6. Video, photography and audio Copy

Prefer to listen?

Having video as part of your course content is great, as it brings it all to life. It makes people feel like you’re there with them. Words are useful too, for when people don’t have time or the inclination to watch/listen and just want to skim, so I’d recommend a bit of both.

I now also offer an audio version, for people who want to absorb the information while they’re on the go.

I thought this might be useful for people who listen while walking, running, hanging the laundry out etc. So it’s worth thinking about the people who might be buying your courses, and how they’d like the information presented.

Also, according to this article: using video on landing pages can increase conversion by 86%. So you should definitely be thinking about incorporating video on your sales landing page. But more on that later, for now – how you should make videos for online…

Before filming you need to consider…

  • How you’re going to film. Initially, for this course, I used my iPhone to film all of the videos. I wanted to show that you can just about get away with it. But I’ve since updated them to professional films, as they are much better in terms of sound, light and general quality.
  • Not a filmmaker? You’ll need to get someone else to help with this. Some people record the audio then use a series of slides for the visuals (a bit like a presentation). This means you don’t need a professional camera set up.
  • Film equipment. I’d recommend you invest in…
  • A tripod. Ours cost around £50 from Amazon. Here it is. (Extras: You’ll also need a phone clamp for the top. You can find these on Amazon if you don’t already have one.)
  • A mic. The one we use is also from Amazon. It’s this one. A great feature with this mic is that if you need to mic two people up for an interview, you can buy a second iRig mic and connect it to your existing one. This isn’t something we’ve tried yet. (Extras: a thunderbolt to mini-jack connecter thing. You can get one from the Apple website. It’s only £9).
  • A light. Not essential, like the mic and tripod, but a light could really enhance your video, especially if you don’t have much natural light. We’ve used this one. Bigger ones are available (which will perform better) but this one was £42. (Extras: a stand for it which is sold separately – plenty of them on Amazon. And with this light, if you want to fit it to a standard light stand you’ll also need an adaptor. We found this one for £7.99 from Amazon.)
  • Backdrop. It needs to be clutter-free. Find a spot that looks nice, without too much going on. If there’s laundry hanging behind you or a really big bright painting, that will be too distracting. Keep it minimal. A potted plant can be nice, or another object that fits with you and your brand.
  • Landscape not portrait. With smart phones being portrait and lots of us doing Instagram stories, there’s a temptation to film in portrait. But don’t. Landscape is better for online courses, as it fits more comfortably onto a computer screen, and if people are watching on their phone, they can always flip it to watch in landscape.
  • Lighting. Make sure that people can see your face – find a spot that’s light enough but you don’t want sunshine streaming in and washing you out. Experiment with different spots around your home/office.
  • Framing. Position yourself centrally – with the same amount of space on either side of you – but the bottom of your chin should be in the centre rather than your nose. This means your head is up towards the top of the frame and there’s a bit of chest at the bottom.
  • Hair, make-up and clothes. A bit of slap, if you’re into it, can lift your face. I always wear a bright lipstick as otherwise I look washed out. Totally up to you. And in terms of clothes, wear something that doesn’t distract from the message. My hair often has bits sticking out so I check this before I press record.
  • Script. Write some bullet points down before you start, as you probably won’t remember everything once you’re recording. 
  • Sound. Make sure you don’t have a washing machine on in the background. It’s probably not going to ruin your video if there are some tweeting birds or an aeroplane flies by but any continuous noise – dishwasher, building work – will be hard to ignore.
  • Editing. You don’t want your film to start and end with you reaching out to press record, you can upload your video to your computer, open it in Quicktime Player or an equivalent basic in-built programme and go to ‘edit’ then ‘trim’. Here, you can cut off the beginning and end.

In terms of actually putting your videos into your course content, you can learn from one of my mistakes. Initially, I was making films then uploading them straight to my WordPress website. The files were massive so they slowed down the whole site.

Now, I upload them to Vimeo where I have an account. I pay £10 a month to host my videos there. I find it much more user-friendly than YouTube. Once uploaded to Vimeo, I get an ‘embed’ code and put it into my online course. It’s then streamed from Vimeo.

If you’d like to use Vimeo too, here are some pointers once you’ve set up an account…

  • Click ‘upload’ – top right, to upload a video
  • Choose a title (this is for you, not your course participants)
  • Under privacy, select ‘hide this video from Vimeo’ and save changes. This means no one can see your video… yet
  • Once uploaded, click ‘settings‘ under the video
  • In ‘general’ you can choose a thumbnail, which is what people will see when they come across the video on your site. Select ‘edit thumbnail’ and ‘select from video’ then you can choose a moment when your face isn’t too contorted.
  • Scroll down to ‘where can this video be embedded’ and choose ‘specific domains’. Add your website address then press the +. You then need to ‘save changes’. This means the video can now only be viewed on your website.
  • I choose to deselect ‘anyone can comment’ so that no one can comment and I make sure no one can download the video, as I don’t want it being shared.
  • On the left-hand menu, you can then go to ‘embed’ and choose how the video looks and functions on your website. Here, you can create a ‘preset’ so the same rules apply to all the videos you upload.
  • When you’re finished with the settings: above the video, on the right, there should be an ‘embed code’ button. Press this, click ‘copy’ and this is what you need to paste into the appropriate page on your website in order to have your video appear on that page.

Photography

In terms of photography, having professional shots to sell your course will help. I’ve had lots of headshots done – I have a skill-swap deal with a photographer friend; she takes my headshots, I help her with her writing – so I use these as the main image for my courses.

But if you don’t want your on face on your course, or it’s not appropriate, then get really good – ideally professional – shots of what it is that you’re focused on. Having imagery throughout your courses helps, too. So if you’re sharing tips from another expert, include a photo of them.

Audio

I now record my online courses – so I speak the words you’re reading here into my iPhone ‘voice memos’ – and then upload the MP4 recording to Soundcloud, where the audio files are hosted, and get the ’embed code’ so I can add the audio files in at the start of each topic.

It’s actually really easy to record the topics, and it makes the courses more accessible – both for people who aren’t able to read, and for those who just prefer listening.