“We don’t need professional video! Our staff shoots phone videos!”
Every conservation organization should be producing vlog-style videos with smartphones. They’re inexpensive. They’re staff-generated. And they show the places and faces behind the work you do.
But but but (you had to figure there was a BUT in here somewhere).
There is a difference between staff-generated vlog videos created with smartphones and more professional filmed and produced videos.
Lots of organizations dismiss hiring professional videographers for no other reason than “Hey, our staff is already creating videos with their phones!”
I hear that often at WorkCabin Creative.
The difference is purpose
I’ve watched literally thousands of videos shot by organizations’ employees. Many are terrific and informative. And 99 per cent of those thousands of videos are all one type of video: Vlogging videos. That’s perfectly OK! In fact, it’s fantastic! However vlogging doesn’t mean your organization is filling the void lost by not telling other narratives in more professional productions.
Truth bomb: Staff-generated smartphone vlog videos are typically quick hit content on social media. They are almost always 90 per cent talking head videos. These mini videos, by their nature, are all about being fast to create and post. They have a short shelf life. They are in-the-moment glimpses of the work you do. And they fade from memory a few hours or days after being posted. That’s because they are typically one-and-done videos. That doesn’t mean they are not valuable. They are! But you need to be incredibly consistent pumping them out because you need many of them over time to build a narrative on social media.
Your video library needs two tiers
Look, I’m not trying to convince you that you absolutely need more professionally filmed and produced videos in your mix. That’s up to you. But I can tell you this: Many organizations know that a video library usually has two tiers. Those tiers usually consist of 1) Internally created videos (many with a smartphone) by employees. They aren’t as slick. But they communicate some simple themes. And you can churn them out weekly. But you rarely re-use them. They live briefly on social media and then they fade. And then there are 2) Professional videos that become signature pieces in your library. They are about conveying brand image and a narrative. They get used over and over again on social media, at events, and as THE link to point traffic to on YouTube, as a marketing tool for campaigns, and for outreach to prospective customers, donors, and supporters. That’s the big difference between 1) and 2).
A signature trailer is about who you are and what you do
WorkCabin Creative shoots lots of videos for environmental organizations, especially, that are already doing vlogging. But these organizations realize that they need another kind of video too. Signature ones. These videos ‘show’ the ideals of their brand and have a call to action that makes these videos one of the organization’s most valued go-to tools for marketing annual causes, events or campaigns. Often, these videos are not even intended for the general public, although they can be. Organizations invest in these more professional videos because they are aiming them at a very specific target market that are more likely to do an action after watching just this one video. Links to these videos are often included in email campaigns. Each video is made with this powerful impact and ROI (return on investment) in mind.
Staff talking head vlogs are ‘tell’ not ‘show’
Watch most organizations’ employee-generated talking-head vlog videos made with phones. And then watch an organization’s more professional signature trailer. Yes, there’s a big difference. Vlogs are almost always more ‘tell’ not ‘show’. Also, count the number of actual scenes. The vlog videos tend to be one continuous scene. The signature videos are ‘show’ not ‘tell’. They are more fast paced, contain numerous scenes, and are crafted to ‘show’ a narrative that generates an emotional response.
Yes, vlogs are awesome and useful. But they aren’t the same as signature videos or professional trailers for your brand.
Savvy organizations know there’s more to telling their story and marketing their brand than just in-house created vlogs.
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