Did you know, YouTube on mobile alone reaches more 18 to 49 year olds than any cable network in the United States? That’s pretty impressive, and incredibly telling about our media consumption habits. If you’re marketing to anyone in that age group and you’re not engaging in YouTube marketing, you’re missing out.
Just as with anything else in online marketing, you shouldn’t start without a plan. Randomly grabbing your cell phone and recording a video from your living room could work, but it won’t necessarily. Save that kind of thing for Facebook Live or Periscope.
Ready to dig in your heels and get started? Great.
Do Your Research
When you started your blog, you did research. When you started your content marketing strategy, you did research. Now, you’ve got to do more so you know how to fit your YouTube channel into the rest of your content marketing.
Is your competition already marketing on YouTube? If so, what are they doing in terms of content? How is the audience responding? What could you do differently? What could you do better?
If they’re not – you’re moving into uncharted territory. Is it because there’s not really a market for your audience there? Is it because they just haven’t thought to make it part of their strategy yet? Being a step or two ahead of the competition isn’t always a bad thing, you know.
Bonus points for taking notes throughout your research.
Decide on Your Angle
What approach will you take with your videos? Base your decision on what you see the competition doing. You don’t want to copy them exactly, because you need to put your own spin on the content – so you stand out from them. But you don’t want to deviate too far from what they’re doing, because you may not be able to pull the audience from them over to you.
For example, take a look at the Tampax YouTube channel, and the Bodyform YouTube Channel. I chose these because feminine hygiene products are a necessary part of life, but they’re not exactly glamorous to market.
Both channels focus on living an active and healthy life even during a cycle, and education about the cycle and proper use of products. But, a few years ago, Bodyform had a video go viral, in response to a Facebook comment from a man. Called, “Bodyform Responds: The Truth,” it injected a bit of humor into how and why the products are presented the way they are. This humor sets them apart from the competition.
As you work on this aspect of your strategy, you’ll also want to consider whether or not you’ll appear in front of the camera. If you’re camera shy, or don’t like public speaking, it may be a better idea to have someone else appear for you. The person in the Bodyform video above, isn’t actually the CEO, but you have to decide if you’re okay with having someone else be the “face” of your company, so it’s not a decision you should take lightly. In Bodyform’s case, it was a one-off video – so it made sense to keep the real CEO off camera. In yours, it may not.
But, there is one way around that – if your niche allows for this sort of thing. Screencasts and slideshow presentations. Instead of showing your face and surrounding environment, you simply record your computer screen, and narrate it along the way.
Take a look at WPBeginner channel. It’s full of nothing but screencasts because it’s a WordPress tutorial channel. It works well for the niche. You wouldn’t expect to see someone sitting in front of you talking about how to do something on WordPress, without actually showing you, would you?
Make a List of Video Topics
Now that you’ve got an idea of what you’re going to cover and how you’re going to do it, it’s time to start planning things with a bit more detail. Start with a list of broad topics you’ll cover on the channel.
These can be similar to your blog categories. If I were creating a channel to begin YouTube marketing – I’d start with the topics I’m covering on my blog: Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media, and Outreach. I’d let these core topics be the basis for all the content that comes from my channel, just like they are the basis for everything posted on the blog.
When you approach things this way, you’ll find it easier to come up with the quality content you need to complement the rest of your strategy.
Build Your Content Calendar and Decide Posting Frequency
At this point, you know roughly what you’ll be creating, but you’re reaching the point where you’ve got to answer the tough question that stops many people from being successful with YouTube.
What resources do you have available to make this work? Not just in terms of budget and equipment, but in terms of time. Two of the pillars of YouTube success are volume and consistency.
Use a spreadsheet or editorial calendar planning tool to help you figure out what videos you are going to post and when. It’s okay if you start slow and post only once a week, but the more often you post, the faster you’ll be able to build momentum. However, if you commit to more than that, stick to it. If you can’t consistently deliver the content, you’ll have a harder time building audience loyalty.
Set the tone and audience expectations from the beginning. Your first video should be an introduction to your channel. Let your viewers know what kind of content you’re planning on publishing, and how often they can expect to see it. Whatever you set for yourself, stick to it. Don’t promise your audience you’ll post a new video every day, and then fall back to posting once a month.
Invest in the Right Video Equipment
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on studio quality equipment, but at the least, you may want to invest in a tripod. This way you can put your cell phone or other camera on it and keep the video steady during recording.
