Getting Started on a Video Blog

HijarBlog September 29, 2017 By: Amalea Hijar

Video can be a great way to be seen and heard by your peers, but establishing a video blog isn’t always easy. Here a few tips for getting your association camera ready.

Video is increasingly used across online platforms and growing in importance for professional development and learning. Intuitively, we understand why: We’re constantly hit with information, our attention spans have notably dropped in duration, and key learnings can be communicated quicker with video than written words.

While video may sound like an appealing medium for your association, the idea of establishing your video presence may seem overwhelming, especially if you approach it in a traditional, professionally produced manner. However, there are alternatives that have lower-cost production and leverage an asset every association has—members.

Take One: What’s Your Angle?

To create a video strategy, the first step is to decide on the purpose and format of the series. For example, you could ask members to share career advice, like ASAE’s Association CareerHQ did for its “Working Smart” video series. Or you could give members a platform to discuss something important to them, which the American Nurses Association did with its “Member Voices” video series.

When I worked at the American College of Cardiology, the video blog I ran was an event-specific series with onsite interviews highlighting the experience and expertise of attendees in just a few minutes. Here’s an example from the ACC annual conference:

Take Two: Identify Member Champions

Once your association decides on video, the next step is to find member champions. It’s easier to record video today since decent-quality cameras are built into cell phones. This also means it’s more likely that your members are already shooting video, including at your association’s events.

If your association is on social media, start by searching for frequent posters to find members who might support your video strategy. Other options include asking established members, targeting a specific demographic within your membership, or conducting a call for volunteers.

Personally, I got lucky. I tried to do a video blog at the 2011 ACC Annual Conference, but it didn’t get much attention. Then, a few months later, two members approached me about leading a video blog for our next conference.

To create a video strategy, the first step is to decide on the purpose and format of the series.

Take Three: What Details Do I Need?

Member champions are just the beginning of a video blog. Here are a few other elements to plan for:

  • figuring out the equipment and skill sets needed, including how to procure them
  • developing a marketing plan for before, during, and after the event
  • determining the number of videos to produce
  • identifying videos topics, participants, and locations (keeping in mind lighting and background noise)
  • creating an onsite production timeline, including coordination with interviewees
  • recruiting, training, and managing volunteers.

I leaned heavily on member champions to determine what videos to make, but it was difficult to balance the items that we wanted to cover with the timeline. Often the videos were interviews with presenters, rather than excerpts from a session. In total, there were more than 40 volunteers to coordinate alongside interviewees’ schedules.

One of our biggest oversights was the video-editing process. We eventually hired an editor, which was cost effective and allowed member leaders to focus on interviewing. Another inexpensive but valuable addition is lighting, which helps to increase the video quality.

Take Four: Establish a Marketing Plan

To get an audience for your videos, it’s important to create and implement a marketing plan. At ACC, I coordinated with the marketing and communication team, as well as the annual meeting team on a plan. The goal was to ensure that the video blog was embedded in the conference programming. This included

  • integrating videos with ACC’s existing social media accounts
  • highlighting video links in the conference newspaper and emails
  • reserving space in the convention center for the video shoot.

The planning and hard work that first year paid off in a big way. The video blog was a huge success and has more than 85,000 views on YouTube. To date, the video blog has travelled internationally to cover events, engaged hundreds of members through micro-volunteering, and provided ACC with useful content for professional learning moments.

Amalea Hijar

Amalea Hijar, MPP, is program director for growth at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation and author of the e-book, “How to Create a Project Toolkit for Your Local Chapters.”