The verdict is in: consumers want to see videos from companies and brands. But, if you’re just starting out, hopping on the online video bandwagon can be daunting – especially when it requires you to get in front of a camera.
One of the biggest factors keeping small businesses from creating videos is that speaking on camera can be downright scary. But not to worry – we spoke with online video personality and certified YouTube consultant Tim Schmoyer to glean some expert advice for camera shy business owners and their teams. Our interview was inspired by a recent ReelSEO post featuring Tim’s tips for introverted video marketers.
The first step to feeling comfortable on camera is feeling comfortable with yourself. Tim explains, “You could be the most outgoing person in the world, but if you are self-critical you won’t be happy with any video you see of yourself.” Avoid the self-critical monster by preparing for your on-camera debut with a routine that makes you feel good about You.
If you’re not happy with what you see in the mirror then you won’t be happy with what you see on camera. Choose an outfit you feel comfortable in, get your hair and makeup in a state you feel good about. Just don’t forget that “how you’re dressed [also] plays a big role in how you are perceived.” Tim suggests that when you get dressed for your shoot you “consider your target audience,” along with what makes you feel comfortable. “Wear something that conveys the image you’re trying to present and doesn’t detract from the message that you’re sharing.” A suit might be appropriate for a real estate agent or financial professional, for instance, while a restaurant chef might wear the white coat and hat he wears on the job.
“One thing I’ve noticed with my own videos is that if I’m really tired, that comes across,” says Tim. To feel more comfortable on camera, and present your best self in your videos, it’s important to “shoot when you feel most energized.”
“What energizes people is different for different people.” For some it might be after a cup of coffee; for others at the beginning of the day before all their calls and emails or at the end of the day once all the work is done. Figure out when you feel most energized and plan your shoot around that.
Thinking about winging it? If you’re reciting a pitch you’ve recited a million times or are super confident with what you’re going to say, this might work. However, Tim suggests that “if you’re just getting started it might be useful to have a script so you don’t get off track or ramble too much.”
You don’t need to memorize your script word-for-word, but having what you are going to say mapped out will go a long way in making you feel more comfortable once you’re standing in front of the camera. Learn your key points and the order in which you’ll talk about them as best you can before you begin shooting, but if you need to reference your outline or script during your shoot that’s okay too – you can edit out any mistakes when it comes time to make your video.
Feel weird talking to a camera? Tim suggests pretending that the camera is one of your customers. “When I talk to a camera, I’m no longer looking at the camera. I’m imagining the people that are going to be watching the video. That makes a huge difference.”
“If you’re just getting started and you don’t feel comfortable talking to the camera, that’s fine. You can shoot your video interview-style and have a friend or co-worker stand behind the camera while you talk to them.” When using this method, make sure the placement of the person behind the camera doesn’t make it look like you’re staring off into some weird part of space. Ideally, the person behind the camera should position their face right behind the lens (if you still want it to look like you’re talking into the camera) or they should stand off at a 45 degree angle so that you’re looking off-screen in a more traditional interview style.
While talking on camera may feel awkward at first, take solace in the fact that “the more you do it, the more comfortable it feels.” And if you don’t get it right the first time, don’t feel bad. Tim says, “for every video I do, there’s always something that takes me about eight or nine takes to get right.”
Unless you’re shooting live – at an event or speaking with a remote group via video, for instance – you’ve got the freedom to shoot as many takes as you need to get a result you’re pleased with. And if you don’t get it perfect, that’s okay too – if you looked like a hired actor, your video wouldn’t be authentic. Just be yourself, let your personality shine through and you’ll give your customers even more to love about your business.
What do you do to feel more comfortable on camera? Share your tips with us in the comments.
Tim Schmoyer created his first YouTube channel on March 2, 2006, and started making videos with the girl who later became his wife. Since then he’s created and published over 2,000 videos, amassed millions of views, hundreds of thousands of subscribers, won video contests, worked with some of the country’s top brands and became officially certified by YouTube in “Audience Growth.” In 2013 he started Video Creators to train other creators to master the YouTube platform and use it as a place to spread messages that change lives.
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