It’s time to get a grip on your video strategy.

The popularity of online video has exploded in recent years. But many non-profits have been slow to catch on, with excuses ranging from “we don’t have the budget” to “our audiences aren’t interested.” But with more and more online content taking video form, it’s a part of your PR strategy you can’t you afford to ignore.

It’s been predicted that by 2019, 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be dedicated to watching video content.

And Facebook and Snapchat both reported earlier this year that videos on their platforms were receiving over 8 billion views per day. Combined with YouTube, whose total is only marginally lower, these add up to a staggering number of videos being watched daily.

Clearly, digital video is here to stay.

Marketers in the private sector have been quick to capitalise on this trend, with 96% of B2B organisations using video as part of their online marketing.

But many charities and other non-profits are lagging behind – a recent survey suggested that less that half of all UK charities are regularly posting video content online.

So what’s your excuse for not using video?

Our work doesn’t translate to film

Some charities have an easier ride than others when it comes to making their work visual.

After all, an animal rescue charity has a more photogenic film subject than, say, an organisation whose purpose is to campaign for policy reform in local government. But this doesn’t mean you can’t do video if your work isn’t obviously visually compelling.

Video allows you to get a lot of information across in a short space of time, and has the benefit of being able to make dry subjects interesting. Through the use of animation, infographics and personal stories, video can make a difficult subject far more accessible.

Our marketing budget is better spent elsewhere

In a world of already-tight marketing and PR budgets, some charities are hesitant to add another activity to their PR plan. But this misses the added value that video brings in terms of reach.

The ‘shareability’ of video content can help you reach a far wider audience than other types of content – for example, videos on Facebook are shared 1,200 times more than links and text posts combined.

Video doesn’t have to be expensive, and it gives you more ‘bang for your buck’ than many other types of communication.

We already have lots of content online

For charities whose shift into the digital world has been slow (and let’s face it, there’s a lot of them), digital marketing already seems to take up a large chunk of the comms budget. The idea of bringing video content into the mix can be overwhelming.

But far from being an ‘add-on’, video acts as a catalyst for engagement, driving traffic to your website and other online content.

Pages that contain video are more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results, meaning people are more likely to find you. People also spend more time on web pages with videos on them – so having video content on your site means they will stick around for longer, making your existing online content more valuable.

We need to focus on fundraising

Aside from the fact that videos can be an excellent way of fundraising (crowdfunding campaigns that include a video are 85% more likely to succeed), they have a wide range of comms functions beyond bringing in cash.

Like any good content marketing, videos build your brand, making your charity and its messages more memorable.

They can promote behaviour change, like the excellent ‘Chokeables’ first aid film from St John’s Ambulance.

They can increase supporter engagement, as did this ‘Thank you’ video campaign from Charity:Water.

And they can have a profound effect on how your cause is viewed, like the ‘If London Were Syria’ video from Save the Children, which received over 50 million views on YouTube and had a direct impact on changing perceptions of the Syrain refugee crisis.

Build a video strategy

Whatever your excuse is for not using video, it’s impossible to escape the fact that it has already become an integral part of every day online experience and will only continue to grow in the future. To avoid being left behind, it’s crucial to embrace video for what it is: a powerful asset for your PR strategy.

Written by Liz Bell

Liz Bell is a freelance copywriter, publicist and communications consultant for the third sector. Her blog at www.lizbellmedia.co.uk contains lots more resources and tips for communicating more effectively.

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