Adding Video to Your Content Strategy Doesn’t Have to be a Major Time Suck

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About a year ago, John Bond, founder of Riverwinds Consulting, decided to try his hand at creating videos. More than 50 videos later, Bond is very happy with his success and even more convinced that societies and associations could benefit from a low-cost and small-staff approach to creating videos. “We have all seen the stats on the explosive growth of video. I have had success with about 50 short videos that I created simply with my phone. The cost was nearly zero,” he says. “Associations tend to be really lagging in this area. I think it’s probably a staffing issue. Most associations can’t dedicate an entire team of specialists to produce professional footage. If you’re worried about quality, remember, pretty much all major news networks are showing public-submitted smartphone video on the nightly news. And it won’t take nearly as much work as you think.” Sidebar: Do you consider yourself to be tech savvy? John Bond Bond: I do. But it’s important to get across how simple it is to make video. If you’re not tech savvy, it might sound like there are a lot of hurdles in there. Many of them are a lot easier to clear than you think and for every single step in the process, there are hundreds of user-made videos on how to do it. With a smartphone or a laptop, you can be making a video by the end of the day. Sidebar: What advice would you give associations who want to give video a try? Bond: Probably the most important lesson I learned is that it did not take nearly as much time as I thought it would. After the first couple, it took me about 2 hours to write the script, record it, edit it, and post it. That’s important, because once you start posting them, you need to keep doing it. We’ve all gone to video channels that have five videos and nothing for the past several years. That doesn’t look good. I do all my videos for the month at once and then schedule them. As for actually making the video, I recommend:

  • Write your script in conversational style. If I was talking about the most recent “Game of Thrones” episode, I’d be fine talking off the top of my head. But because I’m talking about precise things, I want to make sure I don’t miss anything. That doesn’t mean I need to sound like I’m reading from a script.
  • Keep it short. I’ve found the sweet spot to be about 2-3 minutes. Sometimes, if I’m getting really comprehensive, I’ll go 7-8 minutes. I think it’s better to do a series of videos rather than one all-encompassing video. Many times, people have the inclination to make one video and stuff everything in there. Remember that most people are watching on their phone. They will probably not be settling in for a long haul.
  • Get comfortable with how you’re going to film. I simply started with an iPhone and a $10 tripod. It’s that simple. I eventually bought a teleprompter app so I could read the script right from my phone, which is where I was looking anyway.
  • Play around with the background. It doesn’t have to be totally blank. Some environment can add a more personal feel. But you don’t want it to be distracting, out of focus, or have a dog barking in the background.People will be turned off by that.
  • Video editing. For just starting off, there is no reason to do much if any editing. If you learn more and decide to do more, that’s great. But I don’t do much other than chop a little off the front and the end. A short video with a solid script can be done with almost no editing.
  • Get it online. There is a debate about posting just on your own site or posting through a site like YouTube. Some associations don’t want to lose the web views if people watch the video on YouTube. Of course, YouTube is the second largest browser in the world, so the exposure is far greater if the video is there. On most sites, once you register, you are just a couple clicks from getting it uploaded.
Sidebar: What do you recommend for content? Bond: What I’m doing is strictly geared to education. In our open-access, wiki era, free education is an important step to developing community, and it’s an important way to promote as well. The videos may be geared toward your members, but the general public will find them too. For some associations, representing their industry and informing the public is part of their mission. So this is great for them. Some associations are not as focused on that. Videos are great for member communication, article abstracts, new issue release introductions, book launch, and many other items. There are great statistics for all of these. Video abstracts, for example, have been shown to increase the open rate for articles by 20-1,000 percent. That’s a crazy one. I’ve found that filming sessions at conferences doesn’t get many views. When people see the video is 37 minutes, a lot of them will pass it over. (Additionally, videos under 90 seconds see average retention of 53 percent, video over 30 minutes retain 10 percent.) I’d suggest, if you’re going to post the session video, make a 1-minute summary of the session. Link that to the full video. If they know they can get an idea of what it is quickly, you will probably hook more people. Additional Facts John Bond Thinks You Should Know via the WordStream Blog • More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day. • 87 percent of online marketers use video content. • Over 50 percent of video content is viewed on mobile. • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49 percent faster than non-video users. • 59 percent of executives say that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video.