Many ministries are on YouTube, but they are not leveraging YouTube. There is a difference. Having a presence and getting traction are not the same thing. To make an impact with YouTube, it must be used intentionally as a distinct video communication channel. If you just use YouTube as a hosting platform for video that is from or for other purposes that is fine, but if you want to use YouTube as a proactive tool then other strategies are needed.
The default way ministries tend to think about YouTube is as a place to put their video so a larger audience can find it. And this is okay, but if you want to have an impact ON YouTube then you must create original content that is FOR YouTube.
Ministry television content does not tend to work well on YouTube, neither does podcast content, or Facebook content. YouTube is a different platform and people use it differently. Audiences rally around different things. And that is what you must do; you must become a rally point for an audience. Just because content is good does not mean it will work on YouTube, and unfortunately just because something works on YouTube does not mean it is good.
People go to YouTube to find, consume, and devour content they are passionate about. They follow channels that have proven themselves again and again, channels that educate, inspire, and entertain. And to be fair, every channel must entertain. Education and inspiration must be crafted and served in a way that also entertains to get the greatest reach.
Ministries struggle to use YouTube effectively because they do not think of it like a unique channel. They do not first consume content on YouTube themselves to become immersed in the culture and nuance of the platform. They take the wrong approach, use the wrong tone, or pursue old ideas instead of innovating.
And why innovate? Why think deeply, why invest the time and resources? What does YouTube offer that warrants all this? In short, YouTube offers the ability to reach millions and impact people in intimate ways at incredible scale. YouTube has 2.1 billion active monthly users around the world. And you can reach those people at scale for free. Indeed, if you do it well enough then YouTube will pay you to reach them.
It may be free, but it is not without cost. In television, people create a message and spend big dollars to promote it. On YouTube the model is inverted, you spend the resources to create the video and hand it over to YouTube to essentially judge it and promote it based on how it is received. The more well received your videos are, the further they will go. When videos do not get traction you stop, learn, and experiment afresh.
I have seen so few ministries get it right on YouTube that it pains me. But there are others, some who have mastered the platform and reach millions with every video, who get tens of thousands of engagements and comments on everything that they post. And these ministries are paid by YouTube to reach the world with their message and mission.
The opportunity is great for those willing to pursue it.
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