For resources to create & put videos on your websites, see www.putvideoonawebsite.com
Video Marketing for the Camera Shy
Why Every Online Business Owner and Blogger NEEDS Video
Getting Over Your Fear of the Camera
Looking Good on Camera
Practice Makes Perfect
Tips for Increasing Your Comfort Level
Hiring an Actor
If you’ve been paying attention at all to the general buzz on the Internet with regard to online marketing, you probably have heard more than once that video marketing is the way to go. Using video on your websites, blogs, and sales pages increases conversion rates, ups your likeability factor, and engages readers.
While that sounds great, you may be wondering how you possibly can incorporate video when you are painfully camera shy, tongue-tied, or have a face that you feel is better suited for radio. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be Naomi Watts or Gerard Butler to get in front of the camera and demonstrate your expertise.
First of all, we’re always hardest on ourselves. Other people normally won’t think you look bad, even when you feel like you do.
Secondly, do either of these names ring a bell – Gene Wilder or Danny Devito? Neither would be called strikingly handsome, but both made a career from being in front of the camera.
Regardless of nerves, looks, and speaking ability (or lack thereof), there are ways for you to quickly and painlessly incorporate video into your online activities and reap the benefits that video can bring to you. And through this short report, I will show you how.
Looking forward to working alongside you.
Why Every Online Business Owner and Blogger NEEDS Video
What if I told you there was a way you could increase traffic to your website, increase the amount of time visitors stay, increase your conversion rates, and enhance your relationship with your audience – all for free? You’d probably think I was trying to sell you the latest “All cash – no work – get rich quick” internet marketing scheme.
But I’m serious. Video marketing just may be the magic bullet of online marketing. With video sharing site YouTube.com getting BILLIONS of searches each day, you can’t afford to ignore video. (In fact, most people don’t realize it, but YouTube is the second most-popular search site on the internet.)
Here are just a few of the many benefits of incorporating video into your sites:
- Increases conversion on sales pages. The long-form sales letter may become a thing of the past, as the most skilled (and profitable!) internet marketers are moving towards video.
- Increases site visits. When you publicize your website or blog link through your videos, and distribute those videos to any (or preferably ALL) of the best of the video sharing sites, you’ll see an increase in traffic as people come to your website in search of more quality information.
- Increase in connection. People may read your words, but they won’t feel that they really know you until they can look into your eyes and hear your voice – even if it’s just virtually. Interpersonal relations experts know that most of communication (up to 80%) is non-verbal, coming from facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. Without allowing your audience to see you in action, you’re cutting them off from their most valuable source of information about who you really are.
- Increase in reach. There are a number of different modalities of learning, of which reading is only one. The more different learning styles you use in your marketing, the larger percentage of your potential audience you’ll reach.
- Increase in status. Let’s face it; if we read something extraordinary, we may become interested, but some doubt remains. Did the “author” really write it him- or herself? Is it in their own words? Was there a ghostwriter involved? But when we SEE and HEAR someone talking about their area of expertise, we perk up – we know that they are, indeed, the expert, not just a mouthpiece for someone else’s words.
That should be enough proof for you to convince you to give this video thing more consideration. I know, I know, you’re still not sure you can do this. That’s why in the next section we’re going to talk about how to get over your fear of the camera.
Getting Over Your Fear of the Camera
When it comes to stepping in front of the camera, the excuses for why you just can’t do it range from having a Minnie Mouse voice to having a receding hairline. I’ve heard them all – and let me tell you, none of them holds water! In this section, I’m going to explore the main reasons people avoid going on-camera, and look at why those excuses are just that – excuses (ie. reasons NOT to do something).
“I am not good-looking enough to be on camera.”
Larry King. Oprah Winfrey. Sally Jesse Raphael. Geraldo. Joan Rivers. David Letterman. None of these much-filmed celebrities could be considered to be the ideal human specimen, yet all of them have made millions talking on-camera. It doesn’t matter if you have a receding hairline, are overweight, imperfect teeth, or have had too much plastic surgery; if they can do it, you can do it.
“I’m too nervous – I can’t speak on-camera.”
Few people are natural-born orators; most people require quite a bit of practice and refinement before they feel comfortable speaking while being recorded. But a few butterflies in the stomach are no reason to give up on the whole process without giving it a shot!
