You may have the talent to do something, but if you’re not visible, then what’s the point? Entrepreneurs today need to be the broadcaster of their own enterprise. You can do those by creating content, especially video content. Join your host Juliet Clark as she is joined by Sheryl Plouffe on how to create your own content for visibility. Sheryl is the founder and video strategist of Sheryl Plouffe Media Inc.. Learn how to plan, produce, publish, and promote your content. Discover how to be authentic in and out of the camera today.
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Learn How To Produce Content For Maximum Visibility With Sheryl Plouffe
We have a guest who’s probably going to intrigue you people that want to get on video. Before we get into that, I want to send you over to our YouTube channel. We have all the videos. If you’re someone who likes video more than you like listening to iTunes, iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to this, you can go on over to Superbrand Publishing. Subscribe and you can see all the videos over there.
Also, don’t forget to go over to our Promote, Profit, Publish Quiz at PromoteProfitPublishQuiz.com. Find out if you’re ready to be able to publish your book. There’s a lot to the publishing world and a lot of you are not prepared for the marketing. You take it one step at a time in the present moment. Unfortunately, you have to think way ahead. What are you going to do with this book? How are you going to do it? Where are you going to go? Get over there and take that quiz.
Our guest is Sheryl Plouffe. She is a video strategist, former Canadian TV broadcaster and the creator of Cash In On Camera. She has been seen by millions over the course of her 25-year career in news media, has produced thousands of videos and has broadcast experience over 20,000 hours on live television. She lives and works in Ontario. She is joining us from her summer house so I feel privileged.
Thanks for having me, Juliet. I’m excited to get into this topic around video. It’s not just video. It’s visibility. I love what you’re doing with the show and what you said which is, “Go over to our YouTube channel.” You’re giving people an option on how they want to consume this content, which I’m a real big proponent of.
How did you get from being a TV personality into what you’re doing now?
I did TV for many years and I saw that there was a parallel between what I did as a professional broadcaster to what entrepreneurs need to do in their businesses now. That is to become and essentially act as a mini-media company of their own. I believe that businesses now need to be the broadcaster of their own enterprise. It’s being out there and visible. A lot of the things that we did as broadcasters can relate to entrepreneurship now.
That is so great because I don’t think people think big in that sense as far as, “I can be my own media company.” That’s what’s changed so much in the world. How long ago did you leave that industry?
In 2017 was when I went full-time on my own but prior to that for many years, I was developing programs, coaching and fine-tuning my own proof of concept, which admittedly was different before the pandemic that it is now because the pandemic helped me see things in a different way. Nonetheless, I was doing coaching programs while I was still broadcasting and commuting two hours a day to and from work. We had a young son at that time and it was busy. What I did in 2017 was I decided to leave what was frankly a good job but it was in my heart to leave. I felt like I was being called to take that experience and do something different with it.
COVID changed this for a lot of people. There are so many jobs. I know you’re up in Canada but in the US those that are open are people who decided that there’s a better way than that two-hour commute every day.
I love working from home. The majority of my business now is virtual. Most of my speaking, products and services we provide are virtual. Especially for me, it has been a wonderful thing to be able to be at home, closer to my husband and our son and be more readily available at home.
The time management around it as well. You can choose when you want to work and when you don’t. Ultimately, you also know that you’re the rainmaker in the company so you do have to work. It’s not as simple as, “I don’t want to work now.”
It’s interesting because I still work a lot, no doubt. I do work but it’s about being in control of that work and being the person who makes the call as to whether or not, “You’re going to do these hours. This is what I want my schedule to look like. I’m working these days and not these days,” as opposed to being dictated what those hours are. That was the biggest difference for me. I’m probably working as much or maybe more than I was before. Entrepreneurship is not easy but it’s about the control factor for me that was the impetus to want to go out on my own.
That was the same for me. I went online in 2010 and a lot had changed since then, even since 2017 or before that when you went on. How did you make that transition? What are you bringing out there that people need to know in terms of being on video? You and I mentioned authenticity and how many people are stiff.
Let’s talk about where I am now as opposed to looking in the past. I would rather look at it now and in the future. I feel that it’s all-around visibility. It’s about being out there and being positioned as an authority at what it is that you do. There’s a difference between expertise and authority. Expertise is great. A lot of people who go into business or start businesses as entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants or professional services have the skill and professional experience. They have parlayed that into something like a product or service that they’re selling and that’s great. They have a level of expertise. The difference being is that you can be an unknown expert and that doesn’t help you. The visibility piece is key. You have to be getting out there.
Now, we live in the attention economy. If you’re not getting that type of eyeballs and attention on you, you’re just as good as being invisible. We have to look at that and say, “Content is one of the key things,” which is what you’re doing. That’s what I do. We create content so that we can have that door-opening medium to be able to have relationships and conversations with people and grow our businesses. Also, when you do that, you do not only get visible but if you’re sharing your expertise, doing it in a way that’s educating people and moving the needle for them, you become an authority at that thing. Now, business opportunities open up for you. You get speaking invitations and get to be on stages. It’s that transition of going from unknown expert to well-known, in-demand or recognized authority that we focus on.
