From the Grave…

17 November 2010

by Jeff Walker
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How do you publish a book 100 years after your death, and have it become an instant bestseller?

Mark Twain just did that.

Yesterday when I purchased his just-released autobiography, it was ranked #4 on the Amazon bestseller list… which is completely amazing.

After all, Mark Twain died 100 years ago… in 1910.

And all this without an “Amazon book launch”… without an appearance on Oprah… without a book tour… how do you do that?

Well first off, Mark Twain was an enormously popular and influential writer in the 18th and 19th centuries. His novel “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is clearly one of the seminal works of American literature.

Second, Twain left explicit instructions to NOT publish his work until 100 years after his death.

And even with a 100 year delay, the interest in Mark Twain and his work was enough to turn the book into an immediate best seller.

There is so much here that is just so rich… what would Twain have thought of me buying the book from my home via Amazon? Or the fact that I had to decide if I wanted to buy the physical book or the Kindle edition?

(I’m sure he would have been fascinated by all of it since he was keenly interested in new technology, especially new technology in the publishing industry.)

But the thing that kept running through my mind as I ordered the book was “the long view”… in an age where everyone is a publisher the minute they sign up for Facebook or Twitter… where people blog about what they had for breakfast… where most companies can barely look beyond next month, much less next quarter… here is the triumph of someone who had a REALLY long view.

In my opinion, the easiest way to win… at business, at life… is to take a longer view. To think strategically, if you will.

By most measures, I’ve had some rather outsized success in my business… and one of the reasons (in my opinion) is that I spend a lot of time thinking about the big picture – the long term stuff.

This is the deal – it’s not about the next email I send or the next project… it’s about what those things are going to do for my business next quarter, next year, or three years from now.

(Many years ago my friend Paul Myers said I was an “empire builder”… it took me a long time to figure out what he meant, but I think this is what he was talking about.)

Of course, you don’t need to be an “empire builder”. And yes, you have to focus on getting profitable and staying profitable. That’s the #1 thing if you’re starting out.

But if you want to instantly set yourself apart in your market… just start making your decisions based on a longer viewpoint than the other people in your market.

Are your current actions building for the long term? Are you building assets in your business?

BIG HINT: In the online world, the most important assets you can build are: 1) your relationships with clients, prospects, and partners, and 2) your lists of clients, prospects and partners.

In any case… I ordered the physical version of Mark Twain’s autobiography. I didn’t get the Kindle version, because I think this is going to be a book I’m going to want to put on my bookshelf for a long time after I finish it. It’s going to arrive tomorrow… I can’t wait.

This article reprinted from Jeff Walker is the “gurus guru”, whose Product Launch Formula (PLF) has been utilized for basically every major internet launch of the past few years, and scores of small ones. I am happy be a PLF student and practitioner myself!

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The New Rules

7 September 2010

“The New Rules of Marketing and PR”, written by David Meerman Scott, is based on a series of blog posts written by the author, that were compiled and published in 2007. It became an instant classic, was translated into more than 20 languages, and in January 2010 a second edition was released with about 30% new material to cover the massive growth of social media. (For example, Twitter did not even exist when the first edition was published.)

The book covers a lot of ground, but everything is predicated on the fact that a game-changing socio-technological shift has taken place during the past decade that has not only created “new rules”, but, like never before, has made the old rules obsolete. This shift was from “disruptive advertising” to “search”.

From the beginning of human history until the end of this past century, when a company wanted to sell or promote something, for the most part their only option was some form of “disruptive advertising”. What this means is that while you were reading a newspaper or magazine, listening to the radio, watching TV, driving in your car or riding a bus, or just walking down the street minding your own business, they needed to entice you with an attention-grabbing advertisement in order to disrupt whatever you were doing so you will focus on them.

Through the ages, technology changed the forms this disruptive advertising took, but its obtrusive nature — often enhanced by the visage of scantily-dressed young woman — remained a constant factor.

That is, until “search”…

Now, thanks to internet search engines, when our purpose is to buy, or at least to research something we plan to buy, we actually go looking for companies to meet our needs. Of course, we searched (i.e. researched) for things in the past, but because we didn’t have internet search, we actually relied heavily on remembering all the disruptive ads we had seen previously to guide us. (Which is why advertising needed to be so repetitive.) Now we can, to the best of our ability, completely ignore ads that seek to disrupt us, because we know that, when we are ready, we can search out the exact product or service to meet our needs.

