An Audience Survey and Savvy Host Give EB Medicine a Winning Video Series

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Editor's note: This is the second of an ongoing series profiling the 2018 SIPAward winners. Check out the first one.

"Results from a 2017 subscriber survey prompted us to fast-track the launch: one in 10 practicing emergency clinicians who responded said they liked watching videos to learn about the latest treatments/therapies/protocols for the presentations and conditions in the ER. When we asked the same question of emergency medicine residents (our near-future and potentially career-long subscribers), 22% cited video as their preference, a higher percentage than for any other medium."

That's from Suzanne Verity on behalf of the EB Medicine team, introducing their 2018 first-place, SIPAward-winning entry—titled High-Risk Emergencies: Greatest Hits & Misses—in the category of Best Video Product. And it is music to the marketing ears of anyone who knows the value of getting feedback from your audience.

About six weeks in, they had already sold just under 100 copies at $169 each, more than halfway to their six-month revenue projections. Here are some other lessons from their success:

Craft exceptional marketing copy. One headline reads:

Every good catch is a near miss.
Either way, however you see it, don't you want
as many catches as you can get?

And continues... "There's no better feeling than making a good catch – the right tough call – on a complicated case during a busy shift... Now you have a resource designed to narrow your margin for error in favor of good catches."

Offer a money-back guarantee. In this case, it's a "Love-It-Or-It's-Free" guarantee. I wrote last week about the Winnipeg Free Press's successful pay-per-article program at 27 cents an article. Even they offer refunds. Money-back guarantees comfort us.

Offer a special value. "(Buy 5 get 1) trauma module FREE! That's 6 high-risk emergencies – 27 CME credits – for just $169! It also comes with CME test questions and answers to teach you right from wrong."

Develop a relationship with a savvy video person in the field. The host is John Bedolla (pictured right), a practicing emergency physician by day (or night, or whenever he's on call) and writer/videographer/producer (when he's not). EB Medicine first partnered with him in 2011 on videos that were accredited for continuing medical education. He's now co-director of a "Medicine and Cinema" course at the University of Texas Dell Medical School and chairman of the American College of Emergency Physicians' Medical-Legal Committee. When the survey came back about the EB Medicine audience wanting more videos, the key relationship was already there. Here's a sample.

Use an engaging video format. "Each segment of 'High-Risk Emergencies' opens in the style of '60 Minutes'... Bedolla books guest experts recognized as big-name stars in emergency medicine. His get-to-the-point scripts and cut-to-the-chase edits yield a concise, highly relevant Q&A session packed with practical takeaways." He even has a signature signoff: "We hope this episode helps you to approach (fill in the blank) fearlessly, but with the appropriate respect."

Come up with a good title. That was a big takeaway from Matthew Cibellis's session on webinars at SIPA Annual 2018. The title "Greatest Hits and Misses" lends itself to a lot of effective marketing. Think marketing, sales and copywriting when you come up with a title—and have all departments represented in the room.

Know your audience. "While it may not be clear to those of us outside the circle of emergency clinicians, each 'High-Risk Emergencies' video is a plain-language, peer-to-peer conversation in the vernacular and shorthand of the target audience. Every script and scene focuses on practical approaches... Clinician-viewers receive clear instruction, news they can use."

Take a multimedia approach. There's even some animation. "...how many SIPA members can boast of having an editor-in-chief in cartoon form? ...see the resemblance between Dr. Bedolla the man and Dr. B the avatar (as well as his Cro-magnon ancestor who makes the occasional cameo appearance, as in this episode)."

Enlist an expert or two behind the camera. Cameraman and sound engineer Mike Dow shoots with the 4K Sony PXW-F55 XDCAM outfitted with a Canon CNE-E 24mm t1.5 LF Cinema Prime Lens, which yields the highest-quality footage. He uses the online tool GoAnimate 1080 and Adobe's After Effects app for animation; Avid for video editing; a Rupert Neve Processor and ProTools with Izotope plugins for noise reduction and, in his words, to "sweeten the audio"; and DaVinci Resolve for finishing/color correction in his final pass.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…