The Dumbledore 10-Point Guide to Video

After dropping many hints, I received a Flip camera for Christmas. Last Christmas…2009. I had taken Laura Roeder’s Creating Fame workshop, and she recommended using video on business websites. It made perfect sense. People like to get to know a little about you and why you think your work should matter to them. Video is now a cheap and easy way to give them a glimpse of the real you. Why not?

Then I made a few test clips. OMG! What the years have done to me.

For a solid year I have been procrastinating.

My Inner Brat

Luckily, living somewhere deep inside me, is my inner brat: a 10-year-old boy with a wicked sense of humor, who likes to poke fun at me. “Imagine all the traffic a video could create,” he said. “Kids will show your website to their parents. ‘Look, Mom, I found DUMBLEDORE!’”

My inner brat first annoyed then tickled me, so I got into the spirit. “The video will need a disclaimer. ‘I AM NOT DUMBLEDORE.’” At least he got me laughing at myself.

I Am Not DUMBLEDORE!

It’s not that I mind being, well, let’s call it mature. In fact, I rather like this stage of my life. But as I explore the social media scene, one fact is inescapable: those on the frontier of social media are young. They have grown up with the Internet and wireless connectivity.

Excuses, Not Reasons

But there’s always a good excuse for not doing things, isn’t there? We are always too old, too young, not good-looking enough, not smart enough, not educated enough, or not quite good enough in some way.
I asked my inner brat to make a list of reasons why I should put myself out there with video.  Here’s what he came up with.

1. Video Isn’t New Any More

Video is mainstream. Websites without video look a little old-school. Putting video on your website at least demonstrates that you’re not living under a rock.

2. People Wonder about You

If there’s no video on your website, people may imagine that you look even worse than you do.

3. The Mind Needs Associations

Information is important, but people are more apt to remember information if they can associate it with a person. It gives them a shorthand way to think about you. Video is personal and engaging, and therefore more memorable.

4. People Respond to People

When you are in business, marketing is an important part of your job. And what is the goal of marketing? To create a response: buy, try, call, visit, or whatever. People take action based on emotion not logic, and video is a good vehicle for creating an emotional response.

5. You Are What You Are

You’re not going to become any better-looking than you are right now. Even if you have that crooked nose fixed, buy a hairpiece, or even get a facelift, the difference won’t be all that dramatic.

6. Flaws Are Endearing

Notice TV commercials that feature children. You’ll see kids with freckles, glasses, unruly hair, and dorky expressions. Why? Those small flaws help the viewer relate to the character.

7. Video Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

The Internet is an informal place. Studio-produced videos can look a little contrived. Why are they trying so hard? Good videos look as if the person came up with a good idea and couldn’t wait to share it with you.

8. Do-Overs Are Easy

When the ink hits the paper, a brochure is done. But digital formats can be edited, massaged, refined, and tweaked. Worst case, you can dump your initial version and do it over.

9. Darren Rowse Does Video

Darren is the founder of Problogger.net, one of the most popular blogs in the world. He’s a pleasant-looking guy, but Brad Pitt has nothing to worry about. (As my inner brat pointed out, I don’t really look like Dumbledore; I look more like I could be Darren Rowse’s grandfather.) Darren often uses video to deliver his message, and seems perfectly comfortable doing so.  If he can do it, I can too.

10. Your Message Is Important

And this is the most important point of all. Don’t hide your important message. Deliver it to the world. Start getting some responses. Find out what your market thinks of you and your message.
Pretty smart advice, coming from an imaginary 10-year old.

I’d love to hear your thought processes:

  • Video virgins: If you haven’t done it yet, (video, that is), what’s holding you back?
  • Video first timers: What helped you decide to give video a try?
  • Video veterans: How does video fit into your business strategy?

Oh, and send us links to your videos, so we can witness your bravery. Below is a link to mine. Yikes, don’t look.

Need more actionable advice?
Get your FREE weekly marketing “to-do” list
straight to your inbox every Wednesday:
Jack-Price-Copywriter1-248x300Jack Price is a copywriter and the author of The Benefit Arc, which can be downloaded free, with no email address required, at http://PriceWrite.com, where you can also view a brief video featuring Dumbledore Darren’s Rowse’s Grandfather Jack Price

Comments

  1. Great blog post Jack! I just started doing video on my environmental blog a few months ago and the hits just started rolling in. Even if it was just a short message, my followers seem to like it more when I deliver it to them myself, instead of typing. I love it because I get to shine a tad bit more of my personality through :). It feels very personal and informal which is who I am.

  2. Hi Monica,

    I visited your blog and randomly clicked a couple of your videos:

    . Prop 28, very thoughtful and insightful.
    . The Pit Test, I wasn’t quite prepared. I’ll never feel the same way about Lavender ;)

    Your personality does shine through. Loved the informal interaction with your cameraperson.

    One small suggestion. In Youtube, just before you grab your embed code, “unclick” the box labeled “Include related videos”. That way, Youtube won’t suggest other videos at the end of your video, which may encourage people to browse away from your blog. A small tip I learned from none other than Laura Roeder.

    I wish you great success with your blog! Thanks for your comment.

