Monday, May 31, 2010

COS Social Media in Review – DailyMotion

DailyMotion has proven to be a strong online video site. Part of the proof is that it is still around. Part of it is that is growing. Circle of Seven Productions signed a contract with DailyMotion so that we can offer “Official Content”. The contract is pretty basic, with promises that we’ll offer quality content that follows the laws of copyright and that we will provide consistent content. In exchange, DailyMotion will allow us to upload all content without the strict review process sometimes employed by social sites who must be concerned with copyright laws, etc.

But, more importantly to us, DailyMotion has agreed to feature some of our content on its main site or channels. Not all content is featured, but a good amount is and we’ve seen an increase recently in featured COS videos. That translates into more eyes on the videos and more video views.

Pros and Cons to the site.

Cons are that DailyMotion puts pre-roll ads before each video. Normally that’s not so bad, but when the majority of your own videos are 90 seconds long, a 10 or 15 second pre-roll seems pretty overkill.

There are a lot of advertisements on the site pages.

Pros are that links you put into the video description are live-links which means people can just click on them and be taken to the author’s page or the book product page. It encourages impulse buys or impulse curiosity that results in a click through.

The sites has some special features for sharing and presentation that we like and the profile pages is fairly customizable. You can see on the COS DailyMotion profile that we have branded the site-

DailyMotion is also part of the TubeMogul video delivery. COS Productions is a premiere client of TubeMogul and it’s convenient to have this feature. We also RSS out to a lot of other sites from our DailyMotion site.

DailyMotion is a stable site worth investing time in and works hard to promote itself to viewers.

• This series of articles reviews a variety of social media venues that Circle of Seven Productions and/or Reader’s Entertainment employees across the online universe.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BEA a huge success for COS!

It all started with 500 new COS DVDs that were gone in the first day. The year before COS gave out 300 DVDs and they were gone by the third day. 

"I have to admit I was a little shocked when they told me were ran out the first day." Says COS CEO Sheila English. "But the up side to that is that a lot of people stopped me during the convention when they saw I was with Circle of Seven Productions. So the word got out fast!"
COS has increased their presense this year at several conventions and for BEA, which is the biggest convention COS attends, we added a meeting room in additinon to the DVDs and sponsorship.  Next year the plan is to have the meeting room again, new DVDs and perhaps a booth for Reader's Entertainment Group.

CEO Sheila English w/ Dot Lin from Tor/Forge

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

AAP Reports GOOD NEWS in Publishing Sales at BEA

I can always use some good news. I read about how sales are down here and they're closing bookstores there, it gets a little discouraging. But, finally, we get some good news from the AAP and I wanted to share a little bit of that with you!

Book sales increased by 16.6% in March with is $458.2 million dollars and were up by 8% for the year!!!
Hardcover adult category, audio books and University Press hardcover books all saw a fairly significant increase.

All of this was reported by the Association of American Publishers this week.

I have to say that COS has seen an increase in the number of book videos we're doing and I wondered if that was a reflection of the overall health of the industry. And though I don't know that they are related, I'm hoping it does signify a better year for publishing overall.

Monday, May 24, 2010

COS Social Media in Review – Facebook

Facebook is a favorite of ours and we have 3 places on Facebook that you can find us. Each place offers something different and in a bit I’ll tell you why that’s important.

COS delivers our videos via RSS feed to our Book Video Facebook page. Every single video that COS distributes will be sent there. This is important for SEO reasons and because we want people on Facebook to be able to share the videos. But that’s not the most popular of all the COS Facebook profiles.

Circle of Seven Productions has a Fan Page, an official COS Facebook page that we keep up on fairly regularly. In 2010 we have plans to be more “present” on the fan page with some behind the scenes, professional marketing information, future projects listings and information on conventions we attend. But that’s not the most popular of the COS Facebook profiles either.

The Facebook profile that over 2000 people follow is and is the online home of COS Productions CEO Sheila Clover English. This is where the CEO lets her hair down, so to speak.

“It lets people see me as a person. I don’t have to be an expert, a marketer or a ‘CEO’ there. I’m just me.” Says English. She goes on to share, “I started playing a few online games since it allowed me to have fun with people who wanted to get to know me. And before I knew it people who had no idea what book trailers even were started commenting on my wall about books when I’d show a trailer there.”

English is an avid animal enthusiast and offers a good deal of her own brand of personal humor there. It has endeared her to many of her Facebook followers and helped create loyalty as well as engagement with the reading (and even the only-sometimes-reading) public.

The reason having an online social community connection is important is that it allows people to have a more personal bond with you. The site isn’t a sales and marketing site. It’s a place to kick back and make friends. From that organic relationships grow and so does trust, which is very important when you do so much online.

Sheila invites everyone to stop by, become a friend, talk books, play Mafia Wars, check out pictures of her family and travels and of course learn of the mischievous antics of Jack, her half Chihuahua, half Jack Russell puppy.

• This series of articles reviews a variety of social media venues that Circle of Seven Productions and/or Reader’s Entertainment employees across the online universe.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The COS Blog

I've gone back and forth between Facebook, MySpace, Future Perfect Publishing, COS website news, Reader's Entertainment Blog and the COS newsletter posting things here and there that interest me, irritate me or amuse me. I guess I spend more time on Facebook, but do more writing on the COS website news blog.

So, I sat down and took a look at where I'm at and what I'm doing and decided that I do different things in different places and that's okay.

