2020 is forcing congregations around the globe to find new ways to connect. With the spread of COVID-19, many churches are finding that they need to meet and congregate digitally to keep their members safe. This has further escalated the growing trend of churches expanding their online presence, which has been occurring more and more throughout the past few years. Aside from a great website or user-friendly online giving solution, a popular online platform for churches is social media.
When people talk about social media channels for churches, they often forget about YouTube—and it’s a huge shame. YouTube is the internet’s second largest search engine, and its third most visited site—it boasts more than 4 billion views a day. So, if you record your sermons and produce other video content, you don’t want to miss out on digitally streaming through YouTube.
If you record your sermons and produce other video content, you don’t want to miss out on YouTube.
Whether you’re brand new to YouTube or have had your own channel for a while, here are five key tips to get the most out of your YouTube channel:
1. Brand Your YouTube Channel
Your YouTube channel is like your church’s web page. When a visitor hits it, they should be able to get a sense of your church. Branding helps establish your church’s identity and convey a consistent message about who you are.
Create a Branded Channel Icon
Get started by creating a branded channel icon. This might be the most important element in your YouTube arsenal. It’s the image that appears with each of your videos. If you think about it, most people are going to stumble onto your channel after finding one of your videos in a search or as a suggested video. Your logo is the ideal small image that ties your individual videos to your brand.
The channel icon renders at 98×98 pixels, but it’s best to upload it at 800×800. You can use JPG, GIF (it’s not animated, though), BMP, or PNG.
Create Channel Art
Next, you’ll need some channel art. Channel art is the term YouTube uses for what other social media platforms might call their banner or cover. It’s the artwork at the top of your channel. It’s the best way to show off your church’s personality! Make sure that the core design appears in the center of the image.
Use a channel art image that’s at least 2560×1440 px.
Keep Your Information Up-to-Date
You’ll want to make sure all of your information is filled out and up to date so that people who see your hovercard (the pop-up image that appears when someone hovers over your icon) can instantly digest your important information.
Branding is an essential part of any organization and especially important for the church. It allows you to unify your community around common ideas and images, and create a strong sense of oneness among people looking for a spiritual home. When they see common images on your website as they see on your Youtube channel, they know they’re someplace safe. That’s the power of consistency. Your church can take this a step further by following other common marketing best practices, used by some of the nation’s largest churches. Discover the simple strategies your church can use today to reach more people in your community with your message of hope. Click here to download Content Marketing for Churches.
2. Think beyond streaming sermons for video content
Start looking at what you do and how it lends itself to video. The most obvious example is to record and upload your sermons. But there are a lot of other elements and ministries that would make wonderful content for your YouTube channel. These could include children’s ministry, youth events, Sunday school classes, and more!
The great thing about uploading more church content is that your church members will help share the content on their own social channels. Every share is a commercial for your YouTube channel.
3. Take advantage of playlists
A playlist is a string of videos that play in order. When one video finishes, the next video starts. You can create playlists around themes, sermon series, or even create the ideal first-time visitor playlist.
Another helpful idea is to break a sermon into bite-size chunks and create a playlist for them. This is a great way to get people invested in a sermon who might not want to commit to a 40-minute video.
4. Invite people to subscribe and share
Make sure that you’re encouraging people to subscribe to your channel and share your videos. You can do this in your channel art. You can also use a card or addition at the end of every video inviting people to subscribe and share.
And don’t forget about the other social media platforms your church is on: you can ask your followers on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc., to join you on YouTube.
5. Make your videos searchable
It’s easy to forget that, at the end of the day, YouTube really is a search engine, which you can and should optimize for. Make sure you put as much thought into the uploading of your video as you do in its creation—maybe even more. It’s important that your videos are discoverable.
Write a Thorough Video Description
Spend time writing a really thorough description of each video. Google and YouTube can’t watch your video, so they rely on text to understand your video’s content. Think about what people might be searching for in order to find your video, and make sure your description clearly communicates information and keywords. Some of the best-ranking videos on YouTube and Google have 300+ words.
Don’t Underestimate The Power of a Strong Title
You’ll also want to make sure your video titles encourage clicks. You might spend a day coming up with a really clever title for your sermon, but it might not be ideal for the video. Think about it this way: if someone saw your video in YouTube’s running list of suggested videos, would they want to click on it? The answer to this question is probably going to be tied to how clearly it communicates what the video is about.
Don’t Miss Out on YouTube, Churches
When it comes to social media channels, YouTube might be the most powerful—and the most overlooked. If your church isn’t taking advantage of this platform, it’s time to consider it. When you’re ready to jump in, these tips are sure to help your channel take off!
Discover the other best practices churches are using nationwide to refine their online presence and grow their reach. Download your free copy of Content Marketing for Churches today!
You May Also Like