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Communication

How to Make a Video with Google Hangouts

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As successful entrepreneurs and freelancers know, making a name for yourself online is all about content marketing.

Yet the landscape of content marketing can be confusing, as it is constantly shifting. Blogging is still the mainstay of an effective content marketing strategy, but in the past decade audio, social media and video have all been added into the mix.

Faster broadband speeds coupled with video cameras built into computers and smartphones have seen video become a key player in content marketing. Over 4 billion hours of video are watched every month on Youtube.

This trend towards video is set to continue. Both YouTube and Cisco have predicted that within the next couple of years, 90% of web traffic will be from video.

This is great news for freelancers, as video establishes trust and shows your personality and brand more quickly than the written word. Prospects and clients who watch your videos will feel like they know you as a friend. That means when it comes to selling your services, the hard work of building trust is already done.

But isn't making videos a big headache? Don't you need a ton of time and lots of specialist software to make a decent video?

Not necessarily.

With Google Hangouts on Air you can broadcast live from your office. When the broadcast is done, it gets posted to YouTube.

Making quality videos is as simple as making a video call.

How Can You Use Hangouts on Air?

Making videos allows you to position yourself as an expert in your field. Effective marketing videos focus on common problems faced by your client. Examples of videos you can make with Hangouts include:

  • Videocasts and podcasts
  • Tutorials
  • Interviews
  • Client surgery
  • Open Q&A sessions
  • Product demonstrations
  • A weekly or monthly live show

Of course, what you create is limited only by your imagination.

In this tutorial, I'll show you just how simple it is to create high quality videos with Google Hangouts on Air.

Tutorial Assets

To complete this tutorial, you will need:

  • A computer
  • A webcam
  • A microphone
  • A Google Plus and YouTube account

1. Install Google Hangouts Plugin

Go to Google Plus hangouts and click Start a Hangout, the red button in the top right. If this is the first time you've used a Hangout, you'll be prompted to install the plugin to your computer. This is a one-time install, so once it's done, it's done.

2. Get Familiar with Hangouts

Before broadcasting using Hangouts on Air, you'll want to get familiar with how Hangouts works. Start a hangout with a good friend (or just with yourself), and try out the different features. In particular, try out Chat, Screenshare, and Google Effects.

  • Chat pulls up a text chat sidebar - perfect for sharing stage directions as you shoot your video.
  • Screenshare is ideal for creating video tutorials and screencasts. You can share your whole desktop, or an individual window.
  • Google Effects adds an element of fun and silliness, with sound effects and virtual masks and costumes.

You can also see how you look on camera, how you sound on your microphone, and try out different lighting options. Generally speaking, the better lit your environment, the better the quality of your video. If your microphone crackles or muffles your voice, consider upgrading. I use the Blue Snowball, which provides high quality sound at relatively low cost.

3. "Script" Your Video

Hangouts on air are broadcast live. Planning what you'll say is vital if you're going to look professional.

Even if you feel confident improvising on screen, you'll want to at least decide the topic of your screencast. At minimum, you must plan:

  • What will you talk about
  • Who will it be for?
  • Who will you invite?

If you're interviewing someone, write out your questions in advance, and send the interviewee your questions so they can prepare their answers.

On the other hand, if you're planning a client surgery or a product demonstration, ask for people to send in questions beforehand. This allows you to prepare answers, and gives you something to talk about if people aren't forthcoming with questions during your live broadcast.

Of course, as you're broadcasting live, your video can never be perfect, and your audience won't expect perfection. That said, a script will stop you from floundering on screen and make sure your broadcast flows.

4. Have a Dress Rehearsal

Practice, practice, practice. To begin with, especially if you've never spoken in public before, you'll feel self-conscious in front of the camera. Practice speaking slowly and confidently on Google Hangouts with an understanding friend. Learn to enunciate well, and avoid filler words such as umms and ahhs.

5. Set Up Your Hangout on Air

As in Step 1, click "Start a Hangout." This time, you must check "Enable Hangouts on Air".

Invite the people you'll be hanging out with. This could be the person you're interviewing, or if you're doing a client surgery or a product demonstration, you'll want to invite people who have questions for you.

If you're planning to interview someone who doesn't use Google Hangouts, you can invite them by phone call.

Next, give the Hangout a name, so anyone who tunes in knows what they're watching.

Lastly, click the blue "Hang out" button. Don't worry, your broadcast won't be live just yet!

6. Connect Your Hangout With Your Youtube Account

The first time you use Hangouts on Air, Google will ask you to verify your YouTube account using your mobile phone.

You can choose to verify by SMS or voice call.

A verification code will be sent to your phone. As soon as you input the code, your account will be verified.

You'll also be asked to confirm that Hangouts on Air can broadcast over your YouTube account.

Lastly, you'll be asked to review and agree to the Hangouts on Air legal terms and conditions. Key points include that Google can make your content available for other companies to use, and that you are responsible for having all the necessary rights, licenses, consent and clearances for the content and people in your broadcast.

7. Do Your Backstage Preparations

Your Hangout doesn't go live on air until you tell it to do so.

Check your hair, the lighting and sound, and brief the others in your Hangout on what will be happening.

8. Start Your Broadcast

When you're ready to go live, click the red "Start Broadcast" button in the top right of your hangout.

You'll be asked to confirm that you understand your Hangout will go out live on YouTube.

After a ten second countdown your broadcast will start. You're live on Internet TV!

9. Monitor Engagement

While your video is live, Google Hangouts tells you how many people are watching. To begin with, if you're still establishing your name and brand online, you'll feel excited to have one or two viewers.

You can also monitor views on YouTube. Notice which videos get the most engagement. Over time, you'll notice certain topics or types of video draw a crowd. When you see that happening, do more of those videos.

As your audience grows, you can see which videos pull in the biggest live audiences. You can also monitor if there are certain points in the video where viewer count drops significantly, and amend your scripts to cut down on these drop-off points.

10. Ratchet Up Engagement

The more engagement you get with your videos, the better for your brand and your business. You can further boost engagement with your audience by:

  • Asking your blog readers and email subscribers to send in questions, and letting them know you'll give answers in your next videocast.
  • Taking live questions during your broadcasts. Twitter is ideal for this, as you can set up a unique #hashtag connected with your show.
  • Setting up a voicemail inbox. As your fans tune in to your show, they'll feel a personal connection. You can strengthen this by having a place they can leave you messages and questions through the week.

You're now a broadcaster as well as a freelancer. Good job!

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