Persuasive Video Strategies that Prompt Action

Persuasive Video Strategies that Prompt Action

Reader Comments (56)

  1. Hi Brian,
    I think if your primary talent is writing, you should use writing online to get your message across. If you have voice or acting talent, you should consider podcasts or videocasts. In other words, why stretch yourself into an area in which you aren’t an expert? What’s the benefit?

  2. I have been working on a lot of video and trying to figure things out, which means I have been consuming hours and hours of video. My favorites all seem to have in common the presenters enthusiasm and personality rather than the content as such, which shows how important packaging is. If you get great content combined with good presentation you have it made.

    Sad about what you said about attractive presenters though … means I have to hide myself in future 😉

  3. Maria, the benefit would be if your target audience prefers video and you’re delivering text. Most people don’t (and won’t) read. The blogosphere is not representative of the general population at this point, but it’s changing quickly as blogs go more mainstream.

    Chris, I think you’re pretty cute. Ummm… well, you know what I mean. 🙂

  4. Excellent post, Brian…

    This really does a nice job of nailing down the importance of preparation, something I’m admittedly a big proponent of.

    It seems like a fair amount of people are shunning off quality concerns these days due to laziness masked as raw transparency. As such, it’s great to see someone with as much of a ‘voice’ as yourself pushing the value of well thought-out writing for video production.

    Finally, a reputable perspective to counter the @garyvee approach. Well done. 😉

  5. I’ve made some video tutorials (and am planning to make more soon), and they’ve all gotten a lot of positive feedback! Many topics have been covered extensively with articles all over the internet, but have very few videos.

    Screencasting is an excellent way to make video content (especially educational video) if you don’t have a camera. I use the free CamStudio and then throw it into a video editor.

  6. Dan, the Gary Vee approach works for Gary because of who he is. Most people couldn’t pull that off in a million years, and yet, because of Gary’s influence, people will likely try and embarrass themselves.

    People are always seeing a rule in the exception. Strange aspect of human nature.

  7. That’s true about Gary V *but* taken too far in the other way (like I have been prone to do) we lead ourselves to analysis paralysis – if perfection is the minimum we accept we will never achieve anything.

    We have to accept nothing we do will ever be 100% and strive to make incremental improvements and learn from our mistakes. Don’t let preparation be your excuse for not pulling the trigger.

    An imperfect video put into action will make more profit than a perfect video we don’t make 🙂

  8. Being a “physically challenged” individual (read as totoally blind) I wish to comment on video for those of us who have no clue as to what many of you are doing. If you refer to graphic items in a video presentation without explaining what you’re referring to, you’ve lost us. If you don’t take the time to describe non-audio items, then we have no or little idea of what you’re talking about. Please acknowledge that everyone is NOT like you — some of us need more care and understanding.

  9. Brian: Exactly.

    Also, the availability of inexpensive cameras coupled with the instant gratification / efficiency of the wing it approach seem to be further fueling this ‘F* it’ movement.

    Anyway, it’s nice to see others like yourself promoting the relevance of quality and focus.

    Great topic. Perhaps if we keep hammering at it, others will eventually see the light. 😉

  10. Great article. As always! I’m about to start working on a video campaign at my company and although someone else will be producing it for us, this article will be a great help to make sure that we’re on the right track to creating a successful, engaging video. Thanks!

  11. Thanks for the explanation Brian, makes perfect sense. I had a bad experience with online video that scares me away from it—even though it was professionally shot. Too much leg showing + too much $$$ to edit the video = me horrified. 🙂

  12. Ryland, in line with my answer to Maria, the people who read Copyblogger are generally readers. I will have some examples for you soon though (which may have been the reason I did the series in the first place… sneaky me 🙂 ).

  13. What a timely post!

    I’ve been working on a video project for the recent launch of our blog but ran into several barriers that have now been shattered by your wisdom.

    Simply put, video is powerful!

    Your post echos eloquently what you teach within the Teaching Sells course. It all comes down to the learning style of the reader/viewer. In other words, it’s essential to cater to the different learning styles by providing content in various formats (text, audio, video, etc…) to drive home your point.

