Published April 01, 2017
Have you harnessed the power of YouTube to market your event? In a recent Hubspot.com article Sophia Bernazzani wrote, “2016 saw a surge in the popularity of video as a content marketing format. From 360-degree videos to Facebook Live, marketers are responding to audiences’ shorter attention spans by making content more interactive and visual — and it’s paying off.”
Unfortunately, many have yet to take the video marketing plunge. They cite a lack of time, equipment, or knowledge as the barriers keeping them on the sidelines.
Those may seem like good reasons – until you consider YouTube’s amazing potential.
- YouTube is the second largest search engine, behind Google
- 65% of video viewers watch more than three-quarters of a video
- 33% of tablet users watch about an hour of video on their devices every day
- 28% of smartphone users watch videos on their devices every day
- 75% of corporate executives watch work-related videos every week
- 59% of senior executives say that they prefer to watch videos rather than read text about the same topic
The truth is creating compelling YouTube videos doesn’t require a lot of time, expensive equipment, or training.
Just about any newer cell phone can capture high definition video, and when it comes to video editing software, there are lots of inexpensive, full-featured programs to choose from.
Apple’s iMovie supports 4K video and comes pre-loaded on every Mac desktop computer. For Windows users, Filmora is an inexpensive option that offers a robust toolset. And YouTube has a built-in video editor that allows you to make simple edits, stabilize shaky video, add filters, and other “tweaks” to get your videos ready for prime time.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Educate your prospects. You don’t have to be an expert event planner to show prospects how they can host a successful event at your site. Not everybody knows camps make great retreat centers.
- Appeal to the SMERF market. The social, military, education, religious, fraternal market is a mission-driven market with limited resources, and with costs for traditional venues on the rise, they’re a logical market for your camp or retreat center. Video can help you stand out from hotels by showing off your recreation options. You might even consider inserting a dash of humor, but be sure to test it out on an objective, unbiased audience before uploading it to YouTube. Few things in life are more painful to watch than humor that misses the mark.
- Take a virtual tour of your facilities. Some planners might not have time to schedule an in-person site tour. Help event goers re-imagine your facilities as a retreat center. Show them the welcome desk, guest rooms, and break-out meeting rooms. If you have a ropes course, demonstrate what a session of team building looks like. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
- Brevity is key. No more than three-minute videos, please. If you’re having trouble keeping it short (there’s just so much to say!), break down your footage in to specific segments “Lodging at Camp La Di Da Retreat Center,” “Make Your Event Special at Camp La Di Da,” etc. Some segments might be only a minute long. It’s better to leave your audience wanting more than to have them lose interest and navigate away from your video.
- Show us your PROGRAMS. Your facilities are better suited to host certain programs. If your venue has nature trails, you might be perfect for a meditation retreat. Do your facilities include well-maintained sports fields? If so you might be perfect for a sports training camp. Do you have hotel-style accommodations on-site? You might be the ideal venue for a wedding at camp.
- Show off your catering. Campers aren’t the only ones who care about the delicious meals you serve. Introduce your audience to your head chef or showcase sample meals on your menu. Retreat planners want to know they’ll be eating more than just grilled cheese and chicken nuggets.
- Interview your staff. Show prospective clients the friendly faces they’ll meet on-site.
- Plan ahead. Utilize your upcoming events. If you know you’re going to be hosting a large corporate picnic, make plans to get some video to show off those smiling participants. Just make sure you get approval to record the event in writing ahead of time. Let’s face it, we can only admire shots of empty facilities for so long.
- Promote your video. A video is only good as the number of views it gets. Ok, that’s probably not completely accurate, chances are your video won’t go viral organically. So, in addition to uploading it to YouTube, you should feature it on your website, share a link on your Facebook page, tweet it and/or post about it in your blog, and include a link to it on your proposals.
- Budget for it. Videos can be expensive to produce, but they don’t have to be. You can achieve a lot with a tiny – and very inexpensive – flip camera or your smartphone. Just beware of shaky hands!
Janyie Schultz is the co-founder and president of Retreat Central, an online directory of retreat centers in the U.S. Her involvement in the retreats industry began in 1986 when she co-founded and served as the vice president of Garrett Creek Ranch, a 460-acre executive conference center located in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. She continues to be involved in local and national non-profit organizations and leadership development programs.