Video is the most consumed content type online. It’s an easy, interesting way to get your point across as well as being easily consumed by audiences and frankly doesn’t require too much concentration. But in order for the video to get to audiences it’s got to go out via a platform, especially if we are talking about campaign or news videos.
So we asked two of the leading experts in the world of video; Mel Edgar, Head of Video at the Daily Mirror and Joe Pickover, Deputy Head of Video at The Press Association to give the audience at our Video Breakfast Seminar their view of what makes a good campaign video.
In case you missed it here are the key tips to nailing your campaign videos:
1. It has to be a good idea.
This may sound obvious (and somewhat objective) but it’s the most important thing and is often missed by people who are keen to get a video out regardless of its quality.
Mel commented that ‘all websites want video with a purpose to it’. Ultimately there needs to be a story, don’t assume that sticking a celebrity in your video will automatically make it stronger. If there’s no purpose to it won’t get picked up and more importantly it probably won’t get watched.
‘Real people make good videos.’ Case studies are a great example of this. If you’re looking at health videos for example (to pick up on a question from the Q&A session) why not show how an illness effects someone’s everyday life. There needs to be angle or something that can be written about, especially when selling a video to news sites. If publications can’t talk about your video why would they publish it?
2. Think about what’s important for an audience.
As well as coming up with an idea that fits your campaign, also think about what it’s giving your audience. Is there information within it that they can use or take away? Is there something that they can feel empathy towards? Does it raise awareness of an issue? Is it something that will entertain them?
Your campaigns are the most important things to you, as PRs or brands. You work hard on them but if the audience doesn’t engage with them they aren’t going to succeed. Remember that not all campaigns work well with video so don’t try and shoe horn one in just to tick a box. Think about your campaign and ask yourself if the video you have in mind is really going to make a difference to people.
As we’ve said video doesn’t work for all campaigns, and that is true, but also that not all types of video work for all campaigns. But just because one type of video doesn’t work why not try a different angle and do something different.
One point that reoccurred throughout the seminar was an overwhelming dislike of vox-pop or talking head videos amongst the video community. These were considered boring, unimaginative and repetitive. But why not do something else with them? If you are keen to get your case study or campaign spokesperson talking about their story or the issues surrounding your subject matter why not use that as a voice over and make the footage a little more active.
Looking at health campaigns again, why not show how an illness effects your case studies abilities to perform every day functions, or how they’ve over come challenges. Think outside the box.
If you’re working on a food campaign, why not show audiences how to make a recipe using your product in a different way. Instead of talking them through it, why not use on screen graphics?
Maybe showcase your product or a travel location using a stunt to show it in a most visually interesting way and grab people’s attention.
Why not get rid of captured footage all together and create an animated infographic video? There’s really a lot you can do with video that can not only interest audiences but help you boost your chances of pick up. Just make sure that whatever you are doing has a purpose and works for your campaign.
4. Think about who you are sending your video to.
Video desks work closely with news desks, so if you’re going to approach them, remember that they are busy people who have their days planned out.
When Mel gets in to the office at 6 to 6.30 she begins picking stuff up from overnight. This is when the strongest stories are being prioritised meaning it is an almost certainty that your video will be overlooked. If you’re sending a big hard hitting story, send it in around 7 to 7.30. For more light hearted stuff, which is always welcomed, wait until any time after 10 am. The same goes for Joe. Knowing your video specialists and their timelines is hugely beneficial to getting your videos picked up.
Given their busy schedules it’s best not to waste time with lengthy phone calls. Email them your content. Don’t make your subject heading too long. Keep it straight to the point and let them know what to expect in your email. If you do want to phone them, give them a call in advance to let them know that something is on its way to their inbox.
Videos should be MP4s and under 4 minutes long. They should also be submitted without subtitles and graphics to allow publications to make their own edits with their own fonts.
Embargos divided opinion. For the Mirror Online they are a no when it comes to video content. According to Mel they are likely to come in only to be forgotten by the embargo date. For the Press Association however, they are more likely to take it as they can then distribute the content to publications for you, if it is sent to them in advance of the embargo deadline.
Keep your eyes peeled for future events!