Why do we find it so difficult to be in the spotlight?
Recently I did a public speaking course with Slow School, an amazing experience. It’s not just about speaker training, it really is about communicating your purpose. As a natural introvert I struggle with the idea of public speaking, actually I’m mortified of just the idea. On the other hand, I feel very passionate about what I do.
So one of my big Bucket List items is to get over that self imposed limitation. I’ll never be great at doing an improvised speech, but I can surely learn to communicate what I do better!
Moonwalking out of the shot
It turns out, a lot of us feel this way. As a video producer I often encounter the same issues with our clients around being filmed, especially among women. Why is being filmed particularly difficult for them? I’ve had confident, competent people in leadership roles drop out of an interview 5 minutes before, and even if they do go ahead I can see a real internal struggle, even though we make a really big effort to make this easy.
Why the pretty boys win
I think this anxiety is the result of in built bias towards what we perceive as ‘natural leaders’; tall, handsome men. When we don’t feel we fit this profile, we feel or are made to feel we don’t really deserve the attention. To me this represents a huge missed opportunity for all of us.
We make it too hard
The reality is that it is harder for women to be in the spotlight. Just look at the attitudes female leaders get in the press, and have you ever read Youtube comments about women. It’s pretty feral.
It needs to change
We can’t make good decisions or communicate our purpose if we don’t involve everyone in our story, and more often than not that purpose is communicate by a ‘leadership type’. Watch me get on my soapbox about this at the TED X graduation night: https://vimeo.com/113572839
This course has really made it clear what my purpose is as an introverted, opinionated producer of video: I want to make sure we make it easier for everyone to tell their story. Because if we’re all involved in the conversation, we’ll get better leadership, more connection and ultimately a better, more inclusive workplace.
Tell your story
It’s not easy to step up but you owe it to yourself and those around you to give it a red hot go. I’d love to hear what you bring to the table!
Good news,: your video is live! The ‘bad’ news is, your business video is not going to perform miracles by itself: you’ll need to put in a bit of work to get in front of the right people now!
What’s a result?
Getting a result is not about the amount of views you get: it’s about getting the right views. Your video needs to be seen by the right people, resulting in actions like contacting you, booking you on a speaking gig or asking for a quote.
Three steps towards results
To make sure you get results, we need to make sure your video: 1. On the right platform. 2. Easy to find by search engines like Google. 3. Easy to use, share and embed. Here are some good starting points:
At Hunting With Pixels, we love Vimeo because it’s free and high quality. Vimeo is a video platform that makes your video look much cleaner and crisper than Youtube and you don’t get annoying banner ads or related videos. https://vimeo.com/huntingpixels There’s a very reasonably priced Vimeo Pro option too.
Although it’s a video site, Youtube is now the second biggest search engine and the place where your audience will look for content so you have to be there. Make sure you don’t just upload your video though; put a enticing title, a well written description and relevant tags on your video so your video actually turns up on search results.
Clickable links to your website from Youtube
Make sure you put the full url of your website in the first two lines of your description, so something like: ‘http://www.huntingwithpixels.com.’. Add the ‘http://’ bit will make the link clickable. It needs to be in the first two lines because that’s the only bit of text you will see without having to click the ‘more’ button, which almost noone does.
One load – video seeding
There are dozens of other platforms out there, but Youtube is the one with the biggest reach by far. If you want to be on a number of video platforms at the same time, you may want to look at video seeding software like One Load: http://www.oneload.com/ One Load will automatically upload your video to dozens of platforms in one go. Personally, I’m not sure if that scattergun approach is going to get you a lot of relevant leads but it can’t hurt either. http://www.oneload.com/
Places to send your content so it can be found by prospects
Assuming you’re in the B2B space, here are some good places for your content the be.
Seems like a no brainer, but I see a lot of our clients send links to Youtube to their database. Don’t. Use this opportunity by getting the video to create traffic to your site: that’s where your contact button is! Write and article around your video and post on your site. The article can provide additional information and useful links; video and written content really complement each other well.
SourceBottle is an online service that connects journalists, writers and bloggers with ‘sources’. Make sure you become a source by post the similar article to the one you make for your site on Sourcebottle: don’t simply copy the article and paste it on Source Bottle. Google has software that checks for duplicate content online, and once that’s been flagged your article will not turn up in search results so take the time to reword. http://www.sourcebottle.com/
Slideshare is like the Youtube of slide decks. Create an interesting looking slide deck with a good title, then embed your video in it. You’ll be surprised how much traction this can potential get. It’s also a good place to find slides and ideas for future presentations. http://www.slideshare.net/
Here are some thoughts on what platforms are useful for you.
