[Leadership Summit 2011] Creativity & Passion Means – Part 3

Here is the third post in my series of answering questions from Clemson’s Leadership Summit 2011, questions surrounding Creativity and Passion. Enjoy!

If we were to take a ‘behind the scenes’ look at your personal leadership journey, what was one of your toughest Challenges in leading with Creativity? Passion? Greatest rewards?

The toughest challenge that I have faced is learning how to articulate my passion and creative thoughts. Sometimes I have a hard time harnessing the words…the right phrases…the right thing to say. Do I consider myself a great leader…heck if i know. But where I have become humbled in my creative leadership is not in my everyday business relationships…but it is when I teach. “Teaching” will teach you how to lead and teach you how to articulate your vision over a period of time. The greatest challenge bestowed upon me was by one of my academic mentors Dr. Summer Taylor, who passed away this year at a young age, asked me to teach on the collegiate level.

Sharing my passion and vision with business leaders is nothing to compared to sharing the same energy with 20 year old college students. It has nothing to do with passion or vision…it has to do with language. Many of the businesses I work with or partner share similar passions and engage in mutual trust. But, walking into the classroom with a new set of students…you are having to change a culture, expose them to a new language, and build trust in hopes that the semester will go as planned. Then you have to learn how to move yourself into the same discourse level as the student, help them see the vision through your eyes…but you must view life through their eyes first.

And here is my greatest reward…the thank you letters. I tear up over them and treasure each one. I had a student who had no path, no idea of tomorrow, but she loved dolphins. I am not sure what her major was at the time…but she was not sure what to do after graduation. But, she loved dolphins. This is the note from Kara…

Aloha Bobby!

This is Kara Harper. I hope you remember me. I was in your Business Writing Class in 2009. I was the girl that wanted to be a dolphin trainer in Hawaii. Well, I just wanted to write you and thank you for everything you did for me in our class. My networking actually got me a job at Dolphin Quest Hawaii, and I am working with the dolphins every day, doing what I always dreamt of doing. I have you to thank for my success in achieving my dreams. I just wanted you to know how much of a difference you are making in every students’ life. Thank you for all you do.

Take care!
Kara Harper

I shed tears every time I read this…

How are we inspiring our tomorrow to be better leaders today? What is our lasting legacy?

***Photo courtesy from Aliens on Earth Blog.

[Leadership Summit 2011] Creativity & Passion Means – Part 2

So here is part two of my series on defining Creativity and Passion. As I stated in the first post yesterday, the question below was posed as primer questions to get us ready for Clemson’s Leadership Summit 2011 at Clemson at the Falls.

Here is the second question in the series of ten:

No one person or individual leader in an organization owns creativity and passion.” What’s your reaction to this statement? Do you think this statement is true?

Two books come to mind when I hear this statement...”Tribes” by Seth Godin and the “Brains on Fire” book. First lets look at the book “Tribes.” Seth does a great job sharing the idea of building a community around an idea with his newsletter story. He had the desire and passion to create and launch a product. While using his newsletter to share his passion for this project, he engaged other members of the company who took ownership in this project. In the end…a group of people brought their creative skills together and exceeded the expectation of the project. OK…who owns the creativity in this scenario? Everyone…it just took a leader with the passion and a vision to creatively engage a group of people with a common cause.

Now let’s look at the “Brains On Fire” book…it is nice to have one of the “Fire Starters” right here at the table with this discussion. Robbin Phillips sat right across me as a panelist durin this discussion. The book tackles the idea of what is a movement…more specifically a sustainable movement. It is defined as

“A sustainable movement happens when customers and employees share their passion for a business or cause and become a self-perpetuating force for excitement, ideas, communication, and growth.”

