Few will have missed the breathtaking rise of YouTube™ and the ubiquitous nature of online video, and international education establishments are increasingly aware of the importance of video as an appropriate medium for reaching their target audience. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is presumably - at least potentially - worth many more. But how can this be realised most effectively? This is an issue that I have been working with in recent months, and I am now offering a route which is open to all and which I hope will prove helpful to many. Please note therefore that – for once – I have a commercial interest in what I am writing here.
My conclusions about the characteristics of online promotional video for language schools and other educational establishments were as follows:
· Propaganda is a turn-off, and videos must offer content which is unscripted and real
· The essential component should be interviews, where people, and most especially students, freely give their opinions
· Presentation must be good enough to have face validity, but investment in presentation rapidly encounters the law of diminishing returns
· The duration of videos should be tightly controlled, and they are probably most effective in the range 3 – 6 minutes
· Videos should not aim to be comprehensive but rather to stimulate interest and invite contact
· The finished product should be versatile and available in High Definition for use on CD/DVD as well as available on dedicated sites and open access sites for embedding in newsletters and emails and for random public access
Managers that I have spoken to about this idea see it as a challenge, and happily as a challenge that they want to take up. The loss of control is a novelty in this context, but it is precisely that loss of control which gives the videos their spontaneity and edge and appeal.
I have opened a new site especially for this purpose at TheBlackieReport and, while the site is still in development, the first videos in the genre described can be seen there.