Great tool for B2B engagement (engagement, not hard selling) and reaching specific groups of professionals. Great for the services industry. A good place to start B2B collaborations. LinkedIn now has a blog tool that allows you to write articles and embed Youtube videos easily; this is where you need to be for B2B.
Facebook works well for B2C engagement and any events you may be running. We’re not convinced about B2B engagement.
If you have a decent amount of followers, send a tweet linking to the article on your website. Twitter is generally useful for collaboration, engagement with other professionals and regular updates to your clients. Twitter needs a lot of quick responses to work for you, so only worth doing if you have the time or if you just love the quick fire responses. I’m not a huge fan myself.
And then there’s a gazillion other video/social media platforms. All very clever and interesting, but not likely to get you results unless you put a lot of effort in. I’d recommend sitting on the fence for now.
Wait, there’s still the world outside social media
Never call your newsletter ‘newsletter’. Do that and you can pretty much guarantee noone will click. If you’re going to use your database to update your clients on a regular basis, offer something that’s one page, well designed and relevant. Add a video to that and on average your click through doubles.
Video is being used on displays a lot. My view is that for it to have any effect it better be good, and it needs a tangible; something to do right there and then. If you use video as a nicer version of a bill board, you’ll get the same results as bill boards; not a lot of traction unless you’re everywhere.
Ultimately, what your video needs to do is engage people. Getting people engaged is not a process that you can automate or templatise; the more targeted and personal you are, the better your response rate. So instead of sending the same thing to your entire database, think about how you can add a personal message like: Hey Robert, how’s life at the Hunting With Pixels HQ? Just did a talk on the Curse Of Knowledge at Ignite Sydney, knowing you’re a bit of a psychology buff I thought it might interest you:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E64gxVhDUQI I don’t know about you, but I’d click on that. Good luck!
When we think about video, we often imagine a film shoot. A sea of lights, cameras and gorgeous looking hipster crew with low hanging jeans (and more crack than Harlem if you’re unlucky).
What struck me when I worked in TV production myself is how incredibly importantvideo production seemed. Creating content seemed to revolve around stressed out production managers, pushy interviewers, micro managing marketing directors and a very uptight ‘brand’ person with lots of print outs and a short term memory issue.
Are we missing something here?
The single most overlooked aspect of video production is: the people. In all distraction and excitement around content, we can easily overlook the feelings of the people who are featured. As a result we often don’t manage to capture authenticity.
Why shoots are stressful for interviewees
Our approach has created the idea that being filmed as something daunting, something we need to just get over with. We fill the room with hot lights, people our interviewees don’t know and we add a limited timeframe. Then we fire a list of questions at them that pushes them towards the brand message. How are our interviewees supposed to make anything conversational and authentic like that?
So we suck it up and go on auto pilot. We do the 20 takes until we say exactly what it says on the print out. We get a professional presenter to represent that business that we pour all of our time and energy into. Does that make sense? We choose the great looking extravert male marketing director to represent the brand, because he’s ‘good on camera’. And yes, men are more likely to put their hand up for being interviewed.
What is ‘good on camera’?
If we keep approaching content like this, ‘good on camera’ means being able to withstand the stress that video creates. This requires a thick skin, which rules out the 50% of humanity that’s on the introvert spectrum. If we rule out that many people by our process, our content ends looking staged and forced.
Authenticity: why it matters
Authenticity is essential for building connection and trust, especially in PR. In the run up to the PRIA conference we interviewed a number of PR Practitioners around their views on authenticity: https://vimeo.com/114209651
So why do we struggle to be authentic?
There are three factors that stand in the way of us being authentic: Organisational: we may work in organisation that don’t foster authenticity. The larger an organisation is, the harder authenticity becomes. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though. Content: the objective of a lot of content is to look polished. This is mainly to make sure we as agencies feel good about ourselves and the marketing director feels good about her decision to hire you. Our audience isn’t that interested in how nice things look: that’s a baseline expectation. They’re looking for relevant information and connection. Culture: we all fear being judged. Some organisations have a culture in which employees don’t feel empowered to add a personal touch; micromanaged and undertrained.
We’re not equally affected
This fear of being judged is especially evident when we interview middle aged women in leadership roles. These women have a good reason to worry: Women are being judged more harshly. Just check out the comments females get on Youtube. As agencies, we have can and should make a real difference by making the process of creating content easier for them.
