Video it seems is still one of the great untapped resources when it comes to public sector communications. I am sure as eager communications professionals we can all point to tens of examples of where video has been put to great commercial use but in our own world it becomes a little harder to pinpoint some examples.
It’s not that they don’t exist, they do exist and many are making an impact on a local level that is having real benefits to citizens and are being produced on a shoe string budget with low tech gadgetry and importantly by in-house communications teams.
The first example that really springs to my mind is Torfaen County Council’s ‘In the Depot’ campaign. Like all those great viral videos the inherent idea is a little daft, Get ‘Elvis’ to front an awareness campaign about snow disruption, but it is used as a means of achieving much bigger ambitions.
The target for the campaign was to shine spotlight on the Councils social media activity and get more local people engaged, the viral impact meant that it far exceeded the initial campaign expectations- Achieving 350,000 YouTube views on week of launch being just one of the many highlights.
But not all videos will enjoy the viral effect that ‘In the Depot’ enjoyed though and that’s ok. For most of us taking those initial first steps with video even the smallest gains are worth the effort.
Video doesn’t have to mean mammoth production values it can be simple and simple is often the most effective.
Back 5 years ago it would be perfectly acceptable to engage with a local AV company and get video clips filmed and edited ‘off-site’ but in times of budget cuts and smaller departmental communications teams I think there is a need to look inward for these skills and if they are not there then develop them.
We are all part of the i-phone generation now and the kit required to produce professional results is a lot more accessible because of it. Not only that but simple editing techniques can be learned quickly with most of the apps and packages out there a lot more user-friendly than they have ever been. At my organisation we are not using Hollywood style editing suites or assembling a film crew but using a good quality DV camera, a PC and some basic editing software.
We have found video to be a great way of bringing a human aspect to our work, it enables us to interview the faces behind our work and gives people an insight into the people and the personalities in our organisation. The big win for us is that it enables, in a similar way to Torfaen, to use video as a hook to drive engagement – be it traffic to our website or as a conversation starter on social media.
As a means of getting people engaged in our work there is little better for getting our message across and with video being more accessible than ever there is no better time to for public sector organisations to start the cameras rolling.