Could this be the best summer camp video ever?

Making great camp marketing videos is so important!

Birch Trail Camp for Girls just released their new 2015 marketing video and it is AWESOME.

[We're totally biased, of course, because we were involved in the production of the video but even if we weren't we'd still LOVE it.]

BTC's director, Gabe Chernov, came to me this past winter and said that he'd like to be the one to create the video that I've been talking about in so many of my presentations. (such as 10 Things Every Camp Should Do On YouTube)

I've been so inspired by how photographer Sue Bryce's promo video so clearly talked to her ideal client.   It was focussed on the life of a woman who would love to have her portrait shot by Sue - it wasn't a video about Sue at all.  Because her client could see herself in the video she would be much more likely to purchase a session from Sue than another photographer who's video is all : ME, ME, ME, BUY FROM ME.

The elements that make this video a success:

  • It's narrative (it has a story) so people will watch longer that 60-90 seconds.  I don't know how to say this any plainer: your camp video is too damn long!
  • The music pulls you through the story with a great melody and a wonderful message.
  • It's high end.   Yes, you absolutely can create great camp marketing videos on an iPhone (so long as they are SHORT). This video, however, shows what you get when you're ready to invest in video as a marketing tool.
  • It's emotional.   Yet another camp video of sailboats, kids swimming and your oh-so-clever-grouping of multi-ethnic kids hugging... not emotional.  Boring.
  • It surprises you.  The camera work includes some great angles to really immerse us in the story (I loved being there to see the UAV camera work!).
  • It plainly shows the ways that Birch Trail Camp transforms the lives of the girls and young women that go there.

 Check it out:


What elements of this video do you like or dislike?  Leave us a comment below!

1 Neat Trick to Make Your YouTube Videos More Professional

Reach more summer camp families

Professional videos have a number of things in common: video quality, audio quality (*the #1 thing to worry about), preparation, and good editing.   Many of these things we can emulate in our camp videos.   With each video we put up we should strive to get a little bit better.

One other thing they have in common is that they have a "sting" at the beginning of each video.  This is a simple, quick "station identifier" that let's everyone know what channel and company the video belongs to.  

YouTube makes this easy

There is a new feature in YouTube that will allow you to add a < 3 second sting to each video. It can be done individually or to all videos on your channel.  It's FREE!

Check out the images below.   I'll show you how to set it up.

Click to the Video Manager - you will find this link at the top right of your YouTube page when you are signed in.

Click to the Video Manager - you will find this link at the top right of your YouTube page when you are signed in.

Open your Channel Settings - they will have appeared in your left column after clicking Channel Settings

Open your Channel Settings - they will have appeared in your left column after clicking Channel Settings

Then click InVideo Programming

Then click InVideo Programming

Click on Branding Intro. Then link this to your &lt; 3 second intro video. &nbsp; You can make your Intro Video Unlisted and it won't show up in your channel.

Click on Branding Intro. Then link this to your < 3 second intro video.   You can make your Intro Video Unlisted and it won't show up in your channel.

Bonus Branding Tips

Don't forget to upload your Branding Watermark and pick your Featured Playlist to round-out all of YouTubes In-Video branding!

Don't forget to upload your Branding Watermark and pick your Featured Playlist to round-out all of YouTubes In-Video branding!


5 Important Concepts for the Next 5 Years of the Summer Camp Industry

A CampHacker's Vision of Important Camp Ideas for the Near Future

There can be no arguing that summer camp is on the edge of massive change (or, at least, that those who change their marketing massively have the greatest chance of survival).  

The Midwest Association of Independent Camps asked me to speak at their luncheon at the Mid-States Conference in April 2014.  I decided to think about what I consider to be 5 essential skills of a modern camp director.

