Using Video to Promote Professional Development & Continuing Education

You’ve created a robust, interesting continuing education course. It’s full of valuable information, and it meets all the standards of the profession in question. But people aren’t signing up. What can you do to get the word out and increase enrollment?

Promotional videos provide an easy, straightforward way for prospective students to learn about your continuing education offerings.

Who provides continuing education?

Various professions require continuing education. Generally, licensing organizations require that practitioners complete a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) in order to keep their licenses current. This is especially common in the medical and teaching fields.

Very often, continuing education is provided by the a trade association or professional association within your industry.

Continuing education is required in these professions:

  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Nurses
  • Lawyers and paralegals
  • Acupuncturists
  • Social workers
  • Accountants
  • Cosmetologists
  • Teachers
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Safety personnel
  • EMTs
  • Firefighters
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Fitness professionals

Many other professional groups require continuing education. A variety of organizations offer these CE courses, and they provide proof that the individual has completed the course. The person then submits that proof to the licensing body.

How to make your course stand out from the pack

Continuing education courses are usually focused on professionals, and oftentimes, participants can complete these courses online. With so many companies offering CE courses, it can be tough for your course to stand out from the rest.

The first step is to create a compelling continuing education course. Most of your students are there to fulfill a requirement, but you’ll keep them coming back to you in the future if the course is innovative, impactful, and fun.

  • Identify your goals. Keep them succinct and clear.
  • Add more multimedia. You want to keep your audience engaged. Use video, live polls, and other forms of technology to teach key concepts.
  • Break up dense material. Your continuing education course may include some complicated study results. Break up more complex material and numbers with case study examples and some levity.
  • Encourage dialogue. Even in an online course, you can encourage participants to offer their opinions. Ask for feedback throughout the course. This will help you improve it.

Research from 2008 suggests that students in classes that involve innovative approaches to the material improve their scores by about 50 percent. And it’s not unreasonable to suggest that these students have more fun while taking the course too.

Use video to promote continuing education

So, once you know you have good continuing education offerings, how can you entice a student to gamble on a class they’ve never taken?

One high-impact method for increasing enrollment is video. Most CE programs incorporate video into their course content — but they could also benefit from using video for course promotion.

We’ve seen organizations increase enrollment by collecting brief course overview videos from their instructors. With a well-crafted video, instructors can highlight exactly what happens in their courses. And professional organizations and institutions can use these videos to further amplify enrollment opportunities.

Many people balk at the idea of creating video. It seems too overwhelming and expensive, and some of those concerns are valid. A professional video shoot can take a significant amount of time to plan. In fact, some experts say it should take over two months to plan out a simple, 9-minute video.

That’s where smartphone video can give you an edge. For instructor videos, you don’t need professional video production. Think about it — most online courses involve webcam video, which has lower video quality than most smartphones. Since instructors can record videos on the mobile phones, every organization that offers continuing education has an opportunity to create course promotion videos.

Planning your continuing education promotional video

Gather Voices makes it easy to promote your continuing education program with quick instructor videos. Most of these are shot quickly on a smartphone. It doesn’t take much time, and the impact is substantial.

You can increase the effectiveness of these videos with a little planning work. It doesn’t add much time to the process, and it can ensure that your video packs the biggest punch.

Just like you plan your coursework carefully, map out what will happen within your video. The time you spend in planning stages will save time later in editing — and you might find that it’s fun too.

Your brief video content plan should contain a few key points.

  • Your audience: Who should take your class? Think of the people you’re talking to and craft your message directly to them.
  • Your message: What’s the one thing you want to get across in your video? Is your class informative? Fun? Engaging? Critical for key careers? Give a brief overview of what students can expect to learn.
  • Your length: Keep it brief. The promotional video for your continuing education course should only be a couple minutes at most. You’re trying to give an interesting preview of what you have to offer. Leave them wanting more.
  • Your personality: Don’t be afraid to show your personality in this short video. A little humor might be what prompts someone to sign up.

Video posting and promoting

You’ve got a great promotional video now. You just need to make sure your potential students see the fruits of your labor.

