How To Create Video Content | Be Real Do Better – The Small Business Marketing Show, Ep. 25

How To Create Video Content | Be Real Do Better - The Small Business Marketing Show, Ep. 25It’s already a tsunami moving through the internet. It’s best to catch the wave. It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.

And, yes, you can do it.

At the time of this episode, video content is quickly becoming the most powerful kind of online communication. This is not a new development. But it remains an important element for communicating and growing a business going forward.

Suggestion: do a Google search for why video is important to your marketing efforts, and you’ll find scads of eye-opening info, like this article from Forbes or this one from DigitalMarketingInstitute.com, which includes 5 key stats you might want to have a look at.

Video is powerful. It increases engagement and connection and helps people make buying decisions, especially when it’s done with authentic personality. It’s one of the things that can most quickly differentiate us, and it’s also one of the things that most terrifies a lot of marketers, including many of my friends who speak on stage for a living.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult, and I’m hoping this will help.

In this episode is a high-level overview of how easy it can be to create engaging video content to share your story online.

The first thing to keep in mind is to just be real. Be yourself. I’d much rather see something that’s rough around the edges but genuine than yet another highly produced and polished piece of the same old sales offers, boasts and cliches we’re used to seeing from traditional media.

It’s called social media, not sales media. Video is your chance to be you, to be engaging and conversational.  You’re better to shoot into your cell phone on “selfie mode” and share something helpful and relatable than to spend thousands of dollars on video production that just ends up being another slickly polished sales pitch.

But I’ll come back to that.

There are really two parts to what you need here:

a) A few pieces of hardware/software.

b) An idea and a personal approach.

Part One: Hardware & Software

Basically, if you have a smartphone and an idea, you’re ready to roll. But each one of these things you add in will make it just a bit tidier:

Recording device. A smartphone or video camera (a camera with a separate microphone “in” jack is best) will get you going. You don’t need a camera crew to get started.

Keep it steady! Get a tripod (or something to keep it still). You might also need a universal smartphone clip for the tripod (if you’re going to use your phone). Failing that, use a music stand, a shelf, a chair, a desk. Just keep it steady.

Sound matters. Get a a lavalier (clip-on) microphone (if you’re using your smartphone, make sure to get one that plugs into the headphone jack. If you’re using a video camera, get one that plugs in the mic jack). If you’re going to record more than your voice (interview somebody), you can get a more omni-directional mic or, as long as it’s quiet and you’re close to the camera, you can probably get by with the camera’s on-board mic (for things like an impromptu Facebook Live video, for example).

Good lighting helps. Be in a bright room or go outside for “free” lighting. Otherwise there are all kinds of affordable light kits available online. But again, don’t overthink this. Just be aware that the darker it is, the worse it is for the look of your video.

Editing tools. I use an app called VivaVideo. I love it. It’s easy to use and surprisingly versatile. I can use it right on my phone (I have Samsung Galaxy Android phones). I’ve also used an app called FilmoraGo that worked largely the same way, and most everything else I’ve edited has been done on my old PC with Windows Moviemaker (which I understand is not really out there anymore). My point: these apps and programs are more user-friendly than ever. They’re everywhere, no matter what operating system you’re using, and the internet is loaded with “how-to” videos to help get you going. Even the basic editing tool on your phone is likely enough to trim the beginning and end of your video (if you even care about doing that).

My videos are not Hollywood productions or viral sensations. They don’t need to be. They exist, and that gives people a chance to get to know me without me being there. That’s powerful.

Part Two: Content & Execution

Here are a few tips of things that’ll help you make a more engaging and personal video:

Less is more. Thing about what the point of your video is. Get right into it, get to the point and get out. I admit I struggle with this and often say much more than I need to. Long, flowery, rambling “hey-how-are-ya” or “so-I-wanted-to-talk-to-you-guys-about” introductions are just screaming to be scrolled past.

Rehearse it a time or two and/or bullet point it, then let it rip. If you want it to be natural, the more you rehearse it, the more rehearsed you’ll probably be. Do you rehearse conversations you have with people in public? Probably only the ones you’re nervous about. Remember, you don’t have to publish what you record. But do record it. It gets easier. I promise.

Tidy up the start and the finish. You may have to watch the video of this episode to see what I mean. But a simple pause before you start and after you finish will give you the room to trim the video beginning and ending so that you’re not fumbling around clicking the on and off buttons and looking all around. It just looks better, and it’s simple, simple, simple.

Make it personal with these tricks:

Look at the lens of the camera. When you do this, it’s going to come across is if you’re looking the viewer right in the eye. But too many people are looking at something else (like themselves when the camera screen is on “selfie” mode) and the result is that they look like they’re staring off into space. Don’t just look at the phone or the camera. Look into the lens and pretend you’re looking someone in the eye.

Keep the camera at eye level. I want to feel as if you’re looking me in the eye. I don’t want to feel like an ant or small child or like I’m on a tall building looking down on you (unless that’s what you’re specifically going for). Frame it so that I’m looking you in the eye.

Talk to one person, not to “everybody.” This drives me absolutely crazy with most videos (and TV and radio personalities). And so I’m betting a lot of people will disagree with me on this. I see this all the time from celebrities and some very popular video personalities, who start their videos by saying, “Hi guys,” or “Hey everybody.” It’s like a radio announcer saying, “Hey everyone out there in radio land!” It’s lazy and impersonal, in my opinion.

The reality is that, most often, if you’re watching a video on your smartphone, tablet or computer, you’re likely by yourself. It’s the same when you listen to the radio; more often than not, we do that alone. So when we reach for lazy phrases like “Hey everyone,” we sacrifice some of that personal connection we might otherwise achieve.

I suppose the argument to this might be that you want people to feel as if they’re a part of a larger community of people. But I still don’t buy it. Making it more personal plays well whether it’s one person watching, or many. But “hey guys” doesn’t work for me when I’m alone. It just doesn’t.

Just my opinion. Take it or leave it, “guys.

One other thing: Captions

I don’t do much of this. Yet. But I’ll eventually be forced to take the medicine which is making sure the videos are captioned. The reason is that a lot of people “watch” a video without the volume up.

It’s ironic: video is taking over the internet, because apparently people are less and less inclined to read. Unless it’s a video, in which case they want to “read” it (they just don’t want to listen, which is another episode entirely).

My advice: don’t get hung up on captions. A video without captions is better than no video at all. I might even argue that the people who watched will be even more engaged because they can hear your tone of voice.

In summary …

Just be real. We compare ourselves to “perfect” even though we don’t relate to that. We relate to real. I understand it’s scary to get started and “put ourselves out there.” But it was scary at first to learn how to ride a bike, drive a car or … oh yeah … start a business! If you can do that, you can do this.

I hope this helps. Holler at me if you’d like me to help you with this further.

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