Developing Your Video Content and Messaging

In Module 1, we discovered the importance of determining our “Video Purpose.” Even with the emphasis on planning and strategy, the good news is that it is actually easier than ever to create great video. In fact, planning makes production faster and simpler.

We also know that there are hundreds of ways to approach video, along with new tools, software and apps that make video creation incredibly quick and easy. (We’ll be revealing many of these tools in coming modules).

To make video matters even better, you do not need a lot of equipment, and you can start right where you are, regardless of your experience level. You can use “everyday” technology like your smart phone to produce video anytime, anywhere. In most cases, content is more important than quality, so there are no excuses!

But despite the simplicity of video, the availability of technology, and the easy access to affordable equipment and platforms, the fact remains that you’ve got to have something to say! Your content is key, and your message matters.

What to say and how to say it on video is the focus of this module on determining your “Video Premise.”

Your Video Vision

Your video’s premise is the primary message of your video. But from a more global perspective, your premise is also your overall video “vision.” Ideally, each of your videos should be part of a bigger, overarching theme or vision. Think of each video as a building block for your brand.

Your video vision includes the tone and feel of your videos, so that they reflect your voice and your style. In addition, your video vision encompasses what specific videos you’ll create, including your “must have” videos that we’ll discuss later in this module. So your vision is not only what you’ll say, but how you say it. It’s the content of your content!

As you develop your video content and messaging, think of your video as a visual story. After all, your videos really are just visual stories told with “moving pictures.” That’s why it’s so important to integrate classic storytelling elements into your videos.

Tell Me a Story

Using storytelling principles in your videos will make them far more engaging and captivating. Integrating storytelling is vital, as stories are what will make your videos more memorable and “sticky.” You’ve probably heard the old adage that “data tells, but stories sell.” In fact, people remember stories over stats by a whopping 63% to 5%.

Stories are able to cut through the online noise and marketing clutter, and they draw your viewer into your world. Stories allow people to relate to you on a more personal level, even if they’ve never met you in person. And “Fast Company” magazine recently called storytelling the “biggest business skill of the next five years.”

The power of storytelling in your videos cannot be understated, as stories elicit emotion and play an important role in persuasion. Stories actually engage many areas of the brain, and our brains process images 60 times faster than words! People much prefer stories over facts and actually retain information better with a story than with straight facts.

Like any good story, your video should have a beginning, middle and end, even if it’s a brief, 20 or 30 second video. TV and radio commercials have been telling stories in quick, 15-second ads for decades, so brevity is no excuse for not using storytelling elements!

When telling your video “story,” always include a clear call to action at the end of every video. You should get practiced at asking your viewer for something specific in your closing call to action, whether it’s to call, click, comment, like, share, or visit your website.

If you’re doing an on-camera or traditional “talking head” video, how you say it is just as important as what you say. Unless you’re playing a character, you should speak naturally and talk the same way your normally talk! Use words you’d normally use in a conversation and avoid stilted language or industry jargon.

In most cases, your talking head video should feel intimate — like you’re sitting across the table having a cup of coffee together with your viewer. Be relatable and seek to share an experience. And even though you may be speaking to a large audience via video, you should still talk as if you’re talking directly to one viewer. Avoid language like, “hey, everyone,” or “all you watching out there.” Keep it personal and familiar.

Use the AIDA Method

If you’re not sure where to start with your script writing, you can always go back to the tried and true A.I.D.A. method. AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. The AIDA model is well known in marketing and advertising circles, and is said to have been used in advertising as far back as the late 1800’s.

The traditional advertising process involves the four stages a consumer moves through when making a purchase decision: Attention, or awareness, is when the consumer — or, in our case, the video viewer — becomes aware of a product or service. Interest is the stage where the consumer becomes engaged and interested in the brand or product. The consumer then develops a want or need for the product. And finally, action is the stage when the consumer becomes the buyer and makes a purchase decision.

This same AIDA advertising process can be used in video script writing, since your video is typically persuading your viewer to take some kind of action or possibly a purchase decision. The beginning of your video script must grab the attention of the viewer, ideally in the first few seconds. Once you’ve gained the viewer’s attention, your video script has to spark interest and keep the viewer engage. Next, your video must create demand and arouse desire around your subject. And finally, your video script has to move the viewer to take action — which is why we insist that every video include a compelling call to action.

