How to build engaged communities with video content

venn diagram showing how to engage audiences by finding an area of overlapping interest

On Thursday we threw open the doors of the Manifesto studio to London’s video content enthusiasts for an evening of talks and discussion around how to build engaged communities using video. We lined up three great speakers to give an overview of the digital video landscape, provide some tips on distributing video content effectively, and provide a case study of how a large organisation does it. All these were captured on video, so let’s cut to the chase…

The digital video landscape

Kicking off the night’s talks, our very own Motion Content Director Al Hutchison (he of vlog fame) gave an overview of the digital video landscape – where it’s been, where it’s at and where it’s headed. From MySpace (yep, he’s been around for a while) to Facebook’s Watch and beyond. For Al, the twin developments of Facebook’s rise and the launch of the iPhone, circa 2007, completely changed how people, and marketers, communicate. Consumption of content via mobile devices has grown like crazy ever since. Mobile has turned into the new TV, and apps like YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook have turned into the new TV channels.

But in an attention economy, how can you capture the interest of your target audience? Al argues that it’s all about finding an area of shared interest between your brand and your audiences. He gives several examples, starting with an Australian travel insurance company called World Nomads, which produces compelling video content on exciting travel destinations to engage their community of backpackers.



How Unicef UK does video

Next up was Marta Sala Font, the Digital Video Specialist at Unicef UK. Marta gave us an introduction to the organisation’s approach to video, which is heavily supporter-focused. She stressed how each piece of content they produce – whether it’s for fundraising, awareness building or campaigning – should only have a single key objective, so that you’re not muddying your message with multiple asks. She took us through multiple examples, including a video they created to explain what the organisation was all about – no small feat for an organisation with such a large mission statement.

Marta also explained how Unicef UK uses a modified version of the Hero, Hub, Hygiene content model (substituting ‘Evergreen’ for ‘Hygiene’), showing examples of each type, and how, as a result of constantly trialling new delivery methods, they’re using vertical video more and more in order to engage supporters scrolling through their social feeds. Marta also gives a lot of insight into how Unicef UK optimises its content by cutting longer pieces for various platforms, trialling different versions via organic before putting paid spend behind the best performers to maximise reach and engagement.



Video distribution tips ‘n’ tricks

Our final speaker was Manifesto’s Client Strategist Phil Aiston. Phil had a treasure trove of tips to share on (and this is not an exhaustive list) how to hone in on the interests of your audience to find those content sweet spots, how to optimise your YouTube content for search, how to seed a story on Facebook now that the platfrom is pay-to-play, and which of the multitude of content metrics that are actually worth paying attention to.



Lots of interesting discussion took place after the talks. In fact, the event was such a success that we’re sure to follow it up with more video-themed events in the new year. If you’d like to be kept informed about upcoming events at Manifesto, please join our mailing list.

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