Why Writers Need Video & How to Do It Well in 15 Minutes a Day

This is a guest post by Sean Platt of Ghostwriter Dad.

A lot of writers make the mistake of assuming video isn’t for them.

This makes sense, were writers. We build our worlds with words not images, right?

Well, yes. But whatever future we’re writing for ourselves will need to be fueled with intelligent marketing, and video offers raw potential like little else.

I made the same mistake, but I’m not making it anymore. Video is already BIG, but it’s going to get BIGGER. Once Google finds a way to index video the way they index copy, it’s game over.

The Time to Start Learning How to Use Video is NOW

Smart writers will get comfortable on video before then. If you don’t develop the skills necessary to capitalize on video, you’re locking a lot doors for your writing career.

If the idea of doing videos makes you uncomfortable, I understand. The same was true for me. I recently recorded a metric ton of videos (over 60 in one week) and so my comfort level is now growing, but when I first started I may as well of been standing on my front porch naked.

Turns out, the cure for getting over your fear of making videos is to make over 60 in a week.

Video is good for you, good for your audience, and good for your future. The best way to get it done is to look in the camera and do it.

The Easy Formula for Making Videos in Minutes

Watch this example of a video I did for my own site to get a feel for just how simple video can be while still being effective.

Follow the soft template below to build a video library in less than 15 minutes per day, then tweak the template to your unique needs, personality and business model.

1. Start with a short script so you know what to say.

This doesn’t have to be detailed, and really shouldn’t be. All you need is a few bullet points so you don’t get lost and can start with a general idea of what you’re going to say on camera.

2. Hit record and let your device run for a minute or two.

Somewhere around 90 seconds or so seems to be the sweet spot for amplifying your views on YouTube. Though your finished video should be no more than a couple of minutes, allow five for recording time.

3. Keep your videos on topic and don’t ramble.

Offer a single tip and keep it specific. If you think of other things to say, keep them in your head, then write them down as soon as you stop recording so you can use your ideas for future videos.

4. When you’re finished with your video, upload it to a video sharing site.

This shouldn’t take longer than three minutes. Once that’s done, spend another three minutes creating a powerful title and description for your video, using appropriate keywords and tags so it’s easy for people to find you.

5. Spend your final few minutes connecting with others in your industry.

Once your video goes live, this is essential. Search by keywords to find other people in your niche, then network intelligently by leaving comments, friending them, and liking their videos.

Follow this formula and you should be able to put out a video each day without it having a dramatic impact on your schedule. Find a regular rhythm, and the video marketing you were once too timid to try can suddenly soar ahead as the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. Need more inspiration? Check out these effective videos made by other writers.

Are You Using Video?

It’s your turn – are you using video to accompany your writing and blogging? Share your video strategies – if you have a favorite video of yours, be sure to link to it and tell us why it’s your favorite in the comments below!

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    • says

      Glad you liked the tips Sharon – it’s my weak spot too. Just wanted to let you know I forgot to change the author bio – Sean is the author of this one, not me! :)

  1. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I love the list of videos you have here! All really great info and inspirational. :-)

    I really like the GhostWriterDad video. I actually do brainstorm writing just as he mentioned for 10 minutes non-stop. However, I’ve never wrote 4 questions prior to doing so… will definitely try that out!

    Tim Brownsons video about not giving up was brilliant. You know I’ve had an online business since 2008 and have been blogging since 2010 and I’ve seen a lot of talented people fall off the face of the earth, even after starting to see some progress.

    If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. It may not look they way you had planned, but if you stay on path you will eventually get there. Who knows, maybe it will be better than what you expected. 😉

    Thanks for posting this!
    Michele Welch just posted The Naughty Entrepreneur Checklist: 40 Reasons Why You Are Not Seeing Results

  2. says

    Videos are awesome Kristi.
    A friend of mine got amazing Google ranking for his new 10 minutes videos clips that reviews and affiliate product. Do you know what, he got 1,002 visitors within 12 hours. I never really give in for videos because I love writing, maybe. But today, with the way you presented everything, I’m going to start marketing with videos right away. God will bless you for sharing this wonderful post.

