We seldom talk about work here on our website but it’s not everyday your idol asks you to participate in their latest business venture, so I’m sure you can imagine my shock when sailing legend Lin Pardey called me asking for exactly that. I was elated, to say the least, but also overcome with a wave of nerves to be discussing my business, Fair Winds Media, for the first time publicly for her Storytelling for Sailors program that she would be selling to those wondering how they can make income off their adventures. My segment would be featured alongside industry professionals such as Behan from Sailing Totem, Erin from Roam Generation PR, Cap’n Fatty Goodlander and more – it was an incredible opportunity and I am extremely honored to have been a part of it.
As a special treat to our followers here, I thought I would include some of the Q+A from my discussion with Lin. If you are interested in her program or how you can turn your adventures into profit I urge you to check out the Storytelling for Sailors Package which includes everything from Lin’s all-day Cruisers University seminar plus video interviews with writers, videographers, and media marketing experts. There is even a preview of Lin’s next book with editors notations! So… without further adieu…
Digital Marketing Tips from Marissa Neely of Fair Winds Media
Marissa Neely was introduced to sailing at the age of 14 by the man who, only a few years later, became her voyaging partner. After she graduated from college the two of them bought a boat and moved on board. Marissa started Fair Winds Media, a Digital Marketing Agency which she has run from on board Avocet their 41 foot cruising boat for the past five years. Though her roots started with tech companies, it has expanded to include several sailing companies and people like myself.
I sent Marissa the following questions in preparation for the interview you can listen to, but there are some extra tidbits that you might extract by reading the following – it is not exactly a transcript of our conversation, but the script she intended to speak from.
Social Media is the new handshake, if your brand or business doesn’t exist online then you are critically reducing the amount of potential customers you could reach while also preventing yourself from furthering a connection with your current clientele. I offer a plethora of services under the digital marketing umbrella but specialize in organic SEO and social media management, meaning I execute your social media goals without additional help from paid ad campaigns. I thoroughly enjoy helping businesses grow online and learning new techniques with every algorithm update – which is more common than you might think. If you are interested in learning more or working together, feel free to visit my website www.fairwindsmediamarketing.com or find me on social media @svavocet or @fairwinds_media
- How much time should a potential youtuber or blogger expect to spend on digital marketing?
In business, there is a common phrase “you need to spend money to make money” as well as the phrase “time is money” so to answer this I think the YouTuber or Blogger needs to first ask themselves if this is a business venture or pastime hobby. As more content creators are turning to YouTube and other platforms as their sole income I think it is important to remember that digital marketing is the backbone of these platforms; if you don’t know how to utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) then your success online will only go so far.
To put it into context I have clients that heavily market every video they upload which means they invest weeks of their time as well as anywhere from $200 – $500 which goes into ad campaigns, backlinks, and general engagement efforts such as responding to new comments, direct messages and sharing to appropriate pages such as Facebook groups so they can reach their target audience and increase their success rates. But your efforts are only worth as much as your content quality, and in a world where everyone has a YouTube channel now quality is absolutely king – from production quality to the story line.
- How often should they be posting new updates
A recent study came out that suggests at least once a day and no more than twice a day. In fact, some studies have even found a drop in engagement if you’re posting more than that. However this doesn’t mean you need to post once a day. Think quality over quantity. Post when you have something to say or share that will benefit your audience. For instagram and facebook stories which are short lived (meaning they disappear in 24 hours) post away as long as it is on brand, useful to your audience, and evokes some sort of Call to Action. Now, taking off the marketing hat I can honestly admit when it comes to my personal page SV Avocet you will see us post things to our story that are just in good fun – at the base of it all, that’s what social media was meant to be – just good fun.
- Is there any way of tracking whether twitter, facebook, Instagram or other social media sites produce better end results , i.e. more followers, more financial return
Today there are many tools online that can help gather all of the analytics into one comprehensive report to see if your return on investment was well worth it. Being able to apply findings from your social performance is imperative to seeing and maintaining growth in your accounts, regardless of platform. Social media analytics can tell you a lot about who your audience is, what content connects to them most, and what you should be doing more of to see consistent success. It is also worth mentioning that different metrics matter to different businesses, or in this case creators. Knowing what your goals are can help you to attribute ad dollars to the right content, or simply delegate more time to managing that specific metric.
- Are there any tricks that can help get extra people to notice your posts? i.e. is it just the photo or do people actually read the posts?
This is a great question and I think it is important to remember that the average person’s attention span is 1.7 seconds on social media. You have to draw them in with the photo and keep their attention with the description – so choose your words wisely. It is a lot like writing a book; you have to use enticing language that isn’t over complicating anything. For example, back in october I posted a photo of my partner Chris on the bow looking at a phenomenal sunset at Catalina Island. The sky was dark with bursts of reds and oranges leaking through and reflecting off the calm sea. Without a caption this photo may look peaceful, but in reality we were about to face a nasty squall that resulted in a midnight anchor pull and heave to once we were in deeper water. I told that story in the caption, and it generated a lot of sympathetic comments, likes, and even reshares to notable accounts such as Good Old Boat that tagged our account, which increased our followers. The base of it all: create content that can be shared.
- I notice when one of my posts asks people for their opinion, we get higher viewer numbers. How often should this type of post be put up.
Engaging your audience directly is a wonderful tactic for some creators such as yourself but can be unfruitful for others. As a public figure you will probably get more of a response from these conversation starters since its human to human but if you are a business that sells catamarans you probably won’t see much of a response since people are generally less willing to talk to objects – of course that is unless you are marooned at sea and left with only a volleyball named Wilson to call your friend. Asking your audience for their opinion is one thing, but remember that if they are taking the time to share their thoughts it is appropriate and encouraged to respond to their response even if you are just liking the comment. This will keep the audience engaged since your comment response is essentially time with you. So, post questions as often as you want as long as it makes sense for the post and you have enough time to respond to a handful of the comments.
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- Do you have any special tips you can share with potential Bloggers or YouTubers?
As a marketer my advice would be to remember who you are creating for; if you are planning on making it big and becoming successful off of YouTube or your website you need to make sure you are creating content for your target audience. Additionally, it’s a big world out there but as creators you will find your niche and realize it is pretty small which means the competition will be high stakes – but this gives you an opportunity to collaborate with others inside your niche and increase both of your followings. Consistency is important but ultimately quality is more favored than quantity so if you are unable to deliver a weekly video due to the fact it takes a lot of time to edit – be honest with your audience and let them know it is going to be late or that you are changing your upload schedule to give them the content they deserve. This may be overwhelming, and don’t get me wrong, it totally is. But that is exactly why my business exists: to help you gain success online.
Now, If you are a creator like myself that creates for the fun of it then just have fun! A wise couple once said they would do something “As Long As it’s Fun” and that is all you need to remember; if it’s not fun, don’t do it.
When our zoom call ended I took a deep breath and exhaled all of the remaining nerves. “Did I sound okay?” I asked Chris who was giving me as much space as he could aboard our 41’ boat. Nestled deep into his arms he kissed my forehead and assured me I did great. If you would like to be a judge of that, please do check out Lin’s Storytelling for Sailors program available for purchase now!
SV Avocet, Captain
Fair Winds Media, Founder & CMO