    Jack

  3. 5, 6, and 7 are always the tough ones to get past. It’s scary to put yourself out there for all the world to see the real you, but it’s SO worth it. I took me 2 months to post my first video (after it was ready) on my first site, and I’ve never looked back :•)

    That being said, it’s not for everyone. If you hate doing video, don’t do it. But I haven’t worked with a single person who didn’t fall in love with the results one we got them past the initial fear of letting it fly.

    Great post Jack

    • Yeah, that number 5 is a bummer, as we used to say, back in the day ;)

      The video on your blog looks and sounds great. Very authoritative and inspirational. Glad you got past 5, 6, and 7 and let yours fly. You will inspire others to do the same.

      Jack

    • So good to hear that everyone has the initial hesitation. Today I had my intern over and she helped me do a video. Since she did the editing and added so much to the equation I couldn’t scrap it or give up on it. It is now out there. The lump (actually a pain) in my neck that was there before we hit the word publish is gone. Doubt it will be so scary next time. Thanks for being so honest!

      • You piqued my curiosity, so I sneaked over to your blog. Your video comes across as completely honest. It communicates the WHY behind what you are doing, and your rather understated style in front of the camera actually adds impact to your message. I was inspired. Keep putting yourself out there, exactly the way you did this first one. It is compelling.

        Loved your pastels.

        Jack

  4. Richard Taylor AIA says:

    The hardest part always seems to be paring down the info to a few important points…I always seem to prat on much longer than I intend to!

    Thanks for the great tips, Jack!

    • Yep, engineers and architects ;) I find it tough to write for businesses in those 2 categories for the very reason you mention. One engineer told me it’s because you guys are good at thinking visually and spatially. You see everything from many different angles. The skills make you great at your profession, but people like me can’t absorb all of that detail. That being said, I like your blog. You have a great niche idea. Best wishes for your continued success.

  5. I’m a little embarrassed.

    Jack, if you’re old enough to be Darren’s Grandfather, you’re old enough to be my Great-grandfather and I’ve yet to publish a video to my site. Hell, I’ve never even skyped with video. Eeek!

    The Youngest Techno-Phobe Alive!

    I like how you pointed out that nowadays if there’s no video on your site, you might seem kinda old fashioned. Ghetto is a word that comes to mind, too.

    And because this is something I’m scared to do, I must. The last thing I wanna do is live being wussified of putting myself on video. I think I’m going to have to break down and take notes on and actually watch the videos in my Andy Jenkins “Video Boss” course being that I can’t get coaching from Laura because enrollment is closed. :-( Hahaha

    I appreciate that you’ve put this list together Jack. It helps me see that there’s no excuse for staying in the dark ages of the interwebz. Thank you!

    • Dear NTN,

      I thought of the idea for this post long before I worked up the nerve to put a video on my site. I reached out to Laura via the awesome Sarah (Happy Birthday again Sarah; still awesomely blushing, aren’t you) and got acceptance for the idea. Then I had no choice. I recorded a video and put it live on the site. Hated it. I admit that I actually re-recorded the video on the same morning this post went live. It was agony. But like you, I want to live in an un-wussified zone. No pussies allowed! Do it, NTN!

      Jack

  6. cameron plommer says:

    Like the post Jack and I agree with you totally.

    I just started doing video recently. At first it was a little scary, but with each new video I because more comfortable and confident.

    I like video in a lot of ways because it is less labor intensive than writing a blog post.

    Heres the link to my Evernote Tutorial Series, bit.ly/gWdp9K.

    • Your Evernote series looks great, Cameron. I tried Evernote a while back and liked it, but never got very good at using it. I’ll bet your series will help.

      You look perfectly comfortable on the videos on your blog! If video is quicker and easier for you, that’s wonderful. For me, I have to include additional time for agonizing, worrying, do-overs, and of course the most important of all: REGRET ;) Just kidding. I think I’m over my reluctance now and see great value in video, both for productivity and for warming up my online image.

      Thanks for your comments. Hope your new blog format brings you great success.

      Jack

  7. While doing research for a whitepaper just now, I stumbled across the name Bernando LaPallo. He is the world’s oldest living blogger: 109 years old! BERNANDO DOES VIDEO. Check him out at http://bit.ly/fH7ALe

    Feeling better about my age now :)

    Jack

  8. Neil McDougall says:

    Hey Jack, I have to say Laura inspired me to film these two videos I recorded in November and posted as vblogs. The first one on Balanced Scorecard Software (listed 2nd below) took three takes, until I decided to publish the second one.

    The second one was smoother and a funner topic for this audience. I’m looking forwarded to improving my technique and doing a couple of Sales videos this month!

    Thanks for your tips, I’m definitely getting back to it now!

    Neil

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knlh7EJTvN8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIHZqjjmwEc

    • Hi Neil,

      Good for you! I reviewed them both, and they look good.

      I’m in the process of re-doing my video. I was winging it when I recorded it, and that’s not my style. I’m scripting it to get the message right. It will be a lot better.

      Looks like you’re using flowplayer. I must give that a try.