I think you need to be considering:

  1. It's all about the VISUALS (any piece of communication that you begin to write... you should figure out who to say it visually).
  2. Get comfortable with TECHNOLOGY. Even if, like me, you believe that campers need a break from Technology, you still need to have a basic knowledge of and comfort level with technology in order to keep doing your job.
  3. Learn to RELAX.  Take up meditation, go for walks, play games with the campers - anything you can do to relax during every day will be essential to manage the stresses of managing a camp business.
  4. Make your marketing ABOUT THEM. Stop talking about you on your camp marketing; start talking about them and what they get out of camp.
  5. Make BOLD STATEMENTS. Be prepared to clearly state the WHY of your camp... and to find more of the right families because of that!

My Bold Statement for 2014

I want to help the summer camp industry be so good that you feel like you fail as a parent if your kids don't go to camp.

What bold statement are you making at your camp?  
Leave it in the comments below this post.

A Visual "Hint" for Reaching New Parents

You Must Be Objective When 

It's very difficult because you love camp, the people, the place and the work that you do.  But we all know that if you want to move your total camp experience to consistent excellence, you must be willing to critically assess all aspects of your business.

During the New Year, I am going to ask you to focus on one element a month that will help you heighten your marketing and programmatic performance to increase retention and referrals.  Are you ready for the challenge?

 TAKE ACTION NOW!

  • Look at your brochure and website photos.  Ignore the usually verbose, accompanying copy and focus on the visuals.  What do they communicate to parents and moms especially?  What do they say to kids?  How do they tell the story of what you do at camp and how valuable the experience is for each camper?  According to parents in focus groups, pictures of smiling, posing kids are a 'waste of space'.  Moms want visuals into which they can place their kids and envision accomplishment, social connections and confidence.  Check out the attached pics of Sammy and Jenna courtesy of YSSC and SHDC.  These two photographs are consistently selected by parents who say they make the camp experience come alive through Sammy's pride of accomplishment and Jenna's total engagement.  (For more, read the attached article by Gary Forster.)
  • Replace pics or make plans to get better ones.  Identify your weakest visuals and at least on your website, swap them out with more resonating options.  If you just don't have better ones now, plan for a professional photographer to be with you this summer in addition to activating talented staff to help capture the essence of your camp experience.  If you are going to work with a professional, study their portfolio to confirm their ability to secure the type of visuals that you're seeking and arrange for options to rainy/cloudy days.  Staff photographers need to have the time to focus on the task.  They can't be expected to just snap pics as they do their other business.  For both professionals and amateurs, have a game plan before the summer and review visuals on a regular basis to confirm that you have the quality and subject coverage  that you want.

Do you need encouragement to go through this visual assessment?  If so, realize that the photographs you select are what intrigues unaffiliated parents to give you a call or to continue their journey through your website.

Joanna

Want me to take a look at your visuals?  Give me a call at 310-451-1876 or email campconsulting@verizon.net

(Note from Travis:   We are so thrilled to be posting the always brilliant HINTS from camp consultant Joanna Warren Smith!  If you don't already you should sign up to receive theses HINTS in your email - in the right-hand column of Joanna's website: http://camp-consulting.com/)

 

Clear Expectations - The Scott Arizala Show

Communicate well with your summer camp staff

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Clarity in your expectations does not mean say it louder, which is how a lot of adults do it.

Scott walks us through his system for making sure kids (and staff) understand what you are looking for in their behaviour and treatment of others.   By taking it step by step you can lead them to "ultimate clarity".

(Trouble seeing the video? Watch: http://youtu.be/6PACiT42Z8w)

About Scott Arizala

Scott is one of the leading experts and premier trainers on kids, staff and the experience of summer camp. He earned his B.A. from Ithaca College, with a double major in Psychology and Sociology with a concentration in Gender Studies. He has been involved with camps and youth development for over twenty years as a camper, counselor, administrator, teacher and consultant.

About Travis Allison

Travis is a former Executive Director of the 5 summer camps of Cairn who now works as an online marketing strategy advisor who specializes in the private school and summer camp industries.  

Travis produces the CampHacker podcasts and blog, the Scott Arizala show, and manages the Summer Camp Professionals group on Facebook.

A Big CampHacker Thank You!

We are so grateful to our Scott Arizala Show sponsors.  We hope you'll check them out and consider them for your camps this summer.

Camp TV - summer camp video producers