Four questions about video – with surprising answers


From left, Matt Mansfield of National Geographic, Phoebe Connelly of the Washington Post, Olivia Ma of Google and David Clinch of Storyful.

Panelists from Google, Storyful, the Washington Post and National Geographic discussed “The Power of Video Now” in a session mid-Saturday.

Here are four key questions and answers the session generated. For more about what was discussed at the session, read a curation of the best social media response.

1. What kind of video should my organization produce?

Think about the culture of the internet and how that compares with the strengths of the organization, said Matt Mansfield, digital executive editor at National Geographic.

“There is a sea of cats on internet,” Mansfield said. “We have the biggest baddest cats on internet.”

The Washington Post’s PostTV structured its video content around a series of shows. Phoebe Connelly, a senior producer at PostTV, said shows speak to an audience and offer a structured way to sell ads for the content. 

2. How do I know if something is a good idea for a video?

If you wouldn’t watch it or share it, it’s not worth creating, said Connelly.

Olivia Ma, the head of news and media partnerships for Google+, explained the content of the video is more important to viewers than the production value,

“Raw video does extremely well on YouTube,” Ma said.

3. What should be our strategy for mobile?

Storyful Executive Editor David Clinch predicts content will begin to look the same across multiple platforms.

“You don’t need to permanently have a different strategy for mobile and desktop,” Clinch said. “Ultimately, [content] will be exactly the same on a mobile device.”

4. How can our organization maintain a reputable news brand in the competitive world of viral video?

There is a lot of funny, compelling video on the Internet. Much of that is not news, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Connelly advises against dividing content into two categories: “serious news” and “entertainment.”

“It’s not just about cake or broccoli,” Connelly said.

She suggests striving for the granola cookie – video that’s fun and fast-paced, but that also teaches something.

“Take your serious content seriously,” Connelly said. “You don’t have to have bouncing cat gifs. People will engage.”