Six Ways to Maximize Your YouTube Channel for Nonprofits

By on Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I began administering a YouTube channel several years ago for a client – and YouTube provided a way to provide their content that was easy to use, searchable, and affordable. Bandwidth fees to host videos on their website were a concern for them, like many nonprofit organizations. YouTube enabled them to build a library of dozens of videos. Here’s a few tips to help you maximize your YouTube channel:

(1) Create compelling and shareable videos that people want to watch. There is no magic formula for creating a viral video. You want to create videos that are interesting, creative, fulfill some type of need people have, and share stories. Videos that are relevant and relate to every day life get shared – they aren’t just ads for an organization.

(2) Join the YouTube Nonprofit Program. If you are a nonprofit organization, this is a no-brainer. Get your own donate button on YouTube. Add call to action overlays to your videos, and get production resources and live streaming capability.  Sign up now. See YouTube’s 10 Fundamentals of a Creative Strategy on YouTube

(3) Be personal. Share from the heart. It’s not an ad for me, me, me, the nonprofit that needs help. It’s a storytelling platform to share who you really are as an organization, to share the stories within your organization (from the people you help, the people who are doing the work, the people who are supporting the work). Be passionate, be bold, but most of all – be authentic.

(4) Produce quality videos. That doesn’t mean you have to spend big bucks hiring a professional video crew if your budget is minimal. But pay attention to production values. HD cameras are now very affordable. One of the best things you can do if you are making your own videos, is buy a table stand or tripod for your camera. If you can afford it, improve the lights and audio for your video equipment. Take your time to get the setup and lighting right before you start recording. Edit the video. Find a volunteer from the community to help you or hire someone if you don’t have good expertise on staff.

(5) Make friends and share your videos. A lot. Fill out the description for your video and tag it well topically so it can be found. Brand your channel with graphics that relate to your organization. Reply to comments on your videos. Create playlists with your videos so they can be organized. Use the embed feature to add videos to your website. Share your videos through your social networks. Ask donors and supporters in an e-newsletter or via Twitter or Facebook to share a video with their friends on social networks.

(6) Use your analytics to learn what works for you. The YouTube Insight program is free and offers great data on audience, length of view, number of views, etc.  Pay attention to what people are watching (popularity) but also how long they watch it.

Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, a virtual and independent public relations practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media advice, writing services, and creative design for publications and websites. She blogs frequently about media relations, social media, public relations and other issues. She also reviews books on her blog about public relations, nonprofit life, work-family balance and social media practice. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven.

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