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YouTube Basics: Creating content and optimizing your channel



Welcome to our series on using YouTube to promote your church.

Did you know that YouTube is the second most used search engine, right behind Google?

This means it’s a great place for churches to have a presence. Anyone in your area could be searching for a church to attend. If you were looking for a new church, what would you want to see on that church’s YouTube channel?

Create a promotional trailer

One idea is to create a trailer for your channel.

This is kind of like a movie trailer that you can set to autoplay when a visitor comes to your church’s channel. This trailer should give a glimpse of who you are as a church and what your channel is about.

After recording your trailer video to welcome potential visitors, upload your video, then click on your photo icon in the top right corner, then click on My Channel. On this page click on the Customize Channel button. Then click on the For New Visitors tab and then you will see a button that says Channel Trailer. Click on it and select your uploaded video you want for your channel’s trailer. After clicking on the video, click Save.

Upload videos of sermons, classes and other events

Also, think about uploading regular videos with snippets of sermons, Sunday school classes, mission trips or events. You could also upload daily devotions.

After uploading a video to your YouTube channel, you are able to add it to a playlist. If you need to create a new playlist for the video, you can do that here too.

You could have a playlist for sermons, a playlist for devotions, a playlist for mission events, etc. You might also include short testimonial videos from members of all ages and backgrounds.

That way, if your viewer is only interested in learning about what you offer during worship, they can just click on that playlist and see all of the content related to that topic.

Always create content with your YouTube audience in mind. What translates in person during a church service might not translate as well if you’re just browsing YouTube for spiritual fulfillment.

After each video, encourage users to comment, give the video a thumbs up and subscribe to your channel.

Livestream your service

Here's something cool: YouTube recently added a livestreaming feature!

This means people who cannot attend a service, can watch it on YouTube from wherever they might be in real time.

Optimize your channel for search

Just like your church’s website, you’ll want to optimize your YouTube channel for search. When uploading a video, you'll fill in a title, description and tags.

Don’t ignore these. These are imperative if you want people to be able to search and find your videos. Use rich keywords, but don’t go overboard.

Since YouTube is owned by Google, they are closely integrated.

If someone in your church has more experience with Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, ask for help.

A video with great SEO will also rank higher on both YouTube and Google when someone is searching for that type of content.

Develop a content strategy

Plan videos ahead. Don’t just stop at one video and expect results. Create content on a consistent schedule. Share your videos on your other social media pages, like Facebook and Twitter, embed the videos on your church website, add a link to your blog and spread the word about your channel in your church newsletters and emails.

And finally, engage! You already know that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram only thrive if you create conversation with your followers. The same goes for YouTube. Encourage comments and engage with your viewers by posing questions and answering theirs.

Now you're ready to showcase your church on YouTube.