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8 Free tools to create the best video titles

8 Free tools to create the best video titles 🛠

So you’re going to make some videos huh? Congratulations, you’re gonna be huge, you’re going to be the next Marilynn Munro the next Frank Sinatra you’re going to be looking back and wondering why on earth your videos did so badly….

That’s right, yes you’re going to be on stage providing quality content, hopefully, but just because you feature in your videos doesn’t make you the star. 

To make content that grows followings and captivates a viewer, you need to make them the star instead. 

Video is all about the people watching it; without them, you are just someone talking to themselves, and to make them the heroes in this story, you need to produce content they’re interested in, they seek out online to watch and when they love it, will share it with more people. 

The, when you have an audience, maybe you’re a star too, but you can never forget that your videos are for your viewers first. 

So here’s 8 free tools to use to work out the best video ideas that’ll make your viewers feel like celebrities, grow your following and build your brand. 



What is a trend?

A trend is when something gains popularity, so when the Coronavirus hit, the video calling platform Zoom, began to pick up a lot of search terms because it was relevant to the moment. 

A trend is content that has a lot of interest in it at the current moment or even over an entire year thus producing an upward search trend. 

An example of un upward search trend is TikTok. It has been increasing for month on month. 

If you can find the trends your viewers care about that are hot topics and “of the moment” or are rising consistently month on month, then there’s a chance you’ll produce a video that gets a lot more interest. 

Google trends is best free tool to work this out. You simply type in the topic idea for your video in to the search bar and it will show you whats trending. 

So let’s use “Zoom” as an example. 

If we type in “Zoom” you can see the massive spike in traffic when the virus disrupted the world, and now the trend is slowly dipping. 

Zoom search trend

If you can catch the trend at the start, then there will likely be less competition, and you’ll get in early and dominate search, social, YouTube, you name it. 

You can set it to track just Google or you can change it to YouTube search trends.

This is interesting because search traffic isn’t dying off as fast on YouTube as it is on Google so depending on where you want more traffic you will need to check both. 

Scrolling down the screen you will find the related queries section. 

Zoom video title ideas

What you can see is a list of videos that would be popular with your audience no matter what platform you’re using. 

Zoom tutorials for beginners is a breakout topic for example. Its hot! So this could mean its an excellent topic to cover 

 

Target your location

Google also provides you with  a map to make sure your target viewers in your  desired location are interested in your topic and potential query. It will even break this down to which state in the USA is searching for your topic the most. 

 

Take note

Write down all of the queries that Google trends throw up that you could make in-demand content about and then using the rest of the tools in this blog post, work out the best way to write your titles for the best chance of ranking and getting found. 

Here’s the results of using this technique on our own channel for a video about Zoom video calls. 

Search trend result

We made two videos on the topic, one about using a webcam with it and one about using a digital camera.

Anyway, one video got 500 views and the other 30,000 in an 8 week period.

 

Why trends rock!

Trends are an amazing opportunity to produce content your viewers care about and could enable you to get found faster, en-mass.

This is due to the fact there could be less competition at the start of a trend meaning you can get in early. If your content is high enough quality it should be able to avoid sinking down the ranks and pick up more suggested views too.

 

Caution

You should not, I repeat not, make videos about trending topics if it has nothing to do with your niche. 

Its also worth noting that this is not as effective on a granular level. 

Go check it out, find a trend, jot down your ideas and then step over to number two in our best free tools to work out YouTube video topics adventure. . 

If you’ve not got the free Tube Buddy tool then download it.  Upgrading is up to you and the free version is excellent. 

Tube Buddy has a tonne of features but when it comes to working out your video ideas its where it offers the most value. 

To do so, access their keyword explorer, add your keyword and you can see how popular a desired topic is, how hard it will be to rank and how well optimised other videos you might compete against are.

TubeBuddy keyword explorer

It will also suggest other keyword ideas for your videos and if you’re on the paid version you’ll get a significantly larger list. 

You can still use it to gauge the popularity of content even if you’re focus is on building an e-mail list.

What’s popular on the world’s second-largest search engine should translate to most other platforms. 

Combine this with Google trends and you should be able to spot winners and then work out exactly the best title to appeal to your viewers. 

This is another powerful free tool for gathering more data from search.

You can type in an idea and it will provide you with the number of searches per month, how competitive the search term is, and how difficult it is to rank for keyword ideas that are relevant to this topic. 

Ubersuggest

If you give them your e-mail, you’ll also see the search terms over a year which is like a mini google trend. 

But it goes deeper, much deeper. 

The image above uses Zoom as an example.  You can see the huge spike but also how people clicked on content about the video calling software on the coloured bar in the bottom left corner. 

So the majority came from SEO. 

Another incredibly useful feature is you can see the age range of the people who searched for it, so in this case, it was mainly 35-44. 

If that’s your target viewers, age group, then you’re in luck. 

Things like referencing TV shows and music they’ll have grown up with in your content will really make them feel like a superstar. 

Ubersuggest also gives you questions people use on related topics, suggestions and comparison topics to explore. 

These “Vs” topics are usually quite popular search terms and are great for video ideas. 

It also shows you the top ranking websites for the term so you can take a look at what else people have produced on the topic and plan your videos to be more detailed than theres or more current. 

 

Only interested in social media?

Oh and if you thought this was of no use because you only care about making videos for social media, then have no fear. You can see how often these websites are shared. 

With these first three tools, you should be able to generate enough in-demand video topics for the rest of your life. 

Now let’s move on to some other free tools to use if you’re focused on getting more social media views of your videos. 

4.Hashtags

Social media can give you some clues as to how popular the topic is you want to produce a video about. 

Search hashtags on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Facebook, and check out the conversations people are having and how many hashtags there are for your topic. 

Are there lots of questions being asked and unanswered?  Is your topic popping up a lot?

Hashtagify.me is tool you can type your idea into, and it will show you this information.

 

How best to use hashtags?

To get results from these on most platforms, you don’t want to target the most popular but the most relevant. So when you’ve worked out the search interest, find the hashtags that are most targeted to it as well as the ones with larger volumes of search and include a mixture in your final post. 

5.Comments

Search for your idea on Youtube and then check out the comments on the most popular videos. 

You’ll find loads of questions people ask, which will allow you to fill in the blanks that the creator has missed out. 

Sometimes you will find the same question being asked over and over again.

This is a sign that you can make a whole video just answering this to make super relevant, highly engaging YouTube gold. 

You can do this on Facebook, Instagram or any platform with a search option too. 



Quora is like Google but instead of being shown web pages made for a tonne of people, individuals answer your questions.  

Sign up to the platform, and ask questions about your channel niche. 

Ask questions based on the topics we think we should make videos on. You’ll get back answers from people which will not only help your titles but give you more ideas. 

The other way you can use it is to search for the questions people are already asking about your potential video idea.  It will throw up a tonne of questions people have asked, you can note down the most common ones and make videos on these or add the answers to your main video. 

It allows you to beef up your content and make videos people really want.

 

A sneaky little tip 

Here’s a sneaky little tip, when you’ve made your YouTube video, you can then go back and post it as an answer and help those people out who without knowing it has helped you. 