Other than a cell phone, you can use a handheld video camera, a web cam, or a DSLR camera. While a DSLR camera will require a more expensive investment, the resulting video will be near professional quality.
If this is the minimum equipment you’ll be using, you should pay extra attention to the recording environment, to make sure the lighting is appropriate and your voice is audible.
It’s possible to invest in a number of cheap microphones, and the right one for you will depend on whether or not you’ll be recording with others in person, or over the phone.
If you’ll be interviewing other people in the same room with you, you’ll want to invest in an omnidirectional mic so it can pick up the sound from you and the guest with relative ease.
If you’re interviewing people over the phone – you’ll need to invest in call recording software to use with Skype.
You’ll also need to make sure you have something to edit your videos with – like Movie Maker for Windows or iMovie for Mac – both free. These are necessary if you want to add intros, transitions, and outros, or music to your videos.
Market Your Channel on Your Website and Social Media Platforms
Once you’ve got your introduction video up, start promoting your channel on Facebook, Twitter, and any other network you’re already established on. Let your followers there know they can find you on YouTube, according to whatever schedule you’ve set up for yourself. Link back to your videos on your website – embedding them in your blog posts when possible.
Optimize Titles and Descriptions
Your video titles should be written to get people to click on your videos, to tell the YouTube algorithm that your videos are related to one another, and to attempt to get higher ranks for a keyword.
You should always use descriptions and tags on your videos, too. The description should be at least three sentences, and placed before anything else. The description and tags should focus on one keyword. Use no more than 10 to 12 tags that are related to the keyword, but also include four to six generic tags that are related to your show and channel.
Add Subtitles to All Your Videos
Though it hasn’t always been possible, YouTube (and Facebook, too!) now make it easy for you to include subtitles to all your videos. I know you’re thinking, “Big deal. I hate subtitles.” But really, think about how many times you’ve been sitting around, in public, bored – waiting on the doctor to come in for your appointment, waiting on your friend to get to the restaurant so you can eat lunch, and so on… A lot of people turn to video to keep themselves occupied, without the sound on, so they don’t disrupt the people near them. If you can’t hear what someone’s saying in the video, why bother watching, right?
Adding subtitles to your videos allows people to watch without the sound on, which bypasses that barrier to entry, allowing people to enjoy your videos with or without sound. Plus, it’s an awesome feature you should be including for the deaf and hard of hearing, anyway.
And, subtitles can help bring traffic, because they make it easier for people to search for your videos. If you’re targeting a wider audience that speaks more than one language, subtitle it in more than just English. You should also use subtitles if you have an accent that makes it hard to clearly understand what you’re saying.
Use YouTube’s auto-captioning feature at your own risk because of inaccuracies. Try training a program like Dragon Naturally Speaking to transcribe your content, or hire someone to transcribe videos for you. And to show you just how awesome adding your content to YouTube can be – I found this video of a demo of video transcription with Dragon, when I was searching for a source to include in this paragraph. Why tell when you can show? Granted the video is from 2012, but the basics should be the same.
Create Custom Thumbnails
Custom thumbnails can help encourage people to click on your videos. You must keep the thumbnail and title match the video closely. Because if they’re misleading or irrelevant, people will click away from the video, which harms your average view duration and the chances of showing up in the suggested videos. You can use Canva to create high quality images even if you’re not a graphic design pro.
Collaborate with Other YouTubers
If you’re just starting out on social media and don’t have a fan base you can bring over to YouTube, one of the best things you can do to build your audience is through collaboration with other YouTubers.
Not only is this a good alternative to buying ads, the organic nature of collaborations can help you build your own credibility. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the bigger and more well-known channels, because many of them are open to working with other channels. Just reach out to them with an idea and let them know what you would need from then to make it happen – then make it happen, together.
Rinse and Repeat
Though it may take some time to gain traction, keep at it. Each video you create adds a content asset to your library – a new pathway to connect and engage with potential customers. GoPro – which you may want to invest in if you need to have videos with a lot of action – is one of the brands that rose to fame thanks to YouTube. Once customers got the camera in their hands, they began uploading content to YouTube, featuring GoPro in the title – which lead to the creation of the GoPro Network. With persistence, your brand could be the next one to rise to fame courtesy of the video sharing platform.
Are you on YouTube? Drop your channel below – I’d love to check it out!