Create winning videos for your marketing.
So you want to start using videos for your marketing strategy. Awesome! this is the blog I wish I had before starting my video journey. The good news is that you can learn from my journey over the years.
My students will tell you I harp on a lot about strategy - basically your Why and How you’ll spread your message.
So I’m not going into detail on strategy here. This is for those of you who have decided to give video marketing a go. But are asking - “now what, how do I get started?”
The first thing I want to share is not to be frightened of videos. If you can have a conversation with a friend or customer on your pet topic, (now I am assuming they didn’t back out the door making an excuse to leave), you have engaged them. In that case, you can do exactly the same thing in front of a camera.
Now all that aside, most of us, if we had the opportunity to listen back to our conversations would like to edit some of them. And don’t forget viewers don’t know you, so you have to build trust from the get-go. You need to convince a stranger that you’re worth their time to listen to.
In this article I cover...
- 1The Purpose - what's the benefit to your business and audience.
- 2In's All in The Script - keep your videos focused by scripting
- 3Practice, Practice, Practice - nothing worse than watching a boring presentation
- 4Do Your Homework - no point in producing a video no one will see
- 5Expand the Topic - create several videos on the one topic, and reference them
- 6Visuals - they help communicate the message as well as improve the engagement level
- 7The Hook - If you don't gain your audiences attention in the first line, then they won't see the rest
- 8The Tease - The aim is to keep them watching, so tell them why they should stick around
- 9Introduction - Now you can tell them who and why
- 10The Body - this is where you get into your subject
- 11CTA - if you're going to all this trouble to produce a video, then tell them what comes next
- 12Setting up the Shot - getting this right improves engagement
- 13How to record your video - my hard learned tips
- 14Bring it Alive With Editing - editing is a powerful tool and can bring your video alive
- 15Caption It - captions or subtitles are worth the effort
#1 – Purpose
Although I said I wouldn’t go into strategy, you still need to know the purpose of your video from your audience’s perspective.
So ask yourself. Why am I creating this video? Is this information my audience needs? What do I want viewers to do after they watch it? What channel will we post on?
Only when you can answer those questions can you move forward.
#2 It’s All in The Script
And the best way to engage a stranger is to script it first. Think of your favourite movie. The actors bring the characters alive - they look natural, and you relate to them. That’s the power of the best scriptwriting.
You might be the exception, they do exist, but most of us will find it so much easier to use a script. You can tell the unscripted videos. They tend to ramble on and become dull and boring. Even if you’re doing a spontaneous video, you wouldn’t start without an outline, a clear concept. So script it. You can script the spontaneity.
#3 Practice, Practice, Practice
Many of us have listened to Steve Jobs presenting. The single thing he did to nail any presentation was practice. Not just once for 5 minutes before going on stage, he’d often spend hours.
Now, I’m not suggesting you spend hours practising each video, but the more you practice your presentation style, the easier it will be for you to ‘act’ your script.
I’ve used the word ‘act’ for a very good reason.
If you approach your script like a read, then the chances are it won’t be as engaging.
If you’re serious about video for your business and don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera, I recommend you get some coaching. I interviewed acting expert Amanda Meyer for my podcast, which is worth listening to. She offers online training, which will give you heaps of confidence.
#4 – Do Your Homework
Don’t write about a subject no one is searching for. Check out your competitors - what videos work for them? Now put your own spin on it. And what about that popular search you identified and no one has created a video on? Use tools like Semrush to do your research. What you need are the keywords people use to search for your topic. It’s a lot of work producing videos, so you want people to find them!
#5 – Expand the Topic
How many videos can you create from this one topic? The knowledge you have in your head took more than one short video to gain, so it makes sense that you won’t be able to share all your learnings in just one digestible video. So break it into sub-sections. Then you can reference other videos in your content that will help the viewer.
For example, I write weekly lessons for my free Digital Marketing training (with big thanks to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in New Zealand for funding it!) And I always find there are many cross-overs with other lessons, which I’ll regularly reference within that particular week.
This is perfect for your videos. You can add in a line, something like… “I have another video if you want to learn more about… ”.
A bit of preplanning will keep them viewing your content. The more content they view, the more trust you build. It’s like they know you, and that’s the first step towards them feeling comfortable to buy.
At this early stage, I like to consider the visuals I can use to bring the story alive and engage my audience. Visuals help your audience retain more of the message, and make it memorable.
I could write a whole article on images, but to simplify - our brains are wired to interpret images, art has been used throughout history to tell stories. When used with words, they enhance learning, making it easier for us to absorb the information. But from experience, it can be hard to find the right images after the recording is made. While I’m writing, an image will form in my mind. That’s the time to search for an image, video or music clip in your favourite library like Canva. So many times I’ve written and recorded a video, and then at the editing stage, I can’t find the right image. If I’d checked before recording, I could have changed the script.
The other great thing about using tools like Canva is they handle copyright, and that’s a big deal.
Now that’s done, we can finally get into writing the script.
#7 The Hook
If you don’t hook people in the first 5 to 15 seconds and give them a reason to watch more, you might not bother at all.
So, don’t fill this part of your video with your name… unless you’re a celebrity, actually, you wouldn’t need a name then.
I do it by writing a first draft of the subject. More to get it out of my head.
Then I go back and work on the hook. I ask myself, why is this information important to my audience? What would they search for to find this information? What problem do I solve with this content? Of course, this might have already come to you in your early planning.
#8 The Tease
Tell your audience why they should watch the full video. A teaser line like… “keep watching to learn my secrets” or “I’m going to share how to make ‘x’ happen, so keep watching till the end.”
