Before I became an author and media trainer full time, I worked as a senior TV producer for almost 20 years. And while working for a TV station and writing productivity books might seem unrelated, I use the skills and tips I picked up as a producer all the time.
Many authors don’t use video, either because they don’t know how or because they think they don’t have to. But as authors, video is one of the most important tools we have to connect with our audience (besides words, of course!).
After working in media for so long, I know the insider tips for using video to your advantage. These are tricks I use all the time myself.
Here are five things every author needs to know about using video to establish yourself as an expert, market your books, and connect with your audience.
1) Look directly at the camera, not at yourself. When my media training clients ask me if there’s one thing they can do to immediately improve their video skills, this is the tip I give. Whether you’re in a video meeting with your publisher or filming a video for marketing materials, looking directly at the camera creates a human connection that’s so important.
I know it can be tempting to look at yourself, but you have to resist the temptation. Once you get in the habit of looking at the camera, you’ll notice how many people don’t do this. You can instantly boost your professionalism in this one simple way!
2) Sound natural, not like a robot. One of the things I notice video newbies struggle with is sounding natural on camera. I know how hard it can be if you’ve never done video before. The key here is practice! Start recording videos of yourself and play them back. Keep track of how your sentences flow together.
Rather than make a script of every single thing you’re going to say in a video, make a general outline and practice going through it a few times so you feel comfortable for the real deal. Write down bullet points and then go from there. Memorization can pull all the life and enthusiasm out of your delivery. Sounding natural on camera will help you come across as a confident expert.
3) Skip the filler words. Everyone uses filler words like “um” and “like,” but when you’re on camera, you need to cut those out of your speech.
Why? Filler words make your audience think you don’t know what you’re talking about. They’re distracting and take away from your message. Again, making practice videos and analyzing your speech will help with this. Don’t be afraid to take a pause — you don’t need to be speaking 100% of the time.
4) Dress for success.strong> You might have had an outfit picked out months in advance for a book signing. But does it work on camera? I suggest jewel tones, which are flattering and don’t take attention away from you and your message. Patterns can look “busy” on-screen. Stick to something that won’t distract from the main event – YOU!
As for makeup, you can check out these tips from pro TV makeup artist (and my friend and former colleague) Iren Halperin. She did a whole step-by-step tutorial that you can follow. You can get access here!
5) Go live on social media. Once you’re prepared and comfortable using video, you can also use your new skills to connect with your audience using social media. Going live helps you connect with your audience in a new way. And that’s what video is all about!
I have a whole blog post on going live on social media that you can check out if you’re interested.
I know that video can seem intimidating if it’s something you’ve never done before. But like every new skill, it just takes a little practice. Right now, when so many events are happening virtually, having video skills will be so helpful as you navigate online conferences, book signings, and Zoom meetings.
If you want more tips on how to elevate your video and media skills, you can check out this resource on my website.
Paula Rizzo is an Emmy Award winning TV producer and bestselling author of Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You and Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed. She’s also a media and video consultant and is frequently featured on television, radio and the web. For more go to PaulaRizzo.com/checklist for her Checklist to Becoming a Go-To Media Expert.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit on how to become a professional speaker. It includes checklists, templates, worksheets and more. Check it out!