Step 2 (pt. 4): Writing Copy for Video
Avish: You know Fred, in this day and age it seems like more and more sites are using video, either in addition to or in place of, straight sales copy. Could you talk a little bit about that and then we can talk about elements that make your video good.
Fred: Yeah, well the thing is that in this new, sort of, in our MTV generation here, people have really started to respond more to video than to straight copy. So what I would encourage people to do is to understand that video is probably an essential element to anyone. Although, I will give you this example; I was just up visiting a friend of mine who’s a doctor in Monterey, California a couple of days ago. And I saw him; he had an infomercial running on the local TV station up there. And I told him, I said, you know you really need—I tried to do this as delicately as possible, but I said it might be better for you to hire a paid spokesperson to do your infomercials or your videos than doing them yourself. Because he comes across so much better in person than he does on camera that I just felt . . .And for many people listening to this program, you may not feel comfortable doing your own videos and in some people’s cases, it might actually hurt you, and hurt your response, to do the video.
So you may want to hire someone to deliver this information for you. Naturally, you should start it doing it yourself, but understand that the video could be a crucial element to your success and if you’re not the one that’s doing it, who cares? As long as it gets results, that’s what you’re going for. So we can talk more about that, but that’s just an important consideration.
Avish: Okay. So you think video is an important piece to have when it comes to sales and marketing copy?
Fred: Yeah, I do because I think that a lot of people, what will happen is somebody will come to your site, they’ll see a lot of the copy and they’ll just go, oh man, I don’t want to read all that. And so, if you have a video, the question then becomes: does the video try and get them to buy the product or does it get them to read the rest of the copy? And in my case, I think that in general what you want to do is the video shouldn’t be so long that it tries to sell the copy itself. Although, some people do have good success putting together, sort of what’s basically an online infomercial for their product; in which case it might go on for twenty or thirty minutes.
But better than that in most cases is a short video in which people get introduced to who you are, what your background is, what the product is that you’re selling, why it’s so valuable, and putting that together. Now again, I would say that most of these videos are going to run probably less than three minutes in length. Because if I go to a site and there’s a really good compelling video, what I will do after that is I will read all of the copy; because the video sort of helps me understand whether or not I should even consider reading the rest of this copy, especially if it’s a lot of copy. So the video isn’t really to sell the product, it’s to give enough credibility to you and your site to get people to want to read the rest of it.
Avish: So then if that’s the case, what kind of content do you want to have? Like, what do you want to talk about in your video?
Fred: Well, the first thing you want to do is understanding that if you’re going to put your video sort of at the top of your site, that number one, you have to immediately engage the person who is watching the video, to understand that they are the right person. So again going back to this trite example that we use repeatedly here with professional speakers, you know if we’re doing a video for speakingexpert.com, our first thing is, “Hey, if you’re a professional speaker, you’ve come to the right place. Because a lot of you are suffering with the following situation: which is you’re not making enough money; you’re not getting enough gigs as you want. Isn’t that true?”
So in other words, you’re going to talk to someone, hitting them immediately with some of the things, the components that go in to a headline, which is: What is their biggest need? What is their biggest hurt? What is their biggest pain? And how are you going to be the one that is going to alleviate that pain, hurt, or need?
Avish: Okay. Now, how about the technical aspects, you know, it’s easier these days, but to some people, you say shoot a video and it sounds very complicated.
Fred: Yeah. I think that a lot of times people over-complicate this, because you don’t have to have brilliantly designed sets and perfect lighting in order to make a video that people will buy from. What you need is something with authenticity. So, you need to sort of come up with an outline, and this is what I would have most people do. The nice thing is since now you can record a video over and over and over again until you get it right, I would suggest that people come up with a very sort of short outline and sort of, then just speak naturally into the camera. And again, setting this up with some decent lighting; making sure that there aren’t a whole lot of shadows and that your background looks professional and represents what it is you’re trying to market or sell. But that you put together an outline, understanding that, what’s your goal from this video?
Your goal is to have them either read the rest of your copy, and make a decision to buy your product, or read the rest of your copy and opt-in. So, understanding in your video, number one: What are you trying to get people to do? So if your goal is to get them to read the copy and buy the product, then obviously you’re going to record your video accordingly, which is you’re going to entice them enough to say, ‘Hey, thanks for coming . . . ba, ba, ba, ba . . . here it is and there’s a lot more information down below so make sure and read, especially the paragraph having to do with . . . ” So in other words, you want to guide them through reading and what it is you want them to do.
Whereas opposed to some of the videos that we do, and you and I have done these as well, which is we put a video together and all, the entire purpose of the video is to get people to opt-in to the list, which is obviously going to be short and sweet and making people a promise of some kind of a freebie that they’re going to get. So, understanding that, what you need is an outline that starts with making sure that you’re talking to people who are the right people. So, then the question always becomes, well, if I’m targeting someone, then somebody who comes in there who isn’t the right person, won’t opt-in or buy. Well that’s right, yeah, they won’t. Don’t try and talk to the people who are the wrong people; try and talk to the people who are the right people in your video.
So in terms of the outline of the video, you’re going to have sort of an opening, and a closing, the closing being what it is you want them to do, either opt-in or to read the rest of your sales copy. And then in between there you’re going to put two or three very sort of powerful points as to why they should do whatever it is you’re asking them to do.
Avish: Okay, so I just want to ask a couple of questions about some of the things you mentioned in there. You kind of quickly mentioned making sure the background looks appropriate and making sure the lighting looks okay. Could you just, I realize this isn’t a full technical program on how to shoot a video, but could you just explain a little what you mean by those two?
Fred: Yeah, I will. First off, the thing about it is, is that there are a lot of ways that you can do really fancy and professional lighting and I would encourage everybody to go on You Tube and just go in there and put in ‘lighting a video’, ‘good lighting for a video’ , and again, this can get really complicated. For the most part, all you want to make sure is that you have some light facing you so that the camera doesn’t pick up a whole lot of shadows, and that light isn’t too harsh.
So to do that really cheap, what you can do is get some kind of a light that’s in one of those, sort of aluminum cans and point it at you, but put a sheet in front of it. Not too close because it will catch on fire if it’s too hot. But you want to sort of diffuse your light and put it pretty much, you know fairly straight on into you, so that people can see you clearly and there aren’t a whole lot of shadows. Again, take a look at Google, and go to You Tube, I should say, and put in ‘lighting a video properly’, ‘lighting a video cheap’, would be a good place to go.
And so then what you’re going to do is you’re going to have one or two lights going through some kind of a diffused thing. Some people even use, by the way, like a very, very, one of those translucent shower curtains to sort of diffuse the light. So anything that you can do to take a harsh light and make it a little less harsh, either through a sheet or through some kind of a plastic or some kind of a gel. And again, this can be done very inexpensively but be careful, don’t set the place on fire.
So now, once you’ve done that, you get your lighting set up, now you can decide, what do you want as your backdrop? I mean, depending on what you’re talking about, it might even be appropriate for you to be outside, in which case there are some other lighting considerations there and we don’t want to talk about that here.
But if you want to have a very plain background, you can hang another sheet behind you. You can take and have your bookcase behind you. It depends on what it is you’re trying to get people to do and what it is you’re promoting. But you’re background and your backdrop for your video should represent sort of what it is you’re trying to do. In other words, if you’re trying to present something pretty professional and formal, you want to have something that’s a little bit more formal than something that’s more casual. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but that’s pretty much how to do some of those things. Make sense?
Avish: Yeah, absolutely. So one final bit then on that side of things, is do people need to use a fancy camera or can they just use their webcam, or what do you recommend for that?
Fred: Well, the thing about it is, is that webcams have got pretty decent lately. There are some webcams out there for under a hundred dollars that are high definition and I think that what you want to do is you want to take a look at, just record it with what you have right now. Don’t buy anything extra to start. And see, once it’s done, when you put it up and see how it will look for the customer. Just ask yourself, is this doing the trick? Does it not look professional enough? Does it need to be higher quality?
I know one thing is you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on video cameras like we used to in the past to get the stuff done. You just need to get the very, very basics. So, in doing that, a webcam that you already have may be enough. What you need to do is record it; look at it yourself and ask yourself, is this good? Or show it to some of your friends and just say, is this decent enough to do what I’m trying to do?
Avish: Got it. Thank you, Fred.