This post is part of our "BizBlog Series", which was formerly its own blog. Check back each week to see articles for partners and advertisers on YouTube, or search under the label, "BizBlog".

In this election season, we've been working with political campaigns to understand how best to take advantage of what YouTube has to offer on a free and paid basis for getting their message out. Recently, we hosted a webcast to provide some tips to candidates running for office and advocacy groups campaigning for ballot issues on ways to present your candidate or your issue and engage with your constituents on YouTube. Did you miss it? No problem, we boil it down to 5 key tips for you here:

Tip #1: Search for your candidate or issue on YouTube. What did you find? With 2 billion video views per day, YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google. You most likely have a search engine strategy for the top search engines - is YouTube included in that plan? If not, what are the top results - is it your opponent’s message or is it one that frames your message in a positive light?

Tip #2: Master your destiny on YouTube. Set a destination for your candidate or issue by signing up for a politician channel. It’s free and enables you to present your candidate or issue using video. Most importantly, it allows voters to find out more information about your campaign and can connect you to on-going efforts (volunteering, donations, or voter information).

Check out the channels for Jerry Brown and Carly Fiorina as examples of candidates running in California.



Tip #3: Consider paid advertising on YouTube. YouTube offers various cost-effective ad formats to help amplify what you may already be doing with other media. Promote your video as a Promoted Video against search results and related videos. Extend your TV ad assets with InStream Ads on YouTube, which we covered last week. Raise broad awareness with a homepage masthead ad or a one-day mobile roadblock. Included with YouTube advertising is free reporting on how your video ads are performing so that you can fine-tune your message and placement.

Tip #4: Engage in conversation with your constituents. Use free tools such as YouTube Moderator and video responses to start your dialogue. You can ask viewers to vote on topics they would like you to address. You can also hold weekly “chats” or an online “town hall” to directly answer their questions posed via YouTube Moderator or video responses.

For example, Texas gubernatorial candidate Bill White recently used Moderator to collect supporter feedback on curriculum standards.

Tip #5: Consult www.youtube.com/youchoose for more information. This site lists the resources described above and more. Use it to decide which tools work best for your campaign objective and budget. Whatever your issue or whomever your candidate, YouTube has an audience waiting to engage with you.

Happy campaigning!

Ramya Raghavan, YouTube News and Politics, and Jen Wasson, YouTube Ads, recently watched “Senate Candidate Freilich on a Cow