Friday, July 16, 2010

YouTube and Non-profits (specifically theatres?)

Did you know that; every day there are over 2 billion views on YouTube? Every minute more than 24 hours of video are uploaded? The number one most subscribed channel on YouTube has almost 2.5 million subscribers? More than half of YouTube viewers visit the site weekly or more often? YouTube has been listed as the #2 most used search engine (below Google above Yahoo.)? YouTube has a special program geared for non-profits?

How can non-profits, specifically theatres, utilize this website and the community in it to help their organization and gain exposure and increase the awareness and appreciation of theatre?

This past weekend I attended VidCon2010, a conference specifically geared toward youtuber users and watchers. I registered for the “Insider Track” which cost a little extra got gained you access to more business oriented panels and discussions. Most of the discussions revolved around making a career off of being on YouTube, helpful to maybe me personally but not my desire to bridge the gap between YouTube and non-profit organizations. However when the conversation shifted toward business partnerships, brand connection and copyright law I was able to bridge that gap, I’m going to share some of the things I realized and pondered about.

FIRST: If you’re a non-profit organization check out the non-profit program guidelines, apply for it. I’m not sure what the criteria are, (being on the site for a certain amount of time, a certain # of videos uploaded, a certain # of views) but it couldn’t hurt. Once you become a non-profit partner you get access to some really cool branding tools but most important you can put annotations and links in your videos that will take them off site (perhaps to a donate now, or a buy tickets page.)

The first instinct is because many of us work in theatre it’s about creating our own content, putting on the site and hosting the videos. But there is indeed a whole world and community of vloggers who are creating their own content, building their own audience, and they are all over the U.S. How can we partners with these vloggers to get exposure to their audience or to get them to help create content for our organizations? (FYI: In the YouTube non-profit program they do have a program that helps you connect with content creators to help your business get exposure on YouTube.)

Now I’m not talking about someone like Ryan Higa (The Number 1 most subscribed user on YouTube) or Dave Days (Another highly subscribed YouTubers who recently did a Pop tart related video) as these people might expect a nice hunk of $$ to do a video or review. After all, YouTube has become their jobs (some of them making six figure incomes.) But how about working with YouTube to meet some smaller vloggers who might be interested in seeing shows at your theatre company for free in exchange they record a quick review on their channel. Even if their subscriber base is small you have a review video that you can post on your own site, twitter or facebook.

Even encourage YouTube reviews from your audience, ask them to post video and then e-mail you links, create a playlist of reviews for a show and feature on your channel. By giving other video creators in the world the access to our organization gives them something to talk about. And their videos are great exposures and communication and PR tools that our organizations can use.

There are at least millions of registered YouTube users and many of them creating videos. Business and organizations need to start reaching out to them and inviting them through our doors.

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