Growing the “Strive to Be” YouTube Channel | Bailey Rindlisbacher

Bailey Rindlisbacher, BYU-Idaho Senior studying communications with an emphasis in Digital & Social Media.

Hi there, I’m Bailey! I am a senior studying communications with an emphasis in digital & social media. Since I was 14, I’ve found my creative outlet behind the camera, creating videos and taking photos. Telling stories, conveying emotion, and spreading joy became my passions. In college these skills expanded to data analysis, content creation, writing, and marketing. I’ve had the opportunity to work on digital & social media strategies on a small business, corporate, and international level.

Project Proposal

Recently, I was given an opportunity to create some content for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ youth Strive to Be YouTube account. I was thrilled at this opportunity and gladly accepted the chance to gain more experience.

For my senior project I will improve the Strive to Be YouTube channel by:

  • Analyze how the Strive To Be channel is utilizing YouTube currently
  • Research & study YouTube best practices
  • Apply the research to improve the channel by:
    • Creating a channel introduction video
    • Moderating & responding to all comments
    • Utilizing & creating YouTube Shorts
  • Summarize Results & give ideas for how the channel could continue to improve in the future

Strive to Be Channel Analysis

Where it began

For many years, the Strive to Be YouTube channel was an underutilized resource. The channel existed but hadn’t been used other than to publish the worldwide youth devotionals and yearly EFY/FSY youth music album.

However, the church learned that 95% of teens use YouTube and “about three-quarters of teens visit YouTube at least daily” (Pew Research Center). YouTube is a huge platform that can be used to reach the target audience- youth 11-18. Thus, in January 2023 the church decided to redouble its efforts to increase the faith of youth worldwide through YouTube. That’s where I come in!


I was invited to help assess the overall effectiveness of the YouTube channel, find areas of improvement, and create plans, strategies, and content to increase channel following.

Channel Challenges

  • Our target audience is worldwide. How do we create relevant content for worldwide youth who live in a variety of circumstances and speak different languages?
  • There’s not a lot of man power. There is only a small team of employees to manage and create content. Using our limited resources, what changs can be made that will have the greatest impact?


In my research, I learned that we can control 3 things in the YouTube algorithm- click through rate, watch time, and how many videos the user has watched from your channel (Wilson). Thus the big question arose, “How can I improve those things?” The answer is simple- by focusing on YouTube shorts, moderation, and by creating a channel trailer video.

#1 Best practice: Use YouTube Shorts


To get the most out of YouTube, it’s important to use all its features. They’ve been created for a reason, right? Views on shorts contribute to your overall watch time. Thus, it’s an easy and quick way to engage with your audience, increase engagement rate, and increase watch time; which will boost your channel to more users. There were a few shorts on the channel, but it wasn’t a real focus.

From HootSuite by Beveridge, Claire


With these best practices in mind I created the following two YouTube shorts. I came up with the video idea, wrote the text, revised it with church employees, found the music and video clips from church owned/archived footage, and edited the video.

Even Brad Wilcox liked the reel!

Screenshot of Brad Wilcox’s Instagram story sharing the reel I made.

Future Improvement

Additionally, I researched how to name YouTube shorts. I concluded that YouTube short titles should propose a question, create a sense of urgency or entertain (Drost). These titles should be catchy and make the viewer click on the video. I completed a competitor analysis of other music channels like Strive to Be. I looked at Hillsong worship, One Voice Children’s Choir, and Cain’s. After analyzing their top performing short titles, I created my own list of titles that Strive to Be could use in the future on their channel. Below is the list I came up with:

#2 Best Practice: Use Moderation

Research & Implementation

YouTube moderation is an indirect, yet very important, way to increase how many videos the viewer has watched from your channel. This will boost you in the YouTube algorithm (McLachlan). YouTube moderation lets you interact with your audience in a personal way and allows you to create a specific tailored experience for your viewers. This personal interaction creates a sense of community and establishes authority amongst your audience.

When I first started helping the church, no one was consistently moderating the comments on the YouTube channel. The channel was set up so that all comments had to be manually approved. This meant that no one was responding to any of the comments and that most videos had zero to very few public comments. I began approving and responding to EVERY comment on the channel. These comments came from regular video uploads, shorts, and community posts. There were a lot of comments! YouTube erases comments after 3 months if they’re not approved. Thus, I first went back and approved or deleted every comment for the past three months. Then, every approved comment received a written response. Responses ranged from “thank you,” to answering questions, and redirecting fans to other church sites and music on the channel.

I learned that moderation provides an extremely important look into the audience’s thoughts, needs, desires, why they come to our channel, and how they use our music in their lives. Understanding these things became very valuable to me. It helped me make informed decisions about what kind of content to create and how to best adapt the channel to fit the audience’s needs.