 

7. Suggested search

This one you hear a lot. Type your idea into Google and YouTube and you’ll see the most popular searches for your idea, which might get your brain waves ticking. 

suggested search

8. Polls

Lets assume you’ve built or are building a following of the right people. One super simple way to get more ideas is to let them decide what to make. 

content idea polls

If you have over 1000 subscribers, you can put out polls on your YouTube community board, allowing your viewers to vote on video ideas they want to see. 

You can also do polls in Instagram stories or even just e-mail one to your list. 

Asking your viewers what they want and then making it for them means you’re listening and they’ll appreciate that. 

You can then make the video on the winning topic and post it back on your community board so all of those who wanted to see it and are likely to be highly engaged come in and watch it straight away. 

Your video topics are so important, sure it’s pretty much impossible to have every video you produce blow up, but putting the time and effort into this will help you build a following who genuinely value you.

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How to get over imposter syndrome – becoming “good enough” for camera

How to get over imposter syndrome – becoming “good enough” for camera

Einstein thought of himself as an involuntary swindler. Even the way he uniquely described the imposter syndrome before it was a thing – is genius! And yet here’s the discoverer of the theory of relativity feeling like he don’t amount to much.

You thought you had issues. Pah!

If he can have doubts, you’re allowed some too.

SIDE NOTE: Here’s some irony for you – in order to write this I needed to do some research from lots of psychology websites and then tie their findings in with my own experience to gauge the truth in it and give it my own voice. Now I’m writing it in a way that leaves me feeling a bit vulnerable. Who am I to tell you about the imposter syndrome!?

The point of this isn’t really to end imposter syndrome, instead to recognise it and identify some tactics for avoiding its effects.

1. Just because you know it, doesn’t mean others do

One of the biggest dangers – and we get this all the time from working with experts on camera – is that experts keep forgetting that people don’t know what they know.

It’s really easy when you’ve been living with a certain type of knowledge for years, to forget that no one else knows it!

This can lead to thinking that it’s just run of the mill information that everyone knows so who do you think you are?

2. You’re not an imposter talking about the moon if you’ve never been on it.

Ok I’d probably hear what Neil Armstrong had to say about moon rocks before getting Pat Sharp’s opinion, but you don’t need to have an Amazon bestseller or a Fortune 500 company to express a unique viewpoint.

Imagine what an awful world it would be if you did!

3. No amount of success will likely stop you from feeling like an imposter.

David Simon, who wrote what is considered the finest TV drama ever created talking about the imposter syndrome:

In his book – The Wire. The Truth Be Told he said ‘..Who died and made me Storyteller?’

This is from the guy who wrote one of the most critically acclaimed TV series in history!

The most important weapon in the fight against imposter syndrome is to know its name. It has a purpose, and that is to stop us from getting too full of our own self-importance, but it can become irrational, so it’s essential to mentally note from time to time – ‘This is just a bit of imposter syndrome’.

Don’t be afraid of simplifying what you know for your audience.

Remember my first point – people don’t know what you know – but they can’t come in at your level either.The imposter syndrome will tell you to jazz it up with big words or concepts but communicating knowledge is about simplifying.

‘If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.’ – Einstein

Give yourself permission to simply have an opinion! It’s ok not to have invented the bagless vacuum cleaning. That doesn’t stop you, as an engineer, having an opinion on a Dyson’s suction power or build quality.

Allow yourself to accept both praise and criticism in equal measure. The praise will come to remind you that what you offer is valuable and the criticism is there to show you places to improve.

If you can keep both of these aspects working together you’re more likely to feel grounded and part of the human race rather than comparing yourself to someone or some thing that is unattainable.

That’s where the imposter syndrome really comes from.

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The best apps for making videos on your phone

The best apps for making videos on your phone

Still using the default video on your smartphone? Pah! Amateur.

Phones are now a fully portable production studio IF you’re using the right apps with it.

There’s a universe of apps out there for filmmakers and vloggers alike. We’ve been having a play with some of the more obvious ones and some lesser-known ones to try and find the best apps for vlogging on your phone.

Here’s a quick round up of the results – there’s a review of the main contenders but then also a recommendation on the workflow we’d use if only using a phone to shoot, edit and distribute.

So if you don’t care about what all these different apps do and want to just take my advice – jump to the end now.

#1 Apple Clips 

  • Price: Free
  • Pros: Auto subtitles, fun camera options
  • Cons: Only on Apple devises, very basic editing options

Apple clips was first released in 2017 when it was dismissed as a bit of a gimmick but there’s been a slew of updates that make it worth revisiting. 

Yes there’s the fun stuff which I imagine were included to get people trying the app, and you can put yourself inside augmented realities like the Millenium Falcon and the Incredibles movie as well a host of other random sets, but for regular vlogging, there’s more here than meets the eye.

Once you get your head around the fact that you need to build short clips and then export them together, you can use this app quite effectively as an all-in-one production studio. 

Also, it has a built-in captioning ability called live titles, which can caption you as you speak and bake the subtitles in. It’s about the same sophistication as Youtube auto-captioning, so if it’s for Youtube, perhaps not worth the trouble, but if you’re using other platforms and don’t want to add more to your workflow via rev.com and wrangling with .srt files then this a bit of a find. 

There are other auto-captioning apps out there, but none that do it as part of a filming, editing, and distribution package. 

You can even edit them afterward to tidy up imperfections in execution, especially the way apple interprets my kiwi vowels, which are all over the shop.

If you’re in the Apple universe, start here for a simple all in one that can export straight to Youtube, Instagram, Facebook or be exported for further editing and distribution.

Downsides to Apple Clips

The only drawback is the lack of options in the edit. This could be a good thing if the aim is to keep it simple, but to build and maintain a branded look for your channel, this is probably a bit too simple. 

I would use it for personalised updates, though, where you’re capturing something spontaneous and making commentary on it with subtitles. I think this could be a useful app for business people making on-the-fly content for Linkedin, but it’s hard to see it being a workflow for Youtube creators day in day out. 

#2 iMovie

  • Price: Free
  • Pros: Perfect for beginner editors and short clips
  • Cons: Only on Apple devises, basic editing options

Staying with apple – the default editor – iMovie – is also an effective all-in-one studio. You can record straight into the timeline, although it’s not obvious at first that you can do this. Once in the edit function, if you hit the plus button and select camera, you can record yourself or any footage. Perfect for making short clips on the fly, but don’t expect to make anything ambitious.

The limited editing options give a simple set of functions that won’t distract or bamboozle the beginner, but for more advanced editors, it’s going to feel like a step-down.

#3 Mavis Pro Cam

  • Price: Free
  • Pros: Adjustable manual settings
  • Cons: No selfie mode or editing. Apple only

To get the most out of any camera you need to go manual. This app does if for your phone camera. There is no built-in editing, though you could easily export your footage and import into another app like iMovie or VideoLeap.

If you just want the camera to automatically set everything for you then Mavis does this, but you may as well be using any of the built-in video capture features with a dedicated studio platform like iMovie or clips on IOS or Kinemaster on Android.

The one big drawback is that it has no selfie mode! That’s fine if your filming with a pal, but what about framing yourself if you’re on your own? Mavis Pro Cam tell me it ain’t so?!

I found this a bit of a deal-breaker after initial enthusiasm – it’s just a significant oversight. I will be very embarrassed if it turns out you CAN selfie on Mavis, but I was too thick to find the setting.

