Community Manager and blogger for websitebuilder.org.uk.
Jamie Schneider Domm
Digital Strategist for the North American Division.
Video has been around for a while now, but only recently has it really taken off as a marketing and ministry tool. Organizations all over the world are coming up with creative ways to use video content to share their ideas effectively. Potential video content is endless and can include: animation, educational videos, member testimonials, tutorial or how-to videos, documentaries, behind-the-scenes tours, inspirational shorts, thank-you videos and, more recently, even interactive 360-degree videos.
If you're not sure whether or not you should be using video, click here for 127 video marketing facts that show the influence of video and why it is important for non-profits to embrace this medium.
Once you are convinced, here are some basic tips to help your video content cut through the clutter online and leave a lasting impression on viewers.
1. Include people.
Sure, explaining your mission and what you hope to achieve is very important, but this does not always catch your audience's attention and keep it. A trick is to include real-life people in your videos, showcasing success stories and providing testimonials. You could also include other organizations in your video, and let them talk about their ministries and why they choose to be involved. Having a video featuring a genuine person is likely to increase member trust. They will capture the viewers’ attention and help to build a sense of familiarity. Keep in mind, the human brain is programmed to recognize other human faces.
2. Keep it short.
Although one might assume that a longer video means more opportunity to engage the viewer, having a long video is usually not a good thing. Unfortunately, the truth is that your audience has a very short attention span, so you should try to keep your video as short as possible (30 seconds to 5 minutes). Many viewers are likely to only stick around long enough to watch the first ten seconds of a video, no matter how long it is, so you need to ensure that the majority of the vital information is included in those initial moments. Make the first ten seconds interesting to encourage viewers to watch the rest of the content. Longer videos may work in some circumstances. As you create and post more videos, it will be easier to determine where the demand is for a longer video and where it is best to remain short and sweet based on audience response.
3. Don’t end with a black screen.
It might be tempting to end a video with just a black screen, but resist the temptation! It is a waste of space that could be used to encourage someone to perform a certain action. If your viewer has watched your video all the way to the end, it must mean that they are pretty interested in your message, so don’t lose them! Some recommendations for the end of a video include: recommending a related video, giving them contact information, pointing them in the direction of how to learn more, or promoting an upcoming event...the options are endless. As a ministry, you should utilize every opportunity to keep a person interested in what you can offer them and engaged with your brand. When possible, you can also include a call to action button and/or clickable links!
4. Dedicate resources.
If you're going to create a video, make sure you have the resources available to do it properly. The most cost-efficient method is to have trained staff in-house (or willing and skilled volunteers) that are able to produce high-quality video. If you don’t have video producers on staff, then invest in hiring a freelance videographer. You don’t have to break the bank to create good video. High-quality content is most important. If the video content is high quality, people are less likely to be distracted by the production value.
5. Think about video placement.
Creating a quality video to support your cause and get your message across is not enough. Make sure to have a strategy to promote your video–otherwise no one will see it! The best places for your video to go are your organization’s website, social media profiles, and YouTube channel. YouTube is a social media site dedicated to video content and can be very effective because it is highly recognized in Google search results–plus, it is completely free. Facebook has recently enhanced its video capabilities, so this is also a good place for your video to go–again, completely free of charge. “Facebook users are inherently social and are now routinely beating YouTube users in terms of engagement and social shares,” (Social Media Examiner). Another way to share your video content is by including links to your videos in email communications, such as in your email signature or e-newsletters.
6. Optimize for search.
You should ensure that your video can be found easily in the maze that is the internet. There is no point putting time, money, and effort into creating a quality video if no one ever finds it. There are many different tactics that you can use to do this. First, host it on your own domain (website) before you upload it onto any sharing sites. Be sure to enable embedding on the video as this will help increase the likelihood of receiving referral traffic from other websites. In addition, accompany the video with an up-to-date description, as this will help Google make sense of your video's purpose for search engine optimization. Tag your video with keywords that are relevant and unique. Google needs as much information as possible, and the more you give it, the more likely it is that it will be ranked highly.
7. Include some comedy.
People are more likely to watch your video if they find it entertaining. Your audience wants to laugh; they want to be cheered up; they want to be taken out of the world they live in for a few seconds and just enjoy what they are watching. Humor, if used in the right way, can work extremely well in awareness campaigns. Stand out from the crowd and take risks. These risks can pay off! You can be funny without being irreverent to our faith or your cause.
8. Tell a story.
If you make your video too pushy and sales-y, this will probably have the opposite of the intended effect. An effective video will usually tell a story. Through storytelling, viewers are drawn into the video and become emotionally invested in the overall message. Ministries should utilize the emotive power of video to appeal to the audience's wants and desires.
9. Make use of social media.
Social media and video fit together perfectly. Four times as many people would rather watch a video about something than read about it (eMarketer). Plus, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined (Brightcove). People who use social media expect to see their news feed full of videos, and many people use social media for the specific purpose of finding video content. Using social media automatically gives you an advantage, because if an individual likes what they see in your video, they have the ability to easily share it with their friends and followers, instantly expanding your reach. Always include captioning on your video because a large percentage of social viewers will be watching with the sound muted.
10. Make it mobile friendly.
It is more important than ever before to design all the content you produce to be mobile friendly. People use their mobile devices to browse the internet more often than they use their desktop computers. Organizations should take a mobile-first approach to everything they create, ensuring that your content looks great on both small screens as well as larger ones. People love to watch short videos on their phones to pass the time, and this is a perfect opportunity to grab your audience and connect them with your cause or message.
For more video tips, download a PowerPoint presentation from the Social Media 101 course.