How effectively are you using video as part of your internal communication channel mix?

Hot on the heels of his popular How Internal Comms is Like Fallout article, I’m delighted to welcome Ross Tarbard @rosstarbard back to my blog.

He’s Senior Internal Communications Officer at the University of Leicester here in the UK. Ross has revealed how they’re using video for internal communication, what they’re measuring, how they choose content and what we can learn.

How are you using video? If you need a helping hand, I’ve included some resources at the end of this article to guide your decision-making.

Here’s Ross…

Leicester in Focus

At the University of Leicester, we’re really keen to tell our stories in a compelling and audience-friendly way.

Winning multiple awards for the media and PR engagement around the discovery of Richard III was one thing, but could we replicate the same thing internally?

That was the challenge given to a team from our Marketing and Comms division by our new Director. We knew we had a fantastic video team and a University’s worth of stories to tell, but could we do it for policy changes (admittedly not the most exciting of things) as well as the discovery of a new pair of colliding neutron stars?

This is how Leicester in Focus was born.

The brief was to:

create a monthly, fast-moving, magazine style news programme, lasting no longer than five minutes, telling a number of different stories from research discoveries to charity events.

The stories should be internally focused, but always with an eye on the external promotion of the University. Where possible, the stories would be used across our suite of marketing materials and social media.

Behind the scenes
The team, made up of myself from Internal Communications, our director, members of the creative and video teams, and the press office held regular production meetings to identify the stories we knew were worth covering, and our new triage system for marketing allowed us a much better view of the stories coming in.

The system was introduced to prevent siloed working in our marketing and comms department, and while tracking the number of jobs coming in, also ensuring that the right teams were working on the right projects.

Some were things we were already covering elsewhere, others were linked to ongoing campaigns, and some were exclusive to Leicester in Focus.

How successful were we?
Well, the first episode ‘premiered’ in June, and we’ve just released episode six.

Along the way we’ve been able to show staff, students and the general public stories about various stories and initiatives including the two biggest public donations the University has ever received.

Episode one included a student study trip to Rome:

We quickly and easily explained the University’s financial position in episode two:

Episode three enabled us to show the creation of a new Joe Orton artwork in the library:

Plus a fantastic partnership with the National Trust told the LGBT history of our historic sites.

Leicester in Focus has also given us the opportunity to celebrate the people who keep the University running, with profiles of members of staff including a porter who paints incredible artworks in her spare time:

Plus, the winner of the BBC 2 show Astronauts: do you have what it takes who just happens to be a University Professor of Space (not to mention a fearless mountaineer and adventurer).

How do we put it together?
We deliver the videos monthly via an all staff email and on the website, but we’re also splitting out the individual stories so they can be used as bite-sized material on social media and in marketing.

(You can see all the videos on their external website – Rachel)

Thanks to our new email system Poppulo, we can not only see the views we’re getting on YouTube, but we can also track click-throughs from the email and open rates so, as with our other internal comms emails, we can make decisions about which content to feature and highlight based on hard data.

We’re spoilt for choice now!

More and more people are watching and submitting their ideas for content, so the editorial meetings are more about picking from a rich crop than scratching around in the weeds.

So watch this space. Slowly and surely, Leicester is really coming into sharp focus.

Post author: Ross Tarbard.

Thank you Ross. I like the focus on content and then deciding how to film and capture the relevant angle of the story, with that ever-blurring internal/external comms focus in mind.

Do you have a story to share about using video for IC? If you’re an in-house practitioner, please see my guidelines and let me know your idea.

Your guide to using video for internal comms

My thanks to Sam Howson of Terra Firma pictures, who wrote for the All Things IC blog in November 2016 to give his advice on using video effectively for internal comms.

Sam shared the following advice:

Top tips:

  • Pick the right people to support you in your video channel creation.
  • Don’t ask for the questions up front, this will mean your answers will look rehearsed and awkward, and the majority of us aren’t actors.
  • Don’t ask for an autocue.
  • Above all, trust the team that you’re partnering with to create a video that makes you and them look good.
  • Team up with them prior to the filming and prepare and plan the interview in good time.

Sam adds: Keep experimenting with lengths, style, treatments and put the right level of creativity in for each brief. Making ‘one video’ is a thing of the past.”

“Every video you make, make it with a mind that it can be used externally and put on your public channel.Unless ‘top secret’, video can be your strongest asset for anyone interested your culture, your people, your buildings, your ethos.”

Think of video/ content creation as an expedition. Very often business continue to go into the mountain ill prepared without a map or a plan, and get frustrated when they get lost or don’t make it to the summit.

You need to:

  • Dig out your maps and equipment
  • Do your research
  • Get training
  • Plan your route
  • Decide where you will camp each night
  • How much food you need and cover each section at a time.

“Get the right people around you to create a content plan, where do you need video, where will a blog piece be more effective?”

Further reading on the All Things IC blog about video:

How to use video for internal communication

In need of more inspiration? Here are 16 ways to use video for internal communication, thanks to the lovely people at Alive With Ideas!

Want to learn more about internal communication?

Sign up to one of my All Things IC Masterclasses. Search the Masterclasses website to discover full information about my one-day courses in London.

First published on the All Things IC blog 26 October 2017.

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