Video Marketing Tips
Video Marketing Tips
with James Cooper
Get video marketing tips for your consulting business 👇
Video marketing is hot, but some consultants are still reticent to get on video. It’s an amazing way for consultants to demonstrate expertise and attract clients, but it’s daunting. What kinds of videos should you make? Don’t you have to do cheesy dances? What tech do you need to get started?
Finally start making the video content you need to grow your consulting business (or learn how to step up your video marketing game) in this episode of Profitable Joyful Consulting with video expert, James Cooper.
Key areas discussed in this episode
- 0:00 Introduction to video marketing
- 3:17 How James helped a consultant in health and wellness use video content to go from a good mid-six figure business to seven figures within a year
- 5:45 The three big quicksand challenges consultants often have with using video
- 7:33 Where to start with making video content for your audience
- 8:30 Why it’s absolutely the right time for consultants to get started with video
- 12:05 How to move through the high bar of being camera-ready as a woman
- 15:37 My big tip for women who are creating video
- 16:51 Following when you feel creative and inspired
- 19:05 Microcontent and its purpose for your business
- 29:01 James’ top three tips to help you perform better on camera
- 37:12 Giving big energy while remaining authentic
- 43:22 Connecting to the movement you’re creating
- 45:26 The best inexpensive camera to use (that you probably already have)
- 47:33 The best microphone under $500
- 50:08 Why James recommends lavalier mics
- 51:33 The best, easy, inexpensive lighting for video
Today on the Profitable Joyful Consulting Podcast, we are talking about video marketing tips. It’s important that you do video even if you haven’t ever done it before. You’re still not too late because everyday that goes by video gets more and more important to the role of marketing in your business. Bring those consulting clients to you, already knowing, liking and trusting you. So in this special interview with James Cooper we’re going to cover the case for video, microcontent and why it’s so important, and finally, James will be sharing performance and production tips that are going to help you look and feel your best. Take a look.
James Cooper is a filmmaker and storytelling coach. Growing up in Hollywood, CA., he’s been in the entertainment industry since he was 5 years old. He currently has a program called Powerful Video, helping business owners get clients with video and strategic storytelling.
Samantha Hartley James Cooper, thank you so much for being with me today.
James Cooper My pleasure. Excited to be here.
Samantha Hartley So fun fact my episode on video marketing is hot. That was the name of it. It is one of the top ten most downloaded of my shows on both YouTube and on all the platforms. So video marketing is hot, and that’s exactly why I wanted to have you back, because in the background, you and I are constantly talking about video. You’ve done a special session for my mastermind group, the Profitable Joyful Consulting Path to $2 Million. I just wanted to really bring you on to share more tips with my audience because you know all the things.
James Cooper Thank you. Well, excited to be here. Yeah and anything I can do to help, I would love it.
Samantha Hartley So the main things that I wanted to talk about today, there were three of them. So the first one is there are some people, some consultants who are still reticent to get on video, even though it’s hot, right? It’s an amazing way for consultants to demonstrate expertise and attract clients, but they’re still reticent.
The second thing is, you have been doing tons of microcontent, and that’s your term that I learned from you, which is a generic term for reel stories, shorts, all of these short form content pieces that people are making. And I definitely want to talk about why we should be doing them. Because if you’re a consultant, you might feel like it’s not really for me. I’m not really doing TikTok and that kind of thing. So I definitely want to hit that.
Then the third thing I want to talk about with you is general production tips and performance tips because you used to be a director, and I know that you know how to help people be more natural on film and bring out the best of themselves. So that’s the three areas that I want to cover today. But I want to start with, would you share a story of a client that you’ve helped who started out maybe unsure or maybe not so good, and then how you helped them and what happened as a result of that?
James Cooper Yeah, great question. So I’ve had the fortune to work with over a hundred people now in terms of individual businesses and clients. So there are a few that definitely stand out. I’ve worked with people who have brick and mortar businesses who want to get more traffic in the door. And I’ve worked with a lot of people who have online businesses and consultants. And I think that primarily is the clientele that I work with, people who either are consultants, they have a digital online product, they teach you like you do with your consulting and your programs. That’s primarily the audience that I serve.
But I had one client a few years ago who was not doing video–very, very little, if any. Then she started doing lives when lives became the trend to do lives. We started creating a bunch of different videos, just teaching. She was in the health and wellness industry and she had a medical background, so she had some authority there, but she was teaching tips. We started doing some videos and she was doing well. She already had a good mid six-figure business.
But when she started doing video consistently and that’s the key word consistently where she was doing videos that were going out every single week on top of the lives that she was already doing. She went from 6 to 7 figures in less than a year.
