videoBy Laura Petrolino

For a good portion of my life, I was fairly certain I was going to be a famous movie star.

So much so when I was 12 I told my parents I HAD to have a subscription to People Magazine to “keep up with my peers.”

I also had my entire career mapped out—how I would rise to stardom doing Broadway musicals and then make my triumphant transition to the silver screen.

I’d win five Oscars and three Tonys (I wrote the acceptance speeches to all of these sometime between the ages of 9 and 12).

Finally, I’d retire from acting at the age of 35 and become the youngest and first female President.

It was an ambitious, yet solid plan.

At this writing, I have yet to be discovered, however I figure that it’s only a matter of time (I mean the world can only wait so long, right?)

In the meantime, I quite enjoy taking advantage of the opportunities the amateur video production provides me to be a mini-digital starlet.

Viva Video! Viva!

The democratization of video not only allows me to practice my “art” while waiting for that big break, it also provides a way for all of us to have a more personal dialogue with viewers and consumers.

Video is something we use readily here at Arment Dietrich.

We have our weekly “Beyond the Blog” video series, Gini’s Views, and a large and informative stockpile of Facebook Questions of the Week.

We also constantly look for additional ways we can use this medium (and have a few other really fun things we are thinking about adding to our video library soon).

We like to work with video to help provide a face and a sense of intimacy to our Spin Sucks community, but also because we recommend our clients use video in their communications strategies.

We see ourselves as the ultimate testing ground for the tactics and strategies we recommend.

Most companies avoid video for two main reasons: They aren’t sure what to say and they are scared about not being sure what to say.

Today, friends, we are going to eliminate both of those excuses with some simple strategies to kiss your video fears goodbye!

Say it With Video

Everyone knows you need to diversify your portfolio… your content portfolio that is!

Diversification allows you to connect with more visitors because you are providing a wide variety of ways for them to learn and absorb your content.

More often than not, companies look at video as separate from their content strategy instead of as a crucial part of it.

This leaves them clueless as to ways they can make it a part of what they do.

Look at your content strategy and ask yourself:

  • How can we support what we are writing about with video additions?
  • How can we replace some of what we are writing about with video?

Some examples include:

  • Add a video interview with a subject matter expert to a blog reviewing that subject.
  • Support a “how-to” blog with a video tutorial taking viewers through steps visually.
  • Feature a customer, team member, or community member on your blog and having them do a quick Q&A  video as part of their feature.
  • Showcase a recent offline event with a video that interviews attendees and shows clips from the actual event.
  • A weekly FAQ that answers the questions most asked by customers.
  • Ask community members or customers to submit their own videos of how they use your product or service.
  • Man-on-the-street interviews to bust common myths in your industry.

All of these things could theoretically be done solely in written form. But why would you write it when you can add so much more with a splash of video?

Ask the Right Questions

The best place to start is to get your team together and collect ideas as you might for any other content development strategy.

  • What questions do customers most often ask?
  • What obstacles do they face when they make a purchase decision?
  • What common mistakes are made in the industry?
  • What confuses people most about what you do?
  • What do you wish you could help every customer understand?

Gather your answers and schedule video as part of your overall editorial calendar.

Banish Camera Shyness

So, now you have a solid idea of what you are going to do on video. The next crucial step is to do it!

Sometimes the fear of the lens is the number one obstacle in creating a successful video content strategy.

Luckily, today you are getting a lesson from the world’s number one camera hog on how to overcome this fear and conquer the screen.

Record Yourself

Record yourself casually talking or singing so you start to feel comfortable both having a camera in front of your face and seeing yourself on video.

This will also help you learn what nervous quirks or verbal ticks to avoid when you start producing video for real.

Prepare Your Way

Some people need to have a script ahead of time, not to read, but to know what they will say.

Some do better just to ad lib.

I’m very much in the second camp.

Sometimes, I have a basic idea of what I’m going to say. But often I just get on camera and start talking.

I find the story forms itself when I vocalize in this way.

Everyone is different—the secret is finding what works best for you.

Ta da!

You have the plan, you have the tools, and you have now graduated from the PetroPower school of camera hog-tasticness!

Go out and make me proud!

Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is chief marketing officer for Spin Sucks, an integrated marketing communications firm that provides strategic counsel and professional development for in-house and agency communications teams. She is a weekly contributor for their award-winning blog of the same name. Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

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