To Be A Good Writer You Need to Read A Lot

Most people may think that to be a good writer, you need to WRITE a lot and that is true. There’s nothing like exercising your writing muscle to fine tune your talent and skill.

Most people may think that to be a good writer, you need to WRITE a lot and that is true. There’s nothing like exercising your writing muscle to fine tune your talent and skill.

However, I’ve been listening to “High Performance Habits” by BrendonBurchand on Audible and he talks about how he learned how to write and said, “If you want to be a good writer, you need to READ a LOT.”  This really resonated with me because I when I was 25, and was starting my journey and education as a TV producer and content creator, I realized that I had not seen a LOT of the movie classics like “North by Northwest” or anything directed by Hitchcock and a list of 100 others.  I was living in New York City at the time and decided to make it my mission to remedy this.

Now, even though I could have rented a lot of the classics, I decided I wanted to see them in the way they were meant to be seen….projected in the movie theater and the Regency Theater by Lincoln Center was the perfect place to do just that. The Regency would have wonderful themed movie series featuring Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, and so many more (and they were all DOUBLE features).  The movies changed every two-to-three days so I’d purchase the series pass and proceed to spend three nights a week being transported in a Hollywood time machine of sorts, catching up on the most famous films ever produced.

This was not just entertaining, but very educational and by the time I turned 26, I had screened over 300 movies (classics and lesser-known films) in one year.  Almost through “osmosis,” I was absorbing how to structure a story, write good dialogue, and frame a shot and had assimilated a visceral talent for good storytelling since I had studied the masters.

How do artists learn to paint? They study the masters.  How do writers learn to write? They study the masters (like Brendon suggests). And how do you learn how to make videos that work? You study the masters.

I certainly honed my storytelling skills by watching classic films (when studios were run by creatives instead of MBAs).  But this is a hack that I’ve also used for learning how to create marketing videos for my website, sales funnels, and social media outreach as well, and then merged it with everything I’ve learned as a former network TV talk show producer (where I have also studied colleagues I admire to fine tune my skills). 

So, study the people who doing video marketing well.  And study the people who aren’t doing well.  Watch their videos and master classes. This is not the entire approach to honing your video marketing skills, but it is a very necessary use of your time as you navigate these waters. You see what to do and say and what NOT to do and say.  In fact, some of the most powerful lessons come from watching really bad videos or people doing it really badly.  This isn’t meant to be snarky, but that we learn more from mistakes than we do from flawless examples.

Now, I have a special invitation for you today to join me and my community of positive minded people in my Facebook Group to Grow Your Business with Video. I can’t wait to connect with you there!

Follow Marianne on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and, as a Content Creation Strategist, she is the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe, a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.

Do the Thing You Fear and the Death of Fear is Certain

The unknown can certainly be scary, but you know what? Once you actually do the thing you fear (like learning to drive a car, learning a new software program, or even making your video), you realize that the “thought or fear” of doing “the thing” was keeping you from doing “a thing” that is now almost second nature.

Why do we put off learning and sometimes even “fear” it?  I am not sure if I have an answer for that one, but I do know that I certainly do it especially when it comes to keeping on top of the latest technology, social media tools, and even learning how to use new video production equipment.  At first, I fight it, then I force myself to learn it, and then I wonder, WHY did I procrastinate and wait so long to learn something that helps me so much.

I’ve been listening to High Performance Habits written by Brendon Burchard, a very well-known high-performance coach, and he shares about his experience of learning to create and produce his own videos.  He knew nothing about producing videos or being on-camera but knew that he needed to learn how to master this skill to advance his business.  He started making videos a little over ten years ago when YouTube was basically in its infancy, and now his videos have millions of views and he’s built a multi-million dollar business as a result because he’s been able to reach an audience he wanted to serve.

Brendon faced his fear of being on camera, mastered the skills needed to produce high-quality videos, and now, he is respected around the world for the high-performance brand he has created. Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.

Now, I have a special invitation for you to join me and my community of positive minded people in my Facebook Group to Grow Your Business with Video. I can’t wait to connect with you there

Follow Marianne on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and, as a Content Creation Strategist, she is the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe, a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.

Your “Bad” Idea Could Be Your Next “Great” Idea!

I don’t necessarily think that ALL good ideas start as bad ideas as Steven Spielberg has been quoted as saying about the creative process, but I do firmly believe that a “bad idea” can give birth to a GOOD idea (even a GREAT idea) through the brainstorming process.

Years ago when I was a producer at ABC-TV in Los Angeles, I was in a pitch meeting for a sweeps period for a show where I was working as a Segment Producer. In a pitch meeting, all the producers show up with ideas for content for the show.  It could be a how-to segment idea, fashion or home makeover concept (like how to makeover your living room without spending a dime), etc. Well, when my turn came up, I pitched an idea for a segment that was immediately shot down.  I don’t remember the idea, but I do remember that another producer, Sue, said “No, not that idea, but what about “this?” Well, everyone LOVED “her idea” and I was quick to understand that she never would have thought of her GOOD idea had I not pitched out my BAD idea first.

Marianne Schwab and Don Henley on the set of ABC-TV's "Home Show."
Marianne Schwab and Don Henley on the set of ABC-TV’s “Home Show.”

Remember, creating content is a process and don’t rule out bad ideas at first because you never know where they’ll take you and if you didn’t have that BAD idea FIRST, you NEVER would come up with the GOOD IDEA that is a game changer!

Hey, I have a special invitation for you today. Please join me and my community of positive minded people in my Facebook Group to Grow Your Business with Video . I can’t wait to connect with you there!

Follow Marianne on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.

Content Marketing Versus Traditional Advertising – What You Need to Know

Did you know that seventy percent of internet users want to learn about your product or services through content and not traditional advertising?  I wonder why that is. Hmmmmm. Let’s unpack this, shall we?

Well, first of all, when you create great content that provides value to your ideal client or customer, you are seen by them as helping them instead of trying to “sell” them something.  No one. I repeat, no one wants to be “sold.” As human creatures, we like to be educated on the product or service and then feel like it’s “all our idea” when we decide to make the purchase or commit to engaging the services of a professional. This is the kind of content that actually moves the needle.

Content is what makes people “do something.” ~ Gary Vee

Second, I want to take you inside one of those major department stores where pushy sales reps start spraying you with perfume and trying to “sell” you.  Do you respond well to that? No.  However, there are retail stores that actually help you with a free makeup makeover to help you learn about good products, learn how to apply the make-up, and actually “try the product out” so you can see how it looks on you BEFORE you make a major investment in the product since their beauty expert guides you through the process and you feel like it’s “all your idea.”

Another example of value involves one of my favorite past times and that’s wine tasting.  Who wants to pay $25 to $35 for a bottle of wine without getting a taste inside the bottle first? I certainly don’t and that’s why I like going to a tasting room at the winemaker’s property to taste the wine before I buy it.  The tasting room manager will give me insights into each wine on the tasting menu so I can have background on the grapes, the region (and how it affects the flavor), and other factors that I could never appreciate if they hadn’t given me specific background on each wine.  By the end of my time in the tasting room, I’m able to make buying decisions based on whether or not I like the wine before I invest $25 or more in a bottle of red or a bottle of white.

Okay, so that’s a sales process, what does that have to do with “content?” Well, EVERYTHING.

Both of the sales process examples involve providing value to the client so they get to know the product in a way that’s valuable to them.  How can you provide a similar value with your content?

Video provides a great way to re-create some of these sales techniques but with a story that educates your ideal customer or client on what you do, the product or service you provide, and help them make a decision in a way that a news segment presents a story (instead of a commercial).  Gary Vaynerchuck (@GaryVee) clearly made a difference in his father’s wine and spirits business with his wine tasting videos that took the company from $3-million a year to $60-million a year. 

When you do content right that educates and provides value, video will grow your business.  Hey, have you joined my exclusive Grow Your Business with Video Facebook group yet? You haven’t? Well, today is the day you make that happen! I’m personally inviting you to join so we can connect there!  Yay!

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and, as Content Creation Strategist, she is the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe, a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Follow Marianne on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.



Laughing is Good For the Soul: Three Ways to Add Humor to Storytelling

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH!  Joel Osteen begins every message he delivers with a funny story or joke. He knows the importance of the power of laughter and how it can immediately grab the attention of his audience, put them in a good mood, and it sets the stage for his positive message.

So how do you infuse humor into your content so that it feels organic, because, let’s face it: if humor is forced it will flop.  Using humor well really depends on the product, brand, or service that you provide, as to whether using humor is right for you and if it will work.

Add Humor to Your Content & Storytelling to Capture Your Audience.

So, a little-known fact about me.  I know a few things about this topic because a long time ago in a land not so far away, I performed stand-up comedy a few times in New York.  This was around the same time that I was an Associate Producer on “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee” and I convinced the Executive Producer of the show, Michael Gelman, to let me deliver the audience warm-ups when Michael was on vacation (he was the regular warm-up act).   Regis said I got the audience heated to a nice “lukewarm” level (LOL) and to my defense, I was just “starting out.”

