5 Tips for Creating an Effective Social Good Video

Video has become the point of entry for organizations looking to communicate impact and connect with audiences. But what makes a social-good video stand out from the pack? Last week, Fenton’s Executive Producer Victor Neufeld spoke with leaders from Mary Kay and UPS—winners of the 2013 Corporate Citizenship Film Festival—about what makes a social good video effective (you can listen to the webinar here). A veteran 20/20 producer who’s won over a dozen Emmy Awards, Victor’s tips for making your video shine are summed up below.

1. Know Your Goals & Audience

Before you begin concepting your video, be sure you know the target audience and what you want the video to accomplish. A video that’s designed to raise awareness about an issue among teenage boys should look and feel much different than one that generates employee pride or helps a nonprofit secure partners. Determining the primary purpose and audience upfront will guide the creation of the video concept, as well as format, music, characters, length and graphics.

2. Don’t Make Distribution an Afterthought

Many organizations make the same mistake: throwing time, passion and money into making a stellar video—then struggling to get that video in front of the right audience. To avoid getting lost in the YouTube black hole, think about your distribution strategy upfront. Will you show it at a gala? Use it in an email appeal? Pitch it to the press? Ask partners to post online? Include it in employee orientation? Devising a creative, specific distribution strategy upfront will help you shape the video concept and get the most out of your investment in the long-term.

3. Focus on the Details 

No matter what kind of video you’re making, authenticity is the key to reaching audiences’ hearts and minds. One way to be authentic? Focus on specific details rather than big generalities and abstract claims. Specificity might mean diving into one particularly shocking statistic, focusing on one person’s unique story, or capturing a candid moment at a family dinner. However you do it, showcasing specific moments and details is the secret sauce to creating authentic videos that resonate with your audience.

4. Be Bold

No one wants to see a talking head list off the merits of your organization or a cliché montage of an employee volunteer day. The videos that get the most widely shared and talked about take a bold stance—they open audiences’ eyes, make them laugh or cry, and take them on an unexpected journey. When you’re creating your concept, don’t shy away from embracing the outrageous!

5. Call the Audience to Action

If you’ve succeeded in making an emotional connection with your audience, congratulations! The moment after the video ends—when the emotional connection is at its strongest—is the single best moment to ask your audience to take action. Whether you want people to donate, sign a petition, spread the word, change their mind or join the fight, don’t lose this opportunity to tell your audience exactly what action to take after the credits roll.