The popular perception of YouTube is that it is really simple, easy, and anybody can slap up a video. In addition--if it is catchy, funny, or inspiring enough that the video will go viral and the video creator will gain immediate fame and fortune.
It really doesn't work that way.
I've spent a lot of time on YouTube lately trying to understand how it works and how I can make the most of it to equip and inspire church communicators. Part of that has been to study some of the popular producers and to look the advice YouTube gives on realistically how to make a video channel that will have significant impact on the audience you want to reach. My first conclusion is that it is much, much harder and more difficult than I imagined.
At the same time, if you follow their instructions--which require a tremendous amount of time and precise, repetitive work--chances are you will achieve your goals.
One set of instructions is their Creator Playbook
Without going into details, which I am very much in the process of learning and trust you will see the results of, I want to share the Creator Playbook from YouTube. CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE to go to download the ebook--it's free for anyone who wants it.
The Creator Playbook has 91 pages of how-tos. The book is one of the most useful, well-written and laid out of any ebook I've seen in a long time. It is worth the time to download it simply to study the structure.
More than that, it is a reality check. If I want to use video effectively to help train church communicators (and notice I said help train, not everyone is into video and I will continue to practice what I preach on the need for multi-channel communication) that it will take lots of time, work, focus, and prayer for understanding to make it work. The big and splashy aren't what count--it is learning how to do many new, repetitive, tasks:adding annotations, creating playlists, release schedule, better links, captions, descriptions--learning how to use analytics. Yet when I get past the initial, "Oh, my....how will I ever do this?" --there is also a growing excitement of how powerful the final results can be and awe of the incredible tools the Lord has given us.
How this YouTube experience applies to church communications
I'm not sure where it comes from, but there seems to be a pervasive sense in many churches that if the church prays enough (not to diminish the power of prayer and its absolute necessity) that the church will discover some magic tool that will solve all their communication challenges and have newcomers flocking to the church and members attending all the events outside Sunday morning. Or maybe that they don't need anything at all--just lots of prayer and claiming verses and church growth will happen.
Success in church outreach and growth doesn't work that way.
For church success in fully fulfilling the Great Commission (having people come to know Jesus as Savior and grow to mature disciples in Him) is not done with one flashy PowerPoint, church video, outreach campaign or any other one thing. Like the YouTube Playbook, church growth in numbers and people in Christ-like maturity requires many, steps done well and repeated indefinitely. Once again I am reminded that effective church communication, like many other aspects of the Christian life is "a long obedience in the same direction."
That's why Effective Church Communications exists; that's why I'm expanding the distribution and, I hope, ease of accessing the many videos I have on the basics of church communication. So much work to do--I'd better get back to it.