Keep the following structure in mind as you develop your video script:

  • Attention: Begin by getting the attention of the viewer.
  • Interest: Discuss what could be happening for them that they would need a
  • product or service like yours. Emphasize a problem they have.
  • Desire: Share your solution and explain why it’s unique, special, different, and will solve their problem.
  • Action: Be specific about how to contact you, how to buy, and what should happen next.

10 Key Online Video Scripting Guidelines

Creating a script for your online video is much different than writing a script for a presentation, speech or live appearance. Scripting for online video is also a much different animal than traditional television or movie scripting.

Writing a script for online video is more personal, and should be more engaging than a typical

“on stage” or “on screen” appearance. With online video, you’re (mostly) initiating a close, one-on-on conversation. You’ve got to speak naturally and conversationally.

In addition, online video scripts are often going to be short and sweet. With online attention spans so limited, you have to be direct and to the point. Keep your script as brief as possible.

With all that in mind, here are some video scripting guidelines to keep you on track:

1. Rule #1: There are no rules.

At least, not in the traditional copywriting sense. Online video is a very personal medium, so don’t follow the old rules from another genre. Make the script yours and don’t be afraid to get away from conventional writing rules.

2. Know your goal.

What’s the point of your video? What do you want the viewer to do? Every word should lead towards your goal.

3. Hook from the start.

You’ve only got a few seconds to capture your viewer’s attention, so grab them from the get-go! Jump right in and get to the point.

4. Use “you” in the first few seconds and keep it personal.

Your viewers want to know what’s in it for them, so use “you” right away and tell your viewer what you’re going to do for them and why you deserve their valuable attention.

5. It’s still a story!

Remember, even though your video should be short and sweet, you still have to tell a story. You can use the time-tested “problem/solution” storyline or other storytelling elements.

6. Speak your target market’s language.

Use words and phrases your audience will understand and relate to. Avoid jargon, and never, ever talk “down” to your viewers.

7. Know your tone/Stay on brand.

Put your personality into your script and stay true to your brand promise. Don’t be afraid to be emotional, funny or quirky — especially if that’s who you are. Keep it real!

8. Talk like you speak.

Be conversational and real. You don’t need your “radio” voice or some stilted language. Your script should real just like you talk in real life.

9. Practice makes perfect.

(But done is still better than perfect!) Rehearse, for sure. But don’t go crazy and do 99 takes just to get it perfect. People aren’t perfect, so practice and be prepared, but don’t go overboard.

10. Always include a strong call to action!

If you skip your call to action, you’ve wasted the entire video. You must state your call to action and tell your viewers exactly what you want them to do next, clearly and directly. Don’t dance around the issue. Give your viewer guidance and get them to take action.

But What Do I Say?

I’ve been helping entrepreneurs and small business owners with video marketing since 2005, and even though video has become simpler and more mainstream, the number one question people ask is always the same: What do I say on video?

What to say and how to say it can be major obstacles to getting your video done and out to the world. If you’re doing video, you’ve obviously got a message to deliver, a story to tell, or a product to sell. So start with that! “Begin with the end in mind,” as goes the famous advice by Stephen Covey.

When crafting your script, you’ll have to determine what message you need to deliver and what action your want your viewer to take. What do you want the viewer to do when the video is over? Be clear, concise and direct with your message’s call to action. Keep your AIDA structure in mind as you write your video script.

As far as weaving storytelling elements into your message, you can write around a theme, a common experience, a memory, or tie in current events or trends. Remember, people remember and respond to stories over stats, so don’t just spew facts — bake in those story elements!

If you need a jumping off point for story ideas, you can look no further than your everyday life. What’s in the news and headlines? What’s happening in pop culture? Can you piggyback on current events, holidays, anniversaries, historic events, or even personal happenings?

You can talk about work, family, favorite memories, proudest moments or life lessons. Or you could tie in historical figures, books, destinations, vacations. Just about anything goes, as long as you tie your story to a reason for telling it, such as a lesson you want to share or a point you want to make.

Also consider that your existing content and intellectual property can be repurposed for video! You can take blog posts, articles you’ve written, classes you’ve taught, or podcasts you’ve recorded and turn that content into videos.

There’s no shortage of video topic ideas, and thus no excuse not to know what to say on your video. In most cases, your video content is going to be driven by your goals and objectives. A “welcome” video on your website’s home page is going to require a different script than a “how to” video for YouTube. The overall purpose of your specific video will ultimately dictate the content of your script.

