YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform in the world, viewed by millions of unique users every day. Utilizing the platform is crucial to form a well-rounded marketing plan and bring awareness and interest to your plan, along with gaining new and young demographics. The platform is free to use and trusted by those who do use it to watch videos covering every genre, topic, and level of formality. The platform requires a moderate level of commitment to grow your channel and create original content that viewers will tune in to watch on a daily basis, but the effort is more than worth the reward. Here’s a guide to follow in order to increase your brand’s presence on YouTube and attract new clientele.
Keep Your Content Fresh and Original
One method some content creators use is to make videos similar to those that have already garnered a high number of views, implementing their own SEO and tags. These videos can be recommended to viewers who have watched the higher-viewed videos, being placed in their feed due to the similarities. This method can work sometimes, but there’s a surer way to attract views and stand out in the crowd of millions on YouTube – create original content which offers a new perspective or fresh video techniques.
The problem with riding the coattails of a popular video is that people are not eager to watch the same video twice. Viewers are always eager and excited to move to the next video, the next tutorial or product, so they won’t click on a video that’s clearly trying to duplicate one they’ve already seen. Original content, however, satisfies the desire to watch new and exciting content that feels fresh and original. This feeling is a form of value to the YouTube user, the feeling of excitement and newness which drives them to use the platform in the first place.
Your strategy doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark, either – reach out to your userbase and ask them what sort of content they’d like to watch, then tailor your video to fit the needs of those customers. There is no limit to how much research you can perform before making your first video. Just make sure to keep your videos engaging and answering the questions your customers want answered.
Master the YouTube SEO Process
YouTube is similar to Google in that it organizes its results by way of search topics and keywords. To maximize your YouTube marketing plan, you must have a firm knowledge of popular keywords, words that garner a higher number of views consistently. Using keywords and tailoring your videos to the search algorithm will increase your view count and make it easier for interested parties to find your videos.
The process of generating keywords is simple; first, come up with some keywords that answer your clients’ questions and cater to their needs. Next, type in those examples into YouTube and look at the search results. You want keywords that generate a high number of results, as this indicates your keywords have been searched numerous times and the topic or answer is one many people want to view. Armed with your keywords and the confidence of your topic, focus on your title.
Your title should describe the topic and content of the video without sounding bland or uninspired. Some of your keywords should also appear in the title, peppered in throughout. The title is simple to construct but vital to the video’s view count, as the algorithm heavily ways the title when determining search results. Next, you’ll want to analyze and maximize the potential of your video descriptions. YouTube video descriptions are straightforward summaries of what occurs in the video.
You’ll need to place multiple keywords in the description to maximize the odds of searchers finding your particular video when looking around with questions to be answered. Use your keywords six or seven times for optimal results; it’s okay if the description sounds a bit clunky, as viewers are clicking on the video for the video itself, not the description. The description is simply there to offer a report of what the viewer will watch in the video, it is not the main source of information on the YouTube platform.
Finally, create some tags using your keywords. Tags are not seen by viewers unless the option is enabled but they’re still important for telling the algorithm what your video is about and who it should be shared with. Utilize each of these components in your video to enhance your SEO and draw audiences into what you’re selling.
Learn Best Standards and Practices
Though you certainly shouldn’t mimic the content of others, researching the pages which belong to the top competitors of your industry is a great way to form a foundation of quality and consistency. Like any artistic industry, it can be difficult to judge the quality and effectiveness of your content. Take some time to look around the site at some of the most popular videos of today; note their similarities and production value, their concise messaging, and straightforward or complex approaches to the topic.
Many popular videos on the site are not intricate or terribly difficult to make, but attention is taken to ensure entertainment value and streamlined enjoyment. Most importantly, take a look around the “suggested videos” tab. These videos will most likely be the most popular on the site at any given point, as many users will follow YouTube’s recommendations in addition to searching for specific videos and topics. Following the example of these videos will ensure your content is up to snuff and will be taken seriously by both casual viewers and more specific demographics alike.
All in all, it’s always important on a creative platform like YouTube to know how to produce your video and what the audience is looking for beyond the topic at hand. Creativity is key no matter how simple or complex your video may be.
Create a Routine for Efficient Creation
One of the worst-kept secrets in any video creation company is that it takes a substantial amount of time and effort to create even a rudimentary video. As you’ll quickly discover, organization is key in running a YouTube channel, as there are many creative tasks to assign to any number of skilled artisans. For instance, you’ll need to write a script, hire actors, invest lightly in editing software and an editor, rent some lights and someone who knows how to use them quickly and effectively, and create a unified vision for each one of your videos. These are just some of the roles and jobs you’ll want to make sure are filled by those who know what they’re doing if you want to build an effective YouTube channel.
