YouTube: how to make your first video

In my first article*, I discussed why and how you can use video to promote your practice. But how do you actually go about making your first video? Well, it’s not about the gear you have. A well-planned video and good content are far more important for success than which smartphone or camera you use.


Choosing a good topic


Successful topic choice depends on connecting a burning question and a subject you’re passionate about. Perhaps it’s a question from one of your own patients, or a popular question online.


Start by typing a few topics into the search box and look for some of the auto-suggested ideas. For example, you might type in ‘convergence insufficiency’ and find a topic like, What is convergence insufficiency? You can use a tool like Tubebuddy to see other popular topics and how competitive they are on YouTube.


Encourage viewer reaction


Once you’ve chosen a topic, think about what you want people to do at the end of your video. Perhaps you could offer a free PDF about a ‘Convergence insufficiency symptom survey’ to encourage viewers to provide their email address in exchange for a guide about the results.


Video length


According to YouTube, a good video length to aim for is around seven to 10 minutes. This provides enough time to share your ideas, and it’s easier for patients to commit to than a 50-minute presentation.


Should it be scripted?


Scripting is good as it gives you a definite plan for your video. However, it is time consuming to write and edit a full script and, if you create a perfect script, it can be hard to show empathy while reading it. Winging-it seems easier because you don’t have to write full notes, however this carries the risk you go down too many ‘rabbit holes’, distracting viewers and causing them to lose interest.


It’s best to aim somewhere in the middle. Jot down some points and a few incomplete sentences to cover what you need to say. This keeps you on track but gives you flexibility to elaborate, while still sounding natural.


Making a popular YouTube video


Over 70% of viewers find your video based on YouTube’s suggested videos, and to make your video attractive to YouTube you need to keep people watching for as long as possible. To do this, you need to plan your video to grab viewers’ attention; introduce your topic and yourself; share your ideas; and tell your viewers what you want them to do next.


1. Grabbing attention

When people first tap on your video, you need to tell them within seconds what your video is about. For example, you might say, ‘Ever heard of convergence insufficiency? In this video we cover, what is convergence insufficiency’.


2. Introduce your topic and yourself

Tell viewers more about your topic, ‘Does your child skip or re-read sentences often on a page? Do they complain of words moving around? In this video, you’ll learn about what is convergence insufficiency, what to look for, and how to treat it’.


Then introduce yourself. For example, ‘Hi my name is Leigh and I’m a behavioural optometrist and director at YourPractice. My team and I are all about you and your eyes. We practice in Christchurch’.


Then mention where viewers can find resources, ‘All the links to things we mention are in the description box below'.


3. Share your content

You may cover tips like, what is convergence insufficiency, what symptoms to look for and how to treat it. Perhaps include a case study to bring the topic to life - ‘Here’s an example of a nine-year-old boy who came to see me. He struggled to concentrate at school… Here’s a picture of his handwriting then and here’s a picture of it now, after therapy.’


4. Call to action

Perhaps suggest things like, ‘Make sure you subscribe to our channel’, ‘Watch this video to learn more about vision therapy’ or ‘Get your own symptom score results instantly via email’. Thank viewers and encourage them to stay tuned for your next video.


Technical tips

Here’s a few tips about the technicalities of making a good video:


  • It’s best to record in one go, so you don’t lose your train of thought. If you make a mistake, pause briefly and then continue.
  • Edit your video down to focus on the best parts, following the four-point plan above. It’s easier to do this on a large screen using one of the plethora of editing apps available such as Lumafusion, WeVideo, Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro, or outsource this to a local or overseas video editor.
  • When editing, include:
  • Your logo. Perhaps hire someone to animate your logo to make your video look more professional
  • Background music, to help maintain viewers’ attention
  • Processed captions. I use to create captions for my videos. It’s about US$1.20/min but it will save you a lot of time
  • Layered additional videos. For example, you may want to include a video of a child doing a near point test, writing or doing vision therapy exercises, over your main video
  • Create an interesting thumbnail, using a service like to grab viewers’ attention, so more tap on your video
  • Use a title that resonates. For example, ‘What is convergence insufficiency and why is reading so hard?’
  • Describe your video. Include a brief summary of what you’re talking about in the description box and include links here to your website and other resources
  • Promote your video. The more people who watch it within the first two days, the more likely YouTube is to promote it for you


For more support visit, and for an example ‘Welcome video’, see:


Investing in good YouTube videos can significantly boost your visibility in the short, medium and long term as every one provides an opportunity for new patients to meet you, even if it’s 10 years after you made the video.


Enjoy your creative journey and growing your practice!




Leigh Plowman is an optometrist and optometry marketing specialist who is passionate about helping independent optometrists create online strategies.


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