Meet Mark and Madison.
Mark and Madison started a coffee shop in Denver, CO. Their mission is to reclaim and sustain the lives of homeless youth and young adults through supportive and meaningful employment.
They also have the best mocha latte on the planet. If you’re ever in the neighborhood I highly recommend getting one.
Back in 2013 when I had just graduated film school Purple Door Coffee opened across the street from the production company I was working at.
My coworker Ben and I would stop by every morning to say hi to Mark and Madison and grab a cup of coffee. We quickly became friends and loved their cause. We loved PDC so much we offered to make a video for them.
You can watch the video here:
What started as a fun weekend project to film a video for Mark and Madison turned into a video that went viral (and got featured on Huffington Post), grew their audience, helped them raise $100,000 for their crowdsourcing campaign, and served as a tool they still use to this day.
Out of all the video projects I’ve ever done, this video has gotten some of the most traction and use I’ve ever seen. Mark and Madison were smart with how they used the video (and the fact that they gave us a lot of creative freedom.)
Today I’m going to show you what Mark and Madison did to maximize the value of their “About Us” video.
Make the video front and center on your website
This might sound obvious, but it's surprising how many nonprofit websites I come across that either don’t have a video, or have it tucked away as a tiny thumbnail on a page that gets the least amount of traffic.
Purple Door has their video front and center on their about page:
They could even more benefit if they had it on their homepage, but this is a good start.
You and I both know the power of video. The statistics only go up each year about how many people watch online videos and how effective they are.
But a video can only be effective if it’s easy for someone to find.
I called Mark to get updated on how our video had helped Purple Door over the years and he made a great point early in our conversation. He said,
“When non-profits or for profits aren’t using video they are missing out on a whole generation.”
This is so true.
Think about the last time you went to a website and read every piece of copy on every page to learn about a company or organization.
If they had a video, that was probably the first thing you clicked.
Humans love story. We love to be entertained.
Use your video to instantly connect with your audience
One of my favorite things that Mark does with the video is he uses it regularly at speaking engagements.
Their video helps them get more opportunities for speaking, and also greatly enhances the connection when he does speak.
On the phone, Mark said,
“Whenever we go speak at a school or a non-profit that video covers the basics of what we do so consciously that it covers the information in a way that holds attention. It's a hook that lets people know enough, that i don’t have to cover the basic mundane information. It actually opens up my time to talk about specifics and open up time for deeper topics.”
Of course we have to bring people up to speed with who we are when we present, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dry and boring.
Also, by getting the basic information out of the way, you have a chance to go deeper with your audience and connect with them in a genuine way.
Mark said something else that I found interesting.
He was asked to present to group of 7th graders about what they did at Purple Door Coffee. He showed them the video and they were hooked.
After the speech, they opened up for a Q&A and several kids had questions.
When the presentation was done, one of the teachers came up to Mark and said, “We’ve been doing these presentations for years and our 7th graders have never asked a question at these presentations. Thank you!”
BONUS: Not only can the video help you at presentations, it can help you LAND more speaking engagements. Include the video after a follow up email or cold call to give your potential audience a better understanding of who you are.
Make it easy for news and media to pick up your story
Like most nonprofit owners, Mark and Madison were incredibly busy with the day-to-day tasks of running a business. They had employees to take care of, bills to pay, and lives outside of work.
There wasn’t much extra time in their day to focus on marketing and promotion.
But they did have all of the pieces in place to make it easy for news sites to pick them up.
Mark and Madison did take opportunities to be in the local news and media whenever they had a chance. They always offered their video and photos to be featured as as well.
This simple strategy proved to be effective. After being featured in the local news, they were picked up by national news, and then by the Huffington Post.
This resulted in over 60 THOUSAND shares and retweets:
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Great, we just have to go viral.”
Actually, you don’t.
This strategy can be reverse engineered to remove the chances of going viral.
The best information I’ve found on this is from Peter Panepento on his interview on the Successful Nonprofits Podcast
He goes into detail about how to get covered in the news and media. I highly recommend checking it out.
Here’s a little secret about promoting yourself in the media: Bloggers and news organizations NEED GOOD STORIES. They want to look awesome in front of their boss, and tell a good story that draws a lot of traffic. Having a great video and some photos makes it that much easier to get your foot in the door with any media organization.
Because of their viral hit, they grew their audience which helped them raise $100,000 for their roasting plant when they launched a crowdfunding campaign.
The takeaway? Your video is like a 24/7 advocate that spreads your message for you.
All of these strategies mentioned above are FREE. You can use them all today to get more value out of your video content you already have.
I’d love to hear how video has helped your organization.
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