Videos are everywhere.
They’re on your Facebook feed, your Instagram wall, and they also come up in search engine results.
As a former TV journalist, I know that video is a powerful way to reach people — and being on camera regularly solidifies your connection with your audience.
I had the pleasure (sarcasm intended) of sharing three pregnancies while on TV over the course of six years. To this day, people come up to me to tell me they, too, remember the journey.
While I don’t like to think about how much weight I gained, I’m still amazed by the impression those pregnancies made. My youngest child is nine years old!
Are you ready to up your content game with videos? This guide will share five steps to help you get started and become confident on camera.
Step #1: Make the commitment
I won’t sugarcoat it. Creating videos can be frustrating. There is a learning curve and you may not be pleased with your results at first.
You will record something, look at it, and then make the mistake of comparing your video to what other people are creating on YouTube.
What you have to remember is those same people — the ones with millions of followers today — had to start at zero, too.
So, get started!
In March, I ran a Video Bootcamp for entrepreneurs and creatives. They all understood the power of using video to spread their messages. But they didn’t know what to say, what to wear, and what type of equipment to use.
By simply signing up for the Video Bootcamp, they made learning a priority.
The students who continued making videos after the session tell me their videos are growing their email lists, creating connections, and producing sales.
They made the commitment to start, and it’s paying off.
Step #2: Use what you have
Having the right type of equipment used to be a big problem.
In my first TV job many years ago, I remember carrying a 50-pound camera on shoots and then having to go back to get a 25-pound tripod.
Those days are long gone.
Start with what you have. Much like creating a minimum viable product, your video process begins by creating videos as simply as possible. Work your way up as you get more comfortable and you see the response your videos get.
Here’s a brief outline of The Big Three: equipment, lighting, and sound.
Video equipment doesn’t have to be intimidating.
Use the camera sitting right next to you — the smartphone, the laptop, or the point and shoot camera that has a video feature.
There are entire industries devoted to cameras, lights, and microphones, and you can definitely invest in more expensive equipment.
But, the purpose of this guide is to help you get started using video.. It really doesn’t have to cost a lot.
Good lighting makes you look like a million bucks. But you don’t have to spend anywhere close to that.
I am a big fan of using natural light. The best in the business do.
If you shoot videos indoors, sit by a window where the light hits you from the front or from the side. Make sure the light isn’t behind you because it will wash you out.
Sound quality is every bit as important as your video quality.
It makes sense. If people can’t clearly hear what you are saying, your content won’t be as engaging as it could be.
Record your videos in a quiet space. High ceilings or ceramic tile floors increase the chances of an echo, so look for smaller spaces that have carpeted floors. Your closet could even work to produce good sound.
If noise is still an issue, invest in a microphone. You can plug it into your phone or get a USB connection that runs to your laptop.
Once you have The Big Three taken care of, move on to Step #3 …
Step #3: Master your message
In your videos, just as in the copy you write, it’s important to address the person you want to reach, whether it’s a tween boy or an adult gardening enthusiast.
A tween boy is likely going to be interested in Minecraft videos, while an adult gardening enthusiast would prefer a tutorial on how to grow basil. Your topics and goals are going to be different depending on your audience.
Are you trying to reach the owner of a technology company, the buyer of a retail chain, or a stay-at-home mom?
Focus on sharing something that person is struggling with, followed by a solution you offer … then highlight the transformation that occurs.
While you may be nervous, it’s important to remember the video is not about you. The audience is more focused on learning a solution to their problem than what you’re wearing. Really.
Step #4: Practice makes confident
Videos help you create connections because you’re able to share your personality.
You don’t need to fit a mold to be successful on camera. You don’t have to be anybody but yourself.
In this day and age, when Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with videos sharing all kinds of messages, the only thing that makes you different is you.
Before you get your voice out there, though, it is important to practice. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but I have seen too many people who don’t sound like themselves on camera because they are so nervous.
Over a TV career that has spanned twenty years, I have had the pleasure of interviewing thousands of people — everyday folks, celebrities, entrepreneurs. And most people are just not comfortable on camera.
In order to get better, you need to do what I call, “practice for real.” It means practicing in an environment where the result is final.
Create a small Facebook group and go live inside there, among your friends and family. Or put together a video that is “live to tape,” meaning even though the video is not broadcast live, it’s the final version no matter what is on that recording.
By putting yourself in situations that force your brain to say, “This is the real deal. I have to be ‘on,’” you will be mentally ready to rock your video.
Send the video you create to your best friend, no matter what. Put constraints on your time.
Instead of telling yourself you have two hours to create your video, give yourself 10 minutes. Even better, schedule a meeting and try to get the recording done before you have to leave the house. The video will get done.
Step #5: Don’t get discouraged
People often get discouraged by how much work goes into the process of making a video.
Sometimes it means they don’t even get to the starting line. For others, it means they peter out after a strong start.
But remember this: If you are sharing information you know serves your audience, if your intentions are true, if you create a message with impact, then you have nothing to worry about. And it’s a disservice to keep your message to yourself.
Just the other day, I ran into a client who I encouraged to start using video to share her message.
By creating videos that showcase her thought leadership, her business is thriving because her company now has a higher caliber of job applicants. She’s thrilled.
And now she’s a believer in the power of video, too. She just needed someone to tell her to get moving.
I will share with you what I told her: I give you permission to start creating videos. I can’t wait to see the results!