Have you thought about using video to put a spotlight on your business?
And, even if you are thinking about it, are you frozen in place? Does your video library so far look more like a sunken and forgotten ship than a gleaming beacon? Are you feeling fearful of putting your ugly mug out there, even for a minute? Yep, me too!
So I did what I do when I’m nervous about something. Research.
Now I’m feeling a little more confident about testing video, and I’m having fun already playing around. It turns out, testing and practicing with video are the perfect first steps, as well as a confidence-builder to prepare yourself to hit the “Publish” button.
I’m excited to share tips and tricks to coax you, or perhaps to talk myself into plunging in headfirst, because, well, we all know it’s a video world out there, and trending!
Stephanie Liu, Chris Brogan, and Ryan Biddulph are a few of the video cheerleaders with recent work I consumed to bring plenty of notes and ideas to you in this post. So, what do you think? Are you ready to make video production for your business simple and fun?
Video Production: Simple and Fun
Allow yourself to hop off your business high horse and have some fun.
When you allow fun to seep into your business content model, you open the door to creativity. Creativity is NOT a dirty word, my business-oriented friends, although sometimes it means taking risks. Even thinking about video-making, sounds risk-ridden to me. But maybe, if made in slow and simple steps, creating super fab business videos doesn’t have to be so scary.
Yes, I want you to be fast-moving, agile, malleable, in your digital content approach. But, just as when you’re developing other content, you need first to respect a person’s time. To do so, however, takes some work, and making sure you plan and create value-loaded content, with a “what’s in it for me” attitude and theme.
Quality content that delivers value wins over haphazardly producing with an anything-goes attitude. Only, of course, if your video content assets are for getting results. Each piece of video you create to upload has something to do — a goal to meet—for your audience and your business.
But, before you go to the goal for a single piece of video content, think about a strategy to use as a guide for your video production content plan.
When you know what you want to accomplish for your business via video, it gets a whole lot easier to determine the exact pieces of content you want to make and the topics to cover. Topic sets are another possibility. Give your video strategy a little thought, and you’re on your way to simplifying a purposeful video approach.
Remember, as Chris Brogan reminds, “Video for your business gets attention and helps you earn the inbox.”
Start Off the Easy Way
With your cell phone, any kind, and a free YouTube account, you can produce and share videos. Taking original videos with your cell is the quickest way to start shooting original videos for your business.
When shooting with your cell phone, Chris Brogan’s pro tip is to do everything horizontally so it translates well for any channel or platform, like those lovable social sites sending daily traffic your way! Aha.
Chris calls out all content creators, business owners, and digital entrepreneurs, saying the biggest challenge to doing video is you. And, I’m pretty darn sure for most boutique business owners, like me, this is absolutely true! I’m no star. I’m busy, busy. And, I’m the wizard behind the curtain with no desire whatsoever to come out!
Right here, Ryan Biddulph would chime in with something like, “Get over yourself and get in the game.” Ryan does videos and even LIVE videos nearly every day as part of his content mix. While he’s showing you the world in his blogging travels, he’s also showing you he’s not afraid to be human or to let things go wrong. Because in the real world, things do go wrong, and when they do, his authenticity shines through. He’s real. He’s raw. His videos are fun.
On the other side of fun is the well-planned, highly researched, complexly edited, and inspiring marketing stories of funny, smart, Drew Davis. His video series, the Loyalty Loop is a weekly delight to check out. Still, Drew does a lot of video work right from his cell phone. Okay, so maybe he has a selfie stick, too.
Here’s a video Drew put together for a behind-the-scenes look. It’s for curious folks like me who love Drew’s snappy and exciting style and want the inside scoop on his video techniques.
Bringing You Stephanie Liu
Stephanie Liu video making tips that is! Watching her 360 Marketing Squad webinar, on cell phone filming tips to create cool, even impressive videos, left me inspired. I was so excited that I tried out a whole bunch of her ideas the very next evening.
