you may often find yourself explaining complex concepts to your patients repeatedly. If there’s a topic that comes up often in your practice, it’s probably a great subject for an educational video. People usually turn to the internet to learn about a diagnosis or treatment before visiting a specialist, so providing accurate information is a great way to help guide a patient on their health journey. As a bonus, you’re establishing your expertise while providing education.

Patient Testimonials

Patient testimonials are another great tool to show your audience proof of credibility. Since video is more personal than a text-based review, patient testimonials can feel more like a friend’s referral. The audience can see the patient’s genuine enthusiasm and may feel more invested, as a result.

Introductions and Office Tours

Introductions and office overview videos provide a glimpse into the world of your practice. Viewers can get to know doctors, their backgrounds, their personalities, and take a tour of the office before even scheduling an appointment. Providing this type of content is an important part of video marketing for doctors, as it establishes a welcoming atmosphere for anyone considering an appointment.

For example, check out this introduction video we did for a new doctor joining the team at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies.

This video is great because it’s short, informative, easy to embed on on a website, use for a social post, or include in an email newsletter.

Tips and Tricks for Great Videos

Sound

Consider recording audio separately from video. You can find inexpensive, great quality unidirectional microphones to use, and this is an easy way to automatically increase the production value and professional feel of your video. A great tip to remember is to use a clapboard or have your subject clap in front of their face when sound and video are both recording, as it helps when the time comes to sync audio to video during editing.

 

Interior of modern photo studio with professional equipment

Lighting

Lighting is another simple way to increase production value and make your videos look more professional. Simple, soft lights are preferred (even a large ring light is a great investment for this) and will help fill in any dark shadows if you’re also using overhead lighting, which can be unflattering on its own. There are tons of great resources online that explain three-point lighting, if you’re looking to step up your lighting game even further. If you don’t want to use separate lights, natural lighting is a great supplement. For this, place your subject facing a window (don’t place the window behind them) and the natural light will be much more flattering than overhead indoor lighting.

Framing

When framing your scene, keep it simple. Avoid clutter in the background, and have your subject stand slightly off-center. While we love visual interest, a lot of background items can be distracting, so it’s a good idea to stage an area so it feels welcoming and clean, without distracting from the subject matter.

Length

You may have a lot to say about your subject matter, or want to help a new doctor get a complete introduction out into the world, but keep in mind that most people do not have the attention span or interest to watch a long video online. Keep it simple! Ask yourself, “what are the main points I want to get across?” It’s always better to provide the necessary facts and invite a viewer to contact your office for more information, or refer to an article or blog post that explains your video topic in more depth. We want to establish trust, get to the point, and invite people to interact with your content. Keeping videos under two minutes is a great rule of thumb. If you have a longer video, consider breaking it into shorter clips for social media.

Include a CTA

A CTA, or “call to action,” encourages follow-up from viewers. It’s as simple as listing your phone number or website at the end of the video and saying something like, “for more information, get in touch!” You may want to offer a link to one of your blog posts or to the contact page from your website. The point is to encourage people to do something based on the content you’ve provided. Video marketing for doctors isn’t just about getting your practice seen; it’s also about creating a comfortable space for interaction with people who may be looking for guidance or services you offer.

Why a Distribution Plan is Important

Once you make your videos, where do they go? If they sit on your website, you may notice very little interaction, so creating a distribution plan will ensure you make the most out of your videos. When deciding how to utilize your content, you should first establish the purpose of each video. Is it short and educational? This may be a great candidate for not only your website, but YouTube and social media. Is it a tour of the office? In addition to your home page, this may be a great video to embed in a marketing email for new or potential patients. For more information about full funnel marketing check out this blog we wrote.

Think about what you want your video to accomplish and where it could best achieve those goals. Don’t be afraid to post cross-platform, either! The more people your video can reach, the better! Video marketing for doctors can be tricky, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a marketing agency with a video production team if you want help figuring out a plan or managing distribution.

No matter where you are in your marketing process, video marketing for doctors can be an effective way to humanize your practice and establish your expertise. Video brings people together and offers a more personal experience, which is why people are often more receptive to video marketing. With these helpful tips and ideas to keep in mind, you’ll be able to up your game and see more online interaction with easily made, high-quality videos.

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child with phone in his hands is lying at home on bed. Social Media tiktok is loaded on screen.

