10 Tips for Creating Engaging Videos

When working on a video project, you need to be in storyteller mode. Importantly, you’re not just imparting information; you’re crafting a story that you hope will connect with specific audiences on some significant level. The challenge is that there are many variables that can prevent that connection from happening: bad lighting, a nervous interview subject, poor audio, or content that doesn’t give the viewer a reason to care, to name a few.

In this post, I’m sharing 10 video production and interview tips that have helped me create more engaging videos and be a more effective storyteller.

1. The Interviewer – Select an interviewer who is well acquainted with the subject matter and can speak with the interview subject as a peer. In my opinion, there is nothing more important than the choice of the interviewer. Anyone can read a list of questions, one after another. It takes a special person to engage an interview subject in a thoughtful conversation. That should be the goal.

2. The Interview – Most interviewers have a well thought out list of questions. The really good interviewers seldom refer to them during the interview. It can’t be conversational if you’re simply moving from one question to another. Good interviews are nothing more than good conversations; let the conversation flow and ask follow-up questions. If you’re lucky, you’ll never need to refer to that list of questions.

3. Nervous Interview Subjects – Regardless of how experienced interviewees are, they tend to be nervous in front of a cameras. One technique I like to employ is to use the end of the interview to come back to some of the things we discussed early on. By the end of the interview, the subject is much more comfortable, and that shows on camera. So, if you had them introduce themselves in the very beginning, have them do it again as you’re wrapping up. I guarantee you’ll get a more comfortable and confident response.

4. Ask Unexpected Questions – When I’m interviewing physicians on camera, one of my favorite questions is: “When you’re driving home from work and you’ve had a really good day, what is likely to have happened to make it such a good day?” This type of question puts the physician in storytelling mode.

5. Two Cameras – Having a two camera set up will make editing a whole lot easier. When you’re piecing together an interview, having that footage from the second camera allows you to make seamless edits and salvage cuts that might otherwise be unusable.

6. Avoid Scripts – When the interview subject arrives with scripted answers, the end product is likely to be stiff and will lack authenticity. My advice is to avoid scripts whenever possible. Schedule enough time (45 minutes should be plenty) for a comfortably paced interview with your subject.

7. Repeat Yourself – When an interview subject gives you a good answer or says something of interest, you should feel comfortable asking him or her to say it again. I begin interviews telling subjects that I will stop them at times and ask them to repeat themselves when I hear something I like. I also explain that I do this in order to get the best possible cut. They understand and appreciate my attempt to portray them in the best possible light.

8. Keep Things Light – When we film physicians, we usually have a crew of at least seven people in the room along with a ton of equipment. There’s the interviewer, the art director, the producer, a videographer, an audio person, a grip, and a hair and make-up person. It looks like we’re filming a small movie. In that setting, it would be understandable if the individual felt intimidated. For this reason, we work to create a light-hearted tone on the set. We joke with each other, tell stories about our families, and try to put subjects at ease.

9. Create a Window – A good interview, once edited, will provide a window into the life of your subject. You should give your viewers a small glimpse into the personality and humanity of your subject. As you’re conducting the interview, you should ask yourself why the viewer is going to care about this video? Where is the emotional connection going to form? You should strive to find that little window that will help you make a connection between the viewer and the subject.

10. See the Light – Poor quality videos usually have two things in common: bad lighting and horrible audio. If you plan to produce a number of videos each year, invest in a light kit. Good lighting can make a world of difference. When it comes to quality audio, you need a quiet space while you’re recording. Background noise will ruin an otherwise awesome video. If you don’t have a quiet space at your facility, rent out a conference room at a hotel for the day; you’ll have fewer interruptions and more room to spread out. One note of caution: Beware of loud air conditioning and heating systems that are all too common in many conference rooms and meeting spaces.

With those tips in hand, I encourage you to strive to create impactful videos that will engage audiences and deepen their connection with your organization.

About the Author

Dan Dunlop


Dan is principal of Jennings Healthcare Marketing, a leading marketing and audience engagement firm. He is an innovator, brand consultant, blogger, author, and thought leader in healthcare marketing. Dan is also highly sought-after as a speaker and is regularly a faculty member at national and regional healthcare conferences.

Presently, he serves on the editorial boards of Healthcare Marketing Advisor and eHealthcare Strategy & Trends. He is also a contributor to a number of healthcare marketing publications and news services including the following: Ragan’s Health Care Communication News, SmartBrief for Health Care Marketers, Healthcare Strategy Alert, and Healthcare Marketing Report. Dan also is a board member of the New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCo) and serves on the judging panels of the Web Health Awards and the National Health Information Awards. Additionally, Dan is a former member of SHSMD’s 2014 Digital Engagement Taskforce.