I’ve been thinking about Stephanie’s techniques and ways to use them as well as sharing them aloud with friends. But, I’m happy to share my notes from Stephanie’s techniques with you, here:
- before you start, consider a story you are trying to tell with this video; create an outline to guide shooting for everything you’ll need to tell your tale
- take shots of the same thing from a few different perspectives including close-ups and wider shots and in-between; later you can edit these together in quick clips for an interesting, moving, viewpoint
- never use the zoom feature to move closer or further from the subject you are videoing; but, rather, walk towards or away for a better quality outcome and clearer camera focus
- remember to shoot with the sunlight behind you when outdoors
- create POV (point of view) shots by providing a look through someone else’s eyes; as an example, squat down or hold the camera at the eye level of your child to film their viewpoint when experiencing something
- take a bunch of two or three second clips to collect from a shoot to use for splicing techniques in creating your final edited video
- consider both foreground and background when you videotape
- when shooting people, make sure to capture eyes and smiles:)
- think about using an “abstract thought shot” to create intrigue or to offer a peek into the content
- shoot in slow motion for 360 “donut shots” to play with changing faces and other various techniques to create pivot type design video styling
10 Tactics in Action
One thing I love most about Stephanie’s presentation (where I sponged up those ten (10) cell phone video tactics) is her emphasis on flexibility. Yep, Stephanie is all about discovering “moments” for inspiring results. For instance, when structuring your story, she advises you have something in mind, but warns, “stay flexible!”
If your approach is too rigid, you may miss fantastic opportunities for uniqueness as they naturally happen.
Stephanie also says no matter what you’re shooting, make sure you get those wide angles, medium range, and closeup shots. You will always need a mix of those three, she reminds, for the best final product.
A couple of other things Stephanie suggests you do for every video are using text overlays for accessibility and adding audio elements. Fade in and fade out music is something she likes for intros and endings.
One tool Stephanie suggests for text overlays is the Headliner.app if you want to try it out. And, it’s free. She points out that text overlays are an extension of how you convey a story in your video productions.
Get to Know Your Delete Button
Chris Brogan gives the best advice for trying your hand at taking videos when he says, “…practice, practice, practice, shoot videos, then delete.”
So far, I have a whole bunch of deleted videos! But, at least I am practicing and trying to somehow find my comfort, a little at a time.
Like Stephanie and Ryan, Chris thinks anyone can start with minimum expense or equipment. If a phone isn’t what you want to use, he says you can go with
Perhaps the most important thing about your video is audio quality. Yes, audio. While people are willing to forgive your filming inexperience or visual disrupt, they will tune out if they can’t hear you.
As you can see, a camera and a mic, even the ones on a cell phone will do the trick. If you want to add a third piece of equipment, Chris suggests some lighting. Experiment with camera, mic, and lights to find a workable mix.
Play around with locations to make lighting and sound adjustments also. Chris says to create a “set” if you like to support your topic or give your video space a likable or personal touch. Or, to add branding!
I love my Blue Yeti mic, and there are others, too. But, I record some of my audio content on my Apple iPhone via my free Anchor.fm App. It works well enough to get compliments on sound quality for me. I like that!
Design a Video Success Plan
After listening to Chris Brogan’s tips, it suddenly hit me. Oh my goodness. One way to ease nerves and work to not make a fool of myself is to craft a video content plan. Are you so busy worrying about being on a video you completely lose your head and forget to craft an effective strategy?
What equipment you use and how you look isn’t nearly as important as what you want to accomplish by producing video content. A purposeful approach, delivering consistent quality content loaded with value for your audience is central to your success.
Start by drilling down on what topics you want to cover with videos. Here are some ideas, regardless of business type, Chris gives to get you going:
- FAQ’s…frequently asked questions by your customers or audiences
- How-to’s…giving actionable information and usable steps to get results
- On-boarding materials…covering topics for how to work with you or use your product or services
- Cool tips…share the latest and greatest stuff you are using and love
- Use cases…or business case studies showing happy users and uses
- Fun ideas…but with respect to the topic and people’s time
- Personal interactions…worthy moments to learn from or share
While nailing the content and delivering a win for your viewers belongs at the forefront, Chris, Stephanie, and Ryan all agree that practice makes perfect.
In his videos, Ryan tells stories of his first videos, laughing at how he was so nervous, he broke out in a sweat. At the same time, his throat was so dry; he didn’t even know if he could speak. Practice over time let him overcome this fear entirely, and now he does LIVE videos nearly every day with no sign of nerves or anxiety. He swears it will be the same for you and me!
