The camera can be friend not foe

Tackling video can seem more challenge than opportunity but you can overcome your blocks to make it part of your marketing.

I’m from TV journalism where being in front of the camera is routine but for most people it’s intimidating. That excludes millennials of course. If you’re under thirty, you’ve grown up on camera and probably don’t need to read any more…

For everyone else, here are a few tips to flip video from daunting to doable.

I don’t want to do it badly 

It’s the most common cry I hear from business owners who’re avoiding video. They’re afraid of damaging their brand by doing video ‘half-baked’ as one PR professional put it (actually she used a more earthy term – same meaning, different tone).

But there’s a difference between personal best and perfect.

Perfect is where you have plenty of time, money and knowledge about what you’re doing. Anyone here in that category? Then go join the millennials at the bar – the rest of us have blocks to overcome.

Personal best involves finding out how to create your best video at this moment by addressing two aspects – the production side and the content itself.

Half-baked to hero – production tips

Let’s assume you’re using a camera or smartphone mounted on a tripod (vital for steady images) or with the built-in camera on your computer.

Remember to raise your computer slightly so you’re looking up at the camera instead of down. You’ll also need to pay attention to:

Lighting – natural light from a window is great but make sure it’s in front of you, not behind

Sound –invest in an external microphone whichever camera you use, for improved sound

Background– it has to align with your brand so use a setting that represents your business, and make sure there are no distractions, like a messy desk or posters with irrelevant quotes.

Film a few versions and review them carefully. To improve your technical skills check out the free how-to videos on Wistia, which gives great tips in everyday language.

Half-baked to hero – content tips

Most people don’t like how they look or sound on video. But it gets easier to move past this perfectly natural block when you focus on the content of your video.

Remember it’s not about you – it’s about what you can do for your audience.

Focusing on that purpose helps you become more objective about your performance. Here are a few tips to create video content that delivers:

Purpose – have a clear and concise message that comes in the first 1o seconds or so

Audience – make it about what you can do for your viewer

Duration – long enough to communicate effectively, short enough to be interesting all the way through

Language – keep it simple, personal and not salesy

Action ending– tell your viewer what they can do next. If they’ve watched your video all the way through, it’s only fair to give them the next step.

Are you ready to give video a go?

I hope this has given you the inspiration to take a deep breath and dive right in. You’ll only learn by doing – it’s the best way.

(This article first appeared on HerBusiness blog).