#4 Filmic Pro

  • Price: £11:49
  • Pros: Adjustable manual settings
  • Cons: No selfie mode or editing

Another app for creating manual configurations on your phone’s camera. If you’re a bit more advanced with cameras and find yourself frustrated with the lack of pro features on a smartphone like focus peaking for instance – this is the app for you.

Again it’s much like Mavis Pro Cam, but with a selfie mode except the illusion of focal depth it can create is quite convincing and can make for a more richer depth of field. It’s quite surprising, the shots you can pull off using this app.

#5 Video leap 

  • Price: £65
  • Pros: Most professional editing option
  • Cons: Editing only, pricey for a phone app

Videoleap is a great little editor only. No recording in the timeline with this one, but it makes up for it with the most intuitive and advanced editing on a phone that I could find.

We will mention price on this one because it may look expensive at £65 british pounds if you want to buy it outright but on a twelve-month contract, it’s only £3 per month so if your studio is going to be your phone – this is a solid bit of investment.

Only prerecorded footage can be imported into the timeline, so as long as it’s on your phone, you can use it.

To my eyes, it’s got a more professional set of options to the point where it becomes a bit fiddly on a phone and I can’t help but think you’d be better off editing on a dedicated PC or Mac – BUT – to avoid that investment for now or to be the most compact traveling vlogger out there – Videoleap is not too shabby.

Even if you’re a beginner, you will still manage the basics and after a steepish learning curve, be able to layer in coloured backgrounds, subtle filters, chroma-keying, and even masking. And for once, I didn’t mind the default transitions on offer, which are usually something of an 80’s car crash.

#6 FilmoraGo

  • Price: Free
  • Pros: Connects to Instagram and Facebook
  • Cons: Editing only, crashes a lot

This is another editing only app and we didn’t love this one.

It’s ok for editing when it wasn’t crashing or locking up, but one saving grace is that you can connect your Facebook and Instagram profiles to it and then select footage related to those accounts for further editing. But otherwise, there are better apps.

#7 Kinemaster

  • Price: £3.99 a month
  • Pros: Very professional editing options
  • Cons: Can crash when editing larger files

Available on both IOS and Android, this is a seriously powerful editor.

There are features in here that even professional editors would be surprised to find like a layers function that allows you to build on top of your main timeline or A roll that was a lot more robust and simple than any other apps.

If you’re already a decent editor and just want the sort of features you’re already used to in Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere then Kinemaster is going to suit you down to the ground.

Easy to do the basics, solid on more complex edits as well. Plus it has a connected remote app that you can put on your tablet or another smartphone to control the device from a distance over blue tooth.

Great for making use of the better front camera when filming pieces to camera on your own. And it will record in the timeline on the front or back camera so this is the best all-rounder for vlogging if the only device you have is a smartphone, and you insist on using one app.

 

The best apps for different situations

If you’ve just tuned back in to get my advice – you lazy sod – I was just saying that Kinemaster is the best all-rounder for filming and editing in one place. BUT

The one big problem with all of these apps is you can’t currently film using them with a teleprompter, and that is a big deal-breaker for the workflow we have – batching a load of videos in one session.

If you don’t care about using a teleprompter and you’re just a natural at keeping your train of thought and presenting to camera, then the workflow we would use is:

The most pro option

Film all the A roll pieces to the camera using Pro Movie on the manual settings if you need selfie mode – unless you’re moving about in which case use Mavis on the auto settings with the built in stabiliser.

If you’ve got a partner in crime – use Filmic Pro on the back camera so you can access the manual settings which are just better.

Film all the B roll on Filmic Pro and really get to grips with the focus puller and the quirky ISO wheel.

Then import the footage into Kinemaster which is super easy and quick.

Export from Kinemaster to Youtube.

For the fastest option that will keep you sane 

Film and edit everything inside the Clips app and export straight to Youtube.

Don’t do Mac? Film everything inside Kinemaster, avoid anything fancy and export straight to Youtube.

For teleprompter people use PromptSmartPro, import your script and then click into it and tap on the settings cog. You’ll need to turn on the selfie mode and set the side margin position to ‘narrow’

Then film yourself on landscape and make sure the text is at the camera end so that your eye line will be closest to the front camera when filming.

Otherwise you’ll be looking slightly off-camera, which is the sort of thing your dad does.

When you’ve finished export to Kinemaster for editing as above.

There you go – you’re now ready to smash out vlogs on your phone!

It’ll never be quite the same as using pro cameras and a pro editing suite but it will give you options for a simple vlog and / or a way to supplement your main vlogging style with a super lightweight traveling option.

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Google vs YouTube for ranking videos

Google vs YouTube for ranking videos

YouTube and Google are relatives, they are ranked numbers 1 and 2 as the most used search engines in the world, but they promote videos in very different ways. Which actually is a good thing.

You see, trying to rank videos on both platforms diversifies risk. YouTube could make a change that could drop your videos from search or suggest, showing it less and the same with Google. Because they have different rules, you can build viewers up on both and protect yourself from their mood swings. So let’s look at the difference between the two and how they work.

How and why people use YouTube and Google

You tend to find people go to Google because they want fast answers that are text-based (not a good start for video there)

People go to YouTube to watch videos, and they tend to want to go into a little more depth on the topic. The way the platforms is designed means people can spend hours there without ever leaving.

Google only points people in the direction of the answers. It doesn’t provide them. (Well actually that’s not true, it does now. You might have noticed the text at the top of search that briefly answers your question, this is pulled from a website and displayed by Google)

So if you make content that is educational and people search for, both YouTube and Google can work for you. Because of this, they have different algorithms that rank content higher.

How do YouTube and Google display video search results

How YouTube search displays results:

Youtube’s search is pretty simple, you type in your query and it displays results.

The thing that complicates this is YouTube’s trump card over Google and it tends to build a lot of views and has the potential to send you viral. It’s known as suggested views.

This video will teach you the difference and why you need to focus on both.

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How Google search displays results:

Google displays video search results in a few ways, the first is with the, the largest thumbnail you’ll ever find, really this is for us, better than ranking a website at the top of the page, just look at it!

The next way they display things is, again, high up the main page on a video carousel. They’re still giving video quite a lot of priority here.

Finally, they have their dedicated video search page, which like YouTube, displays a list of videos. Most will be from YouTube but it will also display links to a site with a video on it from that topic.

YouTube algorithm Vs Google Algorithm

How YouTube ranks videos:

YouTube’s ranking algorithm is based on watch time and click-though rates. If people click on a video, it means its relevant to the user search or interest and builds this metric.

If they then watch to the end, it builds up what is know as watch time, the higher the click-through rate percentage and watch time, the more likely your content is to rank.

How Google ranks videos:

Google does not rank videos in the same way as YouTube.

Going back to the image earlier in the article, you might have noticed our video ranks number one on Google, I mean boy oh boy, look at that massive video! But on YouTube…Nope, its number 2 and number 3 on google is number one!!!

So how has this happened?

Google looks at the relevance of a title to the search term and then how many links point to that video. Basically, if someone links to your video from their website in a blog, it sends a positive signal that this content is good and Google could boost it.

It’s worth noting that not all links are worth the same. Sites with a higher domain authority like Forbes or the Huffington post will carry more weight with Google than a link for say our own website.