Of course, many videos will not be too intricate or resource-draining but hammering out a budget and a workflow will save you time and money in the long run, on top of preventing many a creatively fueled headache. Whether your video consists of a complex narrative or is just one employee talking into a camera, take a page from Hollywood’s playbook and create a simple, streamlined workflow that sees multiple people completing simple tasks from the beginning of the process to the end.
Know Your Audience
The beauty of YouTube is its diverse array of content types. Some audiences come to the site to be entertained, using the site as a replacement for television. Others come to be informed, browsing around the hundreds of channels dedicated to providing unique facts or more general knowledge like wildlife or engineering channels. There’s even an entire genre on YouTube dedicated to helping students in high school and college learn advanced concepts like trigonometry, calculus, and physics. The thousands of diverse audience types will allow you to create and tailor content no matter what product you’re selling or information you’re conveying to a chosen audience.
The most basic information you’ll need to know before creating your video is whether you want to inform or entertain your audience; these two content types will vary wildly in form, tone, and style, so it’s important to know upfront which method you’ll be aiming for. Tailoring the script and editing techniques to your decision is a key step in reaching the right audience and keeping them engaged with the type of content they want to find on the site.
Enable Embedding on All Videos
Millions of users share YouTube videos among friends and on other social platforms, but not enabling embedding on your videos is a simple way to deprive yourself of this free advertising. Embedding is required to make sure your content can be seen and shared not just by those on YouTube, but by those on other platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook. Users will click “share” and be shown the embed option if it’s properly turned on. They can then copy the embedding code and simply paste it onto another blog or website of their choosing.
To enable embedding, click on Creator Studio, then find the video’s edit page. Click “Advanced Settings” then scroll to “Distribution options” to ensure that “Allow Embedding” has been toggled on or ticked. It’s a simple feature to miss, but not allowing embedding could potentially cost you thousands of views and prevent your video from being shared and discussed on other popular sites on the web.
Focus on a Series Rather Than Individual Videos
Videos that answer specific questions your customers have asked is important to building your channel and attracting viewers. The next step beyond this simple tactic is to plan your videos in advance, creating multiple series which focus on one topic and have a consistent through-line of some sort. A series of videos, rather than a group of individual videos, is more fun to watch and interact with for viewers. There are also many different angles you can take to answering a question, with many caveats and specific details in your answer; instead of creating a new video for each angle, or stuffing your video with all of the angles at once, creating a series is a great way to use those angles while creating fresh content.
Much like viewers will become more immersed in a show which has one solid, continuous narrative, as opposed to one which is episodic, your viewers will relate to your channel and come back more frequently if they have a regularly scheduled, entertaining series to expect from you on a consistent basis. This method is all about training your audience to expect new content and letting them look forward to the next video in the series. The series format is also more easily converted into a playlist, which I’ll discuss below.
Create a Blog to Supplement the Video
Blogs are the most important, far-reaching, and actionable form of marketing content on the web right now. Even if your main focus is YouTube users, it’s never a bad idea to create a blog to go along with your YouTube copy. Marketers consistently rank blogs as the most vital resource your marketing team can utilize, so create one that pairs nicely with your video. The blog should be a summary of what happens in the video and should clarify any points that you feel have not been made sufficiently.
Additionally, you can always link your video within your blog, doubling down on views and growing your brand from multiple avenues at once. An insightful, well-written blog is a natural gateway to your YouTube channel, as many people would prefer to watch video content than read about the same content.
A witty, engaging blog will entice your reader to spend more time with your brand, starting a journey of discovery that should lead to more sales and more trust between you and the customer. Whatever your ultimate goal, pairing your video with a blog always creates a multi-dimensional presentation that enhances professionalism and further engages the customer.
Craft an Irresistible Thumbnail
Many YouTube users browse the site casually. These users, and even more regular users, are looking for an interesting, intriguing thumbnail to click on. A great thumbnail might even be the deciding factor as to whether users click on your video or keep scrolling through the thousands of hours of content YouTube has to offer. Unique and interesting thumbnails are those which capture the user’s attention instantly; they can be wacky or colorful or present an interesting picture of what your video has to offer, the choice is up to you.
There are no hard and fast rules when creating a thumbnail but there are a number of guidelines to consider: first, your thumbnail should somewhat accurately represent what’s in your video. Crafting a misleading thumbnail may attract additional views, but many will feel misled and angry if the video content doesn’t match the experience that they clicked for.
A firm sense of trust and respect is always vital to building a YouTube page, and misleading viewers with a flashy but false thumbnail is the fastest way to destroy trust in the YouTube creator/viewer relationship. The image of the thumbnail should be high resolution, nothing less than 1280 x 720. A high-resolution thumbnail will more clearly convey the image to a user than a blurry or low-quality image.
