Video Contest Gets 500,000 New Views and Brings in Great Content

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The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) ran a contest last year asking members to submit short videos—less than two minutes—that showed the benefits of being a Certified Management Accountant. The contest theme was "You've Got to Earn It."

They received 33 submissions. The videos were narrowed down to a top four, and then posted on Facebook for public voting. "During voting in February, IMA's Facebook page reached 500,000 more people than in the previous month and gained 600 new U.S. followers as contestants shared their videos and IMA's page with their communities," wrote Alex Beall on AssociationsNow. "First place winners received prize money, a CMA prep scholarship and travel arrangements to IMA's annual meeting."

"We wanted to adapt to the way millennials consume media," said IMA vice president of integrated marketing Ellen Gurevich. "So we leveraged the power of word-of-mouth marketing and third-party credibility in getting these individuals who made these videos and their take on what the CMA means to them to talk to their peers about the program."

Wow. A 500,000 bump in audience is impressive! I've said it before but video has to be somewhere in your gameplan. Excuses are dwindling. I attended a Swiss documentary film last week titled Aletsch [Glacier]: Of Ice and Men by Caroline Fink. Afterwards, when asked how she filmed this practically by herself without drones or pulleys for equipment, Fink mentioned a type of camera that, judging by the shape her hands made, isn't very big.

If Fink can make a video thousands of feet up in freezing cold, we can make one or two down here. In the case of IMA, they didn't even have to make it. They just incentivized others to do it. And then they used their community—councils, chapters accounting academics—to reach their target audience.

The winning group was a student team from the Philippines, encouraged to participate by their CMA-holding professor (and by a clever commercial for the You've Got to Earn It campaign, showing young people getting a CMA tattoo). Videos also have lasting value. Those top four contest-winning videos will be featured on IMA's website and uploaded to its YouTube channel, and honorable mention videos will be shared on social media.

"[People watched] 53,143 minutes of our video in October, up 20% from the previous year," Linda Vassaly, VP of marketing for SIPA member Cabot Investing Advice, said a year ago, about their stock market reports. "That gives us 1,786,626 minutes and 432,000 views in the last three years. We use video analytics to measure viewer impact... Our audience is large and growing, and this is exceptional content."

I'm sure those numbers have only gone up since then. Vassily will be leading a session titled Video: The Secret Sauce at SIPA 2017: Growth Now, June 4-6 in Washington, D.C. The session will outline the secrets to scaling your video production. Key tactics will be revealed to help you lower cost and time as well as increase frequency in which you generate videos.

As for holding contests, SIPA members have been excelling there as well. Hudson Valley Parent asks readers to nominate their Favorite Docs and Healthcare Professionals. It gets readers involved and brings in ads for a special section. NJ Family does a similar thing with New Jersey's Favorite Kids' Docs. Even though these are B2C members, this type of gamification can work anywhere. It's good lead generation because readers have to provide their contact information in order to nominate.

The IMA contest will also mean dividends in the future by getting all these young people engaged. "What we learned is that we really should adapt to the channels and media they use and give them the chance to express themselves in their own way," said Gurevich. 

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…