The Long and Winding Road

Cynthia:  You know what? When we wrote the blog called A New Chapter we promised to keep our readers up to date. I just realized that was two months ago!

Edd:  Well, let’s fix that right now. We told them at that time our lofty goal is to make retiring abroad part of the national conversation. With every new retirement article coming out we’re even more dedicated to that mission. There are too many Baby Boomers who think their dreams are over, and we know the program we’re working so hard to develop can offer a solution.

C:  We also talked about using our blogs and articles, social media, and videos to get the message out there. Since we’re writers those first two have gone well, but social media and videos have been a whole different can of monsters.

E:  Ha! Yesterday was a great example of that. We weren’t happy with the introductory video for our first book, Leap of Faith, so we decided to reshoot it. We banged out a shorter script and thought, “We’ll be done with this in no time!” Well—–

C:  We brought back a lot of audio/visual equipment from the States awhile back but, honestly, we’ve never shot videos before and we’re definitely not experts with this stuff. We decide the best place to film is in our bathroom (don’t ask and no snickering) so we get the tripod and smartphone set up–yes, we’re using it for our camera and we’re ready to go. Then it starts raining and there’s too much noise.

E:  Once that stops we shoot our little video and play it back. No sound. We’re using a microphone that attaches to the phone so we figure it must not be plugged in correctly. I adjust that, the screen verifies it’s on, we film again and replay. No sound. I’m like, “My stars. Whatever could be wrong?”

C:  Yeah, right. What you really said can’t be printed. For some reason I suggest, “Maybe we should take off the mic and see if that works.” It worked. Sound. Turns out we were the problem.

E:  So we do it again, replay, and hooray, the sound works! But we notice we’re not looking at the camera. We looking at–we don’t know what we’re looking at. Where in the hell do you look?? After what seemed like an eternity we finally zeroed in on the invisible circle hiding in the corner of the phone. We’ve got sound. We’ve got eye contact.

C:  But with all these shenanigans plus off and on rain we now don’t have enough light. So much for being done in no time. And all this for a one minute video! We go upstairs and bring down two lighting stands with these umbrella attachments to diffuse the light. Once we get them set up and adjusted we have like one foot of room to squeeze through and resume our positions. I just know disaster is impending.

E:  By then we’d said our little script so many times that thankfully we got the video finished—”in no time,” and with no equipment casualties. But the good news is with each episode of trial and error, which pretty much describes every aspect of this project, we learn and get better.

C:  Plunging into social media has sure been a challenge. You’ve always been active on Facebook but I only joined to see pictures of our grandchildren and friends. Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are mysteries to us both.

E:  Our graphic design/social media guy set up and is in charge of our Instagram account. He wants me to do Twitter but I’ll leave that one to Señor Trump, our esteemed “Tweeter in Chief.” I have taken a stab at promoting our Facebook business page with something called “boosting.”

All of our blogs and articles, along with a weekly inspirational quote, get posted on that page. Facebook encourages you to “boost” any and all of them to expand your audience. It’s quite an interesting process. You can get really detailed as to what you think describes your target audience. From age, income, education level, and home ownership all the way to what they eat, watch on TV, and an amazing array of options.

C:  We picked an article, set a budget of a whopping $2.00 for a one day boost, and dove right in. “Oh, they like to watch football. And reality shows. I bet they eat Mexican food.” We had fun and got really specific.

E:  Yeah, like too specific. I think for our two bucks we narrowed the entire U.S. population down to four guys in the Midwest. It was pitiful. We’ve since learned to go, shall we say, a bit wider. So the way it works is, you specify an audience, set a budget and amount of time. When it’s over Facebook tells you how many people it reached and how many “engaged” with your post. Which means liked or shared it.

C:  You did one and were so excited. “Look, Cynthia. We had an incredible ratio on this. I think I’m getting this figured out!” Then you dug deeper and discovered that the Facebook algorithm, because the post had a great photo, sent all the traffic to Instagram. We’re so naive we didn’t even know Facebook owned Instagram!

E:  Right. So all those “likes” we got were for the damn sunset picture. Nobody had actually read the article. (Sigh)

C:  And then there’s YouTube, where our “vast array” of seven videos (so far) reside. You’re welcome to visit our embryonic channel if you like. It and all the rest of these moving parts are going to come together over the next few weeks because we’re determined our program is launching in September come hell or high water.

E:  Many of you readers have been following us for years. You helped make all three of our books Amazon best-sellers. We sincerely appreciate the loyalty and support you have shown us. Perhaps our upcoming program will be the answer to retirement concerns you or someone you know has been looking for.

C:  It would mean a lot to us to hear from you. We know everyone is busy with their own lives, but a simple comment on a blog or a “like” on our Facebook page helps us feel more connected with you. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as the countdown to “launch day” gets nearer.

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