Well said…in my humble opinion. Now let’s take this model and look around us. Most of you might recall the Google On Main event over a year ago. Here is an idea of sharing Greenville’s passion with Google, in the hopes to attract some highspeed broadband to the area. A group of people in Greenville had the vision to spell out Google with light sticks and capture aerial video of this passionate mob, then submit it to Google. I am not sure if you witnessed this movement…but hundreds of people showed up to share their support. It started with a group of people with a common goal, who then shared their passion with more passionate people. Before you know it…I was flying over hundreds of people, hanging out of a helicopter, shooting video of a human glow stick sign spelling out Google. Now…who owns the creativity in this situation?

[Leadership Summit 2011] Creativity & Passion Means?

Today, I was asked to take part in a panel discussion for the 2011 Clemson Summit…the topic was Creativity and Passion. As a part of the panel discussion, the moderator sent us ten potential questions to be asked in the during the panel discussion.

Here was the panel (including myself):
Moderator – Russell Stall, Executive Director of Greenville Forward
William Barnett, CEO of the Barnett Company
Edna Morris, CEO & Partner of AXUM Capital Partners
Robbin Phillips, President of Brains on Fire

What a humbling experience to take part in a discussion with such thought leaders. Over the next ten weeks, I am going to post the answers to each question. All of these questions explore the idea of Creativity and Passion…enjoy!

(“In My Own Words”) Creativity & Passion mean _________.
My Response: To be able to fully understand “Creativity” one must be able to get into the “Zone.” That thin space that connects logic and ethics, with the ability to grasp the full extent of our senses. Think of a time when you were fully connected with your senses, where an idea presented itself and the euphoric side of your brain took complete control. An example might be when an idea is fully presented when a certain selection of music plays or during an epiphany. The passion comes to play when you exercise the ability to act on that euphoric moment, converting creativity into tangible results. Taking complete control of that idea and having the willingness to lead others to bring that idea to fruition.

One of my favorite videos I share with my students and my clients is from Steven Johnson called “Where Great Ideas Come From”…which is a presentation put to animation by RSA Animate. This concept of connecting people with passionate ideas emphasizes the opportunity we have to use our passion to inspire others with creative leadership.

News agencies paying for content or investing in futures?

On Wednesday,as I was surfing around on Google+, I noticed an update by a Sarah Hill, a broadcast News Anchor at KOMU-TV. She was soliciting a “Hangout” topic for her Thursday afternoon “Hangout”. The topic…ABC News has paid Casey Anthony and a close friend $215,000 for some photographs and a “scoop” in the story.

She posted an article from the Poynter Institure outlining the payments being made from ABC News to Casey Anthony as a license fee for photos of her and her little girl. Here is the article…CLICK HERE.

In the article…Jerry Schneider, senior vp of ABC NEWS, states, “the license fees are a miniscule part of a hundreds of millions of dollars news budget, and to describe our work in terms of those licenses is to miss the entire forest for a tree… It’s getting the exclusive interview with Commander [Mark] Kelly after the congresswoman [Gabrielle Giffords] is shot; It’s getting in to see President Mubarak on an absolutely historic day. It is the team coverage in Japan with the only anchor who goes there.”

First of all…I have been thinking through this idea of news outlets paying for content, whether it is video from a stringer of the latest wreck or a high profile story that the nation is watching/reading about.

So here are my questions I am thinking through. Why do media organizations feel the need to pay for content?  Why do media organizations feel the need to compensate people for “information” or “content” in order to gain some exclusive rights to this content…thus creating leverage so they can attract an audience.

News organizations are driven by numbers which are ultimately what lead to dollars. This is beside the point, because I see both sides of the argument for paying for content. YET, I do believe they should disclose.

If you look down further in this Poynter article, you will see a comment from Mike Goldstein of Portland, OR with his online name as “dicmikeg” and he states:

“This morning, while the President was speaking to the Nation about the economy, Libya, Afghanistan and what Congress might do to put Americans back to work, the “news teams” from the major networks were absorbed with the latest in the Casey Anthony trial. CNN was kind enough to carry the press conference which, interestingly enough, was attended by reporters from the same networks that would not broadcast the event live (as there were much more pressing priorities, what with Casey’s dad not co-operating with the defense team)…Truly a sad commentary on why the American public is so unaware of what’s truly important to them and their lives.”

