Using YouTube to Pump Up Your Brand or Blog
As the third most popular site on the web, it would be a mistake to discount YouTube as an incredibly useful source of attention. Audiences are often more engaged with video content than written content, and the competition on YouTube is much lower than it is on the traditional search engines.
With all of this in mind, how can you capitalize on the video giant? These tactics should help you reach a larger audience.
1. The Basics
Focus on these essentials before you get caught up in anything else. If you haven’t done these with your existing videos, go back and fix them. The time and energy that goes into making a video should never be in vain.
- Choose the Right Category – Take a look at the other videos listed in the category that you chose, and ask yourself whether or not your video appeals to the same audience. If not, it’s time to find a different category that better matches your target customers.
- Description – Include a hook in your description that gets people excited. Include your main keyword and use the description to link back to your website, or better yet, a relevant page on your website. Be sure to include http:// at the beginning of the link, or it won’t actually be clickable.
- Annotations – Use annotations to link your readers to your other videos. Don’t abuse this. Only use it to send users to a relevant video or to your playlist.
- Be Involved – Leave comments, subscribe, and be a part of the YouTube community. This can help make you some influential friends and it can drive visitors to see your channel. Do NOT spam the comments.
- Make it Public – Some people don’t realize that you have to select the option of making the video public. If you don’t, you are the only one who can see it.
- Calls to Action – Most people are on autopilot most of the time. It is your job to create a video that knocks them out of autopilot. Outside of the content of the video itself, this includes using calls to action. Add a banner or logo so that people know the video is associated with your site. At the end of the video, encourage them to take an action such as subscribe, leave a comment, share the video with their friends, or take a look at your site.
In addition to the basic elements above, use the following tactics to get even better results.
- Include a Transcript – YouTube makes it fairly to add a closed caption file to your video. All you need to do is write up a text transcript file and upload it. The site’s speech recognition software can take it from there to determine where to place each part of the file.
In addition to making your video more useful for the deaf and hard of hearing, the transcript makes the content of your video completely indexable, so that YouTube knows just as much about your video as they would about an article you posted on your blog. The great thing about this is that almost none of your competitors are doing it, which gives you a massive advantage.
- Optimize Your Description – When users search for videos, the results show content from the descriptions, but this doesn’t include the entire description. Instead, it only includes the first 22 words. Try to fit everything that would compel a visitor to watch your video in those first 22 words. This doesn’t mean stuffing it with keywords. It means writing a really great hook.
- Befriend Users – YouTube is a social network. Find users who subscribe to or leave comments on similar videos and try to make friends with them. A strong base of contacts can do wonders for your ability to make waves.
- Thumbnails – The thumbnail image probably makes up at least half the reason users click on your video in the first place. Choose a really great image from your video that will make people want to see more. Use YouTube Insight’s “Hotspots” feature to find out what the most popular parts of your video are.
Hotspots measures data such as when users choose to leave your video, when they mention a certain time in the video, and when they go back to view a part of the same video again. It uses this information to tell you what parts of the video seemed to get the most attention. In addition to thumbnails, you can also use this information to cut out the parts of the video that cause people to leave or that don’t keep watchers interested.
- Insights – Speaking of YouTube Insights, master it. It is the Google Analytics of the video world, and it’s a mistake to treat it as though it were anything less.
- YouTube Keyword Tool – Most marketers don’t even realize this tool exists, which puts you at a tremendous advantage. The tool tells you what keywords users are searching for most often on YouTube. Find the keyword that fits your video best, and include it in your title, at the beginning if it makes sense.
- Filename – The filename does make a difference over and above the title and everything else. Make sure that you name the video file appropriately, including your keyword.
- Video Times – Include video times in your description to direct people to different parts of the video, especially if it has different “chapters” or “sections.” The times automatically transform into links that people can use to navigate easily through your video. You can also do this with annotations.
Finally, it’s time to step outside of YouTube and really promote your video. Here are a few examples to give you an idea of what direction to take with this:
- Collaborate – Work together with other bloggers and influential online personalities in one way or another. Mention or cite them in the video, do a video mashup, or otherwise get them involved. Once they feel like a part of the project they will naturally want to help you promote it.
- Get Backlinks – Use the same tactics you’re using on your own site.
- Social Bookmarking – Submit the video to sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, Tumblr, and Digg. Make sure that you lurk and work these communities for a while before doing this, however, since the video will rarely carry itself, and not all videos are a good match for the culture of every social bookmarking site.
YouTube videos are the gift that keeps on giving. The great thing about them is that your efforts continue to pay you back for long periods of time. This list is fairly exhaustive, but by no means does it cover everything. Stay up to date and keep working at it.
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Filed under: YouTube Marketing
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