As you can see, I’ve been working on my first video blog post - or “Vlog post” when I’m trying to sound cool. Haha. I tried to share a bit of how I’m thinking about the challenge of getting started with video content and what I’m learning through the process. I hope it helps my readers think through video as a content tool and makes starting the creation process seem more approachable.
I’m getting started with video because I think it’s such a valuable customer communication tool. No other channel - apart from face to face - is able to convey so much context and personality. As my business grows, video presents an opportunity to communicate and share information with my audience in a format that is scalable and also helps them get to know me better.
Believe me, getting started is intimidating and I feel that as much as anybody. There is a lot of strategy to work out, as well as a daunting list of tactical concerns.
At a strategic level, you need to figure out your goals, who you’re talking to and how you can be of service to them.
Then there are tactical concerns about equipment, lighting, audio, scripting - or maybe unscripting. You also need to think about your distribution strategy. Where and when will you use this video? It’s a lot to figure out.
I take comfort in knowing I don’t have to get it perfect. Thank goodness because, especially at this point, my work is FAR from perfect!
But I’m a big believer in the power of honesty and authenticity. I think people respond to the realness of a less manicured version. So while it’s scary, I think putting myself out there - flaws and all - has real upside. If I can manage to share openly and honestly, I think my audience will forgive the weaknesses in my production quality and stage presence.
Consequently, I’m just not that concerned with putting together perfectly polished videos. Anyone with significant TV or video experience would probably be horrified with my final product. I can live with that and i think my viewers can too.
I’m more interested in finding the 80-20 balance with my videos. How can I get 80% of the way to a perfectly polished video presentation, yet only commit 20% of the time and money that you could easily spend. This first piece is still far from reaching 80% polish, but that’s the longer term goal and I’m confident that I’ll keep improving and get there eventually.
Don’t get me wrong - I want my work to be engaging, both from a visual and content perspective. So I’ll keep experimenting and getting better with every piece. I’ll try different styles, formats, etc. Some things will fail but I’ll find others that work.
To try to keep things visually interesting, I’ll experiment with different shooting locations and camera angles. Inside, outside, whiteboard presentations, guest interviews, walk and talk selfie style - I don’t know what will work yet but I suspect I’ll know success when I see it. Plus, I’ll get feedback from my audience… so that’s on you.
I know I need to work on some of the basics as soon as possible. For one, lighting makes a big difference in the presentation. But I’m also not going to get too worried about it or make a big lighting equipment investment. With some more research and creativity, I think I can continue putting together a functional lighting setup with a small budget and visits to the hardware store.
Audio is another key component in production quality. Terrible audio is distracting and unprofessional. That’s one area I did make a bit of an investment, but again, not a huge one. There are also some creative ways to hack together good audio. If you’re inventive, you can do a lot with a well placed smartphone or standard earbuds that have a built-in microphone. It takes a few more steps in editing but it’s doable.
I’ll fight the urge to knit pick small mistakes and then hide those failures. Imperfection comes across as transparent and maybe even likeable - at least that’s what I’ll tell myself.
By far my biggest focus with video - and any content creation really - is sharing my story honestly and producing work that will be useful to the small businesses and organizations I aim to serve.
Please forgive all this talk about me - that’s generally a red flag in creating content. But my hope is that by using myself as an example, I’ll encourage others to take the leap into video. Your final product doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, I see advantages to imperfection.
So take a risk. Start exploring video as a way to better introduce yourself, provide value to your audience and share your expertise. There is so much to gain - and you may even find that it’s fun.
- Video’s power as a communication tool is it’s ability to convey so much personality and context
- Getting started is intimidating - but your goal shouldn’t be anything approaching perfection
- Honesty and authenticity will compel your audience to cut you slack on your production quality
- Put some thought and effort into getting your lighting and audio to at least a minimally acceptable level
- Disclaimer - I clearly didn’t nail the lighting and audio in every shot this time around
- With some creativity and effort - You can achieve 80% polish with just 20% of the budget
- Let the mistakes be - some imperfection can be charming
- Put the majority of your effort into being honest and providing value to your audience
- Get started sooner than later - The sooner you start the sooner you improve