Jan. 5, 2022

How To Best Shoot Videos Even If It Scares You - BM303

How To Best Shoot Videos Even If It Scares You - BM303

Do you want to know how to best shoot videos even if it scares you?
Listen as Melody Ann Owen, founder of Author Nation, shares powerful tips and techniques to help you overcome your fear of the camera so you can make great promotional videos.

Do you want to know how to best shoot videos even if it scares you?

Listen as Melody Ann Owen, founder of Author Nation, shares powerful tips and techniques to help you overcome your fear of the camera so you can make great promotional videos.

In this week's powerful episode "How To Best Shoot Videos Even If It Scares You" you will discover...

  • Why authors need to use video to connect with their tribe
  • How to overcome the fear of looking into the camera lens
  • Suggestions for inexpensive, effective equipment to give you that professional touch
  • The best places to promote your videos

And a whole lot more...

Here's how to  contact Melody Ann to find out more about her services.

Get more gems from other guest experts, when you become a Book Marketing Mentors Premium Member today!


Susan Friedmann:         Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast, where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas, and tips from the masters. Every week, I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. Today, my special guest is Melody Ann Owen. She helps non-fiction authors tell the stories that matter, stories that bring to life the facts and figures in the books they write. Melody Ann is the founder of Author Nation, a community where authors help authors. She's helped hundreds of authors find success through her videos, events, and working one on one. Melody Ann recently interviewed me on her podcast, so now it's my pleasure to welcome her to my show. So Melody Ann, thank you so much for being this week's guest expert and mentor.

Melody Ann Owen:       Hi Susan. Thank you. I'm excited to be here.

Susan Friedmann:         I know we can talk about a lot of the different things. We've got the story. We've got the videos. I know that you and I had a little chit chat beforehand, and we're going to talk about video now. And then for our special Book Marketing Mentor premium members, we're going to talk about storytelling. And I know you've got a special gift for the as well, but we'll get to that in that section. Let's talk about video. I know you are passionate about it. That's something that you and I have talked about that I need to embrace. Let's talk about why you feel authors need to use video.

Melody Ann Owen:       Well, in today's world, people are looking for connection. People want to feel connected and especially to authors. You've written this book, they've read your words or they're reading your words or they're thinking about reading your words. Many people want to know who the author is, who is this person behind these words on a page? Then that helps bring those words to life. It kind of brings the book to life. People really want to know authors. They want to connect with authors. And video is one of the best ways to connect with people. They can see your facial expression. They can see your eyes. They can see your smile. They can see who you are through the video. They can see your gestures, your hand motions, which adds so much to communication. One thing is to hear a voice, the other is to see that whole person and how they embody their words.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah, I would agree with you. As I said, though, that I'm one of those people that is slow on the uptake with video. Because I don't know why I have this about looking into the camera. I could talk to a room full of thousands of people, but looking into that camera, just, I don't know, shakes me up. What are some tips you might have to overcome that?

Melody Ann Owen:       Actually, I'm with you. I'd rather stand on stage in front of a thousand people and talk to them than look at a camera that is like a robot. Because when I look at a camera, initially, it made me feel like a robot. And when I first started, I was very robotic on video because I wasn't talking to anyone. It was this ghost that wasn't really there. So some of the things I've done to help myself get over that, I've had to learn I'm not looking at a camera, I'm looking through a camera to a person and I'm looking at that other person. And it's like I'm having coffee with them, I just can't see them at the moment.

                                    My speaking and performance coach said, "Look, put someone behind your camera. And if you don't have a person, put a photograph of someone." So I went and found a photograph of Robin Williams. Because Robin Williams makes me smile. He was just such a good human being. He was a funny human being. I really liked pretty much everything about him. So I used to put a photograph of him behind my camera and I used to talk to Robin Williams. Very hard to take myself seriously when I'm talking to Robin Williams. And so that's one of the things I did. I have a friend stand behind the camera's another thing. Just remembering that you are talking to someone, so just imagining that perfect audience member, that one person, and really just focus in on them and saying, "We're having coffee and here I am just talking to you."

                                    So those were a couple of things I did. And practice, and practice and practice and practice. I have run video challenges online. Go on Facebook, put video challenge and find a private group that's doing a video challenge. Go to the video challenge every day in this very safe space, just put something out there, anything out there. Or create your own private group with just a few friends and just put something out there every single day for two weeks. And slowly, slowly, slowly, it will feel easier and it will feel better.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah, it's a bit like the podcast. When I started the podcast, I was very wooden and it was tough. Even though I enjoyed this format, it was just I needed to settle into it. And now after five years, I can hardly believe that it's five years now, that we're celebrating five years of Book Marketing Mentors, and it's like I just love the casual and just really interacting with my guests. And I know you do a fabulous job. You and I did the video. You just made me feel so comfortable. And obviously, I like to do that with my guests as well when they become my guests on my show, yes.

