30 million people visit YouTube every day. 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook daily. And a third of people in the UK say they watch an online video at least once a week. Online video is immediate, succinct and clearly popular – so why isn’t it the dominant tool for internal corporate news?

It could be that it’s not seen as a ‘serious’ medium or just isn’t part of an organisation’s culture.  But that’s all changing.

Video news channels are becoming a regular feature in internal communication as organisations recognise the impact of moving images and talking directly to the audience.

As Julie Sander, Sequel’s Senior Producer, explains, the beauty of a video message is that it’s short and very clearly to the point. It’s the difference between ‘tell me what I need to know’ and ‘give me all the information and let me pick out what’s relevant for me’.

She adds that cutting out the waffle and getting straight to the essentials goes hand in hand with the challenge of making potentially dry news interesting. She says: “It’s all about paring right back to what people really need to know and presenting it in the way they’ll want to watch.”

Her advice is not to look at the suggested content and try to cut things out, but approach it the other way around: start with nothing and add the really essential, interesting information, and leave it at that!

While video can never replace a face-to-face meeting, it really is the next best thing for bringing your people to life. So you also need to find the best person and format to present your message. Most companies use members of staff to present news – often management, but getting people from all areas of the business involved can work well.

Julie adds that it’s important to get the right balance of scripting and letting your presenters be more natural and informal. “Some presenters are naturals but most start off a bit stiff and get better the more they do it,” she says.

Spotlight on: Kerry Foods KF90

For Jacqueline Ryan, Internal Communications and Employee Engagement Advisor at Kerry Foods, handing the mic over to employees wasn’t a surprising decision – in fact, she found it was almost expected.

“We have a monthly, 90-second video update called KF90. Previously it was presented by an actress but people often asked me what she had to do with Kerry Foods,” Jacqueline explains. “So we decided to trial employee presenters.

“We were a little nervous about whether people would want to get involved, but it’s been a massive success! Different teams are asking to be featured and it’s a great opportunity to highlight the diversity of people and roles we have within Kerry Foods.

“The first story in the update is related to the area of the person presenting, which really puts them at ease. They can talk comfortably and enthusiastically about projects they know, while making the stories more authentic for the audience.

“Employees can share their own news with their colleagues. It really brings our different brands and functions to life.”

So what else does Julie suggest to get your video news offering up and running?

  • Relax your interviewee by asking them a few questions first.
  • Encourage informality but don’t force it or it won’t work. If your interviewee is more comfortable in formal business wear don’t insist on casual clothes because it won’t look natural.
  • Get them out from behind the desk. A sofa makes the interviewee look – and feel – more relaxed.
  • For a regular news bulletin, try to film at different offices and locations. Try some outside locations if they’re appropriate and on the factory floor (if it’s quiet enough!)
  • Videos are a very good way of thanking people – who doesn’t like a bit for public praise for a job well done?
  • Keep it short – two to three minutes is ideal because people don’t take in information if they receive too much at once. Less really is more; share the headlines rather than lots of facts and figures.
  • Think audience first. What kind of video are they used to watching and what will they expect?

Finally, Julie says to remember the true purpose of a corporate video. “It’s more than just a snapshot of the business,” she explains. “Like any internal communication channel, a good corporate video makes viewers think, ‘Now I understand my role in that – I know what I should be doing and why it’s important’.”

Spotlight on: Nationwide Snapshot

Nationwide wanted to share news with employees in very accessible way and not bombard people with too much information. The building society worked with Sequel to make a monthly video featuring Graeme Hughes, Director of Intermediaries, Branches and Regulated Advice. Snapshot is shown on the intranet, and played in branches and at team meetings.

“Graeme can’t get to all the branches and offices so a video seemed like a good way to reach people,” says Julie. “He wanted to give it a friendly touch and get in front of as many people as possible.

“The video gets across key information about performance. We wanted to give it a news feel so there’s a tickertape running across the top reinforcing Graeme’s messages. We’ve now added a ‘coming up’ feature so people know to keep watching because there’s something coming about their own area of the business.”

So far viewing figures have been very good. The films give a snapshot of what’s happening and tell people how the business is doing against targets. The format is easy to understand and digest, with very few numbers used.