Nowadays, online video is predicted to be the leading source of web content by 2022, being more than 80% of all web traffic. And if you followed my speaker website posts, you know that I always say that good video is a necessity for a speaker site and they are excellent content for social media as well – but what constitutes great speaker sizzle reels? What are the elements you need and how do you make yours stand out? Here’s what I found has worked in the last few years.
The first thing you need to know about speaker sizzle reels is that, by definition, sizzle reels are short video clips that showcase your experience and abilities. And when I say short, I mean it. These videos can be as short as 2 minutes or as long as 10 minutes. Often, up to 5 min are more than enough for many speaker sizzle reels.
When creating your speaker sizzle videos, keep in mind these three basic elements: quality, length, and content. I’ll briefly explain them next:
I cannot stress the importance of video and audio quality enough in this blog! Now that everything is digital, and everyone has a mobile device, video and audio quality are a huge factor in whether people stay or swipe away from your video.
If you are recording your own videos, try to set your camera at the minimum resolution required for HD quality, which is 1280×720. Anything above that is great too! Just keep in mind that the higher the resolution, the heavier the file.
As for the audio, if you are recording your voice, try to record in a room or a closet to reduce echo and unwanted background noise to get cleaner audio. If you are using any other sound or recording, sticking to your usual MP4 format will work just fine.
I mentioned before that anywhere between 2 to 10 minutes is a good length for speaker sizzle reels. That’s because, in this case, longer doesn’t necessarily translate to better. In most cases, short videos are more effective in maintaining people’s attention.
The truth is that most people on the internet pay attention to the first 10-30 seconds of your video. So keep your most engaging content upfront. Who are we kidding – it ALL has to be engaging, but if someone was only going to watch 15 seconds, what would you absolutely need them to see?
Think about it, if you already invested 30 seconds of your time watching a video, and you liked it, you’ll watch 2 minutes. And if you REALLY liked it, you’ll probably watch 10 minutes more.
Another factor to think about to determine the best length for your speaker sizzle reels is where are you going to share them. Your website is one thing, but on social media, you want your video to share. Some platforms such as Facebook favors videos of up to 3 minutes long while others like LinkedIn recommend clips of up to 90 seconds.
Your speaker sizzle video doesn’t have to tell all of your stories from A to Z — unless you want it to.
Of course, there are a lot of different sizzle reels formats out there. Some choose to go for a more narrative-driven video, and others simply use organic footage. Any of them work as long as you answer this question: are you capturing the imagination of your prospective clients? What do they need to know about you so they can make a buying decision?
This article from Motion Cue has some great tips on how to make more content-focused sizzle reels, so check it out for more insights!
Now that we are done with the basics, what should speaker sizzle reels have?
As I mentioned before, your reel doesn’t have to follow a specific set of rules, but there are some elements you want to consider for an effective sizzle reel.
1. Brand consistency
Your speaking sizzle reel is also part of your message, so the way you show up on stage is the way your reel should represent you.
If you are a ‘casual, laid back’ speaker, but you get dressed up in a suit and tie for your reel, your audience is going to get the wrong idea. If your talks are fast-paced, energetic experiences – show that. But if you are more of a technical, content-rich speaker who does not stand on a chair pretending you are skiing during your talk, don’t do it in your sizzle reel. (p.s. – do you know which speaker I am referring to in that scenario – shout him out in the comments if you do)
2. Organic footage
If I’m looking at your sizzle reel, I want to see you in it! Showcase all of your talents adding some footage from your own events or testimonials. That helps build up credibility and allows people to see you performing your best.
Another option to add organic footage is to record some segments yourself. This is a great opportunity to show yourself in a different environment as well, as long as it stays consistent with your branding.
3. B-Roll or audience footage
An effective sizzle reel often includes a “break” from the narration or testimonies. It helps people process the information you give them and it helps you emphasize important parts of your speech.
B-Roll can be anything from footage of your audience laughing and enjoying your events to simply stock footage. Either way, consider it in your plan when creating sizzle reels.
4. Motion graphics
This one is not that common, but it has become a common practice to add motion graphics and simple animations to create dynamic videos.
Graphics are good resources to help people remember certain facts and phrases that stand out from your speech.
How boring would a video be without music! Don’t let your video be forgotten just because you missed this crucial part of it!
There are hundreds of free and paid options to get good quality music from, just choose the ones that better suit your brand.
Finally, how much does it cost to do a speaker sizzle reel?
The million-dollar question — Don’t worry, doing a sizzle reel can be a lot cheaper than that!—. Sizzle reels can be done at a variety of prices, depending on what you need. This is my best recommendation:
Everything costs, but you get to choose the currency.
The two most often used currencies are time and money. If you have technical abilities and are great with software, then yes, there is no reason you cannot invest the time yourself to edit this together.
There are some great editing tools on the market, one very easy to use is InShot, for example. And I have seen a few iPhone speaker reel videos people are creating and they are spectacular.
If you do not have the time or the talent – then video is a wise place to spend your money. Invest in a professional videographer who has experience in creating speaker sizzle reels. Ask to see their work first. Speak to their previous clients. Do your homework and choose someone whose customer service skills match their quality because this is not going to be cheap. Expect to pay between $1000 – $5000 depending on what your requirements are. A few of my favourite video genuises are Josh from Defiant Astronaut and Chris from Video Narrative
Make sure you own the rights to everything you use. If you include audience shots, have you had the audience sign a waiver before you filmed the show? Don’t forget to get media releases for testimonials as well. Did your videographer purchase the rights to the photos he may include? Are you allowed to use that media clip? Check everything ahead of time to avoid being told “sorry, you can’t use that” after you have already invested.
I know it’s quite a lot of information, but it’s worth going through it again to create or improve your sizzle videos for your speaker website and social media.