After my short adventures in stand up comedy, I left the Big Apple behind and headed to Hollywood with visions of writing for sitcoms. I have quite a nice portfolio of un-produced spec scripts for shows like “Murphy Brown,” “Home Improvement,” and “The Wonder Years.”  I even worked on a sitcom at Paramount Pictures for a season as a Writer’s Assistant with some of the biggest names in the business, so I understand the anatomy of a joke, what works and what doesn’t, and ways to punch up a story and inject an element of humor.

Marianne Schwab (1st Row) Seinfeld “Bubble Boy” Episode, Season 4.

Another little-known fact about me and my adventures in comedy? I was in the “Bubble Boy” episode of Seinfeld and have the screen grab (above) to prove it. So exciting to be a part of comedic history.

Now, here are three quick tips on where humor works best for the “non-comedian.”

1. VIDEO ADS.   Think about the problem your product solves and how people may look silly when they are immersed in the problem.  Infomercials do this ALL the time, but…it’s not meant to be funny and is actually a little cheesy.  So study what they do, but make it true to your brand.

2.  VIDEO TUTORIALS. Think of the mistakes that people make on the topic you’re instructing on especially if these mistakes are common.  Observational humor works because your audience sees themselves in a convicted, but not condemned sort of way.  It also makes learning fun and memorable.

3. ATTRACTION VIDEOS or SALES VIDEOS.  Use humor in the telling of your story.  Now, if you just sit down and try to bring funny stories to your mind, you’ll probably draw a blank.  But now that I have planted this seed in your brain, noodle on it and when a funny memory comes to mind, record it in your notes section on your smartphone or maybe even go “old fashioned” and write it down on a piece of paper.

As a former TV Talk Show Producer, I was always looking for that funny and memorable story from my celebrity guest that would not only make good TV, but also endear our audience to the celeb because that’s what funny stories do…they endear you to your audience.  And then they’ll want to go see your film (or buy your product).  My guest’s story could have been something that happened on the set with another famous actor, how they blew a line and how it came out really wrong, the time they got pulled over by a cop, or they might have an unusual skill they weren’t good at (like magic tricks gone wrong.)

Think of your own “behind-the-scenes” stories – things that happened in high school or college, your first jobs, funny mistakes you made on the job but then learned from, and so on.  Don’t tell a joke for the sake of injecting humor, but find a teaching moment in your story that is also humorous and made people laugh.  It should not feel contrived, but organic.

Finally, remember that even the most experienced comedians, like Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, test their material before they roll it out that not every joke gets a laugh.  Comedy is an art but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t harness its power in your body of content.

Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.” Now, go out and make ’em laugh.•

You are invited to join my exclusive Facebook Group to Grow Your Business with Video.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and, as Content Creation Strategist, she is the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe, a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Follow Marianne on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.

Content Creation Strategy 101

“Content is the gateway drug to success in our society.” ~Gary Vee

The ultimate goal of your content strategy is to build trust with your potential clients to the degree that they not only WANT to buy your product or service, but they MUST buy from YOU! 

If you share the right content that provides the value to your audience, you’ll help them understand more about the products and services you provide without necessarily telling them about YOUR product or service.  Think of it as consulting with them to educate them on what you do.  Share things like mistakes that are made and how to fix them, guidelines to make a buying decision for a product like yours, identify issues that make your competitors inferior (but in a way that you don’t identify the competitor, but your potential client will use your info to evaluate a final buying decision, etc.)

39-IG-MarianneSchwab-Coffee) CONTENT 101 BLOG 400x400

At my company. CMP Media Cafe, we specialize in video marketing and broadcast public relations to get our clients featured on TV, radio, and online news shows and lifestyle programs to promote their product or service.  I have a bunch of articles on our blog that help my clients understand the services we provide to our clients and how they can maximize their results by using our product services with relationship building content like:

The Five Biggest Satellite Media Tour (SMT) Mistakes and How to Fix Them,

When a Celebrity SMT Spokesperson Makes Sense,

Guidelines for Identifying an SMT Spokesperson, and

What You Must Know Before You Pitch TV Talk Show or News Program

When they read these blog posts, it’s very clear that I’m an expert in my area and this starts to build a relationship that builds trust to a degree that they want to buy from my company.  It’s a simple equation.

Now, I have a special invitation for you to join me and my community of positive minded people in my Facebook Group to Grow Your Business with Video . I can’t wait to connect with you there.

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and, as Content Creation Strategist, she is the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe, a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Follow Marianne on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Copyright © 2019 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.