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Top 10 tips for making an NGO video

I’ve made a lot of videos over the years, from talking heads and infographics to user generated videos and flashmobs.  Here are a few tips for making a video that I’ve learned along the way:

1. Firstly you need to define your objectives. I know that sounds obvious, but is video really the right medium to achieve your goals. What is your budget? Where will you be showing your video? Who’s going to be in charge of managing the video production? How will you measure the return on investment?

2. Content is Queen. To make your video work you need to try and get inside the heads of your target audience. What is the purpose of your video? There are many types of video: talking heads, raising awareness of a humanitarian issue, fundraising, user generated content, documentaries, developing brand awareness and so on. A lot of charities use celebrities to highlight issues. Is this right for your NGO and what will it achieve?

3. Be inventive. There are thousands and thousands of videos which have been produced by NGOs. How do you cut through and make your video shine? If you want to see some examples of great video sign up to the dailydogooder - it is a great place to start if you need some inspiration.

4. Optimise your videos for search engines. Videos on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo often appear on the first page of the search engine results page (SERPS). In addition In addition YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. It is important to add useful metadata such as file names, titles, tags and descriptions to ensure your videos are found. Getting your videos to the top of search engines involves many variables such as number of views, number of comments, number of shares, ratings, back links etc. Also make sure you follow the conversation and respond to comments.

5. Ensure that your video ties in with your NGOs digital media or social media guidelines. Does your organisation have standard assets such as title bars, intros and outros.

6. Make sure your video portrays your brand’s tone of voice and is informed by overall corporate objectives.

7. Making a viral video. Viral videos can quickly get your brand concern out to a wide audience, but there is no guaranteed way to “make” a video viral. However just look at the success of Kony2012 by Invisible Children. This was achieved by a relatively small organisation with no previous success with viral videos. Their seeding strategy was key to their success. They already had half a million followers. Luckily along the way Oprah picked up about the campaign and tweeted several times and from there the seed was truly sown. They also targeted “20 culture makers and 12 policy makers”. But at the end of the day, the video was beautifully made and it had compelling content.

8. Plan, plan, plan. A storyboard however basic will save you time and money. Videographers will be charging you by the hour. You are paying for the time – use it wisely. Please don’t waste it on carrying equipment from one place to another very often.

9. Measure your ROI and learn from your mistakes. Consider where you want your videos to be viewed. Most OVPs come with great analytics tools. YouTube statistics include number of views, demographics of viewers, geographical data etc. You can download stats into spreadsheets if you want to analyse the data further. It’s important to view these stats, but you must relate these back to your objectives in order to measure ROI.

10. Be creative.

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