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Faith In Action

On very few occasions do I find myself stuck somewhere without the ability to hop into my car and head to store or run an errand. I rarely give thought to the fact that I am rather mobile. But in every town there is a segment of the population that isn’t as mobile.

Faith in Action helps to fill that gap for those who do not have their own transportation. Part of Faith in Action’s mission is to provide rides for adults over 60 to and from the doctor’s office, the grocery or other locations they need to go. Transportation is only part of their mission, they also arrange for volunteers to call and to visit those that are homebound.

Around Thanksgiving, Faith in Action contacted me to produce a video that told the stories of both volunteers and care receivers. So we identified 3 volunteers and 3 care receivers and made arrangements to have them tell their stories.

Video Hosting

Sooner or later you’re going to ask this question, “Where should I host my videos?” This is the $64k question. Fortunately, there are more options than ever before but how do you decide which one to use?

1. To Pay or Not to pay, that is the first question.

We are all concerned about the bottom line and free can be very appealing. We’ve all used YouTube and it is the juggernaut of internet video. The only search engine bigger is Google, so you’ve got that going for you. But your video is mixed in with cat videos, Miley Cyrus twerking and even your competitor’s videos.  I am not anti-YouTube, I love a good cat video and I think that there are times when it is the right choice for your organization.
Investing in hosting, though, opens opportunities that a free hosting service doesn’t.

2. Advantages of Investing in a hosting service

There are a ton of hosting services available for your organization, Vimeo, Brightcove, Wistia, Vzaar are just a couple that spring to mind. (I won’t take the time to offer thoughts on each one individually in this article).  Here are things that I look for to evaluate a hosting service.
– Branding & Customization – Can the player be customized with brand identifiers, like a logo and colors? When a video is embedded in your website, you want it to look like it belongs there.
– Analytics – This is a biggie, you want to know how people are interacting with your videos. How of the video are they watching?
– Email Integration – If you send emails out or want to, some hosting services offer embedding integration with services such as Mailchimp. If emailing your videos is a part of your strategy, you definitely want to look into this component. There are even some video services that cater specifically and only to email like Bomb-Bomb.
– Playback – For me a critical component that a hosting service needs to provide is fast and smooth playback. Anytime that I have to wait on a video to load or it pauses to buffer, I’m more than likely done watching that video, I bet you do it too. When the play button is hit, the video needs to play and play smoothly all the way through.

3. Not all hosting services are created equal

Yep, it’s true, there are benefits and drawbacks to hosting service you find. I don’t know that there is the one perfect video hosting service out there, but there are some great ones. Take some time and make a list of the important things to your video strategy and let them help you pick the service that is right for you.

Video Analytics

Watching the number of views of your video tick upward is exciting. Afterall, when you produce a video, the point is for people to watch it.  Basic info like number of views and subscribers is good, but do they give you enough information to evaluate how effective your video is?

1. Beyond the basics

Basic information is just that, basic. It doesn’t really help you make better videos. Let’s say that you create a video and it gets 500 views. Is that video a success? Some of you may say yes others would be less than impressed with that number. Did all 500 people watch the video all the way through or did they stop after the first 15 seconds? Did they rewatch any part of the video? Did they skip any sections? Analytics help get beyond the basics and lets you seehow people watch your video.

2. The information

I use Wistia for my video hosting service. Beyond just hosting my videos, Wistia’s video analytics tools provide great insight to how people interact with each video. Beyond just the number of watches, these anayltics show how long people watched, where each individual stopped watching, and if they watched more than once. You get an overall graph for engagement with the video as well as individual heat maps. Each viewer creates a heatmap where you can see how they watched the video.

wistia-heatmap

3. Digging into the information

If we were international spies, like James Bond or Austin Powers, we’d call this information actionable intellegence. It’s the information that guides what you need to do to make your videos better.

I produced a series of short videos where the client wanted a contact slide at the end of each video. We were pleased with the number of people that viewed the videos based on expectation. As we looked at the data, it was clear that though viewers watched most of the videos, they stopped watching when the info screen came up. Using the analytics we adjusted how the contact information was presented and viewers became engaged throughout the whole video.

Taking the time to use and understand analytics is key to creating effective videos. We all want to tell our story well and analytics help us to be better storytellers.

CHCC Testimonial

I’ve had the opportunity to produce several videos for the Community Health Care Clinic. I am always amazed by their work and how much of an impact that they have on our community. Even with the recent reforms in health care, there are thousands of people in and around Bloomington-Normal that cannot afford health insurance. That’s were the CHCC comes in to help serve those that otherwise would not have an option for health care. Most recently, we produced a patient story that CHCC could show to their supporters.

Community Health Care Clinic

One of the great joys of helping to tell stories through video is when I have the opportunity to partner with an organization like the Community Health Care Clinic.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with the CHCC several times now and am always amazed by what they do. Through volunteers, donors and doctors, the CHCC helps meet the needs of the medically underserved population of McLean county through the operation of a free medical clinic.

I met John at his downtown studio where he was surrounded by easels and tables filled with brushes and pastel paints. While I was capturing some footage of him working we talked about his artistic influences and what drove him as an artist. When we sat for the interview portion of the video, John told me about how he came to the CHCC when he discovered that he had stage III cancer but no insurance to cover treatments. Fortunately, it is a story that ends happily.

Amazingly, John’s story isn’t unique.  Every day lives are made better because of the work of the Community Health Care Clinic.

You can find out more about the clinic here

Telling your story well, when less is more

 

How can less be more, especially when it comes to telling your story? When we have an opportunity to tell our story, often times we include too much information. We want to include the most minute details and highlight what is interesting to us. Being succinct is an art, especially when it involves something that you are passionate about. So how do tell your story well, with less?

 

1.  Try to forget what you know

Well, okay not everything but most of it. When we are passionate about something, we learn more about it and the breadth of our knowledge can be expansive and sometimes boring. Because we’ve worked hard to learn something, it becomes difficult to imagine not knowing it. As a result, we can become poor storytellers. In the book Made To Stick, Chip and Dan Heath call this “The Curse of Knowledge.” They sum it this way:

Think of a lawyer who can’t give you a straight, comprehensible answer to a legal question. His vast knowledge and experience renders him unable to fathom how little you know. So when he talks to you, he talks in abstractions that you can’t follow. And we’re all like the lawyer in our own domain of expertise.

 You don’t want to overwhelm your listeners with your knowledge, you’re helping them understand.

2. Get back to the basics

To be free of the Curse of Knowledge you have to think like a non-expert. Think back to when you were first learning, you started with the broad concepts. Remember what it was like to be a non-expert and use that as your framework to structure your story telling. With the basics in mind you can then adjust your video accordingly to your audience.

 

3. Stay on topic

A story that wanders all over is not a story that will hold someone’s attention. Once you’ve found the subject of your video, be willing to make the hard decision to leave some material out. The scope of your video won’t allow for everything. Choosing one or two key ideas also helps to bring out the best during interviews.

 

4. Be Succinct

What’s the best length for my video? As short as possible and it depends. Wistia, a video hosting site (more about them later) does extensive analytics of how people interact with video. Check out this chart from Wistia.

length-matters-1
The longer your video, the less likely it will be watched all the way through. Your video needs to be long enough to convey your message and not much longer. Remember you don’t have a captive audience and there are tons of cat videos online.

This short, and certainly not exhaustive, list of suggestions can help you to cut through the “more” of wanting to include everything in your video. But when you’ve taken the time to hone the story and get down to the heart of the message, you’ll end up with a video that says more.