Amanda Horvath is a video marketer who helps entrepreneurs and creators leverage the power of video through her YouTube channel and in-depth video courses. We recently sat down with Horvath to get her thoughts on what video content can do for businesses, what different types of videos accomplish, and how to get started making your own videos with minimal fuss.
Read on to learn more from Horvath about these key points:
- Video content helps people get to know, like, and trust you faster than any other form of marketing.
- Video content falls into three main categories: website content, paid traffic, and organic social—and they each serve a different purpose.
- Making videos doesn’t have to be complicated and stressful, but you do have to be committed to investing time into learning a new skill.
- Invest in simple, affordable gear first, then upgrade as needed.
- Start with simple one-minute, one-take videos and “shoot for the edit” to minimize post-production work.
Being on camera is a skill, just like anything else. You’re going to start bad at it, but the more you do it, the better you’re going to get.
How can video content help entrepreneurs grow their business?
Video builds the “know, like, and trust” factor faster than any other form of marketing. With every other form of marketing, you have to overthink everything: your copy, the messaging—all of it. But, the cool thing about video is that it’s you on camera, and you can’t mess that up. So, as scary as that can be at first—and it can be really intimidating to get started—it’s actually a really freeing experience when you recognize that.
It’s like in-person sales, to a certain extent. People are seeing you. They’re picking up on your energy. They’re literally gazing into your soul through your eyes. They’re seeing where your heart’s at. I think the big selling point of video is building that “know, like and trust” factor way faster than any other form of marketing in a way that’s actually easier, believe it or not, than the other forms.
What does the “know, like, and trust” factor mean to you?
People are going to form an initial viewpoint of you, and at first they’re just aware of you. And then, when you start talking about something, they’re going to be like, “Oh, this person actually knows what they’re talking about.” It forms comradery between you and that person. It might be something as simple as the way that you’re talking or the way that you talk with your hands. It could be something that’s not necessarily what you’re saying, but something that they’re picking up from you that makes them like you.
The trust comes in when they hear something that you say that causes a breakthrough for them—an “aha” moment to be able to solve a problem that they have, overcome an obstacle, or anything like that. Now, they’re not only aware of who you are and like your energy, but they actually trust the things that you’re saying. And that will boost your engagement, your sales, your customer retention and all that kind of stuff. It’s one of the foundational pieces of marketing.
What would you say to people who are intimidated by making videos?
I started out incredibly awkward on camera and had to overcome it. Being on camera triggers the same physiological responses as a lion running after you because, as humans, we’re programmed by survival mechanisms. We don’t want to be seen, because if you’re seen, then you’re vulnerable to attack. So, when you’re sitting in front of a camera, it triggers this physiological response, like a fight or flight kind of thing.
So it’s really just a matter of recognizing that. A lot of people try to push it down; they try to suppress it. But it’s like, “Okay, let me feel this, and let me push through it.” When you actually feel the energy of it, it will transform into something else. But if you suppress it, then it’s going to stay there.
So that would be the first thing: just understanding why you’re feeling nervous on camera. Number two would be recognizing that it’s a skill, just like anything else. You’re going to start bad at it, but the more you do it, the better you’re going to get.
“Shooting for the edit” helps so much. Shoot a one-take, one-minute video, and editing will be easy.
Do some people jump into making videos before realizing there’s more to it than they thought?
A lot of people do that. That’s one of the number one things I hear: “I was ignorant to think that this would be easy.” I think a lot of people beat themselves up for how long it takes to edit videos. And it’s just recognizing that you need to give it the proper amount of time. That’s why most people think video is expensive.
My whole tagline is “How to create videos without breaking the bank or taking up tons of your time,” because those are the two massive things that people face. Someone has to put in the time, whether it’s you as the business owner, an outsourcer, or a professional. So the time that you’re going to spend on it is going to be a balance with the amount of money you have to spend.
What different types of videos are there, and what can they accomplish for someone’s business?
I like to break it down into three different buckets of content. First, there’s website content, and the goal of that is to educate people on what you offer. That might be brand videos, testimonials, or frequently asked questions.
Then there’s paid traffic, which is when you’re actually trying to make a sale or capture an email. Those are usually quick, 30-second videos, like those Instagram ads you see all the time as you’re scrolling through the feed. Surprisingly, iPhone video does really, really well in that world. Sometimes even better than a highly produced video. And then, there’s organic social media. If you’re doing Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook, it’s going to be better if they’re one minute or less for the feed. And there’s a certain type of video, like the Gary Vee-type videos, that have the title at the top and the captions at the bottom, with a progress bar going across.