This part of the whole ethical spectrum has me thinking. Once again, why do organizations pay for content? Why…why do they feel the need to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain content, to get an interview, provide team coverage in Japan during a crisis.

Here is are some of my thoughts why.

1) News organizations are international influencers, crossing the digital and geographic borders. They create culture. That is the reason why the news media can shift the thinking of the American (if not international public) by the mere decision of their daily coverage. In one fail swoop, they shifted from economy back to Casey Anthony. Because of that imperialistic power of the journalistic pen, they feel the burden to pay for content. Why, because they are creating daily cultural discourse.

2) They carry a huge burden to deliver everyday. Each day, executive producers, reporters, writers, editors, are making decisions of coverage based on the prediction of audience: what will tune them in to watch and read. They are investing in futures. $215,000 is just a small investment on a potential huge return on rating points, clicks, adword campaigns, social media conversation.

3) Proliferation of so many media(s). They are competing not only against themselves and across the street competitors, they are competiting now with consumer created content. They know those pictures that Casey Anthony has in her possession are just as valuable on the open, social market as it is in the hands of mainstream media outlets. Media organizations must pay to have leverage over all the other media outlets, including the the social outlets driven by consumers.

This slippery slope is no longer a slope…it is a line that is continually being pushed again and again and again. Why, because news outlets still must maintain leverage with audiences in order to compete. That is why they bought those images (or bought the license for those images) back in 2008 and 2009. They were investing in futures…and it sounds like they got their monies’ worth.

Do I blame them? No! Should they disclose? It is up to the ethical standards of journalists in that particular discipline. Will someone smack their hand and send them to the corner if they don’t disclose? Not really. Who is the oversight on this issue…well, their colleagues. Those guys/gals across the street are doing it just as much…they want to compete as well.

So ask yourself…why do you think news agencies feel the need to buy? Why do you think they feel the need to invest?

Having fun telling some legal stories!

So I just finished up a fun project with my friend Melanie Lux and the South Carolina Bar Association…and it is was a blast. My friend Melanie Lux brought me in to help with this video project, profiling different attorneys across South Carolina. The whole goal was to tell stories of different attorneys and share them in a social space for others to share.

So many stories, so many perspectives, so many different legal backgrounds.

I have been working with my friend Andy Arnold for over a year and a half, and I was glad he was chosen as one of the attorneys to be included in this campaign. His background and passionate approach to the legal profession provided a rich perspective for this campaign. He has a powerful story to tell, as you can see in his video above.

The goal was to meet with twelve different attorneys, capture, and tell their story. Then we used YouTube as the hub of the campaign, leveraging the rich SEO opportunities from the largest search engine. This “mothership” provided the homebase to distribute these stories through other social communities, social outlets, and digital distribution points.

Each attorney shares with their friends, posts them to their Facebook profiles, embeds in their websites…creating a rich social web for this legal message. I love it…telling stories and leveraging the social web to share a message that a community can connect.

Working with Melanie Lux provided a polished approach to these messages and allowed us to integrate some traditional marketing as a part of this campaign. You can read her interview in MidlandsBiz.com.

If you want to look at the rest of the stories from South Carolina attorneys, go to YouTube.com/SouthCarolinaBar.

The ethics behind storytelling…

The other day, I was having a long creative session with a new client and the topic of ethics was the basis of our discussion. Yes, how can we tell stories without morally compromising an organization. Let’s dive into this a bit.

First, how can we tell stories of those who have benefited from the organization’s mission and are not compromised as leverage for public awareness. What do I mean? Imagine an organization wanting to tell their story, and as their mission they help people during tough times. But in order to explain their mission for the public at large to understand, they ask people to explain how the organization has helped them.

