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Charity Video Video content tips

How to devise a video content strategy for charities

We often find that charities and non-profit organisations struggle to justify spending time and money on content marketing, video included. After all, you and your supporters rightly want to maximise the amount of resource that’s going to where it’s needed most. They don’t want to see donated money wasted on half-hearted Facebook charity videos. However, when video campaigns have the right planning and creativity behind them, they can work wonders in terms of engagement, awareness and conversion. We asked Will, our Junior Video Producer, to unpick what makes a solid video content strategy for third sector organisations.

Charity video content – why is strategy important?

As charities seek to raise awareness, increase engagement and encourage fundraising, many have caught on to the value of video production as the best way to drive those messages home. However, due to a lack of strategic thinking from charities, the return on investment has become difficult to measure and this is having a discouraging impact on engagement with consumers.

This gap between enthusiasm and strategy is highlighted in Raw London’s annual Benchmark Report on video content in the third sector:

While 94% of charities said they see video content playing more of a role in the next 12 months, only 28% said they had a formal strategy in place.

Perhaps this lack of strategy is contributing to charities finding it difficult to prove and measure ROI. Compared to 74% last year, only 50% were confident video provides a good ROI, while a staggering 41% said they didn’t know.

Raw London

With this current issue leaving the third sector in limbo, we thought it would provide a great opportunity to devise a video content strategy for charities. Here we will give a step by step guide on how to prepare and produce amazing video content to boost engagement, awareness and conversion for your charity. So let’s look at the game plan!

A brainstorm meeting in a trendy office

Step 1: What are the objectives for your charity video campaign?

Okay step 1, let’s gain some perspective. Charity marketing is ever changing and evolving as we have seen with the meteoric rise of video content across social platforms. As a charity you should think about your objectives and ponder the inclusion of video content in certain ways. You might ask, what would video content offer? It’s all about awareness, engagement and conversion.

Engagement

63% of charities voted ‘Engagement’ as the most important objective for their video content. This is a significant change from last year, where the results were more evenly split between ‘Awareness’ (22%), ‘Engagement’ (35%) and ‘Conversion’ (39%).

Raw London

As we can see from the quote above, between 2018 and 2019, charities have now stated the impact of engagement has elevated above the other two elements in a drastic manner. For organisations within the third sector, building a relationship, trust and loyalty is crucial for your supporters. Engaging video content will help you achieve this.

Awareness

89% of video marketers say video, in general, gives them a good return on their investment.

Wyzowl

If you don’t stand out from the crowd, your organisation will struggle to survive, let alone attract new supporters. It is estimated there are 166,000 charities in the UK alone. Think about the competition and you will soon realise the importance of awareness. Raising awareness for your charity can be done in numerous ways such as making use of social media platforms, challenging audiences to competitions, fundraising campaigns and sponsoring live events. All of the above examples can work without the use of video, but they’re far more powerful with it. This will also bolster the engagement factor between marketer and consumer as more awareness garners more trust.

Conversion

 90% of consumers claim a video will help them make a purchasing decision.

Social Media Today

Video is essential when it comes to getting supporters to go from casual awareness to genuinely buying in to your charity. Engagement and awareness are hugely beneficial on their own, but it’s difficult to justify video projects if there’s no change to the bottom line. Video content has the power to drastically aid a consumer’s decision on whether to buy a product, support a fundraiser or sign up as a regular giver.

Before you kick off any video content strategy, it’s so important to think about what you’re aiming to get out of it. Is it awareness, engagement, conversion, or a combination of the three?

Step 2: Plan, pitch, prepare and produce

Benjamin Franklin allegedly said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” That said, sometimes just grabbing your phone and filming what’s happening in the moment does actually work. You can create great pieces of content in the moment.

However, do not rule out the benefits of pre-production, it can work wonders! This is where charities may actually be struggling in the strategy department, they can’t jump the first hurdle!

Planning is vital in preparing for the best and worst case scenarios during the video making process. Pre-production can be at times a tedious venture. On the other hand, creative ideas are formed here and along with the help of brainstorming, pitches, storyboards, budget management etc, pre-production will only enhance the efficiency of your video content. It will also help you to think on your feet better, in those moments when you do need to create content on the fly.