In terms of content marketing, long-form has been the status quo for decades. According to Core DNA, long-form content is any content between a short study and a novelette. There is undoubtedly a time and a place for this content. However, with shortened attention spans, the rise of the share button, and algorithms that require daily input to push out, it is more important than ever to master the short-form content game. In this blog, we will cover what short-form content is, why TikTok is the king of short-form content, and how to get started with a TikTok marketing strategy.

What is Short-Form Content?

Short-form content is typically any written copy of fewer than 1,000 words or videos of up to 3 minutes. Think blogs, Facebook posts, TikToks, and Instagram reels. These take less than 3 minutes to consume, are typically easily digestible, and are highly shareable.

These are the reasons short-form is taking an unprecedented lead.

Short-form content is easy to share, make, and engage with.

People expect their favorite accounts to turn out content daily. If the content is 10,000 words on the advertising industry's effect on western societal views of femininity (if you actually are interested in this - check out Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein), then it is unrealistic for creators to put out content daily. On the other hand, if the content is an 11-second video to a trending song, it is a bit more manageable.

Short-form content is also easy to engage with. The likelihood of me clicking away from a post to an article to spend 15 minutes reading it is low. The likelihood of me reading a 100-word Facebook post with the highlights from that article is far higher.

Lastly, short-form is easy to share. Sending a study on “the effects of climate change in mixed-species breeding” in the family group chat is likely to get a thumbs up from Grandpa at best. Sending a TikTok of a grizzly-polar bear mix will probably cause some commotion.

Short-form content is bite-sized pieces of information that start a conversation.

Why TikTok is Different

Sample social media app interface on mobile phone showing shared

The king of short-form content creation and sharing is undoubtedly TikTok. According to Hubspot, Tiktok was the most downloaded app of 2021, it is the number one app for driving consumer spending, and it is by far the most engaging social media app.

Why is TikTok so popular?

Several reasons. But here are our top three:

1. The algorithm makes it easier to go viral if you follow simple hacks
2. The in-app video studio made making content quick, easy, and effective for Tik-Tokers of all skill levels
3. There is a high level of engagement. The advanced algorithm assures that everyone’s feed is highly tailored to their niche interests and preferences.

TikTok has democratized viral content. Anyone can go viral if they post enough content with enough consistency. This is appealing to creators that have come from other platforms where viral content comes from ad dollars spent, production quality, and partnerships with influencers.

TikTok revolutionized the production of content. The platform has abandoned the high production quality reels of Instagram for more casual content that anyone can make in two minutes. Additionally, the in-app video editing studio is far more robust than any other platform. Users can stitch together photos and videos, add voiceovers, edit the playback speed, and even use a green screen effect.

The exclusive use of short video content was no mistake. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever: we have shorter books, movies, and ads to account for that. Naturally, we are navigating towards shorter social content. Dr. Julie Albright explains the psychology of TikTok.

The short videos give users small dopamine hits, giving the platform an immersive experience.

Lastly, users tout the power of the all-knowing algorithm. TikTok’s highly advanced AI recommendation system determines which videos will appear on users For You Page. Users will joke that the algorithm will know things about them before they do because of how highly tailored content will be to users' preferences, interests, and experiences.

Users with similar preferences will likely be exposed to the same content. For example, users will say that they are on “cooking TikTok”, “Batman TikTok”, or “Colorado TikTok” to explain what types of videos are coming up most frequently in their feed.

Additionally, users will reference that a video made it to the “right side” or “wrong side” of TikTok, depending on the tone of the interactions. For example, suppose the comments on a video are primarily negative. In that case, the algorithm likely pushed the video out to users with incompatible preferences for the video content. This will result in the infamous “wrong side of TikTok” comments.

Marketing Your Business Using TikTok

Utilizing TikTok to market your business will be unlike any other social media marketing you’ve done in the past. When you make promotional content for Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you make ads. When you make promotional content for TikTok, you are making a TikTok. Users will scroll at the first sign of promotional content, so any videos need to flow seamlessly into a user’s For You Page.

Because of this, businesses are reframing how it looks to interact with customers on TikTok. Content creators are moving from scripted responses to funny, out-of-pocket replies and from perfectly posed photos to videos filmed in one take on their iPhones. This new content and interaction are fast, funny, and radically casual.

Making promotional content that works within this unique environment can be tricky. TikTok is a space for… whatever the opposite of ads is. So, brands have found ways to promote themselves differently.

They post content with workplace humor, share the cool parts of their processes, do skits to popular songs, teach users new tools and information, and anything else.