Utilize End Screens Effectively
One of the great features of YouTube from a marketing standpoint is their normalization of “end screens.” Unlike traditional media, YouTube videos will usually have end screens to point the viewer in the direction of the creator’s other content. An end screen is simple to make and requires little artistic flourish, unlike the thumbnail or video content itself.
An end screen should be stark and straightforward, as cluttering your end screen can lead to confusion and pull attention in several different directions, nullifying the purpose of the end screen to begin with. Keep your end screen clean and let it guide the viewer’s attention in a natural, organic way, much like the layout of a website. Your calls to action should be placed on this screen: subscribing to other social media, checking out more videos from your channel, linking to your blog, and even driving traffic to your main website are all normal and effective messages to put on your end screen. Remember to keep it clean and keep it simple – this screen is not meant to entice your viewer, but to direct them.
Autoplay and Playlists Keep Your Audience Watching for Longer
Two great features to keep your audience hooked on your channel are autoplay and playlists. Autoplay is straightforward and easy to enable; it’s a feature that automatically begins to play another video about ten seconds after the first has ended. Autoplay will usually play the next video on your channel for the viewer or play something from their recommended tab – which, if they’ve been watching your channel, will likely be additional videos from your channel. The autoplay feature is great because it keeps attention from a viewer who might have otherwise been diverted by another video or another topic. Instead, your video starts playing and the viewer is less likely to click off if the content is sufficiently entertaining or informative.
A playlist is a similar concept that almost always utilizes autoplay. Playlists are a set of videos that have been specifically chosen to appear in a certain order. YouTube manufactures playlists for users who frequently engage in similar material, but you can create any custom playlist you like for viewers. Channels will usually have a minimum of one playlist on their channel, consisting of their videos in whatever order they see fit. Creating a great playlist is like creating a great mixtape – you should choose an order which flows together well and can be sufficiently diverse to keep your viewers engaged and attentive.
Always Be Active Within Your Community
YouTube may be a video hosting site, but you can be as active on it as you are on other, simpler, shorter forms of social media. You can make short video updates about what’s happening in the company or if you release a new product. These videos can be as short as you see fit. Not every video needs to be ten or fifteen minutes long; summary videos can be as short as fifteen seconds, a simple message to your audience to let them know if any big changes are taking place or if any new, exciting products are set to launch in the future.
In addition, you can always connect your YouTube account to other social media platforms. Linking up all of your social media is a good way to keep your viewer or customer engaged in the company, as you’ve given them a sort of roadmap to look at and study when they need information. Furthermore, being active on the videos themselves is a surefire way to build trust and intimacy with your audience. You can comment on your own videos and communicate with viewers, discussing the video topic or branching out into other areas. Focusing on your brand is nice, but building a relationship with viewers is a great way to establish the trust and relatability so integral to being a popular content creator on YouTube.
Feature New Videos for Viewers to See
Once you’ve uploaded your video onto YouTube, you can feature it immediately on the front of your page. Featuring your video is a great way to let both casual viewers and frequent devotees alike know that you’ve made a new video. Also, anyone browsing your YouTube page should be able to see your latest content to get a feel for the current state of your channel.
There’s nothing more frustrating than losing viewers because your channel’s page features older, less assured content. The principle of looking up to date and keeping up with the evolving, ever-sleeker world of business holds true on YouTube too. Featured videos are also more likely to be seen on the front page of YouTube or link directly from Google than those which are not featured.
Finally, there’s a certain prestigiousness that marking a video “featured” lends to the video. People are always looking out for new content, eager to be the first to view something, and featured videos provide reassurance to them that they’ve found something few others have yet to discover.
Implement Cards in Your Videos
“Cards” are a feature of YouTube which allows you to promote other content within your video. Cards can promote additional video content, remind viewers to subscribe to your channel, donate to a non-profit, increase traffic to your company’s other website, or encourage users to comment or participate in a poll of your choosing.
You can choose exactly when and where you want these cards to appear in your video and can use however many cards you think are necessary, there is no set limit. Cards can link to other videos; this is a great method to increase views on some of your videos that might not be as popular as others on your channel. Behavioral analytics will tell you the best videos to link to for ensuring your entire channel is well-rounded and frequently viewed. When using cards, be sure not to interrupt or distract your viewer. Cards should engage and compliment the content without taking away from the viewer’s immersive experience.
Provide Pop-Ups and Transcripts to Drive Engagement
Even the savviest content creators don’t properly utilize YouTube’s annotation feature. Creating messages that pop up periodically throughout the video is a great way to convey extra information and call your viewer to action, whether it be to visit your main site or simply like or subscribe to the channel. Annotations should appear around a minute into your video and should pop up about every minute after for consistent engagement. Double-check your links and grammar in the annotations to ensure quality and accuracy for the viewer.
