If you create video content and use YouTube as your communications platform, then you have to check out the YouTube Creator Playbook. Billed as a compilation of important tips, best practices, and strategies, the Creator Playbook is a must-read for all levels of YouTube users. It literally is 70 pages of awesome. Seriously, if you want to get better at using YouTube, read the Creator Playbook.
New content creators will speed up their learning curve and seasoned pros will definitely learn something new. One of the most important points for everyone to read is that most viewers on YouTube decide in the first 10-15 seconds whether or no they are going to continue watching your videos. Getting valuable content to users at the beginning of a video is critical. So many higher education videos on YouTube place their best content near the end of a clip. What happens if no one watches past the first minute? Capture, captivate and communicate early in your YouTube videos.
Informational videos can get pretty boring if they don't have a call to action. Encourage viewers to do something. Perhaps you want to create a space for dialog by asking viewers to comment after they watch your clip. Get people to act by creating compelling content. Tell stories that resonate with people. We might not be amazing videographers (yet), but at least we can craft a story for our students.
Note: If you place a YouTube icon on your webpage, make sure you regularly publish/upload new videos. Audiences will quickly recognize that you don't have a strategy in place if your channel has a couple of videos from 2009. Video (and let's face it, YouTube is the best platform for higher education videos in 2011) needs to be part of a student affairs strategic communications plan. Build it in...and don't forget to measure it.
On Wednesday, YouTube announced a new Analytics feature for content creators. If you love data, and I know that you do, then YouTube Analytics is going to make your day. Use Analytics in conjunction with the tactics, tips, and strategies that you glean from the Creator Playbook. It's really fascinating to check out where people are watching your videos. Analytics shows you if users are watching your clips as embedded content in webpages, directly on YouTube, via their mobile device, or on a YouTube channel page. It takes your gut out of the equation. We're no longer guessing about the behavior of our audience. The stats show us exactly how our content is being consumed.
Audience Retention is one of my favorite metrics in YouTube Analytics. It shows you the "views of every moment of the video as a percentage of the number of views of the beginning of the video." Sounds complicated, but it's a great measure for engagement and whether or not your videos are "sticky."
How are you using YouTube as part of your Student Affairs Communications efforts?
Do you tweet? Let's connect. Follow me on Twitter.