“The equipment is too expensive.”
This excuse might have held water a few years ago, but no longer. You probably already have all the equipment you need to get started. And if you don’t, you can get it for less than the cost of a new pair of shoes.
“My voice is funny,” or “I talk too fast/too slow.”
I remember as a child listening to my voice on a tape recorder for the first time. I couldn’t believe I sounded like THAT! We all think we sound (and look!) funny, but very few of us truly have unpleasant voices. And speed? We can fix that with a little practice!
“People won’t like me once they see me.”
We are all insecure and wonder if we will be accepted, particularly when trying something new. But study after study shows that when an audience gets to know you through video, they like you BETTER. And that’s a fact.
I know that just telling you that these excuses are silly won’t make them go away completely. But hopefully once you realize that many other people share the same concerns, you can agree to at least give this video marketing thing a try. You can always delete the evidence afterwards if you still feel that you’re really awful!
Looking Good on Camera
In one of Oprah Winfery’s earliest editions of her magazine, she showed the entire process of exactly how she gets ready for a cover shoot. It takes a team. She has experts in lighting, photography, wardrobe, and makeup all working hard to create what appears to be a natural, spur-of-the-moment shot. Trying to equal what takes her days and thousands of dollars in your own home is impossible! But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few changes and strategic investments to make your “natural” self look a little (or a lot!) better. It’s worth reading this section and taking it to heart, so that you can be more comfortable with the end result.
- Lighting. When it comes to lighting, more isn’t necessarily better. A ton of fluorescent lighting can actually be quite harsh and make you appear washed out, wrinkled, and (ack!) old. Instead, opt for natural lighting. Position yourself near a large window, with the sun filtering in (not shining directly on you – you don’t want to be squinting!). Take a few sample snips of video at different times of day, and see what looks the most natural. Try to film your video at these times to re-create the most flattering light.
- Wardrobe. Clothing counts! No, you don’t have to go shopping for a whole new wardrobe, but you do want to give some thought to what you’re wearing. Most video tends to be shot from the waist-up, so keep in mind the neckline of your shirt or blouse, and the graphics or words on your T-shirt.Match your clothing to your area of expertise; if you’re talking about a creative topic like art or design, you can get a little funky. If you’re addressing a more professional audience, say, in the financial or legal field, you’re going to inspire more confidence if you look professional, tailored, and a bit more conservative than the average punk rock drummer. If you’re in the medical field, wear your white coat or scrubs. If you’re a personal trainer, wear your gym togs.Understated is best; you don’t want to distract from your message. Look at what newscasters and TV personalities wear – solid colors, understated designs, and simple jewelry. There’s a reason for that. If you wear a shirt with a wild pattern, it draws the eye away from you to your clothing. While that may, in theory, sound like a good idea, it really doesn’t work. Try out a few different colors and styles in quick video snips to see what looks best on you – and what you feel highlights your best qualities.
- Makeup. Men, I’m letting you off the hook – though if you knew the number of on-camera males who sneak in a little powder and self-tanner, you’d be surprised. (Don’t be afraid to try it.) Ladies, if you’re used to going bare-faced, you may want to consider using a little bit of product to even out your skin tone, accentuate your eyes, and help you from appearing washed out. Don’t overdo it, though! If you look in the mirror and have even a hint of Tammy Faye Bakker about you, wash it all off and start again. Again, doing a test video or two with different makeup shades can help you to decide what looks best on you.
- Setting. I’ve seen successful video series shot in front of a gorgeous beach vista, in a home office, on a living room sofa, or on location for a special event. In general, it’s easier to control sound and lighting (and curious passers-by) if you film indoors, at home. Choose a location that provides some visual interest – a bookshelf, a wall of photos, etc. – but isn’t overwhelming. As with your wardrobe, choose a location that resonates with your area of expertise. A trainer might want to head to the gym. A teacher would be more believable in front of a whiteboard. A cook in the kitchen… you get the picture! Do check the background to make sure the camera won’t pick up something that you didn’t notice – like a pile of dirty dishes or a litterbox, before shooting any long videos in that location.
Whatever you do, don’t let your quest for perfection get in the way of you actually shooting video. Do the best you can with what you have on-hand, and don’t delay until you lose 10 lbs., get a haircut, or buy new clothes. Do it now! Delaying will only make you more nervous and set the bar even higher in your mind for what you want the end result to look like.
