Perhaps best known as the lead singer of the children’s musical group Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band, Tina Harris is also a successful businessperson and mentor to many people in the Australian kid-lit industry, including Georgie Donaghey and Michelle Worthington. She is blown away by the sense of community in the kid-lit industry, and is keen to show authors and illustrators how they can use the power of video to make money from their IP (intellectual property).
Video seems to be the counterintuitive way to become a thought leader, but as Tina says, ‘Video equals connection; connection equals trust; trust equals sales.’ However, you don’t build audience trust by uploading short-form videos such as Facebook Lives and TikToks. To make successful videos, you need a plan to conceptualise, make and monetise long-form recordings.
In the beginning of her career, Tina created DVDs of her video content, but they were too expensive to post. She began to look at online video options such as YouTube, and soon discovered the golden secret: online videos offer extraordinary value. You make them once and sell them often.
A breakthrough moment for Tina occurred when she went to VidCon in Los Angeles. She learned that she needed the right tech gear to make her videos look and sound professional. In addition, she met Shannon from Bounce Patrol (another children’s musical group), who told her to create ‘trending content’ not just upload episodes of television shows.
From her many years of experience, Tina has come up with three secrets for making successful videos:
- Find your video inspiration. The videos that we stop and watch are usually the ones that entertain us. So to make successful videos, we need to entertain the audience. What is your passion? Any subject discussed passionately will connect with an audience. What is your audience’s problem? How can you solve their problem with your passion?
- Save time and money in pre-production, during the shoot and in post-production. Plan your script, and use an autocue app. Know your tech (lights, camera, sound equipment). Good tech gear doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s preferable to shoot video in 4K resolution. The aim is always to capture the best-quality video shot at the highest resolution you can afford.
- Use your videos to make money from multiple income streams. There are seven ways to make money from videos: online courses, membership sites, YouTube, Patreon, affiliates, crowdfunding and sales/funnels. Online courses help you scale up your business. Patreon is a hybrid between crowdfunding and membership. When making your videos, think about the devices on which people may be viewing your content (for example, mid shots are better than long shots for small screens, such as those on smartphones).
Tina notes that live shows are fun, but bloody hard work. This is the same whether you’re an entertainer performing on stage, an author reading your book in schools, an illustrator giving a drawing class or anyone else involved in the kid-lit industry. Allowing videos to do the work for you – growing your brand and creating an ongoing source of income – is a no-brainer!