This brings up two ethical dilemmas:
1) privacy of those being served by the organization
2) the ethical barometer of the organization

We are all very passionate about a cause, we are all very passionate about sharing the story of our cause. But are we passionate enough to share the stories of those we serve, even though privacy is an issue, as a means to promote with an aim for helping the greater good? What is the greater good? Who is to benefit from the stories to be told? The people who have suffered and now have chosen to share to benefit the brand, the people who could learn from this experience, or the people who could learn that an organization exists and go seek help?

Let’s take a few scenarios:

First, think about Joplin, MO and the tornados that have ravaged this small town. In the age of social media and digital awareness, many flocked to help these people. Many people felt the need to give, donate time, or just go see with their own eyes. But there are many digital media enthusiasts who jumped at the opportunity to go capture the story, the many horrifying stories for personal benefit. Specifically, going to Joplin to capture stories to put on their blog, put on YouTube, shoot a documentary, raise awareness in a fashion that benefitted them personally, leveraging this horrible time for their personal gain.  So many organizations wanted to be the first to report, grab the SEO, share it on Facebook….all for personal gain.

For you naysayers, I understand the public awareness this coverage brings for this international story.  I understand that these digital media stories brought tremendous awareness, thus influenced tremendous giving, donations, and public outreach for those who suffered this horrible event.

But this leads me to my next scenario…Hurricane Katrina. I was on  the ground the day after the storm hit. It was my job to go to the outlying areas surrounding New Orleans and capture stories, those explaining what had happened in their area. We journalists were the only means to communicate what had happened in the outlying areas…because all the communication channels were destroyed.

So many times, I would drive up to a house, town, area and someone was outside looking at the area and they were emotionally charged.  At what moment do we begin to capture those stories when those individuals are in a state of panic and cannot make the conscious decision that what they’re sharing emotionally could be shown around the nation. This is and has been a huge ethical debate in the journalistic world. Who is winning here, who is benefitting from this story…especially if the journalist is recording with the camera because he/she knows this will win them some huge awards.

So, let’s implement this into telling stories inside businesses, non-profits, and organizations. Where does your ethical barometer lie when considering telling a story from inside your organization? Do you have the best interest of the person in mind, or do you have on your digital marketing cap, seeing the potential viral reach of a story?  Are you leveraging this person’s story for personal gain? Are we conscious of the potential outcome from this story?

I see both sides of the issue…the one that sees the public gain from hearing a story and the desire to protect one’s story from the digital community. I do not think each of us can say exactly where we stand on this issue. Each person cannot say they have a hard line they can draw because each story is contextual and is affected by our own daily, personal biases.  We as digital communicators need to be conscious of our decisions when we plan a storytelling strategy. We have to create a thoughtful plan that includes implications of telling stories that might ride the ethical line. But whose ethical line are we riding?

These questions lead me to my final thought…the velocity of the digital world and need to share as a derivative is blurring the ethical lines of storytelling. The need to share online, to collect information, has become competitive in nature. This capitalist idea has created the need to share the same content faster than the next, to generate SEO back to our blogs, websites, and other portals. Digital communicators are competing online for a stake in the SEO game…to gain a piece of the digital pie. This digital velocity accelerates during times of big digital news.

So where does this leave us? It leaves us in a place to seek and understand where we hang out in this ethical continuum of  digital storytelling? Are we seeking to leverage stories for our personal gain or for the best interest of the great good. Are we raising awareness or just creating more noise in the digital spectrum?

Converting Passionate Writing/Blogging…

As I took part in #BlogChat Sunday night…I was so pleased to see the conversation move away from technology, which blog platform to choose, and other topics sometimes I browse through. Finding passion in your blogging and writing has always been my position. Regardless of you blog for advocacy, business development, or even to generate income…you have to have some passion behind your message.

