At Hearing First, our mission is to help families ensure their child who is deaf or hard of hearing has opportunities to reach their full potential through listening and spoken language (LSL). Expanding on the community and resources provided on HearingFirst.org, a new YouTube series was launched with the specific goal of reaching more families with information to support them along the journey.
The weekly series allows parents to learn:
About Their Baby’s Hearing: Sharing that it’s important to know the status of a baby’s hearing because hearing is important for brain development and it all starts with a newborn hearing screening. If a baby does not pass their hearing screening, it is extremely important to follow-up and act quickly!
What’s Possible with Listening and Spoken Language: Children who are deaf or hard of hearing can learn to listen, talk, read and thrive with Listening and Spoken Language.
Families with a child Newly Diagnosed with Hearing Loss: Helping parents whose child has been identified with hearing loss process new information and feelings.
Hearing Technology: Parents can make the most of technology to help their child’s brain benefit from all the sounds and conversations around them.
Transitions and New Experiences: Focuses on making transitions smooth by planning ahead and staying aware of a child’s listening needs.
Talk, Read, Sing & Play to Grow A Baby’s Brain: Teaching parents the best way to grow a child’s brain and get them ready for school, friends, and life!
Hearing First supports families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing when they need information, resources, a connection with another family, or advice on what to do next on their hearing journey. As we were planning for 2023 activities to reach and engage families, we saw the trends pointing to the need for more video content to answer common questions as they navigate the next steps upon a failed newborn hearing screening or hearing loss diagnosis.
To bring the video series to life we determined topics using the “They Ask, You Answer” strategy and worked closely with subject matter experts (SMEs) to understand the most common questions parents have when their child fails the newborn hearing screening or is identified with hearing loss. Final topics were reviewed against YouTube and Google search behavior so we could provide the most helpful and educational content for families in a friendly and informative way.
Our goal with the weekly videos is to create accurate, relevant and research-based content to meet the needs of families. However, too many videos in the space are clinical and cold. We want to ensure that the videos come across as approachable, friendly, and warm - like parents are having a conversation with a trusted friend vs. hearing from a practitioner using professional jargon. We decided to feature our CEO, Dr. Teresa Caraway as the expert in the videos due to her ability to translate complicated topics into language that is easy to understand for parents due to her years of parent coaching experience. In addition, we utilized our in-house subject matter experts to create clear yet engaging scripts for families.
With a fully remote team, coming together in person is critical. Once per quarter, we film 10-17 videos at each session to ensure we had a quarter's worth of content. Filming in batches has allowed us to work ahead for efficiency, while also being nimble enough to respond to audience feedback and industry trends. We are also able to add footage from previous video projects of professionals explaining topics, parents offering advice, as well as kids sharing their LSL experience in their own words, which has had a large impact on our overall views, subscribers, and average video watch time.
Every Tuesday we release a new video, sending out teasers with the video link to our social media channels and newsletter lists. On Thursdays, we follow up by posting clips no longer than 60 seconds on YouTube Shorts, or short form verticals. Utilizing the power of YouTube and Google search we track monthly search keywords to implement into future video titles and descriptions. Each video has a call to action that points viewers to a particular resource referenced during the film that might be beneficial to their needs. While the videos are family-focused they are also shared with our professional community network with tips and suggestions on sharing the videos with families enrolled in LSL intervention and pediatric audiology services.
The initial goal of the weekly YouTube series was to increase subscribers to our YouTube channel, video views, and click-through rates to the Hearing First website.
The views for our videos exceed our typical video view benchmarks for educational content. Prior to launching our new series, videos on our YouTube channel had an average of 265 views per video. After just 6 months (January 31-July 31, 2023), our new videos have an average of 688 views per video, an increase of 160 percent. Within the first 25 videos released, 9 videos have over one thousand views, and one video has 4.1k views! Web traffic from YouTube to HearingFirst.org has also increased from 18 visits in 2022 to 627 visits so far in 2023.
Here are a few examples of the comments we’ve received on the videos:
“These are great tips and 100% accurate with advice for helping a child with a hearing impairment. Keep up these awesome videos, you’re making a difference.”
“I was looking for such a video/article on the Internet and thanks a million for putting this up. Can't tell you how your video gives me direction and strength.”
“OMG! I needed this. Thank you so much. My son is 3 now and failed the newborn hearing test. Diagnosed with profound hearing loss in the right ear and moderate to severe hearing loss in the left ear at 2 months and received hearing aids at 6 months and cochlear at 11 months. Thank you so much for this.”