6 Tips For Shooting Videos Of Yourself On Your Own

How many times have you looked at your camera or phone and thought—today is the day I’ll shoot that video…

And how many times have you decided, “Eh… maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.”

🙋‍♀️*Raises their own hand*🙋‍

Shooting a video of yourself on your own is a daunting task, but we’re here to show you that it’s not as tough as you think. You can create high-quality videos at home or in your office, without fancy camera gear. Just using a phone, a quiet space, good lighting, and the right angle you can record videos that viewers will think involved a lot more fancy equipment.

Here are 6 tips for shooting videos of yourself on your own, so you can make high-quality videos for your followers, warm leads, and customers.

#1: Find a Quiet Spot

When you’re shooting video, there are 2 things you want to be most concerned with: audio and lighting. We’ll talk about lighting in Tip #2, but for now, we’ll focus on audio. Whether you have or don’t have, an external microphone—you’re going to need to make sure the environment that you’re recording is as quiet as possible.

Recording next to a window above a busy street is going to create a lot of background noise that you won’t realize exists until you’ve finished recording. That noise is distracting and gives your video a lower quality feel. By avoiding that street-side window, you’ll be able to amp up your audio, even if you don’t have the most expensive microphone on the market.

#2: Find Your Best Lighting

Aside from audio, lighting is a crucial factor for shooting videos at home. People (including you!) don’t want to watch a video of someone with loud background noise and dim lighting. It makes you feel less authoritative, weakening whatever conversion you’re trying to get from your video.

There are 2 options when it comes to lighting: find it or buy it. Natural lighting is always ideal, and natural lighting with extra lights around you is more ideal (but you don’t need that). To shoot with great lighting, find the brightest room in your home or office—this may change throughout the day—and figure out what the best time is to shoot videos. For example, the morning might be the best time or mid-afternoon. Between good lighting and audio, you’ll be able to fool anyone watching your video into thinking you have the best tech gear available… even if you’re just using your phone.

#3: Get Your Angles Right

If you’re looking down at the camera or up at the camera—your video is going to throw off the viewer. You don’t want them focusing on your chin or the top of your head, you want them looking at you just as they would if you were sitting across from them talking. Getting your angle right will ensure your video has a natural and conversational feel—which is exactly what you’re aiming for when marketing your business or products.

Tripods are by far one of the easiest video equipment to finagle at home. You can use drawers, nightstands, shelves, books, decor, etc. to prop up your camera or phone so that it’s at the perfect angle.

#4: Use The Best Camera Available To You

If you’re using a camera—then you’ve already got the best camera available to you. If you’re using a phone to record your videos, make sure to use the best camera on your device. For example, on the iPhone, the back-facing camera is the best camera. It takes better quality videos (4K) which means that’s the best camera available to you, not your front-facing camera.

Using the back-facing camera of a phone also keeps you from looking at yourself while you’re filming. You want to look at the lens of the camera while you talk—if you look at yourself on the screen your recorded video will look like you’re talking slightly away from the person watching the video.

#5: Do A Test Run

Ah, the infamous test run. The marketers who do test runs are the ones that have recorded a 10 minute (plus!) video only to find out that their angle was off, their camera was out of focus, or their microphone wasn’t turned around. And it always stings—always.

To avoid making these mistakes, do a quick test run of your video before you jump into the recording. Record for at least a minute to make sure that your lighting looks good, your audio sounds good, you are in focus, and the angle is right. Trust us on this one.

#6: Be Honest With Your Audience

If you’re usually in a studio recording high-quality videos OR if this is your first time recording videos for your audience—tell them. Being honest with your viewers, whether they’re prospective customers or paying customers builds the relationship between you and them. Instead of pretending that you’re not at home recording videos when you used to be in a fancy studio, tell them about it. Or, if this is your first few videos, tell your audience, “This is one of the first videos I’ve recorded.”

Then, ask them to give you feedback. If you’re recording videos for social media, their feedback, in the form of comments to your post, is going to boost your engagement and help them keep seeing your content (ah, the classic Facebook algorithm).

If you’re recording videos for a paid membership, asking them for their feedback on how to improve your videos is going to make them feel more attached to the final product. In both cases, you’re creating a better relationship with your followers, prospects, or customers.

We told you at the start of this article that shooting video of yourself on your own was a daunting task—but not a challenging one. Using these tips, you can record videos of yourself that have everybody fooled into thinking you’ve got the latest video tech, all while you are shooting from your bedroom.

How to Use the New Challenge Sticker on Instagram Stories

Social media challenges have been hugely popular in 2020 with everyone from Drake to the cast of Friends jumping on the trend.

But coordinating a social media challenge isn’t always that simple. Do you have to wait for a nomination? Are there other ways to join in? And how do you nominate other users?

