July 14, 2015
You’ve heard the cliche before: building a business is a journey not a destination. Your experiences — the ones that temporarily elevate and crush you — are the things that make you a better founder. There isn’t much else that you can be sure about as an entrepreneur but that is one thing you can bank on. This, of course, is partly due to you having better stories to tell. So one of the best things you can do to add value to your brand along the way is to build in public. I’m a firm believer in this. For me, video blogging Storygami’s journey so far gives us the rare opportunity to define our story on our terms. It allows us to switch on a camera and use video — the most powerful medium there is — to build our community and culture. Here are a few key points I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Cultivate an authentic persona
If you’re going to use video blogging for your brand story then you’ll be using a medium in which authenticity comes at a premium. That’s because cultivating an on-screen persona is a deceptively difficult thing to do well. Now, there is always going to be an element of performance when you’re on camera, but that needs to be tempered by an honest depiction of yourself and your company. Your viewership will grow as long as your story is told well and you, yourself are a compelling storyteller. You can learn both. But it’s difficult to do both. Now you might not see yourself as the best public speaker or be as good an on camera presence as the next person. But think about this: no-one can tell your story better than you can. So my advice: hit record and find a voice.
Pro tip: include your bloopers as filler. There is such a thing as being too polished. The parts where you mess up, the moments just before or after you speak, those are the moments that reveal the real you. Use that in the edit, it adds a degree of levity and warmth that you’d otherwise miss.
2. Don’t skimp on good editing
You can get decent video, sound, and lighting equipment at relatively affordable prices. Where I see others failing is when they are not putting enough emphasis on making sure the overall quality is at a high standard (not just ‘good’ but a high standard.) The reason I press this point is that while equipment becomes more affordable, this also means that the quality of video content out there is going to get higher. It’ll become more difficult for your content to be considered remarkable. Emphasize the editing (as well as good sound) to beat the competition.
3. Keep it short — but don’t obsess over the runtime.
You’ve heard this one before. The fact is, people’s attention spans are short so your videos need to be tight and focused. A couple practice tips: begin by giving yourself a max runtime. Hit record and start speaking. Then when time is up — you’re done. You’ll suck. But you’ll get better. If you’re editing your own videos then be be ruthless with you’re ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ — just cut them right out. Your editing will be jumpy but the energy will high. After a while, people will begin complimenting you on your ‘jump cut’ editing style.
Pro tip: Seriously, don’t obsess. Runtimes can change based on the nature of the content and target audience. Storygami actually makes two different kinds of video content. The content we push out on a weekly basis is entirely different deep dive content for those followers who are already engaged. For the weekly videos we aim for 3–4 minutes and for our deep dive video content it’s a absolute maximum of 5.
4. Use platforms to tease content but always own your space.
Almost all social media platforms out there have their own native video applications. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for instance all have their own video features — use them. It’s a requisite since this is where you’re audiences are. But if your purpose is to build your own brand and cultivate your community on your own site then I would err on the side of making sure to differentiate your platform content into very short snippets of content that lead viewers to your own site for the main event.
5. Always include a call to action
This is key and something even I forget at times. There is always a purpose to pushing your content out there. Whether it be to direct viewers to purchase or further content, always remember a shameless CTA at some point during the video. The better among you will figure out a way to weave this into the storytelling itself.
Image Credit: Flickr/Rich Menga
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