I hope I am not stepping on any toes or using something I shouldn’t, but at a recent expo for non-profits I attended, I was introduced to a very good way of thinking about how to capture your audience’s attention in either a speech to an audience or in your video. If you can write/tell your story in three minutes as if you were writing/telling a novel, complete with a hero, an enemy, allies, strategy for operation, expected outcome and the message you want to share, then you will have the audience in the palm of your hand.
If you can identify a hero (your agency, yourself, some other figure), allies (donors, etc.), enemy (budget cuts, etc.), your agencies’ strategy (challenge, who you will connect to, etc), what victory looks like (what you would like to have happen), the message of hope your agency wants to convey, then write a concise, personal story using these elements, people will listen.
Unlike any other media video/film can employ a multi-sensory experience for the viewer. If edited with skill, video can combine visual images and auditory inputs to create a third impression, not explicitly either seen or heard, that can elicit an emotional response from the audience. This can be done by showing an image, say as an example a young boy running in the park, and at the same time the narration can be talking about something unrelated to the image, say the lack of adequate child care in the US, and the viewer will get an emotional response by combining the two inputs. This can be a powerful tool. The advertising industry uses this all the time to get us to buy products. You too can use this method to get donor sympathy and therefore contributions.
Sometimes the best way to say something is by showing it. How best to do that. It is my opinion that you should treat your audience with a degree of intelligence. Don’t show them, tell them and put the words on the screen for the same message. You can use visual and sound counterpoint to be showing one thing and saying another thereby your message combines the two and actually says a third thing. To employ this method it is important to have a good script. Even if you are doing a documentary style video you can write (or extract from the footage) a story that makes sense and treats the audience with respect and intelligence.
Following a workshop I gave for the Sonoma County Volunteer Center I want to give some helpful tips for what makes a valuable marketing video for your organization.
First, you want to keep your video short and concise. We in this country have been raised on short (30 seconds to one minute) commercials on TV. We also have the most sophisticated productions in the world. People have a short attention span due to this conditioning. Most people will not sit through a video that is beyond 10 minutes no matter how compelling you make it.
Know your target audience. Taylor your video to the market you are trying to reach. This may mean that you will have to create many videos if you have several different types of audiences.
Use appropriate language for your audience. If you are trying to reach a younger audience the words you use should reflect that.
Stay tuned for more info about this and other helpful hints.