The new sticker streamlines all of these steps! Here’s everything you need to know:

How to Use the New Challenge Sticker on Instagram Stories

How to Use Instagram’s New Challenge Sticker

From #FliptheSwitch to #TrickShot and #DontRush, 2020 has been the year of social media challenges — and not just on Instagram! TikTok has also been hugely important in driving the challenges trend.

But the biggest driver has been… well, quarantine life.

As more and more people stay home to flatten the curve, social media challenges have blown up as a way to stave off boredom while having fun with friends and family.

But until now, there hasn’t really been a “standardized” way to give and receive nominations for challenges.

But Instagram’s new challenge sticker could change that!

Now if you see a challenge you want to participate in while scrolling your friends’ stories, you can join instantly by tapping on the sticker.

Doing so will bring you to the Instagram Stories camera where you can record your challenge and then nominate a few friends — it’s as simple as can be.

Here’s how to use the new challenge sticker for Instagram Stories:

Start by opening the stories camera and recording your challenge. Once you’re done recording, open the stickers tray and tap the challenge sticker.

instagram challenge sticker

Next, type in the name of the challenge (you can also browse through Instagram’s challenge database by typing in keywords like “don’t rush”).

instagram challenge sticker

Finally, nominate a few friends by tagging them directly in the story.

instagram challenge sticker

And that’s it! Anyone you tag in your story will be notified by DM and they can either re-share it to their own stories or tap the sticker to attempt the challenge themselves.

Note: If you come across a story with a challenge sticker being used (and you weren’t tagged in the story!), you can tap the sticker to browse through other people’s challenges or you try the challenge yourself.

challenge sticker

Are you a fan of the new challenge sticker for Instagram Stories? Let us know what you think in the comments!

5 Legal Marketing Mistakes that Kill Growth (& How to Avoid Them)

Marketing is the lifeblood of your law firm. Planning, building and executing an effective strategy will be the biggest driver of new traffic, leads, AND cases to your law firm.

In today’s digital landscape there’s no shortage of marketing channels. With so many options, it’s hard to know where to allocate budget for the highest ROI.

While there is no single marketing roadmap for a legal practice, there are specific strategies to leverage and potholes to avoid. And, the latter is the topic of this post.

We’ll highlight 5 marketing mistakes that cost law firms a lot of time and money (and how to avoid them).

1. View Marketing as an Expense vs. Investment

Your marketing budget should never be viewed as an expense. Full stop.

Marketing is an investment in the success and future of your firm. The end goal should be new clients and the creation of a sustainable revenue channel.

Dips in ROI are often met with budget cuts. But, before you pull out the hatch, re-evaluate where and how the firm is spending marketing dollars each month. A reallocation of funds is usually all it takes to grease the wheels and immediately grow the bottom line.

Monitoring channel performance doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. For example, we’re able to pull in all the KPIs from Google Analytics and populate them in a free Google Data Studio template:

This allows our clients to log in and get a real-time view of traffic, lead and conversion performance.

Want to know which channels will give your firm the greatest ROI? Get a free digital needs assessment here.

2. Fail to Watch the Competition

Don’t reinvent the wheel. When it comes to sourcing content topics that resonate with your target audience, leverage the heavy lifting already done by the competition.

Below is an example of how a larger law firm would use Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool to find a term competitors are ranking for, but they are not.

Go to the Site Explorer and enter your domain. Click on the Content Gap link on the left side of the page:

You’ll see a page where you can enter up to 10 different competitors.  Make sure the toggle “at least one of the targets should rank in the top 10” is checked. This will help surface more relevant results:

Knowing what keywords direct competitors are ranking for, that you are not, will highlight critical gaps in your overarching content strategy.

PPC

The step above will help you identify new areas where you can be getting more organic traffic. But, you can also use competitor insights to build more profitable PPC campaigns.

Drop a competitor’s domain into SEMrush and you’ll get a list of all the keywords they are bidding on in the AdWords auction, along with the ranking position, monthly search volume and a bunch of other data points:

The ad copy they are using to win the click:

And landing pages used to convert traffic into cases:

These insights will save you time, and help reduce wasted ad budget.

3. Don’t Have a Localized Marketing Strategy

Two-thirds of people looking for an attorney start their search online, and 70% of those people will only engage attorneys listed in the top three local results:

What does this mean for your firm?

If you aren’t showing up on the map, a few things happen:

  • You’ll lose clients to the competition.
  • Leads dry up every time PPC campaigns get paused.
  • Client acquisition costs increase.
  • Profitability suffers.

Bottom line: showing up in the maps is the backbone of your local search presence and critical to generating a consistent stream of qualified case leads each month.

Ranking in the maps is outside the scope of this post, but we will put together a comprehensive 8-step framework for how we land clients at the top of the maps.

