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Be brave and take risks with your video content!

It wasn’t so long ago that using video content for fundraising, marketing or internal comms would have made your organisation stand out from the crowd. Simply communicating with your target audience through video was enough to differentiate a brand.

Since those heady days where video content was king, things have changed! Video is still the most effective way of getting a message across and changing behaviours, and the preferred format for audiences around the world. But things have also moved on and audiences are becoming desensitised to much of the content that is broadcast on social media channels, websites and other platforms. To create effective video content these days we need to up the ante and be ambitious if we want to change behaviours and see outstanding results.

Same old video content vs. taking risks

Earlier this year I was approached by a company that asked me to film an employee in their home for a crowdfunding page. Tom had been diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare and progressive neurological condition, and his colleagues wanted to raise money for vital alterations to his home so that he and his family can continue to live together.

Tom’s employer envisaged a short video showing Tom at home to highlight the issues he faces. Crowdfunding websites suggest shooting a video to support a campaign and statistically those with videos are more successful than those without.

However, in this desensitised age we live in, I didn’t think a few shots of Tom at home would have the impact desired. In fact, I felt that the company would be throwing their money away commissioning a video production company to produce this type of content.

Instead I encouraged them to take a risk and be brave. To use the power of emotion to tell a story and really inspire the audience to take action – in this case to donate to the Tomathon crowdfunding page.

While some reservations were expressed, Tom’s employer did take a risk and commissioned a full day’s shoot involving Tom, his family and carers. I believe the video really tells Tom’s story on an emotional level, and that’s what is engaging people and inspiring them to donate. Of course, we can’t make any claims that without the video the crowdfunding target wouldn’t have been achieved. However, I think that it has made a difference and that’s because we’ve been ambitious and told a story rather than just presenting a case.

Our client, Tom’s employer, agrees. They say: “Your video is having a real impact and I have had many comments that people are extremely moved by what they see.

The impact on the Crowdfunder site is we have got to over £13k in about 12 days from launch – which I think is a fantastic response … and certainly on track for our target.”

The Tomathon target of £20,000 was achieved within a month, enabling the fundraising team to raise further funds with a ‘stretch target’ of £30,000. When the crowdfunding campaign ended last week they had raised £31,395.

Create video that uses the power of emotion

Part of the success of the video, and others like it, is that it’s content that people want to share and support. Using the power of emotion it not only encourages people to donate but also to get behind the campaign and share with others.

But again people see a vast amount of content on their channels and therefore if you want someone to engage with your video content and share it (which is essentially a form of endorsement), it has to be powerful.

In Tom’s case this has resulted in not just friends, family and colleagues donating to his personal cause but also complete strangers. In fact the video has been picked up by a medical organisation, Digital Health, and shared to a wider audience on their platforms. With the right story, and the right channels, it’s possible to create content that exceeds expectations and delivers outstanding results.

Rob Edmonds

Author Rob Edmonds

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