One of my core messages as a Media Coach is Everyone Needs To Be Good On-Camera. Not because you aspire to be on television but because in a sea of social media content, video rules and if you’re not creating fresh, custom video content you’re missing a huge opportunity.
Regardless if you’re a solopreneur, small business owner, subject expert or aspiring media personality/television host, Videos engage and consistently outperform other types of posts across social platforms.
I admit I’ve been sluggish creating video content while counseling my clients on how to do video successfully – sort of like the cobbler whose kids don’t have shoes – but 2019 is my year to walk the talk. Circle back in a week or two because I’m challenging myself to follow up with the video version of my post.
In the meantime, tips to demystify video and make it work for you:
Before you press record, figure out your core messages and create a fluid content calendar around evergreen topics (non-time sensitive) and timely topics (promotional or seasonal or reacting to cultural conversations in real time). Update with ideas as they come to you.
Be clear on why you are posting video and what you want to get out of it. Is your goal to build brand awareness? Drive sales? Build community? Disciplined daily on-camera practice? Identifying your intentions allows you to deliver on your promise and sets you up to succeed.
To engage you must be engaging. Who is your target audience? How should you best communicate with your audience to achieve your goals? If your community is young and fun, traditional corporate-feeling video is not going to cut it. Similarly, if you are selling financial services – even to Gen Z – we need to feel your professionalism and expertise, even if the tone is casual.
Be entertaining and audience focused. Always. Let go of perfection and focus on successfully connecting with your target viewer. Authenticity is the buzzword of the decade. We like businesses with a human component and people who feel real. Show your vulnerability.
This is also not an improv exercise. Determine the key takeaway for each video, figure out what you want to say and make notes. For some bullet points work best, while others feel most comfortable with a script (be sure to write for the ear, not the page).
Run through it out loud and allow time to warm up. It is likely you’ll need 3-5 takes (or more) to find your sweet spot if you are new at this and that’s okay. I remind media training clients all the time: Blooper Reels. Even the pros mess up.
You don’t need to hire a crew (but you can) and there’s no need to stress about this but Optics and Audio Matter. Successful video is visually appealing.
- Lighting – invest inexpensively in a diva ring (light ring) for your camera, phone or office or a small lighting package. Put lights in front of you at 11 and 2 o’clock, never behind you which causes back lighting.
- Audio – microphones have caught up with the digital age and a wired or inexpensive wireless microphones that records on the same video track makes a huge difference in sound depending on what you are recording on and where you are recording it (i.e. outside or at a crowded event).
- Think about everything in the frame (i.e. the background). What does the viewer see besides you? Take a minute for set direction and dress to impress visually (color pops).
- Buy a tripod with phone/tablet mount for steady, hands-free recording.
Figure out the best day/time to post your videos for peak engagement and be consistent. You can google best practices then adjust for your audience as you see fit. We are creatures of habit and if you are consistently providing value, your tribe will look forward to your content and keep coming back.
Go Where Your Audience Is: Pick Your Platform(s)
Knowing who you are audience and being clear on your goals should determine where you need to be. If you are trying to reach my college-age kids Instagram is your priority, not Facebook. If you’re trying to reach me (Gen X women and above) Facebook and Linked In are good bets. If your target audience is the booming video gaming industry Twitter is the place to be.
YouTube – not only the oldest and most popular but also the second largest search engine behind its parent company Google (Alphabet). No matter is you are primarily posting and engaging with your audience on another platform, it makes sense to post to YouTube because properly tagged videos show up at the top of Google search result pages, meaning anyone googling your area of expertise will find your content easier on YouTube than on other platforms.
Your website – if you are using video to connect with Talk Show Bookers, Segment Producers or Casting Directors, YouTube and your website are key because they are easy to access and easy to share without the viewer having to log into another platform (i.e. Facebook or Instagram which busy executives find highly annoying) the is a natural host for your video content. Helpful: Uploading content to YouTube allows you to easily embed the video onto your own site.
Facebook – despite their constant algorithm shifts you want to have a business page to share your professional work. You can either upload pre-recorded content directly or use Facebook Live. The upside of FB Live is real-time feedback and it’s a great way to build community depending on your demographic. Be sure to alert your audience in advance when you will be going live and as noted above, be consistent.
FYI – you can repurpose FB Live video to use on other platforms to get more visibility by downloading and saving to your stream to your computer or phone (Video downloaded from Facebook is lower quality resolution).
Instagram Live / Stories. If you are in the lifestyle space you need to be here. Live videos and stories only last 24 hours but are an easy, low-risk way to get on-camera practice. So are short videos (60 seconds max) that you upload and live in your feed. Getting your point across in under a minute is an excellent media training exercise. More advanced: Start your own channel on IGTV – Instagram’s video application made primarily for smartphones that allows you to upload vertical videos up to 10 minutes in length (or up to 60 minutes if you are verified).
Pinterest – is a search engine and underutilized by many. If you are in the lifestyle or coaching spaces well-tagged, descriptive videos are an excellent way for people to find you and build tremendous engagement.
LinkedIn loves video content and is also under-utilized in my opinion, especially for business to business content. Depending on the industry – like finance – it’s the only platform many people are permitted to use. My client, Cheddar, is crushing it on LinkedIn. PS – I’m keeping an eye on LinkedIn’s recent announcement about a live-streaming option.
Twitter – has evolved into a news platform (virtual public square) and is still impactful especially for thought leaders. Periscope is a video platform acquired by Twitter a few years ago. Although an outlier, if your audience is young this could be the place for you. 75% of users are 16-34. Also highly popular with journalists posting video in real time.
Make it Count
If you are looking at your video content as a springboard to media attention, consider each video a potential audition and make them count. Producers and talent executives are watching for more than content – they’re wondering if you are interesting enough to keep viewers watching a segment or carry a show.
Looking to sharpen your on-camera skills? Shoot me a note here.