This radical change in consumer behavior has rendered “old school” marketing ineffective, and necessitated the formation and implementation of completely new rules for effective professional marketing and public relations.

In this new internet economy, those who hold to the old rules will fail, while those who understand and embrace the new rules will thrive! This is not hype, it is the new reality of world where human social interaction, marketing, and technology have merged.


I recently finished reading “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” all the way though for the second time, and I refer back specific sections of it all the time. In fact, it’s such a “must read”, I even bought a second copy to lend out. Hey…wait a minute! WHO has my lending copy?! If you are reading this and you’re the culprit, please get it out of your bathroom magazine rack and give it back to me now!! 😉

Update (9/26/2011): 3rd Edition came out a few weeks ago, now reading this again! Amazing book, especially with the new content. I am giving a copy as a “must read” to every new client.

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OK, so our new baby was born about 12 weeks ago.  She’s doing great (BH!), but life has been absolutely crazy, and so blogging has gone by the wayside….so much so, that I forgot my username and password for signing in to WordPress, and had to figure out how to reset them inside MySQL.  How lame is that?!

But, now it’s time to get back to it.   New posts coming soon.  Stay tuned….


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My Newest Production!

17 August 2009

My family is overjoyed to announce that on the exact day we were expecting/hoping for my wife to give birth, she did! We welcomed our fifth child, and first daughter, into the world at 9:10am Israel-time on Sunday (August 16). We had her at home, and everything went awesomely well. Mom and baby are doing great. Dad is so-so…. 😉

So, as Mom is recovering and I’m watching our boys, and trying to run my business some, that doesn’t leave me time for blogging.

If you have any informational emergencies, please email questions directly to me at

Otherwise, if things can wait a little, please post them in the comments section here, and I hope to answer you soon.

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(Note: This post is similar to Pt. 4 of “Seeing the Big Picture”, and I definitely referenced Maria’s excellent summary when I wrote it….although, as I mention below, I knew all this already, but had never expressed it so concisely. Even after I wrote the other post, I decided to keep this one on the blog, because there is still non-redundant content here, and what is redundant is so important it can stand repeating. Also, maybe someone will Google on “Maria Andros” and find my blog and it will change his or her life (or maybe it will improve MINE)….so that would be cool!)

Maria Andros, the Video Marketing Queen (, has taken the affiliate marketing world by storm in just the past few years by teaching people how to use simple videos, posted primarily on YouTube, to build very successful online businesses.

Even though Maria does not come from a video production background, it’s clear that she does her research well, and has tested it herself and with her clients, because her list of the seven steps to effective videos is spot-on.

I’ve embellished her list a bit, but this is basically what she laid out in her interview with Alex Jeffreys ( that she did exclusively for our mentorship class:

Seven Steps (in exact order of presentation)

1) Welcome your viewers (loosen up, make it personal, talk to the camera like talking to your best friend)

2) Establish your Credibility as an expert and leader (talk about your relevant professional background and what you are currently doing)

3) Create a Hook to pull them in to create curiosity/gap-of-knowledge and keep them watching (eg. “At the end of this video I’m going to show you…”)

4) Share your Personal Background and Story, and be likeable — as people do business with people they know, like and trust

5) Paint the Problem — give a case study example STORY of a challenge or challenges your clients have

6) Provide a Solution — continue the story giving specific examples of how you solved it

7) Call to Action — tell them what you want them to do NOW

Great plan, right?

(Note: There is some argument that #3, the Hook, should be first, because if you don’t hook them enough from the very start so that they stick around then nothing else matters. In most, but not all cases, I would agree, but I decided to list Maria’s list in the order she gives it.)

Now, I know this seems like a lot of copy to write and deliver on camera, but remember the shorter your video the better — at least until you are an established expert and people will give you more time. So you should try to move through all this quickly in 2 or 3 minutes, maybe 5 if you really need to, and you keep it entertaining. 10 minutes would be an absolute maximum, as that is your limit in posting to YouTube, but you need to be really good, and have a great story, to hold people for 10 minites these days. (Sad, but true.)

And, something Maria also instructs her students and clients to do: Speak in STORIES. Humans are programmed to best process information that is told as a narrative, so tell your story as a Story, give your examples as a Story, sell your product as a Story. People hate a sales pitch, or being given a bunch of bullet-point facts, but they’ll listen to good stories for hours. And when stories are told in this structure, you show that you have experience and create social proof, and demonstrate that you can be entertaining…..and people will then be happy when the link to your next video shows up in their email.

