One of the biggest mistakes I see both non-profit and for profit companies make when creating video is - to create one video, upload it to YouTube and wait.
They may go one step further and send a link in their newsletter with a note “Watch our new video!” If they are fancy, they even add a play button.
But then they get a few views and move on to the next project.
There is nothing wrong with posting a video to YouTube, sending it out in a newsletter and adding a play button. These are great things.
But people are sending their video out into a crowded internet world with nothing but a play button. People are too busy these days to click on something just because it is there or they are told to watch.
Your audience needs to be given a REASON to watch.
I see the process of giving people a reason as building a campaign. Yes, your video needs a campaign and most likely it is already part of a larger campaign. A campaign to raise money. A campaign to raise awareness of an issue. A campaign to gain support for your cause.
In order for your video (and message) to get the attention it deserves you need to launch it like a mini-campaign:
1. Dress it up
2. Speak highly of your video
3. Show it off everywhere you go
4. Reach outside of your tribe
What do I mean by this?
1. Dress it up: Create a compelling thumbnail.
When you upload a video to YouTube or Facebook these platforms pick a random place in your video as the image everybody sees. Somehow it always lands on the most unflattering expression. That’s not pretty for anybody.
Go the extra mile. Take a screen capture and create a custom thumbnail. If you have a logo or want to add a title with your brand colors and font, even better. Make your image appealing so people want to see more.
2. Speak highly of your video: Create an audience focused title and intriguing description
A title “Watch this cool video!” may seem inviting, but when people are busy, they need a solid reason to spend 1, 2, 3 minutes watching your video. So when you title your video, make sure your title speaks to your audiences’ interests.
- Naming your video “Capital Campaign Video” relates to the reason you created the video but not the reason someone in your audience wants to watch your video. Very few people head over to Facebook or their newsletter thinking, “I wonder who is going to ask me for money today to help fund their next big project.”
- A better title for this example “Planning a better future for your children.” Hmmm, that might get me to open if I have children and I see this in a newsletter from my child's school.
In addition to the title, don’t miss out on the opportunity of sharing the reasons people will love your video. Add a description that shares what people will gain by watching your video. This applies to the YouTube description area as well as to text in your newsletter and on your website. Don’t leave your video naked, just waiting for someone to click out of boredom. Shout out the reason they should watch.
3. Show it off everywhere you go: share your video on all the platforms you use
Yes, that means share your link on every platform you use. Most people only follow you closely on one platform. Don’t make them hunt for your video.
Your share might just be a link to where it lives on your website or on YouTube. Remember, not everybody is following you on every platform. In fact, you may have a completely different subsection of your overall audience separated across different platforms. If you share your video in one place, most likely people visiting you on different platforms won’t see that share. So make a coordinated effort to share everywhere.
4. Reach outside of your tribe
Share with your board members, partners, mom (I’m serious) and ask them to share with their people. Share with key media in your space and bloggers – they need content, too.
Share the video with key influencers who will share it with their tribes.
There is someone in your circle who will like your video and be happy to share it with their audience. Seek them out, send them a note and a link to your video.
You may also want to do some paid sharing. For example, boost your views by linking your video out on Facebook to people who are interested in your topic.
You create video for it to be seen, not to sit on the wall waiting for someone to pass by and maybe take a look. Take these small steps and get big results in terms of getting your message out to a bigger audience.
To explore the steps needed to make video work for your organization, check out this free Video for Social Change Series.