Over the past few weeks, I’ve been creating and uploading new training videos to demonstrate how to use the newest version of our open source CMS software. You can find these videos on our website in the Tendenci Video Gallery.
The video gallery uses one of our newer plugins and allows us to embed online videos from YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing platforms directly onto our website. The plugin also gives us tools like tagging, a WYSIWYG editor for the description, and customizable categories for organizing videos.
The ability to add and customize plugins is a feature we implemented with Tendenci 5.0, our newest version of our nonprofit CMS. Over time, we will be releasing additional plugins and we are in the middle of implementing a program for outside developers to share and sell Tendenci plugins.
We have built several custom plugins for our clients and now, starting with the Videos plugin, we are going to share them with all of our Tendenci users.
Get the Videos Plugin Now – For Free!
Later this year, new Tendenci sites will automatically include our Videos plugin when they are created. We want to thank our current clients by offering you the plugin via a manual installation now so you don’t have to wait for it.
Head to the Tendenci website to find all the details and get the videos plugin installed on your website plus help files on using the Videos plugin.
Please Note: Only Tendenci version 5.0 sites support and can use the plugin architecture. If your website is on a prior version, then you can refer to this help file that explains how to embed single videos inside of your site’s pages.
Create Compelling Stories Using Online Video
Storytelling involves communicating your organization’s personal stories to your audience to increase engagement. For nonprofits, your audience consists of your donors, Board members, volunteers, and a way to reach out to find new potential members. For profit organizations use storytelling to generate leads, create partnerships, and build their Brand.
For most marketers, including myself, storytelling can be a challenge – you are trying to be interesting and talk about yourself at the same time. Storytelling was a trending session topic at NTEN’s 2012 NonProfit Technology Conference in San Francisco last month, and I wanted to share some of the advice and tools I learned about specifically to using online videos as a medium for crafting better stories.
Getting Started with Video Storytelling
Danny Alpert and Michael Hoffman, with See3 Communications, gave a fantastic presentation on Sight, Sound, and Motion: Video Storytelling and Using Video for Advanced Messaging. In the session, Danny and Michael offered 10 key things to focus on as you create your strategy for video storytelling campaigns and there is a great wrap-up of the session available on Socialbrite’s website for you to check-out plus the videos See3 used in their session as examples.
See3’s session gives great step-by-step advice on how to plan and write the script and produce a video that shares your nonprofit’s stories effectively. The session was also geared towards organizations that already were producing video content and were looking for ways to take their video campaigns further in the next year.
I find that most nonprofits and organizations are only just beginning to look at using online video in their marketing and often have just one or two people and a low budget to produce the videos. You may have very little experience writing scripts, producing and editing video and using YouTube and this can make video storytelling a daunting task.
I thought I would share my recommendations for getting started with video storytelling and then you’ll be producing awesome online videos you’ll be able to upload and share on your website with the Tendenci Videos plugin.
1) Videos take more time to make than you’d think. A 5 minute video can easily take 60 minutes to edit and finalize. Keep this in mind as you write your script and keep your first videos shorter in length to make them more manageable.
2) You’ll want good camera equipment, and that doesn’t have to cost as much as you’d think. I recommend checking out CNet’s Digital Camcorder Guide for reviews on affordable camcorders and make sure you get one that films in high definition. You’ll also need a good microphone and I recommend a tripod. Surprisingly, HD video quality from iPhones and Droid smartphones are rapidly becoming excellent options for online video recording too.
3) Try out different video editing software before you buy. You’ll be spending more time at your computer editing your videos than you will writing your scripts and recording your videos combined. There are some great free and inexpensive software options but I don’t recommend you make your decision based on the lowest price. Make sure the software you select is easy for you to use and does what you need it to do.
4) Watch examples of other online videos. Take notes on what you really like and what you don’t like, and use these examples as guides when you begin writing your video scripts. However, don’t try to force your own story into someone else’s video script. Find your own style and voice that represents your organization to effectively share your story.
5) Focus on making just one video. The first one is the hardest. Once you’ve written, recorded, edited, uploaded, and shared the video in a tweet – you can relax and see what happens. You will learn and get better with each video you make and creating the content is the most important step for successfully integrating videos into your marketing strategy.
Additional Resources on Crafting Videos and Great Storytelling Tips
- Brian Potter is our in-house Digital Media Pro and he recorded this great webinar covering the Basics of Online Video and here is Brian Potter speaking at SchipulCon on “How to Shoot Videos for Real People“.
- Our CEO, Ed Schipul, shares how to use Social Media for Storytelling in this video from SchipulCon ’09.
- Check out some of our favorite online videos from the Schipul Video Gallery, also using the Tendenci Videos plugin.
There is so much more to say on the topic of online videos and I’d love to hear your questions and comments on what you wish you knew how to do to create more awesome online videos. Share your comments below or contact us with your questions.