We're big fans of video series.
We've written about all sorts of successful series—series that teach the ins and outs of a product to customers, series that promote company culture, and series that advertise different aspects of a service. While the production of a series may seem daunting for smaller businesses, it doesn’t always require fancy equipment and loads of time.
Side note: the plural of series is series. It's like moose and moose. Pants and pants. Scissors and scissors. I don't enjoy this fact, but I'm learning to cope.
Shane Melaugh, an entrepreneur and the owner of IMImpact.com, produces a low-pressure video series that offers practical advice for creating and growing an online business. Each episode incorporates lessons that Shane has learned along the way or behind-the-scenes glimpses of how he runs his own business.
Shane shared his thoughts with us on his own informal, ongoing series—from his low-budget production tactics to the impact of regularly communicating with customers.
"A few years ago, I made a quick video update to let my subscribers know about some [business] developments and what they could expect, and it was received really well," Shane told us. "This gave me the idea to turn this type of update into a regularly occurring thing."
Since then, Shane has produced close to 100 "Sunday Updates," in which he casually checks in with his customer base, using a conversational tone and consistent eye contact with the camera.
Like any DIY videographer, he has experimented and tweaked with his setup and techniques along the way. There’s really no need to formalize your approach from the beginning when producing something casual, meant for a committed customer base. Shane even shot one of his updates while riding on a boat in Switzerland!
As for the equipment in the above video, Shane explained, "That was actually on a fairly crappy handycam thing. Just something you can get off the shelf at an electronics store and easily carry around."
Without any meticulous editing or super fancy gear, Shane is growing his loyal audience each week. "I keep the videos simple, and I keep the production value low. That means: there are no carefully crafted scripts, there's no extensive video editing, etc. I also set up the expectation with my audience—you get the polished, high-quality videos in my regular content, my products, and so on. But the weekly update is just us having a quick chat. It's informal, and I think that also helps make it more relatable."
Shane understands that this approach isn't necessarily a great fit for everyone. "The fans will watch every single episode and become more engaged, while others will not be interested in these informal updates. And that's fine," he commented. "It's good to cater to the fans, and those who aren't fans yet may be won over at some point later (maybe by my more polished content)."
Unlike a finite series that's shared all at once, an ongoing series builds a strong sense of anticipation for the viewers. "I've noticed that people really look forward to the next one. There's an expectation that they'll be hearing from me again," Shane said. "It helps my audience relate to me and (thanks to comments and discussions that follow from the videos) it helps me better understand my audience."
While Shane's video check-ins are super low-pressure, he makes sure that his content is helpful and actionable every time. This way, his audience feels compelled to return for more useful guidance.
Where there's a will (and a camera) there's a way
Like any regular commitment, producing a video series requires some serious motivation and advanced planning, especially if you’re a party of one. The good news is, with a few pieces of gear and some inspiration to draw from, you’re already well on your way!
Have you ever made a low-pressure video series? Have you ever thought about making a video series? Did you know that the plural form of series is series?