Ryan Welton

Sports + Digital + Music + Life

Tag Archives: marketing

4 business takeaways from the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals

0

When the Washington Nationals saw Bryce Harper escape to Philadelphia, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to expect the Nats to slip. Most baseball people said that the club was still quite talented, but I don’t think anybody expected this.

When the Washington Nationals were 19-31, it would have been easy for the team to go into sellers’ mode, looking to shuffle some pieces around and plan for 2020 or beyond.

Instead, they decided to Stay In The Fight (#StayInTheFight), as manager Davey Martinez implored them to do.

There are so many lessons we can learn from the 2019 World Series champs, whether it be in baseball or in life. I rooted for the Nats throughout their playoff run largely because I grew to like them during the regular season. Much like the NBA champs from earlier this year, the Toronto Raptors, baseball’s new kings were comprised of a bunch of good guys. My opinion, of course.

I root for people more than I do uniforms, and I sensed that the Nats could make a run, especially when their bullpen finally got its act together. Heck, I even predicted it on Twitter.

 

That’s not to pat me on the back, that’s to say that I don’t believe the Washington Nationals were that much of a surprise or a fluke. They had some important characteristics of winners and winning teams from all walks of life. I want to detail some truths we can take away from the World Series champs.

1. Great chemistry beats good talent. I look at the Dodgers and the Yankees, two clubs with extraordinary talent. I see them as a collection of supremely talented individuals but without a strong team vibe. The Nats were 25 guys pulling on the same rope.

To be fair, I think the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays also have great chemistry — although I also think there is something to be said for the whole Houston, Russell Osuna, Brandon Taubman situation being a massive karmic meteorite crashing onto Planet Astros. But nobody had the good-guy chemistry that the Nats had, and I think that chemistry was set in motion with the departure of Harper.

2. Age is just a number. The Nationals were the oldest team in baseball, and only Hunter Strickland had ever won a World Series with any team. I believe that experience led them to work smarter and not harder throughout all their series. Plus, experience gave them peace in understanding what was possible when they got behind, which they did often, so that they wouldn’t panic.

Age isn’t about being stale and slow. It’s “been there, done that” and got the proverbial t-shirt.

Teams (of all types) are always looking to get younger, and I’m not sure that’s the wisest strategy.

3. You need to be able to have fun as a team. Did you see the Nationals’ home run celebrations? They were the equivalent of orchestrated touchdown dances. My favorite was the revving-the-cars celebration in the dugout. Did you hear their team anthem, “Baby Shark?” Started by Gerardo Parra, the ‘Baby Shark’ thing started much earlier this year, and it grew sea legs. Having fun together builds chemistry and alleviates pressure.

4. Keep your head in the game. That’s the essence of the Stay In The Fight mantra. It means doing the little things. It means staying focused. It means persevering, even in the face of long odds. Best piece of advice from a boss I’ve ever gotten was to keep my head in the game. She told me, “The main thing I ask of anybody on this team is to ‘keep your head in the game.'”

It helped that Davey Martinez encapsulated it in such a pithy phrase: Stay In The Fight.

For the business team, it might be something like, “Put The Customer First, Always.” Or it might be “The Deadline Is Now,” as it is in our Tulsa newsroom.

Anyway, if I were a baseball GM, I’d be moderately concerned about on-the-field talent, but I’d be obsessed about individual EQ, team chemistry and organizational culture. I’d have a “no jerks” rule, regardless of talent. And my manager would be a world-class communicator, not somebody who obsesses over all the analytics.

Sure, the production has to be there.

But if you nail the intangibles and the production is worthy, you’ve got a chance to have something special.

Where I find my digital inspiration

0

I had a coffee with a friend of mine a couple months back, and we discussed our careers and digital and marketing and social media, and we discussed the things and people who inspire.

We’re close to the same age. We both work in TV news. And I think we both are pretty danged sharp with ambitions to maintain our edge.

I thought about sending him a note with all of this, but then I thought, “Are you crazy? This is perfect fodder for a blog.” (I’ll send him the link though!)

