Marketing your summer is a stressful business these days. As we compete with more and more summer activities it is much harder to set ourselves apart.
Families choose camp (and hopefully your camp) by relying on two strong factors to make the decision: a referral from people they respect and an emotional connection to the camp, it's programs, and it's people.
Video is a strong mechanism to reach those families on both factors. By creating a great camp video (many, preferably) you give your current camp community something that they can pass on to their friends. Something that they can use to refer your program to them.
By creating great, intentional camp videos you also show families a bit of yourselves. Families need to feel comfortable leaving their children in your care, and it is hard to hide who you really are in the medium of video.
10 Things Every Camp Should Do on YouTube
- Educate. Don't use video as a bullhorn to just tell people how great you are. Teach parents how to choose a good camp, show them how to prepare their child so he/she does not miss home, explain your No-Cell-Phone policy.
- Appeal to kids. You can't go wrong by imagining you're Sesame Street. Keep the videos short, engaging, full of song and kid-focussed.
- Tour a sleeping area. Parents will feel more comfortable sending their kids to you if they know what it is like inside your cabin/tents (also see #6).
- Keep it short. Video watchers will give you 60 - 90 seconds of uninterrupted viewing before they start to get bored. If you want them to make to the end of your 3 minute video you better be really letting your awesome out. Anymore than 3 minutes and they're gone.
- Show us your WHY. You want camp clients who feel passionate about the thing that makes your camp different than the other 15 000 camps in North America. Make sure they know what your WHY is. HINT: it's not your new speedboat.
- Show off your food. Parents want to know where their kids will sleep and what they will eat. Show off your food and you are farther ahead than 99% of the other camps on YouTube.
- Interview your counsellors. Kids who have been to camp will want to see people they know ("Hey! Watch this video of my counsellor from last year!") and new parents want to see who will be looking after their children.
- Plan ahead. I have been using this awesome YouTube video from Camp Ouareau to illustrate this point. You have 2, maybe 3, months to capture all of the video (and photos) that you will need for next year. Make a list of the shots you want and make it someone's job to complete that list.
- Know your keywords. Keywords are those words that people use to search Youtube. By including good keywords in your description and video tags you will draw in more parents who are looking to make a summer camp purchase. Check out the YouTube Keyword Tool.
- Support your community. Interview staff or families who are doing stuff outside of camp. Think of it as karma.
Stay tuned to CampHacker for more information in the coming months about using YouTube for effective summer camp marketing. I'll spend some time and go into detail about these 10 ideas .