The NFL has a popular TikTok account. However, you will rarely ever find promotions for games or highlights on this account. Their most recent viral video was a repost of a high school student's Snapchat of an NFL player visiting their school and racing their principal.

@nfl @Cheetah Bo Hill a legend for this 😂 #tyreekhill #dolphins (via @blake.bennett31 ♬ original sound - NFL

There is no one way to do TikTok right. However, there are about a million ways to do it wrong.

Here are a few general rules for making a successful TikTok for your brand:

  • Keep it short - the highest performing videos are between 21 and 34 seconds long
  • Make it accessible - adding captions increases impressions by 55.7%
  • Do something edgy - videos with a distinct point of view do better than ones without
  • Team up - partnering with creators boosts view-through rates by 193%
  • Hop on the train - Use trending sounds and hashtags
  • Casual is better - overproduced videos smell like ads from a mile away
  • Consistency is key - when building a following, it is recommended to post once per day
  • Engage - your comments on other posts will bring users to your page
  • Find your niche - whether it's teaching a skill, doing dances to trending songs, or sharing videos of your office dog

Just remember, it’s better to get started and learn along the way than be behind the curve and fall behind the competition.  

And if you aren’t tech-savvy, find yourself a Gen Z intern to run your TikTok account.

@oldtownmedia Someone has to provide content for our fans 😎 #adagency #adagencylife #fortcollins #contentcreator #northerncolorado ♬ vibe for this year - joseph fagundes

So, if you made it to the end of this blog post, you can probably understand why people are moving towards short-form content and why a TikTok marketing strategy is becoming more necessary.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if this was a 49-second video with Harry Styles’ new single in the background?

If you decide to start ditching your blogs, guides, and brochures for reels, TikToks, and Facebook posts; be sure to remember why consumers are making that switch. They want fast, interesting, easily-consumable, and highly shareable pieces of information. Remembering why users prefer short-form content is key to making sure that your content best caters to them. 

If you are interested in learning more, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter! And if you are looking for a marketing team to help you reach your strategic goals, feel free to reach out, we'd love to chat.

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child with phone in his hands is lying at home on bed. Social Media tiktok is loaded on screen.

The Rise of TikTok: Why Short-Form Content Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

