Can a video channel help expand a reader base?
Published: October 26, 2010
Writers may overlook a valuable asset for expanding their reader base—creating a video channel. There’s no reason to worry about content. Creating your own video to populate your channel has never been easier and it’s never been more budget friendly.
Kay B. Day
Video camera prices are lower than ever. I recently purchased a Flip camera for approximately $140 and that included a bag. The camera is small enough to fit in my pocket. I used my daughter as a guinea pig by filming part of one of her musical performances. I realized just how user-friendly this new camera was compared to the camera we bought several years ago for approximately $1,000. I couldn’t use that more sophisticated equipment—every time I wanted to film something, I had to grab the thick user manual and figure it out.
There are a number of companies that manufacture these small cameras and the price ranges vary.
But the one I purchased is basically a point-and-shoot model. The trick is to get the subject in a proper frame and hold the camera very steady. It was necessary to move around a bit in order to find the right spot for good lighting. I managed to do that despite the fact my daughter was performing on an outside covered deck during a storm that featured cloud to ground lightning and buckets of rain. I filmed several of her songs in separate files so I could use the video that wasn’t dominated by the sounds coming from the sky.
Once filming was done, we created a YouTube channel and uploaded the video. It took 10-15 minutes to do that. You can also use your web cam to create videos for upload to sites like YouTube.
YouTube permits you to personalize your page and to set preferences to automatically share your videos on popular social media like Facebook.
Naturally my experience gave me ideas. I plan to create my own channel and do a series of interviews with people my readers are interested in. I can decide whether to permit people to share those videos and then I will create a marketing plan to broaden interest in my new content.
The small camera will also come in handy for backgrounders. I prefer interviewing subjects in person, although that isn’t always possible in today’s busy world. But interviews on film are far superior to audio files. With film I have the advantage of being able to refer to facial expressions, body language and items of interest in the subject’s immediate environment.
Years ago when I tried to adapt my skills to the camcorder, I became frustrated. I abandoned using it for work because it was too time-consuming. It was also too heavy to carry to events. I cover a lot of events live and that necessitates having a digital camera in my pocket as well as a tape recorder. That’s in addition to carrying my notebook. Now when I go I also have a camcorder in my pocket and it doesn’t feel as heavy as a brick.
Once you have your video channel set up, you’ll want to focus on growing your subscriber base. As you do that, you can begin to build a list of interested readers and when you have updates you can let them know.
If you’re a writer searching for book signing opportunities, a brief video is one of the best marketing tools you can send to groups and facilities that may host your signing. If you have a video channel, all you have to do is send them the URL or include it in your press kit.
The new user friendly camcorders aren’t meant for experts whose work revolves around video as art. Such experts would naturally move to more elaborate equipment where lighting, sound and other elements can be manipulated.
But for the writer in search of another method for expanding her brand, the new budget and user friendly video cameras can help you populate your own video channel and hopefully, grow your readership.
Who knows? You just might find yourself in a breaking news situation where you’re the only one with a video cam. If that happens, you’ll have a product you can sell to news outlets. It’s never been easier to create and share videos, and as writers, we can take advantage of all the options other art disciplines offer to help us send our words out into the world.
• Tips for making your video
From SciVee, a commercial provider of media solutions for scientific, medical and tech market; tips are applicable to all markets and are very easy to comprehend.
• Photos give you an edge when selling your work on the Web
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Next time: Is it possible to defy Google’s famous algorithm and game the search engines? If you’ve never heard of the group that elevated an obscure British pop singer to a subject of interest drawing more than 25 million views, check out our next Web Savvy for an analysis of Web pranks. What can writers learn from the pranksters?
Florida journalist Kay B. Day has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. The author of two books, she has written for
The Christian Science Monitor, United Press International,
The Florida Times-Union and Sky News. To learn more about Kay Day, see www.kayday.com. To read Kay's other Web Savvy columns about writing for the Web, click here.