Check out this video below of how to pitch and pre-pro your idea. Also, listen to old Benjamin.

Step 3: Get to know your audience

As a third sector organisation, you should work out your demographic. Is it primarily targeting old or young, a specific gender or perhaps a minority? A charity should gain perspective just like in the first step, and strategise how would video content appeal to their target audience.

It is also helpful to contemplate how this material would fit in alongside the blogs, articles and other campaigns made by your charity.

An audience likes a progressive flow of work which links together. Adding the medium of video content into their line of work can influence consumers to stay engaged on your website.. 

Engagement is paramount and content specified to your demographic can really work wonders. An example of this could be a charity who have a young male target audience. An effective way to generate engagement is by creating short form video content as young males want results quickly and generally don’t have much patience. P.S Sorry to young men out there.

Check out this video below as an example of video content being released to a certain type of audience. Dollar Shave Club launched in 2012 with a comedic video, completely different to the way men’s grooming products are usually marketed. The sweary, irreverent style drove 12,000 sales in 48 hours, attracted major press attention, and set the tone for all their content going forward.

Step 4: Use pre-existing charity video content as inspiration

Inspiration goes an incredibly long way.. An intelligent idea for charities to consider is to delve into pre-existing video content created by other organisations in the third sector. It is incredibly helpful to take inspiration from other work when first starting up. We all need a little help at times.

There is an abundance of charity video content out there for you to look at. We’ve posted another blog with some of our favourite examples. It can also be very beneficial to learn from the mistakes other charities make, whether that be the engagement, awareness raised and conversion of sales. So many factors come into play on the success rate of a video produced, so please don’t ignore these and upload a film at 1AM with a poor title and no description…

Looking at the pros and cons of video content production within a non-profit organisation can help you reach your goals. Remember, we all make mistakes. But we must learn from them to grow.

Here is an example of inspiring content during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unicef decided to step up and release a galvanising video to encourage children around the globe that they will not let the pandemic stop their mission.

Step 5: Originality is paramount in charity video content

Take note of the previous step, it is very important… but please don’t just copy. That’s easy, simplistic and boring. Stand out! Taking examples of video content as ideas can help but a charity should always thrive on being original. This is what will draw in more engagement.

If content is king, original content is the Holy Grail. In today’s marketplace, your customers are screaming for exciting, engaging and entertaining original content.

BBT

Think about who you are as an organisation, why you exist, what your tone of voice is, who you’re targeting and how could you could draw them in. Every charity can offer something unique, it may just take some time to find out what it is. But don’t worry, you’ve got past the first hurdle!

Let’s have some examples…

Here we have a ‘Chance to Win’ video created by UFC super star Connor McGregor’s alcohol brand, Proper Whiskey. This style of video is a mixture of primarily photographs and actually very little video content. However it’s quick, entertaining and engaging content. The competition also adds excitement and spark to the video. There has been a strategy put in place!

Let’s look at another example, this time within the third sector. This video is designed to create an emotion from the viewer in an abstract way. These sort of films highlight the importance of originality.

Step 6: Keep creating

By using the previous step as a marker, we can now look at the variety of ways we can create content within the third sector.

Introductory videos, case studies, volunteer stories, fundraising campaigns, highlight reels and celebratory videos are some of the best examples of films created by charities. Short and long form video content is also well received in the third sector and opens the door for you to create as many stories as you would like.

But first… it’s very important to think about planning out a roadmap for posting multiple pieces of video content. From logistics to locations, from cast to crews, the roadmap planned ahead gives you a much a clearer view for the journey video content producing can you take your charity on. For example, if you spend all your budget on one really amazing video, it might perform amazingly for one campaign, but then what’s your strategy after that? This can cause problems for future video content projects, as the logistics may not be the same, which may have a negative impact on the consumer in the long run.

What’s the worst that could happen?

The worst case scenario could be, they believe the organisation has lost money since their great video content in the campaigns before. If a consumer has this thought, they will stop their interest in the charity. The key to remember is, balance between quality and consistency. This not only helps keeps logistics at a similar rate, but also benefits the charity’s reputation of development. Consistency of well made videos will enhance the charity’s reputation of growth as the consumer will be left to want to see more video content!