      Jack

  9. Okay, now you’ve done it, Jack…convinced me to get off my duff and do a video for my blog. I’ve done two or three to send to family members, and two or three testimonials for business associates, but I haven’t done one for my own site. Stay tuned…and thanks for your honesty, humor, and good sense.

    I was amused and interested by Note Taking Nerd’s comment. I have a grown child who is 30 and exhibits great skepticism for his mother’s social media activities. I will no doubt embarrass him terribly with video, but I’ve been doing that for 30 years, anyway :-).

    • Glad to hear it, Elizabeth! Maturity is more fun when you can embarrass your kids with you immaturity. We’ll keep an eye on your blog and await your video post.

  10. Hi Jack, wonderful, wonderful!! I love this: “If there’s no video on your website, people may imagine that you look even worse than you do.” :) Great point, I will start telling that to my clients. Personally, I’ve just started using video myself and I would love to do a bit more but it’s a bit like running. You know, you want to do it, it’s good for you (= your biz) but there’s this invisible hurdle to overcome. Your article is inspiring, motivating and will be the reason for a new video up on the site by the end of this week. Thank you! :)

    • Hi Kat,

      Your website video is wonderful. I love how you blended brief video cuts with text messages. So smooth and professional.

      If my video looked that great, I would record video every day. You chose a great name for your business: PaperclipFox. You ARE a fox. Me, I’m more of a muskrat. ;) You have no excuse not to do more video.

      Thanks for your kind words.

      Jack

  11. This is a fantastic post, Jack, and your video is great! Very Sean Connery, if I may say so.

    I have only dabbled in video, but you’re inspiring me to try it more in 2011. The last time I used video was to ask readers to participate in a survey I did:

    http://bit.ly/cHmHFF

    I really, really wanted to hear from them, so I parked myself in front of a camera, did an embarrassing number of takes, and finally got a version I wasn’t mortified to post.

    I had hundreds of replies to that survey, so I know first hand that video works.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Pamela,

      Did you say Sean Connery? So sweet of you to lie. I’m going to print this comment and tape it to every mirror in the house, just to cheer me up.

      Your survey video is terrific; (you’re lookin’ all pretty and confident.) I’m not surprised that you got a great response. Let’s see more video in 2011.

      Sean, ummm, Jack

  12. OK, this dialogue helped me move along Jack!

    I just finished a thorough explanation of our Professional Services…may have “prat on” a bit too long, but for our offerings the voice-over is very helpful to explain some complex concepts…tell me if you think it would be better without the talking head, and keep just the voice-over…I’m not crazy about the lighting :(

    Neil.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8akvl1D-Q8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlVtjtQcCWw

    • Hi Neil,

      Here are a few quick reactions.

      You could improve the user’s experience by chunking the message down into bite-size doses. Providing several shorter videos would keep the user engaged and give it an interactive feeling.
      . one subject per video
      . more slides
      . one idea per slide
      . Short commentary on each slide

      For each video, start with the top-level idea then provide the support, like an inverted pyramid.

      For example: in the first video, the end result is a live feedback loop that tells them where to invest their money and efforts. That one idea would make a pretty good video message. Other videos could explain the components.

      I think a user would see more value in that approach.

      Jack

  13. Jack, this is awesome! Great post, congrats and you don’t look a bit like Dumbledore! :)

    • Hi Leanne,

      My friend Pamela Wilson (comment above) says I definitely, DEFINITELY look like Sean Connery, not Dumbledore. I accept compliments, even when I don’t believe them. ;)

      And where’s your video? Hmm? A musician who’s not on youtube? It just ain’t right.

      Jack

  14. Jack, you did a great job on this post. We have been experimenting for over a year with using video and our YouTube channel effectively. Thanks for the practical approach to better penetration. As a music school teaching music in an exciting new model focused on service and application, we have lots of cultural expectations and norms to overcome and the video really helps. Your assistance has been a big help.

    Our latest experience video is one of our best so far. Ode to Joy at Robious Elem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr8SzbRfjgM

    We are working to get more video up, and distribute the tools to a larger contributor group. Our biggest challenge has been length, and effectiveness.. or finding a hook. It is hard to get those times down.. ;-)

    Time will tell if we are successful but I believe we are already seeing great results.

    • Hi Jeff,

      That’s the most fantastic video I’ve ever seen in my life! How did you ever round up such a collection of superstars? You were lucky to catch them between Carnegie Hall appearances.

      I’m not wild about the canned music in the beginning, but once the live musicians are in, it’s amazing :)

      The quick comments by the musicians are perfect in their informality and camaraderie. I like the still photos interspersed.

      Tracee sounds great in her portion. The pandemonious stacks of music in the background are perfect.

      Couple of small suggestions, if you don’t mind.

      I would put a URL at the beginning of the description section then refer to it in a call to action at the end of the video.

      The ideal thing would be for the URL to lead to http://dacapova.org/aboutus/faculty/faculty/jackprice.html.

      Second-best URL idea would be a custom landing page on your website, developed expressly as a destination from You Tube, complete with a call-to-action to . . . well, you’d need to design an involvement step for YouTube-rs.

      Thanks so much for commenting. See you soon.

      Jack