One-Take: The Benefits of Video Storytelling

Sep. 15, 2022

How to Make it Work for Your Healthcare Organization

Leg_Blog_Storytelling

By Brian Lani, Vice President of Creative Services
Legato Healthcare Marketing

When marketing people used to talk about video, they typically meant one of two things: Either seconds-long television commercials or some type of promotional video that was used at events, often shown continuously (aka, on a loop) at trade shows or as an introduction (or a filler) at a speaking engagement.

But – as it has impacted so much in recent years – social media and all things web-based have made us look at video in a new way. We even call it by a new name (which is really just a combination of old words): Video Storytelling.

That’s right: The thing you’re hearing – and, of course, seeing – so much about isn’t really new; we’ve used moving images to tell stories since the late 1890s.

Today’s marketing video storytelling clearly takes elements from what we think of as the movies; it has a clear narrative arc, unlike most commercials, which, in their typical 30 seconds of flash, pop and shout are simply trying to grab the viewer’s attention and focus it on a specific product.

But video storytelling does undeniably take from the traditional commercial, too – after all, the point is to ask the audience to take some kind of action, even if it’s to simply see a rural healthcare organization as an empathetic brand.

There’s also no denying this: Videos are consumers' favorite content, and they want to see more of it.

Not convinced? Take a look at data cited in a recent blog about video marketing:

  • 86% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool
  • 54% of consumers want more video content from a brand they support
  • 93% of marketers say they’ve landed a new customer thanks to a video on social media

 In addition, marketers state that the use of video storytelling means:

In this blog, we’ll walk you through the whys and hows of video storytelling, including identifying and clarifying:

  • purpose
  • audience
  • call to action
  • plot
  • characters
  • tone
  • emotional triggers
  • location
  • length

Why Video Storytelling Works for Rural Healthcare

Video storytelling leverages the power of sound and movement to create relatable content that does three critical things: it educates your consumers; it builds trust in your brand; and, perhaps most importantly, it humanizes your image.

The stories that move us are authentic, relatable and memorable, as in this video we recently did for the National Rural Health Association’s COVID-19 vaccine confidence initiative:

 

As this video demonstrates, it’s difficult for human beings to not become engaged in characters we find ourselves invested in: Characters who are facing universal experiences such as joy – and loss.

Aside from triggering our emotional responses, video storytelling works because our brains process images faster than written words – and we retain images longer.

How To Create a Compelling Story – in Video

We’ve offered you the data and provided an explanation about why video storytelling appeals to consumers – but what about how to produce a story that the audience will find valuable?

First, all successful stories – video or otherwise – have two key elements in common: They have both a clear purpose and audience.

These things seem obvious, right? In fact, they’re so obvious that people often forget to start with these basics – which is a sure way to end up with an indecipherable jumble. Instead, ask yourself simple questions: What is it you’re trying to accomplish? Are you educating your consumers? About what? Are you trying to persuade them? To do what?

As far as consumers – when it comes to your rural healthcare organization, who is that? Is it the unvaccinated? Is it women in a certain age group? Is it the parents of high school athletes? Who is the audience that you want to address for your organization’s particular purpose? In other words, who is it that you want to understand something about your brand – or who is it that you want to take some type of action after seeing your video?

Knowing your purpose and audience allows you to create a clear call to action: Get vaccinated. Come here for your orthopedic needs. Sign up now for a free consultation. A strong call to action encourages the audience to continue to engage with your rural healthcare organization.

Once you have a clear call to action, you need a plot that moves your audience to take that action – creating a strong narrative arc to your video is the next essential to creating compelling storytelling. It’s a no-brainer that all worthwhile stories have a beginning, middle and end, but think beyond the standard path and more in terms of a three-part approach: introduction, conflict and resolution.

For example, in this video, the audience is introduced to West Feliciana Hospital; and viewers are shown this organization’s need for better, more efficient equipment and are then provided the resolution in the stakeholders’ own words.

 

The other thing this video does is build trust for the audience – this isn’t an example of a company touting its excellence: It’s real people explaining why they found FUJIFILM’s imaging equipment to be the right answer for their needs.

