The concept of authenticity has a long history in the philosophy of art, and its meaning has been the subject of much writing and debate, but it could be thought of roughly as that element of realness or truth that lends some kind of credibility.
Authenticity is great for video because – whether your ultimate goal is to promote a product, explain a service, or provide instruction – you want your audience to trust you.
There’s no single method for creating authenticity in video, but here are some guidelines you can follow.
- Language is probably the most useful tool in your authenticity tool belt. Some kinds of language are accessible; others are alienating. Unless necessary, avoid anything that sounds formal or academic, or that implies an oppositional relationship between you and your audience.
- Personality is huge. Who’s going to be on camera, or voicing the script? How will they come across? When they smile to the camera, will it look genuine? Keep in mind that your audience is extremely perceptive for things like body language, eye contact, voice, and facial expression. Use these to your advantage.
- Spontaneity is an authenticity goldmine for the simple virtue of being impossible to fake. Most videos need a good deal of planning and preparation, but there’s such a thing as over-rehearsing. If you’re doing interviews, ask your subject a few unscripted questions, and see what happens. Leave room for improvisation where you can.
- Respect your audience. People are constantly being marketed to, so they tend to approach all media with wariness. Do anything you can to show them that you understand, and that you appreciate their time.
- Originality implies genuine insight. People generally want to see something they haven’t seen before, so taking a new approach can pay off. It takes confidence to do something different, and that confidence suggests dependability.
Authenticity happens when you break down the walls between you and your audience. We recommend that, whatever kind of video you make, it should feel like it’s made by a real person, for a real person. It should be authentic.