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.


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.

Storytelling tools: Listening

Storytelling through video is a powerful tool for your organization. Your stories can motivate and influence your donor base, develop new volunteers, open customer markets and much more. But from where do these stories come? Actually, stories exist everywhere within your organization, you just need to be intentional about hearing them.

Listening for stories is a practice

Story listening really isn’t an art, you just have to practice doing it. Take time to pay attention to what is happening around you. Maybe your organization has a culture of sending out update emails about successes. Perhaps you gather your staff regularly to share experiences. There really isn’t a formula for what makes up a story, it can be short and anecdotal or long an narrative.

Take Notes

As I am listening for stories around me, I try to keep a list of them. I either make note of them in Evernote or in a small notebook that is generally nearby. With the note, I’ll jot down what I find interesting about that particular story and where it could be told again. You might find that you have a collection of small stories that can be brought together to tell a greater story.

Things to listen for

Regardless of what you do, there are a couple of things that are beneficial to listen for. Stillmotion, filmmakers and storytellers from Portland, have named them the 4 P’s: People : Who is in the story? Who will captivate your viewers? Place: Where does the story happen? What do your locations add to your characters or story? Plot: What is the conflict and what is the journey? Purpose: Why would this story be good to tell? Why should others care?

From listening to telling

As you listen to the stories that surround you, you’ll want to move from listening to telling. Having spent the time to intentionally listen to the stories that surround you, you will be better prepared to tell the right story when the time comes.