As any Contracting Officer or Program Manager knows, producing video content for the government, especially the federal government, requires a unique approach compared to commercial B2B or B2C production.
To effectively engage the target audience, it is crucial to understand their needs, expectations, and the specific requirements of government communication.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the intricacies of government video production, providing you with a checklist of essential “do” and “don’t” tips to create compelling and impactful videos.
1. DO: KEEP IT CLEAR AND CONCISE
Clear and concise communication is paramount when engaging with the target audience. Before diving into the creative process, conduct a thorough needs analysis to determine what needs to be communicated, the objective of the message, the intended audience, and the reasons why they should pay attention.
Understanding these aspects will help tailor your content and delivery to different audiences effectively. Messages directed towards teens, retirees, or professional scientists, for instance, will require different approaches.
Once you have a clear understanding of these factors, you can proceed with writing, producing, and editing the script. For government videos, focus on presenting large and complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner that resonates with the target audience.
2. DO: REMEMBER BRANDING AND CREATIVITY
Government video projects should align with the agency’s branding and mission while capturing the attention of the target audience. Video, as a medium, offers a powerful way to engage viewers. Leverage the creative potential of videos to deliver messages that leave a lasting impact.
Even for serious topics, the use of creative elements, storytelling techniques, and visual aesthetics can enhance engagement and comprehension. Consider incorporating elements such as animations, graphics, or interviews to make your video content visually appealing and captivating.
3. DO: KEEP THE INFORMATION ACCURATE
Government videos often aim to convey essential information about public service programs or internal operations. Accuracy is of utmost importance throughout the production process. Maintain a strong attention to detail, from initial research to script drafting and review, to ensure that the correct information is presented.
Double-check facts, verify data sources, and address common misconceptions in a clear and concise manner. When dealing with topics such as vaccinations, climate change, or public health, it is essential to rely on scientific evidence and provide accurate information while debunking prevalent misinformation.
4. DON’T: EXAGGERATE OR USE HYPERBOLE
In the pursuit of creating engaging videos, it’s crucial to stay focused on the project objectives and avoid exaggeration or hyperbole. Your primary goal is to inform and educate the audience effectively.
While creativity is essential, ensure that the information takes center stage, allowing the intended message to dictate the appropriate video tools and methods. Maintain a balance between capturing attention and delivering accurate content that aligns with the government’s mission and values.
5. DO: PARTNER WITH THE CLIENT
Collaboration is the key to success in government video production. Work closely with federal government program managers to understand their needs, objectives, and the agency’s branding.
Open and frequent communication is essential to ensure a seamless video project that meets its intended objectives. Conduct a kickoff meeting to clarify expectations and establish a detailed project plan that serves as a roadmap for the entire process. The project manager should stay on top of all aspects of the project, coordinating communications between all stakeholders.
Regular checkpoints for feedback and approvals should be in place to ensure a smooth workflow and successful project completion.
6. DON’T: FORGET 508 COMPLIANCE
All government videos must adhere to the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law ensures that media and technology produced for or by the government meet specific accessibility standards, making information accessible to people with disabilities.
It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the requirements and ensure that your videos comply with the law.
Some essential considerations for Section 508 compliance include providing options to pause, play, and stop the video at any time, appropriate audio mixing and volume control, closed captioning for audio content, audio descriptions for visual content, and using color and shading effectively to convey information for the visually impaired.
Creating effective government videos requires a comprehensive understanding of the target audience, adherence to accuracy and compliance standards, and a creative approach that aligns with the agency’s branding and mission. By following the “do” and “don’t” tips outlined in this guide, you can produce compelling and impactful videos that effectively communicate important messages to the intended audience.
Remember, successful government video production is a result of collaboration, attention to detail, and a deep understanding of the unique requirements of communicating in the government sector.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning agency that specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, and leadership training. As a national leader working with highly regulated clients, breaking down complex issues, and effectively communicating to a wide array of audiences, this Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to commercial and government clients, alike, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).