Teletherapy, which many of us had initially considered as a temporary measure during the pandemic lockdown, is probably here to stay. As more people utilize teletherapy, and as more insurers continue to pay for for the service, it will become part of mainstream health care.
If you intend to continue teletherapy for the long term (or even if you don't), start using more video in promoting your practice. People who see your videos will thus experience how you come across and what it might be like to work with you.
1. CONTENT FOR YOUR VIDEOS
When someone lands on your website, a video greeting can grab their attention, especially if they are considering working with you. Keep your video under one minute. The main purpose of your video greeting is not to list your qualifications and skills, but to create a connection between you and the viewer.
As you look into the camera, imagine that you are talking to just one person - the person who is viewing your video. Speak in your normal conversational voice, and allow your facial muscles to relax - just you would do in person.
Briefly describe your work in a way that emphasizes benefits for the person. Thus, instead of saying, "I treat anxiety and depression," you might say something like, "I help people figure out why they are unhappy and what to do about it."
End your video by telling the viewer what to do next. Example: "If you have any questions, or if you'd like to set up a brief video session to see how it might work for you, please contact me via the contact link on this page."
"About me" video
Your "About me" page lists your credentials, your training, and other information, such as publications, presentations, media quotes and the like.
In addition, you can create a video to highlight details that might amplify your connection with your web visitors.
For example, suppose that prior to getting into the mental health field, you worked as a teacher. If you are currently interested in helping children who are experiencing problems in school, it's a good idea to mention your teaching background, because it communicates to parents that you have relevant experience beyond your mental health training.
Or, if you treat PTSD and you also have a military background, you can briefly describe how your military experience shaped your interest in helping people with PTSD.
Aim for a video of 60 to 90 seconds. You can say a lot within that time, which is the equivalent of four or five TV commercials combined.
Create a brief video (about 2 minutes) on a topic that is of interest to the types of people you most enjoy working with. For example, you might give a few tips for couples on how to settle a disagreement productively. Or, you might give tips to parents on managing picky eaters at the dinner table.
It's similar to general advice that you'd provide in a blog post or in a presentation to a local community group, but in video format.
2. RECORD YOUR VIDEO
You don't need any special equipment. The camera on your cellphone or computer is more than adequate. If using your cellphone, secure it in place, preferably with a flexible gorilla tripod that allows you to adjust the camera angle.
Pay attention to lighting and sound. An inexpensive ring-light attachment to your phone can fill in shadows. If your recording sounds tinny or has an echo, try using wireless earphones with speaker capability, which puts the microphone closer to your mouth.
Make sure your background is free of clutter. Wear clothing that is simple and non-distracting. Check for creases and stains, and iron or change clothes as needed. Avoid dangling earrings and other jewelry that might cause microphone noise as you turn your head or move your hands.
Rehearse and repeat
Prepare a script, or at least an outline, and rehearse it out loud until it rolls off your tongue.
Do a test recording. Check lighting and sound. Notice if the camera angle is distorting or unflattering, and make adjustments. If your voice sounds too loud or too soft, change the volume. Re-test as needed.
Once you get the visuals and sound under control, focus on your message. Note where your voice hesitates or where you stumble on your words. Then re-record. If you continue to stumble at the same point, consider changing the wording to something that is easier for you to say, and re-record your message.
Alternatively, you can stop after an error and repeat the sentence you stumbled over, and then later splice out the part with the error. Youtube has this capability, or you can use other video editing tools.
3. UPLOAD AND SHARE YOUR VIDEO
Upload to Youtube
To upload your video, all you need is a Google account. Step by step instructions for various platforms are here. You can also find tutorials online.
Youtube has editing tools to enhance your video, including adding music.
Stream the video through your website
To have the video play on your website, you will need access to the editing window of the page where you want the video to appear.
Copy the "embed code" (from the Share icon on your Youtube video) and paste it into the editing window on your web page, or send it to your web designer who can paste it for you. Then your video will be playable at your website.
Google keeps track of the number of views, which you can check at your Youtube dashboard.
Share your videos on social media
Sharing your educational videos on social media gives you potential for wide distribution. Facebook and Twitter make it easy. Simply paste the Youtube link, and the video will play within your social media space.
Another option is to paste a link to the page of your practice website where the video is streamed. That means the video will not play on your Facebook or Twitter page, and people will need to click over to your website in order to view it. Some may not bother to do so. However, those who do click the link will have a convenient opportunity to explore your website and learn more about you.