By Joe Lee
You’ve got an important initiative, project, program, or mission statement. The company needs to know about it. Awareness will bring massive benefits. The issue, of course, is getting people to listen.
This is tough. Most internal communication is done through mass emails that are long and impossible to read. The info within often bores, confuses, and frustrates — if it gets seen at all.
It’s tragic, really. Behind those emails, there’s hard work, exciting changes, and valuable information — but 99% of it goes to waste. We know emails like this are an exercise in futility, so why do we keep making them? And what can you do about it?
Engage Your Audience With Video
You can remember that your audience is people. And people love stories, creativity, and humor. We aren’t wired to dig through walls of text or mind-numbing tables. We want to be visually and intellectually stimulated. Video can do just that. Consider the following:
- 9 out of 10 organizations needing to communicate to remote employees say video does the job well (Ragan Communications).
- Videos increase the read time of emails by 44% and sharing/forwarding by 41% (Liveclicker).
- Simply putting the word “video” in a subject line increases open rates by 13% (Experian).
Video is powerful — plain and simple. We hope you want to use one now, because the world could use fewer boring emails. Before you get started, here are some helpful tips to point you in the right direction.
How to Make Good Internal Videos
Step 1: Figure out the main value
Unless your message applies directly to their work, most people aren’t going to care about the details. Instead of trying to pack information into your video, summarize the big takeaway in 2–3 sentences. Your video’s primary goal should be to represent that idea. Once people understand the basics in a way that makes them see the value, they’ll dig through the details themselves.
Step 2: Craft a call to action
What should people do after watching the video? Sign up for a new service plan? Follow new HR regulations? After your audience gets your core message, they need a next step. Even if your video’s purpose is solely to inform, encourage your employees to share it.
Step 3: Talk about the old reality
What does this new data/initiative/message change? Sure, you can list benefits, but those are only half of the story. Without mentioning the former issues, those benefits lack punch. Talking about both the before and the after is key. We like to refer to this structure as “old story, new story.”
Step 4: Create engagement
Video is an engaging medium, but that doesn’t mean all videos are engaging. What you’re going to communicate probably won’t be the world’s most thrilling thing. However, that doesn’t mean the video has to be boring. Humor often helps, and even something as simple as appealing visuals can add flavor to a dry message.
Step 5: Keep it short
Loading your video with too much content is almost as bad as a long email. We’ve found that the optimal video length for communicating a single idea is around a minute. Two minutes is considered long. Three? Forget it. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and you’re speaking to an audience that has a lot of other things to do.
Step 6: Splurge on production value
Nobody wants to watch a video with scratchy audio or dim lighting. If your video simply looks bad, most people will abandon it quickly. Getting a decent camera or even a basic lighting setup can go a long way.
Step X: Hire someone
You were waiting for it, but hear us out. Yes, we are a video production studio. Yes, we have a lot of experience making internal videos. But this article isn’t a sales pitch. For most internal messages, it’s not worth the time, money, and effort to hire an external vendor. We genuinely want you to make videos on your own. However, some initiatives are critical enough to call in the big guns, especially if you don’t have the internal resources to put something together.
But no matter who makes it, there’s one huge thing to keep in mind, always.
The Secret to Internal Communication
The biggest problem with most internal communication is that it doesn’t address people’s first question: why should I care? It’s a simple question to answer, yet it often gets lost in spreadsheets and long blocks of text. If you bring this to the forefront, engagement will follow. All you need is the right medium to deliver it.
February 23, 2015