The 5 Must-Have Videos for Your Business

Take a look at any predictions, trends or business forecasts about marketing and sales and they all agree that Video Marketing will continue to be bigger and more important than ever.

Whether you market your business with email, social media or paid Facebook ads, video has become THE single best way to get seen and get sales on the web. So if you do any kind of business online, video is no longer a luxury – it is a must!

The problem is, most small business owners – even otherwise successful, six- figure coaches — still struggle with getting video “right.” A patchwork of half- assed videos posted inconsistently is not a video marketing strategy!

If you fall into this category, as do most entrepreneurs, then you’re missing opportunities and leaving money on the table. (Not good!)

To get your video act together and claim your share of the online video gold rush, there are five key videos that you need to produce or update: Your home page video, a YouTube video series, a regular video “show,” video emails, and your “about me” video.

Let’s look at each video in more detail:

1. Upgrade Your Home Page Video for Better Conversions and List Growth

Your home page video is your “first impression” video and your best opportunity to introduce yourself and really connect with your web visitors. Since first impressions are lasting impressions, your welcome video better be great! Keep it short, punchy and professional. Make sure you “finish strong” with a clear and compelling call to action. More often than not, that CTA is an opt-in offer so you can grow your list and keep in touch with your new peeps.

2. Revitalize and Optimize Your YouTube Channel with a New Expert Tips Series

There are so many good reasons why you need to have a strong YouTube presence: YouTube is the second largest search engine with billions of visitors daily. The SEO benefits alone are tremendous, and your visibility potential is enormous. If you can’t be found on YouTube, you’re missing a huge opportunity. With “how to” videos being the most popular, an “expert tips” series is your chance to dominate your niche as the “go to” expert. Once you’ve created content-rich videos for YouTube, you’ve still got to optimize those videos with search-friendly titles, keywords, thumbnails, annotations, and other optimization tactics.

3. Create a Regular, Live Streaming Video “Show” for Appointment Viewing

With the advent of free, mass-appeal, live video streaming services like Facebook Live Periscope and YouTube Live, having your own web TV channel is not just a reality, it’s practically a requirement. You can “plant your flag” and build your brand by launching a weekly (or monthly) web TV show – whether it’s a webinar format using Facebook Live, or an interview series on zoom.us, The key is to establish a “beach head” before the space gets any more crowded. When it comes to live streaming, you snooze, you lose!

4. Connect and Engage Your Prospects with a Video Email Campaign

One of the simplest, yet most effective videos you can create is video email. Vmail provides you with a very personal and direct way to connect with your prospects, colleagues and clients. Vmail breaks through the clutter and commands attention. There are several video email resources, and some are free. Check out MailVu.com or, for a more feature-rich (paid) option, look at BombBomb.com.

5. Tell Your Story with an “About Me” Video or “Highlight” Reel

The fifth and final “must have” type of video is your about me or highlight reel video. An “about” video is your opportunity to bring your bio to life and share your story. A video is far more compelling than the usual, printed bio. And if you’re a speaker, you can turbo-charge your about video by making it a highlight or “sizzle” demo reel video. A professionally produced speaker reel is vital if you hope to get bigger and better paid speaking gigs.

The last important puzzle piece is that you must post, distribute and share these videos for maximum reach and visibility. Use every marketing tool at your disposal, including YouTube, social media, email, and even paid advertising on YouTube and/or Facebook.

Video Script Samples

Here are a few additional tips for crafting your video scripts, along with some “fill in the blanks” welcome video script templates:

Two of the first (and easiest) videos you should create for your business are a “welcome” video and an “about me” video. A welcome video, as the name implies, is a short video on your home page we coming visitors to your website. An about video is similar, but is usually more of a personal “bio” video with additional details about your background and experience. Here is a sample outline for each:

WELCOME VIDEO OUTLINE

Purpose: To give your web visitors a positive first impression, introduce them to you, and offer them a brief message about what they can expect to find on your website. Be sure to end with a strong call to action!