    Personally, I’d lean more toward a presentational style format instead of the “talking head”. Primarily because I find myself in the same boat as Chris Garrett’s self-proclaimed classification of unattractiveness. I don’t think too many people would stick around to finish watching our video if it was just my talking head! 🙂

    Plus, I think you can put more value into a presentationally-styled video since one would be utilizing both screen real estate as well as voice over.

    All in all, an outstanding post that I’ve clipped into Evernote for future reference.

    Thanks again, Brian!

  14. I can safely say that talking into a camera has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And reading from a teleprompter is far more difficult than I though it would be.

    But, with some practice I’ve improved a lot but still have a long way to go.

    One tip I can offer that really helped me… I now use a 22″ monitor right behind my camera for my teleprompter. I used to use a smaller screen and it made it much harder as I had to really “concentrate” on the words. Now, since I use a larger screen the words really pop out and it’s much easier.

  15. Chris,

    I totally agree about people getting hung up on achieving perfection, and I know all too well the creative hesitation that you’re speaking of.

    All that I’m suggesting is that people looking to leverage video actually ‘try’ to present well, and make an effort to craft their content with their audience in mind. There’s alot of chatter these days about video quality being somewhat irrelevant, and I’d like to get beyond that.

    In short, quality matters, but pursuing perfection is a slippery slope that totally must be kept in-check. So, instead of throwing the idea of quality out completely, I’m rather proposing that we emphasize the idea of maximizing good results while minimizing wasted effort.

    Great discussion!

  16. I think you hit it on the head; Know your readers and deliver the message.

    I have a tendency to be a little to stiff and formal so the following what makes good copy (anecdotes, stories etc.) is good advise for me.

    Thank you

  17. It’s getting harder and harder to uniquely position a blog in the blogging/marketing niche and it seems like every topic has been covered and re-covered.

    But I think video offers a great opportunity for bloggers who are trying standing out – if done well.

    Maybe the Landing Page Makeover series could be expanded to look at Landing Page Videos? Most internet marketers like Frank Kern use video now and even live video on launch day.

    But the number one detraction of video will always be that you usually can’t watch at work – and let’s face it – this is when most regular folks are on the computer.

  18. I enjoyed this and will surely improve my future videos by taking all of this into account.

    Only tips I might add myself is know you will get better with time as you make more and more vids, remember to have fun and do make it something worth watching, and do mix it up as you create more and more video’s don’t make each and every one the exact same style and format. Of course there are gray areas in each of these tips … smiles.

    Lastly as another blind computer user but one with limited site do think of your viewers, those vids with just music and words on a screen limits who knows what is being said. But also on the other hand you are able to both have visuals for those who can see and audio for those who don’t overlapping thus reaching more when done right.

    ~Expect Miracles

  19. Brian,Great information.I wish I had it before I started posting my videos.I’ve done both screencasts and live video now.I can relate to “conversational video presentation”you mentioned!
    Winging it is NOT a good way to present educational videos,I figured I knew my topic well enough that I did not need to script it.I was completely wrong.


  20. Those talking head video’s with Flip cameras are horrible, no matter what internet video gurus may tell you.

    You really need to be a Master Communicator to pull those off. Master. Communicator. Extraordinaire.

    Presentation-style video’s or what some call slideshow videos seem to lend themselves to being created by “chunking’ the content, which works well for those with short timeframes for creating content or for repurposing text based content you already worked hard to create.

    If you have 30 seconds of audio, that you can bundle with a visual element, you can blend 6-10 of those together for a 3 to 5 minute video, which can then become part of your blog, your membership site or your multimedia ecourse.

    Here’s a tip for you: Count the number of words you speak in 1, 3 and 5 minute chunks. Then look thru your previously created content for text blocks that fit those quantities and timeframes and turn them into audios and/or slideshow style videos.

    That will get you moving quickly and easily and inertia creates confidence, which creates excitement, which creates …, well, you get the idea.

    Good post Brian. This series will help people.

