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First off, feel free to jump to the end of this post. I’m going to give you a lot of ‘why’ before I get to the ‘how’ of things. This post is as much about getting your head right for video marketing as it is about some practical advice. If you’re hear looking for some quick tech tips – you’re in the wrong post.
I started the Amplify podcast back in October 2018. My goals for the show were to make a start with content marketing and then build a business around that.
Some of the best things about starting the podcast weren’t what I thought they’d be and many of the benefits were unexpected.
Besides the outward success the show’s had, here’s what happened.
1 – It’s transformed my network. Because my show is guest based I need to reach out to people I think will add value to my audience every week. I’m spending time with them we get to know each other and guests often become friends or at least acquaintances.
Living in a fairly remote location, my network isn’t now limited to the people I ‘happen’ to meet. I get to choose who I meet. And because I have a podcast and need guests I have all the reason I need to reach out to anyone I want and actually offer them some value.
2 – It’s transformed my knowledge and perspective. Spending so much time with the smartest marketers, experts, coaches, consultants, and creatives has completely transformed my own knowledge and practice. Real insight into any issue only comes when you shine a light on it and work through it with teachers. Many guests have gone on to be informal mentors.
3 – It’s changed the nature of my business. I have to pinch myself to think that the podcast started just over a year ago. So much has changed in my business. Things are different on every level. I’ve achieved more in the last eighteen months than I did in the last ten years. I’m making more money now with a small virtual team than I ever did with a big team and a traditional agency. Not only that, I’m doing work I like – for people I like.
4 – At the risk of going a bit Ron Burgundy. Another benefit is that the first shoots of industry ‘authority’ slowly showing. Because I host the show I’m approached daily by people who want to be guests. Guests talk to each other and because I have a platform ( and I’m a nice guy ), people help me out. I’m understating this whole ‘nano-influencer’ thing because nobody likes a show-off but opportunities are starting to come which I’d never normally be in the path of.
5 – I’m much more confident in my own competence. When you spend time with the smartest people in and around your industry and you hold your own, it’s great for your confidence. When the best in the business tells you to try something, you try it. A lot of my old competitors must think I’ve lost my mind because while they’re all busy doing the same old thing, crazy Bob is walking off in a completely different direction. And I’m fine with that now.
So that all sounds great and now I’ve written it I can see why I don’t want to change the show at all. I might smarten up the intro and get some Hollywood actor to introduce me with dramatic music over the top, but other than that, I don’t want to change it.
But – it’s not enough. Because it’s a guest based show it’s not really helping drive my business they way a solo platform would. I don’t want to change it but it feels like it’s time to graduate and add something new.
In all the interviews I’ve done some themes have emerged. One of the most obvious has been that video builds your personal brand better than anything else. Coupled with this is the compounding effect of a Youtube channel.
I’m not writing a post about why video is good or why Youtube, in particular, is a very good bet. They just are. I’ve spoken to lot’s of people like Gavin Bell, Amy Landino, Chris Ducker, Philip VanDusen and Joe Burnich who’ve all said the same thing. It’s hard, uncomfortable and people will think you’re crazy. But they also say it’s been the single most powerful thing they’ve done for their business and after a time, drives most new opportunity.
Gavin Bell, in particular, spoke about video as allowing him to build relationships ‘at scale’ through video content. This is a tricky thing to get your head around but reflect on how you feel about anyone you regularly see on screen.
So why am I talking about this now? Well over the last year or so I’ve learned a lot about what works and what does’t. The way I deliver value to clients has also changed in that time and walking the walk has become very important me. I have to be seen to do the things I’m advising others to do. The things which I know work. And it often comes back to video.
I’ve seen first hand what kind of business you can create when you reach beyond your geographic catchment area through video marketing. How it can free you from doing the same as everyone else and allow you to focus on the value which you, uniquely bring to the world. I know now that’s the kind of business I want but the price of admission is an acceptance that you have to live on the edge of what’s comfortable.
So what stopped me?
If you’ve listened to my podcast or spent any time speaking to people in the online marketing world you’ll hear the word ‘niche’ a lot. The theory goes that the more specific you are about who you serve the more compelling you become for that person. There’s a whole lot more to it but in the industry there’s a huge drive towards niching. For a lot of people it’s the right thing and quite natural although for me it’s been a struggle.
Your niche is what ultimately informs your audience ‘Avatar’. This is detailed picture of your ideal audience member. Ideally you have just one Avatar and all your content is created with that one person in mind. I’ve found this impossible and it paralysed me for a long time.
I knew that to move forward I’d have to tackle this head on. It wasn’t easy but and I’ll not go into it here but I’ve done it now.
The bigger issue
There are some people who don’t give the idea of appearing in video on social media a second thought. I don’t get it but I know these people exist. I’m not one of them. Working with my clients I know that most people feel the same. I think I’m happier to speak in front of a room full of people than I am about being on video.
So let’s break down what’s going on in my head, and maybe yours too.
What are the mental barriers to video marketing?
This is a general umbrella term which describes inexperience and a fear of the unknown. It’s a primal response to any significant action where we can’t anticipate the consequences ( how badly hurt we’ll be when it goes wrong. ).
I ran a survey a while back where over 80% of respondents claimed to be introverts. Clearly that’s nonsense but we all use introversion as an excuse. While I’m a genuine introvert who fantasises about the kind of alone time you’ll only get on a solo mars mission. I now it’s not a real barrier to video marketing because you do it alone but I did use it as an excuse for a long time.
This is a bigger deal than you’d think. Any creative will tell you the same thing. By the time they’ve completed any work all they can see are it’s flaws. It’s a universal constant and is always present. You will always get better but you can’t wait for that day to show your work.
