GUEST POST: Abi and the viral video about the viral test

Making content that works is hard but sometimes you don’t have to go far to look for it, writes Cumbria County Council communications business partner Kate Stark.

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all spent hours on a piece of work or commissioned a videographer to do something and then it doesn’t take off as much as you’d hoped and then the return on investment is all a bit meh.

Whilst there is of course merit from using professional pieces on many occasions, this recent example of quite literally no cost home-made content has been a huge success for Cumbria County Council and beyond, so why was this?

I guess it was one of those moments where the thing that was playing on my mind as a parent was actually the same as what was on the minds of many of our residents. And that’s what made 12 year old Abi’s video of her demonstrating a lateral flow test such a hit. One of those perfect storm moments if you like, where we were able to take a real issue and address it at exactly the right time for our audiences.

It’s not very often these come up but when they do it’s a nice feeling of actually being in touch with our communities and the reason we’re in the jobs we’re in.

I’m lucky that my daughter was a (fairly) willing participant to do this, even though she was really quite apprehensive herself about the back to school testing regime so this made executing this quite simple, but we didn’t anticipate the response being quite as huge as it has been. Just goes to show that kids will win the internet every time! Not only that, this video was entirely relatable to thousands of people in the same boat as us. That’s why I was very happy to share the video for other public sector organisations to use too. We’re all short of time and I’m a fan of not having to reinvent the wheel and reproduce something if there is an option to simply re-use and re-cycle.

Success: what the numbers said

To show the success of this two minute video clip in numbers, Cumbria County Council has 25,840 page likes on Facebook and to date (Monday) the video has reached 55,000 people, had 436 shares and almost 10,000 engagements. It has also had around 34,000 views on YouTube (when we usually average around 50!) The success of the YouTube hits is partly due to it being shared in back to school e-bulletins for schools, but it had already amassed over 25k views by that point. The video was also picked up by BBC North East and Cumbria online and ITV Border who edited it along with interview pieces with Abi which reached tens of thousands of people too. Not sure I could say it went viral but probably as viral as we might get for some time.

You can see the video here:

All in all, a good thing to do. Made Abi feel ace about going back to school and far less nervous about sticking a swab up her nose and tickling her tonsils with it and judging by the comments and reactions it’s helped lots of other kids too.

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