Your options for posting your video include:

  • YouTube. Over 2 billion users (which equates to about a third of the Internet) use YouTube, the company says. It’s not just a video-hosting platform. It’s also a search engine. Place your video here with a catchy title, a description that tells your visitors what to expect, and a few keywords that make your content searchable.
  • Wistia. Unlike YouTube, Wistia is a pay-to-play platform. It’s made specifically for companies that hope to use video on their websites to entice customers to make a purchase. The company says Wistia is preferable if you hope to drive traffic to your website. People on YouTube tend to stay there rather than heading to a company site on the next click.
  • Vimeo. This company offers a free service, but to get all the bells and whistles, you’ll need to pay a fee. Vimeo can host your video, but you can also use the company’s platform to edit and enhance your video too.

After your video is hosted on a site like YouTube or Wistia, people will see it when they’re searching for information. But you can do even more. Share your video via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Instagram. Encourage your visitors to like, comment, and/or share the content.

Technical tips for smartphone video production

There are several different approaches to creating a video, each with assorted recording device options. The easiest way to create your promotional video is simply with your smartphone.

Follow these tips:

  • Check the lighting. You don’t need any sort of professional lighting, but record your video in an area that is well lit. Natural light works well, so if you can set up near a window, you’ll get great lighting.
  • Use your smartphone. Recording video content on a smartphone camera can produce high-quality, stunning results. In fact, videomaker.com asserts that many smartphone cameras have higher resolution than standard broadcast equipment.
  • Keep it steady. You’ll need to do more than hold the phone out, selfie-style. Keep it steady with a smartphone adapter or mini tripod, or lean it against a table.
  • Check the environment. Record in a quiet area. Extraneous background noise will distract from your message. Make sure your smartphone is set to silent, so a phone call or text doesn’t interrupt a perfect take.
  • Speak clearly. No muttering or whispering allowed. Enunciate with care, and speak naturally.

Video editing tips

Editing is a critical part of video production.

  • Hire a professional editor
  • Edit video yourself using a program like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, or iMovie
  • Use a mobile phone editor like InShot
  • If you use Gather Voices, you can edit your video in the platform

Whatever editing process you use, be sure to keep these two tips in mind, (via Adorama Camera, Inc.)

  • Cut with care. Focus on your core message, and don’t be afraid to remove anything that doesn’t help you tell that important story.
  • Add captions. Some of your viewers will watch your video with the sound turned up high. Others won’t listen at all — either because they can’t or because they won’t. Always include captions so your viewers can read along.

All about video formats

If you’re using Gather Voices, no need to worry about video formats — you can easily export an .mp4 file, which is ideal for web & social sharing. Or you can publish directly to the platform.

When your editing is complete, you’ll need to save your work. And chances are, you’ll be presented with a bevy of options.

As synthesized by Hubspot, the six most widely used video formats include:

  1. MP4. Currently known as the most universal video format, the MP4 format allows for high-quality video in fairly small file sizes.
  2. MOV. Although there is a version compatible with Windows, this video format was designed for QuickTime Player and developed by Apple. Akin to the MP4 format, MOV is capable of storing high-quality audio, text, and video effects, but it will occupy more memory space on a computer.
  3. WMV. While Mac users can download a UMV player, this format was developed by Microsoft to be used for videos on the Windows Media Player.
  4. FLV. Every web browser and video platform supports this format, as it was designed for Adobe Flash Video Players.
  5. AVI. This format is compatible with both Windows and Mac, in addition to being supported by many web browsers.
  6. AVCHD. Developed by Panasonic and Sony, this format was specifically designed for digital camcorders.

Think about where you’d like to both store and share your video, and ensure that you’re saving your work in a format that plays nicely with your plans.

Video resolution

You’ll also need to specify your preferred resolution as you save your video. Again, you have plenty of options to choose from.

Video resolutions are commonly referred to in absolute pixel dimensions. Common aspect ratios in the film and television industry, according to YouTube, are as follows (in order of lowest to highest):

  • 240p: 426×240
  • 360p: 640×360
  • 480p: 854×480
  • 720p: 1280×720
  • 1080p: 1920×1080 (the ideal size for web videos recorded on a mobile phone)
  • 1440p: 2560×1440
  • 2160p: 3840×2160

Skip the technical details — make video easy with Gather Voices

When you work with Gather Voices, we handle much of this legwork for you. It’s easy.

You simply shoot your short promotional video, highlighting what your continuing education course has to offer. We sync those videos to our library in real time. Then you can publish directly to Vimeo or Wistia and embed them in your course landing pages.

Our clients have seen a measurable impact on enrollment by using these promotional videos. People will spend more time on your site, and more people will sign up for your courses.

It’s easy, and the results are real. Request a demo today to get started.

References

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