07850 188620 01273 606246

So you’re coming around to the idea that in the age of Tik-Tok and Instagram, and diminishing attention spans, a video message is the way to get people’s attention these days. 

I make the case that it’s so much more compelling than an unopened email, an ignored post on your Intranet, or a pile of cliched copy on your website.

Here are some practical thoughts about what to do next — all based, of course, on my experience as a TV journalist who for 30 years was paid by the BBC to get people’s attention down a lens. 

Think About the Audience 

Before picking up your phone to record your message, ask yourself — who’s the audience?  Is it a one-off — a message they’ll see and delete — or is this is a message that’s going to be around for a while?  

This list comes from a slide from my latest workshop, How To Record a Warm Video Message, when I discuss with participants the difference between the two types of message.  I encourage them to be playful and spontaneous for the categories on the left — but perhaps a little more planned for the group on the right. 

Think about your Investment 

The overall case I make is that it’s a great deal easier and cheaper to record a video message in 2023, than it was in 2003 or even 2013.   Smartphones’ amazing cameras have ensured that.  There is usually simply no need to hire in a film crew. 

But you do want it to look professional and sound decent.  This slide reveals how I do that.  

Rode are seen as a ‘go to’ for microphones that plug into phones.  Vanguard and Joby produce lightweight tripods.  My light (which you may not need at all in a bright room or on a sunny day) is by Pixel HK.   And if you are planning to do any editing (and there’s usually no reason why you should) then Celexon produce an excellent robust pop up green screen.   I got the lot for about £350. 

Ready to go?  Think about the Dos and Don’ts of the recording itself. 

  • DON’T write a script.  It’s not a memory test, and if you keep glancing at it, you’ll just look odd and distract yourself.  Instead …
  • DO jot down some notes.  Keep them in your eyeline, or hold them in your hand.  Just the key points, though.  Just as if you were at a staff meeting or sitting opposite them at a desk. 
  • DON’T stand in front of a window.  It may seem obvious, but we’ve all done it.  You become a silhouette, and miss a chance to show the warmth of any smile or eye-contact.  
  • DON’T keep going until you nail it.  As a TV reporter, I generally found that if I hadn’t recorded a ‘clean’ version within about six takes, it was time to take a break and try later.  You become flustered and lose confidence.  This is meant to be natural, and even fun, after all! 
  • DO consider having something to demonstrate.  Perhaps your message is about a recently written report you want to share with your staff … hold it up!  Or it’s about a new piece of kit — demonstrate it!  You’ll look and sound more natural, and have made it more interesting for your audience.  In TV News it’s known as ‘show and tell’, a much favoured device amongst news producers. 
  • DO aim for a rough duration for your message.  I recommend 90 to 120 seconds as a target — anything over that can lose focus and put people off watching it in the first place.
  • DO think about the first thing you’re going to say, and the ‘final thought’.  As news reporters, these are the crucial take off and landing zones.   You could open with a warm greeting and explanation of what the message is about … and end on a clear, friendly, call to action.  Once you’re confident about them, the rest of your message will often fall (surprisingly easily) into place. 

And finally … DO  let me know how you get on — any tips and tricks you use, or any pitfalls I may not have spotted.   I always love to hear what works and what doesn’t — and of course, any success stories you want to share.  

Maybe let me know … by sending me a video message! 

Five Newsroom Secrets - to help you feel more confident recording warm video messages!

My free to download, video illustrated guide that will give you the confidence to record more video messages — whether for your website, your staff or your clients.    Because video builds trust — and in the age of the smartphone … ‘we’re all broadcasters now!’

Subscribe to Download

Get in Touch

If you find these forms a bit annoying, just give me a call on 07850 188620 or 01273 606246 — I always like to chat about how I might be able to help.  Or just send an email to john@johnyoungmedia.co.uk — letting me know what you have in mind, and we can take it from there.  If you do like the forms, don’t forget to put something in each box marked with a *.

    My clients include ...
    I’m pleased to be part of ...