If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the true worth of video, a tool that brings pictures and words together to illustrate a scripted storyline?
Companies all around the world have been asking this question since the internet became a means of doing business, and what they discovered is video marketing is one of the most viable ways to effectively deliver a message and motivate clients to act available to marketers.
In a study conducted by HubSpot in 2020, researchers found that demand for video content is increasing at a surprising pace, with 54% of the subjects of the study stating a desire to see more video content from marketers. In their “2019 State of Marketing” report, HubSpot further asserts that video is the #1 form of media used in content strategy today, across markets and for all sizes and types of organizations. In respect to nonprofits, an astounding six billion nonprofit videos were viewed in 2016 and, of those viewers, 57% went on to make a donation. This number has no doubt increased over the past five years, and substantially during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020.
So, if you haven’t already added a video content strategy to your yearly marketing goals, the time to do so is now.
Video Marketing as a Nonprofit
Marketing through video is particularly appropriate for nonprofits, where compelling stories and images are plentiful. Turning those stories into a well-produced video can enhance your brand, educate viewers, and provide a path for donors to give when you share them through fundraising channels, such as social media networks, websites, and other fundraising events.
Adding video messaging to your overall marketing strategy not only provides a new, dynamic way to get your message out to the masses; it also allows you to expand on the narrative of your integrated marketing campaign. But will your current and potential donors watch? How can you make it interesting enough to capture their attention, yet remain integrated with your larger marketing message?
We have created a video production primer that will help you create a visually engaging message that gets noticed, gets engagement, and gets donations flowing into your nonprofit.
Optimizing your video production
When it comes to video creation, quality rules the day. Producing a high-quality video will present your nonprofit as a trustworthy, professional organization that is dedicated to reaching their goals and have the smart, capable people working hard behind the scenes to make them come to fruition.
When producing a video message, it’s important to keep in mind that it is theater, rather than a presentation. You want to create a visual and auditory experience that entertains your visitors as it educates them about your beneficiaries and the need your nonprofit is trying to fill. Creating that sense of theater for your video is a matter of layering the sensory elements for your viewer.
1. The Script
Your title and opening sentence must be powerful enough to generate interest and draw people into the story. Write an opening sentence that sets up the storyline and supports the headline you create for search engines and social media. Whether it comes from images, or words; the challenge is to make the first few seconds of the video bold enough to hook your audience and hint at what’s to come.
The main part of your presentation should only include one to three of the most important points you want to get across. Present the statement, then offer the solution that sets up the ask. You can do that by telling a story or by elaborating on only a few bullet points. Just make sure you stay within the theme of the video.
Include keywords or phrases for search engine optimization (SEO), especially if you are planning on posting the video on your website. Humor can be effective, but it’s hard to pull off and can even miss the mark entirely. Don’t force the humor and avoid sarcasm and irony.
Your conclusion should be comprised of only a sentence or two that reinforces your message and provides a call to action. It should be explanatory enough to recap the message and inviting enough to initiate action from donors. Make sure it is a clear message, with enough information for the donor to begin their next action with confidence. Include your organization’s name, website address, and contact information (email and/or phone number for both your office and text donations).
2. Camera techniques tell your story through a visual experience.
A camera’s ability to replicate a feeling of distance, present angles, move, and change the image with a variety of lenses adds to the narrative of the story and deepens the meaning of the words being said.
3. Mise-en-Scene refers to the composition of the image viewed through the camera’s frame.
Mis-en-scene refers to set design, props, backgrounds, color schemes, and positioning of the actors. Creating a sensible, interesting look for your video, with movement and interaction with the set, is very important to its success, as it provides context and depth to actions and words.
4. Sound adds to the effectiveness of a video.
The sound of the video—background music, dialogue, sound effects, and atmospheric sounds—adds emotion and a clear delivery of the message. This will help to bring cohesiveness to the different aspects the viewers are seeing on screen.
5. Lighting sets the mood and tone of the video.
Natural lighting replicates the world we live in, while expressionistic lighting creates mood and atmosphere. Consider this as you decide the style of your video and what emotional impact you want it to convey.
6. Presenters are the ambassadors of the video.
Consider two presenters to provide an interesting back and forth dialog to keep the video fresh, informative, and entertaining. Designate a leader who is very comfortable managing a staged show and schedule a rehearsal to work out any unforeseen details that could be an issue during filming.
Live video feeds into either a donor’s home or your nonprofit’s beneficiaries can make your video presentation seem inviting and community-focused. Consider involving a spokesperson that can give a positive insider’s view of your organization, but keep it brief and to the point.
7. Start out with editing to bring the most important moments to the forefront.
With thoughtful editing, you’ll be able to manipulate the placement, pace, duration, and rhythm of the shots. Done successfully, your editing will draw the viewer into your message, take them on the journey through your video, and deliver the emotional impact that will motivate them to act.
After your video is finished, review your yearly marketing strategy to search for all the ways you can use the footage and build on the story you’ve documented in social networks, television and radio ads, and as part of presentations at another events, this year and beyond. You’ll find ways to pull out snippets or use images that will remind viewers of other pieces of the story they’ve learned through other media channels and keep your organization in front of current and potential donors long after the initial video is released.