She used Facebook as her primary social media platform and she had a Facebook community. I think when she started her Facebook community, her group, it was a free group. She was doing interviews with people’s success stories. Her community was only a few thousand people and it went from doing those videos and putting those videos out consistently, not just for her own tribe, but as marketing videos. Her community grew from about three to 5,000 to 60,000 in less than two years. Just incredible growth.
I have another client that I was working with, Heather who you know from a community that we were in together. She doubled her sales in less than six months just by doing video consistently.
Samantha Hartley What are the specific things that you’re showing them or having them do that makes that incredible difference?
James Cooper The three big quicksand challenges for people who don’t use video are:
- Too time consuming.
- It seems too expensive.
- Don’t know where to start.
I’ve been a filmmaker. I come from a filmmaking background and I’ve entered film competitions where you are only allowed to use your smartphone. So this tool is amazing. You can shoot in the highest quality. You can get great quality sound even if you don’t buy an extra microphone. This takes care of it.
I primarily look at reels and TikToks are the fastest way to generate buzz about your services and your products, and to put yourself in front of new followers. And the videos are only 15 to 30 seconds long. So time is not an issue, because if you can create a video on Instagram or TikTok, you can create a video in minutes and start growing a following.
A great place to start (with video content) is to share what you love, what you’ve learned, and what you’re good at.
Samantha Hartley Definitely, I love that. As you know, when you made a short piece of microcontent in which you gave that advice, and the caption came up, I loved it so much that I screenshotted it on my phone because I was like, that is just so from the heart, that kind of advice. And it made me think, “Oh, I love so many things and I love to share with my people, iit can almost get me over the tech hurdle for short form content.
So before we go into that, I’m so excited about that topic. You’ve already been making the case for it. But if you could in one sentence say to those who are still reticent to get started, what’s your most persuasive argument for Why Now?
James Cooper It’s really why 5 to 10 years ago, to be honest, it used to be a, would be nice. Now it’s not only a should, it’s a must. If you don’t have video, if you’re not using video, you’re lagging behind all the people that are.
Now I brought some stats to show you. Wyzowl is a good authority on marketing statistics, I really love their stuff. They said that landing page videos increased conversions by 80%, meaning that if there is a video on your website, when someone visits it, that video will help determine whether or not they buy the product or service. People love videos that explain what it is that you do, and why they should go with you versus somebody else. If they don’t have that video, then they’re only basing it on price and other factors. So that’s one thing.
We live in a video dominated society and 90% of all traffic on the Internet is video based. It just shows how dominant video is. The biggest reason is that I’ve had the pleasure to work with this company, Google. If you want to get your websites and if you want to get ranked on the most powerful search engine on earth, you need to be using video.
Google owns YouTube and YouTube is the second most popular site on the Internet. So if you want to get ranked if you want to get found, the case is made just right there that you need to be using video so that Google can find you. All those things and more.
Because you are the LinkedIn queen, I pulled a stat from LinkedIn’s internal research that says, LinkedIn users are 20 times more likely to share a video than any other type of post on LinkedIn. So you know it’s not not a would be nice it’s it’s a should it’s a must anymore.
Samantha Hartley What’s amazing about that is, I remember, it seems so recently that everyone was like, “I never watch a video.” I was like, “Oh, I won’t watch anything that doesn’t have kittens or puppies in it.” Or they’d say, “CEOs aren’t going to watch your stupid little video,” “Do you think people in companies are watching your video like all of these ideas?”
Also, for a long time, LinkedIn was specifically suppressing video posts. And now what you’re saying is that’s no longer true. So to me, it’s super, super persuasive.
Now, here’s what I want you to speak to. As a man who has directed women and worked with women clients, the hurdle is so much higher for women to be camera ready. It’s like men judge women, women judge women, we judge ourselves. So help us all to kind of put that in perspective.
James Cooper Yeah, totally. I think that there’s a lot of added pressure for women on camera and being camera ready. How many men do makeup? I would say a very small percentage of men put makeup on before they go on camera. I barely shave.
Hopefully I will have a shower. But I think that there’s the need to present yourself, or there’s the perceived need to present yourself in a way you want to be seen. And it’s not that men don’t care. They just don’t care as much on the visual, as much as they do on the content and the performance that delivery. Women tend to have more pressure to look good. My hair has to look good. My lipstick, whatever. Everything has to be all in place.
I found that and we’ll definitely talk about this with Instagram reels, which is the primary video driver in Instagram, and TikTok which is the fastest growing video platform on Earth. With those two platforms alone, you’re starting to see less and less of the need for women to be made up, or more professional looking.
Now, that may not be the case for LinkedIn that is designed to be more professional. Then you definitely want to play the part for the role that you want to be seen as, especially if you’re looking for a new position, or if you want to be seen as a speaker to work with a company.
