Video is the First Step, Not the Last
Your non-profit invests a couple thousand dollars into a video. You post it on facebook and your blog and then expect it to go viral. It doesn’t happen and your video gets maybe 200 hits. You’re bummed. All the hard work, and what to show for it?
Too many nonprofits just put their video on one or two sites and hope it’ll be seen. Here’s some tips:
Create a Distribution Plan
Brainstorm with your staff and key supporters about who they have connections to. Find ways to be resourceful and far-reaching.
Start with online channels such as email newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Vimeo and Youtube. Include offline channels like events and meetings.
When the video is released, set a time when everyone on your staff promotes it on as many channels as possible.
Create a Campaign
Invisible Children, charity: water and the Girl Effect have had great success with video because they see video as the first step to inspiring action, not the last. Videos are most successful when used in campaigns because the video experience is tied to a meaningful, urgent goal.
Having a larger campaign strategy will ensure that viewers know exactly what action to take to act on their inspiration.
Recognize that your existing networks are limited. Reach out to your top supporters and ask them to be campaign ambassadors- sharing videos, fundraising and activating their networks.
Create a holistic viewer experience
In order for your video to achieve your desired outcomes, you need to have a clear
way for your audience to experience it. View your video as one tool of engagement
that needs to be supplemented with other experiences.
Think about the action that you want your audience to take and think through how
they will be compelled to take that step. Think about a few questions:
• How do they learn about your video?
• Who tells them about it?
• What is the action they take after seeing it?
• How do they share your video?
• How do they donate?
You don’t want viewers to have any confusion about how they can give or get
involved. Make your actions as simple, straightforward and easy as possible.
Influencers & Partnerships
Influencers are people whose actions create ripples (especially online). Identify influencers in your target audience’s media spheres and target them. We keep a list of distribution avenues to pursue, some of which our work has been featured on already and others that we want to reach out to. These include blogs on a wide range of topics, video curation sites, e-zines, people on twitter who have influence etc.
This week our short film The Last Waterman of Wittman was featured on the front page of vimeo and got over 11,500 views- all because of some strategic tagging on twitter which got in front of the vimeo staff.
You can also use promotion partners to augment the breadth of your distribution channels. Reach out and ask different non-profits or businesses to join as a promotion partner. Partners may be willing to help you raise awareness and share your video online too. High quality content is in high demand, so offering others the ability to feature your video, is like giving them a gift. But they will do so only if your video addresses their target audience’s emotional needs.
Take away: Create a solid distribution plan which utilizes the power of your (and your supporters’) networks, partnerships and influencers to help your video get seen. Create a comprehensive campaign strategy to ensure that your audience’s inspiration from your video will be converted to meaningful action.
What lessons have you learned about creating great distribution strategies?
This wraps up our 3 day series on the 3 greatest mistakes in non-profit video. Read the other two articles here and here. These 3 mistakes provide the foundation for the free e-book we wrote with CauseVox called The Starter Guide to Non-Profit Video Storytelling. Download it here to learn more strategies for success.