Your people. They make great video!

Authenticity is the key. Or so I said so many times while a YouTube evangelist that I finally got it.

The proof: the most successful video creators, at least on YouTube and Snap and the other explosive video channels of the last 5–10 years, star as themselves. Casting isn’t as much of a thing in the digital video realm.

From a business video standpoint: who better to launch a product on video than its designers or marketers? Pitch a company than its founder? Announce a promotion than the store owner? Tackle customer service questions than the customer success team? Welcome job applicants than the hiring manager? Offer a testimonial than a real, live customer? No one, of course.

There’s a couple of catches. One, the big production mentality still prevails in many cases. I saw each time a CMO visiting the BrandLab at YouTube acknowledged this authenticity mandate, but then turned to her left and right, looked at maybe her social media team and creative agency, and openly asked, “Who are we going to put on camera?” She might not’ve heard an immediate answer if they were busy reviewing audition video for the next shoot, brainstorming which influencer they could borrow into the campaign, or simply concluding that there wasn’t even enough budget to use video for the product launch / promotion / customer service / hiring need. Production costs too much, takes too long (they’re wrong!)

The bigger catch: Not everyone feels camera ready. We’ve learned, cataloged, and believe there are at least 4 types of natural video personas- and only one would you consider “a natural.” Even the natural usually needs work, if nothing else, in understanding his audience, being an empathetic communicator in the tricky one-way confines of video, and engaging. The rest need work in all areas, from energy level and presence to delivering a concise message.

Courtesy Pexels. Just a cool shot of a real guy making video!

It’s not easy. If it were, every company in every category would’ve embraced becoming a video publisher- as we advocated, naturally, at YouTube- since they have all the resources they need already, from low-cost cameras to social distribution channels to, most importantly, people to bring your message to live on video with the power of Sight, Sound and Motion.

But it may be simple. As simple as asking who’s interested in being on camera, figure out who can best and most authentically connect with the audience, and put in the time to get them ready.

You won’t need a casting agency. Your people get a chance to shine. And you can make more video.

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