On Facebook I'm really just me. I write about my work, my dogs, my travels and just about anything that catches my attention. I do post to the COS Fan Page there, but I'm on my personal site more often than I sleep! LOL

MySpace is where I post things that are more for that particular community. I know who follows that blog and I write about MySpace events, trailers and industry stuff. You won't find things about my puppies there or my feelings about videos I find on YouTube.

Future Perfect Publishing asked me to be a contributing blogger a few years ago and I try to send them a blog quarterly that is very specific to the industry and book video.

The COS website has a feature on the main page that shows you the current COS news or press coverage and I write there about the things going on at COS. What I'm hoping to do is find a way to get that over to the COS Facebook fan page and we're working on that now.

Reader's Entertainment is specifically for reader interest. It isn't an industry blog. It's about books, book videos, book reviews, reading and covers all genres. At some point this year there will be a blog for each genre and we will advertise for each genre channel. Guest bloggers will be invited to blog and we will advertise their blogs each month in the COS newsletter and in some paid advertising.

The COS Newsletter is full of COS news, but it also has reader interest items like reviews and book trailers and it talks about what I'm doing, the radio shows I host and things that I think would interest the over 1000 people who subscribe to our newsletter.

Here, on this blog, I want to continue writing about general interest things that involve COS. That might be blogs about the sites we upload to or contract with or maybe it will be about the publishers we work with, behind the scenes stuff, marketing trends, etc.

I don't know if people are interested in the "behind the scenes" stuff or not, but I'm going to do a series about it to see how it is received and will keep an eye on the type of blog posts that seem to get the most attention and then start to write more of those. So, I guess it can be said that, if you read it...I will write it! lol

Monday's are now designated for a series of blogs I'm doing, or someone at COS will do, about the different online upload sites we send our videos to. It will be a frank discussion of how those sites perform, why we choose to upload there and whether or not we think the actual sites is good or not.

Friday's I will do a blog about whatever I'm thinking about that day. Could be anything at all. And, Wednesdays I am going to start writing, or having someone from COS write, about the making of certain videos.

I will ask for guest bloggers for Thursdays to talk about trends in marketing and technology.

All of this will start after I return from BEA in NYC. I will be there all week next week, returning on the 31st of May.

Hope you'll stop by here and check out the blog!

Monday, May 17, 2010

COS Social Media in Review - YouTube

Welcome to a new blog series we're doing called COS Social Media in Review! We will talk each week about certain sites we're on and why we're on them! This week we're starting with YouTube!

YouTube is generally thought of as the end-all and be-all of video placement. It’s true that you can’t ignore the online video giant and your videos need to be there, but as far as book video goes it isn’t the best placement from a sales standpoint.

YouTube is a great place for silly videos, celebrity videos, controversy and pop culture. Not the greatest place for book video. Now, like any other landscape, that can always change, but at present this is true.

Yes, there are book videos that have tens of thousands even hundreds of thousands of views, but those are the exception, not the rule. The majority of COS Productions book videos get over 5000 views each with many that have tens of thousands. And yes, I’ve seen the Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters video that got over 200,000 views, but please see above explanation of what kind of videos do well on YouTube, those videos will do well for quite some time.

So WHY should is COS on YouTube at all? Here are some reasons-

1. YouTube is the #2 search engine on the internet
2. YouTube is one of the first places people go to when looking for a video they’ve heard about.
3. YouTube gives YOUR VIDEO great SEO across Google and other search engines.
4. You can’t ignore a place that has so many potential viewers.
5. YouTube has a lot of accessories like easy mobile phone viewing, captions, easy sharing, etc.
6. YouTube uses HTML5 which can be seen on iPhones and iPods unlike Flash

COS actually advertises our YouTube channel throughout the year in order to bring in new subscribers and build viewership. Making people aware that our YouTube channel is the “go-to” place for book video helps create a central place readers are aware of for books on YouTube.

COS has more than just one YouTube channel. Since moving toward a genre-specific business plan with our video distribution we have begun to create more genre specific sites so that people interested only in a certain genre of book can go there. Yes, we could make playlists on our main channel, but there are benefits to having these in addition to the main channel. You can see one of our other YouTube channels by going to YouTube and looking for InFaithNetwork.

Technically speaking it is important to watch what YouTube is doing behind the scenes. They are such a giant that the future of video technology can often be seen there first. We have someone who monitors all the new technology and opportunities YouTube offers to both viewers and content creators. COS has taken some of the YouTube technology and employed it for better mobile device engagement and we’ve even been able to create a simple software program wherein we can input a YouTube link to one of our videos and we are given special embed code that gives the highest quality, quickest upload speed and removes any other ads or videos at the end.

YouTube analytics is a great help to us as well. It lets us know who is watching, from where, how they got to us and who is using the video. We did a study a little over a year ago to see how long someone watches a video. Unless that person was very famous, the video had media or pop culture tie-ins or it has something that stood out over all other book videos happening at that time, people really only watched book video for about 90 seconds. What that told us is that we needed to get the call-to-action message in before 90 seconds was up. This information changed how COS did video and we now try to keep all videos under 90 seconds as a rule. Of course some videos really do work best with more content, such as author interviews or music video trailers, but for your standard book video viewer 90 seconds is golden.

COS has received over 2.5 million views to our YouTube channel and we’ve created a wonderful community there. Our subscriber numbers continue to climb.

• This series of articles reviews a variety of social media venues that Circle of Seven Productions and/or Reader’s Entertainment employees across the online universe.