I’m probably not going to make any friends with this one but the truth is most of us aren’t as smart as we’d like and don’t look or sound like we wish we did. If you’re twenty one you probably wish you were older and had more authority. If you’re forty five you probably wish you were younger and had more hair. Vanity has no place in business. This is work.
OMG this is the real deal. It’s easy to be the expert in your own head where nobody is watching but as soon as you do it in public, especially where peers or competitors might see, you start worrying. Someone is going to call us out. I don’t think imposter syndrome can be fixed. I’ve come to look at it as an effect of being in the right place. If you’re stretching yourself, and you should be, then imposter syndrome will be there with you. I think it’s a survival mechanism which can be managed.
A word on discomfort.
A lot of our reactions in life are primal and hard wired. We like to think we’re rational and intelligent people but the majority of our actions and reactions are governed either by habit or instinct. Our unconscious self hates change and will work like a bitch to preserve what it think normal and safe should look like. If you do anything which triggers any kind of anxiety your brain goes into overdrive to tell you to run away.
For the last 5 million years it was super helpful. For your video marketing – not so much.
So I’ve got all that going on. I’m starting to sound a little neurotic but it’s the truth and I know if you want to overcome anything or improve at anything then you have to spend a little time really getting to know yourself and what might get in the way.
The truth is my video marketing is going to be awkward, some people will make fun, some might call me out, I will get things wrong and it might just be a bit crap for a while and that just has to be ok.
So what’s my plan?
Think about the campaign and not the battle
I’m not going to worry too much about the effect of any one video. A campaign is made up of many battles and you can’t win every single one.
Take regular exercise
Comfort zones are like muscles. The more time you spend stretching them the more elastic they become and the bigger they get. Todays crazy challenge will become tomorrows normal.
Focus on marginal gains
A little thing done frequently can have a big impact. Marginal gains compound over time and the effect is often greater than the sum of it’s causes.
Start really small
Don’t try and jump right in to the big leagues. That doesn’t mean it isn’t the goal, it just means you have to earn your stripes and learn the ropes.
Something Philip VanDusen told me about video marketing is never far from my thoughts and applies to so many areas of life, clearly not just content marketing.
‘If you want to be a pro tennis play then you can read books about tennis, speak to pro tennis players, watch them play and buy the gear pro tennis players use. But until you start playing tennis you’ll never be a good tennis player.’
So now we know what all the barriers are what are my tactics for dealing with them?
Well, like anything else, once you have a map things get a bit easier. Once you know all those trolls in your head aren’t real they get a bit easier to deal with. There’s still the reality of our human reactions to discomfort and basic biology. It’s still not easy.
Knowing your WHY.
If you’re going to break through all the mental and emotional issues I described then you’re going to need to know why you’re doing it. Your WHY needs to be compelling enough to power you through some discomfort.
The baby steps.
I have no intention of jumping into high production value Youtube videos. I will post videos on Youtube but building an audience there isn’t the priority right away. That will come with time. My priority is getting comfortable with video.
If you’ve never been on video simply seeing yourself on screen can be a startling experience. I work with clients through video chat every day and I can see for some of them it’s a disconcerting experience at first. It’s so easy to forget that just because something is normal for me, doesn’t make it normal for someone else. If you’ve never been on camera at all start by making FaceTime, Skype or Facebook messenger calls where you might have used the phone.
A step up from video calls where you chat in real time is video messaging. Here your brain is doing something different. You have to record a message and then send it to someone. This can be done using most messaging platforms. Where video chat is getting you used to being on camera and seeing yourself there, video messaging is getting you used to recording something which another person will watch back. You have to actually hit the record button and then give it to one other person to watch. Use this when you might otherwise send a text message.
Once you’ve become comfortable with being on camera and having others watch something you recorded, the next natural step is live social video. At first glance this might seem crazy but actually I found it makes a lot of sense. In live video on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter people don’t expect high production values or any editing at all. Raw is expected. Once you get your head around this, going LIVE is actually a really smart move from a training perspective because you’ll get used to larger numbers of people seeing you on video.
One time social video.
Much like live video, nobody expects Instagram or Facebook Story videos to be polished. They’re only around for twenty four hours and then they’re deleted. Stories are a great way to ease into being seen on recorded video by more people.
Whenever I read this in other people’s content I always have a reflux reaction but accountability is a powerful thing. It’s the antidote to the brains inate resistance. Ask me to do something scary and I might do it. ‘Dare’ me to do it with you and the chances of action shoot up. Accountability can work a bit like that. For me Chris Duckers Youpreneur community and more recently his incubator program has become my accountability group and I’ve become an accountability convert.
I’m making video my top priority for 2020 because I have a very strong WHY, I know who it’s for, what impact I want to have and I’m clear about what it can do for my business. In addition I’ve spent a lot of time and effort understanding why I find it so difficult and developing a plan to help me overcome those challenges.
Being confident on video is not normal, despite what you might think when you watch Youtube. I’ve spoken to many people who, if you watch them today, look polished and successful, but it wasn’t always that way for them. They had to work for it and I expect I’ll have to work for it as well.
My investment in podcasting is starting to pay off in ways I never expected. It was really difficult at the start but became natural and normal very quickly. I know video will be the same and I’m happy to go through the pain of getting used to it. Truthfully, I think I’m pretty much through the real pain now and I’m starting to enjoy it. Like podcasting, video marketing, and Youtube in particular is a long term investment.
People are wildly different on the inside. My challenges and goals are not yours but if this resonates with you then high five for reading this far. Reach out and tell me more.