The WordPress for Toastmasters sharing tool for YouTube is designed to assist with the sharing of speech videos, either publicly or for club member’s eyes only. (See also: video demo).
It works with several other features, including:
- The Members-Only category for blog content. Also useful for publication of content such as meeting minutes intended for distribution within the club, this special category prevents blog content from being displayed except for logged in members.
- The RSVP Email tool included with RSVPMaker, the events calendar plugin included in WordPress for Toastmasters. This tool allows you to create and format email content using the WordPress editor. You can use it to prepare emails with embedded video content for distribution to members.
- The ability to tag blogs with the names of members. By doing this consistently, we can more easily look up old emails from our archive.
In clubs where members might like to learn from watching their speech videos, but don’t necessarily want to share them publicly, you can still upload them to YouTube as unlisted videos, then share them to a members-only email list and add them to your blog as members Members Only posts.
Before giving the how-to details, here’s an overview of what using this tool accomplishes.
Club Awesome Toastmasters, the home club of WordPress for Toastmasters developer David F. Carr, has several years worth of Members Only video blog posts in its archives, each tagged with the names of the speakers. They are searchable, allowing members to go back and see all their old speech videos.
Most of these are individual video clips, where each speech was recorded separately, and the blog post includes a roundup of all of them for a week’s meeting.
More recently, the tool has been updated to work better with the posting longer videos that include several speeches, such as the replay of a meeting conducted online using Zoom. These posts can still include tagging of members who spoke, with titles and speech project details pulled from the agenda.
After each week’s meeting, members also receive an email containing the same content shared to the blog.
When blog posts are tagged Members Only, website visitors who are not logged in see a prompt saying a password is required.
If a website visitor is not logged in, Members Only posts aren’t displayed at all in the main blog listing. We do list them on a sidebar, where public posts aimed at marketing the club show under Club News, separately from Members Only Content.
Some online clubs, including Online Presenters, routinely post replays of their meetings publicly — Online Presenters is an advanced club with very experienced members — but can still use this tool to catalog member speeches.
How to Use the YouTube Speech Video Sharing Tool
Now that you know what you can create, here’s how to to do it. Look for the YouTube Toastmasters option under Media. This utility allows you to create a blog post, an email message to members, or both.
The form is a long one, so we will tackle it in sections.
Top of the Form
The radio buttons at the top of the page allow you to specify the whether or not a blog post will be created and whether or not an email message should be created based on your input.
Blog posts can be added to the Members Only category, meaning that you must be logged in to see the contents, or they can be public. They can also be created as drafts to be edited further, or they can be published immediately.
The section at the top of the page lists speaker names, speech projects and speech titles, based on whatever was recorded on the agendas of recent meetings. Check the checkbox next to each one that will be included in the blog post and/or email you are creating. If there is an individual email clip associated with that speech, enter it here.
If speeches from the agenda are being published as part of a longer video, such as the recording of an entire meeting conducted online, check off the speeches but leave the YouTube Link field blank. There’s a place to the meeting replay link farther down the page.
Below the speaker and speech listings pulled from the agenda, there is a section where you can enter speaker names and speaker details manually. If a speaker is a member of the club, pick from the Select Member dropdown list. You can also type in the name, for example of a guest speaker. Again, if there is a specific YouTube link associated with that speech, enter it here.
You can also enter a YouTube link that includes several speeches, which is how you might publish the replay of an online meeting. The suggested text for these links is the date of one of your recent meetings, but you can change it to whatever you like.
At the bottom of the form, there is an opportunity to enter a policy statement that will be included in the blog and email content you create with this tool. At Club Awesome, this includes a reminder that these videos are meant to be shared within the club only unless otherwise specified and should only be shared within the club.
After clicking Save Changes, you will see prompts to view or edit the content you have created.
Sending the Email
Posts created with the RSVP Email tool are displayed in a special email preview template, rather than a regular website template. When viewed by a logged in user with the right to send messages, it includes options at the top of the page for sending messages to various audiences — including all website members. It’s also possible to send a test message to yourself.
If you see errors, click Edit to revise the content. When you are ready to send check the Website members checkbox and click Send Now.
Modifying Categories and Tags
Video blog posts created with this tool are automatically tagged with the names of members whose speeches are automatically tagged with the category Video and, optionally, Members Only.
In WordPress, categories are a more formal taxonomy of posts, while tags are more ad hoc. Both are displayed on posts so you can click on a category to see all the other posts in a category, or click on a tag to see all the similarly tagged posts.
You can manually add or correct these tags using the Documents tab of the sidebar in the WordPress editor.
Archive Tagged by Member Name
After you have been tagging videos in this manner for months or years, you may find it useful to create an index of them by adding this code to one of the pages of your site.
For example, after several years of consistently tagging member speeches this way, Club Awesome now has a page on its website where members can go back to look up recordings of their old speeches.