Practice Makes Perfect
There are a few lucky individuals who are naturally gifted with the ability to speak off-the-cuff, intelligently and coherently. They exude confidence and professionalism, and you’d believe them whether they were selling Sham-WOWs or the cure for cancer.
The rest of us? Well, we have to work at it a little harder – and some of us, a LOT harder! Fortunately, even if your early efforts look like they were edited and scripted by a five-year-old on a sugar high, there are some easy ways to make yourself look better.
- Write it down, but don’t memorize it. Some people need to know exactly what they’re going to say before they say it. If you tend to freeze up on camera, go ahead and write out a script, but DON’T memorize it – it’s extremely difficult to look relaxed and natural when giving a canned speech. Instead, let your memory guide you. And if you have to post your notes on the wall behind the camera, so be it. No one will ever know!
- Slow down – but not too much. Studies show that while we believe we should speak slowly, a faster (yet still understandable) pace conveys authority. You want your audience to understand what you’re saying, but you don’t want to lull them into boredom.
- Practice inflection. If you don’t sound enthusiastic about your material, no one else is going to exceed your energy level! Work on conveying interest and energy in your words, facial expression, and posture. Need some guidance? Listen to the hosts on Home Shopping Network for tips on how to sound enthusiastic. These professionals hock everything from jewelry to vacuum cleaners and make it all sound good. When in doubt, smile.
- Volume counts! One of the top reasons people stop watching videos is because the audio is lousy. Make sure you’re speaking loud enough to be heard easily, and that there are no distracting background noises. You may not notice the dryer or dishwasher in the next room, but your audience certainly will. Test out your shooting location and play it back for a sound check.
Just as Martin Scorcese runs through many shots before he gets the one that will make it into the final cut, you also may need to shoot a few takes before getting it all right. Just look at those re-takes as practice, and adjust any areas of weakness until you look – and sound! – like a pro.
Tips for Increasing Your Comfort Level
Until talking on-camera feels like second nature, there are a few tricks you can use to increase your comfort level. The key is to take the focus off you exclusively so you don’t feel like a deer caught in the headlights. Try one of these techniques:
- Interview someone. Set up a tripod or ask someone else to do camera duty, and interview an expert on-screen. Focus on your interviewee instead of the camera! Remember to speak slowly, not talk over your guest, and occasionally make eye contact with the camera to engage viewers.
- Choose your camera person wisely. Instead of talking to a camera mounted on a tripod, have a real, live person hold your camera. It can be much easier to speak to a human instead of staring into the camera lens and trying to act natural.
- Keep it short. In your early videos, aim for just a few minutes. Creating longer videos is much more difficult, so start small. Bonus: Most people would rather watch five, three-minute videos than one, 15-minute video.
- Pretend you’re the interviewee. Gideon Shalwick (www.rapidvideoblogging.com) suggests this video tip: Instead of staring right at the camera, face slightly sideways, as if you are facing a (non-existent) interviewer. Then answer questions in soundbites. If you have good editing skills, you can add transitional slides in-between your answers that list the question your (invisible) interviewer just asked.
- Keep going. If you mess up, don’t stop, rewind, and re-record. Just keep going! You can trim out any mistakes in the editing phase. Restarting again and again is time-consuming and also can make you lose the flow of what you were saying. Proceed and when you watch it later, you may discover your “oops” moments weren’t nearly as bad as you thought! (They also make great fodder for a gag reel).
Recording video isn’t like chiseling stone; if you make a mistake, it’s easy to correct. Give yourself permission to be in learning mode, and to get better gradually. Focus on improvement, not perfection.
Still not convinced you belong on-camera? Well, how about just starting with your voice? There are a number of ways to create video that don’t require you – or anyone else – to stand in front of the camera. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Screen capture software. If your area of expertise involves creating how-to videos of computer software or desktop tools, a great way to strut your stuff is to create an on-screen tutorial or demonstration. There are a variety of free and low-cost screen capture software, including Jingproject.com (which offers a free and paid version) and Camtasia (at camstudio.org for the free version and http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp for a paid upgrade). You simply record what’s going on, on your desktop, and create an audio narration to accompany it. No makeup required!