Comments on the Strive to Be YouTube page and how I responded. Names and dates of commentors have been blocked out for privacy.

Famous in Brazil: Catering to an International Audience

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a worldwide church. Likewise, Strive to Be is an international channel. In January 2023, the song “If You Believe” from the 2021 Youth Album blew up in Brazil. It became so popular that it was in the top 10 Brazil song charts and was featured on the radio. The comments surged with Portuguese comments of ecstatic fans. By February 2023, the channel had more Brazilian followers than from the United States. “If You Believe” became an overnight hit! The video has over 10.3 million views and has brought in 44.6K subscribers to the channel.

It was important to church employees that we foster a relationship with our international audience, especially our Brazilian friends. I did this by focusing on engagement through moderation. Thanks to Google Translate, every comment received a written reply in their native language! The response has been incredible. Strive to Be’s Brazilian audience continues to supersede the United States and is growing every day in countries including The Philippines, Thailand, Colombia, and Portugal.

Portuguese comments on the Strive to Be YouTube page and a few examples of written responses in portugese. To save space in the image, not all replies are shown. Names and dates of commentors have been blocked out for privacy.

Future Improvement

Comments need to be continually and consistently moderated. Responding to every comment and question is a must. Moderation can be a great way to encourage more views on your videos. One way moderation can be improved on the channel is by redirecting viewers to similar videos they may be interested in on the channel, encouraging them to participate in the community post polls, and asking them questions back. Doing these things keeps the viewer engaged and interacting with the channel’s content. This is exactly what we want! Increased interaction on the channel will trigger YouTube’s algorithm. It will tell the algorithm that our content is interesting and something that others will like. Thus, YouTube will disperse our videos to more people!

Examples of responses to comments in English, Portuguese, and Spanish where the viewer has been invited to listen to other songs on the channel by the same artist that they commented about.

#3 Best Practice: Have a Channel Trailer


The third and last way I improved the channel was by creating a channel trailer. Trailer videos are posted to the top of a YouTube Channel and automatically start playing upon entering the channel’s page. These videos’ purpose is to explain to viewers what they can expect from your channel (Haynes). Overtime this helps create brand recognition and tells the YouTube algorithm, and your audience, that your channel is serious. Serious about growing, posting consistently, and delivering quality content. In essence, your channel will look much more professional. Another reason why a trailer video is so important is that it automatically starts playing. To the algorithm, this looks like you have a lot more interaction on your channel. You will have increased watch time, click through rate, and people are more likely to stick around and view other content.


Thus, I set out to create the ultimate Strive to Be trailer. I created the overall idea for the trailer, storyboard, wrote a script, revised it with the help of church employees, found the music, video clips, and graphics through church archived/owned footage and edited the entire video. There were four main drafting rounds, after which I received feedback and made revisions. From the concept idea to the finished video, the channel trailer took 4 weeks to complete.

The publishing date for this video was postponed by The Church of Jesus Christ until April. Due to the confidential nature of the video until released, I have created a link that only Brother Reeder and Sister Walton will be able to access through their school email until it is released to the public. To access the video click above or use the link here: HorizontalYouTubeAD.mp4 If you need access to the video please email me directly

As the video moved through the approval process, I even received this compliment from a higher up who is notoriously known as a harsh critic.

Future Improvement

This trailer has not been officially made available to the public. It is scheduled to be released in April 2023. My recommendation to The Church of Jesus Christ for releasing the video is to start promoting it 1-2 weeks in advance. Snippets of the video can turn into YouTube shorts. Polls can be created, announcements can be shared, and cross channel promotion on Instagram will all be key to the video’s success. After the release, it will be imperative that all comments and questions are responded to. Quick, interactive responses will resonate with the youth and keep them coming back for more. .

Project Outcomes

Although not all of the videos have been made public, the growth on the Strive to Be channel has been incredible. From January 14th, 2023, to March 14th , 2023 the channel gained 33.8K subscribers which brought the channel to 323K subscribers. Strive to Be’s international following surpassed it’s national following – a huge accomplishment! Additionally, shorts are gaining more attention and are now a regular item that’s posted.

Senior Project & Beyond

After graduation, I would love to work as a content creator or social media manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But regardless, this project will benefit me in any social media position. Video has overtaken the social media world! Videos in any form (reels, shorts, and stories etc.) dominate our screens. YouTube is one of the most viewed social media sites around the world.

A few months ago, I could hardly tell you anything about YouTube. Now, I have a deep understanding of the YouTube algorithm, creator tools such as TubeBuddy, moderation, publishing, and effective content creation. In short, this project has allowed me to expand the skills I’ve gained at BYU-Idaho in video editing, data analysis and visualization, and content planning and creation. I have every confidence that the skills learned during my senior project will be influential in my future success in the workplace.


This presentation goes in-depth about my Senior Project. Please take a moment to review it.

Works Cited