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Behind the Videos: How the J&J Health Channel on YouTube Works

Posted by | 9:30am on Friday, April 6, 2012

we get between 5-10 comments a day and I’d say 80% of the comments get posted 

The Johnson & Johnson Health channel, which recently hit 6 million video views, is the most popular pharma channel on YouTube. Much of the success is due to the volume of videos (nearly 600) on a variety of health topics. Four years ago, J&J started the channel by utilizing existing videos they had produced over the years. They’ve continued to create new videos, facilitated by having an in-house production studio.

Rob Halper, director of video communication at Johnson & Johnson, moderated the #SocPharm tweetchat on Wednesday and talked about their process: “We create the videos in-house. I hire producers and they work with freelance crews and editors using our facilities. The exception to that is when we do shoots out of state, when I hire local video crews, but I’ll send a producer.”

How are the topics chosen?
“The topics are chosen in several different ways, but I take suggestions and submissions from colleagues and try to cover all relevant health issues,” explained Halper. “I’m cognizant of health days. For example, this month is National Autism Awareness so that’s what I’m featuring.”

It’s also important to note that the majority of the videos are open to comments. Unlike Facebook, YouTube provides the ability to turn comments off, have them go live immediately or have them sent to an email for approval. For J&J, the majority of the videos allow comments via the premoderated process. “It varies, but usually we get between 5-10 comments a day and I’d say 80% of the comments get posted,” said Halper. “I post anything that is reasonable and not insulting or profane, even if it doesn’t agree with our point of view.” Halper is also responsible for replying to the comment as appropriate. This is a great example of a two-way conversation happening in social media between pharma and an engaged audience.

What about Adverse Event (AE) reporting?
“If there are comments which are potential AEs I send to the appropriate legal department, but there aren’t too many,” said Halper.

Clearly people are engaged with the videos, as some of them have resulted in hundreds of comments. “One video has about 1,200 comments,” noted Halper. “It was the first video I posted (which explains part of it) and the topic is Teenage Obesity and Weight Loss Surgery.”

During the #SocPharm tweetchat with Halper using the @JNJVideo Twitter account, the channel received a compliment from a diabetes patient on a video of an 11-year-old with Type 1 diabetes. In his response Halper made it clear he enjoys his job: “Thanks. We LOVE doing stories like that. They inspire me as well.”

So let J&J inspire you to create a YouTube channel. You don’t have to be as ambitious, it can be as easy as uploading existing videos and creating a free channel with custom URL. I’ve written before about the value of YouTube for pharma including the search benefits, and recommend considering it as a tactic to support your marketing goals.

What do you think about the J&J Health channel on YouTube?

About Eileen O'Brien

Eileen has more than 16 years of digital healthcare marketing experience. She is an opinion leader on social media and biopharma, and has been invited to speak at industry conferences and quoted in publications.

View other posts from Eileen

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