    • says

      Yeah, I know someone who is doing some crazy cool stuff within the financial space. He goes for highly targeted keywords for stuff that’s in the news. He gets his videos done and indexed immediately and ends up on Page One (almost always) for high traffic searches. His short 5 minute daily videos are helping his business grow at a ridiculous rate.
      Sean just posted The 9 Mistakes Most Writers Make That are Keeping Them Poor

  3. says

    Absolutely correct! One of my favorite journalism classes was a multimedia class where we learned to work with SoundSlides, Audacity and iMovie.

    Nice post,

  4. says

    Hi Sean!

    What’s great about video is that the shorter, the better! So a video can be created in no-time! And if you have a script, it will require very little editing. We’re still slowly delving into video, but it has always proved to be an excellent method to get information out there.

    Such GREAT tips!

  5. says

    Sean, thanks a lot for including me mate I really appreciate it.

    I agree with what you say too. The quality of traffic I get from YouTube is better than almost every other major source. On the whole, people that click through from my YouTube channel stay longer and check out more pages than from places like Facebook and Twitter.

    And also with programs like iMovie it’s now so easy to make video and make it so it looks ok and even professional, that there really is no excuse for anybody to neglect it.
    Tim Brownson just posted The Best Self Development Books of 2011

    • says

      So true. They stay longer because they’re bonded to you. I have the same experience.

      Ideally, I’ll be shooting raw video and passing it off to another member of the team for final editing and branding. I can’t justify spending a lot of time not writing, but I do want to hop on the video train as soon as possible. My biggest problem with it so far is just staying consistent.
      Sean just posted The 9 Mistakes Most Writers Make That are Keeping Them Poor

  6. says

    HI Sean,

    I agree that mixing video in with full text posts is important. It breaks things up and surprises your readers who are used to text posts from you, and it also serves those of your readers who learn better with a visual medium.

    I was one of those who felt very uncomfortable when I first started making videos. I now provide one trick for my readers… if you are on Facebook, use the Video Messaging option to answer any messages you get, or to send a new message to one of your friends.

    It gets you more comfortable with video and also helps you stand out on Facebook amongst all the noise!

    Thanks, Sean for the reminder and tips about using video on our blogs!
    Dr. Bob Clarke just posted Facebook Video Messaging: Stand Out From Your Competitors!

    • says

      My pleasure Bob!

      I tried experimenting with video commenting a couple of years ago on my first site, but it majorly bombed!

      I’m still a bit uncomfortable with video, but WAY better than I was. And once I get back home (I’m on vacation now) I plan on making video a daily part of my routine so I can get super comfortable with it.
      Sean just posted The 9 Mistakes Most Writers Make That are Keeping Them Poor

  7. says

    Thanks a lot for the awesome post Sean!

    Wow! 60 videos in one week is a lot.

    Do you edit your videos? How long does it take?

    Also, what do you think about doing videos with powerpoint presentations? If great, can you recommend any tutorials on that?
    Onibalusi Bamidele just posted 3 Ways to Measure Link Quality

    • says

      Yeah, it was a crazy amount. I had major deadlines to hit, but I’d rather not do it again. :)

      No, I don’t edit my videos. I look into the camera and shoot them in a single take. It usually takes a couple of times, but I never spend longer than 10 minutes on a single video.

      PowerPoints are a GREAT way to make videos. I use Keynote for the Mac and it’s what I do for all my client work, though I’ve not yet done it myself (working on that now).

      I don’t have anything specific to recommend, but you can find a ton of different tutorials on YouTube.
      Sean just posted The 9 Mistakes Most Writers Make That are Keeping Them Poor

  8. says

    I really enjoy doing videos but got away from them for some reason. I can see that was probably a mistake and thanks to these reminders I am all ramped up to get back into it. Thanks for the motivation, very appreciated.

  9. says

    Hi Sean,

    Doing videos have never been an easier task for me. I fear a lot, I feel uncomfortable and I become stiff. I even can’t pose to photographs, I get a strange feeling.

    But recently since I am reading a lot about using the power of videos for marketing, it seems that I can never escape making it, if blogging is going to be my profession.

    Well, I have actually made about a couple of them and they are in my Youtube stream. Still the ice is not broken completely.

    I must try to do 60 a week LOL. Thanks for the solid tips.

