Note: You guys know I’m a big fan of video. It’s one of the best ways I know to build a connection with your audience and turn people into fans. For makers, it can bring that craft show connection to the computer. But I also know that many makers are scared to go on camera. Which is why I’m super excited to share this guest post today from Monica McCarthy. Monica’s special skill is getting people camera ready, and I’ve personally worked with her to really improve my on camera presence. Thanks, Monica!
One of the lessons I’ve learned from coaching a wide variety of people with their on-camera presence is that they tend to focus on what happens once the record light is on. But the truth is, well-executed videos depend greatly on what happens before the cameras start rolling. For most of us, this is simply planning out what we are going to say. But writing a script to be spoken on camera is not the same as writing a blog post or page for your website.
With that in mind, here are four ways to write better on-camera copy:
Speak the speech
For even the most skilled writers, copy that is meant to be read and not said will never sound exactly the same as something you would say in a conversation. We’ve all seen videos where the person came off “stiff”. Often, the script is one of the culprits to blame. This is especially crucial to bear in mind if you will be saying your copy from memory. An easy way to implement this is to say the words out loud as you write them.
Spell it out
While creative leads and hooks are essential elements of written-word storytelling, for the purpose of your video, you’ll want to be clear from the get-go. The audience can’t skim ahead to determine where the story is going. They can and will determine within the first 15 seconds (or less) whether or not they’ll want to continue watching, or switch over to a video about kittens or cute kids dressed like Darth Vadar.
Less is more
With videos, the shorter, the better. Big time. One way to avoid rambling and run-on sentences is to edit your copy until every idea is summed up in one or two sentences. By using fewer words, you will be able to hold the attention of your audience, and better familiarize yourself with the script.
Videos are terrific tools for conveying emotions and connecting an audience with your message, product, or service. But it’s best to avoid sweeping generalities or complex ideas if there are no graphics to help the audience follow along. Focus on one main theme or subject per video and be as specific as possible.
Note: Though it may sound like I’m telling you to “dumb down” your content, in truth, writing for video can significantly help you attain laser-like focus for your message and your brand.
For those of you interested in creating content for videos, as well as gaining confidence speaking on camera, check out Close-Up & Personal, an online course to get you on-camera ready.
But most importantly, I don’t want fear to stop you from creating quality videos for your audience. You have a story to share. Your audience wants to hear it. I want to help.
Monica McCarthy has over a decade of experience on camera as a professional actress in both Los Angeles and New York City. She recently began her own boutique production company to help her fellow entrepreneurs, artists, coaches, and business owners create engaging videos for their websites. You can find her at ShowandTellStories.com and tweeting away @MissMMcCarthy