Well as usual, I was up against the clock to come up with eight (count 'em, eight!) "Pro Secrets for Creating Powerful Videos."
I always seem to work better when deadlines are tight. Maybe it's a leftover from my news days, maybe it's just human nature, but I somehow work much more efficiently when there's a hard deadline breathing down my neck.
So as I prepared my presentation on my eight video secrets, I was stuck.
What should number eight be? How do I wrap this thing up?
Then, it hit me. Something I've been meaning to talk about for quite a while.
The last point on my list of "Pro Secrets" would, perhaps, be the most important.
Secret #8: Your Video Viewers Want a Connection, Not a Commercial
When we started our scrappy little video production company, Michele and I were figuring out what to call our new business.
We kicked around a few lame ideas. But I remember it didn't take long for Michele to come up with Beyond Measure. It came from a quote she had recently come across from the spiritual author Marianne Williamson:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
At the time when we decided to begin our new video storytelling business, this quote pretty much summed up where we both were spiritually and emotionally.
We had no idea we could do this. Or, more accurately, we had been afraid to put ourselves out there, to tell the world that we now wanted to operate video equipment and be trusted to tell the story of a business or organization.
Who were we to think we could do something like this?
The Kind of Person You Want to Know About
So here's the deal. The world is now full of amazing problem solvers. You just might be one of them.
These amazing people are the ones who either start or lead organizations that make this world a better and more interesting place.
These people are dreamers. They are thinkers. They're fighters and they are servants.
They do not accept the status quo. They push themselves beyond their own comfortable limits, and that usually means they challenge the rest of us to do the same.
And how thrilled would we be to find out that one of these exceptional individuals could be found not in some other state or country, but inside our own community?
These people - and really, you could be one of them - are the types most of us would kill to spend some time with. To learn from them, to be inspired by them, and yes, to see what we might be able to offer to support their worthy efforts.
And then, something terrible usually happens.
Something that would make you think these highly competent, worthy men and women were suddenly beamed off this earth by a giant vacuum tube from an alien spacecraft.
And Then They Disappear
The problem begins when these individuals file the legal paperwork to form a corporation, or perhaps a 501(c)(3).
Or, they could simply be working for one of these legal entities.
And as these dynamic leaders continue to do their work, as they continue to fight and lead and inspire... every single interesting thing they do is suddenly hidden.
Hidden behind the veil of that official corporate or nonprofit entity.
Check your organization's website: Are you in there anywhere, or was it more important to look BIG?
Check your organization's Facebook page: Do we see your face in the profile picture? Do we hear your authentic voice in the post?
Check your organization's video: Are you in there? At all?
Who started your organization? Why? Is that person still around? Still passionate? Still fighting? And can any of that information be found...anywhere?
A Commercial vs. a Connection
Too many businesses and nonprofits design their marketing materials to make their organizations look BIG.
This usually results in marketing pieces (including websites, social media and yes, video) that come across as uninspiring, uninteresting, and even downright soulless.
In the field of marketing and PR, the current metrics tell us that trust in large institutions is declining. Smaller is actually better, and can even be a distinct marketing or fundraising advantage.
People are less interested in a commercial, and more interested in a connection.
Less interested in a logo, and more interested in a leader.
Less interested in meaningless bullet points, and more interested in a believer who gets up yet another day and fights to make the world a little better.
This is your story. The story your customers or donors really want to hear. And I want to hear it, too.