A few weeks ago, I decided to record a video of myself making a potato, corn and poblano pepper chowder. I channeled my inner-Millennial and sourced the recipe ingredients from my local farmers market. I roasted those poblanos and let them rest while I set up my phone and halo light to record.
As I recorded, I popped some of those chopped poblano peppers into my mouth.
Turns out, poblano peppers are hot. I don’t handle hot foods well at all.
My phone captured ninety seconds of waving hands, watering eyes and me sucking on an environmentally-friendly metal straw like eternal life was at the bottom of my cup. (I’m not being dramatic. I uploaded the clip to YouTube if you’re curious and want to watch here.)
I posted the original video to Facebook. In just a few hours, it had over 1,000 views, dozens of comments from people that never engage with my page. I posted that same clip on Instagram the next day with similar results.
Many writers prefer to sit behind their screens and send their written words to do the talking. However, we don’t need to limit our written words to a page, we need to convert our writing to video content as well.
When it comes to connecting with our audiences and growing a new audience, video content is the train that audiences are addicted to riding. If your writing goals include engaging your audience more, growing your platform or increasing book sales, then you’ve got to run like heck for that video content creator train and scramble aboard. Here’s why:
- Video Content Builds Trust
- More Video Content = More Time A Person Engages at a Website
- Video Content Creates 1200% More Shares (important for platform growth and book launches)**
Creating video content doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or exasperating. I’ve curated a list of ten ideas and solutions to help you create video content that will increase your engagement with your current and future audience.
- Work Smarter, Not Harder – You don’t need to create new video content. Your best video content is already done! Search your blogs or social media posts for your most popular content. Then, choose the most popular sections, snippets, stories or sticky statements to record as content on video.
- Getting Ready for Your Close-up – If you’re stressed about how to look good on camera, here’s a video that I watched a few months ago with simple, practical advice so that you can record yourself with confidence.
- Fake Out Your Facebook Live Fear – Does the idea of being on Facebook Live feel slightly more appealing that getting stabbed with a sharp stick to the eye? Here’s a helpful tip: You can set up a secret group on Facebook. In that secret group, no one but you will see your Facebook Live. Therefore, you can practice going live in that secret group until you’re comfortable with streaming to your public or professional page.
- Rock Your Reader Engagement with StreamYard – This is my favorite! StreamYard is a simple livestream platform that integrates with Facebook Live and YouTube. StreamYard enables you to create a fabulous audience experience by posting questions, featuring their comments on screen, inviting guests and more! It took me five minutes to learn how to use StreamYard and it’s been a game-changer for me.
- How Do You Do? – How many of us loved watching the painter Bob Ross teach us how to paint, even though we were never going to pick up a brush? Of the nine best types of social media videos, tutorials and how-to videos rank first. Tutorials build trust and connection. If you’re a novelist, can you make a video about your main character’s skill or hobby? What if you don’t know how to do that skill, wouldn’t it be a fun for your audience to see someone teach you how to do it? Non-fiction writers, can you teach an inspirational illustration or prescriptive element from your work?
- Behind-the-Scenes Videos – This type of video ranked seventh on the list of most effective social media videos. Consider these ideas: record a brief video after writing your newsletter to tease your audience or imagine how much anticipation you can build if you record the last ten minutes of you writing your book. As you share your fresh thoughts and emotions, your audience will feel connected to you in that special moment and they’ll be invested in celebrating the launch with you in the future.
- Script, Don’t Stress with BigVu! This platform is on-screen teleprompter that equips you to look at your device and read the screen so you don’t forget what you want to say. Upload your content as a script (see #1 again) to BigVu for a simple, yet high quality video product that will save you time, stress and money.
- Canva now creates videos! Canva is a popular, user-friendly graphics creator, but did you know that you can now upload and create videos? Not only that, but Canva has video templates so you can record yourself and upload your video into their pre-designed templates for a finished and professional look.
- It’s Hip to Be Square…If you’re already using video, you may want to know that square videos receive 30% more views and 80% more engagement over standard 16:9 landscape videos.
- Story Time is Still Effective – Authors reading their books still works! It’s like a mini-Audible session + audience engagement. Ask a question at the end of the video for the viewers to answer in the comments. You can even ask your readers to record their own videos reading your work and share that as story time, too.
COMMENT ON ANY OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING: What has been your experience with using video with your audience? What keeps you from using video more often? Are you curious about trying any of the ten ideas or solutions in today’s post?
** I found this statistic on YouTube. I’m not sure where they sourced that data. That percentage seems high, but even if it was only 25% true, video content still creates 300% more shares.
Barb, your poblano video is hilarious. Thanks for sharing a genuine moment of distress!
These pointers are so helpful; they ALMOST make me wanna give this video-thing a try. Thank you for such practical advice.
Hahaha! Janet, I’m love that this post ALMOST makes you want to post a video. Thank you for sharing this! And, if you ever want to try out that Facebook Live, I’m here for you 🙂
Do my life in video? Check!
I can, oh yes, I can!
Barb’s played by Sandra Bullock,
and I, by Jackie Chan.
What of dear friend Carol,
of stalwart writing heart?
To take it to the marrow,
Sigourney Weaver gets the part.