The growth of Instagram reels and TikTok is driven by authentic, raw, natural videos that people gravitate towards. They really don’t care how you look. In fact, they connect with you more when your hair’s a mess, when you’re just coming in from the gym and you look the way you look. It’s more real and people connect with real.
Samantha Hartley I really wanted you to say that because I’ve heard you say that before. I think that’s what was very impactful for me when you said that, because I was like, “I’ve noticed that there are videos of someone coming from the gym,” and as a woman I’m like, “Oh, well, what does she look like without makeup and without hair, and just looking like herself?”
I’ve always said women can get so distracted by each other’s appearances and if somebody comments on how I look in a video, I always say, “Did you hear the message as well?” So whether it’s a positive thing and I appreciate all compliments, or a negative thing, I think it’s important for us as women to be like, “Now listen to what she’s saying,” because we can tune into that. So I think that’s really helpful.
My big tip for women who are creating videos is, and you have a daily habit with it, but personally, I’m not camera ready every single day. On the days that I am, I can batch content. So I’ve said to my clients, if you’re camera ready for a client meeting on a Zoom, create content after that meeting. Because first of all, I know you said some genius things on that call, and so you can make a quick video about what you just said. Not with any confidential information, but speak to what the call was about. The theme was this. The points I made were this. You can tell a short case study about that client and then you can certainly do short form content immediately after that call. Then whenever you’re camera ready, make sure before or after that you go ahead and make those videos.
I have a client call with my coaching group on Tuesday and on that day I’m camera ready for shooting my podcast in the afternoon. We’ve made an exception today but I’m ready. So it can be easier than we’re making it.
James Cooper Yeah, I don’t stick to a set schedule personally. When I shoot, I tend to find when I am in a creative flow. That is the opportunity for me to create, create and create and batch my content. So if I think of an idea and there’s other ideas that string along with that, then I’ll go, “Oh, I’ll create another one, oh, I’ll create that one too.” I try to create as much as I can in that one sitting so that it sets me up to win later on. Because there’s going to be days when I wake up and I’m like, “I really don’t want to record today,” and those days happen more often than I would care to say.
The worst thing for a writer or content creator is to stare at that blank screen or look at the journal and nothing’s coming. So rather than try to force it, when you’re feeling inspired and creative, you’re in that flow to just keep going and create as much as you can. That’s what I found works for me.
Samantha Hartley Yeah. Do you have an idea journal or a place where you’re keeping all those ideas?
James Cooper Many of them, yes. I have journals and more journals, I try to keep one in as many rooms as possible. Because I’ll get an idea and I want to write it down.
When I’m in my car, I use my voice memo on my phone. And I do a lot of walking and talking. One of the things that gets me in a creative space is that I live in a neighborhood that has a lot of trees and a lot of trails. I love walking the trails every day. And that’s usually when I get inspired and get ideas. Nature inspires me and I will get lots of content ideas, so I try to capture them right then and there. If I don’t by the time I get home they’re gone. So as soon as I think of an idea, I try to capture it.
Samantha Hartley Yeah, awesome, I do too. But I don’t think I have as much of a routine for it as you do.
So I want to transition into microcontent because of all the things that I thought about that are hot about video right now, microcontent is especially hot. And I know there’s been some controversy about it. You and I had a colleague who said, “If you create short form videos, you’re going to attract clients with a short attention span.” You and I had a different take on that. So would you share a little bit about the purpose of microcontent? It has kind of a unique purpose.
James Cooper I think it does. Well the short attention span, we already have a short attention span. Human beings have short attention spans just by nature. It’s been groomed into us through just our normal daily habits and honestly through television.
We’re in a society where people watch TVs, watch programs on their phones and their iPods and on their computer. I think 2020, 2 years ago, was the first year that more TV shows and movies were streamed on devices then they came through a cable source, cable or satellite source. Streaming has taken over traditional media.
So in streaming you will see ads that pop up. And I worked in the commercial industry for almost ten years and it was short form storytelling. You have to tell a story in 30 seconds to get people interested in buying your product or service. That was the first time that I really connected storytelling with marketing, and then I became hooked, I was obsessed with it.
Even when I was a kid, I was kind of obsessed with commercials. I used to watch the Clio Awards and I would record it on the VCR. When we had VCRs, I used to record the Clio Awards. For those of you don’t know, with the Clio Awards, it’s the Academy Awards for commercials. I used to record the Clio Awards for best dog food commercial, or best truck commercial or whatever. It’s like all these different commercials. I was obsessed with short form storytelling.
If you remember when Vine came on the scene, Vine was a platform. I personally think they quit too early because it’s incredibly successful today.
