Central Bedfordshire Council: Using video to engage and reassure
Sam Willet gravatar avitar

Central Bedfordshire Council: Using video to engage and reassure

Author: Sam Willet | Posted on: 26 February 2016

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.

New housing, part of Central Bedfordshire Council's new Local Plan

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.

Case study: How have Central Bedfordshire Council utilised their video?

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:

  • Shared the video across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter
  • Put the video on the websites of partner organisations such as the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Sent an email about the video to subscribers
  • Sent out a press release
  • Mentioned the video in their internal communications for staff and councillors
  • Remember, you can use YouTube analytics to see how many views you’re getting over time. So, you can see when things are slowing down, or indeed when you’ve triggered a spurt of views.

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:


Author: Sam Willet

Sam Willet gravatar avitar
Sam is a Producer and Client Manager at Ember Television. He has worked in online media since graduating with an MA in Film and TV from the University of Birmingham, and loves a good human interest story. You can contact him at [email protected] https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=294919697&authType=name&authToken=k-zK&trk=prof-proj-cc-name https://twitter.com/ember_samw
Central Bedfordshire Council: Using video to engage and reassure

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