Written By: Teresa Mitchell, Wendy Ogryzek and June Bachman ~
One video is all it takes to get started adding video content to your blog. Early last year we fleshed out the benefits to adding video content to your website and why it matters to the search engines. Here we offer you some tips to get you over your camera shyness and started video blogging.
- Watch and learn.
Watch videos and study the format, length and content. What are the elements that make a great video? What is their personality type - engaging, inspiring or just plain boring? Watch enough videos to get a feel for the elements that make good videos.
If you are tempted to hit the back button halfway through this homework assignment make a note of what is repelling you – the background music, the lighting, the rambling . . . these are clues to how to produce a better video and make a compelling case for effective video blogging strategies.
- KIS it.
Keep it short. If it takes more than 2 minutes to cover your main points and convey your core message, consider breaking your topic into a mini-series of shorter videos rather than creating a full-length feature.
- Write great content.
Yes, a video needs the written word to convey your core message . . . it also gives you a script or outline to use when you practice in front of a real camera.
Your video should engage viewers to the end where the credits and your full contact information roll. Jot down 2-3 main points that you want to convey and then write a monologue around them.
No rambling here. Make your point, illustrate it and summarize the real, everyday value it has to your customers.
Strategies for content development are to consider using a video to expand on a topic that you wrote about earlier, teach “how-to” use your product or gain the most from your service, explain a topic that is easier said aloud than written.
- Set the stage.
Use natural light behind the camera. The sun should be hitting the back of the cameraperson. Be deliberate about what is behind you. If there is clutter, your video will appear cluttered.
If it will calm your nerves, strategically place props relevant to or that reinforce your topic behind you – then your audience will not always be looking at you.
If you want to include a backdrop that shields the clutter behind you, choose a royal blue backdrop – it’s the most friendly to skin tones.
- Be yourself.
If your audience wanted to watch movie stars they would be streaming a movie, instead of clicking the play button on your video. They came to see you, with all of your quirks and talents. That said, a camera lens can be pretty scary, especially when the “on” light is visible. Have one of your best pals sit out of camera range and interview you. Then when you look at the camera you are “speaking” to them, not the camera.
- Don’t sweat the technical stuff.
Set the camera up and let it roll. Think of the technical stuff like it’s on a “need to know basis,” when you need to know it you will or you will find someone who does to help you. It’s pretty hard to upload a video blog post with no video footage.
Practice in front of the camera, practice what you are going to say in the shower if you must, but practice. Use your conversational voice, like you are talking to one of your best pals.
- Avoid the pitfall of perfection.
It’s your first video, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Posting the first imperfect video will wrack your nerves, though it will provide a rite of passage to produce another one that is one notch closer to perfect than the first.
Just practice, let the camera roll enough times that you capture enough editable footage to pare down to 2-3 minutes. Doing is the best way to improve your presentations, your copy writing, your voice.
It’s your video and your website you are marketing. Throughout the video include your web address that fades in and out at the bottom of the screen.
- Call to action.
What do you want your viewers to do after they watch your video? Click through to something, post a comment, ask you follow up questions, learn more, watch the next video in a series, visit your website? Be sure to include a call to action in your video. Consider including calls to action such as “Like us on Facebook” and “Visit our website at ABC123.com”
- Ten minutes condensed to 90 seconds
If you veer off course while the camera is rolling just brush the dust off, compose yourself and begin anew. If your target is a 90 second video you need additional footage to edit down to meet your target length. Shoot long, edit short!
Sure you should give credit to the talent that supported your efforts, like your cameraperson. More importantly be sure to include your full contact information in the credits. Make it a priority.
Not that you have to get dressed up, just that you should be mindful of how your viewers will perceive you. Here are some things to consider:
• Pastels and solid colors work better than patterns and paisleys.
• Take your beeping watch off.
• Leave the jewelry at home in its box.
- Change the camera angles and use close ups.
Set up two video cameras and capture footage from multiple angles, it will make even your first time video stand out from the crowd and you will feel that you really are speaking to an audience.
Zoom in when filming, close up shots are compelling. They are also easier to apply enough light to get great shots.
Use props that support the theme or personality of your video.
- Sharing your video.
You can upload your video to any of the following video sharing sites and then embed it into your website. The most popular are YouTube.com, DailyMotion.com and MetaCafe.com.
It’s time to stop sweating the technical stuff, get over your camera shyness and shoot some footage . . . The Year of the Video is still upon us!