Tim Jarvis
Tim Jarvis on 19 April 2021

How we achieved 21 million views overnight with St. John Ambulance

In a previous blog, I talked you through the key points to consider in order to ensure that you drive the biggest impact from your content and cut-through the noise.

In this blog, I want to show you this in action.

A few years back we worked with St. John Ambulance - a charity that is dedicated to the teaching and practice of first-aid in England.  As the title of this piece outlines, we managed to drive 21 million on one of the videos that we created for them (in the space of 12 hours).

They’re some big numbers and (as I go deeper into in another blog) views are rarely a good metric to judge results by, but they are a good metric to judge engagement by!  And within this strategy, our key objective was engagement.  Well, in the first instance at any point.

The reason that I want to talk through the process that we went through with SJA is because it highlights the importance of the work that we do in the Audience phase of any content strategy development.

By truly understanding your audience, you give yourself the best chance of your content driving the results that you want.

So what were we setting out to achieve with SJA and what did success look like?  Well, we wanted to raise awareness of the charity and educate as many people as possible as to basic first aid techniques in-line with the Charity’s purpose and core values.

We ended-up creating over 70 simple how-to videos for the charity covering different topics.  Our distribution plan was to promote these videos whenever something happened in the world that the media was covering.  It could be a famous person suffering a heart attack, a high-profile sports person suffering a broken leg, a particularly hot weekend where there was a risk of sunburn.  When there was conversation around these subjects, we knew that we could serve the public best by teaching them what to do if they find themselves in that situation.

We went through the same 10-step process as we always do when creating or content strategies and we went deep into our audience personas.  Who are they?  Where do they spend their time?  What are their goals, challenges, opportunities and aspirations?  What are their intrinsic motivators?  We mapped all of this out for each of our audiences and we broke those audiences down into generations - Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists.  For each of those, we had a distribution strategy that would be activated depending on what topic we were covering.

There was an incident where a young child choked on a grape.  I’m not going to go into too much detail on that individual case out of respect to the parents, but when the media were covering this subject, we knew that we could help more parents understand what to do if they find themselves in that situation.  We activated our distribution plan with a key focus on Gen X and Baby Boomers - typically parents and grandparents.

Part of that strategy was to provide media outlets with our how-to video on that subject across the platforms that we knew our audience would engage with.  In this instance, we chose Channel 5 and Facebook.

They posted the video and within 12-hours we had reached over 21-million carers, parents and grandparents.


So off the back of a simple strategy and doing our research, we were able to create content that cut-through and provided genuine value for all of those that watched it, whilst delivering on SJA’s key purpose.

A secondary outcome of the content was that we had put in place our tracking mechanisms, which meant that we were able to re-engage with those that watched the video with further content that would not only deepen the learning, but also introduce them to the incredible work that SJA do and, in-turn, help the reach of the charity in years to come.

And we were only able to do that because we had our strategy in place.

You see, viral content doesn’t just happen (well, very rarely does it), but you are able to drive significant results by putting in place a strategy.  This ensures that you are not just creating content on a gut-feel, but rather you are creating content that you know is going to drive a response in the viewer and move them towards your ultimate goal.



If you’d like to learn more about developing your content plan, watch the video below, where we talk you through the basics of a video content strategy in a little more detail, or book a free 1-2-1 30-minute session with one of our expert team.

Get in touch today!