  • Open with a short, branded intro (such as a logo reveal or title card) if you have one
  • Introduce yourself to your web visitors as if you’re welcoming someone into your home
  • Briefly tell them who you are, who you serve, and the key result people get from working with (or buying from) you – Focus on the benefit to the viewer – think, what’s in it for them?
  • Give them a very succinct overview of what they can expect to find on your website
  • End with one, direct Call to Action, such as an offer for them to opt-in (sign up) to receive your free report, video series, checklist, or whatever it is you are offering as your opt-in freebie

ABOUT ME VIDEO OUTLINE:

Purpose: To give your web visitors additional details about your background, experience and special skills or talents that could benefit the viewer/visitor. This video can appear on your “About” page, but you can also use it on other platforms, i.e. YouTube, as well.

  • If you have a branded video intro, start with that…
  • Introduce yourself and thank the visitor for taking the time to visit your site
  • Provide some basic background info about you, as it pertains to your prospect
  • Remember to keep your focus on the viewer, who is always thinking “what’s in it for me?” Even though this is an “about me” video, the truth is you still have to make it “about them!”
  • Talk a bit about your target market, and how you help them. Focus on the solutions you provide and the benefits your clients or customers receive.
  • Close with an invitation to learn more by giving your email address or a way for prospects to “continue the conversation.”

WELCOME VIDEO SCRIPT TEMPLATE

HI, THIS IS _______________ AND IN THE NEXT____ MINUTES, I’M GOING TO (tell, reveal, explain, demonstrate) SHOW YOU HOW TO ________________(final outcome or key benefit). (Optional: Insert show open, graphics or animation here)

AS A ____________ (your expertise), I’VE HELPED (your target marketing) DO/HAVE/BE (result your target market gets). THAT’S WHY I WANT TO

HELP YOU ________________ (go into a bit more retail about what you do for people — What is the ultimate benefit they can gain from working with you?) I CAN HELP YOU (benefit(s) SO YOU CAN (ultimate outcome)

Share a key tip here or give them a small taste of what you provide — offer some value here to enhance your credibility… HERE’S HOW YOU CAN__________________________________ (or HERE ARE 3 QUICK TIPS TO_____________________________________)

IF YOU’D LIKE TO FIND OUT MORE (tease other benefits you provide), (call or sign-up) JUST ENTER YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE SPACE PROVIDED, AND I’LL SEND YOU (your freebie or offer)_____________________________________________ SIGN UP NOW, SO YOU CAN START (benefit of your freebie or giveaway)_______________ (Be sure to reiterate your call to action! Tell the viewer exactly what you want them to do next — whether it’s to sign up on your email list, call you, email you, visit your store location, etc.) THANKS FOR WATCHING, AND I HOPE TO TALK WITH YOU SOON…

PRODUCT SALES VIDEO SCRIPT TEMPLATE:

Note: There are dozens of ways to tell the story of your product or service, but one of the most popular is the tried and true “problem/solution” formula. This translates well to video, because it gives you the opportunity to show your target market how YOU are the solution they are looking for. Here’s a sample:

YOU NEED (outcome client desires), BUT GETTING (outcome) CAN BE A REAL HASSLE… (Obstacle #1) CAN BE CHALLENGING, (Obstacle #2) CAN MAKE IT NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE , AND SOMETIMES IT FEELS LIKE THE ENTIRE PROCESS IS SETTING YOU UP FOR FAILURE. WELL, FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION, SO SAY HELLO TO (your company), a (describe your business) that (solution your company provides).

WHETHER YOU’RE A (primary target market) OR A (secondary target market), WE’RE HERE TO HELP! WE (solution or outcome you provide), SO YOU CAN (ultimate benefit your customer receives). AFTER ALL, EVERYONE DESERVES (value or benefit you provide) WITHOUT THE FEAR OF (frustration or obstacle your customer faces). (Call to action here!) CALL, EMAIL, OR CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO GET STARTED. TAKE THE FIRST STEP TODAY TOWARDS (solving the big problem your customer wants solved!)

