How do you feel about being caught on camera? Or talking to camera? Do you revel in the spotlight or want to go and hide?
I think many of us fall into the latter category. I know I certainly do. But when you read that 80% of audiences would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog…well, it brings you up a bit short.
Especially if you make your living as a writer.
Now, you could dismiss this, as it was research done in the US by Livestream. And it was focused on live video, which is their business. But, no smoke without fire as they say. And Cisco says that by 2022, 82% of all internet traffic will be video content.
But even as a writer, I am excited about the added dimension video might bring to things, and for one very clear reason.
People buy from people
Proving that we are living, breathing humans is a step in the journey of a potential customer from being completely unaware of you, through knowing you, to liking you, and then trusting you.
If you think about it, it’s hard to connect with people with no profile pictures on any of the social channels. I think it’s rarer to see the old egg avatar on Twitter these days, but that made you think about people. But I guess as bots and drivers of fake news have grown more sophisticated then maybe it’s harder than ever to spot.
Now, we know you can fake videos, but if you show up consistently, and regularly, then it’s got an air of authenticity. I follow one guy on Instagram who appears to do each morning’s video while he’s still in bed, with the quilt pulled up to his chin. It obviously works for him. I’m never going down that road.
But I’m pretty sure he’s a real human being, doing what he says he does.
So, what should you consider doing on the video content front?
Go simple and real
I had breakfast at the fabulous Town Mill Bakery at the weekend. Stood waiting for my sourdough to toast, I was fascinated watching Bethany the baker icing the most spectacular 3 layer sponge cake.
I know from their posts that she doesn’t like being on camera, but that was a really simple, beautiful, slightly hypnotic bit of short video just asking to be made. Of course, there’s lots of competition, but you’re looking to make content for your group of people, not everybody.
A one-off isn’t going to have much impact, but maybe every time there’s a new kind of cake, or a new bread, then they could create something simple, quick and real. Not overly staged, not massively edited, just the story of what goes on every day to make that place the delicious place it is to stop in any time of the day.
Spontaneous and fascinating beats edited and perfectly crafted in my view. Use it on Twitter, on your Instagram and Facebook Stories, places where people are just looking to dip in and out.
Go behind the scenes
We all love being a bit nosy. Curiosity is just the polite word for it. So, in the cake icing example above, instead of just the hypnotic cakes going round on an icing turntable and getting covered in butter cream, then you show more of the skill.
Or the time-lapse version of the bread making process. Now, that I would find hypnotic.
It’s still about working with what you’ve got. Your smart phone gives you a powerful video camera, and editing apps are easily available, cheap (if not free) and simple. No need for scripts, production or lots of people. Just give it a go.
Meet the team
Linking both behind the scenes and people buying from people, meeting your team gives people the real inside edge. Don’t give them scripts, don’t make them corporate, just let them tell it as it is.
They could tell the story of why they work with you, or what it is that makes them tick. They could talk about what they get up to outside of work.
Basically, think of the worst corporate video you’ve ever seen, and do the opposite.
Make it accessible
Other than for your very off the cuff, quick videos, then it’s worth looking at captioning your video. Firstly, it makes it accessible to everyone, and that has got to be a good thing. Give people what they need.
Secondly, not everyone watches videos with the sound on. So, they like to watch AND read. Give them what they want. It also helps watch time, which is a key metric for any videos that you produce.
Thirdly. Google. They always turn up with everything we do. Adding captions and transcripts allows Google to crawl the content. Closed-captioned videos rank higher in search results than those without, so definitely worth the effort.
Turn it into a blog post
And so we come full circle. People are still reading; they’re just not only reading. There are services that can turn the audio into the written word. Make the post, promote the post. Repeat.
What do your people want to see from you?
As with all your content, you need to make stuff that people will want to see from you. Will it entertain them? Will it tell them something that helps them, that solves a problem? It doesn’t matter what you make, as long as it’s what people who like what you do would want to hear it from you.
What are you waiting for?
I can only share my own experience. I have put this off for ages, and there’s always a reason to put things off that scare you. But in the end, I just had to dive in. So far, I’ve made two videos. One I appeared in, one had my somewhat extensive gin collection in it.
They both got reasonable engagement, in line with a good performing blog post. The video was just me talking, being frank about what an idiot I felt about getting caught out by the changes at MailChimp. I was talking as one small business owner to another, and hopefully one human to another.
Production values were low, but hopefully, message value was higher. And if I stick to my guns, then I’ll have done another one before this post goes live. I’d love your thoughts and comments if you’ve seen either of them.
So, if I can do them, so can you. So, what are you waiting for? Get the cameras rolling.