Business professionals are often surprised to hear a little known fact--YouTube viewers spend ten times the amount of time watching educational content than they do watching pet and animal videos. According to the company's Head of Culture and Trends, Kevin Allocca, if you have ideas to share or helpful advice to offer, YouTube is one of the most powerful tools you might be overlooking.
"Learning-related content is far more popular than people realize," Allocca writes in his new book, Videocracy. It sure is. Learning and educational content drives over a billion views a day on YouTube, according to CEO Susan Wojcicki. With those kind of numbers, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders should be making YouTube a key part of their social media mix. But like any platform, some people do it better than others.
As a media training and communication advisor for top CEO's who appear on television, I can offer five tips that will make you and your YouTube videos stand out.
1. Lose the Script
Nothing gets in the way of authenticity faster than a person reading from a prepared text or sounding they like they've memorized a script word for word. When you try to recall every word, your deliver slows and becomes more stilted and robotic. Social media rewards speakers who appear natural, conversational and personable. Here's a tip: memorize your opening your line and your last line. Internalize the rest without committing every word to memory.
2. Keep an Open Posture
A stilted performance means there's very little movement. For example, hands are kept tightly to one's side or arms are crossed in front of your body. Loosen up--literally. Don't be afraid to use your hands, especially if you're animated in natural conversations. Don't "block" your body. Keep your arms open and palms turned up as much as possible. An open posture shows confidence and comfort.
3. Dress the Part and Wear it Well
A highly compensated speaker and author once told me he always wears expensive suits or custom-tailored shirts for his YouTube videos. "Nobody's going to pay me $75,000 for a speech if I'm wearing a hoodie. Only Mark Zuckerberg can get away with it." It's good advice. Look the part. If your ideas are targeted to high net-worth individuals, look like someone who has a high net worth. Regardless of your wardrobe, wear clean, high-quality clothes. Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran once said she didn't choose to invest in chef who appeared on the show because his apron was dirty. She thought, Where else does he cut corners? Like it or not, your viewers do make snap judgments about you by the clothes you wear.
4. Invest in Great Sound
Gone are the days when an entrepreneur can point a smartphone at themselves, post a video, and attract a substantial following. Kevin Allocca agrees that the quality of video production is increasing on YouTube. While you don't need to hire an expensive production company, at the very least invest in high quality sound. A lapel microphone costs as little at $15, but you'll get what you pay for. Paying $130 for a basic Rode shotgun microphone will pay off in significantly better audio. Adding a "dead cat" wind sock for another 30 bucks will also enhance the sound quality, especially outdoors.
5. Smile and Have Fun
I meet many leaders who are fun, spirited people off-camera, but look like boring stiffs the minute the record light goes on. Smile, laugh and have fun. Moods are contagious.
Jenny Doan has a lot to smile about. She's a classic example of an entrepreneur using YouTube to discover a wider audience. When Jenny opened the Missouri Star Quilt Company, business was slow for about a year. Jenny's kids suggested that she post video tutorials on YouTube. Today her videos have generated more than 70 million views and have turned the small town of Hamilton, Missouri, into a mecca of sorts for quilters. The company now employees 180 people and fifteen buildings in the small town have been remodeled to supply the thousands of packages the company ships daily.
Spend some time on Jenny's YouTube channel. You'll note that she's personable, authentic, friendly, energetic, conversational, and professional. She smiles, has fun, clearly enjoys sharing your knowledge...and uses good sound equipment.
Entrepreneurs and thought-leaders are living in an age when they express themselves and reach a mass audience in an instant. Give you viewers a reason to tune in by fulfilling their desire to learn something new. Make your personality stand out and they'll come back again.