EXPLAINER VIDEO/DID YOU KNOW? SAMPLE:

DID YOU KNOW (insert little known fact about your industry)? IN THE PAST, (your target market) WAS LIMITED TO (customer challenge or limitation), BUT NOW (your target) HAS TO (new challenges or responsibilities of your target) JUST TO STAY ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION. THAT’S NOT EASY, BUT (your company) CAN MAKE IT A WHOLE LOT EASIER. WE HAVE THE RESOURCES TO SUPPORT (your customer) INCLUDING (your unique feature) TO HELP YOU (benefit), AND (your feature), SO YOU CAN (customer benefit). WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR INDUSTRY IS MOVING QUICKLY, WHICH IS WHY WE’RE DEDICATED TO (what you do to help your clients win). WE TAKE CARE OF (problem your customer has) SO YOU NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT (problem) AGAIN. (Customer’s industry) MAY BE CHANGING FAST, BUT (your company name) KEEPS YOU ON THE LEADING EDGE, SO YOU CAN (ultimate customer goal). (Call to action) TALK TO US TODAY, AND FIND OUT HOW YOU, TOO CAN (achieve the big client need or desire)!

Script Cheat Sheet — Using the AIDA formula…

What are you going to talk about/Why should they listen

Who you are and who you serve (target market)

What you can do for them — What’s the result you get?

Why they want what you can provide — Ultimate benefit Small taste or sample of the value you provide.

Call to action — What should they do next? Give the viewer specific directions for the next step…

Scripting Tips

Before we wrap up our discussion on your video premise and message, let’s look at the nuts and bolts of video scripting:

Most videos you’ll be creating, such as your welcome video, a video tips series, or sales videos, should be relatively short. This is both by design and necessity. People have extremely limited attention spans on the web, so you’ve got to deliver your message as efficiently as possible.

In fact, if you’ve got a lot of information to share, or your content requires more time to explain, you may want to break up those longer videos into shorter, bite-sized segments. The trends continue to favor videos that are short and sweet.

So how long should your video actually be? According to a recent report by Vidyard, the average length of a business video is 8 minutes. However, that figured is skewed high because of long-form video content like webinars.

The majority of videos (56%) are less than 2 minutes long, while almost three- quarters of all videos published in the last year are less than 4 minutes long, says the Vidyard study. (See the pretty chart below!)

The real answer is less scientific: Your video should be no longer than it needs to be, since most of us have the attention span of a flea! I usually advise my video coaching clients to keep their videos under two minutes whenever possible.

Brevity also makes your job easier, as it’s simpler to write and deliver a shorter script!

And while this entire module is devoted to script writing, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to script out your entire video, word for word. Ultimately, you have to find a messaging process that works for you, whether that’s writing out your entire script, using a storyboard or outline, or simply writing out bullet points and ad-libbing your delivery.

Most beginners will likely want the security of a full script, but if you prefer a simple outline or bullet points, that’s totally fine. You have to find what your most comfortable with, and whatever is going to feel most natural for you as you deliver your script — particularly if you’re doing a traditional, on-camera video.

If you prefer working off an outline, be sure to include your key points and keep your AIDA structure in mind. One advantage of using an outline or bullet points is that you won’t sound too stilted or look like you’re reading. Obviously, the more familiar you are with your material, the more natural you’ll sound.

Another great debate that comes up around the concept of script writing is whether or not to use a teleprompter. Again, this is going to be a personal decision based on your preferences. You may assume that using a prompter is easier, but it actually takes quite a bit of practice to read from a teleprompter. Sure, all the words are in front of you, but getting the timing right as the words scroll is an acquired skill.

I’ve had many clients who have used their laptop or iPad as a teleprompter (using software such as Teleprompt+), but in the end, many went back to using an outline and abandoning the prompter. Again, it takes practice to look as though you’re not reading and your eyes are not going from left to right as you read the words off the screen.

Whether you’re using a teleprompter or ad-libbing without a formal script, it’s a good idea to at least memorize your script open and close, so you’ll start and finish strong and confident. Of course, the best advice is simply to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

If you choose to write out your script, keep in mind that the average person speaks at about 140 words per minute. So if you want your final video to be under three minutes, your script target is just 420 words. And it’s not just a matter of putting words on a page, because writing does not sound like speaking! As such, you have to “write for the camera,” and make your written script as conversational and natural-sounding as possible.

Lastly, if whether you’re using your webcam, iPhone, iPad or any other device as your camera, be sure to look at the camera lens, not the screen! This takes practice, and you have to be ever cognizant of where the camera lens is located on your recording device.

When all is said and done, you have to do what works for you. My own admittedly “low-tech” solution is often simply to put a post-it note on my computer screen with a 2 or 3 key bullet points! You’ll find your own best practices, whether it’s taping notes on the screen, using a full fledged script, or using a teleprompter.