Samantha Hartley 7 second videos.
James Cooper 7 second videos, which are on Twitter. You had to tell a story in 7 seconds, which was amazing to watch. TikTok kind of took over that space before reels came onto the scene, TikTok took over that space and was telling 15 second videos, and then stories came into play and stories were also telling very short clips of 15 seconds or less. Now of course, you could string clips together, but it was 15 second clips because people just have that short attention span. It needs to be part of a content strategy. It doesn’t need to be the only strategy. There’s so many different ways to reach your audience. For instance, podcasting or doing a blog or doing email marketing. Email marketing is not dead despite what people say, it is not. People still do email marketing very successfully.
But because of our short attention spans reels and TikTok and YouTube shorts had to come into the scene because YouTube was noticing that the amount of market share they were losing to TikTok and reels that they had to create their own microcontent platform.
I consider microcontent to be anything that is less than a minute, 59 seconds. When Instagram first started doing video, it was 59 seconds or less. And then Tik Tok started doing theirs before reels came on scene. But Instagram, if you wanted to upload a video to Instagram, it had to be 59 seconds or less. So we started adopting this short form style of video content.
The most successful reels and Tiktoks are 15 seconds or less. Your goal should be to try to get a 100% watch rate. And even at 30 seconds, you’re looking at trying to get a 70% watch rate, which means people are still not watching the full 30 seconds now.
We live in a society where people need bite-sized bits of content to absorb that add value and inform the viewer on either what they do, or give tips in these little micro nuggets. I have clients that do both longform, which they do for YouTube videos that might be anywhere between 2 minutes to 5 minutes or longer. Then there’s a strategy where you dice up longer form videos and repurpose them into 30 second or 15 second clips.
I was talking with one of my clients yesterday. She made an amazing video called Five Tips for Business, I can’t remember the specificity of those five tips. I said, “That’s 20 reels, there’s at least 20 reels in all the things that you said.” So we broke the entire thing down. Sure enough, we actually came up with 20 different short videos that she can create or use from the video itself into reels.
So the importance of microcontent is that you can create a lot of it. You can create a lot of it because when you’re only talking about 30 seconds, you really only have about four sentences that you can say. So what I encourage people to do is think long form and then record short form.
If you have five tips or three tips, each one of those is going to be its own reel. You create a series and you just basically say there’s a three part series on X, whatever that is. Then at the end of it, you talk about the first tip and then you say, “Follow me for more, or follow me for part two.” And if somebody sees you for the first time and it’s tip number three or tip two of five, what are they going to do? If they get value out of it, then they will go to your profile and look for the other ones. They’re going to follow you.
Then on the last one, whatever the series finale is, you say, “This is just one thing we talk about in our program. If you’d like more information on our program, message me, or click the link in my profile,” or whatever the call to action is for you to start getting them into your sales process. And that is a very successful strategy.
My business has completely transformed when I started doing reels and TikToks because
Instagram reels and Tiktok rewards new creators, so you get an extra boost and extra reach when you first start out. So when you’re creating reels and TikToks, you are placed in front of people who have never seen you before. There are not too many platforms that do that.
If you have a podcast, they have to subscribe to your podcast unless they’re searching for specific titles and they find that title of that episode, or if on YouTube they’re searching for a specific thing so then you happen to come up in the search. With reels and TikToks the algorithm will put your content in front of people who are looking for that content, who have never seen you before. And that gives an incredible bonus to people who are just getting started.
Samantha Hartley It’s amazing. And one of the things that I think and we can be snobby about it, but most people are not going to watch a 30 minute podcast episode, or a 30 minute video. If somebody says, “Well, I’m only making 4 to 5 minute videos.” I’ve seen it on LinkedIn, someone will post a five minute video and I’m like, “Nobody’s going to watch that.”
Unless someone knows, likes and trusts you already, it’s too much of a commitment to watch a five minute video. I know this is ridiculous, but no one is going to watch that. So when we make microcontent of one minute or less, I think even 59 seconds is pushing it. But certainly if you make a 20 second reel, you’re going to get views from people who have no idea who you are but are like, “Oh, this has got to be short because it’s here on YouTube shorts, or I can already see the length of this from the video bar on LinkedIn.” And they know I have 20 seconds and they’ll watch it.
Microcontent brings people into your brand whom you wouldn’t already be bringing in because it’s a lower commitment level. So when my podcast editors do this podcast, we make some videograms that we put on Instagram, and they’re all 59 seconds or less. I’m confident that more people see those snippets than ever see the entire show or even hear the show. So those bring people into your brand in a way that no other kind of content is going to do.
James Cooper It’s true, it will. Yeah, absolutely.
