With the rise of high quality video integrated into smartphones and tablets and the ubiquity of cameras like GoPro that are built for any and every circumstance, the opportunity to incorporate user generated content (UGC) into all video campaigns is greater than ever.
I know I’ve said it before, but while creating video is easier than ever, creating great content is still very challenging. Not only do you need a killer idea for your video to succeed, but you also need footage, which requires actors and sets and (usually) money. However, you don’t have to be rolling in the dough or hire professional actors; crowdsourcing video content can boost viewer engagement, vastly expand your initial audience base, and transfer some of the production costs over to the consumer.
Today we’re going to provide a few tips for successfully crowdsourcing video content and how to leverage interactivity to improve your chances for success.
Tip 1: Keep the request simple
Videos like Alicia Keys’ “New Day”and Japanese band Sour’s “Hibi no neiro” worked well because the request was simple: “Say these few words,” “Shoot yourself singing in the mirror,” or “Smile and dance.” These are the kinds of activities that aren’t out of the ordinary, and that a lot of people are probably doing anyways, and they bring out the “performer” in fans while also increasing the chances that you’ll get usable footage.
By directing viewers on exactly what content to produce, you are simplifying the creative process. You can storyboard the entire production with “Insert UGC Line A here,” and “Insert UGC Line B here” so that you’re sure to have a coherent story even with variable user content.
Tip 2: Create a community of clips
Even though the plan is to pick the top five clips to include in the final video, fans that have uploaded content are anxious to see themselves online associated with your brand, artist, product, or company. Don’t underestimate the pull of fans to look for themselves online and share clips of themselves far and wide. It can be as simple as setting up a new Twitter hashtag or Tumblr account to house all the SFW-submitted clips so contributors get excited about the idea.
Tip 3: Tease the end product
It’s a lot easier for a fan to get behind the idea of creating content for a compilation piece if they have some sense of what that piece is all about. Even a 15-second-long sizzle reel or director interview about the video should be enough to get folks excited about participating.
Tip 4: Make submitting easy
There are a ton of tools out there today for submitting content. Pick something that the majority of your users will already have in their pockets. Anything that pulls from the iPhone’s Camera Roll, or a popular video sharing app like Instagram or Vine, lowers the barrier for submitting content and will increase the likelihood of getting good submission numbers. At some point you will have to get the original source file for the clip, so keep that in mind when planning your timeline for turnaround.
Tip 5: Incentivize submissions
Regardless of your budget, there is always something that you can offer fans, outside of being part of the branded page mentioned in Tip 2. Pick one lucky submission out of a hat for free tickets, an iPad, or something special to add excitement to the opportunity.
Tip 6: Leverage Interactive Video to build suspense and capture submissions
Since you’re ultimately going to be asking users to engage with the content by filming themselves to submit for your campaign, it’s a good idea to get them to physically engage with the actual video early on. You could open the video submission process with a question or choice point so the user immediately feels invested in the story. After hooking them with two important choices – “do we shoot in Manhattan or in the Hudson Valley?” or “do we go formal attire or block party style?” – make the next cliffhanger choice point go to a black screen with a message like “Now you make the next clip” paired with a button to submit.
With an HTML5 Interactive Video, this button could easily launch Instagram or another video capture app to capitalize on the excitement generated by the Interactive Video. And voilà; you have instant UGC, and you can also now pick your favorite clips and start adding them to the Interactive Video so that fans can actively participate in the ongoing building of the project.
It’s all about the fans
Probably the most important precursor to trying a project like this is a loyal fan base that is already actively engaging with your content (Facebook comments and likes, retweets, shares, etc.). Imagine how excited your viewers would be if they could actually participate in the making of the video rather than being limited to a “thumbs up” on a post.
Have you created a successful UGC campaign already? Do you have your own tips? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to check out the rest of our Interactive Video Tips here.