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The Marketing Edge - Tips to look like a pro on camera

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For many people, the idea of appearing on camera is enough to leave them a sweaty, panic-stricken ball of stammering nerves. After all, you didn’t get into this business to be an actor. No one said anything about speaking in articulate sentences on a high definition camera and sharing that footage publicly!

Well … not until now.

It’s no secret the landscape of content marketing has shifted to video. The results are in, video marketing increases click-thru-rates, boosts conversions and keeps your brand relevant.  So let’s get over this fear and get you broadcasting.

We’re focusing on tips for a single-speaker “talking head” video that features a spokesperson speaking directly to the camera about their company or product.

Be prepared

…But don’t overprepare. You need to be familiar with your subject matter, but don’t write a script –  no one wants to hear you read or recite a memorized piece.

This is likely your area of expertise; take confidence in the fact that you are an authority on the subject. A few talking points may be used to keep you on target, but try not to rely on them - your viewers will lose confidence if you’re constantly checking notes. People enjoy seeing spontaneity and hearing a natural delivery, so let your knowledge be your guide and just start talking!

Be natural

When speaking on camera it’s important to remember that you’re not an actor - so don’t pretend to be one. The goal is to find your natural delivery style. Address the camera as you would a client.

Trying to emulate a persona often sounds forced – think bad news anchor. Try researching popular video blogs for examples of ordinary people making interesting videos with confidence and great energy! There’s nothing stopping you from producing the same quality work.

Be focused

Once you get started, it can be easy to desperately spew information with no regard for breath control or punctuation. Stay familiar and conversational. Your viewers aren’t clicking to see the next YouTube sensation, they want information and it’s your responsibility to deliver that information calmly and with control.

Before shooting, try to relax. Do whatever it takes to find your Zen garden and once you find it, stay there. Breathing exercises, relaxing music, yoga, meditation all can help. Keep in mind that you can do as many takes as you want, so don’t be hard on yourself for messing up.

Be grounded 

Staying grounded is especially important when broadcasting live, but don’t let that rattle you too much. Just because you’re “live” doesn’t mean you should feel added pressure to deliver. Think about it; when you’re watching a live video on social media, do you really care if someone has a slip of the tongue or stumbles on their words? No, because that’s what people do in real life - we’re human, we make mistakes! Far too many people have this impossible idea of perfection and it cripples their creativity. Perfection is boring. You have permission to be yourself.

Finally, let’s cover some general tips everyone should know before hitting record:

  •       Know your audience. Who are you speaking to? Imagine the people you are addressing and talk to them, not just at the camera. This should also help you find your natural delivery voice.
  •       Don’t check yourself out while filming. Look at the lens! We can see your eyes wander and we all know what you’re doing. The display screen is helpful to properly frame yourself, but after that, keep your eyes fixed on the camera lens.
  •       Know your surroundings. Is there ambient noise? Is there enough light? Does the space echo? Consider your final product’s look and choose the time and place carefully.
  •       Smile. Stay positive. If you can’t get excited about your company, how can you expect anyone else to?
  •       Speak clearly. You don’t want your message to be lost because you weren’t articulate. Do a quick web search for vocal warm-ups that focus on articulation and practice them before you shoot.

And … make more videos! They will only get better the more often you make them. Good luck and happy filming.

(Brad LaBree is an account manager at Sutherland Weston.)

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