Video as a tool for Social Justice


Using Video to Increase Public Awareness

for Social Justice Campaigns

Archbishop Mitty H.S.

Mitty Advocacy Project

San Jose, California

“We hear and will stand up for the cries of the silent and suffering.”

Online Packet to accompany ISN Break-out, 2013 Marriott Crystal City Gateway


Session Purpose:

  • Publicize an effective video up in minutes, reach a wide audience with little technological expertise

  • Video will increase web traffic to your other sites and increase your web base.

  • Modernizing the church’s prophecy with modern technology1

  • Encourage Conference participants to make and share their own social justice videos.

Our Advocacy Project believes that Developing Awareness is one of the most vital components of an effective Social Justice Campaign.  Once an inspired and informed support base begins to step forward into action, all other phases of Social Advocacy are empowered: Legislative Action, Negotiations, and your Call to Action.

   A comprehensive, highly professional, yet affordable method to reach millions of viewers can be done for little to no budget.   Creating effective online videos coupled with the power of social media to cultivate a motivated support base can help your Social Justice Campaign enormously.  These steps can be utilized to gain support for anything from fundraising, letter writing campaigns, to bringing attention about an issue to your community (parish, school, or organization.

Mitty Advocacy’s 6 Main Steps to Social Justice Action:

    1.  Research and Case Building

2.  Developing Public Awareness*

3.  Organizing a Strategy and Campaign

4.  Call to Action

5.  Legislative Negotiation

6.  Follow-up

We teach our student advocates that an effective campaign actually begins with Step 4 first.  What do you want your support base to do?

The next step is to create a page on your website where a visitor is asked to write a letter or donate.  If the visitor does this, then you have converted!  Just like scoring in sports, you are on your way to accomplishing your goal.

This presentation and packet will focus only on developing a web presence to enhance the reach of your campaign.  Visit our webpage, or make contact with our coordinator, Mr. Michael Accorsi to get more information how your organization can improve other campaign steps.

1.  How web traffic will increase from a YouTube video?

YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine next to Google, which yes, is the parent company for YouTube.  People research, ask questions, and simply browse videos as their main source of content when they are online.

Sadly, in this day and age, if your campaign lacks an online presence, then it is like owning a store on Route 66 in the first few years of Interstate 40, its a matter of time, until you’re going to simply have to either jump on the highway or move town.  🙂  Studies have proven that TV, Newspapers, Magazines – still have a majority of their market base in their respective niches, but decreasing substantially annually.

Your YouTube video is a very powerful tool:

  • Once up, it will work for you 24-7, years on years, funneling traffic to your site.

  • YouTube creates an immediate personal, and emotional connection to your viewer.

  • YouTube enables grassroots organizations to get a message out without relying on media outlets.

  • It conveys mass factual information in an easily digestible manner.

2.  Hit  “Singles” and “Doubles”!

Just jump in the stream!  Get it out there, like a river of information: get your content out there flowing in the current.  Fine-tune and clean up with a later video.  Internet users are very forgiving, accustomed to viewing home-made videos, and don’t forget….Google started out as a search engine.  Facebook, a college project.  The internet is a network of “singles” and “doubles” and the “singles” and “doubles” end up being homeruns.   Don’t sit at the desk, writing out a stiff and mechanical script, worrying about editing and perfection – get it out there, get some traffic moving your way.

Key Vocabulary:

Analytics = data reports analyzing the source, length of time, and behavior of visitors to your site.

Conversion = the main result you want from your traffic = $ donation, letter to Senator, etc.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization (see Analytics)

Tags (or Tagging) = the keywords attached to your video that will pull video up in results (search.)

3.  Think Search Engine.

Users keyword search for content.  “How to use an iphone?”  Will result in pages, videos that pair and match those five words based on relevance and “hits” (the amount of visitors to those pages).

4.  Tagging

Video itself will not produce results in a search engine.  The Big Two (Google and YouTube) search engines only search for word pairings.  Therefore in order for your video to be found online, when uploading to YouTube, you have to add relevant tags (keywords) that will cause your video to rise to the top when a user types in words.  What words would a user type to find your video?

YouTube limits Tagging to 500 characters – so plan accordingly.

For example, our sample video today for you on taking steps to Close WHINSEC.  Examples of tags for our video are:  {SOA, WHINSEC, Ft. Benning, Close, Watch, Latin America, Advocacy, Catholic, El Salvador, Oscar Romero}

5.  Create a Captive Title for your Video.

According to some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts the title of a video is more important than the video itself.  Not only does the title create additional text that will make a difference in the search process, it answers How will this help me? for the web user.

    The title of your video is like the headline of a newspaper article.  It is the deciding factor whether the viewer presses the “play” button to view your video.  For example, in titling our presentation for this ISN Conference, we chose: How to Create a High Impact Video on a Low Budget?

Your title has to be exciting, peaking the user’s interest, and the only answer for them… is you guessed it, pressing “play”.

Browsing today’s Top Viewed How To videos, some of the top beauty/make-up tip channels offered creative titles:  “My Perfect Imperfections,” “Picture Perfect Purple’” A Wearable Makeup Tutorial.”  This may seem trivial, but these channels picked up 74,000 hits in one day!  Most likely these clever online producers are funneling this traffic to their sites selling an array of products.

6.  “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

If keywords get our video to show up on their page, the Title and Content keeps them on the page.  We have a problem though, and that’s the attention span of internet users.  The average web user will give a new page an average of 1.4 seconds to decide if they stay or if they go.

