Our culture is undergoing a crisis of trust. Amid misinformation and manipulative messaging, expertise has never been needed more – especially in health and wellness. This was the reason behind the launch of The Well, a brand publication that delivers trusted expertise with empathy at moments of truth in people’s lives. We deliver expert guidance through original editorial franchises ranging from documentary video series, advice columns and 1st-person essays
We studied our audience and found they were frustrated with the health information they were finding. Publishers were trying to monetize their anxiety, and other health systems were trying to sanitize it through overly clinical (and cold) information, delivered impassionately. Our aim was to provide light in those moments of darkness. Because health is a product everyone needs, we spent time understanding who was influencing health decisions in the household. We dubbed this segment Chief Medical Officers of the Home.
Since launch, we’ve rapidly expanded to new channels and formats to ensure we’re present where our audience is spending time—at the gateways of digital content discovery. Most notably, we’ve spent the past year doubling down on our YouTube strategy, specifically focused on short-form videos to align with broad trends related to on-platform video. With this plan, we set out to increase:
Overall audience engagement: We’d build relationships with the community we serve
New audience engagement: We’d introduce Northwell to viewers unfamiliar with the health system who are seeking health information on YouTube
A challenge for any brand is to understand its audience well enough to earn organic attention, relevance and trust. To overcome this hurdle - and constantly stay on top of changing audience needs, we developed a data-informed process to develop and launch creative video concepts.
We study our audience on an ongoing basis to identify specific opportunities for content that serves our audience. We triangulate inputs from YouTube search, first-party data sources and internal intelligence to determine the best topics aligned with brand and audience priorities.
Once topics are identified, we create expert-driven content through signature editorial formats that are designed for specific channels, and to meet a specific audience pain point or need. These repeatable franchises highlight credible expertise, create production efficiencies and set audience expectations. Here are a few examples:
Hack Your Health. A hot sauce gargle for your sore throat? Pickle juice for muscle cramps? “Hack Your Health” video series provides unexpected medical tips from Northwell experts that viewers can try at home for common ailments. We all experience the occasional sore throat or water-clogged ear, but we don’t run to the doctor for such things unless they persist. Now, viewers get direct access to medical tips on things they can do to alleviate their irritating symptoms that go beyond what’s expected. Filled with surprising and useful fun facts about DIY remedies, “Hack Your Health” provides viewers with guidance to stay well, all in a bite-size and engaging format.
The Skin Spot. Are you one of the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from acne each year? Or maybe someone who is utterly befuddled by the endless options when it comes to skincare? (Us too). “The Skin Spot” video series provides guidance to viewers' most common questions about the body’s largest organ. Led by board-certified dermatologists, these videos break down complex skin care challenges into practical advice and actional steps for viewers to take.
From there, we launch content in-market with a hyper-targeted, per-piece distribution plan, focusing on owned channels to earn attention with our audience. We publish videos on YouTube and to The Well website, and promote in social media and newsletter products.
We monitor feedback and performance to optimize videos and inform future content planning. This includes ongoing evaluation of conversion from YouTube SERPs, resulting in copy and packaging tweaks to improve those rates over time.
The Well’s video efforts on YouTube are setting it up for ongoing success with audience reach and engagement with new and existing audiences:
Strong audience engagement: Well videos garnered 465,000 views last year, despite an environment where Northwell’s channel as a whole decreased in video views year-over-year
Search resonance: Videos that were planned around known search interest got strong traction. One such video, “Hack Your Health: Sore Throat Remedies” received more than 80% of its views from YouTube search, with keywords such as “sore throat remedies,” “throat pain relief,” and “how to get rid of sore throat.”
Highly engaging: Videos in the Hack Your Health series garnered 180% higher average view percentage as compared to other videos published last year, while The Skin Spot had 42% higher average view percentage.
New audiences: 95% of viewers to the Hack Your Health and Skin Spot series were not yet subscribed to the Northwell channel, increasing The Well’s exposure to new audiences.
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