As New Year’s resolutions go, I admit mine was an odd one. Nothing life-changing like joining the Peace Corps or climbing Mt. Everest. Rather, I decided to focus my 2017 New Year’s quest on finding the answer to the following question:
If digital video is such a powerful and popular way to communicate a message and tell a story, why aren’t more organizations using video in their communications campaigns?
In other words, what’s hard about producing a video?
I’ve been asking this question to friends and clients for a few months now, and the responses I’m getting center around three common themes:
- I don’t know how to get started
- I don’t know what to say
- I don’t know how to say it
Digital video is here to stay. And that’s great news for anyone who believes in the power of visual storytelling to communicate an idea, connect with people on an emotional level and move them to act. But here’s the thing, producing video content that accomplishes these important goals takes more than just whipping out your smartphone, hitting the Record button and hope you come up with something you can use.
Telling a story with video is a process. And if you’ve never produced a video, it can be scary. But don’t let fear of the unknown scare you away. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider taking the digital video plunge.
1. Do I have a story that would lend itself to video? If you want to put a human face on a complex issue, persuade lawmakers or targeted groups about the impact of pending legislation or new programs, or create an emotional connection in the minds and hearts of a specific audience, then yes, telling a story using video is an unsurpassed way to engage your intended audience.
2. How do I find the heart of my story? Most organizations think about their story in terms of “what we do.” Equally important is how the people your organization serves are impacted by what you do. As you plan your story, think deeply about what your organization is in the business to do, and why it matters. Then use those insights as the basis for unpacking your story.
3. Who’s my audience, what’s important to them, and how do I reach them? In your early planning sessions, identify who needs to hear your story and why. What are the messages you want your story to convey? Finally, think about where your audience will likely see your video story: on your website, as part of a live presentation or on social media channels.
4. What kind of video would work best for my audience? These days, “digital video” runs the gamut from moving visual images and on camera interviews, to whiteboard/illustrations and cartoon/animations. As you plan your video project, think about how you want to engage your audience and what video style is the best way to do that.
5. Am I willing to make the investment? Producing a video story takes time, talent, a budget, plus the energy to see the process through from start to finish. Be clear about what you want to accomplish, your deadline and whether you realistically have the bandwidth to make it happen.
6. What do I really need? Many times, organizations hire a video team that has the camera, lights and editing expertise, but lack the additional expertise in story planning, conceptualization and story production. Before embarking on a video project, figure out the expertise you have in-house and decide what you need to outsource. If you do hire outside video partners, be clear about what you need: a crew to shoot and edit your video or strategic partners that can guide you through the video storytelling process from concept to completion.
As 2017 rolls on, I’m still asking my New Year’s question to friends and clients alike. There’s no right answer to the question, just a lot of great ideas and insight. May this be the year you start creating digital video content for your organization. Be smart, do it right, and reap the rewards of connecting with your audience in a brand new way.
Holly Paige is co-founder of Portland’s Wave One Group, a creative agency specializing in video story development consulting and digital video content production. With a background in television journalism, video storytelling and digital media production, Holly loves helping local and global organizations untangle their messages so they can tell engaging visual stories about themselves and their businesses. You can reach Holly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter at @WaveOneGroup. Visit her website: www.waveonegroup.com