Creating Content

Increase District-Wide Engagement by Using Video

Lisa-Katharina Ochmann
9 Minutes

Increase District-Wide Engagement by Using Video

A step-by-step guide to success for K-12 schools

A step-by-step guide to success for K-12 schools

Intro

According to a marking report released by Wyzowl, 87% of people use video in their marketing strategies and 84% of marketers say that video has helped them increase traffic to their website. There is no denying that people prefer creative visuals. Video content should not only inform and educate the audience but also be able to tell a story that captivates them in ways that are most relatable to them.  

Let’s talk about the things you need to consider when using videos to increase your engagement with your audience.

  1. Why video
  2. Choosing your platforms
  3. Creating content
  4. Sharing your videos
  5. Measuring your success
  6. Ideas for your videos

1. Why Video

Why Video?

If you’re not using some form of video content as a marketing tool, you’re really missing out at acquiring and retaining an audience. People will choose to watch videos as they are optimal for sharing with family and friends.

Recall, the last time you were scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and stopped to watch a video. These videos probably ranged from tutorials to cute animals. Through the use of video, you can apply your creativity to spread a message about what is going on at school or in the district.  Below you will find some compelling statistics on why using videos may be useful.

  • 82% of internet traffic is now video and is forecasted to quadruple by 2022 according to Cisco
  • Mobile devices are used to watch almost 50% of all videos
  • Videos that are 2 minutes or longer will get the most engagement
  • 95% of the message is retained by viewers as opposed to 10% when reading text
  • Traffic can be increased by up to 55% when videos are embedded in the website

2. Choosing your platforms

Choosing your platform

Following the decision to include videos in your marketing strategy, you must decide on which platform to use to upload your video content. You have various options ranging from free websites to paid platforms, depending on your marketing budget. Essentially, all platforms share a significant amount of functionality. You simply upload the content to the platform, and they will add your video to your library. When deciding on a platform, be sure to consider that your video is seen and supported on various devices. As mentioned earlier, the vast majority of people tend to watch videos on their mobile devices. The platform, therefore, should have adaptive streaming, such as iOS and Android.

Some options on platforms are summarized down below:

Free Platforms

YouTube

YouTube is the second most popular search engine, with Google in first, so it can be helpful in SEO. It has more than one billion users. Creating a YouTube channel only takes a few minutes.

Simply go to www.youtube.com/create channel and follow the steps. Then set up the dedicated account for your school district. From there you can control who will have access to the account. YouTube has options to promote engagement such as liking a video, favoriting a video, commenting on a video, and subscribing to channels. Audience members that are subscribed to the channel can opt to receive post notifications each time content is posted. This can drive views.

Vimeo

With Vimeo, you can create high-performing videos to share anywhere. However, while it does offer free membership, it limits you to 500 MB maximum storage per week. As a result, if you prefer to use a free platform to post content on, you will need to decide how much content you want to post per week. If it's more than 500 MB of storage, you may want to choose a YouTube channel. Vimeo allows viewers to watch the video without any ads and you can replace your videos without losing the stats.

So,which one should you choose? Well, this ultimately depends on the type of content you want to put out, how much you want to post per week, and the features you need. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Video Service Providers
Paid Platforms

If you are looking to use some more advanced features, there are also many paid platforms that you can utilize to upload your content on. Here are a few options, but there are many on the market to choose from

Vidyard

This platform is ideal for hosting and sharing unlimited videos. If you are looking to send out a widespread campaign, Vidyard lets you easily add videos to your website, social, and emails. Additionally, your viewers can watch the videos free from ads, which likely encourages the viewer to keep watching. As an education marketer, you can seek innovative ways to personalize and differentiate messages for students, parents and guardians, and teachers.

Wistia

With Wistia, you can create TV-quality experiences. Like Vidyard, videos can be played free from ads. You can manage and update your existing videos as your content evolves without having to change URLs. Additionally, the platform supports iOS and Android, allowing your audience to view videos no matter the device. You can also embed videos into your website.

Kaltura

With Kaltura, you have the possibility of recording and live streaming your videos. This could be helpful to record sports games that parents or guardians might not be able to attend. You can record messages and send them using email. For example, it could be used to reach out to prospective students and build relationships with the faculty.

