Get Your Story Out: How to Use a Documentary to Increase Awareness

Think back to a time when you saw a video that created a visceral reaction — a news story of the horrors of war, a comedic take on a current issue, a beautiful landscape panorama. These visuals impact you, but more than that, they linger with you and create a strong connection. Video marketing for non-profits is an incredibly powerful medium and one that only continues to expand. Sometimes explaining what you do is complicated, and a pamphlet simply won’t cut it. A brief commercial or documentary succinctly and memorably lays out exactly what you’re about in an accessible (and even sometimes entertaining) way, but how to use a documentary to increase awareness?

Storytelling and Awareness

You’re dealing with a target market that feels disconnected. The smartphones that are attached to their hands, sometimes are the very things that are creating distance in their relationships. The best way to connect with your audience is through storytelling, and even beyond that, making them feel as if they themselves are part of the story.

When you craft a story and spread it in a visual medium, you are inviting the audience to be drawn into the tale, opening the door of your world for them, and let them know how they play an active role. This creates a lasting impression that’s necessary for building awareness for your cause and gives you a chance to invite others to partner with you in your efforts. Find out where your potential audience is hanging out and then get your story in front of them.

See a Return on Your Marketing

Video marketing is frequently avoided due to the fact that it is more costly than traditional marketing avenues. However, it has also consistently been rated as having one of the best rates of return out of other techniques. This is perhaps not surprising since short form video content is engaging and appeals to ever growing shorter attention spans. But overall, this reinforces the principle that you get out what you put in. That initial leap to creating an impactful documentary video will prove to yield huge results particularly if it is done in a professional and engaging way. A good documentary will increase action to your cause and should last a number of years. With that in mind, take the cost of video production and spread it over years. The initial scary budget cost of producing a good documentary or commercial suddenly seems more tangible within a modest marketing budget. The most important step is to take your time before turning on the cameras. Think hard and long on how to create the very best video campaign and where it will live, in order to make the most of your budget. Documentaries and commercials done well with creativity are not cheap, but their wonderful appeal to increase engagement with your organization, be it non-profit or brand can be what makes or breaks a marketing campaign. Look for a video production company that aligns with your mission, not all video production companies are equal.

Where and When to Use Video Messages

Documentaries and commercials are far more flexible than they receive credit for. Not only can they easily be spread via social media, but they can also be used in fundraiser contexts or other public events. Your story can be a tool to request funds, support a ballot initiative, or even create a petition drive. As long as you’re focused on a strong story and a powerful call to action, your documentary can make incredible inroads as you captivate your viewers and bring them into your narrative.