  21. Coppyblogger family,

    This post applies primarily to people trying to market through online video campaigns.

    As a curious onlooker to video persuasion marketing, I feel it has its high points – as many of them have been addressed here today. However, for me, I feel the negatives leave the positives in the dust and may have been breezed over in this article (because this wasn’t the article’s focus) making it seem easier then it actually is. But before you crucify me for my humble opinion, I’m going to spare all the side details and tell you the BIGGEST reason i’m against videos in online marketing campaigns (primarily the intrusive ones attached to websites)…

    Brian hit the nail on the head when he said “online video MUST be engaging before it can be persuasive.” But this in itself is no easy task. Simply stated – To persuade YOU MUST keep the viewer’s attention by keeping them actively engaged with what you are saying. But unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Here’s why –

    In a world full of background noise, children screaming, co-workers gossiping, tv’s playing, and spouses talking (you get my point with all this) you must determine what you focus on. EVERYDAY you have SEVERAL things competing for your attention at any given moment! And it is often impossible to commit 100% of your attention and focus to any one thing. However, let me take this a step further and explain how this translates to online video marketing…

    If someone is looking at your video and they get distracted for a brief moment, it can hurt your sale – especially if it happened during a critical point in your sales presentation. Yea, you are right if you are thinking if they miss it, they can rewind it and see it again. But it isn’t always that easy – let me explain…

    How many times have you fell asleep (or been distracted) while reading a book, realize you missed something, and reread it? I know i’m guilty. But the key point here is you “REALIZED” you missed something because the story just wasn’t flowing. Right? If you are distracted while watching a marketing video online (that you are not 110% serious about buying already – this is key), you probably don’t realize you missed anything – so you won’t rewind it. And this is a problem, but I’m not just going to give you problems, I’m here to provide solutions –

    Just as all the great copywriters like Brian have advocated time and time again, strong headlines are KEY if you want to get readers to take a moment to read what you have to say. For online video marketing campaigns, YOU MUST prime the viewer for what they are about to see and what they will get out of it. How? You must PROPERLY introduce the video in a way that demands the viewers attention!

    Please don’t have it set up so it starts playing as soon as someone visits your site. That is the most annoying thing! Plus there is a possibility they may already have music or something playing on their computer – which would make your video “invasive” and nothing could make them leave your website quicker.

    But if you give a proper introduction that builds interest and desire – there is a definite possibility they will not only welcome your message, but they will take time away from the daily destractors to SEE what you have to say…

    And that’s all i’m saying. Geez, if this was a simple explanation from me, I’d hate to see one where I actually explain myself…

    Cheers –

  22. AJ, I agree. “Free” content is no longer a lock. You’ve got to sell the “free” just to get people to invest attention (which means free doesn’t quite mean what it used to).

  23. I think video is a great way to boost credibility. There are so many pretenders in the blogosphere who hide behind anonymity. If people can watch you in action, they can relate to you much better – even if you’re not as beautiful as Brian …[swoon]

    Today I chanced upon John Gallagher, a blogger and Net entrepreneur who uses simple videos in a brilliant way: His homely videos create a great community feeling – which he’s put to good use in building a thriving membership site.

    I’m currently taking some lessons from a top documentary film maker. It’s great fun and I’m learning necessary skills, like how to plan and create a dynamic video, as well as how to cut.

    Maybe you’re all naturally perfect at this stuff – but I’m having to move way out of my comfort zone in order to make videos. Oh well, inhabiting one’s comfort zone is boring 🙂

  24. I’m a huge proponent of videos and use videos to explain my blog topics, my services and every once in a while to rant on a topic. The response has been great! I use the “talking head” approach and hadn’t given too much thought to using them for more of an educational tool. I’ll have to start experimenting with that.

    Thank you!

  25. @AJ- I’m certainly not going to crucify you for an honest opinion, especially when that opinion is a great testimonial for online video 😉

    Your paragraph that begins, “In a world full of background noise…” is EXACTLY why video is so effective, because people have a limited capacity for information, BUT they have an unlimited capacity for entertainment that’s filled with emotion and experiences.

    Brian has proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that “E3S” will make you, …ummm, glad to be a blogger.

    Oh yeah, E3S = Entertainment, Experiences, Emotion & Stories.

    Make sure, AJ, that you don’t let your opinion overrule facts, truths, statistics, case studies, etc.

    You aren’t your market…and if you are, you won’t sell enough to make it worth your while 😉

    Remember, and you’ve read it here before, many times, there are 3 main ways to reach your market: text, audio and video. If you don’t use one of those, just because you personally don’t like it, your campaigns will suffer and you’ll never build enough credible data to enable making the best decisions about how to adapt, adjust and administer your marketing.

  26. Great post!

    We started doing a weekly “Video Blog” about six weeks ago. It’s more news style, less educational, but our readers seem to like it. We tweak our approach and delivery a little bit every time. It’s definitely not where we want it to be yet, but we’re getting there.

    If you want, you can see some examples here:

    Thanks again!

  27. I think the raw nature of a video is cool. I feel that in todays world and in the future generation the “polished” look is not as important as some media experts think.

    I think it depends on what you’re shooting video for but in regards to the internet, the raw quality, without editing and with mistakes along the video are what make the person in front of the camera HUMAN. Being human is more important to todays viewer than ever before and THAT is what attracts the audience. Not that mainstream media doesn’t achieve connecting to humanity, I’m just pointing out that unpolished media is just as credible in reaching people.

    There is a growing hunger for something real and sincere and genuine. That is one of the beautiful things about video on the internet, it allows for people to be people. So what if you make a mistake? Who cares? Let’s stop putting pressure on ourselves to be perfect because in reality, we aren’t.

    I think “polished” and “unpolished” both serve a significant purpose in our society today. One is not better than the other but both serve a specific purpose. It is a matter of how Content Creators leverage their own specific purpose according to what they want to achieve with their media. Both have a place in today’s world. Both are necessary and both have a format for communication.

    Both are extremely powerful ways to relate and connect with your audience. It’s about knowing your audience and deciding how best you can provide value for them and you can only do that if you know yourself as well.

    I’ve personally worked in professional media in movies and television and also work with online content. My advice is to know yourself, know your audience and know your goals. The rest will fall into place.

  28. I really appreciate the fact you spurred on a lot of dialogue with your blog. Being a newbie blogger (taking the 31 day challenge to improve my blog) I wish to learn from the successful ones out there.

  29. This is great, Brian. I’ve a client who’s been toying with the idea of video for years. I’m sending him this link right now. Many thanks! P. 🙂

  30. I just saw an example of how NOT to do a video: Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Strategy video “Some of your questions answered…”

    There was important information in the video and it was not supported by an audio or text version – bad news for those who couldn’t download the video.

    This was a day before Jeff’s launch. I, like many others, wanted to get some more info about the product, pricing, plans etc.

    But the first section was a taken up by Jeff going for a walk and talking about how he loves taking his dog for a walk, how beautiful the view is, how he loves taking time out in nature during a launch…and on and on. All of this had zilch to do with matter at hand.

    The filming was amateurish. And Jeff wore a crumpled work-in-the-garden shirt under an op-shop jacket – great for taking the dog for a walk, but not for launching an expensive product. I think cool is good, but careless is stupid.

    This video taught me 5 things:

    #1 Stick to the point at hand
    #2 Make every word count
    #3 Link your background to your topic
    #4 Learn how to produce a video
    #5 Choose your clothes carefully

  31. Hi Mary. I think that Jeff is either buddies with…or copying Frank Kern. Frank does his videos EXACTLY as you described in your comment. The only difference: it’s at the beach instead of the mountains.

    I know it sounds crazy, but they claim to be wildly successful with this approach. [shrugging shoulders]

  32. Hi Deidre!
    Yes, I agree Jeff is copying Frank Kern. But Frank does it so much better! I’m not a great fan of Frank’s, but I’m impressed by his video skills. His videos are well shot and entertaining.

    I don’t know if you saw Frank’s video about desire? It started with Frank ambling along the beach – blond hair blowing in the wind. Then he showed his collection of surfboards. It was all linked to the theme ‘desire’. Frank explained that if you raise people’s desire, they want to buy not just one, but seven surfboards.

    Good point. Memorable video.

    Frank’s videos have inspired me to – no, not to buy his stuff – they’ve inspired me to learn how to film and produce videos!

  33. Great point, Mary! Jeff clearly missed the reason behind Frank walking along the beach and sharing his surfboard collection. Jeff missed the boat thinking that Frank was just “rambling on” not seeing or realizing that those actions had an express purpose.

    Thanks, Mary!!

  34. Yes, Deidre – but I bought Product Launch Formula all the same just a few minutes ago, dud video or not. Why? Because I absolutely loved the way Brian launched Teaching Sells and I trust his judgment when he recommends Product Launch Formula. ( Brian’s giving away Partnering Profits as a bonus when people click on Product Launch Formula from this site – that’s pretty awesome!)

  35. Video is indeed a great way to reach out to more readers or subscribers. But I think Infographics is also great too.

    Infographics on my own definition are graphics that contain information. We see this a lot on billboards or newspapers and magazines. At times, it looks like a collage, only thing is, it is assembled properly in an aim to not only attract and get attention, but to inform as well. This is yet another way to creativity. But then again, who says that videos must compose of real moving people? Why not have it edited? Put a little of you speaking to your subscribers and then catchy clips that helps you expound more what you are saying.

  36. It’s heartening (as a video producer) to read a copywriter’s explanation about how online video can be effective if used well. We often get enquiries from SME’s about producing web videos, and they ask whether we can produce a website video for a couple of hundred dollars – well … no we can’t usually.
    But if you look around online, there are some great information resources available about improving your production quality. @Dan Dashnaw, I notice you have some great tutorials on your blog too.
    If you’re planning on using video on a regular basis as part of your web strategy, why not invest some time in learning more about how to do it yourself? My local adult education college offers a video production techniques course run one night per week over eight weeks for about $300.
    If this isn’t an option because you’re time poor, then play to your own strengths by writing the script or outline yourself, and make an investment in hiring a professional to do the technical stuff – they won’t need nearly as much time if you’ve already planned it well.
    Also – have a look at some real examples of how some people have used online video really well. Some of my favourites are Common Craft’s explanations in Plain English ( which use a stop motion technique.

  37. If you need to be in several places at once talk to your video production resource about setting up a web-based streaming video presentation. Today’s “webinar” software and professional video equipment makes it relatively easy to get right in front of your sales staff, your best customers and your distributors via their computer monitors. You’ll save a bundle on airfare and lost time traveling from one location to the next. Even more bang for the buck – if this is a presentation that you’ll want to share down the road, have it recorded for replay on the Internet and for distribution via CD and/or DVD.

  38. Brian,

    Great advice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve “watched” videos that tell and don’t show, or where the audio and visual elements are redundant, and I end up just reading something else with that in the background.

    One thing I think people should consider more, and which you do address here, is that editing happens both before and after you shoot the video. You have to figure out what to say beforehand, but you also have a second chance to tweak your message and medium afterward.

    Because of the three different levels of work you’re putting into it (prep, shooting, editing), you should have something that’s working on three different levels to get your message across: through the story and ideas, the visuals and presentation, and the editing/juxtapositions. It may sound like a lot, but it all works in your favor.

  39. People love the interaction that videos provide for them. Let’s face it, people are lazy and things that are fun and interactive are more popular than just bog standard text and images. Text on a site is by far the most effective way of informing users but it is getting people to read this. Video give people the relevant information but in lazy way that makes for fantastic results.

  40. How about that!
    This is allot to take in. You did awesome job Brian.
    Our audience is getting more and more visual not readable fortunately. But it sure helps to reach commercial goal.

  41. Thanks for the explanation Brian, makes perfect sense. I had a bad experience with online video that scares me away from it—even though it was professionally shot. Too much leg showing + too much $$$ to edit the video = me horrified

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