3. Creating content

Creating Content

When you are ready to create content, you will need to plan out a budget, set specific goals, decide on scripting, what accessibility you want, your shooting, and editing options

Budget

Your budget will, of course, depend on the types of videos you’re creating and the production and editing that will go into it. Things to ask yourself:

  • Will you be creating the video in-house?
  • What editing software will you be using? Does it cost to use it?
  • Will you need to purchase new or extra equipment?

Low ($0): You use existing equipment, lighting, free software, and free platform

Medium ($40 - $2000) : a combination of existing and new products and software

High ($2000 - $10,000+): New camera, lighting, editing software,outsourcing

Goals

Ideally, before starting to produce your content it is beneficial to set yourself some goals.

  1. Purpose behind your videos:
    Knowing the purpose of the video will make it easier to plan out. Are you trying to share an important message with your audience? Are you trying to build trust? Drive engagement?
  2. Call to action in your videos (not always but often):
    Sometimes at the end of videos, video creators will put in a call of action. You might want to embed a link to your main website, or a link to the previous or next video. You could even include contact information at the end.
  3. Sharing quick messages:
    If you’re sending a quick message such as a bus delay or upcoming school events, you might want to consider sending it through email rather than posting it only on your website.
  4. Making boring information more fun:
    Get creative! You want to engage your audience.Perhaps you can include the school’s mascot in videos or even have special guests such as students, teachers, principals, etc. Even changing up the location of your videos can keep things interesting. Have someone move the camera as you are speaking. This would be a great opportunity for students to become more involved by volunteering.
  5. Making complicated messages more easily understood:
    Simplify your message. For example, if the school district is receiving an influx of the same questions from parents and guardians, perhaps this would be a great opportunity to create a video on it to address any concerns.
Scripting

Begin by writing an outline for your video, starting with a brief to make sure everyone is on the same page for those that are involved in the making of the video. Consider the key takeaways and what you intend to teach your audience.

  1. What shots you want:
    As mentioned previously, you want to decide whether the camera will be stationary or require multiple shots. This will depend on the nature of the video. Is it a message addressed to students or parents and guardians?
  2. What script:
    Introduce the narrator and what the audience is going to learn by the end of the video.Keep in mind the script doesn’t have to be super fancy. The purpose of a script is purely functional. You want to sound and act natural. The script needs to be conversational and easy enough to understand so that if someone else had to shoot the video, they wouldn’t have a problem doing so.
  3. What music:
    You'll have to make sure that any music you include in your videos is un-copyrighted and legal to use. Otherwise, your video could get taken down by the platform due to copyright infringement. You can use sites like, SoundCloud, FreeMusic Archive, or Jamendo to download sounds and background music.
Accessibility Checklist
  1. Make sure you caption videos and have a copy of the full transcript:
    A transcript is a written version of the video recording. The transcript of your video should include any words that are spoken. There should be a brief summary of the video content. You must also identify all the speakers in the video. You might notice from captioned movies, that sounds are also noted. For example,someone clearing their throat might be denoted by “ahem”. Music can be denoted by a musical note and the artist of the song. The transcript is usually embedded on the same page as the video itself or has a link in the description which will take the viewer to a separate page.
  2. Closed Caption:
    It is wise that you caption the text that will appear on the screen that matches the audio of the video. This will allow people who have a hearing impairment to understand the context of the video.This is something that can be considered when choosing your platform as some will automatically have a closed caption option in the menu bar. Just as in the transcript, the captions should identify the speakers if there is more than one.
  3. Availability on all devices:
    Ensure that your video can be played on any devices that are potentially used by the viewer, including mobile devices and desktops.
Shooting

When shooting your video you will need to decide on which device to use to record your video and whether you will need to use a microphone. Another thing you must always consider is the lighting of your video. For example, your audience will feel more compelled to watch your content that has good lighting.

Pick your camera
Pick your camera
  1. Phones ($0):
    You can certainly use your smartphone to record videos or informal updates. This is especially simple when you have to make minimal edits to the video. The advantage of this is that it is cost-effective.The downside is that there is limited storage space on a smartphone and not all software will be compatible with the phone.
  2. Computer camera ($0-$40):
    Similarly, you could simply use the webcam from your laptop or buy one for your desktop. It also doesn’t require a great deal of expertise to operate. Using this method will make it easier to edit as the file will already be on your computer or laptop.
  3. Invest in a high-quality camera ($180-$10,000):
    If you have a greater budget, you could invest in a higher-quality device, a DSLR camera such as a Canon Mark II or a proper camcorder built for video. This will give you many more options such as the focus, blurring of the background and adjustable lighting. Additional items that will need to be purchased are SD cards for storage purposes, tripod, and extension cords. The downside to this is that it may take time to figure out how to use and edit the pieces, as well as the initial investment which can vary widely based on how fancy you want to get.
  4. Middle-ground, get an OSMO ($180-$10,000):
    Alternatively, you could also purchase a DJI Osmo pocket camera. This camera has an integrated stabilizer allowing for smooth movement and transitions. This device is compatible with most smartphones. This is particularly useful when transferring files to edit.Simply download the app which is equipped with editing tools.
Pick your microphone
Pick your microphone