- Slideshows. Slideshows have a bad name amongst some people who had to spend way too many hours in the boardroom, watching boring PowerPoint presentations. But things have changed, and with basic slideshow software (you don’t HAVE to use PowerPoint!) you can use still photos, graphics, and other images to create a smooth-flowing, entertaining video. Try Animoto, but first check your computer for Windows Movie Maker or iMovie on your Mac. You may already have all you need.
- For an example of an engaging slideshow video, watch this short interview between Nicole Dean of NicoleontheNet.com and Super Affiliate Lynn Terry at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbhF0–7tIM. Neither one is on-camera, but it’s still interesting watching!
- Another slideshow type video that has taken the web by storm is: http://www.raisingsmallsouls.com/animal-school-movie/ (If you’ve got kids, watch this.) This video doesn’t even have a verbal script.
- Static photo. If you don’t want to be on-camera, and your editing skills aren’t up to creating a slide show, you could create an audio to accompany one single static image or photo. I don’t recommend this option for longer videos, as it’s not very interesting to sit and stare at an unchanging screen, but it certainly is better than nothing!
While these options will all help move you in the direction of adding video to your website or blog, remember that people want to see and get to know you –and that’s going to require you to get over your hesitation and get on-camera!
There are many ways you can outsource parts or all of your video marketing.
You can hire a consultant to …
- Create videos using a script you provide.
- Take your own voice (from an mp3 that you’ve recorded) and create a slide show to go along with it.
- Develop an entire video sequence from concept to completion.
You can also hire an actor to be you.
Sometimes your area of expertise calls for a “talking head” or demonstrator, but for a number of reasons you don’t want to fill that role. Maybe you are extremely self-conscious about being on-camera (and I haven’t been able to convince you to just get over yourself yet). Maybe you don’t accurately represent your target market (for instance, if you make breastfeeding cover-ups for nursing mothers, and you’re a 40-year-old male). Or maybe you just think someone else would do a better job of presenting the material than you would. Whatever the reason, using an actor can be an effective means of offering a face to connect with, without that face having to be yours.
Of course, much of this information can also be applied to a voice-over artist.
Here are some of the most common questions about hiring actors for video work:
Where do I find an actor? Look around you – some of the best people to speak on your behalf may be right under your roof! But don’t let love blind your eyes; only enlist a family member unless you are going to be comfortable giving him directions, or telling her you need her to reshoot the video again, and again, and again.
Aspiring actors can also located online, through Craigslist.com or industry networking sites, as well as forums and websites dedicated to video marketing. Ask your friends and business colleagues for recommendations, or check out videos on YouTube and see if there’s someone with the skills you need, then contact them about creating a video on your behalf.
How much will they charge? The fee you will pay can vary from free, to several hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Instead of shelling out the cash, though, see if you can arrange a barter for services. Can you create a website or perform writing or editing in exchange for some on-screen work? Would your actor work for a free copy of your product? Every dollar you save goes right to your bottom line.
How do I know they’re any good? Professional actors should have portfolios of their work for you to review. Ask for references, too. For amateurs, you may have to just give it a go and see if they have what you need. Don’t hesitate to fire someone if they’re not coming across as you desire, and they’re unable or unwilling to make the changes needed to make the grade. This is, quite literally, the face of your business, and you can’t afford to put out sub-par work.
How do I work with them? The exact operations will depend on who you choose and where they are located. You will pay a lot less if you are on-hand to record and provide in-the-moment feedback; expect a premium for someone else to do the camera work as well.
As a final note of advice, know what “feel” you’re aiming for before you begin your hunt. Find other videos online that you like and want to emulate, and try to isolate what the common threads are between them. Are they all female spokespeople? Are they shot indoors? Do they employ humor? Make a list so you can convey these points to your actor. Knowing what you’re looking for beforehand will make it easier to know when you’ve got it!
You could easily spend your life educating yourself on the finer points of video editing. In fact, people go to school for years to refine their techniques. I’m assuming that you don’t have that kind of time to dedicate, so let’s cut right to the chase. The good news is that you can do a passable job of editing your video with the most basic of skills. The following are the most important things you’ll want to look at when editing your videos:
(Note: These suggestions are assuming you have access to a basic editing program such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.)
