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3 questions you need to ask to find the purpose of your next video

Have you ever been offered an opportunity for an interview on video or been asked to deliver a message to your team via video and said enthusiastically said Yes! before knowing the purpose of your appearance?

You were so excited to be asked, you didn’t think to ask several critical questions everyone needs to answer before stepping in front of the camera.

Fear not, what questions to ask is the focus of today’s post. It’s the first in a 3 part series on my 3P framework (Purpose, Plan and Presence) designed to guide you as you prepare for your on camera appearance - whether it’s for photos or video.

So if you’re ready, let’s go!

The first thing you need to know is P1 - Purpose.

When you know your purpose for being in front of the camera, you can create a plan (P2) to meet your purpose. It will ensure you show up with presence and save you a ton of time, money and frustration and that you create videos and photos in alignment with your brand and your goals.

Has this ever happened to you?

You decided it’s time to record a video or take headshots for your business or you need to deliver a message on video at work.

You get up your courage, prepare what you are going to say and when you hit the record button, your mind goes blank and you get the deer in the headlights look?

All of a sudden, you feel awkward. What do I do with my hands? Why do I sound like a robot? It sure feels weird looking at this blank screen and talking.

With all this chatter running through your head you wonder how you’ll ever come across authentically and deliver your message effectively and with credibility.

So you try take after take and still aren’t happy with the results. Ultimately, you don’t end up using the video or photos and you’ve wasted your time and investment and you are so frustrated and disappointed you swear you hate doing video and will avoid it at all costs if you can.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.

I’ve seen this happen regularly throughout my 30+ career in television and I’m here to share what you can do to get the results you want, every time.

The first step is to ask yourself a simple question: what is the purpose of this video or these photos?

Yep, it’s that simple… when you are clear about the purpose of your video or photos, it creates ta connection with your audience and helps you frame everything else around your purpose.

Let me tell you a quick story to illustrate this.

I recently worked with a client who was preparing to record a video for their company for a national convention. The shoot was scheduled in about a week.

This is a great company and they are one of the fastest growing small businesses in North America.

One of the main reasons they hired me was they wanted some coaching about what to wear and staging for interviews. Here’s a summary of how our conversation went:

me: what’s the purpose of the video

my client: we want to talk about what our company does and show it at our booth during the trade show and then put it on our website.

me: who will be at the trade show?

my client: “people in the association” sponsoring the trade show.

me: what do you want people to know about your company?

The answer was a string of industry related facts and figures ….and meaning no disrespect, since I’m not in their industry, I began to glaze over at the sheer volume of information.

In an effort to understand how I could best help them I asked what messages they wanted to convey.

That started a whole different conversation about their goals and positioning in the market.

After talking like this for awhile, it became clear that they were not clear about the purpose of the video. They wanted one video to satisfy many needs and they weren’t clear about the outcome they wanted. Thankfully, they decided to postpone their shoot until they felt clear about the purpose of their video.

We spent several hours narrowing the focus and who would participate and a plan for how they would deliver their message.

It made a big difference and it was all done on paper before the shoot. This saved them time and money because they knew the outcome they wanted before they hit the record button with an expensive camera crew on site.

When the video was done, it exceeded their expectations and they now know what they need to do in the future to ensure they are investing their time and money in video wisely.

How to find your purpose for your video

There are three questions to ask to help you get clear about why you are shooting a video, doing an interview or shooting photos:

1.Who is your audience - who are you speaking to? Are they clients, investors, employees and how much do they know about what you are talking about?

2. What do you want your videos or photos to do? Do you want to: inform your audience about something? Perhaps you have to deliver news about a merger or sale? You don’t really want them to do anything, you need to deliver a message.educate - there’s some new changes coming down the line people need to know about - or are you teaching your audience how to do something?engage people to get involved and start a conversation and get input and take action persuade - do you want to get people to come along with you or to buy your product? or do you want them to vote for you or change their mind on an issue?

3. Where will your video or photos be used? On your website, a trade show? Social Media? All of the above? Knowing where and how the video will be used will allow you to tailor it to get the desired results from that platform.

How does this appearance support your goals and your brand? Is it in alignment with where you want to go?

Getting clear on these questions will guide your messages and ensure you are supporting your brand visually. You want to be sure the message you deliver supports your goals, connects with your audience and aligns with your brand.

This simple step will save you time, money and frustration.

In this instance, had this company gone ahead and recorded their interview without asking these four questions, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t have been happy with the video because they hadn’t agreed on the key messages that would support their purpose and brand.

Have you ever been watching a video or tv interview and you can tell the person is unprepared?

They seem evasive and you immediately find yourself disconnecting - people have lots of choices about what they will watch and that’s why you need to be very clear about the the purpose of your video or photos or they will tune out.

At the beginning of today’s post I said we are going to talk about what you need to do BEFORE you hit the record button on your next video. I was very clear about the purpose of this post.

The Lesson

When you know your purpose, you can prepare your messages and visuals accordingly. If you don’t, you can hurt your brand and lose a valuable opportunity to connect with your audience and cost yourself time and money.

Knowing your purpose will give you a greater sense of confidence because you know what you want to achieve as a result of your effort.

You can’t spend too much time getting clear about the purpose of your appearance in front of the camera.

It’s actually a pretty fun process and what I love about doing this is it lets you see how your photos and videos tie to your overall strategy and goals for your business.

Knowing your purpose is the foundation to what you will say, what you will wear and how you will deliver your message and show up.

If you are having a hard time getting started

Here’s an easy exercise to help you get clear on your purpose for your photos or video.

Take a sheet of paper and divide it down the middle on one side write purpose on the other side write what goal or strategy does this support?

Then decide if your purpose is to inform, educate, engage or persuade?

Next identify your goal. Do you want to sell a product? enhance your image? Share information? Engage your customers? Tell your story? Or?

Write down everything that comes to mind. You may surprise yourself with some answers you didn’t expect. When you're done, look at both sides and see where there is alignment.

That’s when you know you are on target and this will help you get clear about the messages you will deliver.

To help you work through getting clear on your purpose, I created a pdf you can download here.

Summing it up

Here’s what you need to remember about P1 - Purpose.

Before you say yes to that on camera interview and before you hit the record button:

ask yourself these three questions:

1.Who is in your audience - who are you speaking to? Are they clients, investors, employees and how much do they know about what you are talking about?

2.Why are you shooting this video or taking these photos? Is it to inform, educate, engage or persuade?

3.Where will this video or photos be used? On your website, a trade show? Social Media? All of the above?

Does this appearance support your goals and your brand?

Is it in alignment with where you want to go?

Getting clear on these questions will guide your preparation and make sure that you are delivering a message that supports your goals, connects with your audience and aligns with your brand. Once you do, it makes it easy to create a plan and thats the topic of my next post.

If you have a question about being on camera you’d like me to answer in a future post, please leave it in the comments below or you can email me at

Thanks for reading and remember, the first step to get clear about why you are doing your video or photos is knowing your purpose.

Don’t forget to download your free pdf here and be sure to come back next week for a discussion about P2 - creating a Plan.

Val Brown is an Emmy Award winning television producer, story, visual and personal brand consultant, coach, and speaker. She consults and coaches high performing business professionals and entrepreneurs looking to up their game and increase their confidence and credibility on camera. Val teaches you how to use your story to support your brand in video and photos. 

p.s. I’d love to connect on social media and hear your questions and concerns about being in front of the camera.

Twitter: @valbrown08

© Copyright 2019 Visual Bridge Communication. All rights reserved.


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