There's No YouTube Without You

I recently wrote this article for OutreachMagazine.com. You can read the whole article at Outreach but here are five things for churches to consider as they delve into the world of online video:

1. When in doubt, entertain. The most interesting online videos seem to be either highly entertaining or very funny. No matter what your video content, you've got to remember you're sending it off to a culture that's accustomed to entertainment. If you have a specific message for your video, do it in such a way that you creatively inform a viewer in an entertaining way. Think of it as the spoonful of sugar that will make the medicine go down.

2. Send them somewhere: At least once on the video, you should put up the address to your Web site or a Web site you want the viewer to visit. This is your golden opportunity to request that they spend a few more minutes with you, so don't let it pass without at least asking for them to visit your site for more information.

3. Post on multiple sites: Almost all online video sites work the same way these days. Although YouTube seems to get most of the press, you should put your video on a number of different online video sites. After YouTube, head straight over to GodTube.com. It's a great YouTube alternative for Christians and has some other online video tools your church will find helpful. Beyond these two, put your video on Google Video as well.

4. Make it passalongable. Yes, passalongable isn't a real word but it should be part of your online video vernacular. Is your video one that you would tell 10 people about? Is it good enough (both in content and delivery) that nine of those 10 friends would tell at least one other person about it? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then you should tweak it or perhaps rework it entirely. Online video works best when people tell their friends about it. If your video lacks the needed passalongability, you have likely misapplied the time, energy and financial resources that went into making the video.

5. Don't limit online video to preaching. Preaching is often the first online video use that comes to mind with many churches, but consider other opportunities with online video like classroom-style teaching, global missions, idea sharing, promotion, and video blogging. Maybe you're starting a building campaign at the church. If so, you could post regular updates about the progress of the project and even interview some of the building crew, just to give the church a differrent perspective on the project (and also keep it top-of-mind so those campaign pledges aren't forgotten).

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