2 Self-Promotional Video Formats That Help You Get Hired for Your Writing Services Fast


Mindy McHorse

This week is all about the power of video messages and the avalanches of opportunities they can bring writers. And yesterday, we talked about what you might want to include in a video script that introduces you to your clients.

Today, we’ll dive into how to convert your message into your very own promotional video.

But first — know that it’s easier than you might think. And if you’re cringing at the idea of putting together a video that stars no one but you, go ahead and heave a sigh of relief. Because there are two formats that work well for short, informative videos. They are:

  1. A talking head video
  2. A narrated presentation-style video

(There are other types of video out there as well, but we’re talking quick-and-easy here.)

I’ve done both talking-head style and narrated videos, and each has its benefits. A video with you on camera makes you more personable, approachable, relatable, and real. A video narrated by you with a presentation-style format is more direct, easier to follow, and works even if someone’s volume is turned off.

Below are the basic requirements for each approach.

To make a talking head video:

  1. Get the right tools. You can make a great video with a basic video recorder — nothing fancy needed. If you have a smartphone that can handle up to five minutes of recording, that’ll work fine most of the time. I also recommend investing in a tiny lapel microphone that plugs into your phone.
  2. Set the stage. This is you on camera, so make sure to look your best. (My husband always knows when I’m getting ready to record a video because it’s the only time I bother with lipstick.) Also, make sure the background where you plan to record is free from clutter and distractions, like photos and signs. Consider closing a closet door and using that as your background.
  3. Use talking points. While it’s smart to write out a script and practice it, you don’t want to read from a script while you’re on camera — it’s too obvious. Instead, post a big sign behind your camera with specific talking points that keep you on track. E.g., “Introduction, background, service list, call-to-action.”
  4. Smile. You don’t have to grin like a Cheshire cat through the whole thing, but aim for a friendly look. I’ve seen far too many freelance writers put up videos that make you wonder if they were fathered by drones. Laugh at a funny joke before you start … have a glass of wine … whatever it takes to not appear robotic.

To make a presentation-style video:

  1. Use the right software. You’ll need a slide show presentation program, plus a way to record narration. Microsoft PowerPoint has an option to record narration, or you can use an external program like Camtasia.
  2. Break your script into bullet points. Don’t put the entire script in your presentation, just the main points you want to make. At the very least, introduce yourself, talk about your writing services and your background, and finish with a call to action.
  3. Talk fast(er). While you don’t want to talk so fast that you’re not clear, you also don’t want to drone along or you might lose the attention of your prospect. A good rule of thumb is to narrate at a slightly faster speed than you would talk — unless you’re one of those people constantly told you talk to fast. In that case, slow down!

One last tip: When you put your video on your website, don’t set it up to play automatically if someone comes to your website. If they’re not ready to listen, you don’t want them muting you or clicking away. Instead, use the “play” sign as your call-to-action that invites them to listen.

By the way, if you don’t yet have a professional website or don’t want your video up there, you can always put it on thumb drives or burn hard DVD copies and send them via snail mail to companies you’d like to freelance for.

Which video format do you prefer for promoting your writing services? Please tell me below.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with more about how to approach clients to land video projects.

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Published: November 12, 2015

10 Responses to “2 Self-Promotional Video Formats That Help You Get Hired for Your Writing Services Fast”

  1. Perfect timing! I'm working on this now and you just answered most of my questions. Thanks for the great tips.

    Which video format do you use or recommend?

    Guest (June Silny)November 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm

  2. Hey Mindy, If I were to do that, and I'm not saying I would because it's a rather intimidating idea, I would go for the talking head video method because it's not as technical, computers and I don't always get along, however, the more I mess with them, the more I learn.

    Kim SmythNovember 12, 2015 at 12:46 pm

  3. GREAT idea Mindy! I'm seriously considering creating a video for my website now. :-)

    Steve CoombesNovember 12, 2015 at 12:53 pm

  4. Adobe Voice is another fun and easy tool to use.

    JenCNovember 12, 2015 at 1:21 pm

  5. I prefer #1. A talking head video.Potential clients get to see with whom they may be doing business

    John CNovember 12, 2015 at 1:47 pm

  6. Initially I would choose presentation-style because that's how I've given briefings before. I think I would also try talking head style at some later point.

    SonnyG10November 12, 2015 at 2:09 pm

  7. Hi Mindy, I took your information yesterday and ran with it. Did a little talking heads video and YouTubed it. Then I realized that my call to action was to visit my web site and realized that wasn't the call to action to place on the web site they were already on.
    Your information today was good! Thanks. I'll re-do it with that in mind.
    Thankfully, Rick

    Guest (Rick)November 12, 2015 at 3:07 pm

  8. Hi Mindy, Rick again. Could you provide a little feedback on the updated talking heads video? https://youtu.be/vbxFjOkf7GY Thanks, your information was truly valuable!
    Rick

    Doc BNovember 12, 2015 at 5:48 pm

  9. Hi, I will prefer a talking head video. this will make you more presentable before the clients. I have done it before and it was impressive. First I crammed the script and then put it to action. Marvellous, you know. I have all the infrastructure of film making - audio booth, camera, editing software and all that. I am now on my way to this. Let the almighty help me in this endeavour and effort.
    Regards Mahesh seelvi

    Guest (Mahesh seelvi)November 13, 2015 at 12:44 am

  10. I think a combination of the "talking head" interspersed with slides that highlight your main points would work best. This gives the prospect more of a feeling of being "with you" in an actual presentation. It also shows that you have the knowledge to integrate the two platforms. It also appeals to more than one learning style.

    Amy BarnettNovember 14, 2015 at 9:28 am


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