Making great web video

How do you make great web video, and how do you make it worth your while?

For nonprofits, great web video should be sharable, relatable and compelling. Most importantly, it should motivate people to take action.

Through the natural course of doing what you do, nonprofits interact with people in extraordinary circumstances, and produce moments of transformation and hope. Great web video should not simply talk about these moments with an organizational or programmatic voice. Instead, these moments must be captured, celebrated and shared as directly and intimately as possible. A great web video should end by inviting viewers to participate in a shared experience with a compelling call to action.

Key planning steps

  • Take some time to reflect on what makes your cause special.
  • Collaborate with a creative producer to plan out how your cause can be visually conveyed, as simply as possible, preferably in action.
  • Recruit a few special individuals willing to share their personal experiences with your cause.

What pitfalls should you watch out for?

  1. Don’t use a remote voice. It’s hard to make a great video about the anatomy of your organization. It’s easier to create great video about the incredible cause you’ve dedicated your life to.
  2. Don’t fall in love with your footage. Cut everything but the very best material.
  3. Don’t leave the best for last. The first 10 seconds of your piece must bring people in, or they will click away.
  4. Avoid bad production investments. Be very strategic with music and graphics choices. Story is key, and all other elements must serve that.
  5. Don’t miss important shots. What’s the best camera to use? The one in your hands. Your agency and marketing teams can’t be everywhere at once, so it’s important to empower everyone in your organization to capture special moments as they happen. Try to simplify the process for submitting and curating special material from every part of your organization.

How do you get the most value out of your video investment?

  1. Get it seen. Consider YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, eAppeals, volunteer events, press releases.
  2. Work with local influencers to help promote your video through their channels. Make this easy for them with pre-prepared Tweets, Facebook posts, photos, etc.
  3. Arm your major gifts staff for key interactions with links and DVDs.
  4. SEO is as important for video as any other type of web content. YouTube is the second-largest search engine (after Google). Every minute, 48 hours of new material is uploaded. For yours to stand out, it should be effectively titled, described, tagged and syndicated.
  5. Consider corporate sponsorship. Video can be a key element to unlock significant marketing spends from aligned companies.
  6. Follow up, follow up, follow up. In general, you should spend just as much time and effort promoting your video as you do creating it. Like DRTV, the production investment is only one part of the job. Web video doesn’t always have associated media costs, but to get the most benefit out of the material, you will need to make a real effort to promote it.

If your organization is interested in learning more about what great web video can do for you, contact us. We can set you up with YouTube for Nonprofits, and help you unlock the potential of storytelling with video.