Above is what I think…”Passion is food for the soul…if you can blend that passion into your writing…it can become infectous!” So tell me, what blogs do you connect with…that touch you daily. Is a photo blog, video blog, a business blog, one of advocacy, what is it?

As I was thinking through this topic, the one thing that always finds a way to make it’s way from my subconscience to the forefront of my thinking, how can we convert passionate writing into revenue and a business development tool. I even wrote a blog post about this very topic: Does Passionate Writing (Blogs) Generate Revenue? These is a method to the passion, writing content that passionately connects…thus the SEO argument.

Regardless…this has made me look back at my work and do an assessment, an assessment of my writing and my direction. So the best way I know how to do a simple assessment, create a word cloud from all my writing in my blog.

Here is a word cloud from this blog, my business blog:

Here is a word cloud from my personal blog (http://bobbyrettew.com/personal-blog):

I chose not to do a word cloud from my tags, because that is just measuring frequency of the words that I deem searchable for each blog post. This is a subjective viewpoint of my writing, looking through a lens completely focused on SEO. Instead, I used Wordle.net to pull all the words from all my posts to assess frequency of the actual content I am actually writing. I am focusing solely on the content in this simple assessment.

So begs the question…are the largest words in the word cloud (which shows the largest frequency of usage my my blogs) match the purpose and mission behind my passion for both my business and personal blogs. My business is based on video, media, blogs, people and those are the largest words in the business blog word cloud. But…based on this simple assessment, I can see words that are apparent that I might want to focus more in my writing. I also see areas in my personal blog that I might want to re-focus a bit…I am wondering if I am talking too much about business in my personal blog?

Passion can be focused!

(Lessons Learned) Blogging inside a large hospital & organizations…it is all about stories!

For the last year and a half, I have been working with Greenville Hospital System (GHS) integrating the idea of blogging inside this major medical system. First off, let me just say there is not a perfect strategy (IMHO) for something that is such a subjective initiative to integrate.

Before I began presenting the idea of finding people inside the organization to blog at GHS, I spent a good bit of time talking and consulting with GHS and their Marketing/PR Department and also a long-time friend who runs all of the New Media Initiatives at Clemson University, Jacob Barker. We found many similarities between a large hospital system and a major, state supported university. First, their are many different departments/colleges at a University that match the many departments and service lines of a major health system.

The first thing Jacob and I agreed upon is that it is more than just a formulaic strategy to implement across an organization, it is all about engagement and learning from each other. We knew it was best engage a Social Media Advisory Committee or a Social Media Team. GHS had already established this team.

About the same time, President and CEO Mike Riordan began inquiring about starting a blog as means to engage with the employees and to clearly define his message as a leader of a major medical system. With healthcare reform all around us, it made sense for him to write about this topic and many others in a public, transparent manner. This is very similar to President Barker’s blog at Clemson. The only difference, Mike Riordan wanted to allow people to comment, he wanted to respond to people’s thoughts.

So this is where we started. I worked closely with the leadership in the Marketing Department along with Mike and his Chief of Staff to create a frame work for which he would write. Before we started, we had to really think about the mission behind the blog, what he was interested in writing about, and how often he was willing to commit to this social outlet. It was great…he began writing immediately. Over the last year, he has written close to two blog posts a week, sometimes more!

We set-up a streamlined approach to the technology utilizing WordPress which allowed him to write from his iPad with the WordPress App. I work with him consistently to clean-up the formatting and also integrate presentations and video into the blog posts. I wanted him to focus on his writing and I take care of the technology issues. He writes everything! Since we started the blog, over half of his traffic comes from the employees of GHS. His ability to write passionately as a leader translates to the employees and the local community of GHS.

This was the beginning, since then we have started other blogs across the system from physician practices to patients/community advocates who have special voice in healthcare. From a patient writing about her family dealing with Diabetes (http://ourhamandeggs.com), the head of PR writing about Women’s Health (http://ungirdledtruths.com), and even an Internal Medicine Physician Group writing about running a small practice of all female doctors (http://cypressinternalmedicine.com/blog). We have been proud of our growth and what we have learned.