Samantha Hartley So third thing, as a director, I know that when you work with your clients, you’re not just working with them on the tech stuff and the story stuff, but you’re helping them to also be more compelling on camera.
So what are the top three things that you teach your clients to do so that they perform better?
James Cooper When I work with clients, we focus on three things. We focus on your messaging and your story, which really is the foundation of everything that I teach. If you don’t have your message dialed in, it’s going to be really hard to attract the people that you want.
The second piece is obviously the delivery part because if you’re uncomfortable on camera, we’re going to be uncomfortable watching you. We can sense that awkwardness and uncomfortable energy. So you definitely want to be more confident on camera.
So there’s a few things about that. One, for those people who are really afraid of video, and there are many out there that don’t want to be on camera because they just are uncomfortable to the point where they literally lock up and are frozen. They just cannot bring themselves to make a video. The thought of going live makes their stomach churn and it’s important to get down to the thought of what is going on.
We’re getting life coaching here, but it’s important. You have to get the thought out of your head of what’s really going on and get it down onto a piece of paper. By writing down what the thoughts are that you’re having as you are trying to record a video or go live helps you deal with them. As long as they’re just living in your head, it’s going to be stuck in there and you’re never going to be able to move forward.
It’s interesting that there actually is no fear of the camera. In technical terms and psychological terms, there’s no such thing as camera phobia or video phobia. The closest fear that they have come up with is one that’s been around for a while called scopophobia, which is the fear of being seen. I find that fascinating.
The fear of being seen, it’s really related to the fear of judgment and the fear of not being seen the way you want to be seen. You don’t have control over other people’s judgments of you, which honestly, you don’t have control over that anyway. But it has a lot to do with why people have that churning feel of making videos, it is that the fear of being seen in an unflattering way.
The second part of that is, I try to get my clients to always focus out, not in. What I mean by that is that you can’t do both at the same time. You can either serve your audience and put your energy into your content and pour your passion and love for what you’re talking about into the camera, or into the person who’s on the other side watching, or you could be thinking about yourself. So focus out, not in.
Then speak to one rather than trying to picture a huge general audience. I find it really powerful if people put their focus on a singular person that they personally know they can talk to because it’ll change the energy of the way they have their conversation. That could be a parent, your best friend or a sibling.
Samantha Hartley I’d love for it to be a perfect client, a perfect fit that you know and love. Sometimes we put a picture of them on the right behind the camera so you’re reminded of who you’re talking to.
James Cooper I love that. I do the same exact strategy, I have them tape something right below the lens so they can connect with it before they talk.
The third thing is physicality. The majority of uncomfortableness comes from how you’re using your physical body. It’s also what makes for boring presentations–how you’re using your body. If you’re like today we’re going to have a lot of fun and we’re going to talk about some really interesting things, and I really hope that you like it. If you have that kind of energy, it’s not going to make for a very pleasing video and people are going to click away right away.
Now I’m not saying it needs to be a performance. We’re not asking you to be something that you’re not. What I encourage my clients to do and what I coach them on is, what are your best qualities? How would you describe your best qualities? Are you funny, are you playful? Are you very endearing? Are you just relaxed? There are some clients who just have a very relaxed energy about them, whatever that is. We want to dial that up to 11. Bring your best to the camera, whatever that is.
The last tip that I really love is, give yourself a trigger word to get camera ready. In NLP terms, we call this an anchor and it can be a physical anchor. I like having a physical and vocal anchor. My anchor is “Showtime.” When I hear that word: “Showtime,” I can feel my body change because I’ve anchored myself to that word.
For some people, it’s “Yes.” For some people, it’s “Boom.” Whatever their trigger word is, they have a trigger word that they use in practice. By doing it, you will always be able to say or hear that trigger word and it puts you in a specific state so that when you are ready to record, you are camera ready right before that red light turns on.
When you go live, there’s always a 3 2 1 countdown. You have to be ready at three. I know you’ve seen people in lives where they’re like a second into the live like, “Hey, everybody.” In television that’s what they do to get their actors ready. The director says, “Action,” they can’t start action. They start at 3 like newscasters and they’re ready to go. When that one goes, they’re already on. So use that 3 2 1 to get yourself ready, and use that trigger word to get you in that state so that when you start, you start with the energy. You start with your best self forward.
Samantha Hartley James, a lot of times I see YouTube presenters and then definitely in some reels, and I feel like the energy of the people is what I would call clown. It’s so over the top. When I met some of those people in person, I’m like, “Oh, why aren’t you more like this?”
To me, it’s sometimes been a deterrent, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do the things that they’re doing because it’s not me and I also don’t think it’s compelling or interesting or attractive. So what’s the line between 11 and clown? I’m also energetic, like everybody knows I am, I cannot drink caffeine during the day I present because I’ll overwhelm the whole audience and it’s just not right for them. So how do we have a lot of energy without being a clown?
