5 Tips for Creating Memorable YouTube Content

In the video, Multimedia for Health, with Anthony Veneziale – Anthony gives several great tips for making videos that can help promote public health issues. These tips can help make your next video successful, I’ve included examples of each:

1. What are your goals? Have a clear message and carry it through the video. It’s important to make sure that by the end of the video, the audience takes away the message that you’re trying to convey. This can be especially difficult when trying to explain complex public health issues. Here’s one of my favorite examples of effective communication through YouTube – Hans Rosling, through great graphics and easy to understand explanations, describes global population growth over the past 200 years. This video, and the TEDTalk that followed, brilliantly convey tough statistics for the general public.

2. Make it Visually Interesting – There are a lot of PSAs reminding people to wear seatbelts. One in particular stands out for me because it’s visually stunning. This video is one of the best PSAs I’ve ever seen, and I’m not alone – it has over 19 million views and is incredibly powerful. If you only watch one video on this page, make it this one.

3. Make it Surprising – Who would have thought a Stanford trained internist named ZDoggMD, aka Dr. Zubin Damania, would have millions of views on his YouTube channel because he raps about public health issues like safe sex, hospital readmissions, and the importance of getting vaccinated? His original take on health messages re-imagines popular songs in the vein of ‘Weird Al’ in a fresh, and surprising way.

4. Keep it under three minutes – Have you ever seen the internet shorthand, tl;dr? It means, too long; didn’t read, and commonly pops up on blogs that are a little wordy. The same applies for videos, people have short attention spans, so it’s good to be concise with your videos. The video below was released by the CDC on the one year anniversary of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and discusses all the different ways the CDC is ‘getting to zero’.

5. Experiment and make mistakes – Your videos won’t always go viral the way you want them to, and that’s okay. YouTube is full of videos that have few views – don’t be discouraged, just keep re-imagining and re-posting.

In my opinion, the most memorable YouTube videos have a unique personal touch that allows viewers to connect with the subject matter. What makes a YouTube video memorable for you?

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5 thoughts on “5 Tips for Creating Memorable YouTube Content

  1. Rachel, these are some great examples. I absolutely loved the video showing the population stats. It’s such an engaging and interesting way to share information. Usually stats are shared by sheer numbers, and that can get boring and also overwhelming to keep track of.

    For me personally, I enjoy videos that are simple. The seat belt and ebola videos are perfect examples — they’re short, have soothing music, and display their message very clearly through text. I got caught up in a youtube vortex a while back, and came across some domestic violence awareness videos. This one I found very powerful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL3rfk2iFww

    • I agree, the videos that are short and to the point are the most powerful. That domestic violence video is haunting and really sticks with you – which is exactly the point for these PSAs. There was a longer version of the PSA that played during the last Super Bowl, that was also powerful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z_zWIVRIWk

  2. Rachel, great synthesis of YouTube examples and best practices. I think you made the right call by not including of something that ‘flopped.’

    I confess that I actually hate most videos because I don’t like that I can’t multi-task during them (terrible, I know). Maybe one mention of how YouTube videos don’t work for some messages or some populations?

  3. Great job providing exemplars for the tips provided in the class materials. The seat belt PSA was great. I think writing ” If you only watch one video on this page, make it this one” is a really good idea–it lets your reader decide how much time to dedicate to the post wisely, and certainly gets someone who may be inclined not too watch any of them to at least watch one. Good call.

    is pretty tangential but this video also does an excellent job of presenting statistics in a super clear, comprehensible way as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM.

    I think Kristina’s question is interesting–how to get the audience you want to see the video (especially if it doesn’t go viral). I never really explore Youtube on its own–I usually just watch videos that other people post on facebook or on blogs. I wonder how the average person gets exposed to Youtube videos. Outside the realm of this post, but just curious.

  4. WOW! Great videos with strong messages. I think each video had a personal touch to it. I agree with Maia’s comment above, the fact that you wrote “if you only watch one video on this page, make it this one” I went to that video first and then was curious to watch the rest 🙂
    I am also not a big fan of youtube videos and I know there are a lot of good videos out there, so how would you engage people to watch these videos, how do people “market” their videos if they don’t go viral?
    Thanks for a great post!

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