Daily Archives: May 11, 2010

Video Blogging Tips for Zoo Peeps from Sandra Dee

Prefaced by Jordan:

“Sandra shared the following article with me this morning. It is posted on her own blog which caters to a broad audience of people interested in developing more sophisticated media savvy and a professional “on air ” presence.

As we talked with Nolan Harvey last night, I realized that people working around high-profile animals like pandas or celebrity orca like Keiko, can really help impress an audience if they convey a polished media presence and represent their institutions as confident and articulate spokespeople or even complement  their PR colleagues. Nolan is very media savvy, but he also has years of experience doing TV and radio work. And like many other people who worked for SeaWorld Parks, he is a natural with the public. In fact, I believe that a zoo keeper or any animal care professional should be just as well poised as communications staff such that one can not discern between the two.  A course it public speaking can never hurt.

Sandra noted how seasoned a communicator Nolan was, given his involvement in a very complicated and perhaps politically charged orca rehabilitation and release program that spanned over several years and at least four countries and included different players/organizations with different interests.

I’m well aware that many zoo professionals are featured on zoo websites while holding animal ambassadors as they talk about them. Your marketing departments typically work with producers and in-house videographers, but not always.  If you want to improve your own PR skills or have ambitions to audition for shows on Animal Planet or something local, Sandra suggests ways that you can enhance your media presence.  For instance, she mentions that “you may be shooting outdoors with the animals for your zoo’s blog, and so you will not be able to change much about your lighting, but it is still possible to choose the better time of day (12 noon is usually the worst and late afternoon or early morning can be more flattering).” You also have to keep the animals routine schedule in mind…..”

For many successful entrepreneurs, video blogging is considered an essential part of their marketing strategy. By using social media to send followers back to the blog, you can develop relationships that turn into clients and that equals increased revenue.  At the very least, if you are not selling product, you can gain recognition and establish yourself as an expert in your field.  Then, you might look forward to getting booked on TV as an expert guest!  Are you ready?

There are a few simple, but essential tips to keep in mind:

Find a good location in your home.  Shoot some practice video in the location at various times of day to know when the natural light is most flattering… of course, you can also play with additional lighting as well. It could even be a house lamp, or two; and remember, to angle toward the strongest light, it helps to keep shadows from showing under the eyes.   Do what you can to look your best!

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your background! I can’t tell you how many times I have seen plants seemingly growing out of people’s heads!  Placing yourself in front of a nice indoor tree is a good idea, just be sure that it is off to the side of you.

Be aware of reflections, as well.  I am not only talking about obvious problem of windows and mirrors but wall pictures with a glass protection can also cause a distracting glare.

Keep it close up! This is the easiest way to avoid visual distraction.  A closer shot has another advantage as well: since your blog will be seen on the web, it’s pretty safe to assume that it will be viewed in a small format, so the bigger you are in frame the better you can be seen, especially on an IPhone, or other smartphone type device.

Become the wardrobe department! On a TV show, this department is very important in the establishment of a character; they work with the director and the actor very closely, because the outfits chosen can immediately qualify the character as “good” or “bad”, “rich” or “poor”… you get the idea.  In your case, you are the star of your show… the main character in your blog.  Be sure that your choice of attire fits your brand and where you intend to go in your business or career!

If clothing seems like an insignificant thing to you, or it seems superficial, trust me, it’s not; 85% of what we experience when someone is speaking is the way they look. We are next influenced by the way they sound, and finally, what they are saying.

If you are not comfortable with your wardrobe, this is a great opportunity to evaluate your closet and make some changes.  Seek a professional stylist if you need to.  I have a friend that put it this way,” Get rid of everything in your closet that doesn’t

let you feel fantastic1” It’s great advice!

If you have these basics down, and have your content prepared, you are ready to get going with your blog! The possibilities are truly endless but start by having fun!

Sandra Dee Robinson

Sandra Dee Robinson: Actress, Media Trainer & Celebrity Co-Host of Zoo Talkin' Radio