How to make your first video

Simon holding a camera and a microphone asking "which do you need first?"

So much online content these days is video-related (think of the success of TikTok, Instagram and Facebook have their Reels, and of course, the classic YouTube) it’s no wonder that video is a highly effective marketing tool.

So, why does making that first video of you talking feel so hard?

Maybe because while video is a great way to share information, you’re also sharing yourself at the same time. Personal branding is, well, personal. A lot of coaches and consultants I work with tell me that going from ‘never done it before’ to making their first video feels like a huge task.

The kind of task that is easy to put off.

But what if there was a step in between that would make the process feel easier and less scary?

It doesn’t have to be perfect

When you see online videos made by people who are confident on camera and are using a pro setup, it’s easy to feel like you need to match them. The pressure to show up as a pro from day one is huge.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. Often, this pressure is self-imposed.

From my experience, I believe it’s our own limiting beliefs that hold us back. The pressure to speak confidently, with the right framing, lighting and message, combine to make video creation a hurdle that is too high for most people.

The best way to start making videos is not to make a video

The technical side – setup, filming, editing – can seem daunting but it isn’t the hardest part. The hardest part is working out what to say and how to say it. (After all, slick production won’t make up for empty content!)

That’s why I think the easiest way to start making videos is to make a podcast first.

The reason I say this is because a podcast is a chance to practise working out what to say and how to say it well without having to worry about what you look like, getting the lighting right or remembering your lines as you look into the camera.

That removes so much pressure!

Start simple, and practise

Your podcast doesn’t have to be a half-hour-long ramble; it can simply be a short (5-10 minutes) answer to a common question.

By answering questions in this way, you will get used to articulating your ideas without the added pressure of the camera. You can use notes, not use notes, it’s up to you – no one can see you!

The most important thing is that it gets you used to your own voice and the way you talk when you’re explaining. It might feel a bit odd at first, but after a while, you will get used to it.

What’s more, audio editing is a lot easier than video editing; especially using a tool like Descript – it transcribes your audio into a document and you edit the audio by simply editing the document. Simple!

As you practise editing – knowing you can always chop it out later if you stumble or lose your train of thought – you will find that you get better at ‘presenting’. How you articulate your ideas improves and you become more confident.

The more you do, the easier it gets.

But… easy for you to say; you’ve made loads of videos

Yes, that is true. I have been making videos for about five years.

And at first, I hated it. I froze every time I pressed ‘record’. But I persevered, and after only a few videos, I realised that I didn’t have that much to worry about. I could make the end result look pretty good by cutting out all the times I messed up.

But I still muck up. To get a 5-7 minute video, I record for 15-20 minutes. There are a lot of fluffed lines and misreading the script!

The point is, I know these things don’t matter because I can fix them in the editing. I don’t fret about them because I know I’m in control.

Take it in stages

The most important thing for you is that you get your ideas out there. Authentic marketing is your voice articulating your ideas and sharing generously with your audience. The more you show up, the more people will resonate with your ideas and want to find out more.

Video is a great tool for sharing ideas in a personal and engaging way, but the first time is often hard. Doing a podcast makes getting started easier. You build your confidence and get familiar with the writing, recording and editing process. Adding video later is not such a big jump.

Check out my recommended tools guide to find out what tools I recommend for recording and editing your podcast.

If you want to hear me doing what I just described in this blog then you can check out my podcast.