Melody Ann Owen:       Exactly. And actually Susan, you did really well on video. And that's one of the things that I think it's important to understand, we judge ourselves so harshly on video. Yet, the truth is, we often do so much better on video than we think we're doing. You did fabulous on video.

Susan Friedmann:         Thank you.

Melody Ann Owen:       And so that just goes to show you that what's going on in our head, what we think we look like, how we think we're coming across, isn't how other people see us. Other people see us, they love it. It's like, "Yay, there you are, the real person I love seeing you." Yeah. That's something else to really keep in mind.

Susan Friedmann:         That's really important. And thank you for that. And I think having to use Zoom so often now, I get more used to the idea of seeing myself. But you're absolutely right, I'm really hard on how I look. And I feel often that I make silly faces. I know that when I've had photo shoots, that it's really hard to get a good shot with me because somehow, I don't know, the silly faces that... So yes. But I think practicing now because we are doing Zoom so often and seeing ourselves and just having to be natural on Zoom, I think really, really helps this whole idea of video.

Melody Ann Owen:       I agree.

Susan Friedmann:         Let's talk about some of the tools that you might need. Are there special equipment that we should have if we are working with video? What would you recommend that's sort of inexpensive, but yet effective, and gives us that professional look?

Melody Ann Owen:       The first tool, if you have nothing else, a smartphone. If you have a smartphone, you have a pretty good camera right there. Smartphones today are quite amazing. If you want to just start with that, just stand where you are in good light and start there. And then, if you want, the next stage might be to use your smartphone and get a ring light. You can get an inexpensive ring light. Some ring lights, even have a phone holder. So you could put your ring light there. You can Mount your phone on the ring light. And then talk into the phone with the ring light right there. It lights you up beautifully. And this might sound odd, but if you're doing it on your laptop and you're using your laptop camera, they can be pretty good as well, but not as good as web cameras.

                                    But, more important than the visual is the sound on video. And I know that sounds funny, right? We go to YouTube to watch videos. But can you imagine watching a video and maybe what you see is great, but you can't understand a word, it's all garbled, it's muffled, the sound is not good. We are much more forgiving of a visual that isn't as high quality than we are sound that is not high quality. So I would invest in a good microphone. I use a FIFINE. I think you can get one for $50 or $60. Of course, you can get very expensive microphones as well. And then the next step up would be a webcam. I think I paid probably $150 for my web camera. I have a ring light, a microphone, and a webcam. All of it came to around $250. But then again, step up. Smartphone first, smartphone with ring light, laptop with microphone, and then laptop with webcam and microphone. That would be my order of investment if you're investing piece by piece.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah. No, that's really are very helpful. And yes, I know, that smartphone is just amazing these days. In fact, my husband just came back from a trip and he took all his pictures with his smartphone and they were so sharp. And he had another camera with him and he said, "I never used it." It's fabulous. Now, in terms of if we are going to put together video, what do you feel an author should be talking about on these videos? Yes, the book, but let's talk about length as well, but what else could they be covering with regard to showing their expertise in a subject?

Melody Ann Owen:       Yes, I would be telling stories, definitely. That's one thing I would absolutely recommend, tell stories. Tell stories about the book. Tell stories about your book journey. Tell stories about your journey as an author. Tell extra stories about subject matter within the book. Add extra things onto the book. Chapter three, we talked about X, Y, Z. Now I'd like to dig a little deeper into that today and I'd like to talk about this. And then, do a three minute segment on that. If they haven't read the book, they're going to go, "Oh, that was interesting. I better go get the book and read chapter three." Talking over and above what was in the book is useful. Talking about your next book, talking about events you've been to, networking events. Talking about feedback from readers and how much you appreciated that. There's so much you can talk about around the book that we don't necessarily need to talk about the book directly.

                                    You can, absolutely, say, "Okay, I'd like to talk about a concept in chapter two today," and talk about that. But we can talk about our lives. We can talk about... I see lots of authors on LinkedIn and Instagram, photographs of their life outside of their writing. And a lot of times we're just interested in the other side of a human being's life. You've written a book, but you've got this other side. And how do those two connect? How you came up with the idea for the book? Talk about the process, what was easy or difficult in writing the book. Why you wrote it and what you're hopeful for the future for your book and the readers of the book. Tell stories about people who've read the book and given you feedback or told you how their life was changed by the book. Yeah, I could go on for... Sorry, Susan, I could go on forever.