Google also appears to prefer shorter videos too, which is another bonus since YouTube is trying to promote longer videos, it means businesses like us that want to make shorter content still stand a good chance of getting found.

It is also believed that the keywords in your description are picked up by Google too.

Many moons ago we were told to write long descriptions under our YouTube videos to help them rank. Then we werere told the top four lines were the only ones read by YouTube, but some believe that its worth sticking to the old system because Google still reads the rest!

The awesome thing about how Google ranks videos is that not only does someone linking to your video send a ranking signal but you can then also build your YouTube metrics up from it. If that person shared their article to 10,000 twitter followers, it’s likely to get your video more views and build your watch time!! So Google can grow your YouTube channel’s stats even with different ranking factors.

And then these people can find your content on YouTube and link to it to build your Google rank! These guys are powerful together.

In fact, ranking videos on Google is a big part of our own growth strategy for the next ten years, when you look at our most viewed videos from before we actually tried to grow our YouTube channel, you can see the top viewed videos have brought in a tonne of traffic from Google.

That means every time you release a new video you need to share it on Twitter, on your website, on Facebook, etc, to stand a chance of getting it in front of the right people as well as building that watch time and click-through rate for YouTube.

So if you’ve got a blog and you think this contents relevant.

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How to create a video marketing strategy 2020

How to create a video marketing strategy 2020

I can’t wait to get up and come up with a new video strategy, said nobody ever as they put on their leotard, and rode off into the sunrise on their half unicorn, half-dragon hybrid.

And this is a big problem, for many, devising a plan has multiple issues:

  1. A plan means they can fail
  2. Where on earth do you start?
  3. Adding video to the mix seems to complicate things and it’s already complex

All of these things mean the average creator or business can produce content Willy Nilly, they guess what to make, where to promote it and then worse than that, they don’t measure it. This is a sure-fire way to get no results with your videos.

So now we’re going to give you a step by step template to follow so you can come up with your first or even your third strategy for your next years worth of video and beyond. We’re going to try to only keep in the most important info as to not overwhelm you.

Oh, and by the way, we’ve only gone and made you a sheet to fill out so you can follow the strategy with us. If you watch the videos on this blog you’ll end up with a plan of attack you can trust.

To begin, we would usually say you need to pick a niche for the topics of your videos, but that’s all we’ll say about that, this video is for those who have made that step already. If you’re a business, your niche is going to be industry-specific.

So let’s get cracking.

1. Set a goal for your video strategy to achieve 

We’ve made a video all about this which we’d recommend watching now. It’ll ensure you have a point and a target to aim for.

To sum it up in 10 seconds, pick a ten-year goal, and then work back as to how you might get there. This year’s strategy will be the first stepping stone in that ten-year goal.

If ten years scare you, pick five, but for us, short term thinking will fail you, so don’t be afraid to go miles down the line, it’ll do you a world of good.

WARNING: You can not go any further until you decide this.

So, as an example, we’re going to use our goal for our YouTube channel ‘s content for the year.

If you watched the goals video, you should have hopefully created a growth results chart you can follow.

We have a chart which tells us we need to arrive at 1600 subscribers to our channel by the end of the year to be on target to hit our 10-year goal of 500k subs, again the goals video will show you how to do this.

We’re going to aim for 3000 instead though as we’re already 6 months ahead. 

We also want to feature in a Forbes article, pick up 3 new pieces of business just from our content and have one of our videos get over 10,000 views from when we started trying to grow this channel at the start of 2019.

There you go, that’s it. Pretty simple from us. A business may want to go way, way deeper looking at KIPs, awareness and conversions etc. But it doesn’t have to be rocket science to get you off the ground. The important thing is, you have one.

 

2. Who is your video content for?

Who are you videos for? And the answer is not everybody. Here’s why.

If you ran out into the street because your friend had left your wallet behind, and to get his attention, you shouted. “NAAARRRHh”

A bunch of people would turn around. Some might even come and ask if you’re ok, they’d then go on about their business. If you ran out and screamed “Dan”, maybe two people would turn around and listen, one being your friend.

To build traction with video, you need them all to shout “Dan”. Content talks to people, your aim is to make sure the people you want to attract hear you.

On the sheet, write down who you think your videos are for.

So here is ours. Now before we start this, its worth noting that people who you have not designed your content for will find it too, that doesn’t mean its wrong for them or they are not welcome. You’ll see what we mean in a second.

Our channel is for people aged 25 – 35, male and female, who are already making videos but feel they do not get the credit they deserve as well as total beginners who want to start a YouTube channel and promote their business or create one online.

(So if you are above 45, don’t worry, we want you to watch too, but the humor and references we make will be designed more to appeal to that generation. Mainly because when a 25 year old is 35, they could have spent 10 years watching our content as they step into the marketing manager role at a business that wants to produce video, and who do you think they’ll ask?)

They watch comedy shows more than horror, are driven and eager to learn, they have an interest in marketing, even if they don’t quite realise it yet and they want to self develop and boost their knowledge regularly. 

We could still go deeper, but let’s not baffle you too much.

For businesses, you should have what is know as a client avatars in place already, if you don’t, then make sure you really think about this now.

Creators, you probably won’t, so it might take you a little longer to work out. Oh, and these can be updated or even totally changed as you learn more about your viewers. It can take years to perfect.

When people feel like your content has been produced specifically to them and their needs, you’ll grab attention, hold it, and you will build a viewership that becomes part of your tribe. And tribes build followings.

We made a whole video about it which you can check out here or at the end.

 

3. Where will you promote your videos?

So where does Dan hang out, how are you going to get him to discover your channel?

We can’t just rely on YouTube to show people our videos, sure they will, but as a business or small creator, you’re fighting against massive influencers and other huge distribution legends, so the competition to get seen is epic.

Using our sheet as an example. We know from step 2 that our ideal audience is hungry to learn and are interested in self-development, so we can promote our videos on platforms that provide self-development.

So check out our list:Facebook groups about growing a YouTube channel, Answering questions about making videos on Quora and posting our videos as part of the answer, Reddit forums, LinkedIn groups and more.

Its also why we want to feature in Forbes, probably the most well-respected publication of its kind. You see, getting an article in there or a video will be seen by a lot of our target audience. They have millions of visitors so we want to try to harness that. Why wait for YouTube to promote you when there are other tonnes of platforms that could do it today.

Now if your channel is about recruitment, don’t expect people in a YouTube group on Facebook to care about your content, you need to go to recruitment places, not YouTube or video tips places.

So think very niche specific. This is another reason you have to have a channel niche. Otherwise, you’ll be promoting in new and random places all the time and will never be able to build a community.

You’ll also need to think about platform-specific content too. If you want to promote on Instagram, your videos will need to be in a 1080×1080 square and under a minute or a rectangle for stories.

We made this entire playlist, it’ll teach you how to promote videos on

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • E-mail
  • Websites

So where can you get your message out to Dan? Fill in the section now.

4. What video content topics  will you produce?

As mentioned at the start, you have hopefully chosen your channel niche so now you know what you want to achieve, the people you need to help you achieve it, and where they are, you can start coming up with content ideas to entice them.

We’ve made this video here about coming up with topics, we’d highly recommend watching it at some point or if you’re on the blog page with the download, then just scroll down to see it.