Please check out our latest blog on the best examples of video content created in the third sector to expand your thoughts on this step. This is also an example of putting step 4 into practice. See what I did!

Now you know your audience, purpose of content and variety of ways to make it come to fruition. Working out a budget for this medium will have an impact on the amount you wish to produce.

Video is also very accessible to anyone with internet access, both to watch and to produce. While there is certainly a trend towards higher quality video on a professional level, anyone can hop onto their laptop and create their own video in under an hour.

Digital Marketing Institute

The two sides of video production

There are two methods a charity can try, separately or together. First is quick video content, which might involve using your phone to shoot and edit. 

This is a relatively quick but incredibly effective method in creating short bursts of video. This can go on continually and there is no budget or planning necessarily required. Charities should take advantage of free and low-cost editing software like iMovie and Adobe Spark. You don’t always have to look externally for help. Many people within a charity can fulfil roles such as scriptwriting, interviewing, editing and camera operating with their phones.

The second option is to go with a professional production company. This may be more expensive, however in many cases it won’t break the bank and won’t involve a van full of equipment and Hollywood production crew.

A good example of a charity that uses both these methods is The Dogs Trust. They combine a mixture of phone recordings with professional production to generate video content. This charity demonstrates to us that both strategies can work together. Here’s a great example of cheap, quick content that does exactly what it needs to do:

Step 7: Where will you publish your charity videos?

A big question, where will you publish your charity video content? The sheer number of different platforms is making this decision a bit of a nightmare for marketers, however this statistic may help:

Facebook remains on top with a staggering 72% voting it the channel that offers the best results for charity videos. This is no surprise – according to the 2018 State of Social Video Report, Facebook was voted the #1 platform where consumers enjoy watching brand videos.

Raw London

However, this doesn’t automatically mean that you should put all your eggs in Facebook’s basket. Go back to step 3 and research your audience. Which platforms are they drawn to most? These stats give you a good sense of who’s on the various social channels:

62% of YouTube users are males.

62% of internet users aged 65+ are on Facebook, as are 72% of 50- to 64-year-olds.

72% of teens use Instagram.

Roughly 50% of TikTok’s global audience is under the age of 34 with 26% between 18 and 24.

Omnicore

It is also entirely possible to create accounts across all platforms as well as a dedicated website page. This tends to be the approach of larger organisations like Unicef, although their larger comms budgets mean it’s easier for them to maintain so many channels.

I should post my charity video on as many platforms as possible, right?

Wrong. It’s generally not a good idea to post the same video on each channel, as different types of content tend to perform better on different platforms. Think about the sort of video the feels ‘native’ to Instagram, vs what feels native on YouTube. At the very least, you should consider reformatting your video to make it fit better on each channel. Adding a variety of new content to different social channels will maximise your chances of raising awareness, and resonating with potential new supporters.

An effective idea to help the engagement process is by having at least one video on your website that explains what your brand, service or product is about. If you do, the average user will spend 88% more time on your site. Other videos can be spread out across social media platforms and your website blogs or posts to increase SEO.

Facebook and YouTube’s own in-built tools are great for insights like audience retention. This shows whether people are watching to the end, and where they’re dropping out if not. Often this can help you pinpoint a specific moment that people are losing interest.

Apps on a mobile phone home screen

You’re good to go!

And there you have it! Go out with this game plan and use it to the best of your ability. Take these steps, and use them in conjunction with each other. This will help the process of devising your video content strategy.

Also, please remember to pay attention to your results and learn from them. A strategy doesn’t guarantee short-term success and it’s important to analyse your video content thoroughly. Get this right and you’ll see great benefits in the long term. Revisiting old content and use it as a stepping stone to produce more exciting and engaging content each time.

There are various ways we can help you achieve your goals – whether it’s producing content for you, training your team on self-shooting and editing, or helping you devise a content strategy. If you’re interested in working with us, please fill in the contact form or book a 30-minute meeting with Ben.

A man pointing at post-it notes on an office whiteboard