This is a guest contribution from Nathan Agin.
Sometimes you’re just terrified.
It’s not a matter of passion or knowledge—you have written plenty on your blog in the past, and people can’t shut you up once you get started.
But now, you’re face-to-face with the camera, and you just freeze up. Nothing happens. You don’t feel comfortable, you don’t like it, and there’s no “magic.”
You know video can be a powerful tool for your blog, and you want to use it for your about page, opt-ins, and posts.
Video has been shown over and over and over again to convert so much better than static pages—which means more subscribers, more sales, and more money.
For example, here are two versions of my home page. Which one is more engaging?
The first is the opt-in offer with just a static image:
The second is one with a video (and optimized thumbnail):
You’d probably at least *watch* the video, right?
The one with video converts better because it creates a connection with the visitor, piques their interest, and offers a solution.
Unfortunately, being on camera just hasn’t been working for you.
This happens to the best of us—anyone that is “good” on camera started exactly where you are.
Jacob Sokol of Sensophy (above) and Lydia Lee of Screw the Cubicle (below) use video on their home page because it’s such a powerful way to connect and grab the attention of your reader.
I’m sure none of them were perfect when they began, and they probably all had (or continue to have) some kind of fear doing this.
Remember how Gary Vaynerchuck did about 500 episodes of Wine Library TV? He wasn’t as great on the first as the 500th.
Now, it’s totally normal to be scared, to be uncomfortable, and for it to feel weird.
And, we can change that.
How to Be Comfortable on Camera
Today, I’m going to show you how to become more comfortable and sound more professional on camera—even if you’ve never been on video once!
Stick around to the end of the article: I’ve put together a resource to help you immediately start getting rid of your stress on-camera.
Why are we uncomfortable?
To begin, it is totally unnatural to look at and talk to a camera. So, if you’re feeling like it’s weird, that’s because it is.
It’s not the society we live in, and it’s not how we connect.
We are verbal creatures and we connect with other sentient beings: other humans, dogs, cats, birds, whatever.
Why? Because all of those things have their own life going on, and that’s the part that attracts us. Cameras don’t have that life; they are not “alive.”
Where does the fear come from?
What does it mean, anyway, to be afraid of being on camera?
Most likely, there’s a fear of rejection: the fear that you’re going to put something out and people are going to say “no, we don’t want that.”
Whether it’s a rant, your opinion of something, or an offer you have, you are being vulnerable and it’s a scary place to hang out, because there’s uncertainty.
Or, there’s the fear of judgment: the fear that people will call you names, judge your appearance, your message, or your culture.
No one enjoys feeling rejected or being judged; sadly, it’s a bit of a reality online, especially since people can be a bit more anonymous. If everyone were forced to say their comments in person (or at the very least, on video), I believe it’d be a nicer place out there.
Video feels much more personal—because it is. There’s nothing to hide behind. It’s easier to write a blog post because you can hide a bit behind the words—and you can also keep polishing until you get it exactly right.
With video, while you can craft a perfect script, it’s hard to memorize that and sound completely natural, like you’re talking to a friend.
So as I mentioned, there exists this uncertainty about how it will all go, how it will sound, and how it will be received.
Get comfortable and sound like a pro
So, we need to transform our weird relationship with this camera and create a better one.
I have an entire video series on how to relax on camera that you can access at the end of the article, but here are some of the highlights
Yes, it may sound obvious—but it isn’t!
So often, when we get nervous, we forget to breathe and to relax the tension in our bodies.
You can take a few deep breaths before you shoot to calm yourself and to focus your mind; then, when you’re on camera, continue breathing—you can always edit it out later if necessary.
2. See your friend
When you’re talking to the camera lens, imagine that you’re talking to a good friend.
At this point, it doesn’t matter if the friend you’re thinking of actually needs the info you’re sharing; in your mind, you think they do, and so they are the perfect person to listen to what you have to say.
The camera lens = your friend’s eyes. Ultimately, you’ll want to just appreciate and enjoy the camera lens, but imagining your friend’s eyes is the next best thing.
3. Have fun
The more YOU enjoy what you’re doing and talking about, the more the rest of US will enjoy watching it.
It’s a simple equation. Passion IN = Passion OUT. If you don’t infuse what you’re doing with your personality and enthusiasm, then why would we be excited or intrigued watching?
Figure out the angle to take that really lights you up, and film that!
4. Warm up your instrument
Theatre actors do lots of physical and vocal warm-ups before shows for a reason: they need to get their body ready to do the work.
Same thing with you: find ways to stretch out your body and make it loose so that you’re not overcome with tension while filming.
Go through vocal scales to warm up the full register of your voice. Explore the musicality of how you sound. Find your vocal resonance and speak from that place!
5. Trust your voice
You may also be hung up on how you look or sound.
Get over it.
Ira Glass (of This American Life) has said he sounds whiny. We don’t all need to have perfect BBC radio voices or sound like James Earl Jones (aka Darth Vader).
Do you. Plenty of people will respond to you *exactly* because of how you look and sound.
Now it’s your turn
Time to get on camera!
Keep your videos to 1-2 minutes to begin. That’s all you need, and that’s all people have time for.
Building your blog is based on trust and credibility. For someone to enter into a transaction with you (even an opt-in), requires a bit of risk and trust.
You can put visitors at ease, establish credibility, and build trust by creating a video that shows who you are, what you’re doing, and what you have to offer.
For example, here’s the video I created for Videos in One Take:
Trust it completely.
Now, take 15 minutes, plan what you’re going to say, and go shoot your video!
I’m not kidding. That’s all the time you really need. Don’t overthink this. Don’t go crazy. Just get personal, have fun, and let people know how you can help them.
Need more help? Here are a couple bonuses to guide you along.
First, I’ve put together a video series to help you reduce your stress on camera.
Second, one person reading this will get a one-on-one mentoring session with me . I’ll help you personally implement this plan.
To get all of this, enter the the bonus section by signing up here.
Nathan Agin is the founder of Videos in One Take, which helps entrepreneurs become more powerful and captivating in their videos (opt-in, sales, about, blog), leading to more engagement and conversions. Nathan has appeared in feature films, a Super Bowl commercial, and on Jimmy Kimmel Live; he also produced and hosted a TV-quality travel/food pilot. He’s a classically trained actor and has created over 400 YouTube videos; on his Videos in One Take blog, he explains how he does it.