Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, love video. So do human beings. In fact, an average of 4 billion videos are watched daily on YouTube. To take advantage of this, you should be doing videos for your dental practice, putting them on your website and posting them all around the Internet.
There are two stages to video: amateur level and professional quality. From an SEO standpoint the quality of the video doesn’t matter, because the search engines are not actually watching the videos, they are simply identifying what the video content is and adding that to the factors they use to determine if you are a relevant result in a search. The professional level is used when you’re ready to get serious about promotion.
So how do you do the amateur level? Start simply. Don’t have a video camera? Then buy one, or use a smartphone. The iPhones, 4 and after, and Galaxy Note 2, have astounding HD image capture. Then follow these steps:
1. Make it short and sweet
35% of viewers stop watching a video after 30 seconds. I suggest that most of your videos run under one minute long. And I do mean “sweet” also. Be nice, be appealing, have a big old smile on your face. Let your personal warmth come through.
2. Use good lighting
You’re not making a horror movie. Bad lighting looks menacing. Also, video tends to come out darker than photos in the same light. Make sure you have sufficient light on your face or your subject so that it doesn’t look at all dark. This is easier to do than you would think. You can get a Softbox lighting kit for only $159 on Amazon, and suddenly all the colors come through.
3. Sound matters
The worst part of many videos that are home-made is the sound quality. If it sounds echo-y or hollow, or there is a lot of background noise, it really comes off as worse than amateur. I highly recommend getting something like this iPhone boom microphone. It’s forty bucks, and worth every penny.
4. Choose an interesting background
Don’t just go with a flat wall. Use something with some depth, or some decoration on it, like the reception area in your office.
5. Do multiple takes
You will get better at this the more you do it. Stop and look at the results and improve them. Try shooting a medium shot (from the waist up) and then a close up.
6. Edit the video and add music
Don’t just slap what you shot up on YouTube. Take a few minutes to edit it. Start at exactly the right spot, with a little fade up. Dissolve from a medium shot to a close up and back. And, most important, make sure you put a slide at the end with your website, address, and phone number. (Not necessary obviously for the version you put on your website.) If you have a logo, start and end with it. Macs and PCs all have a basic video editing system. Get a teenager to help you. There is also a load of royalty free music you can add (don’t use copyrighted material).
7. Post it and Tag it
Once it’s finished, you want to post your video. Start by posting it on YouTube. From there, you can copy the link and put it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and also on your Google Places and Yelp business page. (You should have those last two done already, by the way. If you haven’t, start here for Yelp and here for Google.) Put the video on your website. Hopefully you can add video, either using your webmaster or directly. Otherwise, it’s time for a new website.
So what’s tagging? When you upload your video to YouTube, it will ask for a title, description and “tags”. Tags are essentially a one or two-word label of what is in the video, like a title. This is the only way Google and other search engines can determine what the content is. (They’re not watching it, remember?) So you want to tag it with “dentistry”, your practice name, and whatever procedure, treatment or technology you might be talking about. You can put as many tags as you want. And whenever you post the video anywhere, always make sure you supply as much information as they will allow about the content.
When you’re ready for great results, it’s time to hire someone else to do it. This is a truly awesome video my friend Craig Spodak did for his practice. It’s professionally done, over four minutes long, and he clearly spent some money, and it shows in the production value. You can tell it’s not his first one. It also gives him material to do shorter versions.
“What should I shoot?”
Anything you can think of. Here’s a list to get you started.
- Practice introduction (by the dentist)
- Patient testimonials
- Office tour
- Holiday decorations
- Treatment descriptions like Invisalign, Six Month Smiles, and IV sedation
- Technology: Why CEREC is great, or explain the benefits of digital radiography
“What would I say in my practice intro?”
Something like this: “Hi, I’m Dr. Phil Jackson, and I wanted to invite you to come to my practice and see what really great dentistry can be like. I went into dentistry because I love science and medicine, but I also love helping people. You may be apprehensive about dentistry, and we understand that here in our practice, so we use the best and latest technology to offer you the most comfort conscious, longest lasting dentistry possible. Come in and see us for a free consultation. We think you’ll love it here.”
A few key points:
- Get signed releases from everyone you shoot, including your team members;
- Watch other videos to see what you like, and how it’s done;
- Don’t obsess about quality yet–get started!
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