Volunteers Guide Video on Demand VOD

The Volunteer’s Guide to Video Streaming in the Church: On-Demand Video

Editor’s note: This blog post is the second in our series called The Volunteer’s Guide to Video Streaming in the Church. Stay tuned for our upcoming posts, helping to guide church volunteers as they enter the world of video streaming with their ministry.

In the initial post of this series, we addressed how to get started with live-streaming church services. In this installation, we’ll provide an introduction to setting up on-demand video of your services.  

It’s happened to all of us at some point – due to caring for a sick child or dealing with unforeseen circumstances, we couldn’t make it to church and were unable to watch the service live. In this instance, having the option to view the service at a later time would be ideal. For others, they might want to check out a new church but prefer to watch a service online before attending one in person. Finally, you may have people who are interested in attending your online service, but who are located in a different time zone, and wish to attend during their daytime hours.

On-demand video is an excellent way to reach people in these situations and help them participate in a full worship service at any time and from any location. Fortunately, setting up on-demand services is relatively straightforward. Here are two key on-demand video options and how to get started with each.

Option #1: Purely On-Demand

With this option, you’re providing a link to a service without including any live participation elements such as an online campus pastor or live chat. Many churches include only the sermon aspect of the service in these instances. This allows people to enjoy an entire sermon series at once, if they desire, or simply catch up on a message they missed recently.

Option #2: Simulated Live

To take full advantage of the opportunity to reach more people, a simulated live (or “sim-live”) worship service gives viewers the chance to attend (and not just watch) a service. This includes having an online campus pastor or volunteers available online during the service’s broadcast to interact with attendees. The interaction may consist of online chat, inviting attendees to attend a physical campus, praying with and for attendees, and more.

Making it happen

With today’s technology, both options are possible, and can be very easy to use. Solutions like the Haivision Video Cloud provide an end-to-end platform to bring your service from your church to your worshippers’ screens. Solutions like the Haivision Video Cloud include the ability to schedule your services to be ingested, transcoded, and published “live” to be viewed online. They can also include analytics tools to monitor attendee engagement and video performance.

The Haivision Video Cloud also includes a scheduler option, allowing you to schedule simulated live broadcasts at the dates and times you designate. This automated workflow handles the technical logistics behind the scenes, freeing up your team to interact with and minister to online attendees.

Tips for on-demand services

Tip #1: Keep your on-demand viewers in mind

Remember that people may view a worship service in a different time zone or even during a different month or season than it was originally recorded. To maintain the experience for on-demand viewers, try to limit references to the time of day (such as “Good morning, everyone!”) or the local weather (“Is anyone else ready for the snow to end?”).  

Keep in mind that you can edit out these types of references in post-production if needed, so you don’t always have to change your usual introductions to a service.

Tip #2: Leverage social media to promote the availability of on-demand services

Schedule posts on your church’s social media channels to let people know about an upcoming sim-live service or on-demand video. Post encouraging information about these services such as the number of attendees, various locations from which people viewed a message, or stories from those whose lives have been changed by these services. This helps people see on-demand services as more “real” and therefore value this aspect of your church’s ministry in a whole new way.

Tip #3: Create a content schedule

When you’re deciding what services to offer on a simulated live basis, consider how often and at what times to host each service. While it’s helpful to have a service run more than once, you don’t want to run the same one so many times that it becomes stale to your online campus attendees. Develop a content calendar and note the dates and times you plan on hosting each service on a sim-live basis.

Tip #4: Make video content search engine friendly

While promoting your on-demand services on social media and the church website are great places to start, you’ll also want to help search engines find and highly rank your church’s videos in search results. One way to increase the visibility of your videos to search engines is by using metadata. You’ll need to use your church’s online video platform to assign metadata to the video and audio content for search engines.  

Consider the following:

  • Make sure the video thumbnail image reflects the message effectively and will catch the eye of someone scanning through search results.
  • Use a title and description that are engaging and leverage common search terms or keywords.
  • Place the video towards the top of the page. Search engine crawlers (those things that find your webpages and categorize them for search results) are more likely to index videos that are easy to locate on a page.
  • Add closed captions to each video. Search engines will pull keywords from them to optimize search results.

On-demand video is an incredible tool to reach more people with the Gospel and help them grow in their spiritual walk. Click here for more information about how Haivision can help your church set up on-demand video capabilities or <span id=”talk-to-expert” class=”talk-to-expert-blog”>contact us today.</span>

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