Last week we wrote about several ways to put videos of sermons, services, or other church events online. YouTube was the first option mentioned, and with good reason. YouTube is so much more than a place to watch funny cat videos or learn how to program your smartphone.
YouTube is a powerful player in the world of online video. It’s the number two search engine, right behind Google; so if your goal is to have your church found easily on an internet search, a presence on YouTube can really boost your visibility. Here are some tips on how to harness the power of YouTube for your church:
YouTube is free to use at the basic level. If your church uses Gmail, then you already have a YouTube (and Google+) account – Google offers all three as one package. You can customize the layout of your channel, put your logo or other church-specific images as your avatar and header image, and even change your YouTube channel’s web address to the name of your church.
Options for Video Uploads
Uploading videos is also free. There is a 15-minute length limit for standard videos, but once you verify your account, you can upload videos of any length. This can enable you to put anything from a short sermon to an entire church service on YouTube in just one video.
You can also choose to have your videos public and therefore searchable; this is beneficial if you are wanting to reach new people via your videos. However, if you want more privacy, you have the option to make videos unlisted or private, which means that only people with the exact URL (web address) of the video will be able to find it or view it. You can also schedule videos for publication after they’ve been uploaded.
YouTube has recently added a new feature called live streaming. This means that you can now broadcast a live event in real time. With live streaming, people can tune into your church service or event as it’s happening, instead of waiting until after the event is over and a recording has been uploaded.
YouTube also offers ways to tracks views of your videos, customize your channel and your videos, and so much more on the Creator Studio dashboard. Here you can see which sermons or events are the most popular, whether more people prefer live streaming versus the recorded uploads, subscribers to your channel, and more.
So many options
There’s no limit to the number of videos you can have on your channel, and if you get your account verified, there’s no limit to the length of each video. You can also have multiple playlists on your channel, to sort videos according to sermon series, or mid-week versus Sunday services, or any other criteria.
Every video has an embed code, which can be used to embed the video into another website. This way, you can feature one of your own videos on your church’s website without having to have a special video player for your site. Embed codes and share links also allow other people to share your videos out on their own websites or social media.
YouTube offers a wealth of video options and tools to help you. Using this popular resource can provide your church with new ways to reach people and share your message with the world.