If you’re a business owner, I actually think that this is the best place to start, because they’re really simple. There’s also long-form how-to content within that organic mode, as well—these are like YouTube videos, for example, or something that might go on a blog.
So, you look at it as different stages of the funnel?
Each type of content has different goals. If you’re looking to clarify your offer, you’re going to focus on the website content. And then the middle is paid traffic, and that’s to make a sale. And then the last one is organic, which is to build rapport.
So, as a business, you might end up having all of them. It just depends on where your biggest need is. If someone’s just getting started and they don’t even know what they’re going to sell, or they’re just launching a personal brand, then it’s great to start with the organic side. But if you’re a business and your website sucks and people don’t even know what you do, then you’d better start with clarifying your offer.
When it comes to making videos, where do you even start?
Before you even get technical, it’s really important to recognize that as a business owner, creating videos is a skill just like creating a website. So it’s good to learn the foundational principles of how to create a video, even if it’s just on your phone. You have to be okay with the learning process, and maybe even create a video before you’re like, “I need a video tomorrow. ” That’s how everyone does it, and then they stress themselves out because they’re in the mindset of, “This doesn’t look good and now people are going to be judging me.”
So, first and foremost, give yourself the space to learn the craft of video. That would be my first tip. If this is something that you’re genuinely serious about, and you’re going to be incorporating it into your brand, consider adding a weekly time block to learn that skill.
Then, I would say it’s a matter of having the right gear. Having the right gear is really essential, and it can be as simple as upgrading your phone. Phones are amazing these days. And if your phone is over two or three years old, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Especially with that iPhone 12 Pro that just came out. It’s epic. Getting a really affordable microphone is my next step. I have ones that I recommend that are like $30. And then, get in front of a light. So those are the key elements: your phone, your microphone and your lighting.
Getting comfortable in front of the camera is another step that you need to do. I would really recommend starting with those Gary Vee-type videos; short-form, one-minute videos that you can do in one take.
How do you decide how much to invest in gear?
In a way, I think it’s less about money and more about the complication that higher-quality gear is going to have. When you buy a camera, it’s naturally going to be more complicated than your iPhone because you now have to set up the camera itself, in addition to the microphone, the set, the framing and the lighting.
I actually think that it’s better to start with the least amount of gear and then upgrade over time when you hit the limitations of it. If you have a basic understanding of video, then I think getting a camera is awesome. Do it. It will make your footage look a lot better. But it just depends. And the iPhone works really well!
Post-production and editing can be the most challenging part of the process. What are your thoughts on that?
People get complicated with editing because they shoot something that’s complicated to edit. Knowing that you can shoot for the edit to make it easier is going to help you so much. Shoot a one-take, one-minute video and your editing is going to be easy.
If you want to shoot a story, then you shoot it sequentially, and all you have to do is drag all of your clips into the timeline and just shorten each clip a little bit. That makes editing a lot easier than saying, “I want to shoot a Dollar Shave Club commercial and have it be this epic thing.” And then you get into editing and you don’t know what you’re doing, and now you’re stressing yourself out.
Descript really does solve that problem. It’s not a complicated editing tool. If you’re doing something that is sequential like that, then it will work really, really well. Interestingly enough, that’s the best thing to edit in Descript.
Let’s say you’re editing a testimonial from a client. They’ll stop, they’ll think, then they’ll continue the conversation. Then they’ll put in a couple of filler words in there. With Descript, you can cut out all those filler words. You can cut out the gaps of them thinking. And, even though you’re seeing the cuts on the screen, the audio is seamless. Audio is almost more important than the video, in some cases.
You’ve been doing this for a while now. What are some things you’ve learned along the way that can help entrepreneurs who want to start making videos?
The number one thing is consistency. I came from a video marketing background and I worked with tons of different clients, creating all these epic videos. But, no matter how epic your video is, if you’re only releasing one video every six months, it’s not going to do anything for your brand. It will give you a little boost, but it’s not going to do much.
But, if you get consistent with producing weekly video content, that “know, like, and trust” factor is going to be so much higher. And each video doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s the collection of all of the videos that builds that “know, like, and trust,” not just one video. If you’re releasing only one video every six months, the expectation for that one video is so much higher than if you’re releasing one video a week.