In terms of content marketing, long-form has been the status quo for decades. According to Core DNA, long-form content is any content between a short study and a novelette. There is undoubtedly a time and a place for this content. However, with shortened attention spans, the rise of the share button, and algorithms that require daily input to push out, it is more important than ever to master the short-form content game. In this blog, we will cover what short-form content is, why TikTok is the king of short-form content, and how to get started with a TikTok marketing strategy.What is Short-Form Content? Short-form content is typically any written copy of fewer than 1,000 words or videos of up to 3 minutes. Think blogs, Facebook posts, TikToks, and Instagram reels. These take less than 3 minutes to consume, are typically easily digestible, and are highly shareable. These are the reasons short-form is taking an unprecedented lead.Short-form content is easy to share, make, and engage with. People expect their favorite accounts to turn out content daily. If the content is 10,000 words on the advertising industry's effect on western societal views of femininity (if you actually are interested in this - check out Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein), then it is unrealistic for creators to put out content daily. On the other hand, if the content is an 11-second video to a trending song, it is a bit more manageable. Short-form content is also easy to engage with. The likelihood of me clicking away from a post to an article to spend 15 minutes reading it is low. The likelihood of me reading a 100-word Facebook post with the highlights from that article is far higher. Lastly, short-form is easy to share. Sending a study on “the effects of climate change in mixed-species breeding” in the family group chat is likely to get a thumbs up from Grandpa at best. Sending a TikTok of a grizzly-polar bear mix will probably cause some commotion. Short-form content is bite-sized pieces of information that start a conversation.Why TikTok is DifferentThe king of short-form content creation and sharing is undoubtedly TikTok. According to Hubspot, Tiktok was the most downloaded app of 2021, it is the number one app for driving consumer spending, and it is by far the most engaging social media app. Why is TikTok so popular? Several reasons. But here are our top three: 1. The algorithm makes it easier to go viral if you follow simple hacks2. The in-app video studio made making content quick, easy, and effective for Tik-Tokers of all skill levels3. There is a high level of engagement. The advanced algorithm assures that everyone’s feed is highly tailored to their niche interests and preferences. TikTok has democratized viral content. Anyone can go viral if they post enough content with enough consistency. This is appealing to creators that have come from other platforms where viral content comes from ad dollars spent, production quality, and partnerships with influencers. TikTok revolutionized the production of content. The platform has abandoned the high production quality reels of Instagram for more casual content that anyone can make in two minutes. Additionally, the in-app video editing studio is far more robust than any other platform. Users can stitch together photos and videos, add voiceovers, edit the playback speed, and even use a green screen effect. The exclusive use of short video content was no mistake. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever: we have shorter books, movies, and ads to account for that. Naturally, we are navigating towards shorter social content. Dr. Julie Albright explains the psychology of TikTok.The short videos give users small dopamine hits, giving the platform an immersive experience. Lastly, users tout the power of the all-knowing algorithm. TikTok’s highly advanced AI recommendation system determines which videos will appear on users For You Page. Users will joke that the algorithm will know things about them before they do because of how highly tailored content will be to users' preferences, interests, and experiences. Users with similar preferences will likely be exposed to the same content. For example, users will say that they are on “cooking TikTok”, “Batman TikTok”, or “Colorado TikTok” to explain what types of videos are coming up most frequently in their feed. Additionally, users will reference that a video made it to the “right side” or “wrong side” of TikTok, depending on the tone of the interactions. For example, suppose the comments on a video are primarily negative. In that case, the algorithm likely pushed the video out to users with incompatible preferences for the video content. This will result in the infamous “wrong side of TikTok” comments.Marketing Your Business Using TikTok Utilizing TikTok to market your business will be unlike any other social media marketing you’ve done in the past. When you make promotional content for Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you make ads. When you make promotional content for TikTok, you are making a TikTok. Users will scroll at the first sign of promotional content, so any videos need to flow seamlessly into a user’s For You Page. Because of this, businesses are reframing how it looks to interact with customers on TikTok. Content creators are moving from scripted responses to funny, out-of-pocket replies and from perfectly posed photos to videos filmed in one take on their iPhones. This new content and interaction are fast, funny, and radically casual. Making promotional content that works within this unique environment can be tricky. TikTok is a space for… whatever the opposite of ads is. So, brands have found ways to promote themselves differently. They post content with workplace humor, share the cool parts of their processes, do skits to popular songs, teach users new tools and information, and anything else. The NFL has a popular TikTok account. However, you will rarely ever find promotions for games or highlights on this account. Their most recent viral video was a repost of a high school student's Snapchat of an NFL player visiting their school and racing their principal. @nfl @Cheetah Bo Hill a legend for this 😂 #tyreekhill #dolphins (via @blake.bennett31 ♬ original sound - NFL There is no one way to do TikTok right. However, there are about a million ways to do it wrong.Here are a few general rules for making a successful TikTok for your brand: Keep it short - the highest performing videos are between 21 and 34 seconds long Make it accessible - adding captions increases impressions by 55.7% Do something edgy - videos with a distinct point of view do better than ones without Team up - partnering with creators boosts view-through rates by 193% Hop on the train - Use trending sounds and hashtags Casual is better - overproduced videos smell like ads from a mile away Consistency is key - when building a following, it is recommended to post once per day Engage - your comments on other posts will bring users to your page Find your niche - whether it's teaching a skill, doing dances to trending songs, or sharing videos of your office dog Just remember, it’s better to get started and learn along the way than be behind the curve and fall behind the competition.   And if you aren’t tech-savvy, find yourself a Gen Z intern to run your TikTok account. @oldtownmedia Someone has to provide content for our fans 😎 #adagency #adagencylife #fortcollins #contentcreator #northerncolorado ♬ vibe for this year - joseph fagundes So, if you made it to the end of this blog post, you can probably understand why people are moving towards short-form content and why a TikTok marketing strategy is becoming more necessary. Wouldn’t it have been nice if this was a 49-second video with Harry Styles’ new single in the background? If you decide to start ditching your blogs, guides, and brochures for reels, TikToks, and Facebook posts; be sure to remember why consumers are making that switch. They want fast, interesting, easily-consumable, and highly shareable pieces of information. Remembering why users prefer short-form content is key to making sure that your content best caters to them.  If you are interested in learning more, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter! And if you are looking for a marketing team to help you reach your strategic goals, feel free to reach out, we'd love to chat.
Marketing Strategy