Let’s talk about content because probably the biggest objection I get from my authors is, “I don’t have time for content.” They’re looking at, “I have to sit down and write a blog.” When you do video content and create it, it can be as short or as long as you want. Can you talk about that a little bit?
I have a framework that I use called the 4P Framework because each of the letters starts with a P. I don’t get caught up in all of the marketing stuff. It’s 4Ps, Plan, Produce, Publish and Promote. The planning phase is key. Before you ever go live or record a video, you have to look at the planning phase. That includes things like your messaging. A lot of people think they have their messaging dialed in and know who the ideal person is they’re trying to attract but they don’t. You have to nail that down.
You also have to look at your systems, processes, production and team. Do you have one? Are you by yourself? Do you have a VA? Can they be trained? What equipment do you have? You have to look at everything holistically before you start embarking on the rest of the process. If you can dial that in, look at it in a four-step process and do it chronologically, you’re going to see better results that way. I say chronologically because a lot of people will go out and start doing phase three when they ought to start with phase one.
Do it step-by-step. It’s not something that develops in a day. It can take some time but it’s worth it. It’s funny you mentioned ROI because I was looking at a stat. In 2015, 33% of businesses said they got a positive ROI from video. In 2021, 87% say they are getting a positive ROI from video. It’s key to incorporate video into businesses now going forward in the next decade or else you risk remaining invisible.
How do you feel? A lot of people are just jumping on Facebook Live or LinkedIn Live. Would your 4P process work for them too? I feel like a lot of times when I watch those there isn’t much planning that has gone in.
If you’re an expert but are unknown, that won’t help you. Visibility is key.
Live streaming is very powerful when done correctly. There are some things that you have to keep in mind with live streaming. If you do live streaming correctly, have planned it out and know what the intent of the video is and what you’re trying to accomplish, the beautiful thing about live streaming is that it circumvents post-production. In other words, the more laborious side of it and the more tedious, time-consuming and technical part is editing. I don’t think they should be editing their own videos but they don’t listen, with some exceptions.
There are apps that you can have on your phone that allow you to quickly create a reel for Instagram or create the reel within the Instagram app. Things like that are fine but if you’re going to be creating your content strategy around editing your own videos, I question that. Live streaming is a way to get the content created in a way that you can still have production value. The tools that I love and use, you can add your graphics, lower thirds and little banners around it. It has come a long way. Live streaming is essentially a great entry into content creation and where people who are on a budget should start.
Could you explain the lower third? Probably a lot of people don’t know what that is.
It’s like when you watch a news report and you see the name of the person. Usually, it slides and it’s animated. It comes on the screen. It will have your name, title and then it slides back out. That’s a lower third.
When people take your courses because I want them to understand the value you bring, do you go over strategy and then go through those processes? How do you work?
When I’m consulting, it always starts with talking because I may not be right for everyone. It’s better to start with a consultative call and be able to figure out, “Is what I do what you need?” Sometimes we have conversations with people and I’m not what you need yet. You need to have other things dialed in before you get to me. It’s important to start with a conversation. That is what I do. I will go through it step-by-step and say, “Let’s start with planning and then we go into producing, publishing and promoting.”
For you out there who are thinking about your book, the way this is incorporated is not only this becomes content for your book but when we do releases, we do a lot of press releases and video makes that press release convert much higher. It’s something you have to think about. Let’s get back into authenticity. Video scares a lot of people because they think, “I have to be perfect like that newscaster I see every night.” I don’t think that’s true at all. The things that you goof up on and endear you to your audience a little bit.
If we think back to even the time when I was a broadcaster, my husband was also a broadcaster for many years. One of the things that the audience loved the most was blooper reels. Why did people love blooper reels? Why were their shows entirely dedicated to blooper reels? It’s because we got to see that people are human, make mistakes and is not all polished and perfect. If we look at that as an example, it’s clear that now even in the social media landscape that we live in that people want a level of realness and authenticity.
They’re tired of the photoshopped perfection of the smoothest skin of all time. It’s fake and people are seeing right through that. They’re craving something different now. They’re craving authenticity. That’s why one of the things we love to do in some of the services that we provide is we’ll do a thing where we interview a client for 60 minutes on Zoom and then we create three months of video content from that one-hour interview. It’s not meant to be perfect. It’s meant to be authentic and conversational. I ask questions. They answer and the result is that they speak in their own voice. Those videos do very well.
I’ll add to that too. Nobody thinks they look good on video. I watched my videos and I’m like, “I suck.” I have a client who is a photographer and she says, “Sometimes people won’t even go get headshots until they say, ‘Can you Photoshop out 20 pounds?'” Good luck with that. What would you tell people in the video realm about that? I’m sure it’s the same thing. People don’t like how they look and they’re avoiding it.
