Earlier this week, the Oscars reminded us about the magic of movies on the big screen. Today, I’d like to talk about how you can spread the word about your adoption dream by leveraging your own movie on the small screen.
On YouTube, to be exact.
When it comes to creating an online presence and reaching out to expectant parents who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, more and more waiting parents are turning to YouTube. And it’s not hard to see why.
It’s the world’s most popular video sharing website and one of the top five visited sites on the web. Billions of people log on every day. What’s more, thanks to all the new online tools available, creating, uploading, and networking an adoption video has never been easier. We’ve been creating YouTube mini-movies for hopeful adoptive parents since 2009.
In a future post, I’ll share tips on how to cut through the clutter and increase your video’s visibility on the Net. For now, let’s focus on three adoption networking videos on YouTube that caught my eye and how you can create an effective one of your own. Sit back and enjoy!
Matthew and Kevin’s Open Adoption Profile
The first time I saw Matthew and Kevin’s video, I instantly fell in love with it. And I think you will, too. Its charms–and there are many–are hard to resist. Without uttering one single word, Matthew and Kevin’s devotion to each other and their excitement about becoming adoptive parents shine through on every frame.
The opening balloon sequence sets up the video’s warm and welcoming tone. Adding to the playful mood is the music, which evokes a sense of innocence and memories of a simpler time. Matthew and Kevin are clearly this production’s star attractions. But cute critters, babies and even Mickey Mouse all have strong supporting roles.
The text, though spare and simple, is effective. My favorite part was the section where they share what they’ve learned from kids–and what they want to teach them in return (“how to bake cupcakes–and how to enjoy them”). In order to be successful, a video has to create an strong emotional connection with its viewer. Matthew and Kevin, take a bow. Your heartwarming film does it in spades.
According to a note next to their YouTube video, one month after posting their slideshow, Matthew and Kevin became parents of a baby boy named Cameron. It’s unclear whether the match came as a result of their video. But I wouldn’t be surprised. Would you?
Melinda’s Open Adoption Profile
This video by Melinda, a single waiting adoptive parent, has a different vibe, in part because it has a different format and production values. Whereas Matthew and Kevin’s mini-movie was a slide show, Melinda’s is a full-fledged video. Speaking directly into the camera, Melina wastes no time trying to establish an connection with us, her viewers. Right off the top, her honesty and immediacy create a strong level of engagement and intimacy.
In her opening section, Melinda does a great job of explaining in a conversational manner why she is adopting and her extensive experience with children. She also tackles head-on any concerns that prospective birth parents may have about her status as a single mother by discussing her support network and her readiness to become a mother.
Two members of that support network are adoptive parents and long-time friends, Karin and Rich, who are also interviewed in the video. Flanked by their daughters, their testimonial about Melinda’s easygoing nature and the sequences of her interacting with the girls is a nice touch, letting her build trust and giving prospective birth parents a taste of what kind of mother she would be.
If I have one beef with Melinda’s video, it’s that I’d love to see more scenes like that one. For instance, when Melinda talks about her family and getting together at Thanksgiving, I would have loved to see cutaway photos of her family sitting around the dinner table. Instead, we see Melinda talking on a street corner, which emphasizes her isolation and undermines one of her video’s core messages.
As much I enjoyed Melinda’s story, I think it would have been stronger if she had shared it in a more intimate setting–perhaps in her kitchen, over a cup of coffee, or in her living room, surrounded by her furniture, books, plants or other household objects that would give viewers another window into her character, interests and values. Still, Melinda should be commended for her messaging skills and putting herself out there on YouTube. It’s a gutsy move and hopefully one that will eventually pay off.
Open Adoption: Bryan and Lisa Wishing To Adopt
Even though it’s four minutes long, Bryan and Lisa’s video is done so well that the time just sails by. A slide show with nice animated flourishes, these hopeful adoptive parents draw you in from the get-by by asking the question: “Are you thinking about making an adoption plan for your baby?”
Both the content and music are easy on the eyes and the ears. Although it’s a bit text heavy, the story is told in bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and digest. And as with the two other videos, this one does an amazing job of establishing early on who Brian and Lisa are, what they stand for, and their love for children.
As with any effective adoption profile, it covers a lot of ground, dividing their story into sections about their family, home and neighborhood, and illustrating them with crisp, clean photos. Like the other videos, Bryan and Lisa’s video ends with a subtle but friendly call to action, inviting prospective birth parents to contact them any time. And, with any luck, they will.
What do you think of these videos? Do you have an open adoption video or a favorite adoption video on YouTube? If you’re interested in having your video or website critiqued by our blog, let us know here or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org And don’t forget to check out our Parent Profile Video Service.