Ok, now you can tell viewers who you are and why you’re qualified to speak on the subject. One of my pet peeves with podcasts is you end up with a long session on why they are experts. I get bored, and if I can’t fast-forward, I’m gone. So, keep it short. Remember, the aim is to get them to listen right through to the end!
#10 The Body
Now we’re into the main body content, where you get into the subject. My #1 tip here is to write it like you are talking, then edit, edit, edit. Take out any repetitive sections (unless you are trying to drill in a point). Filter for additional words, which can make the sentence hard to read, and maybe complicated to understand. You’re looking for clarity.
Oh, and before I forget, read it out loud. Funny how the written word can sound so different when spoken. And tools like Grammarly are life-savers.
Break it up into sections, a bit like this blog post. Using steps people need to take, and numbering them makes it easy to understand and way easier to read. They also give you natural breaks for your video editing. And trust me, trying to get a longer video down in one take is way harder than you think.
Does your script make sense? Ok, no eye-rolling. The thing is that we know our subject backwards, but explaining it to others is a little more complex. So, don’t skip over something because you assume people will know that. And get someone else to read it. Ask them if they understand the topic after reading.
And don’t forget those visuals. Consider what images or clips you can use to explain your words.
Remember, social media platforms reward content that is played through - so it’s about engagement. Make it informative in an entertaining way - and I’m not talking about standing on your head or doing your serious subject from a roller coaster. It’s about engaging your audience on your topic of expertise.
#11 – Call to Action (CTA)
What do you want the viewer to do after they watch your video?
If your video is on YouTube, then it’s all about getting people to view more of your content. The old YouTube algorithm was about gaining Subscribers, the more subscribers the more views. But in 2022, it’s about the duration of views, and watching more of your content. Your channel is then rewarded – as YouTube can see the value in your content, and it will start recommending it to others.
If your video is about gaining leads and hopefully turning them into sales, then direct them to a Landing Page. Make it clear what you want the viewer’s next step to be. Remember, you’re the expert, and they want to be guided by you.
#12 Setting Up the Shoot
Whether you decide to do it yourself or have a professional, determine if you want to be inside, or out in nature.
I love the idea of being outside, but it’s a bit more challenging. Firstly you have to consider noise. The plane overhead, a dog barking, traffic, lawnmowers. Like the day I’d set everything up, and the neighbour decided to choose that moment to trim his hedge.
The time of the day is also important. I had this vision once of having a mountain view behind me, it all made sense to me at the time. Took us ages to find the right location that didn’t have background noise, but I’d totally forgotten to consider the sun’s position. That video never happened.
Professional photographers prefer first light, because it’s softer and easier to manipulate.
Now, there is some fantastic gear available to make this so much easier, which we’ll talk about next.
#13 – How to Record Your Video
I can laugh at them now, but I had some very frustrating scenarios when it came to technology to record my videos. One day, I remember setting everything up, hit record on my phone, and then when I played it back, the lighting was awful. Shadows all over the place. That was in my early days in video when the technology wasn’t as affordable.
The good news is that cool tools are now available to make it easier for you to create videos at home.
Firstly, if you like the idea of being outside, maybe while walking, then use a Gimbal.
I found this great video on YouTube on Gimbals so check it out if you want to learn more.
Personally, I like to keep my shoots simple. I use a plain background, with a Halo light which has a mobile phone stand inside. You can get these for under $100 and no time to set up.
When it comes to sound quality I'm a bit fussy, and given I'm not close to the phone when I record, I use an external microphone.
And there’s one more trick I use, which is a teleprompter. I use Nano Teleprompter on my phone. I import the script from a Word doc, then space it out so I can act the words at my own pace.
I do have a warning on using a teleprompter, and it comes back to #3 on this list. And that’s to practice. It will take a couple of reads to get the timing right. But it’s the facial expressions and pauses that are critical to communication.
Then there are times when a professional is better. You’ll get a higher-quality image and sound, plus the right person will direct you. For example, a professional is the way to go if you want a feature video on your website. But if you intend to do it regularly, then getting the right gear is faster and heaps cheaper.
#14 – Bring it Alive With Editing
I started recording my own videos around 15 years ago. Back then, they were pretty basic slide presentations with my voice-over on top. I started using a tool called Camtasia by Techsmith, I still use it today. Of course, there are heaps of tools around.
Personally, I love editing, it’s where I can bring out a bit of creativity. But if you don’t have time to learn, then use Fiverr or Upwork to find a freelancer. If you do, this is where you’re preplanning will pay off. Sending it off to someone else can be expensive, but if you have a script and have laid out the videos or clips you want to include, you will save hours of their time.
#15 – Caption It
Not everyone can or likes to ‘hear’ videos. By adding captions, not only are you considering the hearing-impaired, but many may watch your video in a public space or in a shared office, and if they don’t have a headset they turn the volume down.
Plus, YouTube rewards videos with captions. The downside, adding them can be labour-intensive. I add them manually using Camtasia, my video editing tool, and I have so much more flexibility. I change the text size if I have a statement I want to emphasize. But it’s time-consuming. I tried the YouTube caption tool - it might be my Australian accent, but the translation wasn’t very good, so editing took just as long, and I didn’t have the flexibility. But have a play and see what works for you.
I've created a template story board for you to download here.
So, it’s time for you to get started, Just dive in, and if you’ve any questions or need help on how videos can help your business marketing, shoot me an email.
All the best, Judy 😊