This week, we will be looking at sharing video content through YouTube. This platform is a versatile tool to share internally or externally produced videos. Online video is hugely popular with today’s internet users. Cultural organisations are increasingly looking to video to educate, inspire, and document their activities. This capacity can range from ad-hoc commissions of videographers as part of funded projects, all the way to staff and volunteers producing videos in-house with dedicated equipment. Whatever your means of production, YouTube is a good home for content, especially content that needs to be distributed multiple times across a variety of channels.
Posting content on YouTube is an easy (and fun) process. After navigating to the website, you can sign in on the top right using your Google account. If this is your organisation’s first time using the site, you’ll be prompted to start setting up your channel. Your channel is your hub from which you can post your content, and engage with your audience on the site. The layout is simple and is typical of Google’s user-friendly approach.
If YouTube becomes a part of your communications strategy, then this is worth doing with your relevant colleagues who have oversight on such things. Otherwise, feel free to add as much branding and information as you feel is appropriate. Other organisations tend to treat the site as any other digital asset, and so it is common to see their channels branded like their other platforms.
There’s a button next to the search bar for uploading content. Clicking it will allow you to select the file you want from your computer. During this process, you’ll be given the chance to give your video an appropriate title and description, as well as tagging it with relevant search terms. It’s worth spending a little bit of time crafting this to ensure that your content is accessible via the search bar.
You can also make use of some limited editing tools for making minor alterations to lighting and annotations. For those without dedicated editing software, this is a useful tool to improve the quality of your videos. For accessibility purposes, there’s also the option to add subtitles and translations, which the user can enable and disable as required.
Each individual video you upload allows you to view detailed audience data. Like Twitter and Facebook, YouTube provides real-time info on audience demographics, traffic sources, and playback devices. Additionally, YouTube also provides data on audience retention on each individual piece of content; so you can get insight into when you lost your audience’s attention. This is a huge bonus for creators who are looking to optimise their content for their audience or experiment with new audiences.
Sharing your YouTube content is as easy as clicking the share button on the video player. From there, you can access your other social media, emails, and even an embed links into your website. Sites like Twitter and Facebook allow the user to access the video on their website when viewed on a computer- the analytics are still available on the main YouTube site. You could even create a QR code using the link and put it somewhere in your venue for visitors to access more information on stories and objects.
YouTube is at the cutting edge of online video technology. At the upper limit, users can upload videos up to 12 hours long, or 128GB in size! The site also supports resolutions up to 4K. This puts YouTube firmly ahead of other leading social networks in terms of flexibility with videos. For organisations conscious of the long-term viability of the platform, they can be confident that it has so far been ahead of the curve for technological advancements.
As well as being a home for videos in all shapes and sizes, YouTube has a thriving community who consume billions of hours of content a year. Like other social media channels, YouTube users can like, dislike, and comment on posts, as well as subscribe to channels they watch regularly. Educational content can be a great place to foster debate and engagement. For organisations looking to branch out online, YouTube is a great place to be.
The platform is great for anyone looking to get their video content out there, be they museum educators, digital specialists, content marketers or anybody else with a special interest in video.
Online video continues to grow and is a great way to get people excited about heritage. With modern mobile devices putting the power of video at many people’s fingertips, having the right tools to share and grow online is a top priority for heritage staff managing digital development. For those looking to put their video content out there, YouTube is highly recommended.
Ease of use: 4/5