As a video producer for more than 20 years, I knew all this info already. But I really appreciate how clearly Maria lays it down, and how she inspires people who’ve never picked up a camera before to go out and make effective online marketing videos!



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OK, very naturally, as many of you have almost no knowledge about producing a video, I am getting very generic questions all the way from “what camera should I buy” to “how do I upload content”. That is very cool, but…

Ever heard of NAB? It’s the yearly National Assoc. of Broadcasters Convention held in Vegas every April. ( For people in my business, it’s like visiting Disneyland, especially if you are going with a sizable immediate purchasing budget. I mean, talk about a toystore. It is literally so big, I don’t think it is possible to even visit every booth if you walked it morning to night for the 4 days of the expo. More than 80k people attend, 25% are international visitors, and $50 billion of revenue is generated to exhibitors as a direct result of the show.

Why do I mention this? To make the point that the video/audio/multimedia production business is so vast, with so many products, that it’s impossible for any one person to know every piece of equipment, how it works, how it compares with its competition, how to troubleshoot it, and on and on. Yes, impossible even for me, your trusty video expert.

So, while I will not shirk away from making suggestions about specific hardware, software, and procedures, I will be more focused on helping you to learn the basics of production….the principles that stay as technologies come and go.

That said, if you are already attempting to produce video, and have specific (not general) questions to ask, then by all means….ask away! You can do so in the comments section here, or by writing me directly at:

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Don’t Flip Out!

22 July 2009

I am about to embark on a intro video for my Blog and got hold of a Kodak HD Zi6 (pocket camcorder) which had a huge discount on it…..would have liked the Flip, but this looks pretty cool………my daughter loves it! Looks pretty easy ………just plug into the USB to download. – Sean

Flip cameras and their knock-offs are awesome for three big reasons: (1) Very simple to operate, (2) instant USB upload, and (3) they are so small that you can carry them with you all the time. #3 is the most important, because no matter how nice a camera is, if you don’t have it with you, it’s worthless.

That said, neither the Flip or the Kodak you bought allow you to plug in an external microphone, and as I am going to discuss very soon in a post, AUDIO is actually the most important part of an internet marketing video. (As strange as that may sound, it’s true, and I’ll explain all the reasons why in that post.) I’m sure one of these days they will start adding a mic jack to these devices, but until they do, they will not be your best option for producing quality marketing videos. Don’t get me wrong, they are fantastic little devices — I mean, HD quality and hours of solid state recording time that you can carry in your shirt pocket, is just amazing — that are awesome for simple Vlogs (which is what we all need to do right now), but when it comes time to produce product-oriented videos, you’ll want to get your hands on a better camera.

I hope what I wrote doesn’t cause you to “flip” out about your purchase. What you bought is a great tool that will serve you well, but we all know that no tool does every job. Hey, I had some real cinematographer-type video guys telling me the other day how much my $5000 Sony Z1 cameras suck, and I own two of them!  So, if I can get over that, you can too.

(Update: While Flip still hasn’t released a camera with an external mic jack, the Kodak Zi8 was released in Sept 2009 and it has one, along some other cool features. As of right now, the Zi8 is my pick for a simple, cheap camera for making web videos.)


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Please Be Specific

20 July 2009

How do I make videos to post on my blog (or when I get a website of my own up and running) and on YouTube? What are the steps involved and the equipment/software needed”? -Andrew

Yours is really the million dollar question; or more accurately, the one million $1 questions.

It would be helpful for me, and generate a lot more individual posts for the blog, if the questions you all pose to me could be more pointed and specific. As you saw by my last blog, even the question about “scripting formats” caused me to write about 700 words (which is VERY long for a blog), and I barely scratched the surface.

So please break it down to sub-topic and sub-sub-topic questions, bite-sized chunks of the video production process that you’ve asked yourself and come up wanting, and I’ll do my best. It’s also awesome for me to have these topical questions, because as huge as you think the field of video production is, I know how huge it is; and so understanding what you desire to know helps me focus my efforts.

But, take heart, some of the crappiest, and I mean CRAPPIEST produced videos out there are garnering tons of views and acquiring fame and fortune for their makers. So, just be prepared to turn on the camera and give it your best shot, learn from the experience, and get a little better each time.

