The Three Bears Approach: How to Get a Video That’s Just Right

By Josh Gold

Does this sound familiar?

You’re making a video, and you struggle to come up with the story and concept at first. But then the ideas start flowing. You want to tell viewers about the success of your last event; you want to highlight a recent feature that’s really taken off; you want to tell them all about the latest reports that prove your work is successful. You’re doing great things, and you want them to know all about it.

Of course, not everything can or should be included. Throwing every possible detail into one video will actually reduce its effectiveness in accomplishing the specific, particular task that it’s designed for.

But how do you decide what is and isn’t relevant? To my way of thinking, it always comes back to the funnel – the gradual process of generating and solidifying support for your organization.

What do they know about you?

Your relationship with your supporters grows and develops over time. Based on where they are in the process, different levels of information will be appropriate.

For instance, if this is your first interaction, you’ll need to start from the very beginning. Remember, this audience is completely unfamiliar with your organization. They don’t know what you even do, let alone why they should care. You’ll have to zoom way out and start with the big picture, the most general outlines.

You’ll need to control the pace, too.

If you jump right from introducing yourself to detailing your latest improvements – no matter how great they are, you’re probably moving too quickly for the viewer to really absorb the message.

That speaker we mentioned earlier might be impressive. But will including them help you make the case for the larger impact of your organization?

When you’re making a video, ask yourself how much the viewer already knows about you. Don’t waste their time sharing information if they don’t yet have the context to understand why it’s important. Instead of moving them forward, you’ll quickly lose their attention.

What are they looking for?

It’s not that the details are never relevant. It’s about bringing them out at the right moment.

In the beginning, viewers want to know why you matter.

If you do a good job making that case, an interested prospect will go looking for more information. You may have sold them on your cause, but they’ll still need to be convinced about you.

What makes you stand out from other similar organizations? How does it all work? Are you really able to deliver what you promise? At this point, it makes sense to start getting into the particulars.

Think about where you are in your relationship with a potential supporter, and what that means for they might want to know. If they’re clicking around on your website, checking out pages about your work, that may be the place to include information that was previously too much, too soon.

I often recommend a style of video we call Clarity Films. These are short films that come in a series, each one walking viewers through a particular topic. A school, for instance, might have students showing off their facilities, location, and close-knit social scene, each in a minute or less. This is a memorable, authentic way to demonstrate what you have to offer.

Is video the right medium?

Even when you are ready to present the viewer with more information, it’s still worth asking if video is the right way to do it. Video, as a medium, is great for telling stories, bringing your message to life with depth and resonance. It can showcase individual successes, or it can illustrate an exciting facet of your work.

The dry details, the facts and figures, may still not have a place even in videos like these. Do you gain anything by having someone state them out loud on-screen, rather than simply letting people look them up in your paperwork, your website copy, or your brochure? Will adding them to the video help you achieve your goals or will it detract?
What do you plan to include in your videos? What criteria are you using to decide? Let us know.

Josh Gold, owner of Serio Films, has helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars through video-based marketing. You can follow Josh and his team over at and To get more discussions like these right to your inbox, sign up for their newsletter.