A Must Have for Police & First Responder Recruitment Video

Why Video Is So Critical

It’s all about being social – social networking, social media, and social sharing. You can reach people from a booth at a job fair, or shaking hands at a graduation, but why not multiply your efforts with a simple click when you blanket thousands upon thousands by going social.  And today, social means video.

The people you are trying to reach grew up on video, so their viewing habits are different than any previous generation. We are no longer tied to the desktop; video is in the palm of our hands, on smartphones and tablets.  You need to be inside those devices in an engaging way, and if you are not, you are missing a huge opportunity to tell your story to thousands of potential recruitment candidates.  A look at the numbers and it becomes obvious.

The Research

In an earlier post I wrote about research by Adobe, an industry leader in video software and production.  The study is worth a second look in the context of designing a recruitment model that gets you out there.  Adobe took a hard look at the growth of video in 2012,  and what they learned is staggering, and it all points to video as the most effective tool to communicate a message.  Here are a few highlights to think about:

According to the survey we love our video, downloads are up over 30% year over year.  From the third quarter to the fourth quarter in 2012 alone, video consumption grew 13%.  A lot of the growth is being driven by smartphone and tablets, which are changing the way we watch video on the web.  Abobe found that video starts on smartphones tripled from 2011 to 2012; with the number of tablet video downloads slightly outpacing smartphones.

The study also found a big impact from social media sites.  Facebook dominates the social referrals, but Twitter is three times more likely to refer to a video than other types of content.  During 2012 video social engagement jumped from 42% to 70%.

The best way to take advantage of all of this is to find ways to tell your story in video, and get it out there. Look for opportunities to weave more video content into your recruitment channels, both on department web sites and social media. Offering more video content is one key to unlocking the value of social media, and to attract more engaged digital video viewers.

The Production

I’ve been creating recruitment videos for law enforcement, first responders, and 911 emergency communication centers for over ten years. And the way we make video today is much different than it was when I worked with my first police department recruiting unit.  It use to be a seven to ten minute video gave a potential recruit a broad brush overview about the job, from the training academy, to the patrol car, to benefits.  But not anymore.  Now I council my clients that short is better if you want to reach a multitasker generation.

It’s not too tough to figure out why people don’t seem to focus for very long. A peek at the world we live in reveals a lot about how our behavior has changed dramatically.  From the moment we get up in the morning, to when we turn the lights out at night, we are bombarded with information, and it’s coming from everywhere.  The television, the radio, the desktop, the tablet, the smartphone in your pocket, emails, instant messages, Tweets. There are screens to watch while we are in line at the checkout, or while we are pumping our gas. New pathways for getting information are popping up faster and faster.  And for a shrinking number of folks, there is still the old fashion way, the morning newspaper, but it seems we barely have time to read it as we down our cornflakes while racing out the door to get the kids to school, and to get to work.

Our attention is so divided we can’t take it all in.  So we get it in bits and pieces.  And because there is so much, and so little time, we have become our own editors, choosing only what we want to know about, and we do it with a click, or a tap, which means we are deciding what information we get, based on what interests us.  So if you want to jam your way into that information stream, you must do it in a way that will grab the viewers attention, and fit seamlessly into their lifestyle, and that means be quick about it because you don’t have their attention for very long.  Short segments work best.  Find the most compelling way to say, “this is the greatest job in the world,” then give them choices in multiple videos, letting the viewer decide which part of the information is most important.

The Payoff

In today’s budget crunch environment a well produced video may cost a few dollars, but it is a good investment.  If you are being smart about how you use video, then you may be able to rethink how you allocate other resources in your recruitment unit. It may give you more freedom to decide how you use your travel budget. One good short video, or a series of short videos can be used on a number of platforms, from web site, to Facebook, Twitter, to pep up personal appearances in a PowerPoint, or even at a job fair playing on a laptop.  Research also reveals an email with a video embedded in it has a much greater chance of catching someone’s curiosity, it only takes a quick click of the mouse to watch it,  otherwise they are more likely to hit the delete key.

If done well, a video will get the attention of a “tough to focus” audience.  It is a must have tool to communicate in today’s “got to have it now, and got to have it quick” world.

Watch the :30 second spot for Howard County PD

How can we help you with your recruitment outreach?  Contact West Street.

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