(Online) Video Killed the Radio Star

An online video titled "How to Make Health Videos for Internet" starring Doug Doodleman.

If you’re anything like us, dear readers, you still shudder thinking about the awkward videos from 7th grade health class. You remember them: cheesy tales of peer pressure on prom night that left everyone sweaty palmed and wondering how to apply these lessons in real life.

Thankfully, videos about health have come a long way since those days. And, when done well, they can be effective tools for sharing your health messages online.

Videos command attention in search results, boost email click-through rates, and increase conversion rates (the number of visitors to your website who take action on the site). Plus, by sharing videos through social media, you can get even more eyes on your content.

But before you buy a black beret and join the Screen Actors Guild, first things first — since video is a visual medium, it works best when you have something to show.

Consider using video to:

  • Illustrate a process, like how climate change affects health
  • Model good behavior, like how to talk to kids about sex
  • Share testimonials, like about the Affordable Care Act’s impact on Americans
  • Provide expertise, like from scientists or government officials
  • Tell a story, like about a school gardening project

In terms of budget, a big one gives you a lot of options — for example, you can hire a crew or an animator. But remember, we ❤︎ a good shoestring project. If you’re tight on resources, use your phone to shoot an interview or partner with a local clinic to serve as your set.

We must, of course, remind you that health literacy best practices apply to videos — so be sure to:

  • Write dialogue that’s conversational and snappy
  • Opt for plain language instead of jargon
  • Keep it short and to the point

Finally, as with everything you put online, it’s important to make videos accessible to everyone. Add closed captions (visible text that captures dialogue) so people who are deaf or hard of hearing will get the message — and consider adding audio description (narration that describes the action) for users who are blind or visually impaired.

The bottom line: Video isn’t just a thing of health classes past — it’s a great tool for communicating important health information online.


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