This is called Bounce Rate.  You can run a report on your website through Google Analytics for free to evaluate your webflow:

  1. Where your Traffic flow came from?  (search engine, another site, etc).

  2. How long people stay?  (anywhere from .8 seconds to 6 seconds) if its higher than that on the average that’s great.

  3. Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors who click to another site.  (they saw a better or video or lost interest as they surf from page to page.)

In under two seconds you have to answer:

  • Is this page better than the 4 or more I have open?

  • Is this page going to teach me something new?

  • How long is the video?

7.  Video Checklist

  1. 2-second hook

  2. 3:30  minute maximum length

  3. Captivating and Informative Title

  4. Have a good still shot:  while editing the video, you can choose the still shot the viewer will see when they first see your video.

  5. Have one main point per video.  (Make another video for the other points = more traffic.)  Your information has to be fresh and accurate.  (Step 1 of 6 Steps).

  6. Do you have screens directing the viewer to your conversion page?  (i.e. Letter Writing, Donations, Petitions, etc.)

  7. Website Stamp:  people will copy and embed your video.  Its OK as long as somewhere, and do this only once, you show your website URL over the video.

  8. Good P.R.?  Ease the slant or bias in your point of view, appeal to the widest audience possible.

  9. High-Quality Audio?

1.  Audio sets the distance between you and the viewer:

2.  High quality audio:  seems close, very easy to interpret message.

3.  Low quality video: the subject seems distant, the viewer has to strain to interpret message.  We use an Audio-Technica lapel mic.  It has a long cord, good quality, adjustable volume control, and affordable (estimated $25).

8.  Equipment List

We spent many months researching for the most affordable, yet highest quality equipment for our Social Justice campaigns.  As new and improved products surface, please share them with us to improve our list.  Email your suggestions to Michael:

1.  35 mm camera with external mic jack

       2.  Extra battery for longer filming

      3.  SD Memory Card, Class 10, 16+GB

4.  Audio-Technica 35S Lapel Mic (est. $25)

5.  If you use a podium or PA mic, you’ll need a Mic to 1/8″ jack to fit into the camera.

6.  Compact Travel Tri-Pod (est. $46) Link

7.* Green Screen (for photo back-drops, est. $26)  Link

8.* Lighting for Green Screen

i.  (6 lights are necessary to illuminate top, middle, and bottom sections on the right and left.)  4 of the 6 lights can be cheap, metal shop lights, but having two good quality lights for the middle sections helps.  Also have green thumb tacks if tacking to the wall surface.

* = if you are getting started, save the Green Screen for later.

9.  YouTube converter software (save video to desktop, audio only)…{e.g. Evom}. Free.

10.  Modernizing Prophetic Message of the Church

For us as Catholics: it is this concept of Modernizing Prophetic Message of the Church – How to use YouTube to develop public awareness.  Call to Action: Having traffic actually make a difference in the result of the communities which we serve.

In Pope John XXIII’s, 1961 Mater et Magistra, he affirms the role of the Church as nurturing guardian of the poor and oppressed.   He calls for a greater awareness of the need for all peoples to live as one community with a common good.  “It must therefore aim at implanting and fostering among the faithful an awareness of their duty to carry on their economic and social activities in a Christian manner.” (228.)

    Pope Leo XIII stated in The Condition of Labor that “The church has the right to speak out on social issues. Its role is to teach social principles and bring social classes together.

Have your organization strategize the components of Catholic Social teaching that would be universally accepted in political and public arenas.  Values such as raising human dignity and advocating for the powerless are widely accepted to populations other than Catholics.  They are embodied in the oath of office our representatives vow to carry out, America’s core laws and documents, and premised in International law and agreements.

Keep in mind video production is a component of your social justice strategy.  What is our moral impetus?  Non-violence, Ignatian Solidarity, adapting the prophetic message of the church to modern communication tools is just adapting to advancement in modalities.


1 In the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Vatican Council II, 1965.  Calls Catholics to renew a sense of service by the Church in a rapidly changing world.  This document addresses the real concerns and problems faced by Christians living in the modern age and calls for a development based on an unqualified acceptance of the inherent dignity of the human person.

Additional Questions

What do I do if someone posts inappropriate or negative feedback, comments on my video?

Allowing comments increases interaction and web hits, however a good percentage may/will be negative, have your YouTube settings send you an email when someone posts a comment.  If it’s destructive, remove it as soon as possible as it may negatively relate to your institution.  If its simply counter intuitive to your position, consider leaving it, sometimes the discourse, helps your purpose (traffic) in the big picture.  Additionally, allowing a few negative comments, dissuades future posters of doing the same.  Respond to your feedback.

What do I do if someone puts my video on his or her site?

Write and thank them, ask them to help join your letter writing campaign, send them a school, parish, sticker or mug…Be sure to have your URL: the site where your Call to Action is – in the video.  If someone embeds your video, it will help you and redirect more web traffic.

How to use the internet to test an idea, product before production.

   One of the hidden benefits of the internet is to receive free feedback from your support base.

  • Would people object to moving our newsletter online?

  • Would our students pay $15 for a  t-shirts if we made them?

  • Should I publish a CD with my beautiful church hymns?

Ask them.  Organize an online survey (e.g. Survey Monkey, Google Forms), ask, and though shall receive.  Not happy with negative feedback?  Well, it’s free and saving the cost and effort you would have invested in the effort before asking your base.

Follow up

Make and share your Social Justice video with the Mitty Advocacy Project.  Find us on Twitter @mittyadvocacy email your link to Michael: