When you communicate your message with people or an audience via video or audio content, it can be a very intimate exchange. Think about it for a minute. Its just you and them. Your either looking at them via the camera or they are listening to you via headphones – video or podcast. You’re connecting and it can be powerful.
I’ve long believed that video was going to be the main tool for me to deliver either my own message or someone else’s. It’s why I founded SME TV & Podcast YouTube Channel, and why business owners ask me to help them tell their story. Over the past 10 years we have recorded more than 3000 podcasts and nearly 300 episodes of SME News & Views for our channel.
Everyone has a story, but business owners are often either too shy or too busy to consider staring in their own production. And even if they can get other media to tell a tiny piece of their story, its usually only a 90 second clip. My biggest gripe – and what inspired me to start SME TV, was that the interviewer or journalist usually had no idea about my business other than what they read from my bio. We are all so much more than that right?
When you consider the science of buying, what influences customers to pick you or buy your product, what decision is made and when it’s made, its nearly always going to come back to trust and what you did to earn it.
The customer experience begins with how you tell your story, and there can be no more powerful way to do this than with video.
Now I’m not saying that it’s that simple – pick up a tripod, slap on your iPhone and suddenly your Spielberg…No. It doesn’t work like that. Maybe it can for those who are mini celebs, or who are feeding a vanity channel. It works well for those who have that rough look to their brand and for doing those short bursts of content that suits them. But if you want to stand out in a noisy world you need to define how your story will look and sound, and its not always about convenience.
Let’s begin with basics like where, when, and why! I bet you thought I was going to say hair, makeup, and lighting, right? Nope. Those are way down the list. Still very very important (Im hardly one to say otherwise), but not part of the infrastructure of delivering your story.
Where: think about what the place represents in terms of noise, distractions etc. You don’t want a fabulous piece recorded where you look amazing and sound so great that your already writing your Oscar acceptance speech only to later see you got video bombed by a shifty by stander…..Studios can feel clinical and often lack warmth but make up for it in other ways – like incredible lighting and technical brilliance.
When: I always recommend for my clients to pick a time of day or day of the week when they will be fresh and least likely to be stressed. If your tired it shows, no matter how great the lighting or the concealer or any other trick you might have (I have a couple, DM me and I will share). Tired is in the eyes, not just around them.
Why: this is literal. Why do you want to do a video or podcast? It must have a purpose, otherwise you will produce rubbish and damage or set back your brand. Credibility and trust can’t be bought, again no matter how great the lighting, a lack of substance from the talent (that’s you 😊) will send any piece dark.
Ok, Im going to gloss over the hair and makeup and just say get a professional, assuming of course you’re getting a professional piece done. If you’re shooting yourself, then I recommend you make an effort to look presentable. Im a great fan of professional hair and makeup for ANY occasion when it involves something that could be shared thousands and thousands of times. But when Im doing the iphone self- stuff, I will often go without makeup because that’s the tone of my message. BUT, whatever your brand look is, do yourself a favour and remember that potential clients or customers will watch. Presentable doesn’t mean little effort, it means you’re not going to the ball Cinderella, but you’re not cleaning the fire place either. So much for glossing over this bit.
Whether you choose to do a one off video, a series, produce a stream to spinoff your brand or make a documentary of your product (yep, even products have a story separate to their owner) if you do nothing else, make a storyboard. Plan it. Visualise it. Pay attention to the details because others will 100%, and its less stressful that way. I once took a crew to shoot 10 videos for myself in one day on location. If we hadn’t done a storyboard, I never would have been able to ad lib to camera (its hard to memorise a script).
What I love the most about interviewing business owners on SME TV is sharing their shine. It’s the way people light up when they talk about their business – what they produce or sell. That’s what I strive for, everybody and every business has a story, you just need to care enough to find it, and care enough to share it.