Susan Friedmann:         Yeah. No, that's fantastic.

Melody Ann Owen:       So much to talk about.

Susan Friedmann:         Well, yes, just food for thought. Because yes, you could do one video about the book and then you're like, "Okay, what else should I do?" Now, when you've got these videos, what should we do with them? I know it seems almost like a dumb question, but don't let's assume people know where to put these videos. What would your recommendation be?

Melody Ann Owen:       When it comes to content, and your video is definitely content, whether you're writing an article or you have video or whatever you're doing, you are creating content, you want to put your content in a place where you have the most ownership over it that you can get. So, for example, I own my website. No one can say how I should do anything on my website. It's mine. I own it. YouTube, I don't own my channel, but it's like I'm leasing space from YouTube. And as long as I follow their rules, I get to use their YouTube channel and I get to embed those videos on my website and I get to organize them anyway I want, playlists, or I can highlight or feature videos. And so it's like leasing space.

                                    But once you have content on in a place that you own or that you have a long term lease, you're following the rules, the next bit of that is to actually put, promote the content. So I think of promoting as putting it out on places where people might see snippets of it or see one video and then may come back to your website or your YouTube channel to see others. Social media, for example. You're building an email list and you want to do ads, taking a snippet of video for that. But when you put something out on Facebook, it's there and then it's gone. Same with Instagram, it's there and it's gone. TikTok, it's there and it's gone. Those are not things you own. You're renting space. It's like going to a hotel or an Airbnb. You go there, you have a little party, you put on your video, but then it disappears and people can't find it again. So if you want to create videos that you want people to find over and over and over again, you need to put your content in a place that you have the most control over it that you can. And then take that content and promote it out. I hope that makes sense.

Susan Friedmann:         Oh, it certainly does. And I talk about pitching your house on rented land, on the different social media platforms. As you rightly say, you own your own website so that is the best place to place anything of any importance. And then also, directing people from Facebook or LinkedIn to sign up for some kind of lead magnet, some freebie giveaway that entice people to give you their name and email address so that you can then promote and market to them. Because yeah, Facebook went down a few weeks ago. And oh my goodness, people lost hours of connection time that they usually have, which obviously is a good thing and a not so good thing. But it really sort of brought home the point that if these platforms go away tomorrow, all those followers that you have in your contact there, you don't have any link to them.

Melody Ann Owen:       That's right.

Susan Friedmann:         And so they can't find you necessarily, or you can't find them. So yes, what a shame, what an absolute crying shame.

Melody Ann Owen:       Yes, you're absolutely right. I talked about that a lot. You own something. And I always call it your castle. I always tell people, "You own the castle and you let down the drawbridge and you let people come in. And they want to come to your castle because it's the best place. Social media is kind of the fair you have in the grounds where you get to know people, and then you invite them back to your castle, your content castle, your website and the things you own."

Susan Friedmann:         I love that. You're the king and the queen of your content castle.

Melody Ann Owen:       Yes.

Susan Friedmann:         That's phenomenal. I love it. Melody Ann, we always like to talk about mistakes on the show. And I've got a feeling that there are few that people make when it comes to video. You mentioned one and that is bad sound. What else should we be aware of to avoid, let's say?

Melody Ann Owen:       Right. Yes, bad sound, if you're doing video. Number one, I'd rather see poor picture quality than poor audio quality. I think another mistake people make doing video is they think they have to get it right. They think they somehow have to be perfect. We have this image out in media of these perfect human beings who are photoshopped into having the perfect shape and the perfect cheekbones and the perfect hair. But that's not what real people look like. Yet we have this image in our head. We think, "I have to look like that. And I have to be like that. And I have to be, I don't know, dressed right. I have to have the right expression." And that's actually not true. In fact, I think that when it comes to video, people want to see a real human being. People want you to be who you are, who you are in a professional capacity, not who you are Friday night with open bottle of wine with your friends, obviously. But who you are, the real you in a professional capacity. Which means showing up and being real and being imperfect.

                                    One of the things I always say to my guests when I do my weekly interview show is when they're nervous, it's like we want the imperfect, we want the humanity. We want you to be human. And trying to be this perfect, perfect person won't bring you that. And you'll be so focused on how you look and all of those other details, you'll forget that you have a really important message to give to people. You've written a book for a reason, that you have something to say to the world. So instead of focusing on yourself, and I think that's a mistake, focusing on yourself, and I think the solution is to focus on your audience. Who do you want to change? How do you want to change them? How are you serving them? Focusing on that and getting real with them on video, I think that's the way to go about it.