As part of your “what” decide how often you will create and post videos on a consistent and long term basis. Don’t go mad, we post three times a week, but its overkill for 90% of people, and without the systems and processes in place to make this scale of video, its a gun to the head.

We’d recommend 1 new video a week as the goal for most. Your topics need to tick these boxes.

Each video must

Appeal to your target viewer

Aim to be better, more detailed, funnier or appeal in some way shape or form that your competition does not on the same topic.

Have the topics and titles researched for search optimisation and interest scope.

Find what your viewers care about and make videos on that. Tools like Uber Suggest make this easy, again, the video we made on this topic will fill in all those blanks.

5. How will your target viewers find your videos?

Now you need to create a production system. A format and style you can use for your videos that ensure a consistent feel your target viewer will resonate with, as well as something that won’t eat up all your time trying to produce.

We’d recommend writing and editing a script before you film. Do the bulk of the work on paper. This will eliminate waffle, go deeper into your content, and you’ll know before you spend the time on production if its going to work or not.

It also makes editing faster. A lot faster.

So in the previous section, you decided to make a video a week, that means you need to try to batch produce 4 in one go, 8 in one go or maybe even 12. When we say one go, we don’t mean in an hour we mean plan and research in one go, then write in one go, then film in one go, then edit in one go. It could take you a few days or even longer, but it will free up all of your time for months after.

Bath production enables you to have your content ready and waiting to be scheduled, it stops time demands from eating you alive and means you can get ahead because holidays and illness happen. Feel free to ignore this if you dont want a life or free time or the constant burden of trying to catch up on production.

And that is your basic video content strategy. These are the foundations you will build your channel on, miss a step, and i’m afraid your house will take a lot longer to build or worse, totally fall down.

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How to edit a vlog – the 7 layer system to produce more professional content

How to edit a vlog – the 7 layer system to produce more professional content

If a friend of yours were to bake you a cake, perfectly to the recipe and you took a bite, and it was a taste sensation, would you notice that they hadn’t put a cherry on top of it? Or made a funky pattern? Probably not, you might have done if it was a competition for the best looking cake but the important thing is what it tasted like.

When we think of video editing, we often think of funky effects, bold transitions, titles, animations and all of those fun things.

The thing is, this isn’t really editing, ok it is, but it’s not what makes video work. You need to get the basics right so that your video, like the cake, tastes amazing.

To do this i’d like to introduce you to layers, not a technical term, just a thought process that helped me learn to edit, it does not matter what software you are using, these 7 layers of the editing cake are the same across all platforms. Use them in your vlogs and you’ll make more professional video without even touching flashy effects.

 

Layer 1 – The narrative

The narrative or “A roll” is the main content of your video. Its the information on an audible level. What you are watching right now is the narrative.

Now, there are some essential elements when it comes to editing narrative.

  1. You need to make sure what’s coming out of someone’s mouth makes sense.
  2. You need to cut out any repetition or waffle
  3. You need to perfect timing
  4. You need to reposition the information.

Let’s look into each of these sections.

Parts one and two. Making sense of it all and cutting repetition and waffle.

Vlogs are shot in different ways, scripted and none scripted.

What you are watching right now is scripted, the benefit of this is, we film in little chunks, never deviate from the script, well almost never and then all you have to do when editing is import the files into your computer.

They will already be in the right order and if its written well, there will be no repetition. You can delete the takes that didn’t work, if there are any and line up the ones that did.

For none scripted, you have your work cut out. You have to import the clip and then decide which pieces of the narrative to keep.

If you or whoever was talking was winging it, you need to keep an eye out for repetition, cut that, tangents, cut them, “ums, ahs” and any behavior which distracts from the narrative, def cut them, and then work on making sure all these cuts piece together in an order which works for the viewer.

Once you have done that, we move on to the third part of editing the narrative, timing.

This is where we introduce your first basic cut to master, the jump cut.

 

Jump cuts

Jump cuts are when you cut the narrative, maybe delete a little bit of what was filmed and then bring it back in further down the clip. That could be 20 seconds or it could be 1 second.You simply jump though time a little.

Jump cuts, in their simplest form, can be used to hide errors or add energy, you often see this jump style on YouTube videos.

You don’t just cut randomly all over the place though, ideally, you’d do it before a new piece of information or the start of a sentence.

You also want the jump to be pronounced. The idea isn’t to hide your cuts, to nail this style, you want to embrace them.

The second way to do a jump cut is like how we do it on this channel a lot. An actual jump in the frame size.When filming, the jumps are planned. We film a section, cut and then zoom in on the camera and film the next and so on.

For our channel, we tend to use these when we make a mistake presenting and then zoom in on the camera, go back to the natural edit point in the script and start again, that’s the fastest way to shoot a lot of content when you batch produce.

You can create this same effect in the edit by zooming in, but you will lose some quality in the video, so it’s not advised. I’d say never go more than 25% extra in if you are going to do it.

The important thing when cutting is timing, what you don’t want is to get to the end of some narrative and then have a little gap at the start and the finish of each clip you piece together.

In your editing software, you should hopefully see some wobbly lines known as waveforms. You want to cut your clip right at the start of the waveform. Get as tight as you can without cutting off the beginning or the end of the word. That way, you keep the tempo flowing, and your presenter will appear more confident.

 

Editing secret: When you get used to doing this on scripted videos, because you don’t have to worry about cutting the actual content, you can line up an entire narrative without listening to the thing. In fact, we probably edited the whole of layer one of the above video with the sound off.

That’s why we always advise beginners, small creators or businesses to write scripts, the time savings at this stage are massive.

 

Information order

And finally when editing the narrative, you want to make sure the order of information works.

Now we mentioned this before in the none scripted version but actually even in a scripted video, this is your last chance to decide what information makes the cut.

Sometimes you might watch it back and think; actually that information is not relevant to the topic or feel that the video is dragging so you can decide to cut an entire section.

A good editor will know when to ditch information, and sometimes although it feels hard to let go, deleting things makes video work so much better, you can always hit edit undo too.

This is more of a journalistic approach to editing but its all part of the same package

Next up we have Broll

Layer 2: Broll

This is the video, or pictures that go on top of the narrative. So on your editing software, you’ll have a timeline, the narrative sits in the first layer and the broll on top. Your viewer will see whatever is on top of the pile.

Mastering the basics of Broll means different things depending on the style of video.

It might mean adding footage that has been specifically shot for the vlog to help tell a story. Or it might mean raiding a bank of stock footage and finding a clip that is relevant to the information being discussed in the narrative.

(If you’re producing a vlog, we’d always recommend filming your own b-roll)

Knowing when and where to use this is important, you want to come back to the person on camera to keep it personal but also cut to Broll to keep the viewer engaged. You might have noticed all we do is talk on plain backgrounds if this video were 10 minutes of me chatting on a plain or even not plain background it would be boring as anything.

 

Layer 3:  Text

Now if you don’t have any footage or imagery to use as Broll, this is your best option to pull people into your content, and that is by making them engage their brain by reading text.

If you’re educating, text is key to help people take in the content, look, its impossible not to read this.

We’d advise always using the same fonts across your videos to build up a consistent brand look. You can rebrand down the line, but don’t do it every video, this can take a long time, and your viewers will get used to your style and recognise it.