And then we (both) had lots of big news to cover, such as severe weather, wildfires and this week’s Oklahoma teacher walkout. I’m also involved with the Redbud Classic as part of its board of directors, and I recently accepted a spot on the JayMac board of directors for the University of Oklahoma, my alma mater. Actually, I accepted that months ago and have yet to be able to attend a meeting with the flu getting me last go-round.

All of this has me super excited and sounds like a humblebrag, except that I have to admit: I work hard and go go go, and I’ll eventually get really tired tired tired and need to recharge. And when I need to recharge, I really need to recharge. I need sleep. I need healthy food. I need lots of water (or a couple beers). I need to run. I need to meditate. I need to create.

And I need inspiration.

I wrote about my passion for running recently, so now I’ll tell you about my inspirations. These are the people who pick me up on a regular basis.

My original digital sensei was Gary Vaynerchuk. I met him at Google’s New York City offices back in 2016 as part of this group I belonged to called The Conference Board. Although Gary is famous for selfies with fans, I didn’t ask for one because I’m a bit shy and embarrassed to ask, and I was genuinely satisfied getting to meet him and ask him questions. There were about 15 of us in the room, and we peppered him with questions.

Gary_Vaynerchuk_(2015)

Jeremy Smerd, Executive Editor of Crain’s New York Business hosts Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO at VaynerMedia for Too Good To Fail at Internet Week HQ on Day 2 of Internet Week 2015 in New York May 19, 2015. Insider Images/Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES)

One digital communications professional worked for a firm that sells military equipment, and she asked how social media could be used to market a B-2 bomber, for example — and he proceeded to tell her. And he was absolutely right. What’s crazy is that he’d be the first to admit, as founder and owner of Vayner Media, that not even half of his big-name clients go all in on digital content as he’d wish they did. I say that to say: not even Gary Vee’s proclamations were likely enough to cause that pro’s boss to consider Instagram as a platform for telling stories about B-2 bombers.

But Gary goes all in, and his content is fantastic. His books are useful. And I’ve consumed them all to the point that nothing he’s saying in 2018 is new to me. I’m pretty sure I could write Gary Vee fan fiction at this point. Mostly, I listen to the “GaryVee Audio Experience” podcast or watch his YouTube videos. But if you don’t know this guy and you need the basics for how to do digital or entrepreneurship in 2018, spend time consuming all his content.

And then do.

This just happens to be his most recent video. I went to his channel to find one that epitomizes his personality, and I didn’t need to look far. This is quintessential Gary.

What makes Vaynerchuk especially inspiring to me is that his philosophies on life and the way he treats people are aligned with the values to which I aspire. It’s basically: work hard, be self-aware and be kind. And that’s it.

However, he’s not the digital personality I’m most into right this second.

That would be Casey Neistat.

Casey is much less tactical in terms of what he tells you and much more tactical in what he shows you. If you’re not familiar with Casey, he’s a videographer who had an HBO show and then became a YouTube star with 9.2M subscribers, many of which were earned when he started daily vlogging a few years ago.

It helps that he’s a fantastic videographer and storyteller.

He’s a stellar digital marketer because he understands the need for delivering content often. To the extreme. Quantity IS important.

Casey Neistat

Casey Neistat

The inspiration is in seeing him create this content day after day after day, knowing full well that he accomplishes other things in life and business, enjoying it and understanding that there is as much magic in consistent content creation as there is in the high-level art that is his videography.

What you want to learn then is: what are the efficiencies in shooting, writing, production and — heck — life that can allow you to achieve at such a high level? I get that from other folks as you’ll read here momentarily, but I digress.

Casey Neistat has a tremendous energy, and he has started a new daily vlog called 368, named for a collaborative space he’s opening for YouTubers and others in New York City. It’s short for 368 Broadway, which is in lower Manhattan. I don’t know exactly what it will entail exactly, but Neistat’s is a brand I trust to offer entertainment and video inspiration.