James Cooper Yes, it’s about being big energy while still remaining authentic. We’ve all been excited. We’ve all been inspired. If there’s any emotion that you want your audience to feel that’s why I always say never create without intention. Always have an intention of what it is that you’re creating. Why am I creating this video? Why am I going live? What is the intention?
Usually the intention is what you write in the caption, but also to have the intention that’s unspoken. Like, I want my audience to feel really charged for this. I want them to feel inspired. I want them to feel my sense of fun when it comes to this. If there’s an emotion you want your audience to feel, you have to feel it first.
Again it’s not about performing. It’s about being real and authentic, and finding your comfort zone. The camera does pick up a lot. Whether you’re holding your phone in your recording or whether you’re recording to a webcam or a nicer camera, the camera does pick up a lot. So there is a sense of bringing a little more energy to it. I don’t have any other word for just bringing a little more energy to what it is that you’re saying. Sometimes just that little bit of juice, that little turn it to 11 is all you need.
Just being really passionate about what it is that you’re talking about because passion and energy is infectious. It’s why people love you. I can watch almost anybody. Doesn’t matter what they’re talking about. If they’re really charged and excited about it, I’m excited about it because of them. I watched a video on cryptocurrency, and I really don’t have a lot of interest in cryptocurrency, but this guy was so excited talking about it. So I was like, “Wow, I love watching this guy, I don’t really know what he’s talking about, but I really like his energy.” So that goes a long way.
The energy that you put out there will determine whether or not you make that sale later on because you build that likability. You’re not supposed to be for everybody. You’re supposed to be for the people who you can serve and you should be attracting the people you want to attract in your business. So it’s not about being something for everybody. You aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay. That’s exactly the way it should be. But the people that you are right for, they should see all of you, bring all of you to the table. They should get a sense of who you are.
Who I am on camera is the same person that I am off camera. If you meet me outside of this environment and we’ve had these conversations, I’m much the same person, but I do bring a little more juice to my training and the things that I coach people on because I’m so excited talking about it. My energy just flows that way. So even though I am definitely more of an introvert than an extrovert, and to be honest, I am much more comfortable behind the camera than I am in front of the camera. That’s been even as an actor, I just always have been. It became a necessity for me, for my business to be on camera and make videos. But I much rather making your videos and being behind the camera than in front of it.
For people who are reluctant to start, it’s usually because of a lack of strategy, they don’t have a strategy for feeling confident on camera. They don’t have a strategy for creating content and creating a content plan. They don’t have a strategy for how to put it all together. What I’m here to encourage you is that it really doesn’t take a lot to get started as long as you get started. The thing that’s amazing is that if you have an Android or an iPhone, this is really all you need to get started and start attracting the clients you deserve in your business.
Samantha Hartley I want to emphasize, I think also having that ‘why’ you’re saying a strategy, and the strategy is serving that bigger ‘why’ which you’ve been alluding to this whole time. It’s like, I really want to reach and help my perfect clients. There’s someone out there.
This is what I say when I’m nervous before a speaking engagement, as you were saying, it’s because the focus is on me. So if I can take the focus off of me and put it onto my perfect client and I always say there’s someone out there who’s in pain right now, they’re struggling. Even if they don’t have problems, even if they’re super successful. Successful people are struggling with the gap between where they are and where they want to be. They’re not sure how to get there and that frustrates them. So speak to them, get your message out to them.
I also really appreciate your distinguishing, you’ve used two terms: energy and passion. I feel like when I see people in clown mode, it’s because they dialed up their energy without necessarily having a commensurate amount of passion coming in. If you tell me to dial up my energy, I’m going to be big and probably too much. But if I dial up my passion and what I’m talking about, then people are really going to feel persuaded. I think that’s probably the energy for a lot of us that we want to be in is our passion for helping people, for our topic, for what we learned today. Most of us are on fire about that stuff. So I really appreciate those terms from you today.
James Cooper Totally, because you’re motivated from a real place rather than trying to manufacture emotion. I’m a huge Simon Sinek fan who wrote the book Start With Why, you have to have a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. If the reason is only surface level, I just need to have more energy, if that’s the only intention, then it’s going to come across as clownish and for the wrong reason.
I like to think of it in even bigger terms. I like to think of it like, “What is the movement that you’re creating?” What I encourage my clients to do is dream about and think about how are you going to shape the world with what you do? Shaping the world can be as big as you want it to be. Or it could be just a handful of people. What is the movement that you’re creating?
