The healthcare industry is immersed in amazing stories, but not telling nearly enough of them. A recent survey shows 22% of healthcare brands have very few videos in their library. How does your brand stack up?
Read on to learn about the current status of healthcare video, get ideas to help ease your writer’s block, and become a better video storyteller.
Why healthcare desperately needs storytelling
Video storytelling offers the health care industry incredible opportunities for growth. The only way to go is up: Healthcare remains near the bottom of industries with video libraries, only ahead of retail and food & leisure in its usage of video as a storytelling medium.
Where to begin? The anatomy of a great health care video starts with a storytelling culture.
Step 1: Embrace a storytelling culture
Telling a good story starts at the top of your healthcare company, whether you’re a hospital group, doctor’s group, or healthcare technology company.
Dr. David Feinberg, President and CEO of Geisinger Health, told Forbes he calls himself the “chief storytelling officer.”
The article focuses on the top 5 ways Feinberg is transforming health care. Spoiler alert: Storytelling is one of the ways he’s making an impact in a crowded field.
“In the healthcare business, our stories are better than what you’re seeing in Hollywood. These are real-life people who are struggling and when we get it right, it feels really good,” says Feinberg. “Storytelling is my most important tool as a leader.”
Step 2: Share emotional stories
Feinberg recognizes something few do: Every person walking through the doors of your clinic or hospital is a likely story.
We understand healthcare marketing and its red tape. We know what you’re thinking: “HIPPA!” Due to HIPPA and FDA regulations, healthcare groups are often reluctant to tap into their most valuable asset. We get it. It’s a challenge, but it can be, and is, done. It may require a cultural shift, but brands are not only are doing it, but doing it well.
Start by asking prospective brand advocates if they’d like to share their story. How did they find your facility, doctor, or revolutionary product? How has it changed their life?
It’s not just patients, either. Your workers are equally important. Every person working in the healthcare industry has the potential to change and save lives. Sharing that personal impact is a must for any healthcare company, as Scenic Road shared in this recent blog.
Step 3: Use empathy to drive connection
The Cleveland Clinic emotionally connects with its viewers in its video titled “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care.”
The video puts a face to all the people you see in a hospital. From people walking the halls, riding the elevator, eating in the cafeteria, and sitting in waiting rooms, every person has a story.
3.4 million people viewed the video, because each of them was able to find something about one person’s experience that they could relate to.
Now that you know to embrace storytelling through emotion and empathy, here are various types of video stories you can put into motion.
1: Humanize healthcare employees
In medicine, patients encounter lots of caretakers. Doctors can seem super-human, lacking in personality or emotion, but we know that’s not the case. Show people the heart behind that stethoscope or microscope.
For example, you never meet your pathologist, the person in the lab who diagnoses your disease.
The College of American Pathologists humanizes the pathologist in this brand video that Scenic Road shot and produced.
This piece gets personal. It talks about the pathologist’s life journey, including the death of his mom at age 10.
By focusing on both emotion and a journey, you have strong components of a good story.
How many stories can you tell about doctors in your facility? (Rhetorical question. It’s equal to how many doctors you have.)
There are plenty of payoffs when you humanize health care. It allows a patient to get a feel for their doctor before their visit, making them more comfortable. To put this into action, a “Meet The Doctor” series is an excellent way to expose new patients to your office staff.
Get outside the monotonous white walls of the hospital to bring color to your storytelling. The pathology video shines because it goes outside the traditional healthcare setting and shows the doctor as a real human being with feelings, a history, and hobbies.
2: Follow along on the patient journey
Whether it’s a “Day in the Life” or retrospective, patient journeys also humanize your branded healthcare content. UCHealth does this spectacularly with video that immerses you in the patient’s experience and struggle. These beautifully-shot brand stories are told through the lens of real relationships and commonly held human truths. The patient’s story supports their brand message, “Your Life. Your Story.” The focus is really on empathizing with the patients, with little to no mention of the hospital group. High-five-athon.
If you didn’t watch it, I’m about to ruin it for you. Go back and watch.
Did you see the twist coming? I didn’t, and I tell stories for a living. I was so engaged with the mother’s perspective and feelings that I failed to see the other possible interpretation. This purposeful and artful approach makes for a memorable video. If you can drive the narrative forward through interesting people and situations, and shoot the video in a way that also builds to a “reveal” or surprise, you have mastered the art of storytelling. We bow to you, UCHealth.
3: Solve a problem
Let’s face it, Dr. Google is probably one of the most famous of physicians. People turn to Google to ask all sorts of questions about their healthcare. Some you want to know; others you wish you didn’t. (Can’t.Unsee.)
Because we’re all prone to catastrophic self-diagnosis (which no one is advising), medical “how-to” or “ask the doctor” type videos are gripping. They solve a problem for the audience and empower them to take action.
For example, Aetna takes commonly asked medical questions and turns them into animated videos.
Aetna focuses on basic questions, and the videos get hundreds of thousands of views.
It’s a great way to explain a complicated field to patients and customers.
This is also an excellent way to optimize your company in search results and build SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Because video ranks higher in results, your video can appear with all the answers when a patient searches for any myriad of searches, from quirky to common.
Google noted in a “Think With Google” paper, that search is a huge part of a patient’s healthcare journey. Video allows you to connect with the patient in ways written words can’t. Google found 48-percent of patients spent two weeks researching health care options before booking an appointment. That was in 2012. Think of how much higher that number is today.
Then think about how your healthcare company can enhance each patient’s digital journey with video, and drive people to your home page and your hospital.
How long should my healthcare video be?
There’s much consternation and debate in the field about the optimal length for your video. The answer depends on the story you’re trying to tell and the platform on which it lives. Overall, healthcare videos run two to four minutes on average.
You’ll notice that healthcare videos can be longer than videos in other categories. Sometimes it just takes a bit longer to tell a compelling story. If you’re worried about someone sticking around for 20 minutes (or 10, or even 5), test different video versions. Optimize through various edits. Try creating a “tease” video to push a viewer to the long form content. Atomize the content and break it into snackable video shorts. Read what the analytics are telling you and adjust for what your audience prefers going forward.
That said, digital audiences are notoriously fickle and in a hurry to get information, and healthcare companies are not catering to that. Fewer than ten percent of all videos are under sixty seconds, which is a missed opportunity. Tell people what they want or need to hear in less than a minute, and see how that increases video completions.
Get creative with video
Healthcare brands have an enormous opportunity to reach new consumers by harnessing the power of authentic storytelling.
Think outside the traditional healthcare box. Get past those HIPAA regulations and get past your data. Let’s face it: data rules the day, from patient satisfaction survey responses to rankings for top healthcare programs. While those are great marketing opportunities, statistics don’t tell you a story.
Dr. Michael Bennick talked to Press Ganey about the value of stories.
“Data tends to blind and stories tend to engage,” said Bennick, associate chief of medicine and medical director of the patient experience at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
The stories are there, ready for the telling. Go find them. Tell them with emotion, and watch your audience grow.
How have you made video a part of your health care culture? Email me and I could feature your work in an upcoming blog.