WHPRMS December Blog: Enhancing Your Video Storytelling

Last month, I talked about the power of storytelling and how I believe storytelling is an effective way to engage your audiences, especially in face-to-face encounters.

We are all storytellers, right? And we are really good at it when it comes to the written word. We have that down. But what about video? How do you rate your video storytelling?

Most healthcare systems and hospitals have marketing departments that utilize video on social media. Some are quite good at it too. Janesville and Rockford-based Mercyhealth stands out in their video work. I really enjoyed watching this Facebook videos created by media and PR specialists Trish Reed and Sean Muserallo. It’s engaging, lighthearted and fun. The quality is great and it feels like a TV show. Most importantly, it takes away the inherent feeling that hospitals are dreary and stodgy places. 

Of course, we need patient stories. UW Health does a really nice job telling the story of a woman, Jenna, who came back from a devastating brain injury. The video is less than two minutes, but it flies by because not only is the story engaging, it includes great b-roll footage of rural life in Wisconsin.

Social media is rapidly changing. We invest our time in creating video, but are we creating work that people want to watch? With millions of videos coming out each day, what can you do to increase your audience? Here are some thoughts:

  1. Leave most of what you shoot on the editing room floor. While our natural inclination is to create long videos that will help us tell our story, audiences will choose to scroll down or opt out of the video once they see its length. Ideal video length for branding messages is 10 to 15 or 20 seconds. If you are intent on doing a longer patient story, I’d really try to stick to one minute or less. Of course, this also depends on the project you are working on, goals and what you hope to achieve. 
  • Get to the point quickly. These days you have two to three seconds to gain audience attention, so building your story to a dramatic conclusion where you make your ask is no longer valid. You’ll lose the engagement opportunity. 
  • Don’t let viewers scroll down past your video. Use your most compelling stills or video at the beginning. Add captions for people like me who mute videos, and be sure to write compelling post copy that will draw viewers in.
  • Give your video a good name. That’s a no brainer, but it’s bears repeating.
  • Keep your (marketing) videos simple. Advertising is all around us. Your message needs to be simple. When people want to learn more, they will come to you.

Mike Wiltse is associate director of communications at Journey Mental Health Center in Madison. If you have thoughts about this article, please feel free to share! Email Mike at  michael.wiltse@journeymhc.org.