If you think of your business like a movement, it takes on a totally different energy because then you’re creating a vision. A vision story is one of the most powerful stories you can tell, basically letting people know where you’re headed and why you’re going there, and who’s coming with you because you’re not stopping. This is the mission you’re on. This is the vision you have and who is coming with you? Some people, when they listen to you, share that vision and they want to go along for the ride.
Martin Luther King is probably one of the most famous vision stories we’ve ever had. He came up with I Have a Dream, and he painted the picture of that dream. All a vision story is, is taking the future and bringing it into the present and talking about it as it will be. The people who connect with that vision and believe in that vision, they’re going to join you. Think about your business in terms of a movement, not just a business.
Samantha Hartley Love it! Mine is to free women consultants from toxic corporate cultures so that they can enrich themselves by doing their genius work in the world and therefore have more time freedom and more life freedom, for creating the life that they want. That’s why I’m here in life, doing what I do.
So lightning round, if we can. Best inexpensive camera, if we wanted to get a “real camera.”
James Cooper Your best inexpensive camera is the one that’s in your pocket. This is where you start. I would encourage people to not spend any money if they are just getting started. You do not need to buy anything to get started.
So the best inexpensive camera, there’s a few out there. My focus has changed away from webcams. I wouldn’t use a webcam anymore. They crap out after about a year, even if you got the most fancy Logitech Brio, which everyone was obsessed about, Brio’s only lasts about eighteen months, and you will noticeably see the quality completely start to go downhill. So that means you have to buy a new one every year and a half and it’s like a $400 or $300 thing.
It’s much better to invest in a sub thousand dollar DSLR and you can purchase something like this called a camlink, which is a device that connects the DSLR to your computer. The benefit of having a DSLR is that you can adjust the lens for the size of your room and the look that you want. There’s two cameras that I really like. The Canon M50 is a great camera and the Panasonic LUMIX G7 is a great camera. Those are both under $1,000, I think they’re about $500 or $600, and it comes with the lens as well. So those are two.
Then if there’s one other brand that I would include, the Sony Z V1 is another great camera. If you are in a room that is darker, Sony makes the best cameras for low light. So if you happen to be in a room that is a lot darker, I would suggest going with Sony. They have great autofocus and they’re great for low lights.
Samantha Hartley Super. If your best inexpensive microphone broke and you had to go buy a new one today for under $500, and ideally under $200, what would you get?
James Cooper Oh, nice, I was going to say under $100. Under $500, the best mic that I don’t own, but I’ve used it and I really want it, is the DJI. They have a package right now that I am drooling at because they came out with their new gimbal. They have their new gimbal, DJI Osmo 6, I think it’s called. Those of you who don’t know what a gimbal is, it’s a handheld, almost like a selfie stick that you put your phone in and it keeps perfectly level. So it’s great for walking and talking and you don’t get all jittery. It also has a little stand, you could put it on a table.
They have a new package that includes the microphone and it’s like $450, it’s amazing. So the new gimbal, the six, has an extender, it’s almost like a selfie stick. It’s really cool. I really want it.
Samantha Hartley Seeing you geek out on equipment, I love that.
James Cooper Exactly. I’m going to go on Amazon right now. Even if you didn’t buy the gimbal, the microphone alone is like $300. It’s a great kit that you can either clip on to your shirt or blouse or jacket, and then you can plug the other end directly into your phone.
Samantha Hartley And that’s a DJI brand?
James Cooper Yeah. Yeah.
Samantha Hartley Never heard of them.
James Cooper DJI, they were famous for making drones. So if you buy a drone, most likely it will be a DJI drone. They’re a really big company and they’re probably the best of breed when it comes to drones. But also their gimbals are really great and now they have this microphone that is really, really good. So that would be my favorite.
If you’re ever going to look at something else, The Røde, wireless go microphone, you can buy those and that can either plug in to your computer and the other end is a clip on. Or you can buy the actual lavalier attachment, which is the little microphone that can clip on and that’s like an extra $90 bucks. But that package will also cost you about $300.
Samantha Hartley I have a small Samsung Meteor which I bought for $80 bucks or something like that and to me it has perfectly acceptable sound quality. I do know some people who have the nicer quality ones and they just sound luscious.
James Cooper The thing that’s important about sound is that sound works off of proximity. It doesn’t matter how fancy the microphone is. I mean, yes, it does matter. You can get $1,000 and $2,000 microphones, but they’re not going to work as well if you’re too far away from the microphone. I have a microphone that’s on a little boom here, and obviously I’m going to sound differently if I get closer to it than when I walk away from it.
