Videos have the power to grab your audience’s attention and establish an emotional connection. While your viewers listen to what you say and how you get your points across, they’ll feel as if they know you; like they’re standing right in front of you in person.
“Over 70% of respondents claim that video performs better than other content for producing conversions,” according to a recent report published in Vidyard.
I’m not surprised by this. Videos give your customers an insider’s look at who’s really behind your brand. They also showcase your brand’s personality in an easily-digestible format.
Now, most people dread the idea of standing in front of a camera. You may have even tried creating videos yourself, but didn’t know the right words to say.
I’m a firm believer in the power of video, so with the help of today’s article, I’ll be showing you how to craft the perfect dialogue to keep viewers engaged and connected to your brand.
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Tip #1: Be Prepared
If you’ve ever sat through a video that seemed to ramble on for far too long, you can thank the creator’s lack of organization for your wasted time.
Sure, most people have a general idea of what they’ll be talking about in their videos. But, if you neglect to lay the groundwork and zone in on the key message ahead of time, your video is going to reflect that lack of focus.
You’ll spend far too much time trying to make a point, and by the time you do, you’ll probably lose half, if not more, of your viewers along the way.
So I want you to keep this in mind whenever you’re creating videos: “Winging it” wastes time. If you can’t keep your viewer’s attention, they won’t make it a habit to come back for more.
If your video is all about telling your story, it’s important to come across as authentic. If viewers see you struggling to remember lines about your own story or read a teleprompter, you’ll lose that element of human connection. You should know your own story well enough to maintain eye contact and speak from the heart—with just a few key bullet points to keep you on the right track.
But if you’re creating a video for your brand, a campaign, or a specific product or service, having a more fleshed out script to work with will keep your video zoned in on the message you originally set out to share—even if you do embellish or stray from the script every now and then.
Action tip: Spend time creating a script for your videos that lend themselves to that more rigid structure—even if they’re going to be short. Here’s a great example of a scripted video to help you out.
However, remember that you don’t always need a script if you’re simply introducing yourself or the video the viewer is about to watch. In fact, your viewers will connect better with you if you are impromptu instead of scripted during these casual times—it creates authenticity.
Tip #2: Start With the Background Story
Now that you know you need an outline or general roadmap for your video dialogue, it’s time to start creating one that works.
But before you can tackle this step, you’ll need to establish a few key goals for your video.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Why am I creating this?
- What do I hope to accomplish with this video?
- What is the goal of this video?
Once you answer those questions, you’ll be more equipped to create a story that aligns with your goals instead of just telling a story for the sake of making a video.
Your story should have an exciting and relatable introduction followed by a natural progression that keeps the story moving forward as it unfolds towards a resolution.
Keep the phrase “Show Us, Don’t Tell Us” in mind as you begin creating a story that resonates with viewers.
Let your dialogue show the viewers more about what’s going on without you having to explicitly tell them what you want them to hear.
This is the key difference between a dialogue and a conversation. With a conversation, the tone is more of a back-and-forth exchange with very few surprises. On the other hand, a dialogue leaves room for something more to come because of its natural progression.
Action tip: Come up with a story that relates to the problem at hand or the goal of your video.
Your story should have a clear and engaging introduction (which presents the problem to be discussed in the video) and should naturally progress as the story unfolds (i.e. end with how the problem can be solved).
Tip #3: Keep It Conversational
Next, I want you to create a script (or, at the very least, a rough outline) using the story you created in Tip #2.
I don’t want you to think of this script as a ‘script’, per se. Yes, it will guide you through your talking points, but I don’t want it to be so rigid that you read your script word for word on camera. That will kill all of the personal, emotional connection time you’re trying to create with your viewers.
Also, leave the drama and surprise endings for the big screen. We’re not writing the next nominee for “Best Screenplay” here.
Instead, think of your script as a simple conversation with your viewers. It should feel as if you’re speaking directly to them—as if they were standing right in front of you.
You don’t always need complete sentences, but stay away from using slang or anything of that nature. Rather, keep the conversation as natural and professional as possible. Show your audience the real you behind your brand.
Let’s use the introduction as an example.
In person, you wouldn’t say, “Hi! I’m Susan, a PR professional dedicated to helping brands discover their true story.”
In lieu of that, I would keep it short and simple and say, “Hi! I’m Susan from ReImaginePR and I’m so glad you’re joining me today!”
Action tip: Make sure you’ve fleshed out a rough draft version of your script or general outline before moving on to Tip #4. If you wouldn’t say those words you wrote during casual conversation in person, toss them out. Your script should be simple and most importantly, authentic.
Tip #4: Read it Out Loud
If you always struggle with sounding rigid and robotic on camera, your best bet is to run through your dialogue a few times before ever pressing “record”. This is a surefire way to hear how natural you’ll sound during recording.
I cannot stress this enough to anyone attempting the video route.
Pay attention to the areas that cause you to trip up. Chances are, this will more than likely happen once you begin recording. If something doesn’t sound natural during practice readings, it won’t sound good on camera and needs to go ASAP.
Action tip: If you can find a buddy to practice with, go for it. Run through your entire video out loud and ask your volunteer for feedback. By talking to someone in person, you’ll know right away if something doesn’t sound right.
You can also get the same results by practicing alone in front of a mirror. If you get stuck on tongue-twisters or unnatural phrases, a re-work of that section is probably in order.
Without practice, you’ll record a video filled with interruptions and hours of messy editing to fix your stumblings. This will definitely cost you more time in the long run, especially if you have to re-record parts that cannot be edited.
Tip #5: Trim the Fat
After you’ve run through your video dialogue and removed everything that doesn’t sound like natural conversation, see if there are any other areas you can trim down.
Essentially you need to ask yourself: “Can I get to this point any sooner?”
If the answer is yes (or even probably), go for it.
Remember, before viewers will even hit play on your video, they’re going to check out how long the video is first to see if they have enough time to watch it.
So the shorter you make your videos, the better, since most viewers are usually limited on time to begin with.
This data shows that the sweet spot is right around two minutes or less for the best results.
Since two minutes can fly by, that’s why it’s so important to create a script first and then trim it down later.
Action tip: Cut out the extraneous conversation and get to the point as quickly as possible. Think of yourself like a journalist getting all of your most compelling points across in limited column space.
Now that you have these five tips under your belt, it’s time to craft the perfect story for your next video.
Start by identifying the goal of your video and then come up with a compelling story to match. As you write your story, create a script or rough outline that’s natural, conversational, and simple.
Once you’ve tackled that, read your story out loud to see if anything needs to be changed or omitted altogether. Ideally, your videos should all be short and to-the-point
As you trim the fat, be sure to move your most compelling points to the forefront. If your viewers don’t have a chance to finish your video, they at least won’t miss out on the important information you wanted to get across.
Finally, just be yourself and have fun! Let your personality and what your brand stands for really shine through to connect with your audience.
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