4. Neglect Online Reputation

97% of consumers read online local business reviews, and 85% of consumers trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Even if you rank highly for the right keywords, a poor online reputation will derail it all:

The social proof that comes with a high number of quality reviews will differentiate your practice, build trust, and win clicks in the search results.

88% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to ten reviews. Having an automated system in place to request reviews from clients immediately following a positive interaction is essential to building a winning reputation.

Want to build a better online reputation? Find out how Virayo’s proprietary review platform can 5x your positive review count in 60 days here.

5. Fail to Take a “Mobile-First” Approach

On March 26, 2018 Google officially announced crawling, indexing, and ranking systems would no longer be using the desktop version of a website’s content to rank pages.

Sounds complex, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. This image provides a simplified explanation:

(Source)

If you see a message like this in your Search Console account, mobile-first indexing has already been enabled for your site:

Google states that “mobile-first indexing means the Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they’re looking for.”

Mobile searches now outnumber desktop. BrightEdge reports nearly 80% of all keywords, and 47% in the top twenty positions rank differently between mobile and desktop SERPs.

It is more important than ever to have a responsive, fast-loading site that provides a great user experience across all devices.

You can run a basic check now using Google’s free mobile-friendly testing tool here:

# New Leads: A lead is an unqualified prospect that’s starting to show buying behavior. There are different types of leads (MQLs and SQLs).

We’re typically more interested in increasing the volume of SQLs for law firms (i.e. someone who has shown strong buying behavior and has been vetted by marketing and sales for the next sales stage. Think: someone who filled out a form to set up a free case consult)

Cost-Per-Lead – How much money are you paying for each lead. Critical to understanding marketing channel ROI.

Opportunities: A sales opportunity has been qualified, contacted by sales and shown a direct intent to do business with you.

Opportunity-Close-Rate – Leads and opportunities are great, but if none of them close its all for nothing. This metric will give you insight into the overall lead quality and sales pipeline performance.

ROI – Saving the most important for last. The number on the left side of the ratio needs to be higher than the one on the right. If it isn’t, you’re losing money.

Knowing which campaigns are driving the highest ROI will allow you to properly allocate budget to scale the growth of your law firm.

Top 5 mistakes small businesses make when choosing a marketing agency

The modern business environment is complex and challenging. Business promotional concepts like digital marketing and online advertising were once considered a domain for the big players in the business world. However, today, they are equally valid for small businesses and startups. Small business marketing is essential to compete in a thriving market place.
Small businesses need to choose a marketing agency for efficient and cost-effective digital marketing and online advertising. However, they need to be cautious. Incorrect selection can lead to ineffective and cost-prohibitive digital marketing and online advertising. As a small business owner, be wary of these top 5 mistakes that small businesses make when choosing a marketing agency:

1. Lack of research and ill-defined marketing objectives.

This is the most severe mistake on the part of a business owner when looking for a marketing agency. You need to have your homework done beforehand. Even the smartest marketing agency will work around its strategies around your expectations. You need to prepare a clear and concise brief about what you want and what should be your business end state through successful digital marketing and online advertising.

2. Saving money at the cost of quality.

Budget is always an issue with small businesses, and it is smart to save money where they can. However, this can be a grave mistake when it comes to choosing a marketing agency for digital marketing and online advertising. Digital marketing and online advertising are required to bring your sales. A low budget marketing agency most certainly lacks the essential tools, expertise, and outreach for a converting marketing campaign. Most of them never cater for competition research, brand enrichment strategies, design uniqueness, and lead conversion. You spend less with such marketing agencies but gain nothing.

3. Looking for a local marketing agency.

This can be a grave mistake if you are unsure of the quality of the digital marketing service they provide. Just because you have physical access does not mean that it will ensure quality digital marketing for you. It is essential to understand that digital marketing and online advertising by marketing agencies can be effective even if you have only online access to them. Research well before you outsources your digital marketing to any company. Never fall for a local brand when you have a better offshore choice at competitive rates.

4. Don’t fall for claims and promises that are too good to be true.

If some marketing agency promises you fantastic targets at an unbelievable price, then you are in for a scam. There are defined costs of digital marketing and online advertising. A marketing agency can only cut their profit margin by offering low prices to bring in business. Impossible pricing means usage of black hat tactics or fake marketing success statistics. Your business will never go far with these tactics.

5. Overlooking experience, rapport, and customer feedback.

It is not unusual for small businesses to be impressed by flashy presentations. However, such impressive displays are not a substitute for effective digital marketing. So, how to check the validity?
Every marketing agency has an online presence. You can always find online references and customer reviews on their past performance. Choosing a marketing agency without a proven track record and positive customer reviews is a mistake that could cost you more than you think.