It’s a dilemma isn’t it, and as a communications trainer and TV presenter it’s a question that I’m often asked.
Video has been proven to help SEO, lower bounce rates and improve interaction on social media. For example, Rob Toledo a user engagement and bounce rate specialist at Shutterstock, said:
“No longer just an interesting add-on, video has become an important feature for anyone concerned with SEO, conversion rates, or brand recognition. That’s pretty much everyone, then.”
There are new tools to boost your ability to engage with video, including here on LinkedIn as you can see in this article from Business Insider:
So now you’ve decided you need to have video content, the next question is who should front it?
If you are lucky enough to have articulate and charismatic executives then that’s great. However, let’s be honest, for most companies (large and small) this often isn’t the case. Although someone may feel they could come across well, the challenge is they often don’t know, until they’re in front of a camera. Added to this, in most organisations it can be politically challenging for internal staff to tell their bosses that they’re not doing well during a shoot!
Some video production companies will claim they can make anyone look good on camera, but the truth is, that even with media training, not everyone does. If the person fronting your videos looks awkward, confused, inarticulate, nervous, distracted or just uninspiring, you could end up wasting your money, and even damaging your company’s image.
You know you need to have video content; so, what do you do? In my view, you have four choices.
1 – Direct to Camera
For most people engaging with a camera is not easy, and then you have to remember what you’re going to say in a convincing and authentic way. You could use a teleprompter, but again that’s not as straightforward as it looks. Professional presenters may make it look easy, but it takes years of experience to do it well. So, I’d only recommend this option if you’re sure, and before you go to the expense of hiring a production company, make sure you practice first, even if it’s just on a mobile phone.
2 – Off Camera Interview
Here an interviewer stands to the side of the camera so that the interviewee can at least engage with a person rather than a lens, which makes it much easier. It may be tempting to get anyone to ask the questions, but it’s a really good idea to get a professional interviewer to do this. They will be able to put the interviewee at ease and instil some confidence. They will also be aware of the key messages you want to get across, and with their experience they’ll work with you to get the right responses. The magic of this process is in the editing, so that the interviewer isn’t seen and the answers still work. This method can look a lot more natural and is a certainly a lot less stressful for the interviewee.
3 – Presenter Led Interview
This is an extension of the off camera interview and follows a similar format, but the presenter / interviewer will be seen. It’s definitely the easiest of the options if you really want to appear on camera and will often look the best too. As an interviewee, you’ll be less aware of the camera and lights, so you can relax and focus on your message. You can choose whether you want to recreate a journalistic style of interview or more of a talking head style. The interviewer will engage directly with the interviewee and again get the results you’re looking for. With multiple takes and/or additional cameras, and good editing, the result will look a lot more dynamic. Yes, this will cost more but it’ll be worth it because of the value gained.
4 – Use a Professional Presenter
This often starts a debate amongst ‘authenticity’ purists but it’s often the best choice. The end result can include footage from interviews to add variety to the video. This way your key people are still seen, but in a more dynamic and natural way. Most video production companies will be to suggest suitable presenters who will match your brand. It can be very difficult for a business to be objective about its own internal capabilities, so it can often come across better with a professional presenter.
Ultimately it’s a personal choice, but I hope this article will help you to decide on the best way to present your next corporate video. After all, a well produced and presented video, with powerful content can make a world of difference to your company.
In my next post I’ll talk about the benefits of dialogue coaching, where the focus will be on the content of your video, so that it conveys the right message for you and your company.