The thing about a lavalier microphone is that it’s always going to be 6 inches from your mouth. If you look at podcast microphones, there’s a reason why they’re in their face, because these are microphones that are designed to be speaking really close, like two to three inches from the microphone. That’s why they work and they sound so good. You just gotta decide. Look at your environment. The benefits of a lavalier microphone is that you can move around and talk and the sound is going to stay consistent.
Whereas if you have a microphone that is either hanging above you or on your desk, if you turn your head, you’re not going to get the same sound quality. So whatever mic you purchase, you just have to decide, am I going to stay in one place, am I going to record everything from here? Or am I going to be walking and talking? Then I need something that is always going to be clipped and close to me.
Samantha Hartley So what is the best inexpensive lighting? That is not difficult, easy to use and not super expensive.
James Cooper You can get lighting kits for less than $200 that are amazing. Of all the things that you would spend on, lighting is probably going to be the cheapest. Two reasons. One, you can use natural light. You can put your desk or wherever you’re filming towards the light. Never put your back to a lighting source, or natural lighting source because you’ll look like you’re in the witness protection program. If you are going to have light coming in from behind you, that means that the light source in front of you has to be just as strong, if not stronger.
Another thing as far as lighting kits, a flat panel LED made by Savage is the one that I like to use. There are other kinds like this, you can just look up flat panel LED. The great thing about LEDs is that they use very little power and some of them can be incredibly bright. Look for ones that have a dimmer switch that you can control the amount of light. Then also look at the ones that have a temperature switch, meaning you can change it from a warm color white to more daylight, to more sunlight, indoor lighting. There’s like tungsten lighting that’s more of an orange. It’s one of the warmest tones, and then when you go to cool, it’s much more a white tone. So depending on your skin tone, you want to adjust the lighting that you know suits you perfectly. That’s what I would look at.
You can buy kits that come with two lights for less than $200. I recommend Viltrox, they have a great two lighting kit that I think is $130.
Samantha Hartley I love that because I shot in natural light for the longest time and then I would fight the sun in the winter and then it was too bright here, too little light there. Then sometimes I’d be at the end of the day and I would need to supplement light, it was the fight. As I said, I have a sheet over a ring right here and I’m afraid of a fire starting.
James Cooper Yeah, I’m not a fan of ring lights. I have to say, I know they serve their purpose and I appreciate people who use ring lights, but I’m just not a fan. First of all, if you have glasses, you can’t really use them. Second of all, even people who use ring lights, I can see in the pupils these little alien circles and it’s a pet peeve for me. I just don’t really like it. So that’s why I recommend that you don’t throw away the ring light, it’s still usable, but put a white pillowcase over it. Then you have a great light.
Samantha Hartley But a fire hazard.
James Cooper Yeah. Fires. Watch out for that.
Samantha Hartley All right. So you’re not a fire marshal, but you are a super helpful resource. I’ve just loved what we talked about today. I mean, we covered performance, we covered marketing, and we covered technical stuff, which is all within your wheelhouse.
I find it amazing that you’re one person who knows all these things. So I really appreciate the arts background that you come from because I come from that same background, and I want to have that infused in our work. I don’t want it to be too business, so I’m just so happy to have talked to you about this today.
James, if people want to find out more about you, where should they go?
James Cooper Yeah, totally. So the best way to find me is on Instagram. I do a lot of these little trainings which you can sometimes see on Facebook if I do them live training, talking about microcontent. So you can always follow me on Instagram or Tik-Tok at James Cooper Films.
The two main things that I do is help people through one-on-one consulting. So the best thing to do is just message me and then we can book a quick 15 minute call to see what you need, see how I can help you, and you can work with me one-on-one.
I also have a new program which I’m actually really excited about that helps people with reels and TikToks, and growing their audience with microcontent. It’s something that I’ve wanted to create for a long time. We just finished the beta version of the course and we’re getting ready to launch next week. So if you want information about my course, it’s a done with you course. You get the videos, but you also get the group coaching with it for 12 consecutive weeks. If you’d like more information, just message me about the course and I’ll give you all the info.
Samantha Hartley That would be great. I have a client who went through your beta and loved it and it’s gotten her a way bigger increase in views on LinkedIn, which is a hard place to get views. She’s just raved about it and I have a feeling it’s getting her leads as well, I haven’t spoken to her about that. But I do know that her reels are super entertaining and just really fun. So anyway, I thank you for helping her and us today, we will see you on your reels on Instagram.
James Cooper Thank you so much. Thanks for having me back.
Subscribe to our weekly updates:
“highly condensed wisdom workshops”
“no nonsense and practical with such an open heart”
“insight and implementable nuggets”
“the very best golden nuggets in these bite-size podcast episodes”
“practical, bite-sized action steps”
Get This Episode on Other Platforms:
Discover Our Collections
Select a collection below for episodes on a particular theme.