AM&P Annual Meeting Recap: 5 Ways Associations Can Expand Their Audience Through Video

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By Erica Roth


“A picture is worth a thousand words,” as the saying goes, and in fact, an estimated 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.


It only follows that engagement strategies aimed at expanding an association’s audience should take advantage of how people naturally absorb information. In a world where 30 million people visit YouTube in a single day, that means video.


Jeff Martin, director of communications and public affairs for the American Anthropological Association (AAA), and Kate Super, founder and executive producer at Sidford House Media, presented their top tips on how to use video to expand an audience at Association Media and Publishing’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on June 25-27, 2018.


1. Tell a story

“We all know storytelling. We’ve been doing it since cavemen and women put stories on the walls,” Martin says. The human element of storytelling — the heart-tugging details — makes people care about what they’re hearing and seeing and feel like they’re part of the action.


Recommended storytelling components include:

  • Start with the heart, follow through with the head. Begin with images that evoke emotion, then present facts and figures. Make the audience care to see the video through to the end.
  • Add a hero and a villain. Good stories need a problem to solve and a flawed, but relatable, hero and villain fit the bill perfectly. Conflict spices up the scene, heightens the tension and makes the viewer want to know what happens in the end.
  • Make it visual. It may seem obvious to make a video visual, but many associations err on the side of caution and produce a corporate video that fails to grab the attention of their audience. Shake it up a little and start with the conflict right away to set the scene.
  • Make it personal. Use real members to make the story as relatable as possible.
  • Inject a surprise. Add an element of surprise if possible, to avoid being predictable or boring. This doesn’t have to be earth shattering, but could be a surprising fact or statistic about membership or the topic at hand.


2. Solve a problem

Sometimes association members feel disconnected from their organization and community, Super says. Try to bridge this disconnect by creating content that makes the viewer feel like they are part of the community — part of the solution. Associations can do this by asking their community what problems or questions they have?


3. Embrace your brand

An association can help members and the larger audience understand its mission and goals by giving them quality content that’s consistently on-brand. Knowing what the organization is and what it stands for will keep members coming back. Two simple ways to do this through video are to shoot each spot in a consistent style and to place the association logo in the same spot each time.


4. Create connections

Engage an audience to keep them thinking about a video they’ve seen and wanting to share it outside their community is a true win. A great video everyone’s talking about may help retain current members or bring in prospective members. Even if they don’t join the association, at the very least, they’ll be aware of its mission and goals.


5. Lift up your community.

See what thought leaders in similar areas are doing — in their organization, in their promotional materials, in their mission. Use video to celebrate people in the community and say thank you to viewers.


Bonus Tip: I’ve made a video, now what?

Producing a video or a series is just the first step. Next comes hosting and promoting to get the most value out of it. Martin suggests rolling multiple videos out over time to get audiences hooked. Then slowly feed them more. Promoting or teasing each spot on social media creates interest and helps build out that world incrementally. Take advantage of multipurposing across social platforms to get more bang for your buck, Martin says.


Erica Roth is a communications specialist-writer for the American Physiological Society. Association Media & Publishing thanks Erica for her stellar job covering this session from the AM&P Annual Meeting for our members who were unable to attend.