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“Exploiting IT for your Outreach and Marketing” – a workshop by Brian Kelly

Review of the workshop on “Exploiting IT for your Outreach and Marketing” given by Brian Kelly, Communications and IT volunteer for the Morris Federation, on 26 February 2023 via Zoom.

Phil Sigournay of Mish Mash Morris, East Sussex, writes:

This workshop, a followup to an earlier one –  initially reviewed simple ways of getting your Morris Side to the top of a Google search and before providing a focus on recruitment and marketing which was based on the:

• Importance of content
• Importance of short videos
• Importance of communities

For example, to attract Google’s attention, the first paragraph of a side’s Teamfinder entry on the Morris Federation web site should contain a brief summary of the side, with location information.  In general, words must be appropriate, in the correct order, and written for the perceived audience. For this purpose, nominal “user personas” could be imagined, complete with a name and background.

Artificial Intelligent software, such as ‘ChatGPT’ could be used. This can generate word sketches for a given number of words, e.g. 250. However, it does need an element of control, as it may introduce old Morris clichés such as “old men with beards”.

If words are important, then video is the killer application. Evidence indicates that modern social media viewers move on after 6-10 seconds. So change the scene at no greater than 10 second intervals, with the first scene as an “audience grabber”. Finishing on applause may also be beneficial.

Making Short Videos

Brian explained that:

• People will only watch a very short part of a digital video (their experience from watching TVs means they expect high quality when watching for longer periods of time).
• There is a need to be guided by evidence of how viewers behave.
• The need to maximise potential of short videos, which he went on to explain.

To maximise the potential of marketing videos, you can  post to:

• Facebook as a Story or Reel
• TikTok
• Local networking service, such as “Nextdoor” – but be sure to select the appropriate area. As an example of a local networking service result, a short video of Mr. Wilkins’ Shilling posted on “Nextdoor” received 1,000 views in one week (see image above).

Why use a short video? Brian described how:

• It can create awareness outside the Morris world
• It can be useful for recruitment
• As an example of “reach”, the hashtag #morrisdancing has had 1.7million views on TikTok.

Making a 30 second short video:

Brian demonstrated the making of a 30-second video for Poacher Morris using “DaVinci Resolve” software (which is free) in about 10 minutes (excluding the choice of contributing video clips). But a newcomer to DaVinci will need practice to achieve that kind of proficiency (Brian admitted that he is still learning!)

DaVinci can be used to select clips from existing videos, and can then link chosen clips together. Linking effects such as a ‘blur’ are available, as are some interesting effects, such as a binocular type view (see image above).

It is also possible to show more than one clip in parallel – Brian played a short video with three clips playing together, with a single soundtrack selected.

It was also pointed out that for display purposes on mobile devices, e.g. ‘phones, that margins for Facebook “like” buttons and so forth are needed, which means that aspect ratios do need to be considered in order to avoid any distortion of the short video.

Brian reported that he found that editing using DaVinci was best performed on a PC, rather than, say, a tablet. He also said that the processing required to produce the short video from the selected linked clips and any effects can take a long time – leaving the PC running overnight may be applicable.


The network effect allows a service to gain more value as more people use it e.g. a single telephone is not much use, but millions networked are.

Networking also produces a 1-9-90 rule – 1% of users create something, 9% of users react to creations, 90% of users merely view. Brian hopes that if we find enough people in Morris sides to creative resources (the 1%) and share and comment of the resources (by the 9%) we will reach out to the 90% which will be encouraged to join a morris side or contact a local morris side for a booking.

To achieve these goals we need  to grow the networks we use. To do this we should

• Understand the audience profiles on the networks’- for example, the Morris Federation’s Facebook audience age group is around 60.
• Plan around popular dates for entertaining short videos, e.g. 1st April.
• Release short videos on local Facebook groups.
• Keep refreshing your website short videos.
• Work with strategic partners, e.g. local newspapers, folk festivals, etc.

As an example of an entertaining short video, Brian played a Cotswold jig where the music played normally, but the video element was backwards. This produced some stunning effects with the hankies.

Brian finished his talk by exhorting us all to go forward with using digital media – lead, hopefully, by the Morris Federation.

by Phil Sigournay of Mish Mash Morris, East Sussex

Video Recording

These video recordings of the content are publicly available on the MF YouTube channel

About Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly is probably best known in the Morris and Rapper world for his performances as a comic character with the Newcastle Kingsmen, having won many DERT prizes with Chris Pitt and the Kingsmen over 30 years of performing together, at DERT rapper competitions and festivals including Broadstairs, Whitby and Sidmouth. Brian has also taken part in overseas trips to folk festivals in places including Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Syria. 

In addition to dancing with the Newcastle Kingsmen, Brian has also danced with a number of other rapper and sword teams including Sallyport Sword, Black Cap, Northgate Rapper and Haymarket Rapper, whom he currently dances with (they’re the experienced and mature dancers and musicians from the Newcastle Kingsmen who are difficult to find, restricting their performances normally to three weekends a year in towns and cities with good pubs with wooden floors!)  Brian has also danced Cotswold for Green Ginger Morris and, more recently, with Wyld Morris.

During his working life, Brian worked in IT and became known for setting up probably the first university website in the UK (in 1992, when fewer than 100 companies have published details of their website!). In 1996 he was employed at UKOLN, University of Bath as UK Web Focus, a national adviser about the web for UK universities. Brian gave over 400 talks during his time at UKOLN throughout the UK and at conferences around the world.  He particularly remembers attending a conference in Brisbane, Australia when the technical infrastructure (the ‘page ranking) for a new search engine developed at Stanford University – yes, it was Google! 

Brian is now enjoying using his IT and web skills and experiences to support the Morris Federation, Morris Federation team members and the wider Morris community.  

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