So. Your business New Year’s Resolution is to get a video greeting up on the homepage of your website.
You’ve suspected for some time now that not many people actually read all the copy that sits there. And if you’re really honest, you’ve long thought that perhaps it’s a bit cliched, using the same phrases and images that so many of your business rivals are using.
You know deep down that video is Communication King these days. The kids — never off TikTok — have taught you that. But boy oh boy, are you nervous about actually taking out your phone and recording a video yourself.
So let me help you do something about it now. Here are three simple principles for you to apply, that will capture the imagination of visitors to your website — and make your business stand out — in a way that mere copy and pictures simply never can.
They’re based on the three Newsroom Secrets that every news broadcaster knows about connecting, instantly, with an audience.
In the photo above, it’s early evening and I’m preparing to report live from a crime scene. I’ve spent the day gathering facts, sifting rumours, talking to the police, taking calls from my news editor, checking the latest legal position. I’m pumped up. I could talk about it for hours.
But I haven’t got hours. My editor has given me 1 minute 15 seconds. She knows that the key to successful communication by video is to keep things brief.
My job, then, is to boil down the thoughts in my head to, say, just three key facts that the audience can easily understand. If they want to find out more, they know they can find it online easily enough.
Let’s apply all that to the video greeting you’re thinking of recording for your website.
You’re pumped up, too. You could talk for hours about your company. But the purpose of the video greeting on your website is simply to grab your audience’s attention, to capture their imagination. That’s what will make them then stick around on your website to find out more.
So you’ve decided to keep your video greeting to one minute. But your company — let’s say it’s a law firm — deals with really complicated stuff. How do you show your expertise within that one minute, without confusing your audience with language and detail they may not understand?
The good broadcaster’s approach may seem brutal. But here it is. Simply strip out the language and detail that your audience won’t understand. Broadcasters make their live news reports — the equivalent of your video greeting — conversational.
Listen to a news bulletin this evening on ITN, Sky or the BBC. Do you see how the live broadcasts are in fact brief conversations between a presenter in the studio, and the reporter on the road? They whet the appetite, for audiences to find the details online elsewhere.
Your video greeting needs to become that brief conversation with the person who’s paid you the compliment of visiting your website — creating curiosity, so they stick around on your website to find out more at their own pace.
Let’s return to that example of a law firm. If you’re a partner, you might want to simply thank your audience for visiting, and share with them two — maybe three — facts about your company that you feel make it stand out. In plain English. (Or what the BBC’s Nick Robinson calls “fluent human.”)
So instead of listing all the various complex services you offer, you could simply say that your firm has been around since the late Queen’s coronation, it was founded by an army veteran who taught himself law at night school after returning from D-Day, and now specialise in helping businesses tackle the complex challenges and opportunities in post Brexit Britain.
I made all that up, by the way. But here’s the point. It’s in plain English. It tells a story. And it’s my belief that it’ll make that visitor to your website curious to find out more.
Which leads me onto my third and final ‘L’ …
Admit it, if you watch the TV news there’ll be some news reporters you like, others less so. I certainly have my own views. (Don’t get me started on Robert Peston …) But what they all have in common is an understanding that to be a successful news reporter, you need to try to be likeable by most. Like-ability builds trust.
There’s no formula for this. But I can offer a tip. Try to be the ‘you’ that your family love and your colleagues respect.
So do what Chris Mason (pictured above) does. Smile a bit. Use your hands. Move your head a little. Raise your eyebrows, perhaps, at a particularly interesting part of the story. It’s probably what you would do in a conversation with a client in an office, so it’s what you should try to do during this one-way conversation on your website.
It won’t dent your credibility to be likeable. If what you are saying is important and engaging, being likeable will enhance that credibility.
You may have noticed I’ve avoided calling these videos ‘messages.’ I’ve called them ‘greetings’ instead.
Because that’s all you are really trying to do here.
Greet visitors to your website with the warmth you’d show if they were down in reception. If you overwhelm them you risk them rushing back out of the door. Let your video be what makes them want to stick around.
If you’d like to talk about your own plans for video — for yourself or your team — give me a call. I offer one-to-one coaching and tips, as well as safe-space masterclasses where we can try out new ideas together.