Objective: You will learn how to create a compelling campaign video and call to action that will get viewers to support you on Backers and beyond.
You know how to tell your story. You’ve figured out ways to make it more engaging and meaningful for your community. You know your central message and your call to action for your Backers campaign. Now you have the ultimate opportunity to upsell your community on equity and to bring new people into your community as supporters on Backers – your campaign video!
The reality is that in today’s world, people have very short attention spans. We can think of these attention spans in a cyclical sort of way. Most people need a video to grab their attention within its first 8 seconds. The people who do stay beyond 8 seconds are likely to stay for 30 seconds, and then consider going elsewhere, unless we can draw them in again for more. Even then, people typically only last up to 4 minutes beyond that original 30 seconds. To keep them beyond 4 minutes, you have to get even deeper engagement and interest, usually through deeper storytelling.
We want to design our campaign video so that we tell our story within each of these cycles, reinforcing our central message and call to action in each phase. We need to start with an engaging hook – something that draws attention. This usually means action, music that pulls you in, and/or something unexpected happening. If you watch some ads on Youtube, you’ll notice that the ones you continue to watch beyond the mandatory 5 second wait-to-skip period are the ads that grabbed your attention. Watch this video all about it. Watch these 10 second ads that keep your attention throughout.
Now watch the first eleven seconds of this infamous Old Spice ad. In these first seconds, we’re hooked, we know what the product is about, and we know why we would want to buy it. With the Old Spice example, we’re looking at an attractive guy with a great voice telling us rapid actions to take. It’s hard to ignore. Many women (provided they’re interested in men) would probably be interested in him so they listen. Many men would probably like to have his looks and charisma so they listen. Right there the ad has hooked its target audiences: women who shop toiletries for the men in their lives, and men who shop toiletries for themselves. At 6 seconds, the ad presents the critical problem the product solves: “sadly he isn’t me”. At 7-11 seconds, the ad presents the solution, which is framed as a clear call to action: switch to Old Spice. By that 11 second mark, many people are already sold on the product, and they’re definitely sold on continuing to watch the video.
The next 20 seconds of the Old Spice ad that take us up to the 30 second mark tell the story again, but this time with more evocative imagery and experiences – like we learned about in the Building an Engaging Story lesson. Again the 30 second period ends by reinforcing the call to action (buy Old Spice) and the central message: attractive good-smelling men use Old Spice.
So here are the critical elements so far: we need to hook people in the first 8 seconds, ideally we have a clear (although very brief) understanding of the problem and solution in the first 8-10ish seconds, and then we need to deepen that understanding, drive home the central message, and give our clear call to action by the end of 30 seconds.
After the 30 second point, we want to flow into a longer telling of our story. This could mean dropping down from an ad-like form to a more conversational personal storytelling form. This might be where you are in front of the camera telling your story the way we’ve discussed in earlier lessons. This is where we could use the story you built in the Building an Engaging Story lesson. By the time we reach that 4 minute mark, the audience should have fallen deeper into your story, understanding more how it relates to their lives, and how their support will make a big difference. They should really clearly and deeply understand what you are doing, why, and who you are. They should feel connected and excited. They should respond to your call to action by actually going ahead and backing you on Backers.
If you go beyond 4 minutes, be aware that most people will not get that far. There will be some who stay with you, but be sure you have done enough to sell people on your idea in the first 4 minutes.
- Write up a rough script of your idea for an 8-10 second video.
- Write up a rough script of your idea for a 30 second video (with the above video as the first 8-10 seconds).
- Write up a rough script of your idea for a 4 minute video (with the above video as the first 30 seconds). Seriously consider whether you need more than 4 minutes in this campaign video – it may be the case that you have a lot to cover, but be aware that most people will not watch beyond 4 minutes unless your video is extremely compelling.
- Draft a very rough storyboard (even poorly hand-drawn, just get those visual ideas down) for your 4 minute video.
- Share this storyboard with 5-10 of your most trusted community members. Ask: What was the video’s central message? What did it make you want to do? Would you have done what it made you want to do? Did you feel hooked at the start? Were there parts that were less engaging where you stopped focusing and your attention drifted?