As the viewer sees West Feliciana Hospital overcoming a significant challenge, the audience develops a sense of empathy and trust – part of that is because the characters are relatable: Testimonials by people who seem representative rather than polarizing are key, as are the characters’ points of view. One reason this video works well to build a sense of trust is because viewers watch the story unfold from the target audience’s perspective rather than from the company’s.

An important decision to make is deciding who is best positioned to tell your rural hospital’s story: Is it patients? Administrators? Providers? The answer will depend on your – yes, you guessed it – purpose and audience. Whichever character choice you go with, have them use a natural, informal tone to connect with your viewers.

But speaking isn’t always necessary – or the only way to express tone. In the video below from XCEL Orthopedics at Rochelle Community Hospital, music is an emotional trigger that influences the story’s tone – especially when it complements the action viewers see on the screen:

 

Effective storytelling can be simple and focused and still appeal to deep emotions, as does this series of images depicting life’s big moments – and the small ones too. In the case of this orthopedics video, the upbeat music matches the energy and activity of the message: Live life to the fullest (i.e., do everything you want to be able to do), creating a powerful emotional association for the audience as it views the transformative journey of the characters.

But according to research, quieter, more melancholy music works, too, often helping the audience internalize emotions, just as slow or close-up camera movements can. Location is another element that shapes a narrative and influences a video story’s tone. Again, your purpose and audience will impact the tone you choose.

Creating a video of the right length is also important and there are a lot of factors that come into play about this – budget being one of them. But research shows that videos around two minutes seem to get the most engagement. However short your video story is, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a 90-minute feature-length film: Be sure to capture your audience’s attention from the beginning.

Finally, one of the biggest decisions to make is who will produce your storytelling video? Keeping your budget always in mind, it’s probably best to hire a business that has production experience – its staff can help plan a schedule and make recommendations that steer your process to create a memorable piece (remember that many of your viewers are only going to see your video story once).

It should go without saying that you want your video story to be visually beautiful and appealing, and this may be the biggest reason to hire professionals who can give you specialized advice about design and visual aspects such as lighting, wardrobe and colors that move your storytelling message forward. When hiring a production team, seek out reputable ones (ask your colleagues for recommendations), and review their experience and their completed videos to make sure that their style aligns with your vision.

Another thing a production company can help you do is drive your video story forward by recommending effective edits. To this end, you can also have a screening: Ask an outsider who matches your target audience to give you feedback on the effectiveness of your video story before it’s finalized.

That’s a Wrap: Now What?

Making the video is only half the project – why make it unless you have a plan for how to get it in front of your audience? We could write another entire blog about marketing your video story, but we’ll cover just a couple of the basics, including how will you share it? And, where will it be hosted?

You’ll need to determine the best platform to showcase your video story, which will hinge on what you are trying to accomplish with it (your purpose) and who you’re trying to reach (your audience). According to HubSpot, more than half of all video marketers use YouTube as a video-sharing platform – and even more use Facebook, with your website being another obvious place to house your video story.

No matter where – or in how many locations – your video story lives, creating a promotional strategy to get your video seen is essential. Your promotional plan should definitely include social media (88% of video marketers are satisfied with the ROI of their video marketing efforts on social media, while 73% of consumers claim they have been influenced by a brand’s social media presence when making a purchasing decision), but also consider the following marketing strategies:

  • email campaigns
  • website sliders
  • streaming TV
  • printed collateral (newsletters, flyers, direct mailers – all with a QR code linking to your video)
  • press releases

Have your promotional plan in place before your video story is ready to go live – you’ll want to get the word out about it immediately – but don’t stop there: Once published, monitor your analytics to determine how well your video is doing. If you’re promoting on multiple platforms, which ones are generating the most views? When are viewers engaging? The answers to these questions can help guide your future decisions about video storytelling.

Don’t be afraid to tell your story: The best way to be relatable is to share a common human experience, and video storytelling shows a human side and personalized connection to your organization’s expert care.

At Legato Healthcare Marketing, our creative services are always tailored directly to the specific needs of our clients. Are you interested in discussing how video storytelling can impact your rural healthcare organization? Email Brian Lani, vice president of creative services, at brianl@golegato.com or call me at 920.544.8102 ext. 102.