Promoting church events used to be expensive. Even if you paid half-price to be on the church page in the newspaper, which not even the church people read, it still took a chunk out of your wallet.
But because of technology and social media all that has changed. For the better.
Now you can let people know about your upcoming church event in a fun, free way using the power of video. How do I know this? Because I just did it for an upcoming event for our church.
Since it was so easy to do, I thought I’d pass along what I learned so you can use this info, too.
My next sermon series is called “It’s Complicated: What the Bible Really Says About Love, Sex & Relationships.” To kick it off, we’re bringing in Randy & Monica Zachary. They do a daily radio show out of Chico, California and conduct marriage and relationship workshops. They have an amazing story of God’s redemptive power to heal broken relationships.
Instead of paying to advertise in newspapers that almost no one reads any more, I took a few minutes last Saturday to record three short video interviews with Rand & Monica over Skype. We’re showing them in church on the Sundays leading up to the weekend they’ll be with us. And we’re uploading the videos to our church website page, Facebook page and Twitter account so church members can share them with others to promote this weekend event.
Here’s the second of the three videos we shot.
Now here’s how it works.
Getting Set Up
All you need is a laptop with a camera and a broadband connection.
First, Set Up Skype
If you don’t have a Skype account, go to Skype.com and follow the easy instructions. It’s totally free.
Next, Set Up a Recording Program
Skype doesn’t have a video record feature, but there are several programs that will help you do that. I use Evaer.com because it’s free, fast and easy. Go to Evaer.com and install their software. Then link Evaer to your Skype account, following this instructional video I found on YouTube.
Evaer is free as long as all the Skype videos you record are under 5 minutes. As you’ll see below, that’s all the time you’ll need.
That’s it. You’re ready to record a Skype video!
1. Keep It Fun
Keep the serious teaching for the sermon series or weekend of meetings. People don’t watch serious videos. And if they watch them, they don’t share them. This video is not the meat of your presentation, it’s the sizzle.
2. Keep It Short
The most-watched videos are all short. Long videos don’t get shared. Long is fine if you want to record the event itself and put that on Facebook or YouTube. The point of this video is not to teach, but to promote. Keep it under 4 minutes. Under 3 is even better.
3. Prep Your Interviewee
Take a few moments before shooting to make sure the audio and video are recording. Chat with the person you’re interviewing about the kinds of questions you’ll be asking, the time limit you’re working with, etc. But don’t overprepare. You want it to feel fresh and unrehearsed.
4. Shoot More Than One Video
I had three subjects I wanted to tackle with the Zacharys. 1) Why people should come to church on a Friday night. 2) What the Saturday workshop will look like, and 3) Some of their less-than-perfect story. That would be too much to jam into one video, but it’s just right for three videos.
5. Optimize Video Quality
One of the great things about the YouTube video era is that people don’t expect a studio-quality recording of videos like this. In fact, they’re less likely to trust something that looks too slick. But even with that, no one will watch if the picture is too pixelated or it freezes or jumps. So get the best high-quality broadband connection that you can. Even better, go old-school and plug your laptop in to your broadband router with an ethernet cable. Have the interviewee do that on their end, too. We both did that for this video.
6. Optimize Audio Quality
Any newer laptop can record good enough video for a 3-minute YouTube video, but none of them have good sound quality. So I don’t recommend using the mic on your laptop, if you can avoid it. It will catch background noise and some feedback, too.
In the video I shot, you’ll notice that Randy & Monica, being on the radio every day, have a high-end radio boom mic. But you don’t need that. Just grab any set of earbuds that have a mic attachment. If you own an iPad or iPhone, you have one already. You can see mine hanging from my ear. If you don’t have a mic, shoot from a very quiet room, sit close to the laptop mic and speak very clearly.
7. Minimize the Windows
If you minimize your Skype window in one corner of your screen, you’ll have room for Evaer in the opposite corner. That will allow you to start and stop the recording seamlessly, while being able to glance occasionally at the Evaer timer. This screenshot shows you what that looks like.
8. Record It WIDE, Not Tall
The biggest mistake most people make when recording video is holding the camera up-and-down. When you do that, it will play back in just the middle third of your screen. I know you won’t be tempted to hold your laptop sideways, but this is an important enough principle to mention for all your video recordings. Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS record sideways!
Showing the Videos
If you have a YouTube channel, upload your video there. Use YouTube’s “enhancements” feature to embed your church’s website and any other needed info, as you can see in my video. Then share your YouTube video link wherever people will watch it.
If you don’t have a YouTube account, you can upload the video directly to your church website, Twitter and/or Facebook. But I recommend YouTube for a lot of reasons, including the ability to embed pop-ups easily and cut-and-paste the video quickly to other venues. It’s free, too.
Start uploading the videos a few weeks in advance and stagger their release, one each week.
Show them in church. Send them in emails. Encourage your congregation members to share them with their friends. When someone shares your video, they are far more likely to attend the event themselves and bring their friends.
And make sure to send the video link to your guest speaker and/or singer so they can share the video with their social media contacts.
And there you have it. Great video promotion for your church event that’s fun, easy and free.
So what do you think? Do you have any promotional tips you can add?
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