    Jane just posted 7 Hard Truths About Blogging You Need to Know!

  10. says

    Anyone who plans on making a lot of videos, and needs to have notes in order to keep speaking (like me!), should look up SeeEye2Eye.

    A strange little gadget that uses mirrors to put a portion of your screen up over your webcam. Hard to describe…. It’s meant to let you look people in the eye for teleconferencing, etc, but also works with teleprompting. You could put your notes there instead, and read while looking right at the camera.
    Kevin Kimes just posted Don’t Fear The Panda

    • says

      Yup, there’s nothing like that extra bonding with your audience. I noticed it immediately and it’s made me want to shoot another batch badly.

  11. says

    Videos are great and attractive and all that. I just find them very time-consuming to put together. Maybe I am a stickler for decency I don’t know. I find that I don’t like the way it turns out and start over. Several hours later I give up completely and go back to text and image posts. But, if you have a gift for creating good videos I hear a lot of people are successful with them.
    Ray just posted Google Pagerank Update June 27, 2011

  12. says

    Video is definitely not for everyone. However, you can’t deny the power that it can have. I personally have difficulties being in front of a camera and I don’t articulate myself as well as if I were to take the time to sit down and blog. From my limited experience in video I do know that interaction and visitors on page times can go through the roof!
    Nick LeRoy just posted Should SEOs Optimize Their Web Properties EXCLUSIVELY?

  13. julianoswald says

    Yeah I also believe that video is not for everyone. But I can say that the power of video is powerful. It can attract a lot of people. I am also camera shy. I always got my tongue lock every time someone is capturing a video of me. But I know that having a video will greatly increase attention and will help us introduce ourselves to our readers.
    julianoswald just posted Steps In Wealth Management

  14. says

    One suggestion I can tell keep your viewers watching on your video is “Keep it short”
    No one would want to watch a video 20-30mins long.

    Video marketing is very effective! It’s essential for all business out there..

  15. says

    The idea to to do 60 videos in one week seems to be an outstanding way to almost numb yourself to the fear of making videos! This is my favorite tip in this whole post! I remember Robert Plank teaching something like this also – great minds think alike.

  16. says

    Having videos post regularly is great, as it gives your readers a nice variety, and times you just want to sit back and watch something rather then read through text, which at times, if you have been reading all day, you may miss out the important stuff, hence using a video to promote and give your message can be quite effective.
    I don’t use videos as much, I need to start to take time out and hit the record button.
    Wasim Ismail just posted Solve a problem, money will come…your next Business Idea

  17. says

    This is a great article Sean, and I loved your video too!

    I too think that video is so important, and I got on the video bandwagon in early 2009 with my raw food site. It just made sense to show people the recipes in the kitchen. But now that I’m doing more marketing and web design work, I’m finding videos to be even more important. It’s hard to explain technical things in words, but visuals just work. :)
    Nathalie Lussier just posted Swipe Files to Idea Gardens: Evernote Review

  18. says

    Nice article, and while agree that video is something that many people don’t realize is fairly easy and totally within their grasp, I would personally tend to advocate podcasting over webcam vlogs for creating loyal fans. Over the last few years I’ve become such a huge fan of so many podcasts and I’ve seen what they can do first-hand for a site’s popularity and reputation in general.

    I honestly feel that what we now call “podcasts” *will be* the future of what we now call *radio*, except the power belongs to everyone rather than a few select companies with enough money to broadcast. Digital audio technology has developed similarly alongside digital video recording technology; both audio and video content are now easier than ever to produce in a professional way.
    freddy k just posted Just like the employees at Finally Fast, our blog is an eclectic mix of posts and topics. Here you can find tips on dept negotiation, tax advice for home offices, business news, and anything in between. Make sure to check it out. http://finallyfastblog.com/

  19. says

    Yup, I’m a writer and still know a picture’s worth a thousand of my words!

    One of the first things I’m going to do this fall is hire a full-time video person. The future of much of my business hinges on smart marketing and video is the kid in class who always has the answer.

  20. says

    Hey Keith,

    Almost all of the time I just use the build in mic. On the rare occasion that I use a plugin mic, it’s the Snowball. I believe it cost $49 and it’s well worth it. I’m using it to record audio versions of some of my books.