The secret of a successful video blog
Without a doubt, video now fills the missing piece of the online jigsaw. It allows us to add a personal touch to our website and communication. It often helps to speed up our relationship building which in turn develops sales for we all like to interact with people who either inspire us or who we can relate to. And, business is always done with people who we feel we know, like and trust. Video helps to bridge the technology gap created by computers and business and today it is a vital medium for our business development. So, how do you get started with it when you’ve never done it before, and what tools do you need?
In answer to this, when you’re starting out, you need to consider the following points:
1. Know your objective from the start e.g. is it to:
- Attract people to your website?
- Aid the sale?
- Improve the buyer/user experience?
- Build trust and rapport?
- Position yourself as an expert e.g. through interviews?
- Increase your SEO rankings and traffic?
Whilst the Internet is forgiving, you must be aware that this is just another medium for your brand. Your video blog doesn’t have to be of film or even studio quality but it needs to be fit for purpose. No-one actually expects Hollywood-style production from your blog either. In fact, polished videos reek of corporate subterfuge so much so that even content-producers who can make a polished video choose not to! You are portraying an image though so you must make your communication appropriate for your marketing objectives.
3. Essential tools
Video camera – An iPhone is a good solution and rivals much more expensive equipment if it is used well. If you film with it, always remember to use it horizontally. An alternative is a Kodak Zi8 (Flip Killer)/HD/+10hrs camera or one of my favourites, the camera on your Mac (iMovie) if you have one.
Tripod – Using a tripod means you avoid wobble! Improvise if you must by using a table, box or chair or another flat and steady surface.
Camera angle – Ensure a proper camera angle. Many amateurs use an angle that is too low, unflattering and shooting up into their chin.
Frame – Your frame is equally important. You say the most with your head and shoulders only, so frame from the waist up or higher. If in doubt think about what you see on the news. If you’re seated a stool is preferable to a sofa.
Lighting, shadows and background – Focus on good light and a simple background. In many situations you’re limited to the available light, and a reflector board can be a lifesaver. They are cheap, easy to use and very mobile. If you’re videoing outside the natural sunlight should be fine but be aware of shadows, and if the sun is low it can cause squinting. If you’re videoing inside, try to avoid mixed lighting, e.g. sunlight through a window mixed with artificial light. Depending on the strength and quality of your light sources, you can either turn the artificial lights off or block out the window light. Overhead lights aren’t great as they create ugly shadows on the face. If they are all you have you may be able to balance them with a reflector.
Sound – this is often overlooked but it’s a massive distraction if below par and will put viewers off. Always avoid background noise, like traffic, birds tweeting, sea, crowds and the wind. If you’re using a camera you might want to consider a lapel microphone.
Posture – Look straight into the camera, have good eye contact, smile and use minimal movement. Try to be relaxed, but show energy.
Script– It’s best to keep the script short. I’d aim for about 2/3mins if you can. People tend to lose interest if it’s any longer plus everyone’s short on time. What I find quite effective is to start with a question, and then to answer it. Have a few bullet points and then list them as tips. Remember that often more attention will be on how you look and how you make the viewer feel than what your content is. Entertain in preference to educate, but make it congruent with your brand. If you’re worried about remembering what you have to say you can use an autocue or teleprompter, e.g. www.cueprompter.com.
Wardrobe – This is so often overlooked but it’s an important consideration for your branding. Do you want to appear professional, corporate or laid back? Whatever your preference, as a rule of thumb, it’s best not to wear stripes, patterns and colours such as black and white. Teal and plum are two of the most universally flattering colours for skin on camera, whereas neon and brights will almost always overpower you, washout your skin tone, and put the focus on your clothes rather than your face.
Editing –There are some great tools for editing such as iMovie, Camtasia and Screenflow. Remember to cut the fluff out, stay succinct and to the point.
[box]“Online reality is almost replacing actual reality so get your face behind your virtual real estate so people to feel closer to you.” TWEET THIS[/box]
In the comments below, tell me what frustrations you have with your online video marketing and if you have an top tips for starting out with video. Let me know what action you’ll take as a result of watching and reading this post too. I’d love to hear.
Thank you, as always for watching, reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!
With love and gratitude – as always,
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