012: 5 Questions To Ask Before Pressing Record
The podcast dedicated to giving you a no-bullshit look at what it takes to build relationships through video. This is for the scared, the overwhelmed, and the awkward as fuck, and all those who believe diy doesn't have to mean amateur but don't know where to start ...
Welcome to the Video Matters podcast.
In this episode ...
This episode is dedicated to all of you who want your videos to actually do something for your business, rather than just be a tick-box exercise in content creation where you’re really just slinging spaghetti at the wall.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the seeing what sticks technique is tried and tested by 99% of us online biz owners, myself included. But there is a slightly better way to do things that may reduce some of the frustration.
While strategy isn’t in my wheelhouse as such, the process of creating video content very much is, so I’m going to share with you the 5 questions you should be asking yourself before you press record to help make your videos work for you, instead of the other way around.
Before I get stuck in, I want to say something that I know I’ve said before but I think bears repeating. Audience experience is key.
If you’re not putting your audience’s experience at the heart of everything you create, and that goes for everything not just video, then what you’re creating has a higher chance of not working for you. Because if your audience don’t enjoy it they’re not going to consume it, they’re certainly not going to tell other people about it, and they’re definitely not coming back for more.
I have two words for you in that situation.
Keeping your audience’s experience front and centre often means more work, which is why I think some people don’t put too much effort into making sure they’re baking it into everything they do. But I also think that a lot of people really just don’t think about it because they don’t realise they should.
So consider this your public service announcement, audience experience makes or breaks your business.
When you ask yourself the following questions, I want you to remember that and make sure the way you answer keeps that in mind. If it’s down to a choice between easy for you or a great audience experience, always always go for audience experience.
The best part about these questions is that they work for every single video you will ever make. Check me and my bold controversial statements out, but it’s true.
By asking these questions, you’re always going to create a video with intention, that’s targeted and resonates with the audience you’ve aimed it at. Regardless of the equipment that you use, regardless of whether it’s a vlog, a sales video, or a promo video, these questions work. They even work for live videos.
Why does it work?
Because every piece of content you create is selling something.
Yes, even those that aren’t promoting a product or service that requires an exchange of money is still selling something. Whether you’re pitching an idea, a lifestyle, an outfit choice or information, you’re still selling to your audience. Right now, I’m selling you the idea that all your content is selling something. Cool, huh?
Getting your head around this is the key to creating content that converts. It’s the spine that holds everything else together, it keeps your content focussed, helps you figure out what should be included (and what shouldn’t be) and literally provides a roadmap for you to follow because it can be broken down into steps.
So what are the questions?
Let’s start with why. This is hoooooge.
Why are you bothering? Why should your audience bother to watch?
If you aren’t figuring those answers out before you get on camera, your video is more than likely going to do fuck all for you and your business because it’s just a shot in the dark otherwise.
So, why do you want to make this video? What’s the goal for it?
And why should your audience care about this video?
The answers don’t have to be deep, they just need to be thought about before you start recording. If you can determine the goal for your video, how you’re going to measure the success of that goal, and have the content be something your audience cares about then you’re onto a winner. But if you don’t know the point of your video, your audience certainly isn’t going to either, which isn’t going to help them do the thing you want them to do at the end of the video - and I’ll get to that in a second.
Now let’s chat about the who … your audience, not the band.
There’s a trick to making videos that resonate with your audience, and it’s knowing exactly who that is. People’s attention span is limited, if you can’t capture attention within 10 seconds and then keep it your video isn’t going to do much for you.
Capturing attention is relatively easy, you open with a hook, but keeping it? That’s a little more difficult.
Actually, that’s a lie. It’s not difficult at all, but you do need to know who you’re talking to and how best to communicate with them. You don’t talk to your Grandma the same way you do your best friend because neither of them communicate the same way.
Video is no different in that respect. You wouldn’t talk to an experienced business owner the same way you would a new business owner. So knowing the language your audience speaks, and then using it, is a great way to keep attention.
Your audience isn’t the only audience you’re talking to. I’m assuming you’re going to be marketing, which means you’ll be talking to a cold audience (that’s one that hasn’t heard of you before in case you’re not up on the lingo), or - at best - a warm audience, one who’s heard of you but not really engaged with you too much. They may know you but you're not on their BFF list yet.
The way you’d talk to each of these different audiences would probably be subtly different. Maybe it wouldn’t, but if you’re not thinking about it ahead of time then you’re going to run into trouble as you’ll risk putting people off because you’re not talking to them in a way that makes sense to them. If your why is to make a video that helps increase email sign ups but you’re not figuring out the who properly then your video probably won’t succeed, right?
Just as important is knowing who your hot audience is. Y’know, the peeps on your email list, the raving fans, the ones who legally stalk you on every social media platform and love everything you do.
