Have you ever had a message you wanted to share about your business on video, so you just start talking on camera and by the time you press stop somehow eight minutes have passed? If you don’t have a proper structure for the message you want to share, it’s really easy to get sidetracked. Rather than spend even more time circling back while recording or having to do 17 retakes, you can save yourself some time and effort by using this standard method of structuring your video blog that will keep your message more concise:
- The Hook
The hook is the initial 5-10 seconds of your video that really engages someone. There are essentially 3 types of hooks you can leverage. The first is a question, which is the technique I used at the beginning of this post: “Have you ever…” The purpose of a question is to pique curiosity and get your viewer to say, in the case of this post, “Yes, yes I have had trouble staying on track in my video blogs.” That’s going to get them engaged, on your side, and wanting to learn more.
The second type of hook is a story, but stories and questions are not mutually exclusive. For instance, you can use a question at the end of your story to ask “Has that ever happened to you?” or “Have you ever had that issue?” and you’ll likely get better engagement. A personal story works best because it makes you more relatable to the person that you’re educating.
The third hook is some type of attention-grabbing statement. An example for this post might be, “If you’re not structuring your video blogs properly, your video’s going to suck.” While I don’t necessarily agree with that language, it’s still the kind of shocking or polarizing statement that gets someone hooked and wanting to learn more.
- The Opening
After you’ve established the hook, you transition into the opening. There’s an old saying that goes “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them,” and that’s true here. You don’t have to follow that formula exactly, but you want to give your audience a little bit of context around what the main takeaway is from your video. It’s what you’re promising to give them by the end.
- Key Points
Once you’ve established the opening, you go into the key points of your video blog. This is usually where people get off track. They have a solid opening, but when they get to the meat of their topic, they ramble on in unrelated directions. The trick is to have three to five key points, each one usually one to five words in length, that you use to keep yourself on track while speaking.
Whiteboard style videos make this super easy since your key points are written out on the board next to you. But if you’re shooting with just your phone or if your video is a sit-down or walk and talk, there are other ways to keep your key points handy.
You can put a small whiteboard or piece of paper behind the camera that you use almost like a teleprompter, or if you’re shooting close to your face, you can have a little sticky note just out of frame that lists out your key points. People won’t even notice when you’re glancing down to look at your sticky note, they’ll just think you’re deep in thought, pondering your next nugget of wisdom to share with them.
- The Takeaway
The next step is the recap or takeaway. This is simply summarizing what you talked about. You’re essentially putting all your key points in a pretty little box with a bow on it and “telling them what you told them.” In this case, the takeaway is that you should structure your video blogs with this five-part structure to add more clarity to your message.
- The Closing
The final step is the closing or “call to action.” For the videos we’ve been producing recently, I always end by saying “Thank you for watching, now put your message in motion.” Using a specific ending phrase is useful because many vloggers will get to the end of their video and then flounder like a fish out of water. They’re not sure how to make that ending statement with confidence that leaves your viewer going “I’m going to implement that” or “I’m so glad I learned that.” The key is to have that phrase planned out in advance so you don’t get off track on the last mile.
At the same time, if you want your viewers to take a specific action after watching your video, your closing is the time to make that call to action. You can do that on camera directly, or, like what happens in a lot of YouTube and Facebook content, you can place an end slate that asks your viewer to check out more videos, subscribe, go to your website, etc.
Whatever that next step is, you always want to have something that allows people to engage with you more. The last thing you want to do is get people excited and motivated, and then have nowhere for them to channel that motivation once your video ends.
Bonus Tip: P.R.E.S. Method
Some of our clients have found it really helpful to implement the P.R.E.S. method, which stands for Point, Reason, Example, Summary.
The point is, of course, the point you’re trying to make. You lay out your point by leading with the hook, getting into the opening, and telling them what they’re going to get out of this piece of content.
Second, the reason is also something you want to establish as part of your opening, and really throughout the entire vlog. Your reason explains why your content matters and what your viewer gets out of it. If you don’t provide the “why” upfront, no one will implement or care about the “how.”
Third is the example. The best example of an example is storytelling. Your story can come from something you’ve done yourself, something you’ve worked on with someone, a successful case study, or someone else that has previous experience with whatever you’re talking about. Stories help to make your example personal. The human brain is just naturally wired to think in terms of stories, so telling one will make your content more meaningful and digestible to your audience.
Finally, the summary is the recap or takeaway as well as the closing. It puts that nice little bow on the end of your video.
So, to recap, it’s really important to have a structure for your video blogs in order to have a clear message and keep your videos short and to the point. With that said, you know what’s coming next: now, put your message in motion.
Looking for more vlogging tips and tricks? Check out our blog for helpful content on camera shyness, video ideas, and more!Check it out >>