First websites, then social media, and now you have to make an online video? Although it seems like the list of things on your marketing plate keep growing, video is one that can provide instant measurable returns. Look at the most recent numbers, according to ComScore: more than 450 Billion views of online video in the U.S. with over 75 Million daily unique viewers watching 40 Billion videos a month. Netflix, Amazon, and all of the major networks are creating web-only series with high-profile actors. It’s not a fad; online video is mainstream and you need to be in it. According to Dr. Tariq Javed, “Watching a video of your surgeon places the patient at ease with the knowledge and skill level of the surgeon. Videos are much more informative than print media since it gets the patients full attention.”

From your patients perspective, video is important to them to fully understand all those words of wisdom you spouted during the office visit – and they didn’t quite hear. And if they don’t watch your video, it’s guaranteed they’ll watch others. It’s important to you because video helps you achieve high ranks in the search engine. YouTube, who owns 42% of all videos viewed in the U.S., is owned by Google. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Watch a video version of this article at http://youtu.be/3hnfiLUuftI for more information.

The good news is that creating your own videos isn’t a huge production and can be done effectively and within any budget of both money and time. Let’s look at five key steps to launch your video messages:

Prepare for Video Production
You need a YouTube account. Go to YouTube, click the “Sign In” button in the top right and create a Google account or log in with your Gmail address and password.

Plan the Video
The good thing about video is you don’t need a script. You already say the same things over and over every day to your patients. Start with what you know and explain conditions and treatments for your specialty. This is also the most-searched content online! For example, if you are a spine surgeon, simply answer the questions your patients ask most often: what is a herniated disc? What is an ACDF? What is degenerative disc disease? Use bone models and keep your videos under two minutes if possible. Bone models help you focus and they’re great for explanations. It’s been my experience when creating videos for doctors that you know the subject matter and can bang these types of videos out comfortably. When you begin shooting videos about yourself and your practice philosophies, that’s when the editing and reshoots begin. Stick with what you know, get some videos created, and you’ll be more comfortable with later videos.

Create the Video Yourself
The least expensive way to create a video is to do it yourself. If you have an iPhone, simply point and shoot. Involve your staff to hold the iPhone and don’t worry about the production value, since it’s the message that is critical, not how glamorous you look. The iPhone has built-in editing features and can instantly upload to YouTube. Another way to get your video produced inexpensively is to use a service like Clear.md. They will send you a green screen, tripod, microphone and all the connectors to help you shoot your video that looks and sounds better. You send the video to them and they clean it up and post it for you.

Hire a Video Professional
If you don’t feel you can do a great job yourself, you’ll likely want to hire a professional. When researching who to hire, make sure they can accommodate your schedule. Also negotiate hourly rate rather than half- or full-day rates. A great type of videographer to hire are wedding videographers. They are used to sudden changes and the unexpected. And whenever hiring a video professional, always insist on keeping the raw footage. They will usually put it on a hard drive at no charge. This gives you the option of using it in other videos later.

Load your Videos Everywhere!
YouTube is the number one source for videos, but don’t stop there. Load the videos on every channel you can find, like Vevo, Vimeo and others. The more places your video is placed, the more likely you are to be found. And don’t forget our last step…

Optimize Videos for Search Engines
Title your videos in a simple fashion. For example, “Herniated Disc and Treatment by Dr. Your Name MD” is a great title. Use both Dr. and MD or DO in the title to cover all searches. Be sure to repeat this in the description and use keywords in title tags and any other place offered. Do searches on YouTube if you aren’t sure what to name your video, then follow the lead of the top results. And always put a link to your website!

Adding video to your website and on video channels helps spread your message, market yourself and your practice, and provides information to patients in the way you feel is best. Supplementing your website text with video also provides more retention of information and engagement. Video is key to ensuring your patients understand their conditions and outcomes, and is a very effective marketing tool as well.

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