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This TV Producer Explains How to Create Better Videos Without Fancy Equipment

6 min read

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Patrice Polzer is a former Today show producer, mom of three and entrepreneur who believes video is a must-have in your marketing tool kit if you’re launching a business. Through her New York video agency, Patrice Poltzer Creative, she creates brand video content and turns camera-shy founders into confident, social-media video creators. “Research shows 59 percent of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text, but many entrepreneurs — even the most confident — are afraid of showing up on camera,” she says. That’s why she created a coaching business and digital courses alongside her agency to help entrepreneurs and solopreneurs overcome their fears and learn how to tell stories that resonate with their audiences. She sat down with Jessica Abo to share how you can start making effective videos to grow your business or side hustle without fancy camera gear.

Jessica Abo: For many people, creating content online is really overwhelming. Can you start by telling us how you got into video production?

Patrice Poltzer: I come from the old media world. I was a producer at the Today show for six years, I was an overnight producer at Bloomberg TV and I also interned at CNN. I came up through that route and saw the power of not only journalism and storytelling, but saw the power of how video would literally transform a business or a person overnight when they were on the show. Two things always struck me: One, these confident founders would see the camera and become so nervous. Two, often what they thought were the most interesting parts of their story wasn’t. So many of them had a blind spot for what audiences really wanted to hear. 

So in 2016, I left the Today show to go to a startup and I was going to head up video. I thought it was my dream job, but it wasn’t. Aat the end of 2016, I was at a crossroads in life like, “Do I go back to the Today show, which was an amazing job, or do I take a risk?” I had this feeling that if only businesses could have journalists tell their brand stories, how powerful is that rather than internal marketing heads? So that’s what I decided to do. I decided to start a video company where me and a team of journalists went into businesses and we helped them tell their best stories through video. And I’m still here.

I also now help out solopreneurs and entrepreneurs, because not everyone can afford to outsource video, let’s be real. You need to have some bigger budgets [for that]. So there’s this whole portion of the population that need video and they need help, but what are you supposed to do if you don’t have a five-figure or even a four-figure budget to do that? So that is where the coaching services part of my business sprung up from. 

Why do you think video is so important?

Most of your customers, or your future customers, that is how they want to consume content. People who watch videos are more likely to buy your service or your product than people who did not see a video. Viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they see it through a video compared to text. So the stats are there and the data is there, that video in terms of how your brain processes, it uses so many more of the senses that you’re more memorable if you use video in your brand. And especially if the founder is active on video.

The other real underlying reason behind those stats is, look, at the end of the day, if you are a small business or any brand, people need to trust what you do. It is a lot harder to hide behind video than it is an email or a static photo. So that video bridges that trust factor that we all hear is really important in business. If you’re putting yourself out there on video, you are getting your audience or your potential customer, the chance to get to know you much quicker. So your chances of getting to that level of success that you probably crave in your business is going to be a lot shorter of a trajectory if you use video in your marketing strategy.

What advice do you have to help people get started?

The first video that you do is probably going to be bad. It’s okay, we all start out bad. So the biggest piece of advice is please, do not get discouraged if for the first five, 10, 15, even 20 pieces of video that you put out there, either you cringe [when watching it back] or no one is watching. I promise you, you’re going to get better.

The other piece of advice I have is to not go out and buy a bunch of fancy equipment. Please use your phone. The phones these days are amazing. You do not need anything greater than your phone to start out making really awesome video. You can sell out high-end ticket courses with just your phone video. You do not have to buy the expensive cameras.

Start engaging with your audience and start asking them questions. The reason that people and certain creators do really well with video is they talk like their audience. But the trick to talking like your audience is asking your audience and having them write it back to you and all of a sudden, you now have the bits and pieces of phrases, and words and dialogue that you can insert into your scripts and into your video and you’re going to resonate that much more with your community.

Think of the five most frequently asked questions that you get, and those are your first five videos. Don’t overthink it. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Shorter is better. Most people will not finish a 60-second video and actually half your audience, statistically speaking, will start dropping off around the 30-second mark. So keep that in mind. 150 words is approximately 60 seconds of video, so know that you have about half that time to really make an impact.

Where can people find you?

The easiest way to find me is on my Instagram page @patricepoltzer. I dish out a lot of really valuable tips and tricks about video content, and storytelling and messaging. And if you want to go deeper with me, I have courses and masterminds and you can even hire my team to make a video. That would be in the link in my bio in Instagram. You can find all the stuff there.

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