It’s Not ‘When’ with Video. It’s Win.

June 14, 2017
Jim Scott Polsinelli, Creative Director and Senior Vice President, Creative Services

As the digital world continues evolving, video is dominating social media and online content. And for good reason. More than any other platform, video allows you to tell a story about your issue using words, pictures, movement and sound.

Do it right, and you can own the conversation. Do it wrong like the Kendall Jenner cringe-worthy spot for Pepsi, and you can seriously harm your cause and brand. So how do you do it right? I’m so glad you asked…

10 ways to create best-in-class advocacy and policy videos

#1 Start with a strategy

Before you hit record, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • Who are we talking to?
  • What do we want to accomplish?
  • What are we saying?
  • Why should someone care?
  • What do we want people to do?

#2 Think visually

Video is a visual medium. Obvious? Maybe. But I can’t tell you how many people write scripts with just audio in mind, instead of considering how the audio and video will work together. When you combine words with your pictures, you are able to build a powerful story. Speaking of…

#3 Tell a story

That’s how people learn best. And most issues in the public affairs space are incredibly complicated anyway. So simplifying something by connecting and relating with a viewer on their terms is the best way to create a video.

#4 Determine your type

  • Talking heads. Simple, quick and easy to execute. One drawback is that they can be pretty boring if you don’t have a dynamic speaker. So make sure you choose someone compelling and keep it rather brief.
  • iPhones. I know they’re all the rage, but if you’re adamant about using one, make sure the sound is good and you have something to stabilize the camera, otherwise people will lose interest and you could come across as amateurish.
  • Profiles. Probably my favorite way to tell a story is profiling someone or something. A bit more thinking and planning but they work really nicely.
  • Animation. Best for evergreen issues. And they also take a lot longer to produce. But highly worth it. They stand out from the crowd.

#5 Be authentic

The most important thing for us in the public affairs world isn’t being clever, witty, splashy…but authentic. Use real people and real stories. Because insincerity and falseness will backfire.

#6 Be quick

In public affairs, being nimble is everything. Especially if you have an issue that’s being debated in the press or voted on the Hill. When your voice needs to be heard now, plow full steam ahead.

#7 Find a partner

Videos are a team sport. Don’t put the world on your shoulders. Find a professional videographer or editor to help execute your vision.

#8 Think PESO

Paid. Earned. Social. Owned. Don’t just think video, think big picture and how you can maximize it on your digital properties, website, public relations efforts and advertising. You’re creating content for several different mediums.

#9 Pay to play

So you just spent 10k on a great video, and it’s sitting on your YouTube page getting single digit views. Uh-oh. Spend a little money to promote it. A few hundred dollars can go a long way to reaching more eyeballs.

#10 Keep going

One video isn’t the end. It’s the beginning. Consistently engage with your audience as your issue evolves and takes shape over the years.

Jim Scott Polsinelli is the Creative Director at DDC Public Affairs. As you can tell, he really likes video. You can reach him at


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