Making YouTube videos to connect with the Merrill community

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 4:35 PM CST
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) - A member of the Merrill Chamber of Commerce is keeping the community connected digitally to showcase the city and its businesses.

With fewer people out in the community and more staying at home because of the pandemic, Merrill Chamber of Commerce Member Services Representative Ken Neff is trying to bring the community to its residents in a virtual platform.

Neff has been creating various YouTube videos since early January called “Merrill Moments” and “Member Moments,” while people are stuck indoors.

“I was trying to come up with a way to try to communicate with our members without actually visiting and I started with sending out emails,” Neff said. “Well emails are pretty boring, so then I thought ‘OK I’ll add a little video clip to the email.’”

After that, it blossomed into Neff creating videos to feature different aspects of the city and checking in with chamber members to allow people to get to know their city better.

“It’s like being able to tell people from outside of the area and within the community what’s going on,” Neff said.

Neff said even before the pandemic, he wanted to better connect with the people of Merrill, now he’s able to visit places with his camera and tripod so others don’t have to.

“It’s really fun to be able to go out and talk with people and then see the reaction from everyone that gets to view those videos, so it’s been fun, yeah I enjoy it,” Neff said.

Neff has been getting flooded with new ideas and video suggestions. It’s his plan to begin a new segment called “Legends of Merrill” to feature information on historic figures and artifacts of the town.

Subjects of the videos are loving the publicity, including the Merrill Community Homeless Center.

“We had 3,400 people visit that Merrill Moments segment,” Merrill Community Homeless Center President Mike Ravn said.

Ravn said he was grateful to get the homeless center’s word out to let people know of their mission, and as the saying goes, no publicity is bad publicity.

“We saw an uptick in our contributions, our supplies, and we had people calling into volunteer their services,” Ravn said.

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