February Featured Video: Ranger Lake Bible Camp takes it!

Well, it’s February. As I look out the window at a herd of very shaggy horses standing in their snow-covered corral, I’m wondering: where in the world did January go? And I’m also wondering: when will summer ever get here?!

If you’re jonesing for some summer camp reminiscence, I’ve got the perfect thing for you. It’s a great summer camp video by Ranger Lake Bible Camp. It just happens to be our Featured Video of the month!

If potential parents or campers were wondering what’s in store for a week of camp at Ranger Lake Bible Camp, this video should clear it up — lots of fun activities, the chance to make friends and the opportunity to encounter God! This video made me wish I could go to camp!

And speaking of Ranger Lake: their website is pretty spiffy, too. I really like the design, and it’s really functional. They’ve included new things for 2012, which is a great way to promote their summer program and encourage registrations. You should check it out.

Is your camp putting together a promotional video for the 2012 camp season? If so, I want to see it! It could be our March Featured Video, which means a ton of exposure for your camp. Send it to me (Deanna) at communicate@cci-canada.ca!

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Birch Bay Ranch: CCI/Canada’s Camp Video Contest Winner – December!

Congratulations, Birch Bay Ranch! Your winter wonderland video was the winner of this month’s video contest!

Check out the video in all its festive glory:

Most kids who attend camp have no clue what happens at camp over the wintertime. They don’t know what it looks like or what kinds of activities are offered. A video like this can help connect your camp to its supporters all winter long.

We loved the rustic scenes shown in this video: a wintry barnyard complete with an assortment of farmyard animals, sleigh rides, a lodge all decorated for Christmas banquets and parties, a crackling fire… doesn’t it just make you want to drink hot cocoa and listen to Christmas carols?

We still want to see more winter camp videos! Your video can be as simple as a little tour of your facilities in wintertime. If your camp is on, say, the West Coast of British Columbia, where there’s little to no snow, your video can be tongue-in-cheek!

Send all video submissions to Deanna at communicate@cci-canada.ca!

The Quest at Christopher Lake: November Video Contest Winner!

It’s November 1st… which means we’re ready to announce the winner of this month’s video contest!

Congratulations, The Quest at Christopher Lake!

Check out their super fun and upbeat video:

This video is great because it is so upbeat, and also because it looked like it took a lot of coordination to pull off! Seriously, how did those kids on the jet ski know exactly when to drive by and wave? Amazing job. All of the campers look like they’re having an absolute blast, and their energy and happy smiles will definitely help draw people to their camp. Thanks again for a great video, The Quest!

Now, YOU need to send me a video from YOUR camp so that it can be considered as December’s winner! But here’s the thing: all video entries for December’s video contest MUST show what your camp is like in the wintertime. Even if it’s just a little tour of your own piece of winter wonderland. What kinds of activities do you do in the winter? Do you host Christmas banquets? Do you do sleigh rides? What about skating on the lake? Show me what you’ve got!

Promotional camp videos, search engine optimization, and why it’s important to your camp.

A great video is an excellent way to promote your camp. So you’ve made that great video… how great are you at making sure it’s seen on the Internet?

Here are some tips!

VIDEO HOSTING IS FREE! WHY DON’T YOU HAVE AN ACCOUNT YET?

While I do think it’s a great idea to upload videos to your website, I don’t think that’s enough. Having videos on your site makes for interesting content, and can really help sell your camp to interested clients. But in many cases, a person looking for a summer camp might not first go specifically to your website. For this reason, it’s important to host your videos on other sites as well.

Sites like YouTube, Vimeo, VideoBamBlip, and Viddler will host your videos for free. Putting videos on sites like these not only save you the sever bandwidth, they provide another point of entry to your website. An interested client might find your YouTube video before they’ve even seen your site. (By the way, you can read up on some tips for having a super website here.)

When signing up for an account:
–  Make sure you have a branded user name. Don’t just use someone’s personal account. Make a new account with the name of your camp as your user name.
–  If your camp is part of an umbrella organization (like Canadian Sunday School Mission camps, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship camps, etc.) make sure your user name is still just the name of your camp. It’s easy to get lost within a larger organization. If your user name is specific to your camp, it will be more easily searchable on Google and other search engines.
–  Sign up on multiple websites. The more sites your video is hosted on, the better the   chances you have of it coming up on a simple web search. To save time uploading videos to a whole bunch of sites, you can use a web service like TubeMogul’s OneLoad Video Distribution. They will distribute your video across all of your account sites, and they’ll also provide analytics to determine how broadly your video has been viewed. Their basic service is free, but you can upgrade to more MB and more services if you choose.

CHOOSE THE BEST WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR VIDEO

Try to think of what a person looking for a summer camp would type into Google. Will it be the exact name of your camp? Probably not. So your video shouldn’t just be titled “XYZ Camp” (or whatever your camp is named), and your description and tags should include specific search-engine keywords.

Ways to optimize your video’s searchability:
–  Think about what kind of camp you run and use those words in the title. If your camp is a wilderness adventure camp in Nipigon, Ontario, consider titling your video something like “[Your Camp Name] Wilderness Sleepaway Adventure Summer Camp, Nipigon, Ontario”. That way someone typing in “sleepaway summer camp, nipigon” may be more likely to find your video.
–  Put a link to your website first and foremost in the description of the video. Then go on to describe your camp, keeping in mind those important search-engine keywords. Although it’s probably smart to include contact information at the end of your video, you’re assuming people are going to watch it all the way through. If your link is the first thing they see in the description, they might click on it even if they don’t watch your video to the end.
–  Use tags! Think of every specific keyword someone might search, and tag your video as such. You can even use descriptors like “exciting” or “inspirational”. Use different words to describe the same activity, like “horses”, “horseback riding”, “Western riding”, “equestrian”, etc. And make sure to include general terms like “summer camp“, “sleep-away camp”, “residential”, “sports camp”, “arts camp”, “horse camp”, etc. Some people know the kind of camp they want to send their kids to, and some people aren’t sure yet. You need to use both specific and broad terms to make sure your video comes up no matter how they search it.

SHARE YOUR VIDEOS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

You might have a lot of “likes” on your Facebook page and a good contingent of followers on Twitter (and if you don’t know how to use those sites, contact me and I’ll hook you up) — so use that audience to gain some views on your video’s page.

You can set up Facebook to publish your YouTube videos to your camp’s page. Just add an application like this one to your profile and it will automatically publish your likes, favourites, and video uploads from YouTube to your Facebook page.

You can also upload your videos to applications like these ones, which will publish your videos to your Twitter feed. Some of these applications are more complicated than others. For its simplicity and awesome user-friendliness, I’m leaning towards TwitVid, but there are some other great options as well.

ONE OTHER WAY TO GET YOUR VIDEO SEEN:

Submit it to our video contest!

Sorry, I couldn’t help but plug our contest. But seriously, I’m going to post the winning video to Facebook, Twitter, this blog, and our monthly newsletter. That’s an big audience!

Keep thinking creatively to market your camp in our digital age. From the entries I’ve seen in our contest, I can tell that you’re all doing some really great things. The videos you submitted exceeded my expectations. Now you just have to make sure your hard work gets seen!