Using video to tell your story: Four points to remember

A lot has been said about using video in today’s media-obsessed culture.

Tech giants like Facebook and YouTube have hailed video as the next big wave in marketing. Netflix has grown our appetite for instant binge-worthy entertainment and, when it comes to video consumption, our options have grown dramatically over the last decade. As a result, our attention spans have shrunk considerably.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities looking to use video need to know how to create rich content in the same way that Silicon Valley and Hollywood does: with great storytelling. Visual storytelling is a universal language that works on a number of levels. Although the packaging and execution may be on a different scale than a Hollywood movie, the principles remain the same. When used effectively, storytelling is one of the best ways to engage with your audience and increase awareness of your hospital and its brand.

Here are four key points to remember when using video to tell a patient’s story:
1. Connect the patient with the viewer. Filmmaker Andrew Stanton mentioned children’s television host Mr. Rogers during his 2012 TED talk on storytelling, saying, “[Mr. Rogers] always carried in his wallet a note from a social worker that said, ‘Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you heard their story.’” This statement still rings true, especially in healthcare. Healthcare professionals connect with patients every day, and every patient has a unique story to tell.

2. Listen to the patient. Through their eyes and words, we can connect with the viewer on a deep emotional level. We can paint a compelling picture of the patient’s journey, and give the viewer a reason to be intrigued by the patient - and the hospital. In terms of storytelling, this is the most important piece, giving the audience a reason to care.

3. Highlight the patient’s biggest challenge and show how they benefited from your program and your team. In my five years as the Director of Media at Wound Care Advantage, I’ve heard a lot of patient stories. Each one has its own special mix of drama and suspense and, most of the time, they have very happy endings. Interviewing patients who were on the brink of limb amputation and hearing how specialized wound care saved their limb - and ultimately their life - never gets old. We want potential patients to feel they’re in good hands with the hospital’s outpatient wound care program. To this day, when “patient story” videos are played at our office, there are tears in the eyes of our employees. A lot of this is because I work with people who care very deeply about what they do, but it’s also a testament to power of storytelling.

4. Convey a sense of your hospital’s culture to the viewer. We tell these stories because it’s an important aspect of our company culture to know that each employee’s work impacts the lives of many patients, every day. Our media department collaborates with WCA’s partners to create unique videos that can be used as marketing tools that truly showcase what it's like to be a wound care patient at their facility.

When a hospital asks me how they can approach a storytelling project on video, I tell them to ask their patients a few questions, and then just listen. It ultimately goes back to that note in Mr. Rogers’ wallet: “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you heard their story.” There are probably several stories to tell in your clinic right now. That might be your best opportunity to connect with future patients. So give them a reason to care by telling a good story.

Here are a few examples of how we use storytelling at Wound Care Advantage to showcase the care and services provided by our partner facilities.

Chris Schellenbach is Director of Media at Wound Care Advantage.

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