Here’s what you can do
Here are five ways to create more authentic content: 1. Diversity – Include a diverse range of people in your message, especially the ones that don’t considering themselves ‘good on camera’. Offer coaching. Give introverts the time they need to prepare. Make sure it’s a fun experience. Our experience is that you’ll find that the reluctant ones create the best content: they hold themselves to higher standards. 2. Content – Let go of control. Create a framework of ‘must haves’ but allow for stories and serendipity. You’ll be surprised with what your team and colleagues have to offer. 3. Make it easy – Find people that you really enjoy working with, so pick your production partners based on shared values and culture instead of a hot looking showreel (which are all smoke and mirrors anyway). 4. Work with the environment – Look for a place that’s shifts the mindset so you get better stories. Get away from boardroom. 5. Avoid time pressure – Invest in people instead of technology: better to have an authentic story in HD than a stressed out interviewee in 4k.
Here’s an example
Lawyers and authenticity may seem like an oxymoron, but it isn’t if you let them tell their stories: https://vimeo.com/99220941
Tell us your story
What’s your experience with being filmed or having a client filmed? What do you think we can all do to make things better? We’d love to hear your stories!
What we can do
Blogs about authenticity and content Freebie for SYD and MELB –
https://vimeo.com/103196491 We love Slow School, an unconventional business school for people passionate about building a purpose-driven and prosperous business that makes the world a better place. Last week Slow School officially launches at the Hub, so we asked a few people about that they think about education:
Recently we did a project with the wonderful people of Atkinson Vinden Lawyers in Sydney. We love working with Atkinson VInden because they trusted us in executing a bold idea. Instead of making a ‘promo’ video, we worked with Atkinson Vinden to create content that’s about meaningful connection and useful information. https://vimeo.com/99794385 We are very excited about this approach, because it create an authentic story around the business: Content that’s created to connect on a deeper level than making a sale.
It’s about engaging the audience
Connecting in a meaningful way to your audience is worth while, but like anything worth while it’s not necessarily easy. A lot a agencies may tell you there’s a shortcut. You could write a script, stick it on an auto cue reader and get a great looking actor to read it out in front of the camera, pretending to be part of your business. This approach gets you very nice looking, polished and well presented video. The problem with videos like these is the level of audience engagement:
Watch us not care
The relentless media and advertising efforts of the past have created a major credibility gap between businesses and their audiences. Agencies have persuaded us that it’s basically o.k. to mislead our audiences by using pretend clients and pretend business owners. That approach is very effective in terms of fast turn around and low cost for the agency, but did all of that advertising really help us as business owners?
Are we making an impact?
The average Australian encounters branding 3000-4000 times a day. By the time you read this post today, you’ve probably seen at least a few hundred. Can you recall five? I know I can’t. The ROI on TV commercials, banner ads and corporate video is dropping at a steady rate, despite the lower cost. Clearly, we’re not cutting through, and creating even more content isn’t the answer. Our audience just gets better at ignoring us.
We need to earn the trust
Our audience’s attention is a privilege that’s based on trusting that we offer something relevant. It’s time for a different approach. At Hunting With Pixels we base our content on authenticity. We only work with real people talking about real experiences. https://vimeo.com/99220941
Great brands are about creating a real connection with a long term view, because we can see that in a media saturated world, it’s the only thing that works.
There’s no quick win
We may need to recalibrate how we look at what marketing is. The first step is to accept that trust is something that takes time to build. The idea that we can outsource connection and get a big return for a low investment in time and effort is outdated and short sighted. You need to have the clout and endurance to think long term and invest into the relationship you have with your audience.
.. and there’s some uncertainty
Building an authentic brand can be challenging. The first hurdle you’d likely to encounter is that there is less control over the details of the outcome. All the information should be correct and well presented, but interviewees will bring their own personality into this. This is a generally a positive aspect of authenticity, but it does required a flexible mindset around what your brand really is. The reality is that the is no way to have full control, because your brand is what other people (including your staff) say about you.
It’s the big picture
Authenticity will give you the best shot at getting great results every time provided it’s well considered and is based on a long term strategy for your brand. This takes careful planning and some resilience, but it will yield real and sustainable results for your business.
It is shareable?
The fundamental question for you is this: Would you share the video you created for your company with your friends. And more importantly, would they?
At Hunting With Pixels we often get asked about what to wear to shoots. Clothing isn’t as ‘make or break’ as it used to be because cameras have become much more forgiving, and so has our audience. There are a few things to keep an eye on that are easy to miss.
Clothing – the golden rule
Wear something that is congruent with your message, that is comfortable and won’t make you hot. Do that and you’re 90% there.
Congruent with your message
Consider what first impression your clothing gives if people see you ‘out of context’.
The video will be watched by total strangers, so they don’t necessarily understand the connection between your personality and your wardrobe.
