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It’s the goal of every nonprofit that creates a video –
creating a video that has impact. Examining what makes video have an impact was
the topic of TechSoup’s recent Digital Storytelling
Challenge tweet chat. The deadline for submissions is February 29 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time, so there's still time to take these tips and apply them to your digital story!
Joining the chat were experts behind some memorable
nonprofit videos Christina Samala, Director
of Online Strategy & Media for The
Story of Stuff Project; Kirthi
Nath, Media Producer and Filmmaker at Cinemagical
Media; and Mike Bonifer, co-founder
and CEO of GameChangers, LLC.
the hour-long chat on Twitter, nonprofit video experts and audience shared thoughts on
what makes powerful videos, technical aspects of creating video that leads to
action, and techniques to ensure a video gets shared.
Creating a short video that has meaningful impact might seem
daunting but isn’t impossible. Effective storytelling requires distilling the
message you want to get across without diluting its importance. Stories that
make an impact are honest, connect emotionally, and open a dialogue with the viewer.
A story should connect to the organization’s value proposition and invite the
viewer to join the organization. The story does not end when the on-screen
action comes to a conclusion, instead it continues when the viewer joins the
organization. The invitation to join, or call to
action, gives viewers a task that involves them in the continuing narrative
of the story. A good call to action is simple, feels valuable to the cause, and
opens the door for further engagement.
Creating a video with impact requires developing a story concept
and turning it into a script. One expert tip offered by Samala is to share your
story concept in conversation and note where your listener reacts before
committing to a script. A story need not be linear, according to Bonifer, and deviating
from a linear structure leaves stories open to be built upon.
There are many
ways to tell a story and most organizations already have some of the
ingredients at their disposal to get started. Testimonials,
for instance, can be immensely powerful, particularly if they employ
charismatic volunteers or constituents. Larger stories can be broken down into
shorter stories that give the viewer something to come back to.
Once a video is developed it needs to be easy to find on the
Internet and connect back to the organization. It’s unfortunate but visual
thumbnails, easy-to-find links to the organization’s website, and video
descriptions are often overlooked when videos are uploaded. Visual thumbnails
matter because they provide some context when users search for video.
advises organizations to add their site’s URL at the top or before the video
description so it is not overlooked. Video descriptions also give viewers
content and optimize the video for search engines.
It’s also advisable to add
captions and annotations to. Captions make video accessible to the hearing
impaired or those who speak different languages. YouTube includes captioning tools but,
because they’re not always accurate, require verification. Annotations can
emphasize and direct viewers to a call to action. Both captions and
annotations, like music, can add to the story if they are used judiciously.
Stories can have an impact even without the latest video
tools. A well-developed story that’s honest and connects emotionally is what
matters. Organizations interested in learning more about creating video can do
so by signing up for upcoming Digital
Storytelling events or join the TechSoup
Susan ChavezOnline Community & Social Media Team, TechSoup Global@Susan_Chavez