I’ve seen two episodes so far, and it feels a little more like a digital-TV hybrid, as in: what if Casey’s daily vlogs were made for episodic television. Here’s the first episode:

Another inspiration as a fellow named Tim Ferriss, best known as a podcaster and author, who gained fame writing the book ‘4-Hour Workweek,’ ‘4-Hour Body‘ and most recently ‘Tribe of Mentors.’ I own the latter and have read some of the two former. ‘Tribe of Mentors’ is a fantastic encyclopedia of life advice from hundreds of successful people in a wide variety of occupations.

And that’s what Ferriss’s podcast is about: breaking down big concepts into bite-sized chunks for self improvement, tactics that people can do each and every day. And in my case, I pick and choose what I can and want to apply in my own life. For example, he turned me on to mushroom coffee. Sure, it was an advertisement, but Ferriss talked a lot about Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffee “lighting you up like a Christmas tree.”

Let’s be real. I love me some coffee, but the primary appeal is that it wakes your ass up.

I tried the coffee, and it was fantastic. It even tasted good, and I didn’t expect mushroom coffee to taste anything beyond gross.

Tim Ferriss

My favorite episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast ever was his interview with Terry Crews, former NFL player, actor and author of the book, ‘Manhood: How to Be a Better Man — or Just Live with One.’ I won’t delve into it much, but Crews became one of my favorite people after listening to him talk for 45 minutes. Fantastic human being.

So, as you’ve been able to glean, I mostly listen to podcasts and watch YouTube. I don’t do a lot of television, and while I read books more than I do watch TV, I don’t do either all that much. On the other hand, I do listen to audio books on Audible. My two most recent selections have been “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance and “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.

My belief is: consume content how you’d like, and don’t let anybody tell you that watching videos or listening to audio books is inferior. The grand arbitrage in 2018 is time and latching onto anything that can help us save it while at the same time doing more.

Speaking of podcasts, my first one was “WTF,” the vehicle that re-launched Marc Maron‘s career. To be perfectly honest, I rarely listen to his interviews. I mostly like his monologues before the main event.

I also listen to several other podcasts on the regular, including “Marketing School” with Neil Patel and Eric Siu, “ProBloggeer Podcast” with Darren Rowse, “The Life Coach School” with Brooke Castillo, the “YouTube Creators Hub Podcast” with Dusty Porter and “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter. Each one of these podcasts fits a pocket of my life and my interests. They get heard in the car during my commute to work each morning.

Likewise, there are a lot of other YouTube channels I follow pretty religiously, including one from an up-and-comer named Amy Landino. Her primary expertise is vlogging, as evidenced by the book that made her famous, ‘Vlog Like A Boss: How To Kill It Online with Video Blogging.’ However, her channel is mostly focused on tactics that help you become more productive. Work productive. Life productive.

Amy is a more tactical version of another digital marketer I like named Marie Forleo. Both refer to their channels as “X-TV,” as in “Amy TV” and “Marie TV.” Forleo used to be much more tactical in her content relative to business and marketing, but I’m sensing that she’s shifting to more of an Oprah-like personality that’s directed much more toward women.

So, I’m way more Team Amy at this moment.

There are several YouTube-centric vlogs I follow, including channels from “Video Creators,” “Video Influencers,” “TubeBuddy,” and a pair of channels from Nick Nimmin and Brian G. Johnson. All of it is super educational for anybody interested in creating video content meant to grow an audience.

I’m also a pretty regular viewer of Peter McKinnon’s fine work on YouTube. The best way I can think of to describe him is as the Canadian version of Casey Neistat. What both he and McKinnon have in common is that they’re tremendous videographers.

Anyway, I don’t spend all my time consuming this content. I listen to it during commutes or watch it while I’m unwinding from the day. Most of the books I buy from folks who inspire me are ones that I use as resource guides or for when I need a kick in the butt. For example, I think I need to spend a few minutes this weekend with Vaynerchuk’s ‘Crushing It’ just so I can get back on track after a long week in the newsroom.

Ten minutes of inspiration from folks who know what they’re doing in the digital space is all you need.

I’d love to know who or what inspires you!

I’d love for you to follow me on Twitter (@ryanwelton) or subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please – and thank you!

 

 

 

YouTube channel update: The YouTube growth struggle is real.

