I'm Tom and welcome to my site.

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E-Book Testimonials

"Thomas Clifford has made something useful here. This report will give you some really catchy, useful ideas.

It made me reconsider how I do what I do, so you might give it a look-see, too!" 

Chris Brogan, President, Human Business Works 

"Tom Clifford is by trade a filmmaker. For most of his life, he rarely wrote anything longer than a brief comment in the margin of a script. 

Now, though, he's producing tens of thousands of words a year, first as a Fast Company "Expert Blogger," and then as a writer for the Content Marketing Institute. 

How did Tom go from a non-writer to a prolific and much-read one? His eBook, '5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways . . . , ' holds some of his secrets."

Mark Levy, Author of "Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content"

“Tom is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet—if you have the privilege to meet him. And he does sterling work as well. But don’t just take my word for it.

Read this free report and you’ll not just love its tone and content, but learn a lot as well.”

Sean D’Souza, Psychotactics.com

“Anyone who wants to improve their writing needs this e-book. A lot of ebooks are short because they just don’t have much substance to offer. They’re not worth your time (and so are many of the long ones, too, for that matter). Tom’s is short because he’s so good at giving you only what you need to know. 

‘5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways to Write Faster, Better, Easier’ lives up to its promise by example as well as in the words themselves. Tom used the very same techniques he teaches you to write this book. 

And what’s in here is not just a rehash of the same tired ideas you find coming from people who have suddenly fancied themselves as writing gurus. There are tricks in here I never heard of (like the Writing Funnel) and some I had forgotten about and was glad to be reminded of (like Sporadic Writing).” 

Michael Martine, Blog Alchemist, Remarkablogger.com 


Daniel Pink and the New Building Blocks for Engagement

Daniel Pink, author of the classic "A Whole New Mind," shares remarkable new insights on the surprising science of motivation in his latest TED presentation. (RSS readers click thru).

Pink's theory: "There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does."

A master storyteller, Pink takes us on an 18-minute journey revealing:

  • Carrot and stick rewards rarely work.
  • "If/then" rewards often destroy creativity
  • The secret to high performance is intrinsically driven- purpose matters

Employee engagement needs a new model and Pink points us to a new reality:

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose

Are you still using rewards to increase engagement?

It might be time to re-think the model.


PS. Hat tip to Mark McGuinness for the video.


How to Create 11 Media Products in 3 Formats from 1 Video Interview 

Let’s say you’re about to bake a cake. You have a dozen eggs, 1 lb of flour, a carton of milk, etc. The recipe only calls for 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 2 cups of flour. What do you do with the remaining ingredients? Throw them away?
Um– I hope not!

But that’s exactly what happens when most people finish their video projects.

They use what they need from the interview and throw out the rest of the conversation. What a waste! Let’s see if we can turn this situation around into something profitable.

When you finish a video interview, two things pop into your head:
1. You cross your fingers and hope you got what you needed.
2. You know all those great quotes from your guest will wind up on the cutting room floor.

Leave all those great quotes on the cutting room floor?
That’s the last thing to do. Remember those left-over cake ingredients? You didn’t throw those away, did you? Well, in the land of video, this happens a lot. Why?

Everyone is focused on the “one big project.”
The “one big project” blinds us from seeing other ways of extending the conversation. It’s tempting to just ask enough questions to get answers for your one project. But there’s another way to approach your project.

Turn your “one big project” into “several mini-projects.”
Before you begin any video interview, determine ahead of time what other areas your interviewee could talk about. It may only take an extra 15 or 20 minutes to record the answers, so you might as well go for it.

If you do go for the extra recording, chances are great you will capture enough information to create 11 media products in three formats:
1. 1 e-Book
2. 5 Video podcasts
3. 5 Audio podcasts

Will creating all this extra material break your budget?
You would think so but that’s not the case. Since you’re already recording the interview, you just need to budget a little extra for the transcript (which you should be doing for all your interviews) and a few hours of audio and video editing.

Let’s take a look at an example.
You just finished interviewing your guest. The first thing to do is get the interview transcribed onto paper. You’re now on your way to creating several media programs.

1. e-Books
Once you have your video transcribed, your e-Book is 90% finished. Go through the transcript, edit what you don’t need, get rid of the “um’s” and “ah’s,” apply your branding guidelines. Voila! An instant e-Book. Now available to distribute to employees, customers, vendors, etc.

2. Five 60-Second Video Podcasts
Take the transcript and highlight five answers you can use in other areas of your company. Create simple title graphics to begin each video. You can use graphics whenever you get stuck making transitions in-between thoughts.

3. Five 60-Second Audio Podcasts
Highlight five answers you want to use for the other projects. Find the answers in the video interview using the transcripts. Edit the five answers. Add some music. Create your MP3’s. Distribute as needed.

See how easy it is?
You now have a simple process to take one video interview and turn it into 11 media programs in three formats. And this process is from just one interview. Can you imagine how much material you would be able to create if you interviewed five or six people?

Now about that cake. Save a piece for me, ok?



Tom's SpeedLink #9

Here's this week's speedlinks...

1. Explaining the world around us with stories
Shawn Callahan points us to an interesting research study from two psychologists performed in 1944. Be sure to watch the 90-second video to see what meaning you create from it. Did you create a story from it? Fascinating!

2. Beyond The 30-Second Spot: Online Video Trends
New data indicates the trend in long-form, interactive video storytelling is growing. (Yes– we know!)

3. Film 101: Producer vs. Director
Do you know the difference?

4. Story Listening through Social Media
Download this beautifully designed ebook for free.

5. Two-by-Two Diagram: Simplifying the Complex
I love this idea. Simplify a complex idea by plotting the relationship between two things. You can use this idea for anything.


P.S. I'll be posting speedlinks every other week.


Bringing Brands to Life Celebrates Three Years of Blogging

Wow– three years of blogging!

This is a great time to say "thank you" to every subscriber, reader, commenter, emailer, supporter, fan. Each of you inspire me to keep writing and sharing.

If you're a fairly new reader, here's just a few highlights you might have missed from the past year:

1. 17 Invisible LinkedIn Tricks Revealed is one of the most popular articles I've ever written. Wow– what a total surprise that was!

2. I published the first guest article from positioning and creativity guru, Mark Levy: The Fascination Method. His article was a smash hit!

3. I was totally surprised to have won "Best Use of Blogs" from the Strateg-e Award in April: Bringing Brands to Life Wins 2009 Strateg-e Award

4. 7 Sure-Fire Steps for Creating Your Company’s Documentary summarizes my 25 year old process of producing films for organizations.

5. The Hero’s Journey Pt.1: Corporate Video Storytelling is one in a four-part series covering the journey people take when they appear for an on-camera interview.

6. I posted my first interview ever featuring author and communication coach Nick Morgan. I loved his book "Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity" so much I had to interview him for readers here.

7. McMurry featured me in their beautifully designed, interactive e-book on how to work with a producer to get groovy video. It's filled with great tips and ideas for people in organizations wishing integrate video into their communication strategies.

Thank you for your time and attention– I know it's in short supply these days. Here's to another rockin' year!



Social Media Professor Trey Pennington Interviews Me

I had a really neat interview with Trey Pennington, host of Social Media Professor, on Blogtalk Radio yesterday.

Here's a few things we covered:

  • "How to" tips for interviewees
  • Scripted videos vs. the documentary format
  • Companies starting their own "story centers"
  • The #1 secret to helping people feel comfortable on-camera

It's only 30 minutes so I hope you get a chance to hear it.

I'd like to thank Trey for inviting me on. Trey has some great guests on his show so do stop by and check out his show.