Church Marketing - YouTube and the Church - Should They Go Together?

As you are probably aware, YouTube is one of several video-sharing sites on the internet where anyone, including you or even your church can upload videos for others to view. Business’s both large and small have used this type of service to promote their products or services. There are 100 million videos viewed daily! What you may not be aware of is that YouTube overtook Yahoo as the second largest search engine. So, if you are looking for free exposure, you might be hard pressed to find something that pays a large marketing ROI other than a great church website that has been optimized for SEO.

No surprise that more and more churches are using YouTube!

The trick is determining the right kind of video to upload, and then finding a way to for people to want to see it. Because when this article was created, if you put the term “church” in the YouTube search engine, it returned over 626,000 entries. So you need to separate yourself from the rest of the clutter.

What types of videos do I post?

Sometimes churches have some difficulty thinking of videos to share. Do you already have videos of activities that have happened at your church? Below are just some ideas that will get you started. Be creative. You don’t need a pro to capture these moments. Most churches have plenty of talented people in their congregations that can perform this service. If so, you are just one click away from being able to upload those videos to YouTube.

People sharing their journey: Something that people really resonate with is sharing with other like minded people. This also is a good way to show just how you are “regular” when viewed by the un-churched or for those looking for a new church home.

> Highlights of recent events: Similar to promoting upcoming events, showing highlights of recent events can show people what your church is like and show them what they missed (so they don’t miss it next time).

> Posting of fun or funny videos: There is a reason that America’s Funniest Home Video’s endures. People like funny. If you have something, post it.

Promote upcoming events: Let people know what’s coming up at the church. People will watch far more often than they will read. This gives you a real opportunity to sell the event. Interview some likely attendees and let them help build the momentum. Having a fund raiser? This will give you the ability to really show what will be done with the funds.

Post commercials: Most churches don’t have the budget to afford TV airtime. But what if you did? Post what could be a commercial for your church. Might even be more effective than a TV buy in this age of TiVo where viewers routinely bypass commercials.  

Conference speakers: Does your church present conferences or special guest speakers. You can show the highlights of these to demonstrate what someone on the fence about attending or not can make a good decision.

Spiritual messages: I feel these are much better than posting the minister’s Sunday message. A lot of people are looking for spiritual guidance and information. You can produce videos about various topics such as Non Violent Communications

Informational non-church videos: Don’t limit yourself to just church and spiritual messages. Make your YouTube channel a place to go to for everyday living. And in the process, drive more people to your website as well as to your church. How does it work? Everyone knows some info that would be helpful to many people. Have authors that want to provide a quick 2 minute intro? Why not? This is a great way to provide outreach to those who would not normally look for a church, exactly the people who we should be focused on with our church marketing and ultimately has a positive effect on your church brand.

Video used in your church services: Does you church use video during the service to help make an impact? Why not post them online?

Create buzz by commenting on current events: Look in Google or yahoo for the hottest topics and comment on them. You are sure to get a reaction and exposure. Be advised that buzz can go both ways, so think of the effect and if you (as well as your church and its’ stakeholders) are up for it. Great for web traffic though.

Create a “fun” raiser by having a Video Contest: Pick a subject that you may want to promote that is youth oriented and then have a contest for your teens or youth to create videos it church and then post the videos. The cool thing about this is that a lot of folks tend to get involved, it bonds folks and they have a fun time doing it.

Things I should refrain from putting on video sharing sites?

Whole Sunday Messages –Most Ministers speak for anywhere from 10-20 minutes on Sunday. YouTube has a 10 minute max limit. People’s attention span are more geared for 2-5 minutes. There is a disconnect there. Some may argue this, but just seeing a speaker talk without the rest of the service may not be your best foot forward in my opinion.

Political Commentaries –This is dynamite and you are bound to offend someone. Best to leave those topics to the political pundits. Besides there are enough of those already.

What are some of the benefits to my church by posting videos?

Save your bandwidth! Use YouTube to host your videos!

Creating videos by folks who might not otherwise volunteer can be a great way to get those people more involved the church.

Your website will probably benefit as well through a higher page rank. Since Google now owns YouTube, your website will be given a priority in Google’s Page Ranking.

Bottom line is that services such as YouTube and other video sharing sites are easy to get up and rolling, can result in more visitors to your church website and your church, and can show to the rest of the community what your church is all about. This should be something that all church marketers should incorporate into their toolkit.








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