0

A few days ago, somebody noted that they enjoyed seeing me play the piano online, and I gave a jumbled nonsensical reply about trying to master YouTube, which is at once the truth but not nearly as effective as just saying, “Why, thank you!

Everything I’ve been doing over the past 4-6 months online, personally, has been about trying to figure out which platforms I could possible master, which I’d want to master and which I should just forget about, personally, not professionally. With work, there are platforms such as Instagram and Twitter that I need to conquer for work purposes, but I’m especially passionate about YouTube.

But, damn, is it a grind these days.

When I started in 2007, it took me a while, and then it kind of blew up. And then I stopped making videos after YouTube started cracking down on cover songs. It’s like my willingness to execute is never matched by a vision for where the platform is going — and in this case, as of March 18, 2018, I’m convinced that YouTube is the new gold rush.

It’s where stars will be made.

It’s where businesses will be made.

It’s where experts will be made.

Even beyond FaceTwitaGram, YouTube is the platform where I’d tell an ambitious person to start their quest. It’s important to do the others to the extent that you can, but YouTube has the biggest upside. Just my opinion.

But I sure have gone nowhere the past six months, although it’s not for lack of trying.

I tried vlogging some piano tutorials.

I tried vlogging about Big Brother.

And I’ve tried doing some personal vlogs.

Oh, and I’ve done more covers of pop songs, old 80s songs and whatever I can knock out pretty quickly, trying to replicate some success I had last year with The Weeknd’s “I Feel It Coming,” which garnered me 13,000-plus views and probably accounted for most of the 100 or so new subscribers I’ve gotten over the past year.

Branching out hasn’t been the answer so far.

So I’m returning to the original niche that propelled me in the late 2000s: smooth jazz or contemporary (c-jazz). When I uploaded “Step To It” in 2007, I had no idea it would soon exceed 160,000 views. Of course, I attribute that mostly to the great sax work of Oklahoma City’s own Chris Hicks. However, I’ve had a modicum of success with other instrumentals.

And I go back to what Gary Vaynerchuck always says about documenting the journey. Well, this is my journey, kind of back to square one in terms of narrowing my scope of YouTube production back to smooth jazz, some covers and personal vlogs, most of which will probably have something to do with music.

I also decided to put a little money behind what I’m doing, so I set up a few $1-per-day ads on four of my most popular songs. I’m not that well versed on what makes a particularly successful AdWords campaign, and the AdWords system doesn’t let me target nearly as narrow as I’d like. For this campaign, which stretches over four songs, I’m only able to target “music lovers.” There is no “likes smooth jazz” selection, although I might be able to associate some demographics with that tendency.

For now, I’m just gathering data and telling you what I’m doing.

Oh, and I figured out how to add a watermark to all the videos on my channel. That was pretty easy, although I’m not sure how effective it will be. And last but not least, here are the songs I’ve put money against. We’ll see how they do after a couple weeks.

And I’ll report back.

“Step To It” by Ryan Welton featuring Chris Hicks


“Nocturnal” by Ryan Welton featuring Chris Hicks


“Cool Like Kelsey” by Ryan Welton


“Vibe” by Ryan Welton featuring Eric Montgomery

 

 

5 tactics for small businesses to survive changes in the Facebook news feed

0

The Facebook news feed has been all the rage the past few weeks as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has let the world know that changes are coming. Brand pages and publishers will be seen less in the news feed as Facebook aims to reward value-driven content that produces meaningful engagement.

If you haven’t read Zuck’s declaration, click here to read it. Here’s the sentence that businesses need to pay attention to the most:

(Several weeks ago) I announced a major change to encourage meaningful social interactions with family and friends over passive consumption. As a result, you’ll see less public content, including news, video, and posts from brands.

Passive consumption means reading your articles or watching your videos or viewing your posts-that-are-really-ads without commenting, reacting or sharing. What Facebook is trying to encourage more isn’t merely engagement as we know it but a true back-and-forth among people that goes beyond the polarizing and brings us together.

Ever since my agency days in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I’ve been saying that businesses have to behave like media companies. I remember being at a project meeting at the agency I worked at in Dallas back in 2003 or so, and everybody was bemoaning having to wait on the client for content.

