I just got involved in a charity event we’re planning for later in 2008 and one component of it is going to be a series of videos we release through YouTube. Is there some way that people can find out about them without us having to send out a never-ending series of press releases or updates?
You bet there is. YouTube has a terrific feature called “channels”, which are exactly analogous to TV channels, except you’re the programmer, get to control what’s available, and it’s all your videos. Let me show you how to do that and you’ll instantly see how it can be the perfect solution for your upcoming project, then I’ll give you a couple of tips on how to build up a viewer base even now, months before you’re ready to launch.
First off, you’ll want to go to YouTube and sign up for an account using a name that’s memorable and consistent with your project. That account name will be your channel name. For example, I have “AskDaveTaylor” as a channel on YouTube.
Once you’ve done that, you can configure your channel and build a subscription button, among other things. Do that by finding your personal menu:
Click on “My Channel” and you’ll see the many, many different things you can configure:
There are different things to fill in on this page, but you’ll want to ensure that you keep findability in mind when you write a description so you ensure it has some keywords to help you be found when people are poking around on YouTube itself.
That’s basically how you create a YouTube channel. Notice on this same screen it shows you the URL that’s a shortcut to what will be a list of your videos, updated as you add new ones. On this account, my YouTube channel shortcut is:
Not much there if you click on it, I admit, which is a problem for this demo because you need at least one video to get some of the more interesting YouTube functionality, but if we look at my friend Tim’s channel, where he has quite a few videos, you’ll see how it works…
Go to http://www.youtube.com/askthebuilder and look for the subscribe link:
Click on that link and you go to a page with the URL
Which means that, theoretically at least, we should be able to substitute any channel name and have it work. Let’s try it!
Sure enough, click on http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=ADTdemo and you can subscribe to my new YouTube channel, even though there aren’t any videos yet.
This is good, because if you can get people to subscribe to your channel then they’ll automatically be notified when you do start to post video clips for your charity event.
As a result, one thing you can start promoting in newsletters and online is that subscription link. For example, you might have something like this:
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and enjoy all our videos!
Go to: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=ADTdemo
Another important promotional idea: once you have the channel set up, create one or two teaser videos, even if they’re just 30 seconds long. Just something to stake out your territory, as it were. Plus, then there’s something for visitors to view.
Hope that helps you out. When you do launch your charity event promotions, please come back here and give us a URL (and YouTube channel URL!) so we can help you promote it too.