Susan Friedmann:         That reminds me of one of my speaker colleagues who always says, "Serve, don't shine," which I think hones in on exactly what you are saying is when you focus on serving your audience with information, with valuable expertise, and your skills, your talents, then you're serving them rather than saying, "Hey, look how glamorous I look, how wonderful, and my makeup," and whatever else. As you said, it's hard to compare yourself to film stars. Now, some people look better on camera than others, but you are who you are. And you said earlier, they want to see the real person. And I think that is so important as well. What else should we be aware of?

Melody Ann Owen:       I think we need to know what our message is. Earlier, I just threw out a whole bunch of ideas. And what I suggest people do with the book is they sit down and you just brainstorm all of the different ideas, things you could possibly talk about, stories from clients, anything at all. And maybe even get a mind map and start mapping out all the different things you could talk about. And then once you have them, kind of set them up, these are the things I want to talk about. And then you have topics. And when you realize it's like, "Oh, I've committed to one video a week," you can go to those topics and you're not struggling constantly with... Because so many people struggle with, "What am I going to talk about this week? What am I going to do this week?" Having that big brainstorming, having that list of things, you can go and say, "Wow, that's what's inspiring me today. This is what's inspiring me this week. And I'm going to go on and I'm going to do a three minute video on that topic now." I think [crosstalk 00:19:55]-

Susan Friedmann:         Is there optimum length of time? You talked about three minutes. It's like, "Oh yes, timing." Is there guidelines that are better than others in terms of length of video?

Melody Ann Owen:       Mm-hmm (affirmative). It depends on where the video is, the purpose of video, and so forth. So for example, if you are putting videos out on social media or snippets of video out on social media to attract people back, you want those to be really short. Instagram, 20 seconds. You just want something really snappy just to say, "Hey, look, you want to come back and see the rest of this video." When you are talking to new people, you probably want to keep it a little bit shorter. They don't know you yet. You know that know, like, trust. They don't know you yet. They don't trust you yet. They're not going to invest a lot of time. But if you have an audience that knows that you give good value, then you can have longer videos. My interviews run 30 to 45 minutes and people watch them, because they know I bring in guests like you who have an area of knowledge and we're going to share that particular area of knowledge. And they will sit and listen to that because we have that trust. But on my welcome video on my YouTube channel, it's, what is it, like a minute 20. And that's long. That's a long welcome video. So depending on where the video is going, who it's for, you're going to have a different length. The less they know you, the shorter the video. The more-

Susan Friedmann:         I think that's a great rule of thumb.

Melody Ann Owen:       Yeah. The videos out on social media, the ones that disappear quickly, shorter. The videos on your YouTube channel for your clients and your followers who know, like, and trust you, as long as you need to say the thing you're saying today, to get that message across.

Susan Friedmann:         Perfect. Well, that's a great segue into letting our listeners know how they can contact you for more information, because you're so knowledgeable, and I'm sure people will want to find out more. So how can they find you?

Melody Ann Owen:       Lots of ways. So if you want to join the community, Facebook Author Nation. Find us there, join the community, and you can be part of community to authors. If you'd like to talk to me personally, you can always message me on Facebook. Or I'm at Instagram at omelodyann or authornationtube. And you can always email me, melody@authornationtube.com. Lots of ways to get ahold of me.

Susan Friedmann:         Perfect. And those will all be in the show notes.

Melody Ann Owen:       Thank you.

Susan Friedmann:         So people can find that. Melody Ann, we always like to end off with you sharing a golden nugget for our listeners. What would yours be?

Melody Ann Owen:       I think my golden nugget would be if you've been thinking about video, but you're too afraid or you think you're not ready yet or you're not perfect enough or whatever not enough, I think my golden nugget is that you should set that aside and do video anyway, starting in a space that you feel safe in to practice, and then expanding out from the so that you can be one of the people out on video attracting new readers and new clients.

Susan Friedmann:         I think you were aiming that message right at me, weren't you?

Melody Ann Owen:       No, no, no.

Susan Friedmann:         Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. And I know we're going to jump over into the membership site where you're going to be talking to us about story, and I believe you have a gift for our special members over there. But in the meantime, thank you for sharing your wisdom. And thank you all for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview. And I sincerely hope that it sparks some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success.