College Videos: Results That Matter

The value of any video is found in the results it achieves. Results come from making a video that is born from a comprehensive understanding of your audience and how to communicate with them in the most strategically compelling manner. Once you know your audience, you need to answer the question of what you want them to think/feel/do/buy after they see the video. For nearly 30 years, we have been working with leading higher education institutions to best answer these questions. We know you don't need a video – you need a solution to a communication challenge. You need a process that will give you not a good video, but a great video - one that will help you increase the number of applicants and help you connect with the students who are the right fit for your college. One that will strengthen the connection with your loyal community of alumni.

A good video gets compliments. A great video gets shared.
A good video increases applications. A great video increases yield.
A good video gets donations. A great video gets donors adding zeros to their checks.

Too often clients buy video production services on price and then wind up not being able to use the video or, worse, not getting the results intended. The video did not really solve the communication problem, so in essence the money spent was wasted. If you have a run-of-the-mill video, no matter where you show it, it will not produce results.

Money spent on good communication to achieve a strategic purpose is not an expense; it is an investment.

You need to start by fashioning a great video – one coming from a strategy that targets the specific audience and moves them to action. Your video reflects your institution, so you want a video that tells your story and makes it shine. Then, word will spread; people will share it; interest will blossom.

Story creates brand. You want the best story. Then you need to get it seen.

How do you get your great video out there to be seen by the people who should see it?

Not only do we live in a world of multi-platforms, but the number of platforms is constantly multiplying. You need to know where your audience will see the video – which sites, blogs, screens, and social media platforms your audience engages with. This allows you to plan an integrated approach to distribution. This means you can capture the largest, and most targeted, audience possible.

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and is used by more than 1-billion people every month. Optimizing your content on YouTube means users will be able to find your video when they search for relevant keywords. You need to create an effective YouTube channel that really resonates with your prospects. The most effective marketing campaigns use multiple channels to guarantee views.

Here are some ideas on how to use your video in a variety of ways to maximize your return on investment:

Optimize for the World Wide Web:

•  Stream the film on your website and social media networking sites.
•  Create a mobile site to allow for instantaneous sharing across devices.
•  Use transcripts of all the recorded interviews as part of your content marketing by including the transcript with the video file or repurposing the content as a blog or other thought leadership piece

Elements of our admissions video for Swarthmore were placed on a website reserved solely for admitted students to increase yield.

The University of Vermont admissions office put our music video celebrating campus life, and the city of Burlington, on its YouTube channel where it has gained over 40,000 hits.

Consider dual-purposes for your film:

•  Your admissions film can have multiple purposes beyond reaching prospective audiences. It can connect you with your community, donors, and alumni.
•  Your admissions film can also help recruit faculty and staff.
•  Develop an ongoing media archive for future projects.

A campaign video celebrating the history of Hamilton College was received so enthusiastically, the admissions office used it to target prospective students.

We achieved the same result with our campaign video at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Print Campaigns:

•  Use the best video shots in your print materials.
•  Re-purpose film stories in your print materials.

Because our fundraiser video perfectly reflected the soul of the institution, Swarthmore sent it in a DVD mailer to alumni with a request to share it with a high school student they felt would add well to the student body.

Email Campaigns:

•  Use key clips in an email to target audiences.

Kenyon emailed a one-minute video of ours to all alumni as a way to cultivate continued loyalty.

The most important question to ask is, “Where is your audience?”

There are a myriad of ways to disseminate a great video. Part of your video production partner’s job is to team with your institution to both produce a great video and help you use it in the most effective and strategic way.

We can help you get the story out to the people who should be seeing it.


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