Take the time to figure out who that is, what they care about, and how they speak. And then use that information to shape your video content.
Okay, next: What. And what is a biggie, in fact they’re all biggies which is why I’m dedicating an entire episode to them, but this is a particularly big biggie.
What is the thing you want people to do at the end of your video. Let’s talk about how you get people to do that.
I like to think of what as story, but really it’s the angle you’re pushing in your video. What’s the angle you want to take to sell this concept, this content, this idea, this product, this service, this whatever you’re talking about?
Story is like a satnav route. Your call to action is your destination. Your audience are your roadtrip buddies. The route you take is the one your road trip buddies would enjoy the most. There are several you can choose from, but you wanna be picking the one that makes the most amount of sense to the buddies on that journey with you. I’m not sure metaphors are really my thing, but hopefully that makes sense to you.
The only thing I do recommend about story is that it’s a direct route. It can still be scenic, it can still take you through the mountains or along the coast, but it doesn’t go off on tangents left, right and centre. Don’t make a video that goes around every single damn house from a to b.
Those routes, in real terms, can be things like price, quality, perspective, preference. You name it, story can probably be created to support it in a way that your chosen audience for that piece of content would eat up. If you’re trying to sell them a service and they’re bargain hunters, don’t take them on the quality route, or the benefits route, take them on the price route.
Then, when you tell them what you want them to do next, because you’ve taken them on a journey that made total sense to them, they’re more likely to do it. But you have to tell them, your audience aren’t psychic and left to their own devices they’ll probably do nothing, so alway tell them what you want from them.
Where can impact so much about your videos, but I don’t know that people necessarily think about it before recording.
Which platform you’re planning to post your video on makes a big difference. It can impact aspect ratio, it can impact length, it can impact content, and possibly a few other things that I’m forgetting. If you’re planning to use your content on multiple platforms then you really need to be figuring this shit out before you press record, if you don’t I’m amazed you get anything done.
Take the time to learn the requirements of all the platforms you want to use, don’t spend all that time making a video only to find out you can’t upload the bloody thing because you haven’t taken the time to figure that out first.
And if you’re going to need to chop down longer-form content so that it can be used on social, plan that first.
For example, I make videos for YouTube that’re about 5 minutes long, but I cut them up into smaller segments so I can post them to Instagram and Facebook. Instagram only allows one minute of video, which means I have to plan my content to make sure that I can chop it up into smaller segments. But if I was just hoping for the best each time, I don’t know how long it would be before I got so frustrated I gave up. Probably not long.
And finally, let’s talk how.
How are you going to make this epic masterpiece? Figure it all out first, that way when it comes to film and edit, your process will be a lot smoother and your blood pressure will be lower.
Here’s one final example for you, putting things together.
Let’s say you want to create a video promoting your upcoming webinar series on must-have biz tips. That’s its point right there - sign-ups.
You want to target people like your current audience who don’t know you on Facebook; there’s your audience.
The what is to get people to sign up using the link promoted in the video.
The point for your audience is introducing them to other online biz owners who can help them with their business. That’s what’s in it for them.
Knowing all this let’s you figure out the footage you need. For example, piecing together video from the previous round of webinars showcasing the fantastic information your previous (and well-known) guests shared.
Why would this work?
The audience you’ve chosen doesn’t know you, but they’ll probably know your more well-known guests. So dangle them front and centre and share the best bits of your webinars with them to help create FOMO (fear of missing out). If you do it well enough, they’ll happily click on the link at the end.
There’s not really a right or wrong with the questions, just whatever supports all the other decisions you’ve made. Sometimes there’s more than one, so then you have to choose what’s best for you. Sometimes you’ll get it wrong, and that’s okay, it’s a learning curve. Just make sure you are learning.
Best can also mean easiest, I’m all for taking the easy route when it makes sense to do so. This isn’t something you need to torture yourself over, and sometimes the answer to these questions really is the obvious one in front of your face that you're ignoring because it’s obvious and in front of your face.
Some of these questions I’m making you ask are really for your info only; to make you think about why you want to say this instead of that, and giving you a reference to refer back to if you get confused during the filming and editing process.
If in doubt, go with your gut, but always ask them before pressing record.
Tors is a television professional, who studied all aspects of television production before launching her career spanning almost a decade. She's worked with a BAFTA nominated production team, has her own entry on imdb.com, and has even walked the red carpet several (terrifying) times.
She's had chips thrown at her by David Tennant (it was an accident, he's got terrible aim), she's interviewed some amazing actresses, and she attended the cast and crew screening of Empire Strikes Back at the grand old age of four.
Now she lives in south Wales with a large dog and a small cat, where she uses the knowledge she gained in her television years and beyond, to help online biz owners step in front of the camera and connect with their audience.