There is no doubt that video can be an incredibly effective communications tool, especially when you need a powerful way to tell a story. When partnered with other tools, like social media posts, blogs, ads, etc., a great video can be the element that inspires your audience and drives them to act on your message.
The hard part, of course, is making that video not just good, but great. Great video achieves its goal; it’s effective. Effective videos require a meaningful investment of resources, including time, talent, and (often, but not always) money; naturally you want to make sure you get it right.
So, what makes a video not just good, but great effective? How can you be sure that video is going to reinforce and amplify your message? That it will move your audience and inspire them? That it will grab their attention, raise their emotions, and convince them to answer your call to action? That it will, put simply, succeed?
In the end, the only way to know whether you succeeded is to define clear goals before you start, and the first step in defining those goals is another question entirely; one that we ask of everyone that comes in the door seeking a great video:
While it seems like a simple question, the answer will guide you and your team through the entire process of creation and inspiration. Getting a handle on why you want to use “video” in general, why you want to create THIS video specifically, and what you hope your video will accomplish, will help determine everything that follows, from the initial investment you make in production all the way through to the market where you release it. The better you understand “why”, the better your answers will be to every subsequent question, and the more effective your video will be when you’re done.
The answer to “why video?” isn’t always simple, so start by breaking it down into smaller questions: What do you want the audience to do after seeing your video? How quickly do you want them to act? What critical elements of this campaign can’t be fully captured in accompanying marketing, like social media and blogs? You want to use these questions to reach the heart of why this video is essential in getting your message to your audience and inspiring them to action.
In order to make the most of your production investment, you need to know that purpose from the very beginning of this process. Are you asking them to make a donation? Do you need them to volunteer time? How about wanting them to share your message with others? Call in your marketing team; maybe even get some thoughts from outside your organization for an even broader perspective. The goal is to refine your purpose into a single statement that answers the question of why video is the best way to inspire this action.
From here you will be able to see whether or not you need a combination of image and sound to move your audience, and if your investment in video is the best method to pass your message. When you can identify the specific purpose of your video early on you will end up with a clear picture at the end of production that both moves and inspires your audience.
Video is probably the most active form of media we use in telling stories and sharing messages. A reader can passively skim an article or scroll through a post on social media, but video engages multiple senses. Your audience can see AND hear what your organization represents. Imagery can inspire more powerfully than words, and motion can add urgency and grace to those images. Music in the background, or even the tone of someone’s voice, can change and enhance a viewer’s emotional response. And because video, done well, can be so compelling the action you want your audience to take is less likely to be ignored or missed. Instead, they are moved, hopefully even inspired.
And when your audience is moved and inspired, your video has been effective. And being effective is what makes a video not just good, but great.