While optional, you might find the need to improve the sound, in which case you can purchase a standalone microphone.

  1. Quality:
    Being able to understand the speaker is essential for the audience to keep watching your videos. There is nothing worse than hearing a muffled voice.
  2. Using your phone:
    You can use your phone to record the audio. Simply put the phone near the speaker and overlay the audio and visual in the editing. The difficulty here might be making sure the tone aligns with the speaker.
  3. Why bother ($10-$150):
    You might ask yourself: “is it really necessary to have a microphone?” and the answer is simple, it depends. If you are looking to produce frequently, or if your videos typically feature people speaking, you might want to invest in a microphone. People will prefer good quality audio, otherwise what is the point in them watching when they can’t understand the content. The microphone does not have to break the bank. You can find reasonably priced microphones on Amazon.
Lighting

Next to audio, the lighting of your videos is also important. Poor lighting can be due to the camera not focusing properly which limits the quality. I bet you have come across a video that had poor lighting which may have led you to stop watching. You can have various forms of lighting that can be considered to improve quality.

  1. Selfie light ($9.99):
    The selfie ring light helps to compensate for the bad lighting on your mobile device. It comes at an affordable price and is easy to install. It is also compatible with most smartphones and has adjustable settings
  2. Full light ($50 -$250):
    Ensure that the room has all lights on. Alternatively, you can purchase a lighting kit. Prices will depend on what you need or desire. With a lighting kit, you can position the stands to where you need, either to fill or for key lighting. Back lighting also adds depth to the background. It really all depends on how creative you want to go, but a great starting point is three sources of light,one behind and below the subject, and two in front, one left and one right, to give optimal lighting to your video.
  3. Natural light:
    If you're on a tight budget,you may want to resort to natural lighting to illuminate your space. The downside to this is that the sun can be too intense on some days, which could create undesired shadows and make it rather hard to have consistent lighting. Also, sunrise and sunset offer softer golden lighting.
Editing
Editing your video

Yay! You have made it this far! Now comes the fun part, editing…

Software

Software is there to make your footage a more enjoyable piece. You can cut where there were long pauses during speech. You are also able to add sound effects and music in the background.

  1. Beginner:
    There is affordable software that is usually already downloaded on your computer, including: iMovie and Windows Movie Maker.
  2. Intermediate ($200-$300):
    If you're looking for more functions, such as professional graphics and animations. The downside to this, it may take some time to learn how to use it if you don't already know how to use it. Intermediate software includes programs such as: FinalCut Pro and Adobe Premiere.
  3. Professional ($75 - $150/Hour):
    As with every part of the video-making process, you can look to an external source to help with this area.  There are many companies and agencies which provide video editing on an hourly or per-project basis and can be a good option if you don’t have the time to invest in learning software but need that level of quality.
Time

If you’re responsible for leveraging other mediums in your marketing strategy, you may have limited time to devote to video making. Often, editing can take longer than expected,particularly if it requires approval from multiple people. As such it is important that you allocate your time well. Making a clear outline and setting deadlines can help with managing time.

4. Sharing your videos

Sharing your videos

Now that you have produced your video, it’s time to share your piece with the world! The following should be considered for video optimization. Your priority now is to make it easy for your target audience to see your content.Ultimately, the more you post a single video in more places, the higher the chance of reaching that wider audience. However, you must be strategic about it.

a. The initial platform

First, you must consider the most important platforms, such as the platform that you will initially upload your content on, such as YouTube. It is advised that you embed your videos directly on your website to improve search engine rankings. People are then likely to spend more time on your site. This is an important factor in search engine optimization.

