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You have a video budget — tips to spend wisely

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

David: Welcome to episode seven. This is Nonprofit Video Comms. video marketing tips that help your organization be seen, get funded and help more people. You are a nonprofit who has a budget. I know it sounds weird, but a lot of you actually do have a budget and like to plan ahead and set aside a certain percentage of your marketing on content and collateral materials, brochures, website updates, info sessions, webinars, all of it. And so for those of you who do have a budget, I have tips for you to spend it well on video... Of course not on your full marketing budget.

For me, as a comms and marketing person, I do know and relate with you that having a budget for something creative is exciting. You get to lead something creative that is more visceral than, say, an annual report. I'm not dissing the annual report. You should see how they look now. They're way cooler than they were 10-20 years ago. Anyway, before you do anything with your video budget, hear me out. I have three things that I believe are very important, and you must know to get the most out of that video budget.

The three things are quality, the function of the video. And finally, what does the actual work of the video look like? You got to know that stuff before you spend the money.

So number one: quality. I like to tell people that your messaging and your story and your marketing and your positioning are all way more important than the actual video quality, the cinematics, the lighting, the scripting, the acting, the locations, the number of people on set, and whether you want slow motion here or dubstep music there, I want you to know that, especially if you're not a video maker or you're new to managing the video making process. I want you to question any type of reflex or instinct that you have that this video must be gorgeous, that it must be cinematic, that it must be beautiful. The reason why, to me that's dangerous is because once we start on that sort of reflex or instinct that we got some money, let's make this beautiful. Is that when we're first timers at video, it's easy to overspend. It's easy to lose sight of the actual video's job and spend all the time, all the money, all the frustrations, all the revisions on just the creation of the damn thing. And so what you get at the end of it is burnout. What you get at the end of it is parking it on YouTube and hoping something happens to it and nothing to show for this beautiful yet frustratingly complicated video. So please, you will run into an excitement and then a doubt about what is really going on about this, the work that's involved in making high quality, I suggest keep it minimal, simple, authentic and a bit lower end, such as smartphones or more affordable video cameras. So that's a note about the quality.

The second thing I want to tell you about is the function of the video. If you listen to this podcast, this might be the 10th time you're going to hear this. Do think about the function and the job of the video. You may not say “this video is to raise awareness” or “this video is to help us become a household name” or “this video is intended to go viral.” I'm telling you right now as though you and I are standing face to face at a nonprofit conference and we've just had coffee and shared some formal introductions. I'm telling you, face to face, do not make that the function of the video. It will not work. If you have a budget to make a video and you spend it all on the creation of the video and then your plan is to post it. It will not raise awareness the way you think it will. Which brings me to my third point.

[third point] What is the actual work that goes into the video? Typically, if you Google around on video marketing tips or nonprofit video marketing tutorials, it seems to me that almost everything you will find starts and ends with. Here's how to make the video. Ten steps and then at the final step you're done. The video is made. Voila. Fini. if you go Googling other types of questions like marketing for beginners or how to market , how to do content marketing, how to do content distribution. You will get a completely different set of ten steps. The first step will be make the content, but then steps 2 through 10 are going to be how to distribute. now in my work, at my company, to me, it all is one and the same. I will never tell you “Here are the steps to make a video” or “here are the steps to do content distribution and marketing.” I will tell you it all belongs together as steps 1 through 20. Let's call that a journey— the journey from creating the video to distributing the video. The actual creation of the video is only the first few steps. It's only the first 5 or 10% of the project. The final 80-90% of the video project is the distribution. So many people are going to make the video, post the video and months later report to me “the video didn't do anything.” “The video is sitting on YouTube.” “The video is somewhere we don't know,” But actually what they've done is they just stopped at the 5% mark. when the video is done being produced and is posted on to wherever you posted, that is only the 5% mark. You still have 90% to go and that 90% is … oh the video didn’t work? Go in and edit the title, change the title. You can't find it in your Google searches? Go add more to the description. Did you add enough keywords? Did you add enough Tags? Did you take it with the right locations? Did you add a transcript? Did you add subtitles? Did you do this? Did you do that? Did you post it here? Did you make clips? Did you repurpose it? There are so many other things that go into video distribution. If a video from a different organization has made it to your computer successfully, you can bet some good back-end distribution methods were used. You can bet that the other 90% of the work was being done. So that's my third warning to you. Just making the video is only the first 5% or 10% of the work.

So we talked about three things. The first one is question how much quality you actually need versus the result you want to get. Secondly, what is the function of the video? It is not to raise awareness. It is to do something way more specific. It is to get donations. It is to educate possible customers, possible clients, possible members. And the third thing is making the video is only 5%. If you got $1,000 or $10,000 to spend on a video, allocate a quarter of it to the video and the other three quarters to distribution advice or distribution help or distribution lessons.

That was episode seven. I know it was a heavy one. Please feel free to follow me, email me, connect with me and ask me any questions. I'll be happy to clarify.

You can follow me on LinkedIn. Look for David Phu. P-H-U. You can also go to my website, , where you can get more information about my service and how it works and how it looks and whether it's a good fit for you.

Thank you and see you next time.


Learn about our services at Nonprofit Video Comms or follow David on LinkedIn.

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