If you’re like most business owners, you didn’t go to film school, but with Snapchat boasting 10 billion videos watched every day, not to mention YouTube, Instagram stories, Vimeo, Facebook, and myriad other platforms, you may wish you had. Video is an increasingly popular and effective medium to gain more customers. Fortunately for you, the ease of Smartphone technology has made it easier than ever before to hop on this trend, no AFI classes necessary.

Of course, don’t hit that little red button just yet. Your business requires a slightly more structured process than that of a spontaneous selfie video. And for many business owners, that can feel intimidating. Everyone’s a critic, and your business is vulnerable to all the watchful eyes who may be judging. But, with a few tricks of the trade, the “stage fright” will soon become confidence, and you can showcase you and your business in the best light.

Start Small

Spielberg wasn’t built in a day. Even the best directors likely started by making a short. Start with a low-risk video to get your feet wet. Create a short educational video for use in a blog, or to supplement a sales intro. Beginning slowly will allow you to acquire hands-on experience and make your subsequent videos feel less daunting. Choose a very specific focus that’s easily managed. That could be an answer to a question you’re asked every day, or the answer to a common confusion about your business. When you’ve selected the topic, clarify the goal of your video. Would you like it to generate leads, increase brand awareness, reduce questions? Let that goal be your driving force to keep you on track.

Write a Script, Act Natural

A script is a map, a blueprint, and the more you know where you’re going, the smoother the journey. But don’t fall into rigidity. The way to know your lines AND say them naturally is to practice, practice, practice. Remember your goal you’ve clarified to help you bypass self-consciousness. When you’re focused on what you’re saying, you’ll naturally be less concerned with how you’re saying it. As you’re preparing keep in mind: Why are making this video? What do you want the video to communicate? Who is the target audience? Are they new to your company or familiar with it? What are a few things you’d like the viewer to take away from the video? Is there a style you’re going for? Is there a call to action or words of wisdom you’d like the viewer to take away? Give yourself many days, or even weeks to practice and step away from the script many times. Aim for flow, experiment with intonation and inflections, and read/perform it aloud in front of people you trust. Before you know it, you’ll trust yourself.

Make It All Look and Sound Good

Sure, maybe you’re not treating yourself to facials and a personal chef like an A-lister, but you know your personal best. And, really it’s the lighting that makes the most difference when it comes to that celebrity glow. Record in a well-lit area. Natural light is universally thorough and flattering. But, if you’re without it, make sure you’re facing a nice bright light source. Affordable studio lights can be acquired online, at a camera shop, or even a hardware store. There are also dozens of YouTube tutorials which go over the basics of lighting yourself. Make sure your background is deliberate. Maybe it’s in the office, against a simple wall. on the showroom floor, or outside (in a relatively quiet spot- free of traffic noise.) Just make sure it’s a conscious decision. If you do choose to shoot in a location with a lot of ambient noise, consider renting a boom microphone (and hiring a person to hold it) or investing in a small additional mic for your smartphone. Many affordable options are available with some minimal online research. Position the camera straight on, on a tripod, just above eye level, and hit record. Also, studies show that seeing a human face is the most effective relationship builder. So be bold, and connect with your audience as you create your video.  

Get Fancy

As your confidence builds, or if you have a teammate who is moderately tech savvy, you can shoot some additional footage or utilize still shots to thread through your main footage. This can help tell your story and create a more lush visual experience. This requires a bit more forethought and an awareness of sound and lighting to create a consistent, flowing presentation. But, if you have some proficiency with iMovie or Adobe Premiere, you can create a pro-quality piece of which you can be proud.

Most of all, have fun. You can control the content you choose to release, and your practice will show in your growing proficiency. Show your videos to a trusted few and see how it tests on the market of your closest friends. When you’re ready to release it, have a party with popcorn and real butter. And enjoy as the box office numbers roll in.