You don’t want to add a massive sentence, but paraphrase the point being made in the narrative in as few words as possible.

You’ll notice we do it at every section, try not to read the text over the next few sections, you should feel its impact.

 

Layer 4 – Correction and grading

We don’t want you to get caught up on this as a small creator. A lot of what you can do here depends on what cameras you are using. If you shoot on more professional cameras you have to spend the time on this section.

As a small creator or business, spend more time on the other layers we’re talking about and then add to your grading skills over time.

You might need to do a basic correction, which is simple on a lot of cheap or free software.

Just focus on bringing up the exposure if the scenes are a little dark or bring up the saturation if you want your colors to pop a little more.

 

Layer 5: Sound

You might want to chuck in a few sound effects like this, chop a load.

Or maybe add some ambiance to scenes, its amazing how much of a difference these can make to content.

Just make sure they don’t compete with the narrative.

On more advanced software there’s a lot you can do with sound but also a lot you can not, reducing things like echo and background noise can be a real nightmare so try to shoot somewhere that’s not too noisy and never rely on the edit to save your sound.

For basic vlogging sound editing, you just need to be able to hear the talking, so if it sounds quiet in places, bring the volumes up and try to keep it consistent across the video.

 

Layer 6: Final checks

Watch your video back, keeping all of these things in mind, and of course, check for any typos.

When you edit the video, you focus on things your viewer will not, that means its easy not to notice spelling mistakes even if you watch it 20 times. We try to check each others work but as editors, you still end up focusing on the edit, not the actual viewer experience, so a none editor is helpful.

Layer 7 – Export

There are a million export settings, for YouTube you want to upload an mp4 file, some software will no export these, we’d recommend downloading Handbrake, its free and it will compress and convert to MP4.

We try to keep videos around 2-4 mins below100mb so the upload isnt too long, and they stream nicely. You dont want to be uploading Gigabites of data, itll take forever.

YouTube will compress your videos too but if youre ok with what you’re watching right now, its technically been compressed three times so dont worry too much.

These 7 layers of editing are what we believe you should do over and over again until they feel like they come naturally. The thought of editing videos is what stops most people from doing it.

It takes ages to start, mainly because people try to be too fancy. They want to use all the effects and transitions but these just over complicate things.

The whole above video has just been edited using this exact template, nothing more.

When you feel comfortable with them, look at upgrading software and adding more effects and colour grading, Just don’t try to add a cherry to a pile of ingredients before you bake the perfect cake.

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How to make a video – your first video for business, YouTube or social media

10 tips for creating the best talking head videos​

That first video isn’t going to make itself you know.

For that you’ll have to wait til the iPhone 19 comes out in 2027 by which time it will write your channel content, make an avatar  of you from a single 3D photo and then film it’s flawless performance inside an augmented studio and distribute it on YouTube all while you’re asleep. 

…But until then you’re on your own! Thank goodness we’re here to help.

How to make your first video

You hold your phone up and you make sure you’re looking into the lens and you hit record and you say:

‘I am gunna wup your ass if you think all there is to it is to ramble into your phone like this. Unless your name is Jack Black ’

Ok that’s your first video done. Play it back whenever you’re thinking, ‘Today I’m just going to hit record and see what happens’

Now let’s talk about your 2nd video:

First off – I’m not going to assume you’ve all got the same situation in terms of production kit,  so here’s 3 different filming options for making your first video. Choose one of these first and then let’s look at prep and presenting afterwards.

1. Choosing your video production kit

1 – simplest option

This is the ‘just vaguely interested or want to see what might happen if I film and upload a video of myself eating raw chilli seeds’ option

Get a tripod or gorilla grip, Film on your phone, using natural light and upload to your account via import videos on the YT app or online. 

For a more structured set up add the YONGNUO YN308 ring light for around £70 with a light stand and film through the middle of the ring light.

Limitations:

Audio will suck

2 – more professional option

This is the ‘I’m taking this seriously but I have a limited budget’ option.

Buy the GoProMAX, the fusion grip accessory and a tripod

For an all-in-one mic, camera and stabilisation unit for on the fly filming,  this really can’t be beaten. Plus the short 360 clips that you can easily edit in your phone make for some funky B-roll 

For studio filming also get a tripod and YONGNUO YN308 ring light with a light stand and film through the middle of the ring light.

Limitations:

No depth of field as everything is in focus so the footage will lack that ‘premium’ feel.

3 – hardcore

This is the ‘this could be life or death and I’m flipping ‘loaded’ option

The more complex tools for the job but the best overall quality are going to be to invest in an interchangeable lens camera like the Sony 6500 or Sony A7 or a Canon DLSR like the 6D and use the kit lens with the lowest f number on the side. Ideally the 50mm for filming on a tripod in the studio but a wider lens to allow selfie filming on the fly out and about. Let’s not get too involved with lenses  other than that for now. It’s a rabbit hole.

Mic options:

For on the fly selfie filming get the on-camera Rode VideoMicro but for studio work get a solid shotgun like the Rode NTg2 overhead and out of shot. For that you’ll need a C stand, boom and cradle.

Or there is the RØDE NTG3 but it’s the same principle. 

Lights

You still need lights and you could opt for the ring light but a dedicated set of 3 interview lights will give you more options to sculpt light both in front and behind you so if you’re keen to get the best kit, I’d go for a 3 light interview pack like the APUTURE HR672 3-LIGHT KIT

2. Production

Now for the rest of the tips for your second video I’m going to assume you’ve chosen the type of set up and we’re going to talk about studio options because if you’re contemplating these early videos you’re probably not going to be diving into a public vlog to start with! 

1 – writing

Get your script down on paper or on your laptop or tablet – for tips on writing a script wait til the end where there’s another video on scripting especially on the ‘Shopper’s Pivot’ you need to hook them right at the start. That’s so important.

2 – set

You are going to need a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. Traffic or rail noise is distracting to an audience so choose a space where this isn’t a problem or at least minimise it by closing external windows and doors

Create a set for yourself and decide if it’s best to sit or stand. We think standing is preferable for first videos as you tend to have more energy but we batch a lot of our own ones sitting down so it’s really up to you. 

3 – get ready

Brush your teeth and hair. Seriously this isn’t something you want to do looking like you’ve just rolled out of bed! This probably goes without saying but anything that reduces your chances of putting your video out – like not being happy with the way your hair looks – needs to be eliminated!

Next – assuming your studio isn’t yet equipped with a backdrop, clean up the visual space that will be filmed. Have a look at the frame you’re going to sit or stand in and decide if anything in it is distracting.

An open cupboard that frames your head inside a black square is going to look weird. Declutter but leave some visual clues about the world you’re in. If you rebuild vintage toys, maybe a Tonka truck on the table next to you rather than a wall of parts and tools that pull the audience out of what you’re talking about. At the same time, a blank white wall is going to look like a blank white wall rather a white studio backdrop so somewhere with some life it, bookcase, computer desk, lamp and memorabilia.

Just try to get rid of the pizza box and the 3 empty bottles of pinot noir

4 – framing

Have a look behind the camera.  You’re going to need some furniture or soft materials in there. What you want is anything except another blank wall which will just bounce the sound back to you and cause that roomy sound you often hear. Sound needs to be broken up and absorbed wherever possible. 

