Is your Church Social? Part 4: “Optimizing Your YouTube Church Videos”
I’ve been looking at ways churches can use social media to market their online church marketing and reach others for Christ. In the last article I gave several ideas for videos that your church can create. In this article I’ll discuss some simple ways to increase the effectiveness of your church’s videos as an online church marketing plan.
Posting videos on video sharing sites can be a great way to spread the word about your church and tell others about Christ, but just posting videos isn’t enough. Here are a few tips about how to get the most out of your church video sharing:
• Put a link to your church’s website at the beginning of the video’s description. Having a link to your church’s website will provide an easy way for people to visit your church’s site. Also, often the description of a video is truncated, only showing the first few words of the description. By putting your church’s link at the beginning of the description, you ensure it will be visible whether the description is truncated or not. It can also help with search engine marketing.
• Put your church’s URL on the video. There are a lot of video editing software options out there (cheap and expensive) and pretty much all of them will allow you to put text on a video. If you don’t have and can’t afford video editing software, just make sure your church website’s URL is in the shot at the end of the video. It could be on a sign, whiteboard, or shirt. It’s very important in church marketing that people know what website to go to, so tell them.
• Use popular keywords in the title and description of the video. Make sure the keywords are relevant, but use popular keywords instead of less-searched words. It will give your video more visibility. For example, this article is titled “YouTube Video Ideas”, not “Video Sharing Website Ideas”. That’s because the keyword, “YouTube” is searched for much more often than “Video Sharing Website”.
• Use Viral Functions like “Share This Video”. YouTube and other sites have features like “Share This Video” that make it easy for people to tell others about the video. Get your congregation involved and have them use these features to share the videos with their friends, family, co-workers, etc.
YouTube or Tangle?
As social media started growing in popularity, Christians have been right there creating their own websites for the various social media. When it comes to video sharing, the biggest Christian site by far is Tangle.com. So, with both Christian and secular video sharing sites available, it begs the question, should churches use the Christian sites, like Tangle, or the secular sites, like YouTube. I think ultimately your church will need to decide that.
There are positives and negatives for both options. One of the biggest benefits of using YouTube is that more people use it…a lot more. So, you have the potential to reach a lot more people. One of the biggest problems with YouTube is that they host videos that you may not want you children (or yourself) to see and they will sometimes even list some videos like that on the same page as your church’s video. With Tangle, you know the video content will be family safe and Christian, but you’re not going to reach non-Christians at Tangle.
So, which do you use? I’d say both.
Tangle is good for marketing your church to Christians. There are a lot Christians moving or looking for a new church and Tangle can be a good way to let those Christians know about your church. Also, with Tangle being a safe website, it can be a good place for your congregation to view the videos, though your website is an even better place for that.
YouTube extends the reach of your church and have more of an effect reaching the unchurched. As I’ve mentioned before, Christ spent a lot of time with sinners. "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17). If we are going to reach the lost for Christ, we need to go to the lost, not expect them to come to us. So, post your videos on YouTube as well as Tangle. Have your congregation use the viral features in YouTube to share the videos with their friends and family, especially non-Christians.
I talk a lot about YouTube and Tangle because they are the most popular video sharing sites, but there are many other video sharing sites. You may want to search out some other video sharing sites in addition to YouTube and Tangle to reach even more people. I’d also encourage you to put your church’s videos on your church’s website in addition to the video sharing sites. The first reason is because sending your congregation to your church’s website to view videos is a great way to get them used to checking the church site regularly. The second reason is that more and more websites are using video. By using video on your church’s website it can make your church’s site more interesting and up to date.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kurt Steinbrueck is the author of the Church Marketing Online blog. He has been Director of Marketing Services with Ourchurch.Com for over 5 years providing Christian search engine optimization services including services specific for church marketing solutions and private school marketing. Kurt is also a Deacon at his church. You can find the original version of this article at http://churchmarketingonline.com/2008/11/is-your-church-social-part-3-youtube-video-optimization-for-church-marketing/.