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In a previous post, I talked how how video can be the best medium to solve internal communication problems like lack of interest, lack of clarity and understanding,lack of trust, and lack of engagement.
Video is an effective and powerful medium for internal communication — but only IF it is done properly.
In this post, I’m going to give you some tips on using video effectively in your intranet. Don’t worry, my first tip isn’t going to be hire an expensive video production company. I mean, you could if you wanted to and are able to, but it’s not essential.
7 Fundamentals of Effective Video for Internal Communication (Specifically on the Intranet)
Let Them See Light
Video is a visual medium, so you have to make sure that your images are actually visible. The way to do this is to make sure your subject has adequate lighting. You can invest in inexpensive lighting kits or simply place your subject near a natural source of light, such as a window or glass doors.
On the other hand, don’t place your subject in front of harsh light. Don’t go videotaping outside at noon. This will cause dark shadows all over your subject’s face and make your subject squint. Not a pleasant sight.
Audio Is Essential
Most people seem to forget that video is also an auditory medium of communication. And in fact, sound can be even more important in video than image. Think about it. If you were watching a video with fuzzy visuals but clear sound, you would probably still be able to understand it.
But on the other hand, if you were watching video with very clear visuals but the audio was too soft or garbled, you would not comprehend anything at all from that video. And you would more likely quit on a video with poor sound than the same video with poor images.
To ensure good quality audio, always use a good external microphone; don’t rely on the internal microphone of your video camera. And eliminate environmental noises.
Brevity Is a Virtue
It takes more time to consume video than text, because we can read so much faster than we can watch or listen to someone speaking (although nowadays it is possible to speed up video while you’re watching it). Also, keep in mind that people’s attention levels will taper off after a few minutes. Knowing all this, it’s a good idea to keep your videos short.
According to Wistia, if your video is one-minute long or shorter, up to 60% of your viewers will watch to the end. Make your video just one minute longer, and only 30-35% of your audience will watch the whole thing.
In other words, the shorter the video, the better for audience retention. Of course, sometimes you can’t say everything in one minute. If the video is required viewing, you could probably go up to 5 minutes. But please, no longer than that. If your content is longer, then break it up into shorter videos.
Another thing: let your audience know how long the video is. You can put the running time in parenthesis after the video title, like this:
3 Wacky Intranet Contests (01:43)
This way, they know exactly how much time they need to invest, and are less likely to drop out of the video.
Because video communicates so much, it can communicate too much. That is, it can project elements you never intended. Minimize distractions when you’re recording:
- Have the subject wear solid colors, except black or white
- Remove complicated jewelry
- Use a plain background
- Use transitions and special effects sparingly
- Make sure whatever music you use supports and does not overwhelm the main subject
- Beware of too-bright makeup or hair color, shiny faces
Clarity Trumps Creativity
With everything computers can do nowadays, it’s easy to get carried away and use all the bells and whistles your video editor can do. Resist the temptation!
Those effects and tools should work in the service of your main message. Let the message be the star of your video, and all other elements be enhancers. If something doesn’t work to amplify the message, then take it out.
Make It Findable
Search engines don’t crawl video content (yet); they only crawl text. So always, always accompany your videos with text. At the very least, the video title should accurately describe what the video is about and include keywords staff are likely to use when searching for the video. On the intranet, add metadata like descriptions and keywords to the video.
Another good idea is to put a summary of the video content in the video description. You may even want to publish the entire video transcript underneath the video, for those who prefer to read rather than watch. It’s a little bit of extra work, but it also makes you a more effective communicator.
Make It Scannable
Remember how I always say online content should be scannable? This is easy to do with text, where you can break content into chunks, put headers and sub-headers, and use bullets and lists to make everything easy to grasp visually. But how do you make a video scannable?
One way is to list the time marks of key points in the video. For example:
Video: CEO’s Message to Staff
Report on Earnings YTD: 00:45
New Directions for the Year: 01:03
Critical Action for All Staff: 01:11
This way, people can skip ahead to the parts they want to view, if they’re pressed for time. Or if they’ve seen the video before and want to review a specific item, they can easily do so if they know how to find that particularly piece of content.
I hope my recent posts on using video on your intranet have encouraged you to use video more for internal communication. What else would you like to know about using video? What challenges do you face?
Let me know in the comments below.