- Audio. If you were recording straight audio, you’d be a little more picky about what you kept and what you edited out. But don’t let this tempt you to over-edit. Take a look/listen to your video, and only cut out the really horrible, tongue-tied moments.
- Start/End. If you are filming yourself, you may have a moment at the beginning and end of your video when you are reaching forward to turn the camera on and off. One very simple edit is to just cut out these few seconds of video. Suddenly, you’ve gone from Blair Witch Project to Citizen Kane! Yay, you!
- Intro/Extro. Think of your favorite sitcom or TV show. Whether it’s “Howdy Doody” or “CSI: Las Vegas,” as soon as you hear that music, you know what’s coming! (Just for the record, I can still hum the “CHiPS” theme song). While you don’t need a professional to compose and record a jingle just for you, a slide introducing you, your website, and the topic will set the stage for your audience. Look at Nicole Dean’s interview with Lynn Terry again for a simple example of an intro slide. Music is optional!
There are some definite do’s and don’ts to video editing. Here are a few of the basics:
- Don’t over-edit. If you try to take out every “er” or “um,” you can end up with a very choppy, amateurish video. Instead, just eliminate the really bad parts where you mis-speak, or where there are unduly long pauses.
- Keep your mouth shut. That may sound funny, but a trick to video editing is to cut the video frame when your mouth is shut so you don’t end up with that wide-eyed, yawning, Big Mouth Billy Bass look.
- Leave it a little rough. People want to know you’re a real person, not an over-processed corporate drone, especially when putting video on the internet. Keep it natural. Slickness scares people; natural is good.
As mentioned above, video editing is a specialized field in and of itself, and it can easily become another procrastination technique if you let it. Remind yourself that you’re after passable, not perfection, and move on!
By now, you should be convinced that video is not only critical, but doable! (If not, go back and reread until you are convinced.)
Along the way, though, you may run into a few problems. Here are some of the most common issues you might encounter and how to address them:
- Your sound is lousy. If your sound is picking up too much background noise, or if your voice simply isn’t loud enough, you’ll need to make some changes. First, check the settings on your camera. Sometimes you can change the microphone/audio setting to make it more sensitive. If that doesn’t work, try moving closer to the microphone, or purchasing an external mic that will sit on the table or attach to your lapel.
- Your video is shaky. One word: Tripod! There are fabulous, low-cost tripods out there, from simple table-top options, to crazy bendy-legged ones, to ones that will stick on the side of a wall or building. And, they aren’t nearly as expensive as you’re probably thinking. There is no longer an excuse for giving your viewers seasickness!
- You look like a robot. If you seem very stilted and unnatural, I also have one word for you – practice. Head back up to the section, “Practice Makes Perfect,” and try some of the tips there. While practice will definitely help your comfort level, don’t practice so much you take out the spontaneity and naturalness.
- You are boring. Technically, you seem to be doing everything right – but you’re so boring, even your dog falls asleep! If this is your issue, you are not conveying your enthusiasm for your topic. Even accounting and semiconductors can be exciting if you share your excitement. You don’t have to be a Richard Simmons if that’s not your natural personality; just turn up your personality volume a bit! (Note: If you’re not passionate about the subject matter, take another look at your business niche. You might have chosen the wrong one.)
- The information isn’t compelling. There are some people whose charisma and presence makes them so interesting that they could read the phone book, and listeners would be enthralled. But for most of us, content still matters. If what you’re presenting isn’t of interest to your audience, you’re going to lose them. Start with keyword research in your niche to see what people are looking for already, and give them what they’re already searching for.
The key with all these issues is, you won’t know what’s hanging you up until you take a stab at this whole video thing! You need something to work with, so bite the proverbial bullet and start filming now.
With online video sharing sites occupying some of the most valuable property on the internet, it’s foolish to think you can take market your business effectively online without at least giving video a shot. It doesn’t matter if you have a face like a yeti or a personality better suited for a funeral director; there’s a way that everyone can bring video into their business marketing strategy. This short report has hit some of the easiest ways for even the most camera-shy individuals to start on the path to increasing their visibility, traffic, and success – quickly, easily, and inexpensively.
Wherever you are in your comfort level, I hope you are inspired to try some of these tips to incorporate video into your business today. You won’t know how powerful it is until you give it a try!
For resources to create & put videos on your websites, see www.putvideoonawebsite.com
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