Race organizers, we need to talk. The merits of social media for race promotion have frequently been discussed, yet a key platform is often left out of the conversation: YouTube. Yes, that magical realm of cat videos and Rick Astley can be used for more than just wasting time at work! It’s also a seriously powerful race promotion platform.

Don’t believe us? Well, the numbers don’t lie. According to ReelSEO, 93% of marketers use video in their campaigns and 82% have confirmed that it has had a positive impact on their business. In fact, Diode Digital determined that video promotion is 600% more effective than print and direct mail combined! Are these stats surprising? Not when you consider the fact that more than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube.

Convinced yet? Here are a few ideas to help you utilize YouTube to its full race promotion potential!

Brand it Right

Before you hit that ‘Upload’ button, be sure your YouTube profile is looking pro. Fill out that ‘About’ description and upload your logo and a branded banner. There’s even a spot to include your social media links and contact information! Be sure to also connect your YouTube account to your company’s Google+ page (if you don’t have one, you should!) to boost your ranking in Google search.

Provide Helpful Content

Just like you would in your other communications, share content that is relevant to your racers. This could include a preview of the course or training and nutrition tips.

Get Participants Involved

It’s not just up to you to create content! Encourage participants to share their stories and make videos of their training journey or race day experience. Not only is this great engagement with your participants, but it will help add authenticity to your brand.

Go Behind-the-Scenes

Showing the personal side of your brand is a great way to build trust and there’s so many ways to do it! Try filming short interviews with staff about their role in the race or encourage participants to submit questions for a race organizer Q & A. Don’t be afraid to get creative and show off the fun side of your organization!

Showcase Race Day

Create a highlight reel from race day: conduct interviews with finishers and families and film the best parts of the post-race party. Snazz it up with some music and ta-da! You have an easy way to show would-be participants what they’re missing and give current participants the chance to relive the experience.

Go Live!

That’s right, YouTube also doubles as a live streaming service and any of the aforementioned ideas can be utilized this way. Granted, there is a downside: your live stream is gone as soon as it ends—it won’t live on the site and thus can’t rack up views (and engagement) over time. But it can add a sense of urgency and exclusivity, making people more likely to tune in and feel as though they are getting something special.

Final Reminders

The success of your video will ultimately be driven by your content, but there are a few tricks to boost engagement even further. Do your research and use powerful keywords in your video descriptions. Including your company description and a link to your website isn’t a bad idea, either. The fewer steps it takes for people to find more information, the better! Geotag your video to reach more locals and take advantage of annotations (those little pop-ups in the video) to guide people to action. And finally, repurpose your videos! Share them on Facebook and Twitter, where they’ll be embedded right into your followers’ newsfeeds.

Remember, you don’t have to be a movie director to make quality content. While some are taking it to the next level with drones and GoPros, a simple smartphone will do the trick. And if you’re feeling fancy, there are plenty of video apps and accessories to turn your smartphone into a movie-makin’ machine!

If you need a little extra guidance on how to use YouTube for your race promotion, download our free Race Directors Advanced Guide to Social Media.

And, for a little inspiration, check out these videos from our partners:

HMF Events Blue Back Mitten Run presented by UnitedHealthcare

Skinny Raven Pub Run

ShaZam Racing’s Detweiler at Dark

For all your other race management needs, contact us.