In the frame I’d recommend a mid shot – that’s half your body with your head roughly in line with the top third. This will allow for quite a large amount of range of movement without having you too small. Don’t forget 70% of Youtube watchers are using a mobile device so you want to be visible.

5 – settings

If you’re camera is not a phone and you’re not a photography expert, now is the time to make sure the camera is set to automatic for everything. Or maybe you’re familiar with the best semi-automatic settings. Either way, you want to be able to set and forget the camera.

6 – pre presenting

Next – put your notes just outside the frame so they can be easily reached and chunk the information into easy to remember bits. Don’t do too much in one go – best to do less and do it with energy than trying to remember lots of lines. 

7 – present

If you’d prefer to do it all using a teleprompter then use the app – Prompt Smart Pro on your phone, put it in selfie mode in the settings and turn on the video recording option and the app will record while scrolling the text. It’s a nifty little trick but teleprompters can also make you look wooden.

We’d recommend a teleprompter for the long term but for now just stick with remembering small chunks of information and delivering with deliberately more energy than you think you should. 

8 – energy

To gain energy we have a sneaky tip and we call it Panto Mode. It’s you but the 120% energetic version of you.

There’s lots of reasons why this works but try not to overthink it. Record a first take of the first chunk and record another in Panto Mode, like you’re presenting to kids. Not Krusty the Clown, I mean an enthusiastic kids presenter. Remember, even kids won’t accept phoney enthusiasm. 

You’ve got to be quite bright and chipper and annoying to get their attention. Like a busker, and then watch both versions back.

Surprised? The seemingly chipper and annoying version will seem more genuine due to the raised energy. It might still be a bit too much obviously and you can dial it back a bit but what you don’t want is that flat, monotone that was probably your first take.

Complete each chunk with gusto and panache and then edit in your preferred editing software.

9 – edit

For those of you who haven’t thought this far ahead yet – no problem. In the Mac universe there’s the free iMovie or the more powerful Final Cut Pro X and for PC there’s SHOTCut an open source platform which actually works just as well on Mac and PC.

There’s also a bunch of editing options for your smartphone and KineMaster is my pick either on PC or MAC

Whatever you’re using, the principles are the same, you need to cut all the tops and tails of your rushes (the raw files) and then cut really close to the beginning of each take using the sound waves to guide you. There should not be sounds of in-breaths that tend to happen before the beginning of each take because when you jump cut them together that’s going to to get repetitive. 

You might want to add some B roll over the top of this to mask the cuts while at the same time adding meaning to what you are saying.

This could be photos or other video you’ve made or even stock from free providers like Pixabay.

This is accomplished by pulling footage into the timeline and stacking it on top of your A roll . Otherwise, jump cuts are an acceptable part of the youtube world and audiences don’t seem to mind it but we’re a bit old school so we prefer masking the cuts or enlarging the frame size for each new sequence. It’s really not a deal breaker though.

10 – export

Now export that file to youtube, give it a relevant title rather than ‘2ndVideoAttempt_7’ – which might be the default from the upload – add a description, set a thumbnail from the ones on offer or if you’re feeling like doing the whole thing properly, make your own! 

And then share away.

3. Promoting your video

NOW, If you’re British, you may be thinking, ‘I’d prefer to let it just be discovered’ I can’t keep doing that…you know ‘it will find it’s own value. It’s a bad look to promote it myself as I’m in it and it’s only my 2nd video.’ 

All these are valid points, but – apart from being British – you’re wrong.

YouTube’s algorithms are making all sorts of calculations about how and where to promote new videos within the first 48 hours of it being uploaded. This is the time to share it and find out if all the protocols worked as expected. If it sits there lonely and forlorn with 3 views, it will not tell you anything about what to do for your next video.

If people/friends/enemies comment on the actual point of the video then it’s working. If the only feedback is a ‘congratulations, you made your first video’ kind of thing, then just say ‘thanks mum’ and carry on making content until you find the audience that says, ‘thank you, this was really helpful.’

Then you’ll know you’re communicating with other human beings and not just stuck in a pointless learning curve.

Now go – make that 2nd video and 3rd and 4th.

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How to make high-quality Zoom video calls with a DSLR camera

10 tips for creating the best talking head videos​

This video/ blog covers:

  • How to produce seriously high quality HD Zoom video calls
  • How to set up the a DSLR camera to stream with our computer
  • How to set up Zoom to connect to the camera
  • The kit you need to really boost your quality from sound to lights

The kit you will need to make the highest quality Zoom video calls

Sony cameras we’d recommend

Sony lens options

https://amzn.to/34gpEr7 💰

https://amzn.to/34eZgxQ 💰💰💰

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How to make better looking video calls on Zoom with your webcam

How to make better looking video calls on Zoom with your webcam

This video/ blog covers:

  • How to avoid creating a bad first impression over a Zoom video call
  • How to set up a slick background
  • How to enhance your webcams image
  • How to use basic lighting anyone has at home to produce better looking video calls

The thing about Webcams is they have automatic settings that are made to accommodate as many different lighting setups as possible.

That means they average out a whole lot of responses to what’s in the frame and because of that, generally suck. I mean you can ‘see’ someone and that’s certainly a start but there’s a big difference between communicating with someone who appears clear correctly lit and communicating with someone who appears to be reporting from a war zone.

Make better looking Zoom calls – Hack #1 Lighting

The first thing that can do 80% of the job for you is a simple desk lamp or if you’re feeling fancy, a dedicated video light. The main reason you need a light behind your webcam is to fill in the ugly shadows caused by overhead lighting.

It would be nice if it matched the colour temperature of the overhead lights – so cool white with cool white or tungsten yellow with tungsten yellow but my desk lamp doesn’t because I just can’t get the right bulb at the moment and it still looks better than not having that light at all.

Make better looking Zoom calls – Hack #2 iGlasses

The next thing to do is get iGlasses from ecomm for Mac or MyCam from E2Esoft (because why have a simple to pronounce business name?) for PC which is about 10 quid and appears to do the same thing but I can’t test it – We live in a mac world so if you’ve got a mac, we can definitely say buy iGlasses – it’s worth it.

Once you’ve got it installed, iGlasses will appear as an option within the video settings of Zoom.

So for instance with Zoom the automatic settings of the built-in webcam makes you look like a mutant tomato because the automatic settings can’t work out the colour temperature between a tungsten lamp and a cool overhead light but when you go into video options in Zoom with it installed, you can see iGlasses and when you select it, I suddenly, you look human again.

Make better looking Zoom calls – Hack #3 The background

First impressions are everything and if your brands spent years building up an image thats professional and high quality, you can ruin it in a split second with a cluttered and messy background.

Tidy up at the very least, remove clutter, think about what you have in the background and spend time on making sure you continue to exude the quality your brand usually does. It’s such a basic thing to fix but most people, when they Zoom ignore it and probably harm their image.

Remember – Zoom isn’t just for video calls.

It’s also able to record those calls which – with permission! – can be cut into soundbites

as part of your comms strategy. Also you can use it to just record yourself in HD.

So rather than navigate a bunch of different platforms, Zoom covers it all all.

