The Five W’s of Video Advocacy

We talk a lot at NextGenWeb about the potential of broadband to enhance our digital democracy. With so many high-stakes policy debates underway in Washington, grassroots engagement has never been more pivotal to shaping the future direction of our country. And, thanks to broadband, door-to-door canvassing, phones banks (and Leno) aren’t the only ways folks across the political spectrum are keeping in touch with everyday Americans.

Yesterday in Washington, some very important people took time out from their busy day to talk about the next wave in online advocacy. In case you missed the Internet Advocacy Roundtable at the Center for American Progress, I’ve narrowed the two-hour discussion down to the five W’s of video advocacy.


Who? — YOU! Video is no longer just for Hollywood. You don’t need George Lucas and you don’t even necessarily need the help of an expert. Everyone can make a video with tools as simple as Flip cameras and laptops.

What? — Your video can be as simple as a short biography, a recording of an event, or interviews on the street. Of course, the more creative the better (and humor and celebrities never hurt)! The real purpose being advocacy, the panelists recommend telling stories over statistics and sticking to just one or two messages.

Where? —You can post the video on YouTube, but it’s unlikely to make the coveted home page spot, so definitely have a distribution plan to get meaningful attention. This might include sending the video to reporters, bloggers, your organization’s outreach list, and/or featuring it on your homepage.

When? — Make video a part of your larger communications and outreach plan, but definitely don’t miss media moments when your issue is in the news. Also, viewers get to watch at their convenience, unlike TV.

Why? — Powerful, inexpensive, multimedia, engaging, and often earns media attention.

Still want to learn more? The video should be available shortly here!

Thanks to Alan Rosenblatt for assembling the diverse and informative panel that inspired this posting:

Justin Germany, Former Director of Online Media, McCain 2008
Chris Royalty, Former Deputy Director of Online Video, Obama 2008
Phillip de Vellis, Vice President of New Media, Murphy Putnam Media
Julian Mulvey, Partner, Devine Mulvey
Sean Gibbons, Director of Media Strategy, Center for American Progress
Joseph Finneran, Creative Director & Founder, Podium Arts Communications, Inc.

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One Response to “The Five W’s of Video Advocacy”

  1. NextGenWeb Says:

    [...] With the latest Pew study indicating that more people are watching online video, nonprofits will likely be even more driven to utilize video in their advocacy and communications strategies. Just getting started with online video? Check out NextGenWeb’s 5 Ws of Online Video. [...]

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