From Strategy to Action
When you practice, practice, practice, shoot tapes and delete, and get in the habit of taking lots of clips to allow for artful editing, you’re on your way. Watch in these early practice takes for speech patterns you don’t want to use like um’s, and ah’s. Notice if you are having trouble with looking at the camera or if you are telegraphing you are reading from a script. Smoothing out these performance glitches gets easier as you do the preparation, the practice.
Likewise, prep is the key to bringing consistent quality and a higher level value, so you reach people, ready to engage, educate, entertain.
Bonus Tip: Check out this how-to video from Wistia for lighting setup for your studio space, on the cheap. Pay attention to lighting tips and basics you need to know, too.
Value-filled content to make people want to come back for more is the goal for your business videos. To help you produce regularly but with purpose, Chris Brogan suggests you work from a system; and, think ahead to mold your plan into a strategy for success.
Chris likes working with “Action Stacks” to help create repeatable processes for business project management.
While this system doesn’t work for unique or large-scale projects, Action Stacks help ensure consistency in repeatable tasks. Also, your Action Stacks serve as a checklist, freeing up your brain for more critical components in creating, Chris explains. I like that, free up the mind and get it done, accurately.
In the case of your video production project, you may want to create Action Stacks for a few processes like:
- Platform Assessment & Pieces Specs
- Video Production Sequence & Checklist
- Purpose & Promotions Grids
A Sequence for Video Production
When you create your Action Stacks for getting remarkable results repeatedly, Chris says, “…you make it easy to be good and deliver value.”
Your Video Production Sequence promises to be your best friend in your new video for business strategy. So, in your first step in this stack, start by determining the end goal. Remember at the start of this post? I say you need a purpose for each video you create for your audience and your business. Start there.
Edit to create a story with your videos and keep the power of story in mind as an effective way to deliver your content. Planning out the flow for your video is a perfect second step to integrate your storyline into the content you offer.
For your next step, writing a script or creating a content outline (if you’re more comfortable working without a script) may work for you. Or, perhaps setting up a “set” as the backdrop for what you will be sharing with your audience in the video, is the next step.
What you add to your Video Production Sequence is up to you. Your business and preferred workflow determine how your Action Stack will stack up. Get comfortable and yet target accuracy in creating your stacks.
If you’re assessing platforms for promoting via video, Chris suggests you create a Platform Assessment stack. Use it to determine, before taping, what size videos you need to design for your targeted social platforms. For the LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube platforms, you need to check time specs to know maximum lengths for videos. Mini-stories makes these promotional cuts appealing, so plan for them.
Video Flow Until Intuitive
By planning out (via stack workflows) steps for creating your videos and accounting for every detail, including for your promotions and distribution clip needs, you are better organized and more productive. Having an overview of the entire process and seeing all the parts allows you to list out and capture everything you need, saving time and aggravation later.
For me, putting a viable video plan in place and allowing myself to flub up and practice and create and delete, feels like it’s taking some of the pressure off. Watching my mentors and peers alike venture into the video realm also offers me encouragement and so I want to encourage you, too.
Business Goals for Video:
+ Welcome to Visitors
+ Intro to Me as a Real Person
+ Invitation to Work with You
+ Sincere & Warm Welcome
+ See the Real Person Here
+ Available to help you with original business content & strategy to help you connect with people and grow your business with inbound assets
Feedback to Do Better
I seriously want to know what you think. And, I also want to let you know how miserably uncomfortable I feel on video. (So, try not to be too critical!) Let me know if my stark raving fears show!!
To give you some background, this “Introduction Video” of slightly over one minute took me nearly all day to film. I began with over thirty-five minutes of videotape to edit down to a one minute or so hello. I like hats, but I wonder if I’m wearing one here for a security blanket. Also, I think business is fun and so are hats, so there just may be a message there, after all.
If the consensus is pretty good for my shaky but brave video attempt, I’ll add text overlays and either an intro or exit piece to complete production. Maybe it will appear on one of my site’s main pages. Or, I might start over.
So, what do you think? Are you going to test the video airwaves and surf above your fears?