Online videos: a prescription for success

Physicians posting video to their web sites stand to gain more than they might think at first. Videos are a chance to connect with patients, especially younger ones. However, they can work behind the scenes to do more to expand a practice’s online presence and expand the actual practice itself.

Doctors often are stuck about what videos they could post. While that’s a whole other topic, I’ll pause here briefly with an idea. First, just an introduction is a good idea, so a prospective patient can see a smile and feel a bit more at ease. After that, any talk that’s given over and over or any topic covered by pamphlets found in the waiting room. All those can act as starting points.

Now, we’re moving along to where the clinic has produced a good quality video with great content. Where to put it? Some would argue to host it exclusively on the website, absorbing any expenses involved with streaming and storage. This maintains control over who can download it, embed it or even see it. We’re going to do something else.

We’re going to put it on YouTube, which also is the second largest search engine on the planet. The biggest mistake a practice can make in setting up its YouTube channel is being bashful. Take every opportunity to describe the practice, who makes it up, what specialty (if any), treatments, insurance, history. In other words, fill all the allotted space with key words describing all aspects possible of the practice.

“The more words you include in your description, the higher your chances of being discovered by searchers,” Google says in its official blog. “Which means the larger your audience can grow, and the more potential revenue you can earn.”

Once the channel is set up, it is time to upload the video. This will take some time and whoever is in charge of uploading should take this opportunity to spend that time taking steps to make sure that video is seen.

Well, actually, the first step might be to make certain it is not seen. If this is a video that needs final approval, or if the description being posted with it needs approval or both, set it to “unlisted.” That way, only people who have the link can view the video. The link can be sent to all who need to give the nod. There is a “private” setting, but it is a pain. A full explanation is here. When set to “public,” anyone can see the video and it is out there for search engines to find.

There are spaces for title, description, tags and more. In filling these out, particular care should be taken to answering one question: What will the target audience be asking search engines? The answer to that question should be in the title, description and tags.

Get the practice’s name and website url in the first sentence of the description. Fill the description with key words that refer to the video, be they names of medicines suggested, diseases covered, symptoms addressed or all of those. If there’s a transcript, put it here, giving search engines more words to find. Finish off the description with contact information, including the website url again.

If you have trouble coming up with key words, there’s an app for that. Well, there sort of is. YouTube wants to help and it has a Keyword Tool to help. A smart poster picks only the words that apply to the video, loads them into the “Tags,” tries to use them in the “Description,” but avoids going overboard and appearing spammy.

By the way, all of this can be changed as the situation warrants. You can re-edit tag words, descriptions and the like at any time.

Once the video is published, take advantage of YouTube’s automatic caption service. You’ll have to make changes, but it is worth it to add the additional search engine potential.

Do not forget social media. The number of embeds affects the search ranking, also the website has additional links and more visibility for search engines.  Plus, shares and retweets put more eyes on the video.  Videos increase search engine rankings and the practice’s visibility.

As videos work to improve web presence they also play a vital role in building the practice’s image and expanding its base.  These three areas in particular are ripe for video:

  • Marketing – This would include your welcoming video and possibly a tour of your facilities with an overall view of the practice. As I said earlier, this can serve as a great “ice breaker.”
  • Information for patients – This can be anything from instructions for a commonly prescribed regimen to explaining procedures in advance. These videos are something patients can share with family and friends to help them understand a medical condition or treatments they face.
  • Expert – As these videos make their way around the internet, they often are viewed by persons outside the practice seeking the information you are offering that perhaps they can’t get or understand from their own physician. A well-spoken doctor who can speak plain English is a treat for news reporters trying to explain medical issues that usually are beyond them.

The bottom line is quality videos correctly placed can do wonders for a practice. Whether the clinic does it or you turn to someone such as esd & associates, videos are well worth your time and money in increased exposure and improved SEO.

Written by Lee Dunkelberg

Lee Dunkelberg has 40 years experience in journalism, public relations and entertainment. His documentaries and reporting have won several awards. His public relations experience began as a congressional press aide, but he has since recovered.

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