These are still the early days of video on the web, and so just having some kind of video on your blog/website already puts you in the vanguard.


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Regarding how to script, what you have to say? Is there a method that the professionals use? -Richard

When you say “scripting”, it can mean a bunch of different things, depending on the type video. If you are just doing what’s called a “talking head” — you, on camera, like a news anchor at a desk — a typical Vlog (video blog) — then you just need a narrative script. If you are producing a video with graphics, supporting video images (called “broll”), titles, voice-over, music, etc., then of course the scripting process is more complex. In this case, the basic script format is two columns, one for video and one for audio.

But, let’s stick with basics for now, as you are just getting started, and talk about scripting a Vlog (video blog)…..

In this case, the format of the script is not complex at all, and will basically be just what you want to say and how you want to say it. OK, duh! But if you think that is so simple, then you must also think that copywriting for your squeeze page and sales emails is simple too. NOT!! We all know those things are not so simple, but are a skilled combination of art and science.

The beauty of producing Vlogs is that it can be done more informally, with flaws you would not want in written copy, and so it’s often much faster to produce a Vlog than a text blog. As well, delivery and tone of voice, face and body language, and many other factors make video a superior communication platform.

The challenge is making it look simple and off the cuff when you are on camera, and doing it in as short an amount of time as possible, while keeping people’s attention and moving them to take some type of action (physical, mental, emotional, or some combination). Even with professional pitchmen, this “naturalness” on camera is best realized from some level of pre-planning. The bottom line is you need to know what the purpose of your video will be, and how you will effectively communicate it, BEFORE your turn on the camera. You need to be prepared via some form of scripting. How prepared is for you to determine, but it needs to be enough so that you can look comfortable and confident on camera, your personality will shine forth, and you will build that all important TRUST with your viewers.

I’ll get into more detail in future posts, but my basic advice for you is:

1) Decide what it is you want say: have one main message and up to three sub-messages/info items that support the main message, and summarize at the end. (Don’t assume people are paying full attention, or even if they are, that they are smart enough to follow the path you are trying to take them on. So, keep it simple, easy to follow, and somewhat repetitive.)

2) Break the message down into key points/keywords.

3) Write down those key points on an index card that you will reference during the recording, or write them big on one sheet of paper and have them next to the lens of your camera so you can see them without looking away. (Even the pros use cuecards and teleprompters, why do you think you are so special?!)

4) Turn on the camera and record it a few times until you get it good (it will never be perfect (so get over that aspiration) — but it’s OK to do it a few times to get it somewhat smooth)

5) Pick your best take, post it, and move on. Blogging is a message in progress, it’s a conversation. If you feel you missed something, then just cover it in the next post. “Don’t get it perfect, get it going!” is awesome advice that I, as a pro video guy, am personally struggling with. Set a time-limit for your research, scripting, and recording phases (and editing phase, if you are doing that) of each video, stick to that limit, and get it uploaded!!

I didn’t get into the components of what makes an effective marketing video, as that wasn’t your question, and this post is already long. I’ll blog on that in the future.

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19 July 2009

Hello World,

I’ve been a video producer/director/cameraman/editor/etc and a marketing pro for 20+ years, but am quite new to affiliate marketing, blogging and the like.  My goal now is to synthesize video, social media, and online/affiliate marketing into a powerhouse system   —  first to build my own internet-based business, and then teach others to do the same.

So, for your benefit, as well as mine, I’ll enjoy being your resident “video guy”, and answering any and all video production related questions you may have as you make your own videos online.  Topics can range from equipment, to scripting, to shooting, to editing, to distribution, and on and on.   If you’ve never done a video, have tried and found it difficult, or are seeking to make your good videos better….please ask away in the comments, or write me at:

Wherever you are in the video production process, I’ve been there.   Plus I have many friends in the production industry who I can also call on if you stump me, so I can get your question answered.

What’s your story?  I’ll be more than happy to help you tell it with video!!

BTW:   If you’re wondering how to pronounce “Chaim”, just drop the “C” and you’ll most likely come real close.  (Think: “HI-ahm”.)

Please ask away,
Chaim the Video Guy

(Note:  The blog actually launched on Sept 3, 2009, but I have been active in the member forum of my online marketing mentorship course, taught by Alex Jeffreys (, since mid-July.  I’ve brought over these initial posts from that forum, and back-dated them to when they were originally published.)

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