Put Your Best Flick Forward

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I was so thrilled to be asked to participate in Donna Papacosta’s Digital Communications Strategy class this past weekend at University of Toronto, Mississauga.

The students were enthusiastic, engaged and above-all-else excited to produce video pieces and test out their movie-making mettle.

I gave a presentation that went through the top tips I’ve gleaned over the past 14-or-so years of producing content, sifting down my time in print, radio, broadcast and digital to highlight some of the pitfalls and best practices to follow when determining your digital content strategy. In this case, focusing on video as a delivery medium.

From the Twitter discussions afterward it seems the class enjoyed my chat – so I decided to reprint those tips here for either students who missed marking them down, or for you – dear reader, should you be interested to find out more about how Double Barrel does what we do – and how you can implement some of those strategies in your own communications.

Enjoy!

  1. VOICE attracts AUDIENCE.
    Develop your brand’s unique identity and voice early on – then use that to speak to folks who are interested in what you’re offering.
  2. Controversy is GOOD.
    A little bit of shock value can be a good thing. People are inundated with information and grabbing attention by shaking the tree a little can be  a good thing.
  3. Editorial is EVERYTHING.
    When it comes to video – determine your editorial strategy early. Then use that strategy to ensure your dollars go as far as possible over the course of your year. Video is expensive to produce but it doesn’t always have to be – small pieces done effectively and consistently are just as useful as one $15,000 project a year.
  4. VOICE & ENTHUSIASM trumps EXPERIENCE.
    Getting into a new communication medium can be scary. You may feel unqualified or that you don’t understand enough about the production process to be effective. Stay true and hold fast to your own personal brand voice and enthusiasm will make up for the inexperience.
  5. TALENT is CRITICAL.
    From the outset of your project, reach out to the best talent you can afford. Finding great people to make something sing will pay off in the end, we promise.
  6. Comedy is HARD. But HUMOUR goes a long way.
    The pull to produce comedy is a tough one to ignore – especially since comedic videos do so well online. A badly done comedy segment, however, could harm your brand reputation. If part of your communications strategy includes making people laugh – refer to number 5 when it comes to casting, writing, filming and editing. You’ll thank me later!
  7. DIGITAL is NICHE.
    You know how there’s a million different kinds of toothbrushes at the grocery store? The same applies to content. Remember that the internet is not like broadcast. You can reach out to very specific niches and provide content that speaks JUST TO THEM. Done well, this means that you can target with pinpoint accuracy your ideal viewer. Don’t be afraid to dive deep on subject matter.
  8. KEEP it SHORT.
    Online attention spans are.. well.. fleeting. If you made it this far I’m impressed. Be ruthless in the edit suite.
  9. BUILD on EXISTING AUDIENCE.
    Lastly – when developing content look to people within your organization that already have a social media presence for talent. Are they active on Twitter? Do they blog? Do they have an active Facebook page? These are the things to focus on. Online content is churned more quickly than your stomach on the Tilt-A-Whirl.. you’ll need all the help you can get to reach as many people as possible when it comes to distribution.