b. Social Media

You’ll want to share your video on school social pages, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and anywhere else that you have a social presence. It will all come back to who the audience is and the intention of the message. This will play a role in your decision on which social sites it may be worth boosting your content. Paid Ads can be a great way of getting your content out to a wider audience, especially if you are sharing a fun, engaging piece. And you will need to consider the best analytics, as not all social sites will provide the same information about your video’s performance. It is important to note that Facebook and LinkedIn prefer videos that are natively uploaded to their sites, rather than linked out to say YouTube, and will show them to more people as a result.

c. Timing

There are actually suggested times of day to post content. According to Frederator, the prime time to post content is Monday through Wednesday between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. However, on weekends a post-time between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. is ideal. In general, most viewership will begin to rise on Thursday, then peak on Saturday and Sunday it will begin to decline. Of course, this will depend on the age of the audience too. If you're looking to market to the students and young adults, the above is the optimal time to post. If you're marketing to older audience members such as working parents and guardians, then during the lunch hours and at night would be more optimal to post content.

5. Measuring your success

Measuring your success

After you have posted your video, you’ll want to assess your success. This can be done in the following ways:

a. Views

Most platforms will allow you to see the stats of your video. Recall, YouTube has a section that will tell you how many views the video has received. You might decide to post your content on more sites or share it on social media. If your views are low, you might also have to assess the quality. Look at what other districts are sharing and ask them for advice on how to improve the video.

b. Engagement

This is very important and insightful information. You have truly hit success when your target audience is engaged with the content you create. To have the audience appreciate your content and create a relationship of trust and interest in further information you share. You can measure this in several ways:

  1. Shares: If you share your video to Facebook, you can track the number of times your content gets shared.
  2. Comments: This can be done on most platforms. Any content you post, you can expect a reaction in the form of comments, likes, etc. This will also give you the chance to answer questions and address any concerns directly. This is also the most accurate representation of engagement as it requires more conscious effort,rather than a like or share.
  3. Tagging: Related to commenting, people will often tag their friends or family who might have not otherwise seen the content.

c. Paid

Paid-for platforms will often have a system which tracks the engagement, allowing you to see:

  1. How many people are watching at any given time?
  2. Where do they stop watching?
  3. How much, on average, the video has been viewed?
  4. With some platforms - Individual viewing habits, and a direct link to who exactly watched the video.

Essentially, this information will tell you what part of the video they found useful and what part they have found maybe less interesting. The bottom line is that there will always be room to improve your content.

6. Ideas for videos

Ideas for videos

Plan ahead! Create a list of video ideas and what goes into the making of each video. The following might help you to come up with some of your own ideas:

a. District videos

Highlight what the district has to offer on a teaching and learning basis. Interview superintendents and have them give district-wide announcements via video.

b. News

News videos can include weather updates, board meetings, etc.

c. Culture videos

Here you can interview teachers and students. The audience will get a glimpse and will learn directly from the educators on their approaches to teaching young individuals. You could create a series of videos on different schools or programs within your district.

d. Classroom projects

You can update parents and guardians on the projects that are taking place in classrooms. Show parents and guardians a glimpse of all the thought and creativity that went into them.

e. School events

You can make sure people are aware of upcoming events, such as Jersey day, kindergarten sign-up,parent-teacher interviews, pretty much anything you want your audience to know and be involved in. You can also include recaps of games and include clips or highlights in case people couldn’t make it out to watch.

f. Announcements

Here you can include information on intramural try-outs, P.A. days or simply addressing a frequently received question/concern.

g. Public health information

You can include information during the flu season of preventative measures that audience members can take to reduce the chances of getting sick. It would be helpful to include any information about when and where people can get vaccinated, etc.

h. Contact information

Be sure to embed links at the end of videos when necessary, so that parents and guardians can immediately reach out if they have questions.

Conclusion
Conclusion

Video content is becoming the desired method in strategizing marketing content. People tend to be more engaged with video than reading text. You must choose an optimal platform that meets your needs. Before you get ready to create content, you will need to consider the budget, goals, what equipment and software you will use and accessibility that is needed to accommodate the audience.

Upon creating your video, you will need to upload it and make it available to the audience.Ideally, you'll want to take advantage of social media to share your videos there. You can then measure your success based on the number of views, shares,and comments, as well as, tagging. You can start by creating district content where you educate parents and guardians on teaching practices. You can then transition into creating other content such as news events, classroom projects,educational videos including fun facts or how to use the school portal, public health information, school events, and contact information.

Whatever your intentions may be for the videos, be sure to get feedback from ideas and always plan ahead. No matter the budget, as long as you have a smartphone and computer, you are guaranteed a spot to start.

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