For more than six months, I've used this blog as a way to help advocacy groups embrace, focus, and deliver on their enthusiasm for video and multimedia. Because in this day in age, everyone understands the power of digital storytelling, right?
Apparently not. Last week, when my friend asked if I'd be willing to direct a potential multimedia project to educate Boulder residents about homelessness in this otherwise Utopian town, she warned me that the biggest hurdle wouldn't be time, process, or even money-- but convincing her boss that a video is worthwhile at all.
Not the hurdle I was expecting.
I quickly began to see it as an opportunity to strengthen yet another side of the argument that good stories sell. So I spent the weekend gathering some of the most compelling video successes I've seen to date: hard numbers that show video is reaching people-- a lot of people. Proof that, if done well, video can pay off not only in dollars, but also in votes, legislation, and increased public engagement.
Here's my list so far:
- Online video is growing faster than you can say "YouTube." Check out these mind-blowing stats from 2010.
- Brand-engagement companies like NORTH are seeing big results with their advocacy videos: Portland mayor wins by a landslide; the Right Brain Initiative raises an extra $800,000; and Big Brothers Big Sisters earns $350,000 in donations at this video's unveiling.
- The Miami Herald is getting more news to more viewers as a result of this calculated video push.
- Climate Wisconsin videos have gotten 85,000 plays and counting, thanks to public-television broadcasts, use in climate-change presentations around the country, and teachers who are showing the videos in their classrooms. (Read about the nuts and bolts of this project here.)
I'd love to keep adding on, but I need your help. What have you produced that's made a difference, and what did the results look like? Increased donations? New members? A win in Congress? Share your links and success stories below!
If you’re reading this blog, you probably work for or with an organization that’s dedicated to a cause-- and whether that cause relates to poverty, the environment, or women’s health, the messages you send to the public are important.
Unfortunately, too many organizations view the video as the END goal, and fail to budget in the time, brainpower, and money necessary to make sure the video gets to the people they're trying to reach. Doing so requires a lot of work, but these three rules will get you off to a good start. (Quick disclaimer: Video marketing can be a complex science. We could offer 100 tips below, but the fact is there's no single formula that fits every scenario. The goal of this post is to shift organizational thinking in the right direction... but it's only meant as a first step.)
1) Have a plan.
While your video is still in production, begin looking for ways to get the completed version out onto the interwebs. Draft a plan that includes the sites where you want to place the video, your advertising budget, the staff responsible for monitoring hits and comments to the video, etc. There are dozens of sites that can help spread your message-- YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Twitter, etc.-- and best of all, many of them are FREE! Determining which social network or website is worth investing time in will be different for each organization; if you’re not sure which one is right for your, we recommend asking a Social Media consultant.
2) Use keywords where it matters.
Once you’ve selected the websites where you want to upload your video, make sure that you include keywords in your file names, tags, titles, and descriptions. Pay SPECIAL attention to file names: While the person who produced your video might have named the file "CompanyXvideo2.mov,” it's unlikely that your audience will search for such keywords. Working with a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist for this portion of the project would be a great idea, and there’s also plenty of excellent information about video SEO at reelseo.com and CopyBlogger.com.
3) Embed the video onto your website’s home page using YouTube.
- Don’t bury your video on some hard-to-find interior page of your site-- make sure it's visible from the home page!
- When grabbing the embed code from YouTube, deselect “show suggested videos when the video finishes.” Otherwise it can be distracting to the viewer.
- If your video was produced in high-definition, upload it in high-definition. Don’t sacrifice the quality, not even on sites like Facebook, YouTube, etc. The sound will also sound better as a result!
Again, while these three rules are a good and simple start, marketing your work can be a time-consuming and uncertain process, and generally takes a lot of trial-and-error before you get it right. They call us “social media experts” for a reason! The good news is, we’re here to help. Follow Ramblin Jackson on Twitter (@ramblinjackson), or post a question about video marketing on our Facebook Wall.