An absence of information often gives rise to speculation, so it’s always better to let people know what’s going on before they jump to their own conclusions. This is a key challenge for communications teams everywhere, particularly in public organisations that need to keep people informed of changes in their local area. As part of a broader communication strategy, video can reassure people by detailing changes in a concise way, allowing viewers to see exactly what is going on.
Central Bedfordshire Council needed a video to launch their New Local Plan, a development strategy focused on employment, housing, and the infrastructure that goes with it. Its aim is to deliver sustainable growth, but in Central Bedfordshire’s case, they’re also determined to preserve their picturesque countryside and the unique character of the area, something which is of great concern to their residents.
The main challenge of producing video for a public organisation is that the audience is often very broad. That was certainly the case with this project, which needed to have value for council officers, other local authorities, landowners, press, public, and the Planning Inspectorate. With this in mind, we had to make sure that the script was easy to digest, but also highlighted relevant, specific examples of development in the local area.
But we also understood that video was a part of the wider communications strategy. This allowed us to keep things relatively simple, and focus on getting a selection of footage from the local area which would show both the areas identified for development and some of the sights of Central Bedfordshire.
We wanted to let viewers know that they could contribute their own thoughts to the Local Plan process. With this in mind, we added a call to action at the end, which provides a next step if they want to find out more.
For public organisations, it’s vital to stay in touch with the community that you serve and show them what you’re doing. Only by engaging people do you find out about their needs and concerns, and make sure that you meet those needs when possible. This communication means that the organisation runs in partnership with the public and other stakeholders, rather than in a top-down fashion.
The video has had just under 2000 views in its first two weeks after publication, which is a strong start and pleasing to see. CBC have worked hard for this, and their approach is one that others can learn from. They have:
Shares are key to getting more views, so you should encourage others to share your content. Targeting individuals who have a following and who care about the subject matter of your video is a good start. For example, if you tweet a video at somebody, if they think it’s any good they’ll most likely retweet or share it through another channel. YouTube analytics can also tell you how people are viewing your video, so you can tell which of your distribution methods is most effective - for example, do people view videos directly whilst visiting your YouTube channel, or are you getting more views from a link you put on a partner’s website?
For more tips on video optimization and sharing, take a look at these posts: