Secrets of Compelling Video Content

Producing video has become more than a novelty — for association publishers, it’s a necessity.

By Carla Kalogeridis

If video is not part of your association’s content strategy, you are missing out on opportunities on so many different levels: increasing member engagement, expanding your audience, non-dues revenue, and more.

Of course, just like any type of content, you’ve got to do more than just push videos out there — the video you create needs to be strategic and compelling. Here are some tips from Bloomberg Content Service — a provider of global business and finance video, photos, and data — on creating compelling video content:

1. What’s your strategic objective? Before the first second of video is shot, association publishers need to have a firm grasp on their strategic objectives. If the priority is traffic, emphasize shorter segments for easier sharing. If the goal is engaging an existing audience, consider producing longer segments that cater to specialized interests.

For example, the Automotive Industry Action Group recently hosted its annual Customs Town Hall. About 12 experts spoke throughout the day, and presentations were geared toward a specific topic related to automotive logistics and trends in international trade. Instead of writing an article about each session for the association’s e-newsletter, AIAG’s publishing team found a quiet corner in the meeting venue and asked each speaker to do a short video interview. Three questions were sent out in advance, and the speakers had already signed release forms before they arrived at the conference. The editor sat off-camera and prompted the speaker by asking the questions. Responses were under two-minutes each. During the editing phase, the editor’s voice was removed, and the speaker’s responses to each question flowed seamlessly from one topic to the next.

The result? AIAG’s e-newsletter editor wrote a short intro about each video and then linked to the interview in the e-newsletter. Speakers touched on the most important points made in their presentations, resulting in series of short, impactful summaries of each session.

2. Is there opportunity to monetize your video? If your primary goal is monetization (non-dues revenue), build your video content around advertiser-friendly categories, just as you would if you were trying to attract advertisers from a specific industry sector to your print publication. This type of video content can be designed to accommodate a variety of pre-roll, on-screen, or other kinds of ads, says Bloomberg.

3. Can you tell a story? Interviews are only one kind of video content — video narratives can also be compelling. Remember that while it’s important to have a good-looking, high-quality video, you still have to create something that your audience really wants to watch.

It all begins with a story. Your video needs an emotional hook that gives views a point of entry. That emotion might be an upcoming change in your industry’s regulations, a new required certification that your members need to prepare for, or a story about problem-solving that your members can relate to and learn from. If you get the hook right, the video will truly be valuable to your association and its audience. In a video narrative, without the big idea or story, the video will fall flat — no matter how good it looks.

4. Who are the characters in your association with interesting experiences? Bloomberg says that character-driven digital video is the easiest way to ensure narrative structure. Instead of trying to include everything in a linear fashion — which is not only complicated but also will leave you with a very long video — it’s better to use one person’s interesting experience to touch on the important themes or ideas.

Finally, Bloomberg notes that it is easy to forget that video is a passive experience. Viewers’ expectations are linked to how they expect to engage with the piece. If the viewer is just tuning in and out on a conference speaker’s short interview, for example, then a talking head and sound bites work fine. However, if the video is a bigger production, viewers will have higher expectations — and that means your storytelling needs to be worth their time.

As Bloomberg puts it, the experience has to be worth the viewer giving up control and allowing the video to take over. Bad story-telling leads to your association’s content getting ignored. It’s not enough to get a high click-through rate; you have to consider the completion rate. If a video’s story draws them in, the completion rate will be high, and viewers will be looking for the next video your association sends their way.

Carla Kalogeridis is editorial director of Association Media & Publishing.