Having said that, your personal style is your own. If you’ve got the killer content, what you looks like is secondary. Authenticity is key, so don’t ‘dress up’ to the point where you’re not ‘you’ .
Ascot: risky but good. Snowman hanging off tie? No.
Wear anything you like, as long as it’s not noisy when you move.
Big earrings look great, but will create weird clicking noises in they very sensitive microphones we use to capture dialogue.
Colours and patterns – ‘don’ts’
With today’s super sensitive cameras, most clothing is unproblematic. Here are few exceptions:
Very thin stripes or fine patterns. This can create weird light effects on video because of pixellation. –
Very strong contrasts. If you’re pale skinned, avoid very dark clothing and vice versa. This has to do with the light sensitivity of cameras; our eyes have a much wider dynamic range in terms of what it can see in shaded of light and dark. A camera would struggle with that level of contrast.
Tones that blend into the background. Pastel colours can look a bit bland if the background has a similar colour. Even if you prefer colours are not too strong, pick on that contrasts with the background.
Light orange can appear to glow in some cases. It’s more pertinent in broadcast situations.
Shape and Fit
Video can be a bit unforgiving when you wear baggy and shapeless clothing. Go from something that has a nice shape that will give you a taller and more fitted look.
The reason for this is that close up shots don’t give us a context of your surroundings, which can make you look bigger than you are. This is why we’re often surprise about how short TV personalities are when we meet them in person.
A few fashion tips
Here are a few things that will make you look your best.
Feel free to totally ignore this though; authenticity is more important than being polished.
Collared shirts tend to look better than T shirts in close up.
There’s more texture and visual interest. Jackets also look good, especially if they’re nicely tailored around the waist. Never, ever wear a too big suit on a video shoot.
Unless you’re David Byrne. He kinda got away with it.
Light coloured shirts generally looks better than pure white.
Pure white tends to blow out and look a bit flat once you add video lighting. Ties work if you’d normally wear them too.
Try to go easy on novelty ties or large patterns, unless it’s very ‘you’ of course!
Power suits. We love the 80’s just like the next girl, but they look huge on video.
Avoid earth tones if you’re interviewed inside; you’ll blend in to the background too much.
Consider the surroundings and find a colour that both suits your skin tone and has a nice contrast with the background. Wear clothing that emphasises shape without being tight. Wear shoes that give you good posture, but make sure they’re comfortable: they’re unlikely to be in the shot.
Being comfortable will make you look and feel more relaxed and confident.
Men: Use a bit of powder a shade darker than normal skin color, to even out skin tone and reduce the shine on cheeks, forehead and nose. We’ll have some on set.
Women: any make up is fine, maybe avoid dark reds/maroon for lip gloss and cheeks because the extra contrast of video may emphasise the make up too much.
Also avoid a lot under the eyes (none is best). We provide translucent powder in case of shine, but you may want to bring your own just in case.
Get a good shave before the shoot to avoid the five o’clock shadow.
Neatly trim facial hair if it matters to you, and if you bother wearing facial hair it probably should.
All of these suggestions are just that: if a snowman tie combined with an unkempt beard and too much make up is your style, go for it. Rules are there to be broken.
At Hunting With Pixels we work hard to make doing a video an enjoyable and relaxed experience, so contact us any time if you have any questions. We’re here to make you look and feel great!
At Hunting With Pixels we believe in the power of ideas, so we’d love to help you spread them. Here’s how you can get started with video: 1. Join us at one of the amazing Startup Grind events in Sydney and Melbourne. 2. Do a 30 second pitch to camera and we’ll make you a free video that looks a bit like this: https://vimeo.com/91151014 3. Don’t bore your audience with a sales pitch. Show off your expertise by sharing something interesting. 4.Get in touch beforehand so we can help you shape your content for maximum effect.
Here’s another one:
If you really want to start cooking with gas, do a series of videos like these: https://vimeo.com/84089886
I loved working with the wonderful people at Atkinson Vinden! When we started this project we were thinking about what it is lawyers do.
It’s not about ‘what’
You can describe the process (litigate, check contracts etc.) or you can describe the ultimate goal: Getting the right advice from the right person so you have peace of mind.
It’s about finding the ‘why’
One of the best parts of being part of Hunting With Pixels is that we get to spend time with people who work in a different industry. As a ‘creative’ it’s a very interesting and enriching experience; you get a much better understanding of what really drives people.
The Right People
When I talked to Annabel, Rod, Sheena and all the other lawyers at Atkinson Vinden I really got a much deeper appreciation of the work of legal professionals. It’s very different from the stereotypes we generally use to describe them. Have a look at the video, I’d love to hear what you think. Robert, Creative Director