5 Video Tips for Small Schools During Coronavirus School Closures

Apr 21, 2020

Hi friend, 

Since so many of you are diving into video (I'm talking to you Heads of School!), I created this video just for you.

We all know that video is the fastest way (beyond in-person!) to connect with people, to truly convey emotion and authenticity. So it's no wonder why it's a necessity now more than ever!

If you're still not producing at least 3-4 videos weekly from staff, faculty, and Heads of School, then you're hurting your chances of 1) building community and connection with your families, and 2) attracting families to you and giving them a taste and feel for what you're like as a school

When you think about it, video is super-duper easy. It all comes down to following a few key tips. 

1. Look at your computer's or phone's camera (it's the dot!)

Look at the dot so that you're actually connecting with your audience. This is such a common mistake (if you look at my early videos, I totally did this!).

Our human nature is to stare at ourselves while talking to the iPhone or computer. BUT we need to actually be looking at the dot that is the camera.

Otherwise, it'll come off looking like we're not actually talking to the people but kind of slightly off to the side (and thus you won't engage your audience!!). 

2. Video Sound Matters! 

If you come across muffled or sound far away or there's background noise, your message will get lost!!!

Set yourself up for success by finding a quiet spot when filming. Then test your audio. If you're soft-spoken by nature, then it's time to channel your alter ego and use a more powerful voice.

Another option is to buy a super cheap mic on Amazon. Or if you're planning to do a lot of video (obviously what I recommend!), then purchase a decent external mic (I use the Yeti). 

3. Video Lighting: Don't be a shadow!

Ahhhhh! One of the biggest mistakes I see is people with their back facing the window. They appear to be shadowy figures. It's so distracting and totally fixable. 

First, remember that good lighting is key. Your message is worthless if people can't see you!!!

If you're planning to do a lot of video, especially inside, then I suggest investing in a Ring Light.

However, you can actually get decent lighting for free. Outdoor lighting is the absolute best. But if you're outside and you don't have an external mic then sound may be an issue. 

The second best option is to set up your computer or phone in front of a window - so that you're facing the window!

You want that natural light flowing onto you. Trust me, not only will you be seen but you'll actually look much better (and who doesn't want that!).

4. Bullet Points for Video (Don't Read!!!)

It's important to write down your thoughts before you make a video. Brainstorm ideas and write down which points you want to get across in the video. 

Then - and this is key - write down bullet points that you want to hit. Not whole sentences, just a word or two to remind your brain what you want to cover next. 

A big mistake I see people make is literally writing down a novel and then either speaking from it or referring to it every three seconds. That is not a good idea! It's distracting for the viewer and you instantly lose connection. 

You want your video to come across as authentic and heartfelt - like you just popped on to chat. You're not giving the State of the Union, you're trying to engage and connect with your families and prospective students!!

5. Create a Video Set 

Take a look at your space. Where can you set up in front of a window that shows a nice background?

Here's a mistake I see people doing. They start their videos without giving a second thought to what viewers see behind them. 

I've seen people walk in backgrounds of video, messy workspaces, inappropriate posters on the wall...I've seen it all and it's not good. 

So, look at what's showing up in your background. I recommend a pretty clear background (no paperwork!) with some colorful pops of color in the form of art or display shelves. 

In addition, I suggest filming in a closed-door area that is out of the main household traffic. This reduces the likelihood that someone will walk behind you or interrupt your video. 

Bonus Video Tip #1: Bring Energy to Video

A video professional once told me something that really resonated with me. She said that video is a medium that sucks up energy. That means you have to bring more energy than you normally would in order to convey your message and connect with your audience. 

So, just talking without gestures, without laughter or smiling, without excitement (when applicable) means that your video will come across flat. It won't entice viewers to watch.

That means you really need to bring your energy every time you shoot. 

Bonus Video Tip #2: End-Result Driven Video

Your message and the purpose behind it are important. So remember to keep the goal of your video in mind as you're filming.

For example, if you're trying to reassure families that you're here for them, you'd want to smile and speak from the heart.

If you're doing a fun activity to give them something to do with the kids, your attitude should be lighthearted and fun with laughter and gestures. 

Check out this video for more tips to help your school with video!

I hope this helps! I'm here to serve during this time and beyond.

Let's connect via Linkedin.


Aubrey Bursch, Founder, Easy School Marketing

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