And then there’s warm and witty Jeanne,
who inspires to my goal.
Many actresses would be keen;
Julia Roberts takes the role.
The dogs? Well, most will play themselves,
shy ones portrayed by Tolkien elves.
Now, that’s a film line-up that a girl can get excited about! Super fun – thank you for adding your magic to today’s blog conversation.
Oh my so honest! I love it! Thanks for the tips!! These are great.
And PS , next time, a drink of MILK will help take the heat away. It coats your mouth and gets rid of the sting. Pro tip, you spit out the milk! Capsaicin is NOT your friend. That’s the compound in peppers that make them crazy hot or not depending.
Spitting out the milk? That is a pro tip – thank you! Lisa, I’m going to sneak off to your page to see if you’ve to knitting videos. Your photos of your knitting projects always inspire me, but you could totally be the Bob Ross of knitting…with much more flair and fun!
This is so helpful, Barb! Thanks for these creative ideas and the tips for special equipment to help! One question for you: how do you make a square video? Great post!
Hi Jerusha! Thanks for joining today’s B&S conversation! Creating a square video depends on what you’re using to record. My fastest tip is to crop the video after I record it on my phone. I do this before posting to Facebook. Instagram only posts in square, so that’s easy. Is there a specific platform that you’d like to use square video to share content?
No, I was thinking of all the platforms since you said square videos perform better. I hadn’t heard that statistic before. Thanks for the tip on how to do it quickly!
Barb, this is an excellent post. I’m a recently retired English/public speaking teacher, and I enjoy teaching/speaking. But making videos? UGH. Yet, I’ve been entertaining the idea. Your post may have pushed me over the edge. Thank you! (You should share this content in a video). 🙂
Yay! Karen, thank you for sharing this. You are not alone. So many writers HATE appearing on video, but our audiences LOVE it! And you’re right, I should have made this post into a video – ha!
This was an extremely helpful post. Thank you so much and looking forward to trying out these tips.
Hi Jenny! Thanks for sharing your comment and you’ll be amazing on video! Looking forward to seeing it!
Jean E. Jones
Thanks for this! I started with video trailers for nonfiction books, a few interviews, and a couple how-to videos. I was so nervous, and it showed! It’s been quite a learning experience! Now I’m about to start my third online study. The quality is improving. On my first study, I had trouble looking at the camera and relaxing. I tried to film everything in one take. Now I record in sections with “Scene” and “Take” signs that I hold up so editing is easier. I even add intro and exit music. I can’t wait to look into the teleprompter and streaming service you mentioned.
Look at you go, Jean! That’s outstanding! Thank you for sharing your experience as an inspiration to others. Creating video content is so uncomfortable for so many, yet as you’ve shared, we do get better the more that we do it.
Hey Barb! I just followed you on Instagram. I feel like your article was a dose of tough love straight to my mailbox, ha! As scary as it is, I KNOW in my heart I’ve got to do it. My first book is coming out in January, so I’m off to develop my game plan…. on camera!?!? Yikes.
Hallie, YOU CAN DO IT!!! I’m cheering for you and celebrating your courage today! Get it done!!!
Kristen Joy Wilks
Wow! There are some great ideas here. Terrifying ideas, but still … . I have done one video that was supposed to be from my dog teaching her humans obedience. I should do more, ha!
Kristen Joy Wilks
Hmmm … I just realized that my Disobedience With Leia video is hidden in the “Fun” tab on my website. If video is so popular, perhaps I should give it a tab, ha! I do have a tab for book trailers. Lots of stuff to think on Barb, thank you!
This is all GOOD STUFF, Kristen! Get that video out there and let people love on it and you! Thank you for sharing.
Barb, wow, this is helpful! I have done very little video, but I appreciate your insights here. And including the links for products that enhance/make this whole process easier is a complete win. I took some good information for when I finally get brave enough to begin doing videos regularly. 🙂
And, I might be off to YouTube now to watch a certain agent making chowder. 🙂 Thanks for your vulnerability!
I’m so glad that you found this helpful, Jeanne! I love that you’re getting some videos out there and hope that you get some more out there!
Way to go. I so relate to hot stuff. At my son’s at a nice restaurant The first little pepper was delish. The second one Blew my head off. Ugh
The one thing that most keeps me from making videos is my age. The videos I’ve seen of “older” women are usually made by women who look like models. In the one you shared, the woman said she was 57 but looks two decades younger. The only other older lady videos I’ve seen are funny grandmas. And maybe a few Bible study teachers who were already well-known before YouTube even came out.
But I keep hearing from others that they get way more views on their videos than their blog posts. So sometimes I think about how I could incorporate videos. Thank you for all these tips and resources.
Thanks so much for these great tips and resources! I did a 7-day Facebook Live Hope Hunt in May and I was so nervous! There’s no correcting your mistakes on live, right?! Recording beforehand and editing is a much more attractive option. 🙂 I’ve been contemplating doing a once a week video to talk briefly about my blog content for that week but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. My fear is that people won’t really care enough to watch it.
Thank you for such helpful info. I just watched the Stream Yard video. Wow! Who knew? I’m working hard to add stronger layers to my platform. This will definitely help.