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YouTube: Show & Tell

by dhuey

Video content has the unique capability to hold people’s attention and articulate a message in a captivating and visually appealing way. It has become an important component of any communications strategy.

At a minimum, most offices on Capitol Hill use YouTube to post floor speeches and television news hits.

That’s a start, but video can be used in a much more proactive and engaging way.

YouTube is a very convenient tool to aggregate, disseminate, and track your video content. YouTube has even taken several steps to make itself more amenable to Congressional offices, yet, its basic functions and the role of video content in general, are often misunderstood on the Hill.

YouTube is not a place to simply store floor speeches and news clips, but rather an important tool for establishing a narrative. YouTube gives you the ability to tell a member’s story unfiltered through the power of video. For example, instead of a press statement that might get a little bit of attention, a video response after a vote can deliver energy and get noticed.

Here are a few of the practical guidelines and techniques that we frequently use to help our clients make better use of their YouTube Channel.

Create Regularity

Establish a routine for posting your videos. Create a standard weekly or bi-weekly series; respond to major new stories with a thoughtful video, anything to foster the habit of developing content. People are more likely to watch more videos if they know more are on their way.

Diversify

There is nothing wrong with the occasional floor speech or press hit, but don’t make it the focus of your YouTube Channel. Those videos typically will not hold the attention of your constituents and the DC audience can find the same information in more convenient ways. If you do upload a floor speech, make it the most compelling, most interesting portion of the speech. Don’t drive away viewers by making them watch boring political procedure.

Change Location

Mixing up DC and home district settings is an effective way to hold interest, and show the relevancy of your member’s work to the audience back home.

Shape The Message

Use video content to define the issues and explain your positions.  Create issue-specific videos and feature them on the corresponding issues pages on your website.

Highlight

Highlight notable members of the community you represent and show the impact of federal policies back home. Everyone has a story to tell; help them do it.

Invite Video Submissions

Hold video contests and invite constituents to send in their own video. Create video town halls as a way to answer constituents’ questions. This will engage your target audiences and help to grow your foundation of interesting content.

Mechanics

Pay close attention to your title, description, and tags. YouTube is one of the world’s most important search engines, optimizing your content around the member’s name and related issues is a very important technique.