The Reality Blog: 4 Tips To Your Own Online Video (And Why You Should Shoot One)


Dear Web Writer,

Raise your hand if you cringe at the idea of posting an online video of yourself!

A year ago, my hand would have shot right up. After all, part of the charm of being a web writer is that people don’t have to see me, and I don’t have to talk.

It’s not that I think I’m a troll to look at or that I can’t string two sentences together out loud. But doing those things elegantly, in a professional fashion, is outside my comfort zone.

In fact, my very first Reality Blog video took me over two hours to shoot. And the video itself lasted only two minutes!

NOTE: See The Complete Reality Blog Here

These days, my video shoots run a lot smoother. I can often shoot the thing in one take. I don’t spend as much time primping before I “go live.” I don’t use background props anymore.

This means you get to see the “real” Mindy — which is fitting for the Reality Blog. Plus, constant practice makes it all a lot easier.

But, I certainly didn’t get there overnight. Here are four tips that helped me …

4 Tips For Shooting Your Online Video

1.) Don’t follow a script — use talking points instead.
I once sent a marketer a mock-up video for a project we were working on. His feedback was: “Good, but can the script.” Apparently, I sounded robotic. Worse, my eyes kept doing this flicker-thing from script to video and back again. Subtle, but noticeable.

I’ve found it’s better to hit a couple of main points in a video and let the rest of the talking come naturally. Makes for a much more genuine capture.

2.) Stick to the power of one.
Any good copywriter knows you’ll lose your audience if you cover too many topics at once. Keep your video simple and easy to understand.

3.) Don’t have a lot of background distraction.
It’s not a bad thing to have stuff behind you in your video, but you don’t want it to be so busy that your viewer quits watching you and starts checking out the contents of your house.

4.) Keep it short/don’t dawdle.
We all know online viewing attention is limited. Between two and five minutes is a good guideline for an online video. Beyond that, it’s easy to lose attention unless you’re talking about a complex topic. Longer videos can work, but you need to keep a good pace.

Though it’s important to speak slowly enough for your viewer to understand you, don’t slow down so much that a two-minute video feels like a ten-minute video.

Take The First Step In Presenting Yourself As An Online Expert

I started thinking about all this after reading Christina Gillick’s article on tutorial marketing — well worth the read, by the way.

She makes a good point. If content marketing is being eclipsed by tutorial marketing, which is slowly translating into video tutorials, then we need to jump on that wagon. After all, one of the ways we stay busy (read: paid) as web writers, is by staying on top of web trends.

So, this week I challenge you to shoot a video of yourself. Ideally, you should post it for feedback. At the very least, shoot something just to see how you come across. And if you don’t want to post it publicly, at least show it to one person and ask for their reaction.

OR, if you don’t want to appear publicly online, you could always shoot a video based on a power point presentation. I recommend recording it with Camtasia.

Ideally, use your video to give a tutorial, as Christina advises. But at the very least, just shoot the thing. It’ll get you one step closer to presenting yourself as a trend-savvy, online expert.

If you want feedback, post the link to your video below, in the comments section. I’ll watch it and promise to get back to you.

On the same note, I’m always grateful for any feedback you can provide on my own videos!

Thanks in advance!


P.S. I’m sure there are a ton of easy-to-use video systems out there. Personally, I use a Flip. Love it.

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NOTE: See The Complete Reality Blog Here

Mindy Tyson McHorse

Mindy Tyson McHorse

Executive Editor for The Barefoot Writer, Mindy McHorse writes for clients in the biz-opp, alternative medicine, and self-help world.

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