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Ten Ways to Use Video to Attract (and Keep) an Audience

by | Sep 10, 2010 | Industry News & Trends

It pains me to admit that most people don’t read. Of course, you are the exception if you’re reading this. But how do you make sure your members/constituents/fans are receiving the information they need in as few words as possible? Words are, after all, more for search engines than people anymore <sigh>.

Of course, every audience is different and if you represent the National Association of Life-Long Readers verbiage may be exactly what they want, but if not try using a few of the video suggestions below to spice up your web offerings and energize your site. 

So maybe the fact that no one reads anymore is not enough of a push for you to take on video. Is knowing that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world more persuasive? Plus videos are great for multitaskers because it allows them to listen while they’re doing ten other things. Videos can be made on the cheap or at great expense. And with software like Camtasia, you can edit videos easily.

You can incorporate video in a lot of different ways both on your website and on other sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. Here are a few:

1. Organizational Intro: this is the basic of the basic. It tells who you are, what you do and (most importantly) how you help. Don’t use this piece to imagine yourself as a budding film student. Use humor if it fits your audience but most importantly, make it easy to understand. This is not an entry in the Sundance Film Festival. This is a video extension of you. How do you want people to remember you? What tone do you want to convey?

2. Behind the Scenes: A day in the life of your organization can show what it’s like to be a member or how someone will be treated if they do business with you. It appeals to the audience’s desire to see what things are liked behind closed doors. It also serves to define your organization’s tone.

3. Tutorials: Have a product to showcase or a service how-to? Try a video. Every organization has something to illustrate. Whether it’s a step-by-step application process or ways to connect on your online community, some people learn best by showing not reading.

4. Event Highlights: Want more registrants? Do a video montage of previous events. Make the pictures and festive and flattering as possible. If you are hoping your past attendants will forward this on to friends and colleagues, make sure they look their best. This means taking lots of shots and possibly using photo and video edit features. 

5. Community Service Projects: Similar to event highlight montages, create one of how you are doing good. Does your company have a community project? Maybe employees do things on their own time? Show how you are involved in your community.

6. Participant Point-of-View: Easy to go a little overboard on this category but following someone around and getting user feedback is a great way to win over new members, customers or donors. You can make a video Blair Witch style or formal case study/member interviews. It all comes down to your style and tone.

7. Your Cause: Whether your goal is to get more members, customers or students, try creating a video that excites them about your group in a general sense. For instance, if you are an association of footwear retailers doing a hip, edgy, fashion-forward clip of footwear may delight your audience. This video is not about you specifically. It’s about getting people excited about your industry. Maybe you’re a nonprofit working to help increase literacy. An “all-word” video of phrases detailing the statistics behind  illiteracy would be very moving. The point of this type of video is to enthrall, excite, create awareness or even disgust — it’s to get your audience to feel.

8. Video Blog: Some organizations choose this because they hate to write blog posts. But writing is still necessary to create a coherent message. Unless you are gifted with off-the-cuff wit, I suggest at least outlining your message. Another tip: avoid staring straight into the camera in a deadpan zombie gaze. Smile, use your hands, use facial expressions, be yourself. If needed, have someone off-camera asking you questions that are not heard on the video. Focus on conveying the message to them not the camera. Remember, people like to put a face with a name so be as convivial as possible. This is not a news cast.

9. News: Unlike the video blog, here’s where you can put on your anchorman/woman persona (if you’d like). Give your audience a run down of what’s going on within your organization. Think of this as a personable press release. You can also highlight new employees through interviews or broadcast format.

10. Video Tour: A new office, factory, campus or theme can be the perfect use for a tour video. An example of theme i showing off the new “Greener” aspects of your organization. Keep in mind that not every member can see your operations in person so why not make them feel like they have?  

Finally, a note about going viral. It is everyone’s dream to have a video that is so widely viewed it ends up being talked about everywhere from news stand to television. The reality is that this rarely happens. Like the virtual lottery, for every video referenced on Late Night, there are millions that languish in obscurity. Ask yourself, how important going viral is. Do you want your association to reach 3 million people, knowing that only a small fragment of them qualify to join your organization? Wouldn’t it be more useful to design your video(s) with your audience in mind (the ones who will be drawn into action because your message is targeted to them and not America’s Funniest Home Videos? Humor is memorable but so is a well-chosen, deliberate message.


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