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How to make the best talking head videos

10 tips for creating the best talking head videos​

‘Urgh’ can often be a reaction when people watch talking head videos. There are a few reasons for this.

– The participant comes across nervous and too staged
– There are not enough visual queues and stories to hold viewers attention
– The content lacks energy and the structure kills engagement

We’ve taken some of the most important lessons learnt after creating over 5000 talking head videos for small businesses and have put them in the blog below.

Read on to find out how to overcome these common issues and make the best talking head videos.

1. Ditch the script – be a presenting head, not a reading head.

Firstly, you want to ditch the script. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t write one. You need to make sure you present instead of read.

Scripts can often cause people to become lazy as they feel they have done the hard work, but delivery is 50% of the battle when it comes to making the best talking head videos.

Presenting is a device you need to use to make sure your script sinks in and resonates with your viewer. That means you’ll need energy and confidence.

Getting this right will instantly give you more credibility, hook your viewer and make the whole experience more pleasurable for everyone.

What about an AutoQueue?

The danger of reading from an autocue is once again you rely too heavily on the script to do the hard work.

The good thing is you don’t have to try to remember what to say, but you do have to follow words on a screen which still requires a level of concentration. Without a tonne of practice, this will distract you from focusing on what counts, your energy and style.

What’s the solution?

Try presenting from bullet points. We often find that because people know the content already, once they are in the zone, they talk to the viewer in the same excited manner they would speak to a client or prospect. This can make all the difference.

The need to try and remember suddenly vanishes because deep down, you won’t need lines if you’re an expert in your subject.

That’s all well and good, but how do you present with energy? Read on to number 2.

2. Use Panto Mode – The secret to presenting like a pro

To come across as human, genuine and utterly spontaneous in your talking head video then you need to try Panto Mode.

Panto mode is a device which will banish the fear from your eyes and make you look like you’ve been presenting for years.

How to pull off Panto Mode

To get this right, you need to project at 120% of the level you usually would. More expression, more exaggerated body language, longer pauses, basically like you would if you were the lead in a pantomime.

To start with it’s going to feel very forced and unnatural. The key to getting this right is to film yourself presenting the same line, multiple times with different levels of energy.

When you watch the line back, you’ll notice just how hard it is to look ridiculous on video.

The camera sucks so much life out of us that we’ve got to put a lot back in.

3. Be prepared to fail

As adults, we are not used to doing things that are entirely out of our comfort zone. We tend to have worked out what we do and don’t like doing earlier in life and stick to that.

Presenting your talking head video tends to fall into the gap of things we don’t like doing because it means failing at something which again, as adults, is something we try to avoid.

The best way to approach doing a talking head video is to go into it thinking that you’re not going to get it right on the first take. And trust us, you won’t!

If you prepare to fail, you are already one step closer to making the best talking head videos. And you never know… you might even enjoy it.

4. Chunks

So, you’ve got to talk to the camera for 90 seconds, but you’ve taken our advice and have ditched reading a script. How on Earth do you remember everything? Well, you break it into chunks.

You present sentence by sentence. Every time there’s a new piece of information you cut, you move the camera further away or closer to you, and you start again.

Watch the videos on this page, we do it in all of them.

Why does chunking work so well?

It’s effective for a few reasons. Chunking like this wakes the viewer up. It keeps the energy high, and there’s a good chance your viewer will keep watching for longer.

It also enables you to spend time on the delivery of each line. You can put more emphasis on different words, speed it up and slow it down and make sure your delivery is nothing short of fantastic.

5. Talking head video length

Talking heads are a simplified form of digital communication. Basically, keep it short.

If you’re making a promo don’t go above 90 seconds. Ideally, 40 seconds.

For educational videos, you can go longer as long as don’t keep repeating yourself and waffle on.

It needs to be as short as you can make it while delivering the most concise information.

Unless, of course, you are selling quantum physics to toddlers. In which case, you can go on for longer…

6. Text and Imagery

Just standing there talking to a camera can be an uninspiring experience.

You need to add text and imagery to back up what’s being said.

The fantastic thing about putting text up on the screen is that it’s impossible not to read. When people see, listen and read they suck up all your information like a sponge.

Adding text and graphics to a video will also make it easier for your audience to understand your message and bring the whole project to life.

For us, it’s a great chance to use humour and tell more of a story.

7. Master your intro with a shoppers pivot

You’ve got to put the most effort into your introduction. People are browsing, and they’re so uninspired by most of what they are watching as they do this.

The trick is to slap them around the chops with something interesting to get them going.

We call this a shoppers’ pivot. It could be a metaphor, to sum up the whole message of the video up in a visual way or just something that makes the viewer go ‘Where’s this going?’ by intriguing them.

It could also be a story which is relevant to the point your entire video is making.

Stories help us engage with information and picture what is being said which helps us understand it better.

The intro is where we spend the majority of time helping our clients because if you don’t hook someone, they won’t get very far.

Here’s an example of a great shoppers pivot. 

8. Multi-Person Talking Head Video

We’ve found that the quickest way to raise the energy of your video is to use lots of team members and to cut between them during the conversation.

It becomes more of an experience for your viewer and also enables you to get more of the team involved which subtextually shows off your culture.

And a well-synced team looks like a well-run business.

9. Entertain

If you’re planning on being very matter-of-fact and just telling people precisely what it is that you do (in a particularly dull tone), then they’re not going to watch any further.

A talking head video is an opportunity to show off your brands personality. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling bins or software, spending the time to make something more entertaining will pay dividends.

Using the shopper’s pivot device from the previous point will create a feeling of entertainment straight away.

From there all you need to do is deliver the content with energy, avoid all waffle and deliver new information after new information.

Do this, and you’ll stand talking head and shoulders above your competition. (See what we did there)

10. Logo

Sorry to break this to you but your logo is not every viewer’s dream.

Yes, branding is important, but if your logo and corporate intro lasts more than 2 seconds, you have already lost your viewers attention.

Your video should have a thumbnail image which lets the viewer know when they hit play, this is the content they will receive straight away, we call it a promise. “I promise to you that this video is about x”

A Long animated logo flash is not part of that promise, or any viewers wish list.

If you do go this route, check the average viewer duration of your video and make sure you’re not losing 20% of people before you even get started.

11. The loop

The Loop is the ultimate ending to a talking head video. But what is it?

The loop is at the end of your video and it refers back to the shopper’s pivot you used at the start.

The result of a loop is closure. Think about the feeling you get at the end of a movie when it doesn’t end as expected but surprises you and somehow makes the whole film more enjoyable.

You can give people that same feeling with a talking head video.

How to use a loop?

Firstly you need to have a shopper’s pivot (Check out point 7 if you skipped it).

All you do is make an absurd reference back to that pivot at the end of the video.

This is the place to have a little fun and to make the viewer smile. Getting this right will make it clear you not only put the care and effort in to your content but that you care enough about providing your viewer with an experience. Your competition in comparison will seem stale.

How to make the best talking head video summary

If you jumped to the end or only read part of this vlog, then this summary will hopefully make it clear what the most critical components of a talking head video.

1. The content
2. The delivery
3. The Intro – Shopper Pivot
4. The outro – Loop

Spend time on these sections to make the best talking head videos.

You might have guessed it, we make talking head videos. Check out our video selection pathway to discover how other businesses have been using this style of video to get results right here.