We had eleven different feeds across Canada that we would create content for. When I walked through the newsroom and I was on a replay loop, I would look up at the monitors and there would be eleven Sheryls walking across the screen and doing her thing. I didn’t love looking up. We all do that. We’re all critical of ourselves but you have to look at it as, “That’s your job.” If you’re going to adhere to what I said at the beginning which is, “Become a mini-media company. Be the broadcaster of your enterprise,” then that’s part of the job.
We used to have airchecks where we would get into a boardroom with the executives and on-air hosts. They would record a section of the programming, put it on the monitor ahead of us and then we would dissect and critique the whole thing step-by-step. You don’t have to go to that extreme but it is important to look at that and say, “It might be a good idea to look at your content,” especially from an analytics perspective how well is it doing the thing that you intended it for it to do as opposed to being critical of yourself in the video. “I don’t like my nose, the roots of my hair or this and that.” People don’t care about that. You do because your vanity is speaking. They want to know what’s in it for them. If you’ve been providing value and sharing insights and knowledge that’s going to help them, they look past your crooked nose or the roots in your hair.
Here’s another thing I hear all the time, “My first video sucked but it’s the most-watched out there,” especially from podcasters because people pick up an episode and then they go, “I like that.” They go back to episode one. What would you say about that to be less critical of those early? You’re going to get better as you go along. You just don’t pop up one day and you’re the best out there.
It’s rare that the first video you ever do goes viral. The truth is we’re not gunning for virality. Virality is not dictated by you. It’s dictated by the market. It has happened but it’s rare. Typically, when people go out and start making videos or they’re putting themselves out there, that first video will likely suck. You have to be okay with that and understand that this is a means to an end. It’s like, “I have to do this first video so that I can do the second one, which will get better and the third will get better still.”
The first one is always the hardest. Virality is not the goal here. It’s a great thing that can happen but that’s not something that you control. Do it anyway. You have to be willing. It’s about willingness, “Am I willing to put myself out there even if I will “fail?” You’re going to learn something from the failure anyway. There’s no downside to this.
Let’s go back to the viral because a lot of people want to go viral but viral doesn’t necessarily convert to sales. I don’t think people understand that. Can you speak to that a little bit?
It’s great to get attention. It’s like funneling. If we’re using the marketing term about building a funnel, it starts at the top level of awareness and then it starts to funnel and narrow down to a point where you get a client. It has to start at that level and that’s typically where that kind of virality piece happens. You get a lot of attention on a piece of content which is great but it’s, “What are you doing digitally to draw those people into the next step and onward?” That’s why having a digital strategy is important.
Sometimes I like to start with a conversation because when I start with a conversation and recognize that they don’t have some fundamentals in place then I say, “You’re not ready for me yet. You need to go back and this is what you need.” Sometimes it’s a digital strategy, branding strategy or messaging. These things need to be dialed in before you work with me. In my opinion, that’s the better way to do it. It’s about that awareness piece at the highest level. It’s great and awesome but if you don’t have other things dialed in, it will not result in any fruitful results for you.
Livestreaming is a great entry into content creation for people who are on a budget.
We get that with the books as well, “I don’t have a branding palette. My message is the book.” A lot of times, they don’t even know what the next step is with the book. It’s not a huge money-maker people think it is. It’s a loss-leader most of the time.
Sometimes we should think about our content as the same thing. It’s a loss-leader. This is not necessarily costing you but maybe some apps or a VA to do some work. There are costs involved for sure especially if you outsource which can be a great benefit to a company too. There are costs with anything. What you invest in it could be a good thing. Video is one of those things as well. You’re getting that awareness and then it’s, “What are you doing with it from there?”
That’s so true. I don’t consider my content and even look at the ROI on it because there are many ways that I can use it after I have a conversation with someone. I can drop one of my podcasts in. It’s the same as that book in that loss-leader way. Where can we find you if we want to find out more about what you do and connect with you?
SherylPlouffe.com is the best place to go. You will see buttons there to connect with me. You can apply to have a chat with me and start a conversation. We can consult so that I can give you my best advice on where you’re at and where you should go. It might be with me or not. There may be some other things that you need to dial in first but I’m always happy and love to connect with people. We like to connect people with others who can benefit them.
When you’re a purpose-driven person and you care about people’s well-being in business and you want to see them grow, it’s better to send people in a direction that’s going to help them ultimately. That’s the route that I choose. I’m on social media @SherylPlouffe pretty much everywhere. I’m a DM, private message and email away, Sheryl@SherylPlouffe.com. It’s easy to send me an email and say, “I heard you on the show with Juliet Clark and I would like to chat with you.” We can go from there.
Thank you so much for sharing your information.
Thank you for having me on the show. I appreciate it.
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About Sheryl Plouffe
Sheryl Plouffe is a video strategist, former Canadian TV broadcaster and the creator of Cash In On Camera.
She has been seen by millions over the course of her twenty-five-year career in news media, has produced thousands of videos, and has broadcast over 20,000 hours of live television.
She lives and works in Ontario, Canada. www.sherylplouffe.com
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