Viral video, internal communication-style
We’re all familiar with the viral-video phenomenon. Since YouTube hit the scene in 2005, video of everything from a little boy groggy after a trip to the dentist, to a wedding party that danced down the aisle, to a charming older couple playing a piano duet at Mayo Clinic suddenly has a potential audience of millions. Capture it on video, post to YouTube, and if it has all the right stuff, it may go “viral,” with millions of people passing it along to their friends and families.
The YouTube phenomenon has changed the way we think of and use video. People want to watch video that inspires them and makes them smile. And today’s videos are easier to produce and share, making them a big part of the social media movement.
At Mayo Clinic, we use traditional video in employee communications. But a few years ago, we started also producing “roving reporter” videos that became very popular with our staff. The person who hosts the video is a member our employee communication team — a writer and editor, without any real video experience. He’d be the first to tell you he is not a video person. But that’s part of what makes the videos successful — there’s no slick video spokesperson or “talent,” just a guy with a microphone going around asking people questions.
The videos are slightly scripted — with the occasional attempt at humor — but rely mainly on the reporter’s interaction with employees to make them memorable. And it works. Employees are more willing to participate, and the message is delivered in a unique way. The occasional included blooper makes them even better.
We’ve used the “roving reporter” videos to announce and explain initiatives, to show off new facilities, and to create buzz about topics. One of the first videos we did about the opening of our new healthy living center got more than 25,000 views internally. Someone posted it to YouTube, where it got another 6,000 views. We also used the roving reporter with great success to promote an immunization clinic that was part of a disaster preparedness exercise, promote our United Way campaign, and introduce our new hospital in Florida.
The videos are mainly produced in-house to keep the cost to a minimum. In one more spontaneous case, we even used a Flip cam for the filming.
Below is a highlight reel of sorts from the “roving reporter” videos:
How have you used video for employee communications? Please share your stories and examples in the comments.
Linda Donlin is the manager of enterprise employee communications at Mayo Clinic.