Searching for creative, affordable ways to spread the word about your Christian school? Hunting for ways to advertise, yet stay inside your ever-limited budget? Good news! There are many social media networks available to get the message out, and Twitter and Facebook aren't the only two. Try YouTube! This video sharing website allows users to upload and share videos. There's no need to be a professional videographer to share your video, either! In fact, most YouTube videos are recorded by average people with typical videos cameras and with little to no editing to video clips. Famous for emailed videos, most people think of YouTube as a place to view funny, real-life blooper clips, but this free website offers you an easy, simple way to spread word about your Christian school! In this first in a two-part series, you'll discover the reasons why YouTube is a great place to advertise, followed by ideas and tips on how to upload your own YouTube video.

Reasons to advertise your Christian school on YouTube:

Reason #1:  It's free to viewers and users! All you have to do to post a video is register with an account at the website. YouTube can save you a bundle of advertising costs because you can make and upload a video promoting your Christian school yourself with little or no cost to your school. In a time of economic hardship, this is a great way to save money for your Christian school while still promoting your mission to others.

Reason #2:  It's easy! From rookies to veterans, videographers featured on YouTube can be silly, serious, or sophisticated. Your Christian school can simply and quickly upload any type of video in minutes. From student-directed documentary, a day-in-the-life of a teacher, or the top 10 things about your Christian school, your imagination is the limit when making a video. Be sure to follow YouTube's guidelines for acceptable length, file size, and format. You can choose to broadcast and share your video with everyone or only certain people.

Reason #3:  There are a lot of people watching! YouTube is the largest video sharing website in the world with approximately 12.2 billion videos viewed per month in the United States. One of the largest search engines in the world, YouTube gets as many visitors as some search engines similar to Yahoo! and Google. The average American watched 187 videos per month in December 2009, and 86.5% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed an online video that same month.

Reason #4:  YouTube can promote your school website! Trying to get interested people to your Christian school website? Get the news out about it with a YouTube video. Show all the features your website can offer parents and students and talk about the activities and events your Christian school offers. Get the buzz generated by playing your video in your classrooms and sharing it with teachers and encourage them to send the link of the video on YouTube to friends!

Reason #5:  It's convenient to share with local churches! Encourage enrollment from families in other local neighborhood churches. Ask local pastors to play your video during a get together or even during services and send them a link to your video via email. Ask a nearby teacher or school administrator from your school to attend when a church is showing your video so he or she can help answer questions from the congregation.

Reason #6:  YouTube appeals to students! With the growth of social media at an unprecedented rate, websites like YouTube are attracting audiences of the younger generation. To meet students where they are, your Christian school must be visible where your students are. It is a fact that students as well as parents have an influence on the type of educational environment chosen. Keeping up-to-date with how families use the Internet and social media is essential to promoting your school and keeping your school doors open to share God's Word.

Interested in videotaping your own YouTube video? Wondering how your school can put together a fun, affordable story, documentary, or testimonial to share with others? Stay tuned and read next month's School Messenger for tips on how to make your own Christian school video! Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Get the idea out to your school board, administration, and parents today! Encourage interaction and promote ideas on how to portray and film your Christian school's best features. Discuss how to showcase the top reasons why to attend your Christian school, and then make your YouTube video filming a school-wide event in which everyone can participate.

Remember your Christian school's goal is sharing the good news of Christ's salvation to everyone. To do this, your Christian school should use every opportunity, large or small, to further your mission of salvation to the world. Explore every avenue like the Bible says in Matthew 28:19-20: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." To strengthen your passion to win souls for Christ, your Christian school must remember to go beyond the traditional to share the Lord's light to each and every person possible. Get started today by thinking of how you can promote your Christian school with a video!

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