I spend quite a bit of time on the internet and since the launch of my School Spotlight series I’ve increasingly been viewing more and more social media sites managed by schools.
While researching school YouTube channels I was impressed with the George School’s presence on YouTube and as a result my current School Spotlight is George School YouTube Channel.
I’d like to thank Susan Quinn, Director of Digital Communications, at George School for answering the School Spotlight questions.
1. How long have you had a YouTube channel at the George School?
We established our YouTube channel at the end of June 2011 and spent the year watching and learning more about the channel. Previously, all of our video content was showcased on our website, www.georgeschool.org. Last spring, we designed our home page, added significant content to the site, and included a link to the channel on the footer of our website. We announced our expanded channel the opening week of school with a new video called “Opening Days.”
2. How many people manage your YouTube channel?
Three people collaborate on the management. Post launch of the expanded site, the total time involved in management tasks is about one hour per week.
3. How many people create video for your YouTube channel?
To supplement content development for this first year, we’ve added a part-time video intern to our team. Moving forward, we hope that our content will be crowd-sourced, based on a model we’ve adapted from our weekly photo-journalism newsletter, “Our Week in Pictures.”
4. How much time does your group spend managing your YouTube channel?
Prior to launch of the expanded channel, about 100 hours. Currently, we spend about one hour per week managing the channel.
The major time spent with YouTube, like with most websites and other social media channels, is really focused on content development. Our goal this year is to post one new video, created specifically to the channel, each month September through June. This is in addition to other video content our community has planned, including athletic highlights, theater performances, and the like.
This video content will highlight an activity on campus and will run somewhere between two to three minutes. As a rule of thumb, we plan twenty-four hours or three days per video. That includes four hours planning and scheduling, four hours filming, twelve hours editing, and four hours in approval, posting, and promoting.
5. Are there any tools you use to manage your YouTube channel?
No. For video editing, we use Adobe’s Premiere Pro CS6.
6. What are your goals for your YouTube channel?
Our objective for our YouTube channel is to engage prospective students and their families and give them a broader look into life at George School. We also want to encourage engagement among current students and families, alumni, and general community members.
Our goals this year are to 1) add one new video designed specifically for the channel each month of the school year, 2) grow our audience and subscribers, 3) promote the channel through other social media channels including Facebook and Twitter to learn more about how they work together, and 4) track analytics to better inform our plans for next year.
7. Is there a certain type of video that is more successful than another?
So far, videos promoted through news articles, Facebook, and Twitter are most successful. As a category, performances are most watched on the channel, followed by athletics.
8. If you knew then what you what now – what advice can you share for schools just starting out with YouTube?
When you are planning your channel, remember to plan time to create video descriptions and meta tags that help promote your videos. It is tempting to just post the video, but these finishing touches are important to add for your viewers as well as for search engine optimization.
9. Can you share one ‘secret’ which has helped your YouTube Channel to be successful?
We’ve created an editorial calendar for the year as we were planning to launch the expansion at the start of the school year. This has helped us stay on track for content development so that we always have a variety of news to share. The calendar also reminds us to promote our channel across multiple platforms.
10. What tips can you share for creating videos for your YouTube channel?
Length is important. We find that somewhere between two to five minutes is about the right length for a video. For plays and other student performances for example, we create a “trailer” that showcases highlights from the production, rather than posting the entire performance.
Music is another key element. Allow time to work with online sites that offer free background music for your work and incorporate them into your production.
11. Is there anything else we should know about your YouTube Channel?
Not sure where this fits or if it might be important to your readers, but we made a decision to expand our online video content based on the success of our weekly photo newsletter, “Our Week in Pictures.” We consistently hear from applicants and their families that this feature, located on the bottom left corner of our website home page, has helped them better understand life and George School and to imagine how the school would fit into their lives and plans for the future. Launched in 2008, this crowd-sourced publication has grown to the point where we are selecting 25-30 photos from approximately 800 to 1,000 photos submitted each week and captioning them so that we can share stories about life on campus with our community. As general web content has been shifting from sharing photos to sharing videos, the launch of our expanded YouTube channel hopes to build on this success in a different medium.
I’d like to thank Susan and George School for agreeing to be a School Spotlight and if you have any questions for Susan please post them in the comments section below.