You already know that adding video to your marketing strategy is a must, but for whatever reason, you still haven't pushed play or created your own YouTube channel. I must admit that when I did, it was a bit intimidating. Yes – even for a public speaker who's always front and center on stage with a microphone.
I think it probably had something to do with the fact that your video is just “out there” for all to see. You have no way of looking at your audience's body language and expressions to see if they’re really into what you're saying. You're just staring into a camera and hoping someone is paying attention.
I didn't do much by way of figuring out the how-to's when I shot my first video. Most of my time was spent comparison shopping, so I could make sure I was paying the best price for my Flip camera.
If I had followed expert advice, it sure wouldn't have been this:
1. Be interesting.
Problem: How do you define interesting? What's interesting to one person may bore another to death. Solution: Be yourself. Just plant yourself in front of the camera and be you. Are you naturally funny? Do you talk with your hands? We want to see your personality, so show it to us.
2. Practice makes perfect.
Shoot one video as many times as you need to until you get it right. Problem: This is a total and complete waste of time. Solution: Learn how to edit. Stopping and starting breaks your flow. Keep rolling if you mess up. When you hit a snag, pause for about 5 seconds and start again. You can then remove the footage you don't want by fading in or out.
3. Use a script.
Knowing what you want to say allows you to focus on delivery. Problem: You'll look and sound like a robot. Solution: Refer to #1. We want spontaneity. It's best to jot down a few bullet points or use a simple outline. Remember – ideally, your video should be less than five minutes. The exception to this is if you're doing a how-to or tutorial video. Those are a bit longer due to covering more content.
4. Charge your batteries.
(Yes – an “expert” actually said this!). I think this tip would be better suited for remedial video blogging. Solution: Make sure YOU are charged! Give your viewers some energy and excitement. If you want us to stay tuned for the whole thing, you better capture our attention and get us hooked within the first 15 seconds of your video. If all else fails, refer to #1.
5. Make yourself comfortable.
You're going to be nervous so it helps to be comfortable. Problem: You haven't gotten off your butt and shot your video because you're playing it safe in your comfort zone. Solution: Get over it already and push record! A little nervous energy never hurt anybody.
6. It needs to be professional.
You need to look and sound like a business owner in front of the camera. Problem: I haven't seen one stuffy professional looking video go viral. Can we file this one next to “pantyhose and closed-toe shoes required”? Some of the best videos are raw and edgy. Save the corporate stuff for the boardroom, not YouTube.
7. Hire an expert.
Let me just say this: If you do, I'll personally hunt you down and shake all the life outta ya! Seriously. Creating and sharing videos online has never been easier or more affordable. If I can do it, anyone can. Don't obsess over the small details that don't matter. Grab your idea book, turn your camera on, and start promoting yourself to the millions of people waiting to be inspired by your story and empowered with your message. You have tons of knowledge and you're doing yourself (and us) an injustice if you're not using the power of video to get it out.
Where Do You Find Video Topic Ideas?
As with blogging, one of the biggest challenges you'll face is continually coming up with relevant, useful video content. I suggest you invest in a small recorder, such as a GoPro or a DSLR camera and keep it with you at all times. Heck, you can even use your smartphone's camera — most of them nowadays have high definition recording capabilities. Inspiration can and will strike you in some unlikely places.
How-to videos alone encompass an endless number of topics. What questions are you most often asked? What are you known for and how did you end up in that space? My latest video explained how I became a regular contributor to Forbes.com.
What expertise can you share to help shorten someone's learning curve?
To help you launch your first video, here are 13 video topics anyone can use:
1. Why you use social media
2. How to grow your audience/list/client base
3. How to use social media to increase brand awareness
4. Which online resources you use in your business
5. What makes you/your business unique
6. How to manage your online reputation/negative customer feedback
7. ___ tips to maximize your time
8. How to engage your community
9. How you've overcome marketing (and any other) challenges
10. Book and product reviews
11. A series telling your story: leaving your day job, starting your business, your journey to success
12. How you drive traffic to your blog
13. A welcome/intro video to visitors who land on your blog
Which ones do you like most/least and why? What topics can you think of that I left out?
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Donna L. Johnson is The Unemployed Entrepreneur® and has been blogging for The Work at Home Woman since January 2010. Summary of professional experience: 15 jobs by the age of 22. Her written word hustle is a mix of business street smarts, lifestyle, and controversy. She takes a stand on things she’s passionate about without being afraid of backlash. When Donna isn’t writing, speaking, and reading, she visualizes being on the set of her dream job as a TV talk show host. Follow her journey on Twitter @callherdonna.
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