Daniel Cattanach won Govdelivery's Communicator of the Year award for his work at Bath and North East Somserset Council. Video has played an important part in his work over the past 12-months.
by Daniel Cattanach
So you really want to make some great online videos, like the kind you’ve seen on social media and websites? But you probably think it’s too hard, too expensive and too time-consuming, right? Wrong.
Have a scan through the clips and tips below for a little inspiration which may help you to fast forward and achieve your vision.
- Don’t keep it under your hat
You already know how to cut through the fog of corporate reports to deliver a clear and engaging story; you wouldn’t shy away from producing a press release, so there’s no reason not to make the natural progression to video. You’re full of bright ideas – go ahead. Let them shine.
2. Seal it with a K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short & Simple)
With a number of key social media platforms optimising content of around 15-20 seconds – as a result of audiences’ short attention spans – you really want your video to get to the point quickly with an easily understandable message. Having that clear vision in mind also makes it easier for you to film – like the video above which was shot in just one take.
3. Be inspired – not intimidated – try out different channels
When the ultra-short video channel Vine first burst onto the scene, the thought of trying to convey a message in just six seconds seemed mind-boggling. But rather than attempting to do a hatchet-job on your three-minute-long YouTube video, think about how you can make shorter formats work for you across alternative social media channels – and enhance your communications offer.
4. Serve up something seasonal
Whether it’s tapping into #Strictly or cooking up something sweet for #BakeOff, it’s good to tune into what makes your audience tick. But don’t just unashamedly jump on the bandwagon – carefully consider how you can make the most of trends, seasonal activities and special events; to add value to your campaigns.
5. Reflect on the silent movie greats
The habit of watching video without sound has become more prevalent – especially with social media channels supporting the autoplay of short films in feeds. Whilst this may increase the need for subtitles to accompany any spoken word content, it also focuses the mind on playing to the strengths of the visual medium – to help your creations stand out amongst the rest of the chatter.
6. Take your film studio with you – wherever you go
With modern smartphones offering the power to shoot, edit and publish videos in the palm of your hand, you don’t need to worry about lugging around loads of equipment (or a costly film crew). Keep your camera close to hand – whether on your way to a meeting, walking the dog or even enjoying an ice-cream – you never know when inspiration might strike. What used to be a “Kodak moment” could turn out to be your next big production.
7. Play to your strengths
It needn’t cost a lot to bring your ideas to life. Look around you for inspiration, support and props – your hobbies, your friends, your partner, your kids and their toys. Whatever you can lay your hands on (within reason) – if it seems like fun, then chances are that your audience will love it too.
8. Put your faith in others
You may be facing increased pressures on already strained resources – but nobody can do everything. If someone offers to help bring your idea to life and/or feels inspired enough to create their own videos, then nurture their shared passion. Get away from the mindset that only “comms people” can do it – your colleagues from other teams are likely to know their audiences well and may need only a little guidance to make that connection. Don’t be a control freak – learn to let go of the reigns so that great ideas can fly.
9. Spread the word
So you’ve plastered your video across all the corporate social media feeds that you run (such as auto-playing via Twitter and Facebook, along with your YouTube channel, homepage and email bulletin), but what about offering it to other feeds/ channels? Not just colleagues from different teams inside your organisation, but also partners and stakeholders who have a shared interest in the subject matter. They’re likely to jump at the chance to promote engaging content which their followers could like enough to share – thereby driving interest in their social media presence and potentially drawing more people to join their online community.
10. Get the right name in the frame
You wouldn’t send out a finely-crafted news release with a boring headline, so don’t give your video a downbeat title that could be a turn-off for your potential viewers. Although it’s a good idea to think of something which helps explain what your vid is about, it can also help to have a title that helps your masterpiece stand out from the crowd – rather than falling as flat as a pancake.
Daniel Cattanach is news and media manager at Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Picture credit: US National Archives / Flickr