Six essential tips for successful video blogs and media commentators

15 October 2012 By Northern Lights

Six essential tips for successful video blogs and media commentators image

We’ve helped a number of clients go through the torture of media training in just the last month – and I’ve also gone in front of a camera to promote our ebook to help students who are jobhunting.

A number of themes struck me as we were doing these.  Here are our tips if you or a colleague are doing a video blog or media interview.

1.      Talk to your granny

The biggest problem that our clients faced was that they are all experts in their field.

We have been working with the senior management team at Worldmark – they design and manufacture parts for the world’s best-known names in smartphones, tablets, games consoles and laptops.  It took us a while to find a way to describe what is clever about the company in simple phrases, because what the company does is so technical.

The trick that TV journalists use is to imagine they are explaining the story or the product to ‘the man at the bus stop’ or to your grandmother.   You want to think of explaining to someone who knows nothing about your company so you have to strip it down – and make it relevant to ordinary people.

With Worldmark we explained their work as ‘overcoming problems such as screens that smash and smear on your mobile phone’ or ‘we are looking at challenges such as laptops and tablets that are ever thinner and more powerful – which causes heating problems’.

It’s not dumbed down, but it makes a complex subject relevant to a wide audience.

2.      Be energetic and smile

Now of course, this tip depends on your topic – if you are announcing the closure of a factory you don’t want to be smiling and energetic.

But for most interviews or vlogs (video blogs) you need to hold the attention of the audience.  And to do that you need to create energy.

Most of us are far more engaging and watchable if we smile – that’s quite difficult to do in a corporate type video.  So try and think of anecdotes that will naturally make you smile.

Try and get your interviewer to smile at you.

And create body language.  Don’t go over the top but try and speak as if you were in a pub talking passionately to a group of friends and trying to keep their attention.  Use your hands to make a point, smile, pause, let your voice go up and down.  Above all keep up the energy.

I was making a real effort in the video I did here – but I think actually I went over the top?  What do you think?

 If you are unable to view this video please click “How to get a job”

3.      Use picture stories

Theory doesn’t work well on video and camera.  Your audience will quickly switch off.

So think of stories that paint a picture in someone’s mind to bring the point to life.  In the above video, I used the example that that morning I had seen a student’s Facebook account and the boy said ‘got three job interviews – just goes to show what bulls….g can achieve’.

I used this to make the point that students need to be careful what they put on their Facebook accounts when jobhunting.  But the story makes the point far more powerfully?

4.      Have a call to action

Before you do your vlog or media interview, jot down what you want it to achieve.

What message would you like your audience to take away, what action do you want them to do?  Keep it very simple.  Write it down on the back of a business card and have that point clearly in your mind as you do your interview.

5.      Short and sweet

Ideal video clip lengths are 90 seconds to 2 minutes.  You have to be an amazing speaker or have a fantastic subject to hold people for longer.

So ‘front load’ what you are saying.  Get to the point quickly.  Keep it brisk and to the point.

6.      Maximise your budget

If you are doing vlogs for your website, do a batch in one go.  We have done this for our ebooks.

For the student ebook, I had five outfits ready and did the fastest speed change you have ever seen.  Each clip now looks different.  The cameraman also got me to change chair positions.

If you want help for yourself or spokespeople in your company, give us a call – we have had fantastic feedback from the training we’ve done.  And all our spokespeople have said it has benefit for the business way beyond being in the media, but in how they communicate generally.

What tips would you give to anyone doing a video blog or media interview?  Or what was your worst experience if you have done it!

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Written by Northern Lights