Video Vision: Back to the Future

Another aspect of your Video Premise is your overall “video vision.” What this really represents is looking at your videos not just from an individual video or script, but in terms of the big picture. As you develop your video scripts for your “must have” videos and other video projects, you must ask: where does each video fit into your grand scheme?

When you consider your bigger “video vision,” think in terms of your master plan and overall business goals and objectives. With a video vision that supports your brand, you’ll be able to better plan what to say in each video and how that supports the “big picture.” Again, each individual video becomes a building block of your brand.

Earlier in this module we touched upon your “video vision,” and we looked at your 5 “must have” videos, along with ideas for dozens of other types of videos and topics for your videos. Your video vision is where you get to put those puzzles pieces in place to see what makes the most sense for your specific business objectives. Your video priorities will be different based on your marketing goals. Someone who sells online courses is going to have a different video plan than an author who is releasing a new book every year or two.

Go back to your big picture business questions to develop your own video vision:

  • How will you use video to support your business goals?
  • How can you ensure that you’ll use video consistently?
  • Where do you want your business to be in a year?
  • What are your key business initiatives for the year?
  • Where and when will you use video to support your goals?
  • How can video supplement and support your existing initiatives?

Once you’ve answered those broader video vision questions, you can then drill down to determine what you need for your individual videos by ask the following:

  • What do your want your video to accomplish? 
  • What kind of video do you want to create?
  • What do your want your video to accomplish? 
  • What is your key message?
  • What do you want your viewer to do? (CTA) 
  • How will you get them to do it?
  • Where will you distribute/promote/share your video? 
  • How will you follow up and plan your next steps?

Armed with your information about both your big picture goals and the individual videos you’ll need to reach those goals, you can now create your customized Video Editorial Calendar. Your Video Calendar is where the rubber meets the road and you commit to specific dates for your video marketing initiatives.

When I work with my own video coaching clients, I recommend that they tackle this in quarterly increments. Creating a 90-day video marketing plan (using our Video Editorial Calendar) keeps us on track, without getting overwhelmed by the thought of planning out our videos for an entire year. (Though you can certainly try that if you’re feeling ambitious!)

The Video Editorial Calendar is not created in a vacuum, but rather is built upon your existing marketing and business initiatives. Look at your key objectives for the next 90 days, and begin to determine where and how video can support those objectives.

Do you have a product launch planned that you can better promote with video?

What about a specific sale on a new product or service? (You’ll need promo videos for that!)

Are you having a live or virtual event that will require video promotion support?

How about webinars, tele-seminars or summits that would benefit from video support?

Perhaps your rebranding or launching a new website. Again video will play a key role!

Once you’ve got your annual business plan and marketing initiatives in place, you can plot out your Video Editorial Calendar, indicating the dates and milestones where video will be needed.

Plan out your 90-day calendar, and be sure to include time for video production, editing, distribution, and all video-related activities. This will keep you on track and allow you the prep time needed to plug in your videos. When will you shoot the video? Put it in the Video Editorial Calendar. When will you post the video? Add it to the calendar!

Committing this to paper (or digital calendar) will keep you accountable and keep you on schedule and ahead of the curve when it comes to video marketing. And that’s how video planning and video premise work together to make you successful!

Overcoming Videophobia

Of course, once you’ve got words on a page or bullet point on an outline, you’ve still got to deliver your script — particularly if it’s a traditional, on-camera video. Writing the script is half the battle, but speaking your script and actually saying the words on camera is the next hurdle.

Performing on camera isn’t necessarily a challenge for everyone, but for most folks it’s not something they relish. If you’re narrating your script over images or slides, it may be a bit less intimidating, but it’s still an acquired skill.

Obviously, you can’t do video marketing without doing video and, at some point, that’s going to mean being on camera. Appearing in front of the camera can strike fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned entrepreneurs — a condition I describe as “videophobia.”

Most of us suffer some level of videophobia, and precious few actually relish the thought of talking into a webcam or smartphone. After all, unless we’re actors, news anchors, or Kardashians, being on camera isn’t something we do every day. It’s outside our comfort zone. It’s not natural. In fact, it’s not even like speaking from the stage. So, like any new skill, it has to be learned and practiced.

