Guest Articles & White Papers

Take 2 Video Advice: Smile, You Are on Camera

February 26, 2018

By Holly Singer, President of HS Marketing, Board member of The Hedge Fund Association:

Are you planning or contemplating a video speaking opportunity?  This dynamic multi-media form of content is becoming increasingly prevalent among the alternative investment community. Video messaging can amplify the communicator’s impact vs. text-only or ‘read on screen’ content. Concise commentary focused on industry-relevant takeaways offers a powerful means of sharing your expertise, offering thought leadership and elevating your brand.

Having facilitated and coached numerous short videos filmed by Asset TV during recent alternative investment industry conferences, I wanted to share a variety of media advice a/k/a speaking tips for newbies. Many of these short videos by industry professionals representing hedge fund and private equity managers, allocators/investors, service providers and regulators reflected speakers’ first-time experiences on camera and were scheduled on extremely short notice including even minutes in advance.  Whether you are considering this type of opportunity for the first time, planning further videos or completely frightened of the camera lights, my observations and advice are designed to provide useful tips and help you avoid common traps.

  1. CONTENT: Pick a topic to discuss, don’t sell your product or service. Be careful to avoid non-compliant performance-related or product-specific remarks that may be construed as advertising.  If you manage private funds, you need to avoid jeopardizing your private placement exemption (check with your legal or compliance advisor).  Instead, focus on market trends and outlook as well as risks in your niche, how your investment strategy addresses a challenge or opportunity. If you are a service provider, pick an industry development under your expertise and offer timely analysis.  Instead of explicitly promoting your firm, product or service, offer actionable advice.  An educational content approach will reinforce your credibility as a thought leader.
  2. FORMAT: Address a question rather than making a straight presentation.  Whether you are speaking alone or interviewed on camera, you can still formulate a couple questions and ask each of them rhetorically before addressing them. The benefit will be a structure that provides a roadmap with a clear progression for the viewer to follow, even if it includes only a couple questions about your topic or trend you plan to discuss. Are you a conference speaker? Offer brief takeaways covering a pertinent industry topic, following your comments with a very brief overview of your firm’s expertise within this subject matter to reinforce your credibility and role as a thought leader.
  3. STYLE: Smile, speak expressively, show enthusiasm for your topic.  It’s easy to sound overly serious and dry, even monotone, but that approach is unlikely to keep the viewer watching your video.
  4. TIME: Remember, most viewers have short attention spans. A two to three-minute video may be ideal to hold viewers’ attention.  Keep your comments brief and strong.  If you get carried away with your initial take on camera, plan to try again and be sure to ask the film crew to keep you informed of the length or provide you with a signal when close to the desired timeframe.  They will help you avoid the common trap of speaking too long.  If you are considering addressing several distinct topics, then it’s best to create more than one video and label each accordingly.  Keep in mind that short videos offering topical highlights are most effective for sharing via social media.

These tips are designed to improve the impact of your video speaking opportunities and engage your audience in a meaningful way.  Multi-media such as digital video is a key communication tactic that can supplement other forms of message delivery and bolster your marketing plans. Video delivery, whether highlighting an article or marketing deck, is more engaging and may enable you to reinforce the content of your marketing documents, leading to Communication Alpha® for you and your business.

More insights via and @SingerHolly.  Communication Alpha® is a registered trademark of HS Marketing, LLC.