How to Create Your Full-Funnel Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re an owner/operator for your small business or a manager of a multi-location franchise, every business wants to convert its audience to customers. The best way to do that is by creating a full-funnel marketing strategy. When you leverage the entire sales and marketing funnel, from awareness through to nurture, you're not just marketing to your audience, you are guiding them through their entire customer journey. Below are the areas of the marketing funnel that you need in order to create your full-funnel marketing strategy. Step 1: Generate Awareness You want your customers to know about you and your services before they ever need you. By creating awareness, you are giving yourself a competitive advantage. You don’t necessarily think about the mechanics you know until you need one - but you have two or three in mind when you do because you’ve passed them on the road, seen an ad, or had a friend see one! You can create brand awareness through: Digital advertisements Radio advertisement Social media advertisement Public relations and community involvement These efforts will help you build the top of your full-funnel marketing strategy. Step 2: Show Up for Consideration & Conversion At this stage of the process, a potential customer is aware of their own need or want and is doing research on what will best suit their needs. Based on the need, they can be doing this research in a number of ways including: Talking to friends and family Running general google searches Viewing similar products or services Checking reviews online Having the proper SEO and reputation management procedures in place will help your business rank high for these searches. Ways to promote your business in the consideration stage include: Running Google advertisements Targeting keywords in your online content through blogs and optimization Regularly checking and responding to your online reviews Abandoned cart emails with promotional offers Take our work with our client Karrikins Group for example. To build a content strategy that would span the entire sales funnel, we launched a new website focusing on SEO and future content creation, along with a multimedia content distribution model incorporating email marketing, blogging, on and off-page optimization, and social media marketing. You can learn more about that project here. Once the potential customer has done their due diligence and selected your product, they have now converted into a customer in the marketing funnel. Congrats! Step 3: Maintain Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Now that you have the customer, you need to continue to work to keep them and turn them into a loyal customer and peer advocate. Not only will this continue to nurture your current customer relationship, but it will continue to help build your brand through word-of-mouth recommendations to friends and family. Actively engaging with current customers is more than a monthly newsletter, though that is a great place to start. Other ideas for creating lasting customer relationships that help feed your full-funnel marketing strategy include: Targeted digital advertisements to current users or lookalike audiences Welcome campaigns for new users Creating a loyalty program to reward repeat business Email campaigns based on content-type Reminders of upcoming product or service needs based on the product lifecycle It’s important at this stage to nurture your customers to ensure they are getting more from you than just a product or service. They are receiving additional benefits that keep them coming back. Creating a full-funnel marketing strategy is more than knowing you have a product or service your audience needs. It’s about knowing what they are thinking and feeling before or as they are doing it. Put yourself in their shoes and think through what it looks like to get from start to finish. By allowing yourself to understand their sales journey, you will be able to see how you can show up before they know they need you. Looking to build your full-funnel marketing strategy but not sure where to start? We’re here to help! Check out our strategy-first approach to marketing and get in touch with us.
Val in a taco costume

