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I was on a walk while I was listening to the Marketer-to-Marketer podcast featuring Marcus Sheridan, the Founder, and CEO of The Sales Lion and Sherri Powers, the Director of Marketing at TechSmith Corporation, on sales integration and video marketing.
It was chilly, so I was walking at a good clip, but when the podcast was about halfway through, I noticed that I was running to get back to my desk and get my thoughts down. The topic of video is a topic I love. It is also a topic I hate.
We all know that we should be producing video and as a marketer who does everything, video to me is, at times, just one more thing I have to learn and master when it seems that there are never enough hours in the day. We have a video in production right now and to underscore how intimidated I am by it, I will share that we outsourced it to an up and coming video production agency that does great work.
However, hiring Intrepid Creative is not going to be financially feasible for our business every time we need fresh video content. This production (in my mind anyway) will be a cornerstone piece but as our products continue to grow and develop, we will need to capture that too and what we do is so gosh darn visually appealing, we’d be utter morons not to keep the footage coming.
Plus, there was Jeff Julian’s post that marketers need to pick up the dang camera and I have been following Storyboard Media out of NYC partly to learn and partly to torture myself about what I am not doing. But just as I was about to commence full on self-flagellation, Marcus and Sherri hit on an aspect of video marketing that made me feel a whole lot better for entirely selfish reasons.
As a Director of Communications for nine years, I found myself in front of the camera for local news fairly often. As a former teaching professor and hardcore extrovert, I am extremely comfortable in front of groups and pretty comfortable in front of the camera. I am not great by any stretch, but I have had (and taught) media training for on-camera interviews.
What I got excited about and what I had not even considered until I listened to the full episode with Sherri Powers and Marcus Sheridan on Video Marketing and Sales Integration, was the salient point about media training for multiple roles across an organization. From sales to the CEO, there are so many more people who should be and need to be in front of the camera, but they also need to be trained.
In the long, long, ago time, it was a given for PR folk such as myself to get media training and/or train themselves through self-study and trial and error. Everything I know about being on camera and training others, I learned from Richard Brundage. Mr. Brundage has done it all–from television director, news anchor, and lecturer who has trained some of the world’s top CEO’s, high ranking government officials, celebrities and sports figures to appearances on 60-Minutes and Dateline NBC, Brundage has anchored television news programs, lectured at universities, worked with celebrities and conducted media workshops for senior executives of major corporations around the world.
I got to see Mr. Brundage present to a group of my colleagues because his Center for Advanced Media Studies is conveniently located in Overland Park, Kansas, the suburb of my West Plaza, Kansas City home. I internalized everything he said because it all made so much sense to me. Then, I got to train my colleagues in my organization which cemented the concepts further, and I’d like to think that everyone who attended my media training workshops still remembers at least one or two of the concepts to keep top of mind when in front of a camera.
Things like this:
- Know your key talking points like the back of your hand and keep returning to them (especially in an interview setting) so that your talking points roll off your tongue naturally.
- You are the one in charge because you are the one in front of the camera and there is an artful way to keep the conversation headed in the direction you want.
- Soften your face (drop your jaw, don’t clench, it makes you look tense and angry).
- Don’t nod while the interview is asking you questions because you might look like you agree with something you don’t.
- And for heaven’s sake, wear solid colors. Please. The camera may not love your houndstooth patterned jacket. And the camera’s almost invariably hate stripes.
So in as much as these are solid tips for on-camera broadcast news interviews, they apply pretty well to just about any on-camera situation.
Honestly, I could train marketing and sales professionals in on-camera prowess all day, every day, and never grow tired of it. It is immensely rewarding to see people who were convinced they could never be great on-camera, get great at being on-camera.
I also believe nearly everyone can be trained to look and sound fantastic on camera; it just takes some solid training and, of course, practice.
But as Marcus and Sherri point out, this is a piece of the video puzzle that is often missing from the packages most video production agencies offer. Yes, they focus on editing and telling a good story, but seldom do they train the on-camera talent.
Media training does not take very much time, and the return on that investment is huge. I acknowledge the difference between being on-camera on the local news and being on Facebook Live, but the goal and the outcome of these two things are the same: get your point across clearly and do it authentically. Don’t try and mimic teenagers on SnapChat, be the professional you are and don’t be afraid of that dang camera. If I can figure out how to shoot and edit video almost like a pro (and I will), then you can build media training into your campaigns and make sure everyone who will be on-camera will be ready.
As Sherri Powers and Marcus Sheridan note, video marketing is no longer the future; it is the now.