Transcripts can also be added to your video for those who do not speak the primary language of the video. While this feature may sound odd, it helps the nearly thirty-eight million people in the United States whose primary language is Spanish, and the millions around the globe who speak other languages. Globalizing your YouTube page is a smart, efficient way to reach audiences all over the world who may be interested in your company or product. Including transcripts can help you appear in searches done oversees or south of the border, widening your audience and following. Transcripts are also an additional form of keyword generation, as they alert YouTube as to what keywords are in your video and increase SEO capabilities.
Work with Influencers to Secure Additional Demographics
Like any popular social media platform, there are a number of influencers that viewers are highly motivated to follow and engage with. Working with an “influencer” is as simple and straightforward as it sounds. There are many popular figures on YouTube who garner millions of views each day, each catering to a specific demographic and audience. A quick search will bring you the top influencers currently on the platform, though the list is growing every day. Choosing the right influencer and partnering with them will guarantee an increase and views and…well, influence.
The beauty of this strategy is that it allows you to single in on a specific demographic you want and cater to their needs and interests. Whether trying to expand your reach to new markets or reach a larger percentage of the demographic that already follows you, influencers are a vital resource in speaking to millions of viewers you wouldn’t reach through just your channel.
Generate Interest Through Contests and Giveaways
Since the site’s inception, many YouTubers have secured their audience’s loyalty through various forms of contests and giveaways. Merchandise of all forms is easier to create today than ever before. A simple t-shirt or poster serves nicely as prizes to be given away to viewers who comment, like, subscribe, or perform any other action you want them to partake in.
In addition to the activity generated by the event, your merchandise can serve as an advertisement for your business, one your viewers will proudly wear or hang to garner interest from friends and passersby alike. There are few downsides to hosting a competition or giveaway but be sure you can deliver on what you promise.
There’s no worse PR than reneging on a promise made to your viewers, especially for products that are easy to design and should be cheap to manufacture and deliver. As long as you carry through on the contest’s results, viewers are sure to flock for their own piece of your brand or creative content.
Use Timestamps to Garner Google Traffic
The YouTube search bar is not the only way people find their way to YouTube videos. Much of YouTube’s traffic originates from Google, not surprising since nearly all video resources are uploaded to YouTube and the SEO is similar on both platforms.
In September 2019, Google announced that they would begin linking to key moments in YouTube videos to help streamline the question and answer process for their users. This is important for your marketing strategy, as you can now utilize timestamps to link to a specific moment in your video which will immediately answer the question your customers are asking.
Though this feature doesn’t address building a base of users that will continually come back to your videos, timestamps are still essential to ensure people asking specific questions are coming to your videos to hear the answers you can give, as opposed to your competitors or other hobbyists. Simply include the timestamp in your description. It will link to your video and will show up in any future Googling.
Cameos Can Work on YouTube
Today’s culture idolizes celebrities like never before. While probably unhealthy on a societal level, you can use this idolization to your advantage on your YouTube channel. Beyond reaching out to YouTube influencers, you could reach out to other celebrities from different fields which relate to what you’re promoting. Assuming you have the budget, celebrity cameos are great for generating buzz for your video and give the perception of uniqueness and relatability.
Keep in mind that just because you’ve hired a celebrity, you should still strive to make the video interesting, engaging, and entertaining. Celebrity cameos are a delicate thing, they should relate to the celebrity and your brand while feeling surprising but unexplainably familiar. The art of the celebrity cameo has been lost in film and television, but content creators online have revived the concept like when Brita teamed up with Steph Curry and King Bach. Cameos should allow the performer to flow into their natural energy and showcase their particular talent.
Keep Your Subscriber Count Growing
Finally, there is one essential but overlooked tip when growing a YouTube channel – make sure to keep track of subscription numbers. Creating relatability and generating content that engages the viewer and drives sales is obviously essential for marketing with YouTube, but there’s one number you can use to actively keep track of how big your channel has actually become.
The number of subscribers you have directly indicates how successful your channel is to both your company and those who watch your videos. Using YouTube is a bit like playing an engine-building game; you’ll start out slow, but as you garner a larger following, those followers will spread the word and create more followers, until, with luck, the effect snowballs and your channel has become well known and widely talked about.
Your subscriber number is directly related to this concept, as the more subscribers you gain, the more viewers on average you’ll have per video. There’s no magic secret to gaining subscribers, simply let your content talk for itself and remind viewers on the end to subscribe to the channel. Though you don’t want to come across as desperate, a gentle reminder to subscribe is the protocol on the site at this point in time.
YouTube is the most popular video-sharing site and it’s still growing every day. Millions of viewers watch millions of videos daily and thousands of content creators make a living entertaining and informing viewers across the globe. The power of YouTube is still widely untapped by marketers, but the platform is simple to use and can be just as active as any other social media site. Though garnering a following can take time and energy, following these tips will set you on the path to growing your YouTube channel day after day.