Once upon a time video killed the radio star. Then Youtube came along and killed everything else.
You might think that’s the end of the story, but it’s just the beginning, and aspiring authors from all over the globs can use video to help leverage their author platform.
Welcome back to the How To Build An Author House Series. Today’s topic is video and how you can use them in your author marketing.
Video’s a fantastic way to engage with your readers and take your writing to new levels. As I always say though, Everything Needs A Purpose… so if you don’t plan on making great content then you may as well leave it alone. If you are interested in bringing video into your author platform, then let me offer a few tricks on how to go about things:
To Self-Host or not to Self-Host, that is the question. This is the first step and very important if you wish to make an impact in the land of video.
Self-Hosting involves placing the video directly on your own site (via a widget or paid service) and offers great freedom with no ads or restrictions. It does have it’s own issues though, the main one being the lack of organic traffic.
Want people to find your video?
Then you’ll have to direct them all by yourself.
The alternative is to use a Hosted Site such as Youtube, Vimeo, or Dailymotion. You can sign up to all three (plus the other hundred sites out there), but I do recommend less is more. Unless you want to spend half your time uploading and checking several different sites then I suggest choosing one.
Hosted sites offer more restrictions and less freedom, but they do bring the potential of your video going viral. This is really important for me and that’s why I use Youtube. My chances of viral fame may be slim, but being on Youtube will certainly help things (plus I really like the new format and branding options 🙂 )
Ahhhhhh, big expensive cameras and complicated editing software… run away!
Don’t worry, you no longer live in 1993 and these days anyone can get involved for next to nothing. You will need to spend some hard earned cash though (although I’m betting a lot of people reading this will have at least of these tools already).
We’re not talking mega bucks, rather £300 or so. That’s a worse case scenario too so chances are it will be a lot less. My particular treasure of goodies looks like this, and I suggest you try and aim for something similar:
I have a Macbook Pro so this is taken care of, and if you have a modern laptop then chances are you’re ok too. If not then you’ll need to buy a webcam to shoot videos of you doing interviews, readings, and demonstrations. A good webcam costs only £25 and I recommend something like the Logitech C310 HD.
You don’t need anything too crazy, but at the same time you don’t want cheap nasty crap. Poor video quality is a big no no!
You can live without this, but I like the option of taking my videos on tour and generally having the freedom to create something with more POWWW. My camera is the Panasonic SDR-S70 and I highly recommend it. If you are looking for something a little cheaper and less bulky, I suggest the Flip HD because it’s compact nature and very cool aura (I’m tempted to get one specifically for my own author platform).
You can get away with using your phone (if it’s a good one), and to be honest this is a luxury item.
Want to be a real video go-getter?
Then grab yourself a camcorder because it offers some great freedom.
Please don’t start shooting videos and interviews with your built in laptop microphone. I often come across videos, often by big companies, where the sound quality is awful and tinny. A USB Mic can go a long way to adding some professionalism to you, and will certainly stop me from clicking the red x and making your wonderful face disappear from my screen.
I use the Blue Yeti Mic and it’s overall very good and pretty darn cheap. Trust me, finding a good mic can be tough, so anything under £100 is good value.
Screen Capture Software
Seen people upload demonstrations made on their computer, or those Skype interviews that show both people? You do this via Screen Capture Software and in my opinion is a big YES for your author marketing.
As a Mac Fanboi I use Camtasia for Mac, a very affordable package for just £75. The same product for a windows machine is quite a bit more though (not really sure why to be honest), so you may want to shop around.
Joanna Penn offers some alternatives HERE
Spend thousands or spend nothing at all. Hmmm, it’s a tough one. I edit all my videos on imovie (Free for Mac users), and although I’ve never used it, I’m sure Windows Movie Maker offers a similar experience.
You aren’t making an Oscar worthy movie here, simply adding some transitions, text, and synching some audio. All this is achievable with free software so don’t waste your pennies on anything expensive and complicated.
There you go, a nice video platform to enhance your author platform. If you’re starting from scratch and getting the things I mention above, you’re spending around £300. Not bad at all for something that could seriously help your author marketing for years to come.
As always, Content is Vital and you need to make sure what you create is worthwhile. There’s nothing worse than a poorly made video, so make sure you have a plan and purpose for doing anything video related.
I’ve come across a lot of great things, and some rather poor things too, and my personal choice of content for author marketing is this:
The Video Interview
This is a superb way to help your Blog stand out, and author platform in general. I’ve been lucky to come across some great examples to base my future videos on, such as Jim Hopkinson, Joanna Penn, and Dan Blank. All three produce great interviews and their videos really add value to their Blogs.
If you do choose this option please spend some time to create a brief overview in text form too. I often read posts at work, where I can’t watch video, but if the transcript sounds good then I’ll go home and watch the video later. Give your readers the option and you will find they love you for it.
I plan on creating a video interview series further down the line. I’m not sure on the content just yet, but I feel a mix of Skype Interviews and Location Interviews (pubs, houses, coffee shops etc) is the way to go.
The Book Trailer
Everyone has a Book Trailer these days, and rightly so too. What’s annoying though is the boring sorry state so many are in. To be honest I don’t watch too many because they bore the pants off me. I plan on doing a trailer for my book one day, but I certainly won’t be going down the usual route everyone seems to take.
Can I suggest:
– Be creative and experiment with ideas
– Incorporate people and videos, rather than pictures and text
– Create a story and dialogue. Capture the imagination of the viewer
– For the love of God, just be creative
I can’t see how the usual trailer can go viral, but if you add something with a little spice then who knows. I’ll introduce you to a video now, and although it’s not writing related, I feel it demonstrates how creativity can go a long way. You’re a writer after all so creativity shouldn’t be an issue.
The Reading Series
I love the idea of creating a series of videos introducing my impending book. Imagine this for a video:
– Me sat in front of a camera reading an exclusive, sneak peek scene of my book
– Spending some time afterwards saying how I wrote it, what it means to me, and why I chose to write it
– Answer some questions from readers sent earlier in the week.
This could even be a live webinar and uploaded to my Blog at a later date. Create a weekly event in the lead up to your book and watch some buzz occur :
I know what you’re all thinking. I’m a hypocrite because I have no video presence at the moment.
I have used video in the past though and know the benefits they can bring if done properly. I’m certainly going to include them in my author platform, and my reason to not use them so far is simple… I’m just not quite ready.
I want to increase my traffic and engagement with others first, but I do hope to start some video related content this summer so watch for my face appearing on a screen near you 🙂
I’ll repeat once again – Everything Needs A Purpose, so if you don’t see video offering any benefit, don’t get involved.
To do it properly needs time, effort, and some cold hard cash. Commit to it or don’t, but don’t hover in purgatory releasing a video once every four months.
That’s all for the How To Build An Author House Series today so thanks for reading. I go to SXSW on Monday so will be taking a short hiatus on my writing related content.
If you’re interested in music or SXSW in general then make sure to follow me on Twitter @turndog_million. I’ll be producing lots of tweets, reviews, and pictures and I’m very excited indeed
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million
Do you use Video in your author platform?
How do you use video to enhance your author marketing?
Please share you ideas and how you use video to take on the world!