A Camera-Shy Person's Guide to
by Marcia Yudkin
The other day while watching a training video created by another marketer, I missed the whole beginning of the program. The guy stood facing the camera, lecturing in a friendly manner and gesturing smoothly at some props behind him. I couldn't take in his words because my mind was shouting, "That's something I could never do!"
In truth, I probably could do it, but only with weeks of practice. And I probably wouldn't feel happy about the effort. Creating a marketing piece with the camera focused on my face much or all of the time feels uncomfortably egotistical to me as an introvert. I've heard similar sentiments from introverted clients who get freaked out about video and TV but enjoy performing on radio and can manage public speaking, where they focus on the experience of their audience.
Yet does that mean introverts can't comfortably use video as a promotional tool?
Not at all.
Appearing as a talking head is only one method of using video, and it's probably the very most challenging video mode for introverts. Here are five alternate ideas for producing video content without forcing yourself into activities that feel alien and frightening.
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1. How-to videos. If you're good with your hands or have a physical skill to demonstrate, have someone shoot video of you showing the step-by-step performance of what you know how to do. For instance, a video of how to knit a cable stitch is going to focus on your hands, not your face, which makes the filming much less intimidating.
Likewise, when you demonstrate a walking meditation, you naturally focus on your posture and pace, rather than the camera. Keep in mind that you can either describe the steps verbally as you perform them or add your spoken commentary to the video later.
2. Storytelling videos. Here you have an opinion to share or a story to tell, and you illustrate it with video scenes edited together. For example, I created a popular 2 1/2 minute YouTube video about my remote-living Internet marketing lifestyle by first writing the script, then having a friend shoot planned-out footage illustrating what I was talking about.
A scene near the beginning showed me sweeping snow off the satellite dish through which I connected to the Internet. Another pictured me looking around from the dock overlooking our lake. My friend matched the content in my recorded audio to the scene changes. This was painless for me to create because I never had to speak directly to the camera.
You might think of this video option either as a music video with speaking replacing the music or as an illustrated audio commentary of the sort they often feature on U.S. public radio.
3. Narrated slide shows.
Another video I created, to promote my vacation rental condo in Maui, orchestrated still photographs, instead of video footage, while my voice offered lively remarks and descriptions of the island lifestyle. If you're a consultant, you could use this technique to show photographs of yourself helping clients or of your clients' successes while you explain your services in the voiceover.
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4. Interviews. Most people feel less self-conscious when they're answering someone's questions rather than reciting memorized text or extemporaneously talking to the camera. Knowing that you can reshoot an answer where you flubbed it is a huge comfort, too. So consider a Q&A video format in which you explain important points or provide background about yourself or your company. You might decide to leave the questions in the video or edit them out and weave together your answers on their own.
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5. Screencasts. Here you go off camera altogether. A
screencast, also called a video screen capture, shows the viewer what a process looks like on a computer screen as it proceeds step by step, with the accompaniment of a verbal soundtrack. You can also create a screencast by compiling a Powerpoint presentation and merging it with an audio voice recording. For example, some introverted experts read their articles out loud while their Powerpoint illustrates the content.
Whichever alternate video format you choose, keep it short. Less than three minutes is ideal for video posted online. Edit it so it looks professional, as we all tend to measure video quality by broadcast TV standards. End your video piece with a call to action – what you want viewers to do next, such as opt in to your newsletter or contact you for an introductory meeting.
Finally, post your creation on sites like YouTube as well as your own web site. And give yourself a big pat on the back for completing something many introverts would not dare to do!
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