Tips for creating an engaging video

Research is showing that the type of content people are consuming is moving further away from the written word and heading more and more to video, video, video. 

With the exponential growth of social media, that doesn't look like it's slowing down any time soon, we've collated some notes on how to create engaging videos. And the best news is, you can do it with your smartphone


Definitely use videos for:

  • Welcome or about videos
    • includes the human element
    • put faces to names/positions
    • connects with your audience

  • Testimonials
    • social proof of what you’ve done
    • builds trust
  • Behind the scenes
    • make a video showing what happens behind the scenes to make things happen
    • provides visibility / insights
    • builds trust and relationships
  • Recognising volunteers
    • Visual and engaging way to say thank you and acknowledge their work 
    • Able to get multiple perspectives across 


Process for creating a video

To create an effective and engaging video you need to do the following 4 things: 

  1. Plan
  2. Film
  3. Edit
  4. Distribute


Before you start:

  • Put your phone in Airplane mode –if someone calls or messages while you are filming it will stop your video, you don’t want this to happen!!
  • Put it onto focus lock AE/AF lock rather than letting it Auto Focus.
    To do this:
    • press and hold finger on screen on what you want it to focus on. AE/AF will show up on your screen
    • lock the focus on key subject (so any movement happening around/walking past doesn’t affect the focus)


The Essentials:

Videoing doesn't have to be daunting. Consider the following tips to help you create engaging content. 

  • stand in front of a window with light coming onto your face (not bright sunny day = harsh shadows, over exposed)
  • Stand side-on to window (use whiteboard to help reflect light back onto the person)
  • Cloudy days are the best
  • Sunny days, watch for shadows – do it in shady spot if you’re outside i.e. under awning, side of building
  • You need a microphone; your phone has this (on the phone and on the headset)
  • Headphones mic – use it as a lapel mic (don’t put the ear pieces in). Drape it over your shoulder or round your neck so that the mic can pick up what you’re saying. This will be a lot clearer than using the mic on the phone. (You drape it round your neck or clip it onto your top with a paperclip as you don’t want to be filming someone/yourself with the earbuds in!)
  • The mic on your phone is good if you’re recording a crowd and want all the ambient noise
Steady Camera
  • Elbows in to the sides of your body (not out), both hands on the phone, all fingers – maximum support
  • You can buy (cheap) special pegs for holding phone like tripod on table
  • Upside down coffee cup – cut slit in the top to sit phone in = steady tripod!
  • Get your subject (or you if selfie) to stand in centre of the frame
  • Get your subject (or you if selfie) to look at the phone lens (at eye level or slightly below)
  • Look at the lens (not at the camera screen if selfie) when filming
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Be animated, bring energy
  • Smile – it’s infectious



  1. Click on ‘edit’ caption at bottom of video
  2. Trim the ins and outs (start / end)
  3. Click Done
  4. Save as new clip or save original
Editing apps:
  • iMovie (iphones) or adobe premiere clip (if android)
  • iMovie comes free with iPhone
  • Editing on phone is faster than desktop
  • We Video ($8 month USD) (cloud based, log into website and edit there)
  • Cinemaster – more advanced app on your phone (android)



Each social media platform has it's own unique personality and set of rules. These rules apply not only to the type of content you should post, but also how you should publish your content. 

Consider the individuality of the following platforms: 

  • 20 secs video in length
  • use square over landscape
  • use # hashtags
  • captions
  • 30-60 seconds works best
  • square, portrait, or landscape (not landscape if going to be on phone)
  • eye catching
  • people are scrolling through it fast
  • MUST have captions. Edit them in iMovie
  • facebook will automatically add captions which you can edit
  • 2 mins or longer
  • landscape is preferred format
  • title, description, tags and hashtags
  • include key words they helps SEO
  • monetize this ad = play ad at the start (option only available once you have 10,000 hours of viewing and X number of viewers)
  • 30 seconds - 5 mins long
Live Streaming
  • must have a good purpose i.e. event
  • need to interact with your audience
  • portrait videos are better for people watching on their phones
  • is private- as opposed to YouTube to store videos and then embed on website