Day 2 of YouTube week here on the blog = a how to guide to take full advantage of using annotations in your videos. We’ll check out different types of annotations you can use and best practices for making them attractive instead of distracting.
Since some of you are members of YouTube’s Nonprofit Program but others of you aren’t yet or can’t be (see yesterday’s post for more information) so this post will have tiers of usability. If you don’t qualify for a nonprofit channel, follow all the text in black. If you do have a nonprofit page, read the black text but take note of the additional perks you have in blue.
The spotlight tool is my favorite for a nonprofit video because it’s super versatile– it can have no characteristics of its own but still create a linkable hotspot. Or you can give it a border and text that appears when scrolled over.
A speech bubble is a fairly common annotation on YouTube; I wouldn’t recommend it for nonprofit videos unless you can really pull off ironic.
A pause is used to stop your video and could be useful if you want to hover on text or a certain compelling image and don’t have the means or time to do any editing to a video offline.
A note is like a classy speech bubble that can pop up or remain as long as you want on top of you video.
The titler does just that– allows you to create a title card for your video that you can put at the beginning or wherever you want for however long you want (“Awesome Video You’re About to Watch”). I would recommend not using this annotation tool unless you’re really pressed for time or editing software. YouTube titles are pretty easy to recognize and it gives the impression you didn’t care enough to think a little more about your packaging. But, in a pinch or if you’re quickly uploading tons of videos from a conference one after the other or something, it could be really helpful and fine.
On all of these, you can play with the background color, text size and font and duration of its existence. Here’s a helpful tutorial:
Now, I’m going to double back to the spotlight tool because I think it offers SO MUCH to the nonprofit world. It’s an exciting tool for your marketing, outreach and fundraising teams because it enables you to get creative and engage your audience deeper into your work than one simple video would.
Since the spotlight annotation can create a hotspot on top of your YouTube video without blocking anything like a note or speech bubble would, you can use it in all kinds of interesting ways. For pages that aren’t within the YouTube Nonprofit Program, annotations can link only to things within YouTube. But don’t get disheartened, you can still get creative in linking to your subscribe button or other videos of yours.
Think about if you have a series, maybe a bunch of videos of people who work for your organization all explaining why they love the mission and work. How cool would it be if at the end of each little 30 second or so spot you had that person ask if you next wanted to hear from the CEO, the volunteer or the donor and you created little button graphics that popped up as they asked? Then you could create spotlight annotations around each of those graphics that would each link to those three different videos. It’s like choose your own adventure learning about your organization!
For organizations that are enrolled in the YouTube Nonprofit program, you have the perk of being able to link to an external website from your annotations. This opens up a whole other realm of possibilities: embedded “Donate Now” buttons, “Buy this elephant’s painting” (elephant sanctuaries!), or even something like learn more about different types of cancers by clicking on different body parts within your video by putting spotlight hotspot boxes around the lungs, etc. as your speaker talks in the video. At the end of all your videos you can put your organization’s url using the title tool or spotlight tool allowing viewers to immediately click to your site after becoming emotional/intrigued/motivated by your video. So much potential!
Check out this video from Stillerstrong for some ideas of what you can do by creating graphics before you upload your video to YouTube and then using annotations to link from them:
For more information and examples of good uses of annotations, check back tomorrow for my Community shoutout to the Portnoy Media group and their work with the Union Rescue Mission.