Ask 100 small business owners why they haven’t yet used video to promote their products and services, and 95 of them will admit that it’s fear of being on camera. Of course, if we break it down further, we hear common concerns such as “I don’t like how I look on camera,” or “I’m afraid I’ll screw up and make a fool of myself.” Shooting on-camera video is akin to public speaking, and we know how most folks feel about that!

While these are all legitimate fears, they are certainly not insurmountable obstacles. Granted, women have it harder than men to get “camera ready,” but, believe me, us guys have our share of bad hair days and times when we’re just not ready for prime time.

The surprising part of all this is that many entrepreneurs avoid the camera despite the fact that they understand the marketing power of online video. In fact, videophobia may be the only thing standing between you and the business success that video marketing provides.

So what should you do if you suffer from videophobia? Why should you miss out on the most powerful marketing tool available today?

Here are a few remedies to consider if you are one of the many business owners afflicted with videophobia:

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice. – As the saying goes, all things are difficult before they are easy. But with time, patience and persistence, video does get easier. It’s often a matter of trial and error, so put in the time to practice and rehearse. Even the highest paid movie stars do a dozen takes to get a scene right, so why shouldn’t you? The more familiar you are with your script and the more you actually recite it out loud, the better it will be. There’s simply no substitute for practice. Rehearse. Retake. Repeat.
  2. Get Creative. Get Crazy. Get in Character. – Despite my 20 plus years in the television business, I was terrified of being on camera when I first started doing online video. I had always been on the other side of the camera, so suddenly being the center of attention was scary. One solution was to hide behind costumes and characters. I put my kids in my videos, my pets or props – anything to take the focus off me! Ironically, this worked like a charm and I became known for my wacky “LouTube” videos and crazy characters like Director Cecil B. DeMoron. It’s a great way to lose yourself in the process and conquer your nerves. Creating characters, personas or alter-egos can be fun and liberating! Think outside the screen and see what you come up with.
  3. Face Your Fear Head On. – There’s always the philosophy of “feel the fear and do it anyway,” and “action cures fear.” There comes a time when you just have to suck it up and do it. You may have to get outside your comfort zone to be on camera, but the end result is well worth it. Your initial efforts may be trying, but simply forging ahead and tackling the task will make you a better on camera “performer.” The more you do it, the easier it will become.
  4. Do an Interview. – This trick works wonders, because it’s always easier to do video when there are two people involved. When it comes to video, two heads are easier than one. Having a partner or co-host takes a lot of the pressure off you, and can make the entire process more enjoyable. Facebook Live, Zoom, or even Skype make it easy to do video interviews or “two-shots,” even if you and your co-star are on different continents. Interviews or panel discussions with two or more guests on camera can also take some of the focus (and fear) away from you. Enlist a friend or colleague and have some fun with it.
  5. Relax and Be Yourself. – You do not have to be a celebrity or reality TV star to be on camera. YouTube and other mainstream video platforms have made it possible for anyone, anywhere, anytime to be on screen. People are watching videos to be entertained or educated. In many cases, they are looking to solve a particular problem. That means that it’s your content that counts. Focus on your message. Share your story. Put your personality into your video, whether you’re a gregarious extrovert or a card-carrying introvert. Be yourself and do what comes naturally.

Of course, being on camera is not the only way to create great video. Even off- camera videos can be effective. Still, for making a connection and establishing that all-important “know, like and trust” factor, there’s nothing more powerful than appearing on screen.

So next we’re going to talk about what it takes to appear on screen, as we delve into the ins and outs of video production! Armed with your Video Purpose, and your Video Premise, you’re now ready for Video Production!

Recommendation: The Best Software For Creating Marketing Videos

If you want to save time creating high-quality marketing videos, I recommend using VideoCreator.

Using VideoCreator, you can now create all types of videos for any marketing objective.

The software includes animated transitions, 3D elements, and animations. You may have seen other video creation apps before, but VideoCreator offers over 600+ unique templates on its front end alone.

In just a few clicks, you can easily create scroll stoppers, product promos, e-commerce videos, motion tracking videos, explainer videos, animated videos, social media videos, and any other type of video you can possibly imagine.

Using other apps, users can only create short videos of 30 seconds. The VideoCreator application lets you create animated videos of any length.

Whatever your skill level may be, you can create videos with hundreds of customizable templates in minutes. Aside from that, the collection of royalty-free assets lets you customize any video to your liking.

To learn more about VideoCreator, you can read my comprehensive VideoCreator review first. 

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