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Using video to reach teenagers on YouTube

Youth Questions on YouTubeLast March I shared with you all a project I started on YouTube to reach teenagers with solid advice and positive input on the situations they’re dealing with every day. About 40 of you responded and committed to join me in the effort, offering your own advice through videos you send me and that I later mash up together. It’s been wonderful partnering with so many of you on this project at YouTube.com/YouthQuestions!

Since we’re approaching 6 months of these videos on YouTube, I wanted to give you all a little update about it.

Experimenting with formats

I continue to experiment with different formats for the videos and am getting a feel for what works best. I’ve been doing “man on the street” videos, interviews both in-person and via Skype, videos of just me answering the questions, and more.

I took YQ to a YouTube conference

Several weeks ago I flew out to a YouTube conference in L.A. called VidCon and made a lot of great connections and shot a lot of Youth Questions videos with teens, adults, parents, and YouTubers. The past couple weeks I’ve just been editing all the content I shot out there and publishing that. However, that material should run out in the next couple weeks and I’m looking forward to getting back to some more “youth worker driven” videos.

Join me in answering questions?

If you’d like to join us in reaching teenagers on YouTube, comment below indicating so and use your real email address. I’ll add you to my email list where I send a list of upcoming questions we’re going to answer and you can respond with your video addressing the issue. All you need is something simple, like a Flip or a similar camera. No editing skills required. In fact, I ask that you don’t edit it.

It’s growing!

The YouTube channel continues to grow and we get new teen subscribers every week! Pretty soon it’s going to be hard to keep up with all the questions teens are asking, although there’s a lot of overlap between what’s being asked and some of the videos we’ve already created, so I have to figure out a system to automatically direct those kids to those videos when they submit a question, but that’s another project for another day.

The main questions teens are asking

The main questions that are being asked revolve around sexual identity. The second most-asked questions have to do with relationships, primarily with parents and boyfriends/girlfriends. Then there’s other questions in there, too, like about depression and eating disorders (that video comes out tomorrow it’s live now!).

Now YouTube pays me for these videos!

The Youth Questions videos have gained enough traction that YouTube has enabled the account for revenue sharing, which means I get a percentage of the revenue YouTube makes from ads that are displayed on and alongside of the videos. Right now that total comes to a couple pennies for me, but as the channel grows, the potential exists for this to be a side-income, allowing me to make this project sustainable, which is awesome!

Want to write discussion sheets for youth groups?

Perhaps the coolest part, though, is that youth workers are starting to use these videos with their youth groups, either as discussion starters or openers for their talks on various subjects. In fact, with the video about pornography, I even created a discussion sheet and offered it as a free download. Since then it has received hundreds of downloads and the video has almost 1,200 views.

I’d love to create a talksheet for every video and make them freely available with the video for youth workers to download and use each week to help them talk through these issues, but I haven’t carved out the time to do that yet. Anyone interested in collaborating with me on something like that? Comment below with your real email address and I’ll be in touch.

How to get these videos FREE each week

In case you’re not subscribed to the Youth Questions videos, you can sign-up for the email list that automatically emails the new videos out each week. Or here’s the Youth Questions RSS feed. Of course, you could subscribe on YouTube, as well, if you use their subscriptions feature.

Help me spread the word?

And if you don’t mind helping me spread the word about Youth Questions with your youth groups, friends, whatever, that would be awesome! Here’s the Youth Questions Facebook page and the Youth Questions YouTube channel. The more teenagers this can reach, the better!

Some of our latest videos

Thanks, everyone, for your support!


Posted on August 24, 2011

  • http://www.seventy8productions.com/ Jeremy Smith

    I love this project and independant from this project, next year's curriculum here at USAFA Club Beyond is going to center around answering the tough questions, both theological and practical). I would love to help in any way I can (both answering questions as well as transcribing some of the videos that I will probably use for my club talks). My regular personal email is gumbystation@gmail.com

    • http://www.studentministry.org Tim Schmoyer

      Great! Added ya to the email list of youth workers who are up for contributing videos of themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelMarchand @MichaelMarchand

    Tim – I totally love this idea! I'm all in to help with it all: videos, talk sheets, promo, whatevs. Hit me up.

    • http://twitter.com/MichaelMarchand @MichaelMarchand

      Sidebar: I really like the title sequence. Slick!

    • http://www.studentministry.org Tim Schmoyer

      Cool! Added ya to my email list. Thanks, Michael!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lukemcfadden Luke McFadden

    Tim, I'm in! Would love to contribute with videos and after effects stuff. I'm hoping to pickup Cinema 4D soon, which will help "amp" up my motion graphic stuff. luke@enterlife.net

    • http://www.studentministry.org Tim Schmoyer

      Sweet! Thanks, Luke! Gotcha on the email list.

  • http://www.youtube.com/mikeography Michael Eller

    Hey there I have a similar idea for ministry through a channel with a similar concept on here. I figure what better way to be able to reach anyone in the world than through youtube. I have been on youtube for the past 4 out of the 5 years it's been out. I started a comedy channel about a year ago and it has blown up very fast. I would say the best way to bring people in is ONE tag words, use as many related tags as you can, creative titles and advertise the video on multiple sites such as twitter and any other social networking tools you have for every time you post a new video. It's a good amount of work but once the word is out people will spread it on their own like they have been with my channel. I can't wait to see how this project evolves. I aspire to become a youth pastor after my contract with the military is up and have desired to reach out to teenagers and college aged kids since I became saved at around 13.

    • http://www.studentministry.org Tim Schmoyer

      Awesome, Michael! Fun to see another guy with a heart for youth ministry on YouTube! :)

  • Todd Michael

    Tim; After meeting you and and attending the SYMC 2011 in Chicago earlier this year I felt called to expand into TAG for our youth ministry, so I would enjoy getting involved. Todd Michael facetstm@msn.com

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