“Lights! Cameras! Interaction! 5 Internet TV Strategies for a New Era of Member Engagement

April 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm 2 comments

Imagine your association or trade organization having its own television network full of “must-see” original series-based and niche programming which draws in a loyal audience of members, non-members and relevant stakeholders.  It begins with great storytelling.

Good storytelling is like a “window”, but great storytelling serves as both a “window” and “mirror” reflection upon your audience’s own experiences, interests and core values.  Good stories appeal to us on a rational level but great storytelling reaches the heart and soul which leaves us feeling a stronger connection and “kinship” with the story, its subjects and origin.

Despite these truths, as membership professionals we’ve spent years doing our best working within the limitations of the communications channels and platforms we’ve had at our disposal in our attempt to engage members in our messaging, stories and networking.

While video is considered to be the most effective multi-sensory form of communication, it has largely been out-of-reach for most of us until the recent evolution of web video.  Despite growing access to web broadcast channels and video platforms, one might conclude that our industry’s approach to video strategy has been somewhat primitive at best.

In the end, it’s not the format of video itself that creates a compelling story-driven experience, but rather the way in which we utilize video as a tool to tell powerful series-driven stories which create that ongoing “window” and “mirror” reflection that strengthens the way members identify and engage our associations.

Interactive internet TV technology is gaining steam and when you consider the reach of internet-based video across living room TV screens, computer screens, tablets and mobile phones, the opportunity becomes clearer.  However, it’s going to take more than a couple of flip cams to get on the right track toward producing the right series and programming.  Below are some strategies to help you get started:

1)  Develop Channel Segments: Just as we define membership segments, it is equally important to define the key audiences you would like to reach.  Audience segmentation can help you not only plan the most relevant series/episodic content but also help you prioritize creative development.

2)  Interactive Video Platforms and Tools: There are more options out there than you might think.  Emerging technologies, such as Coincident TV, are providing an early glimpse into the full potential of truly interactive internet-based TV.  This technology converts passive viewers into fully engaged active participants who are in control of the viewing experience.  This type of video technology is hardwired for social networking and enables the producer to create behavior-prompting “cue points” during the video which to convert compelling “moments” into actions.   Click here to consider the possibilities.

3) Story Format and Series Planning: We live in the age of reality-style TV, which is essentially a documentary-style form of storytelling.  Immersing audiences into the center of a story in an authentic way is not only compelling, but also a far less expensive form of production than “staged” programming.  Consider the prospect of following a member/s over multiple episodes, entering into their daily life and experiences.  The premise of the series should be rooted in the key messages, themes and goals your associations seeks to convey, only your messengers are real members telling/living real and relatable stories.

4)  Sponsor-Integrated Programming: The need to generate non-dues revenue is a trend that will likely not go away anytime soon.  Sponsors seek to create a close strategic alignment/relationship with your members.  The challenge is granting sponsors the level of integration they desire while at the same avoiding disruption and value-detraction.  Interactive original internet-based video programming offers the creative possibility of incorporating sponsors as meaningful story elements incorporating the CTV style of capabilities above.  Perhaps the best news of all, original series-based programming is not only a great vehicle for sponsors but also an excellent means by which to underwrite production costs.       

5)  Leveraging Series Stars as Association Surrogates: The cascading benefit of an effective internet TV strategy is you are creating an air of “celebrity” around the “stars” you feature as part of your series-based programming.  These association “celebrities” can become amazing surrogates and spokespersons for your association at a number of key levels.  Looking for an example, watch this example which contributed a spike in membership for the Emergency Nurses Association.

Need more examples to jumpstart your storytelling, take a look at these soon-to-be-released non-profit examples from America’s Chefs and The Exchange Club .

In the end, as you develop your internet TV strategy always keep in mind you are building a deeper and broader level of engagement with your members.

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Entry filed under: Innovation, Managing Change, Social Media, Volunteer Strategy, Web 2.0 and Beyond, Web Me.0. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kare Anderson  |  April 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    These are really exciting tips regarding interactive TV – thanks – and I noticed on the YOuTube segments the “This video is unlisted. Only those with the link can see it. Learn more” message which i guess is helpful if an asn. does not want to widely share its video… when would that be?

    Reply
    • 2. Stuart Meyer  |  April 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Hi Kare. A scenario in which an association might want to post unlisted videos is when you may be targeting sponsors, advertisers or other third party stakeholders who are essential to sustaining the strategic mission of the organization. I don’t see this as being secretive or flying in the face of transparency, because it’s common within the membership base that their association has sponsors, advertisers and other types of transparent stakeholder relationships.

      Another scenario would be if an association desires to send specific content only to it’s membership as a value-added benefit, it may send unlisted links; however, I would view these types of scenarios as a very small drop in the overall episodic video content “barrel”.

      As the more advanced video platforms on the horizon, our segmentation strategy will be more geared toward creating niche channels for each of our membership/stakeholder segments in the same way we have traditionally segmented/targeted unique membership audiences now. The storytelling possibilities are limitless.

      Reply

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