Ready for your Video Prime Time? Using YouTube in Digital Advocacy.
Video is a creative and effective tool for trade associations, corporations and NGOs to communicate and engage with their communities. This is the first of a three-part series that looks at creating or enhancing your video strategy using YouTube as your main channel.
YouTube has already moved from a ‘nice-to-have’ to an essential channel for most organisations. But smart, strategic planning is needed to move beyond measuring the success of video in terms of subscribers, likes and views to actually delivering on business, reputation or policy goals.
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and third most visited site after Google and Facebook. Over one billion hours of YouTube videos are viewed in a day, more than Netflix and Facebook video combined.
A 2017 survey of how industry groups working on European public policy issues use of YouTube revealed that more than 2,000 new videos were uploaded, and an increase of more than three million new views compared to 2016.
Amongst most viewed are the International Sweeteners’ Association (1,254,423 views – 117 videos – 286 subscribers), the European Crop Protection Association (1,040,486 views – 234 videos – 520 subscribers) (for full disclosure one of Fourtold clients) and the European Travel Commission.
Just about any organisation can benefit from using video. But in the rush to produce the video, it is important not to lose sight of why you are doing it and how you can measure return on investment.
The challenge? Producing high quality content (= creating value) to keep audiences interested and engaged. Video can take time to create, edit and distribute so being strategic will help you maximize resources.
Start with a video strategy
Video for a specific purpose, not about something.
First, outline what it is you want to achieve. This will make evaluating the performance of your video much easier.
If you want to use video to promote a specific event, for example, then the goal(s) you will set will be a lot different than if you were making a longer, educational piece of content to explore complex topics, like this explainer video on Artificial Intelligence.
However, do not expect one video to meet all of your digital advocacy goals. Making the goal very targeted means you are much more likely to achieve what you need to relative to the resources available to you.
Even without a hard deadline, it’s important to create a sense of urgency around your video. Think about check-ins and timing for both the short and long-term milestones of the creative and production processes.
Know your audience.
Being very targeted to your particular audience will make the video content work harder for you. Remember, it is not how many eyes, but which eyes that matters the most in achieving your goals. Ensure you do some basic research – or incorporate video into existing research – to identify your audience persona.
Decisions you make at this stage should not be driven by guesswork or gut feeling but based on tangible audience analysis.
A good place to start is to learn from others. Evaluate other (advocacy) videos targeted at your audience, taking the best of all and thinking about where you might improve things.
Use a feedback loop. As you develop the script and storyboards, always revisit and seek outsider opinions to see if your concept resonates.
Know the action you want your audience to take.
Crucial for making your video work for business objectives is a Call to Action – what do you want your audience to do after watching or what message do you want them to be left with? It’s the virtual handshake with your viewers if you will.
If you are clear on this objective, then you will be able to develop an engaging production with compelling stories,
You’ll want to get creative too. Asking the viewer to “visit our website for more information” may drive more traffic to the website, but will this truly engage your audience around your message?
Choose the best message, people and story to move your audience.
At a minimum, choose voices that ensure that your video is credible. There are different types of voices for you to consider:
- Emotional: the voices that speak to the viewer’s heart
- Analytical: the voices that support the facts
- Political: the voices your audience thinks of as formal authority figures with direct influence to affect the change you seek
Narrators (or voice-overs) can be useful to structure your video as well as fill in gaps in information. Be mindful of over-doing it. Too much narration can overwhelm and create a “voice of authority,” making the viewer a passive participant.
Write a synopsis of what you want your viewer to see and hear. This will help your film team agree and plan what footage is needed to make the video and help you determine how the story can and cannot be told visually.
Choose the right time and the right place to ensure your audience sees your video.
In video advocacy, tactical and strategic distribution of your material is paramount.
Distribution and promotion can be done in a number of ways, including face to face meetings; online sharing; screenings at events, public meetings, and conferences; private screenings, briefings, and distribution to key campaign allies and partners for use in their advocacy; and others.
It is important to know when, where, and how your video will be seen, but also what activities or materials you will need to prepare to support your efforts.
by Frederique Luca