Core Values Make the Difference in Our Culture at OTM

At OTM, the idea that we are committed to our core values is practically an understatement. Our core values are deeply embedded in everything that we do - from the way that our team members interact with one other to how we approach the solutions we provide to our clients. As a leadership team, we truly strive to incorporate these principles into every aspect of what it means to work at OTM, and they make all the difference in how our company operates culturally.What are our core values? Curiosity: We ask questions to understand, learn and apply. Care: We genuinely give a shit, about our work and our teammates. Integrity: We do the right thing, even when no one is looking. Earn It: We work for it, we own it and then we celebrate it. Perseverance: We don't give up because if it were easy, anyone would do it.How did we create our core values? This list is actually our second attempt at crafting a set of core values to guide our company. As a 15-year-old agency, we haven't always known exactly who we were as a team and what kind of company we wanted to be.  Our first set of core values were created around 7 years ago, and while they were nice to have - they never felt quite like the company we wanted to be and that was demonstrated by how little they served to guide us in the day-to-day. We didn't consult them when we hired, we didn't use them to determine what to celebrate, and we certainly didn't terminate employees because of them.  As the founder of OTM, and someone who has worked with a large number of startups, I believe a business requires a certain level of organizational maturity before its leadership can truly express who they are through an accurate set of core values.  If you are a business owner or executive and your current set of core values do not feel right, give it some time and then try to define them again.  We actually defined our current core values through our work with the StratOp strategic operational planning process, facilitated by a client and friend of ours, the amazing Stacey Pearson with Spinnaker Strategy. We are in love with our core values as a company, and they represent each of our team members in such a foundational way that it has resulted in a culture that we also love. Our core values aren't just a bunch of punchy statements on a wall: they are the guideposts for how we hire, how we work together, and how we determine what clients to work with. How we use our core values in our hiring process We use all five core values in the interview questions that we ask our prospective teammates to see if they truly exhibit the OTM way. We do not straight out ask "Are you curious." Instead, we'll ask questions like "What's the last thing you really geeked out on?" or "What's the last book you read?" We'll ask different questions in different ways to really get a feel if the person is going to enjoy the culture at OTM. We do this for every role in addition to asking technical questions so we can weed out those who aren't going to be a cultural fit for us.How we use them in our everyday work life Celebrating with our core values Before COVID required what is now a hybrid-remote workplace, we were all working together in the OTM office in Fort Collins every day. We have a set of 4x6 cards placed on our core value wall that correspond with each core value, and our team is encouraged to hand these cards out to their team members who are going above and beyond in demonstrating these core values. So, for example, if someone went above and beyond to figure out a new tool or process, someone who that process benefits might write a personal thank you on a Curiosity or Earn It core value card and give it to that person.  At the end of the month we would tally up who received the most core value cards and they would get a gift card. Cut to COVID We wanted to keep our culture strong through the high stress and uncertainty of working from home indefinitely, so we did a little research and found a program called HeyTaco. This program integrates right in with Slack and allows you to give people taco emojis  and assign a core value to them. At the end of each month, we tally who received the most tacos for each core value and the 5 winners are announced in our monthly team meeting and awarded a gift card. I have even gone so far as to dress us like a taco:  Performance reviews based on our core values We do reviews/check-ins for each of our team members regularly and the leadership team every quarter at OTM. We follow the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and we use a program called Ninety to do all of our check-ins. In this system, every quarter, the team member evaluates themselves on how they feel they are exhibiting the core values and the managers do the same. This is a nice pulse check to really examine if there is anything that the individual needs to work on. Part of that check-in is called the People Analyzer and it evaluates the team member with a +, +/-, or a - on each of the core values and on Get It, Want It, has the Capacity to do it. + They exhibit the function most of the time +/- They exhibit the function some of the time - They do not exhibit the function most of the timeAn important note: if you see a (-) anywhere in the lineup, it's either the wrong person or the wrong seat, and your team's culture is undoubtedly feeling the incongruence. Get it: The person truly understands their role, the culture, the systems, the pace, and how the job comes together. Want it: The person genuinely likes the job. They understand the role, and they want to do it based on fair compensation and responsibility. Capacity: Having the time as well as the mental, physical, and emotional capacity to do a job well. Sometimes the job requires a certain level of intellect, skill, knowledge, and emotional intelligence and the person doesn't have that capacity. We've learned that core values make all the difference in how we operate as a team and as an organization, not to mention it's helped us find those perfect team members for OTM.
Long walk up steps

A Change Log: Tracking Success – A Monthly Status Report

We live in a fast-paced world. And with that comes change, both planned and unplanned. Tracking these changes is important to our business growth, but it's also important for us to remember what we've done right. This blog post will discuss how you can keep track of your success by utilizing a monthly status report or "changelog." Building a business from the ground up means you have to build your systems and processes from the ground up. As the organization matures and you begin iterating on existing processes, keeping track of the changes across an organization is virtually impossible. We have SOP's for just about everything in the company but we started to lose perspective on the changes in terms of the quantity, impact and timing. What I wanted was to get a snapshot of the changes in our organization. One afternoon I was reading a Change Log for a tool that we use trying to understand if an issue we'd been experiencing was fixed yet or had been changed. I thought this would be a simple and effective way to track high-level business changes. If software developers had used changelogs for decades to document their systems and platforms, why couldn't we do the same for a business? They're different but similar. I took the idea and started off in a core tool of ours, Notion. I set up an empty page and created a header with the Year-Month at the top. Underneath I created four more sub-headers, Team Changes, Client Changes, Operational Changes and Service Changes. That was it! Our first entry looked like this: 202109 -Team Changes: Dee joined our team as a storyteller, "XXXX" has started maternity leave. -Client Changes: No new clients. -Operational Changes: No operational changes. -Service Changes: Decided to pilot a shift in our subscription services in terms of project configuration, moving them to annual plans After some refinement (and copying over data from our leadership team report) we were able to backfill the first two months of our changelog. To be honest, I'd forgotten about some of the changes we've made over the last few months. It was nice to look back and realize the meaningful and purposeful change we've introduced over just the last 2 months. Moving forward, we will append snippets from our weekly team meetings to this changelog as we go. Since its really a changelog around how the company operates, we'll be sharing this with the full team and keeping it accessible to all within Notion.
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