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If You Film It, Will They Watch?

188069384If you’ve been following our blog and social media channels this week, you’ve likely noticed we’re producing videos from the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) Exit Disclaimer. Starting on Sunday morning with a message from Dr. Fauci, and continuing throughout the week with highlights from Dr. Ron Valdiserri, Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, Ambassador Deborah Birx, and other senior officials, we are working with to bring some of the conference to you.We know online videos are increasing in popularity. In fact, a recent Pew report found that 78% of online adults watch or download videos Exit Disclaimer [PDF 612KB]. By producing videos and allowing people like Dr. Fauci, Dr. Dieffenbach, and others to share their observations in their own words, we hope to bring the conference a little bit closer to home.

But the main question is after all the planning, filming, editing, reviewing, transcribing, and captioning – are people watching? How can we market our videos so that more people see them? Here are some tips and lessons we’ve learned (and are still learning) about how to encourage people to watch and share your videos.

Tip # 1: Plan for it. When we’re filming on location, like at AIDS 2014, we start by defining our audiences, then identify speakers, topics, and a schedule. That said, things may change and having a plan can also allow you to be flexible. For example, after the Malaysia Flight 17 tragedy, we readjusted our schedule to start with a video from Dr. Fauci about the loss to the HIV community. Because we had a plan and structure in place this helped us adapt.

Tip # 2: Keep it short and sweet. What’s the best length for an online video? While it depends on your purpose, if you can communicate your message in less time, then it’s probably best to do so. For AIDS.gov, we prefer our videos be under two minutes, though a recent video with Dr. Fauci about the Mississippi Baby rang in at a little over 6 minutes. We decided to keep it at that length because of the amount of attention the topic was getting. You can also break up content with b-roll (footage or images you can cut away to during the video).

Tip # 3: Promote everywhere. According to Facebook, videos (and photos) have higher engagement than text updates. Some studies have found Exit Disclaimer that videos on Facebook are shared 12x more often than text and photos combined. So share on Facebook. And Twitter. And your blog. Your website. Instagram. Email. Anywhere else you (and more importantly your audiences) are online

Tip # 4: Make it an easy watch. Similar to “promote everywhere”, make it easy for people to watch your videos. That might mean embedding them in a blog post, like we do on this blog. It also may mean linking directly to the video from Twitter and Facebook to save people a step. We started doing that with our videos from AIDS 2014 and saw an increase in views.

There are many other things we’ve learned. Like being relevant and authentic is key with all new media.

Are you creating videos? Promoting others? What works for you?

For more coverage from the conference visit: AIDS 2014.

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