Mayo Clinic’s best practices for video

Those moving, talking images are a brilliant way to tell stories and put your experts front and center. Yet in order to succeed, you must figure out your end game.

Editor’s note: This story is taken from Ragan Communications’ distance-learning portal Ragan Training . The site contains hundreds of hours of case studies, video presentations and interactive courses.

Mayo Clinic is not only a famed hospital group, but also a source of health and medical information through channels such as its websites.

Still, written information can be hard to parse “and, frankly, isn’t that engaging for just the casual viewer,” says Shea Jennings, a communications associate at Mayo Clinic.

What makes it more digestible, she says, is video. The clinic offers not only written descriptions of breast cancer , but also a series of videos of cancer survivors, doctors and other health care experts in multiple languages.

To succeed in video, you must have a strategic framework and a clear vision for what you want to do with your video comms, Jennings says in a Ragan Training joint session with Matt Silverman, director of video at The Daily Dot.

The presentation is titled “Create and Sustain Best Practices for YouTube Success.”

Figure out your end game

YouTube is the second-largest search engine, Jennings says. “For any brand working in social media producing content, video has to be a big part of your strategy, because people are searching for it,” she says.

That means you must answer a series of questions:

  • Why do you want to use YouTube?

“Even if you are dead-set on producing a video, it doesn’t mean that YouTube is necessarily the right way to deliver that content,” Silverman says.

Mayo creates video that lives on a range of channels, such as its website and piped in-room patient TV. “Just because it’s a video doesn’t mean it should live on YouTube,” Silverman says.

  • What is your primary goal? What are you hoping to accomplish?

It’s best to think about a verb here, Jennings says. “Are you hoping to get audience members to visit our website, to request an appointment, to request more information from Mayo Clinic, to subscribe to a particular newsletter. What are you hoping to achieve at the end of the day with this particular video?”

  • Who do you want to connect with? Who do you want to take action?

Audience segmentation affects what kind of video you’re producing, who you want in front of the camera, what kind of content you are delivering.

  • What do you want them to do and feel?

Often, hospital-related stories can be deeply emotional. Patients and doctors have life-changing stories. (The same can be true of many kinds of video, in which the viewer feels a personal connection with the individual featured.) When people watch the video, what should their takeaway be?

  • How do they want to engage?

This might be different from what you want them to think. At Mayo, they might be exploring for information, rather than seeking to schedule an appointment.

Put your experts front and center

Videos are an excellent way to tell compelling stories. At Mayo, communicators and marketers alike are frequently reminded that they are storytellers first.

“We find videos a great way to convey [trust], much easier in some ways than writing stories and marketing campaigns,” Jennings says.

As a physician-led organization from the CEO all the way down, Mayo finds videos a way to convey staff expertise by discussing ailments, treatments and recent innovations in medicine.

For those who are nervous about being video-recorded, it helps to put them in an environment where they feel comfortable and tell them just to talk as if to a patient, Jennings says. Mayo also provides media training on a regular basis.

“We want to put those people in front of the cameras so that they can tell the stories,” Jennings says.

There’s more to this session. Subscribe to Ragan Training .

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