A strategic approach to video content

This article is based on a talk that Ryan Wilkins, Founder & CEO of Raw London, gave at a taster event for the International Fundraising Congress (IFC). Interested in the future of fundraising and beyond? Sign up for IFC 2019 now.

Today I’m going to talk about video from a creative storytelling perspective.

We can draw on what we know about our supporter experience and donor journey and use this insight to inform our video strategy.

Why use video content?

Video can be a powerful tactic and tool when paired with insights from your donor journey.

80% of consumers believe videos are helpful when making purchases or donations (Source: Blue Corona). For example, before making a donation, you might look for how to videos or search for videos about a charity’s impact.

And charities know this. 63% of charities say engagement is the primary objective of their video content (Raw London benchmark report 2019).

In the previous two years, conversion is what charities wanted to get from their content, but now that’s switched to engagement. Charities are realising that engagement is important as you will often not get that conversion the first time.

For example, if you walked straight up to someone at a pub without an introduction, they’ll be unlikely to engage with you. But if you have met them several times before, they’re much more likely to talk to you.

Video can be used in the same way, helping engage with supporters so that when you’re ready to make that donation ask, they’re more likely to support you.

Content mapping against supporter journeys

You can also map video content against your supporter journey.

If someone is unaware of your charity, you can create a brand promo video to drive awareness. This needs to be punchy and have high production values to set a good example from the beginning.

They might then research more about you, so “About us” content will do well here and you can create an explainer video about the work your charity does.

From there, they might follow you on social media, so you want to create a series of videos optimised for social media, so they might be square or in vertical format.

Next you can engage more with supporters and encourage them to donate, so this is where the ask to donate comes in and it’s where traditional campaign films, showing the impact of the charity, are most effective.

But it doesn’t end there. You also want to create advocacy and loyalty. This could be anything from a thank you video, to practical advice and support that your service users might want.

And in the longer term, you might create legacy content, encouraging longer term support such as giving via wills.

As your audience moves from aware to fully engaged, your audience’s needs change as they move closer to your brand. That means that the type of content they’ll be served needs to be adapted according to where they are on the journey.

You can’t achieve everything with one video

If you try to make one video generate brand awareness, raise funds, and build your community, it won’t work.

You’ll end up trying to fit so much into one film, it ends up not being effective to achieve any of those things.

Remain strong and focus on the one thing you want the video to achieve, and where that fits on the user journey for your charity.

Let’s look at a content framework that will help you plan out your video content.

Hero, Hub and Help – a content framework

This is a powerful and simple framework that enables you to rate content according to how close someone is to your charity.

Hero content is served up at the start of the user journey, at the unaware phase. It’s big picture, entertaining, inspirational and most like an advert you’ll see on TV.

Because of this, it’s higher budget.

Scope’s #DisabilityGamechangers is an example of this, with strong powerful content that is quite shareable, and would aim to convert people from unaware to aware. Using archive footage in a quick way grabbed attention, but they also followed up with help content in the form of articles on their website.

Hub content is in the warmer part of the journey, where you’re turning aware audiences into supporters. This kind of content features storytelling, is more emotional and features people.

This example from the International Rescue Committee is a powerful film that tells the story of one of their beneficiaries to brilliant effect:

Help content is much more for current supporters, giving them help and advice. It’s more practical content. Help content is low budget and doesn’t need to be as polished, so you can often do this in house.

This film from Marie Curie is talking directly to beneficiaries and families who have very specific questions.This is part of a series of videos to help support Marie Curie’s helplines, with videos created around the most powerful topics.

Something like 87% of people have watched this video to the end, so people are really finding this content valuable.

Key Takeaways

Here are some key takeaways on creating a video strategy for your charity:

  1. Be Audience Aware: Look at your video comments and discussion on your social media channels. What are people asking for? How are they responding to the content you’re putting out? Video can be a bit of a vanity project for charities, but focus on your audience and listen to what they want.
  2. Be Clear: Content should work together to achieve clear objectives. Resist trying to fit too much into one video, but instead focus on what that piece of video content is doing to move your support along the user journey.
  3. Be Helpful: How can you be more aware, more reactive, more helpful for your supporters? Come back to your supporters’ questions and answer them through video content.

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