How to create a Web TV show even if you’re not a pro

This guide is based on Mixergy’s course with Andrew Lock.

Andrew Lock suffered a setback when iTunes inexplicably deleted his account just as his business show was starting to get traction, but he kept making awesome videos and went on to gain a weekly audience of more than 110,000. It was all done by producing a web TV show, so we invited him to teach you how to do it.

Andrew is the founder of “Help! My Business Sucks!”, the number one show for entrepreneurs on iTunes.

Here are the actionable highlights from the course.

1. Pick a topic you love so you’ll be passionate about producing your show

Andrew talked to a stockbroker who planned to start a show about investing, but when Andrew saw he was more enthusiastic about guitars, he advised him to create a show about guitars instead.

Take Action:
Choose a topic that you love to spend your free time thinking about, and don’t pick a trendy topic you don’t really like.


2. Find a unique selling point to set your show apart from all the others

Andrew noticed there were lots of companies running tours of celebrities’ homes, but they were all able to succeed because each one had a unique focus like walking tours or tours for seniors, and he realized that the same principle applied to shows online.

Take Action:
Look in the iTunes store to see what topics other shows are already covering, and make sure that your show’s focus is different.


3. Read online forums to get ideas for your show’s content

Andrew helped Laurie research show ideas on cooking forums, and when they found that many forum members liked collecting recipes, she created a show called Recipe Runway about collecting and sharing recipes.

Take Action:
Read online forums where people discuss your niche, and pay attention to the questions the forum members ask and the kinds of resources they are looking for.


4. Decide on your show’s details so you can plan a production schedule

Andrew recommends choosing an attention-grabbing name that communicates what your show is about and producing new episodes once a week or twice a month.

Take Action:
Pick a name for your show and decide how frequently to produce episodes, taking into account how much time you have and how much you want to work.


5. Get feedback on your presentation so you’ll know what to improve

Andrew wasn’t sure if his true personality showed in his videos, so he asked family and friends to give him feedback and tell him which strengths to emphasize.

Take Action:
Ask people you trust to watch your presentation and let you know if you’re being yourself.


6. Buy production equipment so you can start shooting videos

Andrew recommends the Kodak Zi8 and iPhone 4S cameras because you can plug a microphone into them, and he recommends microphones from Sony or Audio-Technica.

Take Action:
Buy a camera and an external microphone that plugs into it, but don’t feel you need to get the most expensive models.


7. Use appropriate lighting so viewers will see you clearly

Andrew recommends pointing a floodlight with a halogen bulb at the ceiling because that diffuses the light throughout the room or shooting outside because natural light is best.

Take Action:
Point a floodlight at the ceiling or shoot outside in the morning or afternoon, but don’t point a light at yourself or shoot outside at midday.


8. Choose a hosting service so you can publish your videos online

Andrew recommends using Vimeo or Blip to host your videos, but he doesn’t recommend YouTube because its video quality is poor.

Take Action:
Open an account with a hosting service, upload your videos to it, and then embed them in your website.


9. Distribute your show so as many people as possible will see it and visit your site

Andrew distributes his videos to YouTube and iTunes so that more people will discover his show, but he asks viewers to go to his website to leave comments.

Take Action:
Upload your videos to a distribution platform like Traffic Geyser or Pixelpipe, and add a short message at the end of each video asking viewers to check out your website.


10. Integrate sponsored messages so you can make money

At the start of each episode, Andrew says, “This episode is made possible by…”, names the sponsor, and gives one sentence of information about the sponsor.

Take Action:
Get sponsors through an affiliate program like Commission Junction and talk about them at the start of each episode, but don’t run video ads that could cause people to click away from your show.


Want to make sure you get results?

Written by Sarah Brodsky, based on production notes by Jeremy Weisz

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  • http://twitter.com/nathanskillen Nathan Skillen

    I disagree with #8 – youtube quality isn’t poor. Vimeo HD is slightly better, but if you’re shooting on a Kodak Zi8 or iPhone 4S as mentioned in #6 and using cheap floodlights, then that is the reason your video has poor cinematography quality.

    Youtube is the best solution for making a living off a web tv show, as it best allows you to focus on building a subscriber base which is the core of a viable web tv business.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Makes sense. Andrew Lock isn’t anti-YouTube. He actually recommended using a tool that will send your video to multiple video platforms, including YouTube. But he recommends using Vimeo HD on your site.

    With that in mind, do you think what he said makes sense?

  • http://www.mobileapptycoon.com/ Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

    Great tips here – I’m going to be starting making videos for my blog to post to YouTube soon so I’m definitely going to keep these tips handy!  

    Thomas

  • Amy Miyamoto

    This is perfect timing Andrew.  I just finished listening to your “advanced tip packed” interview with David Siteman Garland for Create Awesome Interviews and these tips from Andrew Lock are just the icing on the cake of my web show foundation building for the day.  I will be launching my show October first.  I have definitely learned a ton from watching you in action the last couple of years. Thanks for all you do to be of service to your audience! ;)

  • http://www.therisetothetop.com David Siteman Garland

    Can’t wait Amy! Appreciate the love :)

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Great! Let me know how it goes.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Show us what you got when you launch.

  • Amy Miyamoto

     Will do! ;)