Talking head videos are probably one of the most common video types out there, and we’re all watching them on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
A talking head video is, quite literally, a video with a person explaining or talking about a topic directly to the camera, typically cropped so that just their upper body and head are visible.
People are spending more and more time online as we speak. While different kinds of video formats are emerging, talking head videos still hold a strong foothold in the digital world — especially post-COVID when they almost feel like an in-person encounter.
That’s great news for all of us, from marketing teams in small businesses to leaders in large enterprises.
Talking directly to the camera, especially when so many people are still working remotely, can be a great way to build and maintain relationships with your audience.
On top of that, most algorithms are now prioritizing this type of video format on your audience’s social feed — meaning your content is more likely to be seen.
When done well, talking head videos can help your audience get to know the people behind the scenes at your company and provide a personalized experience.
And doing them “well” has become easier than ever, as audiences have become more receptive to talking heads videos that feel more authentic and less highly produced.
5 tips for shooting great talking head videos
Let’s start with a couple of great tips and tricks you can start using right away to make your talking head videos more interesting for your audience.
Before you start shooting your next video project, remember to think about your target audience, their specific pain points, and how you’re solving them.
Also, think about who exactly this video is for and where they are in the sales funnel. What action would you like them to take after seeing your video?
Don’t forget to think about what else you are trying to achieve with this video, and how you will measure its success.
Once you have a good understanding of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it for, you can start thinking about the practical how.
Simple things like incorporating demonstrations, props, and being energetic and engaging can already capture and keep your audience’s attention.
Here are some other ways you can shoot a great talking head video:
✅ Use two cameras to alternate perspectives and keep your audience’s interest.
✅ Vary your depth of field to keep the view from being static.
✅ Use tilting and panning to vary the scene and viewer’s point of view.
✅ Take advantage of b-roll. This means other existing video footage that can be edited into your talking head video. You can also use images, text, and transitions to keep your video interesting.
✅ Think carefully about the kind of content that will be of most value to your audience and then deliver it to them. (Psst: you can check out our guide to B2B video marketing here.)
The best way to learn is by doing, so keep these tips in mind when you start creating your first talking head videos. You’ll quickly learn what works for your audience and what doesn’t, and that will help you moving forward.
How you can use talking head videos in your marketing
Now that you know how to get started with talking head videos, let’s go through a couple of ways to use them in your marketing with concrete examples from the city of Mesa.
The communications team in the city of Mesa set out to create talking head videos that engage with their city residents online and foster their tight-knit and supportive community.
Located in the greater Phoenix area, Mesa is home to more than half a million people and is the 35th largest city in the United States. That’s a lot of people to keep educated and informed.
By embracing new digital technologies, Mesa’s marketing team has been able to reach their audience efficiently and cost-effectively. They’re consistently producing an average of 79 videos a month in less than 30 minutes per video.
Let’s go through a couple of examples to see what type of videos they’ve recently produced.
Mesa’s Mayor, John Giles, made a video to recognize and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, as Hispanics represent a significant portion of Mesa’s population and business owners.
In this video, he recognizes and thanks the Hispanic community of Mesa and reaches out to them to celebrate. In addition to footage of the Mayor, the video also includes images of the celebration itself.
Mesa council member Francisco Heredia made a video to encourage residents to wear masks and maintain social distancing. A simple but impactful message: “Stay safe. We’ll get through this together.”
This is a great example of how talking head videos can add a different layer of personal touch to your video marketing. The video is informative and offers contact details in case of further questions or concerns.
The city of Mesa has also created many videos to keep the Mesa community connected with the city-owned I.D.E.A. Museum, like this one with the museum’s executive director Sunnee O’Rork…
…and these two that showcase demonstrations of DIY projects that everyone in the family can participate in:
These videos highlight perfectly what kind of activities the city had to offer during social distancing. Videos like these are a great way to keep your audience engaged and busy even in challenging times.
Would you like to start creating your own talking head videos?