Video helps higher education provider deliver virtual open event and develop awareness online

Fortitude Communications college video

Higher education provider Velocity Football have successfully used video to deliver a virtual open evening to prospective students and their families and increase engagement and brand awareness online.

Higher education provider Velocity Football was due to announce an open evening for prospective students and their families when a tightening of COVID-19 rules forced a re-think. 

The introduction of tougher social distancing restrictions meant it had to find a new way to engage with students, parents and carers. To overcome the challenge of showcasing the college to a large audience without hosting a physical event, Velocity Football commissioned Fortitude to produce a professional video to help communicate its story effectively. 

It broadcast the film at the beginning of a virtual open event on Zoom and is hosting it permanently on its website and YouTube channel. The event was so successful it is due to host a second one. 

Velocity Football is a full-time football and education programme for male and female students aged between 16 and 18 and 19 to 23 years of age, based at Oxford City Football Club. The BTEC, HND and HNC programmes provide an unrivalled pathway for football, further education, and career opportunities. 

Following the successful launch of the video we spoke to Velocity Football operations director Louise Merritt about how producing a film is helping the education provider engage with its audience. 

Standing out

Traditionally schools, colleges and universities would hold open days for prospective students and their families to visit and it remains an important provision. But even before COVID-19, education providers have increasingly been enhancing their online presence. The current climate has accelerated the pace of change. 

Selecting the right place for a student to study is a big decision and everything has to be right for them to enrol,” said Louise. There are so many options for students and it’s important to stand out and communicate what you are doing and what you offer. 

Due to COVID-19, students and their families were not able to attend a traditional open evening and so we adapted and found new ways to engage. 

For us video was an effective way of engaging with our target audience on the night. But it also fitted into our wider communications programme and is enabling us to stand out online.”

Power of video 

Video is an exceptional communications tool and according to research by Hubspot 81% of businesses are now using video for marketing. YouTube has reported more than one billion people globally watch online video content daily. And Cisco have predicted by 2022 online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. The evidence overwhelmingly points towards the power of video and therefore it should form part of a communications strategy for organisations. 

Our research indicated the best way we could engage with students is through video and social media,” said Louise. While PR and detailed communications has formed an important element for building our reputation with parents and wider stakeholders, it is important people can get a feel for our college, the facilities, the environment, the programmes, our values and hear from the tutors who are going to develop the students.”

Audience engagement

The video helped Velocity Football attract and retain the attention of viewers. 

It consisted of eye-catching cutaways and footage which depicted daily life at Velocity Football and insightful interviews with coaches and students. The interviews ensured the core elements of the programmes, the expertise of the team and the experience of the students was communicated effectively. 

We figured the best way to market our programmes was to do so visually, and video provided us with that platform,” said Louise. 

So many elements of a business are now taking place behind closed doors. But even without that curveball, businesses need to be able to showcase their facilities and staff by communicating key messages that are not just printed on a website or piece of paper.”

Fortitude’s head videographer Thom Airs conducted the interviews alongside the filming. Thom’s journalistic experience ensured the coaches and students felt at ease in front of the camera and were guided to communicate Velocity Football’s key messages. You can read more on how having an experienced interviewer can help create effective video here.

Thom took time to prepare us for filming and produced a brief and story-board in advance. On the day he was brilliant at putting the team at ease which ensured they came across well on camera,” said Louise. 

Fantastic response

The eight-minute film was first broadcast at the virtual open event, as an introduction to the session. It proved to be an ideal way to communicate Velocity Football to its audience. 

The audience was transfixed straight away,” said Louise. It was a highly effective way of communicating everything we needed share in one clear way. It meant we could then expand on it and go into depth on certain topics before taking questions.” 

The film was then broadcast online and resulting in an increase in Velocity Football’s month-on-month social media traffic by a massive 414 per cent – highlighting the power of video in the modern, digital, era. 

Additionally, the professionally produced video has attracted 2,500 per cent more viewers than the college’s typical video posts captured using a mobile phone. 

Louise added: All of our social media channels are experiencing rapid growth as we establish Velocity Football as the only education course of its kind in Oxfordshire. 

The analytics have proved to us quality video productions are invaluable for companies looking to build their social profile. We will look to expand our video output with Fortitude in the future by exploring further areas we can film and share online to our audience.”

Multi-purpose video

Fortitude also created high quality short extracts from the film for use on social media, to maximise the content and help Velocity Football reach thousands of people. 

Now the video has been produced, there are no barriers preventing us from making use of it in areas away from our website and social media platforms,” explained Louise. 

Families who contact us to find out further information about Velocity Football are advised to watch our video. This means in one email, a prospective student will be able to meet the team behind our programmes and gain a better visual understanding of what we deliver. 

Without video, none of the above would have been possible. By clipping the production up into segments, we can also maximise exposure through social media without boring our audience with the same content.”

Great investment

Fortitude provides clients with a range of affordable video production packages suitable for most organisations looking to benefit from the power of video. 

Louise said: We wanted a video that would impact our sector and inspire students to join. But at the same time, we needed it to be kind to our budget. 

Fortitude delivered on every level. The team managed the entire production process including planning, filming, editing and distribution. Fortitude produced a high-quality video that exceeded what we envisaged. It showcases everything Velocity Football is about and has made a real impact. 

When the team first watched the video everyone just said wow’, it’s that impressive. We were amazed by the quick turnaround and the standard of the editing to deliver a video that we are delighted with. 

Our video has become an invaluable resource since it was first broadcast. Importantly for us, the final product has sustainability and means we can continue to showcase it to our audiences in the future.”

Global reach

Velocity Football is not only home to students from Oxford. It has some national and international students and wants to attract more. Video means Velocity can showcase its facilities to a global audience. 

Our video has opened the virtual door to Velocity Football and the opportunities we can offer to young people wishing to explore a career in sport,” said Louise. 

We always wanted a clear message on our website, and now we have that. It is difficult to showcase our facilities just through words on a page – a 3G FIFA Pro playing surface will not mean a lot to many people, for example. But viewing the surface via our video provides the viewer with a sense of belonging and greater understanding. 

We’ve also provided a platform for our coaches to translate their character too before they have even met interested students. Our coaches are not actors, so the people you are watching in our video are the people you will meet in real life. The video provides a great insight.”

Video for schools 

With schools, colleges and universities all looking at ways to engage with prospective students in new ways amid COVID-19 restrictions Velocity Football’s advice is to embrace video.” 

Once you’ve done it, you’ll question why you never commissioned a video sooner,” said Louise. Without video, it would be much harder to bring our programmes to life. We are holding a second virtual event to manage demand and the video has been a significant factor in that. 

COVID-19 has taught a lot of education providers like us how to showcase what they can offer, particularly as conventional ways of attracting new students have been taken away. Having a strong website and regularly updated social media platforms are vital, and video contributes significantly to engagement and the analytics confirms it. 

I’d recommend speaking to Fortitude for video and all-round communications support, you won’t be disappointed.” 

If you would like to discuss producing a video or communications support generally please contact us here.

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