Non-profit videosArts Entertainments
I am not an expert on videos, nor do I play it on television. I am a non-profit staff member that produces, edits, and publishes videos to further our organization’s mission. I am an amateur, not a professional, on video. So my approach to videos is utilitarian, a means to an end. And I am learning.
This piece is the product of that learning, a kind of reward because others have helped me.
Video matters. Viewers watch an average of 32.2 videos in a month, and around 100 million Internet users watch online videos every day. More importantly, the Online Publishers Association says that 80% of Internet users recall seeing a video ad on a website they visited in the past 30 days. Of that 80%, 46% took some action after seeing the ad. Also, about 64% of website visitors are more likely to purchase a product from an online retail site after watching a video.
According to research by Visible Measures, 20% of viewers click in 10 seconds or less. You lose about 33% of your viewers in 30 seconds, 45% in 1 minute, and almost 60% in 2 minutes.
While these statistics pertain to retail and general use, it is no exaggeration to say that nonprofits can greatly benefit from the increased, planned, and intentional use of targeted video.
Here are some principles for people, including many nonprofit executives, who are new or relatively new to “making videos”:
ï ?? § Design a plan on how many videos you need, what topics, what length fits the topic and fits the social media or website where you want to post. Don’t just improvise. Think systematically about what you need and what result you hope to achieve.
ï ?? § Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can post longer videos and people will see what they want. It is not probable. Either they won’t watch until they get the message you want to do or they won’t watch at all.
ï ?? Don’t fall in love with your own voice. Brevity is beautiful. Less than 2 minutes is essential. 30 seconds is better, 15 seconds even better, and if it’s like a TV commercial, only 6 seconds.
ï ?? § Special video short films can be produced, or you can create them from clips of your longer videos.
ï ?? § Don’t worry about identifying yourself or the website. There is not enough time in the video to talk about this. You can easily add name, title, website and other contact information during editing via banners and inserts or via final 1-2 second slide.
ï ?? § If you need to make longer videos, and there is still a place for 2 minute videos, or even 6 to 12 minute videos for certain presentations, write your text ahead of time, upload it to a teleprompter app (several are available), and use scrolling text like a politician speaking at a campaign stop to create your new video.
ï ?? § If you are using a mobile device to record videos, learn where the camera is on your phone or tablet, then face the camera during short shots or place your scrolling text so you can look at the camera. This allows you to “look into the eyes of the beholder.”
ï ?? § If you are alone, use a tripod and, if possible, a remote control. If there’s no remote, no problem, start your video, step into the frame, smile for a second, and you’re done. You can edit the interface later.
ï ?? § I mention smiling. If you’re natural, good for you, but when I’m thinking or stressed, like making a video, I can be unintentionally intense. So, I learned to smile big, even if it felt fake at first, at first. My challenge now is to remember to keep smiling. Make a difference in your video, as long as the subject fits the smile.
ï ?? Be creative: indoors, outdoors, with one of your children or pets, formal or informal, it depends on the topic and the audience.
ï ?? § Short videos deal with a topic or thought. Don’t try to say everything there is to say about your product or service. You can make more videos later. Come in, say something concise or poignant or spicy, and go out.
ï ?? Remember the lighting. You can look like a hobbyist or a professional faster in bad or good lighting, respectively, than with anything else you do. Most importantly, you need good front lighting, then if possible adequate side lighting, and most challenging of all, unless you’re in a studio, some overhead lighting.
ï ?? § If you want top-notch marketing videos, hire a top-notch professional and pay the person’s freight. There is nothing wrong with this. But when we live online these days, especially among the youngest, what interests us is “authenticity” and “topicality”. In other words, don’t be afraid to make a walking video, a video on the street, at your service location with some natural background noise. Be real. Be authentic. Communicate reality as you see it, which can actually be the opposite of “clever” marketing promotions.
ï ?? § Don’t be afraid, actually plan, take multiple shots, or at least as many as necessary to get the tone and message you want. Review your video after each take. Look, look for forgotten things like that mess in the background or poor lighting or not smiling, or your neck is lopsided … etc. You don’t get good videos by accident. Work the process.
ï ?? § You don’t need to spend a lot of money or necessarily hire professionals to do the basic editing. It is absolutely amazing, with a small learning and practice curve, how much you can do on mobile devices or in apps like iMovie.
ï ?? Video is now big on Twitter, where people tend to “discover” videos rather than “search” for them.
Spend some time on your preferred social media platforms. Research others, particularly competitors. Don’t plagiarize, learn from them. What works and why? Taking time to research is time well spent. It’s like Abraham Lincoln saying, “Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening my ax.”
The video is here to stay. The more you learn to use it, the more effective your message will be.