These experiences guided us and we learned a few things as we began engaging other blog opportunities.

1. You have to find the internal ambassadors who naturally fit the blogging paradigm. These people naturally write in a social voice and genuinely want to connect with others.

2. Not all blogs have to carry the corporate look of the organization. Mike Riordan’s blog represesents GHS and the best interests of his leaderships position, so we gave it more of a corporate look. It matches the style of GHS’s color schemes and branding. BUT…there has been research presented that consumers find blogs that present a corporate look seem less credible and are not willing to engage in the conversation…that is why the “Our Ham and Eggs” Blog is a little more personalized.

3. You have to have a mission from the beginning that focuses the writing. As time moves along (and you have installed analytics to track the traffic), you can evolve the writing based on audience response, evolution of the organization’s mission, and topical public issues that bridge the audience to the organizations message.

4. You need to track success. We have found installing great analytics packages like Google Analytics and GetClicky Analytics allows you to compare traffic results with blog posts and campaigns…plus, GetClick is real time.

5. You have to share your blog using social outlets and other marketing pieces. We like to use our Twitter and Facebook presence to share blog posts with the consumer, but we also share blog posts using internal communication tools for employees. This was done using internal newsletters and intranets…which was vital during the passage of healthcare reform related issues. Also…put the blog URL on brochures and other physical media for people to see. And last, be sure to advertise the blog on the home page of your website.

6. If you decide to allow people to comment on your blog, you have to be willing to respond. These are people who are reaching out and want to engage in a conversation. Take advantage of this opportunity.

7. Write passionately and straight from the heart. People want to read stories and know your honest thoughts and opinions. This is an opportunity to take a stand on issues, ideas, and topical items relevant to your audiences and your mission. They can go to your website for corporate marketing generated content, but in the blogs…you have to write passionately. As Robbin Phillips of Brains On Fire says…”It’s people stupid.”

8. Do not be afraid to get personal. Some of the biggest traffic came when blog posts were written that allowed the audience to learn more about people’s personal side. Yes, you have to decide what your boundaries may be…but allowing people to see you as a person and not a position gives them a chance to relate to you.

9. Use pictures, video, and any other visuals to reinforce what you are writing about. People like pictures and it allows them to see how you smile or relate to a topic. Also…video gives a third dimension to the topic.

10. Transparent writing…what do I mean? Well Mike Riordan writes his own blog content and so do each of the bloggers. These posts come straight from the horses mouth, not from a series of over-site committees. It is all genuine content.

I am extremely fortunate to work with a smart staff at GHS, their smart direction and innovative thinking has allowed me to try new things with them. They are fun!

Final thought…Blogging is all about Telling Stories! Nuff Said.

I like thank you phone calls…

There is nothing better than a thank you phone call. We creatives live for the day when our clients call us and say thank you. But not only those thank you calls that just say thanks for our hard work, but when the client shares with you something where you can tell they can see the final product through the same lens as you so passionately created it.

Today was one of those days. I had worked hard on a 25 minute documentary, telling the stories of thriving rural churches in Western North Carolina. These stories were shown at an annual conference for close to 2000 people to enjoy. The purpose, to reinforce that the United Methodist Church is thriving in rural communities across the western part of the North Carolina.

From stories of communities teaming up to provide free dinners to communities, to churches in the middle of farm land creating communities around pre-school child care. In the middle of all these stories, there was one very special moment. A special interaction between a pastor and child.

They call it the Welcome Table in Andrews, NC. All are welcome to come and enjoy a free dinner. Many come because they enjoy the fellowship, many come for a good, home cooked meal. Many faces, many people, joining together to provide a sense of community at the table of good food. The pastor of Andrews United Methodist Church agreed to chat right in the middle of the big gym where close to 100 people were enjoying dinner. During a very passionate part of the interview, a young boy came up and gave the pastor a hug and said thank you! It gives me chill bumps as I write this post.