My response was, “How does the Wall Street Journal manage to put out an entire newspaper every damned day, and we can’t get an article from a company with 100 employees?” The solution wasn’t merely that we should have waited on the company either, but somebody needed to get to writin’.

Because that’s what media companies do. At their core, media companies produce all sorts of content.

How can your small business make a name for itself on Facebook in an ocean of companies that are just like yours? How can you survive the changes to the Facebook news feed? More than ever, you have to behave like a media company.

Here are five ways you can survive any change to the Facebook news feed:

1. Create content constantly.

That means articles and videos, and that means becoming comfortable with live video whether it be on Facebook or YouTube. If you’re a CEO who isn’t very adept technologically, hire somebody to oversee your digital. That person should have a journalism background.

This could include graphics and photography, and it most definitely should include audio and content for devices like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. You don’t have to do it all today, but from here forward, you’re in the content business.

There is no other marketing in 2018.

2. Start posting on all platforms.

In the era of the new Facebook news feed, the last thing you want to do is have all your digital content eggs in one platform basket. That means the best way to survive the Facebook news feed changes is to not only be on Facebook.

YouTube has 1.5 billion users.

Instagram has 800 million users.

Twitter has 300 million users.

Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr and more constitute hundreds of millions more users.

And this doesn’t even count the number of people who listen to podcasts or still read blogs. Heck, Google is still the mother of all content platforms, which means if you think a blog is a remnant of the early-2000s, think again. I remember encouraging my last company to start a blog, and their biggest concern was how the organization would be able to get a post out there every week.

My thought was, “Every week? Why not every day.”

If I teach you nothing else on this blog, it’s that creating content is neither difficult nor a mystery. It’s words + art + voice + video in all sorts of varied combos. And perfection is the enemy of progress.

But you might want to hire somebody. If I may do so, I’d recommend somebody with a journalism background and a photographer’s eye. Musicians are particularly good for content roles. Maybe that’s a personal bias on my part seeing how I am one.

A clever digital assistant will know how to re-purpose all the content he or she creates for different platforms, complete with verbiage in various voices that comes across authentically to its audience. This is the equivalent of throwing digital spaghetti against the wall, but serendipity in this era requires some experimentation and a willingness to go thin before you go deep.

Quality is important. Quantity is the secret sauce.

3. Go live.

Do it often, daily even. It doesn’t have to be just you and a camera, talking blindly into the ether and answering questions. It could be a camera set up at your front desk or in the break room or the lobby. It could be a Facebook Live during a meeting.

Go live. People interact with each other on live videos, and that’s precisely the type of result Facebook is going to reward. In fact, if you understand nothing else, know that the meaningful interaction that live video produces is precisely the type of result that Facebook is going to reward in its news feed going forward.

If I’m a business owner, I go live every day at a certain time and talk to my audience, no matter how big or small it is.

4. Interact with everybody.

Like Facebook comments. Answer their questions. Let them hit you up on Messenger, and comb through old posts to see who has commented recently. Your interactions with people on your Facebook page not only help your standing in the news feed, they’ll help to encourage other people to interact with you as well because they’ll see that you’re the type of business that interacts.

And do it in a timely manner.

5. Have a paid plan.

You don’t have to spend millions or even thousands. Hundreds might do the trick, but it’s imperative that you learn the Facebook ads platform. It’s imperative that you take it seriously. Posting content onto Facebook with no intention of moving beyond organic reach is an incredible waste of time and is marketing malpractice. First, Facebook is still grossly under-priced as a place to do targeted advertising. Second, it over-delivers compared to every other advertising platform on the planet as of today.

What if I told you that you could start with $20 tomorrow on Facebook? Spend $100 this month, and see what happens.

You don’t have to spend a mint. But you have to get into the game to have any shot of being a player on the platform. Go to Google or YouTube and look up content on how to get the most out of Facebook’s advertising platform.

If you enjoyed this article, I’d love it if you followed me on Twitter, @ryanwelton, or subscribed to my YouTube channel @RyanWeltonMusic.

%d bloggers like this: