That’s right: free!
I’d like to show you can start building your online video presence today, even if you haven’t had any previous video experience!
What do you need to get started?
You probably already have what you need to get started. You need:
- A Twitter username and password. The solution I’m recommending, Screenr.com, is based on your Twitter.com username and password. Screenr will automatically notify twitter each time you publish a video. After that, you can manually ReTweet your video on your blog and website. You can also embed the HTML code for the video.
- Microphone. You’ll also need a microphone, or headset, connected to your computer. Headsets are better because they free your hands to advance the visuals. If you already use Skype, you’re all set.
- Presentation software. I recommend using a presentation program like PowerPoint as the foundation of your initial videos. PowerPoint makes it easy to plan, illustrate, deliver your videos, pacing the delivery of your message.
You can, of course, use MindManager mind maps, or a desktop publishing to illustrate your points as you describe them.
What is Screenr?
Screenr.com is a web-based recorder integrated with a hosting platform and close ties with Twitter.com.
Screenr eliminates the need to:
- Buy, download, and install new software
- Learn new software
- Choose a hosting platform
- Upload files after recording
- Manually create links to each video
Screenr is part of the Articulate Group, an established e-learning firm. Articulate publishes leading e-learning software. You may already be familiar with their Rapid E-learning Blog and their Articulate Word-of-mouth Blog.
What can you do with it?
As I see it, the most important tasks Screenr helps authors do for free is:
- Build anticipation for your book as you write it, walking readers through your book’s table of contents as you discuss your goals
- Preview the front and back covers of your book as soon as they are finalized, showing different options and discussing why you made the decisions you did.
- Prepare for your book launch by sharing the details of your book launch with your marketing partners
- Walk readers through each chapter, describing the goals of each chapter as well as previewing the illustrations and reader engagement tools, like exercises and questions, to help readers put your ideas to work
The number of ways you can use Screenr to promote your book is only limited by your imagination. You can also use Screenr to share audio and video testimonials from experts and readers. You can share new information as it becomes available. And, you can drive readers to your website and build your e-mail list by showing the bonus materials you offer to readers who register.
How do you use Screenr?
Start by visiting screenr.com and watching their 1-minute video. Then, register using your Twitter.com username and password. Screenr will verify and remember your Twitter information.
To begin your first recording, press the Record Your Screen Cast Now button. This takes you to the Screenr record screen, where you’ll be prompted to resize your screen to highlight just the portion of the screen you want to record. In my case, I set the recording screen to the size of my PowerPoint presentation, as shown in the picture.
When you’re ready, press the red Record button. When you’re finished, press the green Done button.
Screenr then takes you to the Publish Your Screencast page, where you can:
- Preview your screencast
- Describe your screencast in 117 characters, or less
- Tweet! your screencast and add it to the screencasts displayed on Screenr
- Delete your screencast, so you can start all over
What’s the most important thing to remember?
If you’re new to video, the biggest surprise you’re likely to experience is how quickly 3 or 4 minutes go by! Because time flies when creating a short- -i.e., 5-minute, or less- -video, you have to limit the number of ideas and points in your videos and you must limit the number of words used to address each point.
- Step 1. Use PowerPoint to create a structure. Begin each video by creating a short PowerPoint presentations, like the one shown here, to storyboard, or organize, your ideas and provide a pacing tool for narrating each slide.
- Step 2. Prepare a “script” for each presentation. Use your favorite word processing program to select the words to accompany each of the PowerPoint slides. The script is not for you to read word-for word during your video, but simply to drill the main ideas into your brain and guide your discussion of each point.
- Step 3. Record, preview, delete, and re-record. Don’t expect to get it right the first time. You’ll probably require multiple takes to get it right, but, that’s OK. (That’s what Screenr’s delete button is for!) Do it again and again, each time eliminating a few ideas or unnecessary words, or replacing long words with short words. Pay attention to the elapsed time indicator as you record, if you find yourself spending too much time on a slide, do some editing!
Like so many of the other skills needed during your Author’s Journey, video success is a matter of doing it over and over again until it’s right. As you work, your comfort with this new medium will quickly advance.
My first video, for example, took me about five hours to prepare. My second video, however, took less than 3 hours! Most important, the more I work with Screenr, the less time I need. I need less and less time because I’m becoming better able to judge the number of words needed to accompany each slide.
Have you been putting off video until you “have the time?”
If you have, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to build your personal brand and sell more books. Screenr is not the only option, of course, and- -at some point- -you may select a more powerful video platform. But, right now, it offers you an easy way to get started creating an online video platform and building anticipation for your book without spending any money. Share your experiences with Screenr, or any other online video solution. Share your experiences and lessons-learned with other Active Garage readers as comments, below.
Visit my Active Garage Resource Center, where you can download the script I created for my second video, plus additional worksheets for previous Author Journey topicsRoger C. Parker helps others write books that build brands. He’s written over 30 books, offers do-it-yourself resources at Published & Profitable, and shares writing tips each weekday. His latest book is Title Tweet! 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Article, Book, and Event Titles