Video communicates in ways text can’t. It lets people get a feel for your personality and it can raise trust like few other things can.
Trust of course is critical to #HelpClientsBuy.
Video educates your audience, engages them, and inspires action. It’s not just for product demonstrations.
Here are my 10 best tips to help you jump into video if you haven’t done it already.
- Get over yourself. Sorry to be so blunt, but just stop obsessing that you’ve got a face made for podcasting. You look fine. No one is going to be having dinner with their significant other discussing what you wore in your video today. They’re not going to be outraged that you need to have your bangs trimmed or that you said “uh” a couple of times.
- Have a wardrobe and standard makeup. I have about 5 outfits that are my uniforms for video so I don’t have to think about what I’m going to wear. Pick colors you like and that flatter you. Blue is a great color because most people look good in some shade of it. I like about 3 colors of blue and you’ll usually see me in one of them. Wear a top that has one solid color as often as you can. As for makeup….guys you may need some to. You probably need concealer for dark places around your eyes. Visit a makeup counter and explain you’re going to be doing videos and they’ll hook you right up. I like Bobbie Brown and I get it at Macy’s.
- Set up a video station. Don’t make it complicated. Below are two pictures of the video station in my home office. I picked up the bar stool at a yard sale for $10 and put two empty plastic boxes on it to raise my laptop so the camera is at a good level. I’m changing chairs soon so one of those boxes will go. The lamps I also got at yard sales. I use lightbulbs that are supposed to mimic natural light. You want the lights in front of you and just slightly to the side. I leave this set up in place so when I get inspired I can just run over and shoot something. I write bullet points on an index card and tape it to the top of the laptop just above the camera. I use blue painter’s tape for that.
Think about the background. You can just be up against a bare wall (a little dull) or you can do like I’ve done and use a spot with some visual interest. I love my Sherlock collection and it’s fun to have them in my videos. Don’t be afraid to show some personality. That’s what people really want to see. They want the real you.
- Use the simplest tech you can. I prefer to do this stuff myself so it’s got to be simple. My laptop comes with Windows Movie Maker (yes, I confess I’m a PC person). If you’re a mac person then you’ve got stuff built in too. I’ve got the laptop positioned so I can just hit the record button without reaching too far and risk jarring the laptop. I used to use a Flip on a tripod and still use that sometimes, especially when I’m speaking somewhere.
- It’s OK to hide. If you just can’t bring yourself to sit in front of a camera yet try narrating a slide show with PowerPoint or Keynote (mac). You’ll at least get comfortable with talking and recording yourself and can then jump into the deep end after you’ve gotten more confidence. You could shoot a short intro or outro for the slideshow and be done.
- Aim for about 5 minutes long. That doesn’t seem like much but you know you’ve been bored by someone in less time than that. Your viewer has a zillion things to do and has the attention of a flea so keep your videos short and to the point. Develop a quick introduction and a quick conclusion. That leaves you with an average of 4 minutes of content to share. Yes, I sometimes go over that. If you think you need more time to cover the topic then do more than one video.
- Have a call to action. Send people somewhere. Tell them where to get more information. Tell them to leave a comment, give you a thumb’s up or like the video, and encourage them to share it. Tell them to subscribe. Don’t just let the video end. If you don’t tell people what to do at the end of a video (or anything else for that matter), don’t be surprised when you don’t get the result you want. Know where you want them to go before you start shooting.
- Share FAQs and SAQs. This was a great tip from my mentor, Mike Koenigs. He makes a list of frequently asked questions and a list of “should ask” questions. Then he films himself answering them. SAQs are the questions you wish people would ask you or they’re the deeper question they should ask. For example, people will ask me what they should post on Facebook. The bigger question is who are they talking to on Facebook, so maybe an SAQ related to that would be “how do I find out what my audience wants me to share on Facebook?”
- Commit to a schedule. As I was looking to uplevel my outreach and add video to my marketing strategy I knew if I didn’t create a schedule I’d never see it through. It’s like any other habit. At first, you’ve got to plan for it and prepare, then your brain gets conditioned to just do it. So I film on Friday and upload on Monday. I also recommend you shoot more than one video at a time to make the best use of your time. So have a list of videos to do and see if you can knock out a month’s worth in one day.
- Tie your video into your content calendar. When I started I just did a video on anything I could think of. It was more about getting comfortable than anything else. Now I’m more strategic. I have a theme or concept for the week. I do a video on it, I write a newsletter article (which will become a blog post), and I may do an additional blog post on the topic. Now I’ve got at least two pieces of content addressing slightly different aspects of a topic. I usually edit one of the articles and turn that into my LinkedIn post. My LI posts are shorter than my blog posts because people are usually in a hurry there. I’m going to be experimenting with Google+ more this year so I’ll see how that adds to my content strategy’s impact.
Using video is like doing anything else. It just takes practice to get comfortable. Video has the ability to raise trust, improve the time buyers stay on your site, and increase sales. It also has great power in the search engines. It’s time to make video a part of your marketing and sales strategy in order to further help your clients decide to buy.