How to “Bust a Move” on YouTube

I love YouTube. I usually explore this site for music videos (I like to be the office DJ and throw on an old 90s hip hop jam to lighten the mood and mainly just to see my stressed out officemate smile).


I am also a big Jimmy Fallon fan and watch taped episodes of the Tonight Show on YouTube.

During the past week I spent some time exploring YouTube for public health. I got bored really quick scrolling through the academic videos. Mostly lectures and policy hearings, and student recruitment. This search really had me wonder what does “Public Health” even mean. I searched “Behavioral Health” and again all boring academic and policy focused videos mostly aimed at professionals. What about users? What about people who want to engage with programs and services? I typed in “Mental Health” again, mostly professional and academic focused videos, however the suggested videos feed lead me to some really awesome videos that had me thinking we need a much better framework for engaging potential clients, their families, and other stakeholders in social media that uses video for messaging. I found this to be unique to YouTube and this was very different than my twitter experience. See last week’s post on that.

Agencies that provide funding, education, and services are featured using these standard or “academic” terms. We need a way to draw consumers/clients/patients into these discussions on a larger stage and connect them to researchers and advocates using video. I changed tactics and started searching more common mental health terms. When I searched “Depression” and “Bullying” I found much more engaging videos that were really aimed at consumers and people who nonprofit service agencies would like to reach out to.

SO how do nonprofits “Bust a Move” on YouTube? Here are a couple features that really stood out to me in engaging videos around Public Health and specifically Mental Health.

1. Use Video Infographics. Instead of using pie charts and line graphs, infographics are much more visually engaging easier to understand and draw in an audience and engage viewers. Who doesn’t love infographics? Video Infographics tell a story using data, and walk through each image. There are free websites like Canva that provide templates to help create infographics. Just make sure you get your facts right and use spell check. The video below is a great example of a video infographic, unfortunately the author used MI instead of MS for Mississippi and got blasted in the comments for it. This mistake takes away from this awesome Video Infographic.

2. Use Whiteboard animation. Remember watching Dr. Mike Evans’ video on low back pain? This style of video is actually produced using psychological research on keeping viewers engaged, and they are AWESOME! This tool is wonderful for education and advocacy messages. The software used to make these is really affordable and worth the investment. Check out this video on how to use VideoScribe to create your own Whiteboard video.

3. Personal stories from real people go a long way. Check out the It Gets Better Project to see how one line in a song about hope grew into an international nonprofit with a mission aimed at reducing suicide in teens that have been bullied because they are gay. You are probably familiar with the videos from celebrities, politicians, athletes, musicians, police officers, universities and company employee groups from Apple, SAP, NASA, and Mattel  These videos are so inspiring. The one below is an amazing example of how to use powerful images of advocates like a teenager making a statement to congress, Ellen Degeneres talking about this on her daytime show, and even Kermit the Frog makes an appearance. This is brilliant and beautiful in my opinion.



3 thoughts on “How to “Bust a Move” on YouTube

  1. That Emma Stone lip sync battle clip never gets old.
    And it’s funny you mention how quickly you lose attention when scrolling through “public health” videos on YouTube. I also agree that they just don’t catch my eye and could use extra pizzazz like video info graphics and other ways to make it more relatable.

  2. Thanks you guys! I had fun with this post! That Ellen clip is super inspiring and gets me teary-eyed every time I watch it. I was just looking at the APHA annual meeting agenda and there is a section on Social media for public health. Hopefully they will have some ideas to make Public Health videos on YouTube more interesting!

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