Today, I received a call from my friend who hired me to take on this project. The first thing he wanted to share was the heart felt reaction from the room of 2000 people when the boy hugged the pastor. The Bishop leaned over and told him, “you can’t stage a moment like that!” No you can’t…you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

I am thankful for phone calls like these…just thankful!

This just made my day! Just made my day!

One size does not fit all…planning for video messaging!

There are so many times I get a call about working on a video related project and the belief is that video production is a one size fits all. Many of the organizations that reach out with these types of requests are small businesses or even non-profit organizations. They ask me, “We want to do a video, can you help?”  Many times they have no idea what they want to produce this or how it will be used. It usually comes up in a marketing strategy meeting or even a board member makes a recommendation.

Mind you…I am not being critical of these organizations. I am happy to help and more than willing to help create a plan to execute a project. But here is the dilema that I am finding, there is a misconception that one video project is going to be the solution. There are too many variables. Especially if this small business or non-profit is investing money that might be a good portion of their marketing budget, a one shot deal could really make or break a company/organization.

This morning, I sat with a wonderful non-profit organization who wanted to work on a project. I think I spent close to 2 hours just listening to them and brainstorming. They have so many wonderful stories to tell, so many wonderful opportunities to leverage…a one size fits all project just is not what the doctor ordered. Many times, it could be more costly to the organization in the long term if all their eggs were thrown into one basket.

So…here is how I think we as practitioners and storytellers can help these organizations move past this common thread. Here is the exercise we worked through this morning:

Step One – Answer these questions:
1) Who is the audience(s)? List all the people/organizations/constituency bases that you feel would benefit from your message. Get extremely specific, as specific as possible. You want to be able to paint the picture of the audience(s) you want to reach. You want to try to see the world through their eyes and ears.

2) What is the purpose(s)? Why do you really want to use video as a medium to reach these audiences? Look at the audience(s) listed above, and try to identify each audiences’ specific purpose and how it is different from others.

3) How are you currently delivering your message(s)? List all the current mediums you are distributing your message(s). Are you emailing these audiences? Are you blogging? Are you using direct mail? Are you creating events for speakers to deliver your message? List them all. Even if it is a fax machine or in-person meetings, they are all relevant.

Step Two: Discover Context:
Take all the information above and lay it out so you can see everything. Create columns of information where the you can pair each audience with a specific purpose and a specific delivery method. Get your staff involved and have them go through this exercise with you. Once you are done organizing the information from Step One, then it is time to start finding themes and a mission statement(s) for this project.

Step Three: Identify Context:
From the information in Step One and Step Two, try to write a mission statement for this project. Begin identifying if there are multiple video projects, messages or just one big project. If you are finding that your organization has numerous initiatives and the potential to tell multiple stories, begin listing each video message. Then write a mission statement for each, a micro mission statement for each little video project and the audience you want it to reach. Then pair each video message with a distribution method in the third question of Step One. Yes…this might be the way you can use each video. You might have a video to show at a meeting and it might be different from the video(s) that are sent out via email or Social Outlets.

Now…take a break! Step away from this for a while. Maybe go to lunch or go home for the day. When you come back, it is time to move on to the final step…Step Four.

Step Four: Reality Check:
Ask yourself, why are we doing this? Really, why do you want to invest time, money, and energy to produce video projects to tell stories. Do you have the budget to meet these goals? Do you know of a vendor who would be willing to work with you…maybe as a non-profit? Will these vendors be the right match for your needs?

Now…this is my opinion and my practice. It does not mean that my method is the correct method to use. But, this is only the beginning of the planning, but what this does is it prepares you for the conversation of identifying your message(s) and if video as a medium will work for you.

Also…Step One is based one my research of the Rhetorical Triangle as it applies to Llyod Bitzer’s “Rhetorical Situation.