Stay on top of the latest content strategy trends, news and resources via the new Content Strategy Youtube channel. Content Strategy is a way to sell your expertise and create your own media company. We produce content for companies in a variety of industries including: financial services, tech, automotive, healthcare, learning and development and digital marketing.
The Content Strategy Youtube channel features a variety of short educational introductions to topics covered by the Content Strategy for the Web course. While these videos are great introductions to specific topics, they are not meant to replace the in-depth journey provided by the full Content Strategy for the Web course.
Your 5-step YouTube marketing strategy
Create a YouTube channel for your business
First things first, you have to set up a YouTube channel.
Since YouTube is part of Google, you’ll need to create a Google account first to sign up for a YouTube channel. You can use an existing account or create one especially for managing your business.
Here’s how to get up and running:
- Create a Google account.
- Use that to create your YouTube account.
- Log in to YouTube and create a Brand Account and channel.
Managing your YouTube channel with a Brand Account is a best practice, as opposed to running it with your personal Google account. For one thing, a Brand Account lets multiple people in your company manage and update your YouTube channel.
For another, no one at work needs to know your personal email is [email protected]. (Your secret’s safe with me.)
More importantly, it also allows you to expand your business later with additional YouTube channels.
OK, you’ve got the account. Next up: pretty it up.
- “About” information.
- Channel art (the “header” image and profile picture).
- Social media and website links.
Check out our step-by-step walkthrough to create a YouTube account for more details.
Now we’re ready to tackle your YouTube video marketing strategy.
Learn about your audience
Alright, now for the tough stuff. What does your audience really want?
To figure this out, you need to answer two questions:
- Who are you making videos for?
- What are they already watching on YouTube?
To start, it’s helpful to know some basic YouTube demographics. YouTube has over 2 billion users and 72% of American internet users regularly browse YouTube. 77% of people aged 15-35 use YouTube and unlike other social platforms, there isn’t a large dropoff in that rate for older users.
YouTube isn’t only popular in the USA. There are over 100 localized versions of YouTube for countries around the world.
Spend some time researching who your target audience is already following on YouTube. What types of videos do they watch? (If you don’t have your target audience figured out yet, we have a free buyer persona template to help out.)
There are a couple ways to do this:
If you already have your YouTube channel set up, check out your Analytics tab.
This will give you valuable insights into your audience’s demographics and interests. You can see how many people are finding your videos through search, seeing it in their suggested feed or from other sources.
Use social listening to find your audience.
What’s the best way to form lasting connections with other people? By spying on them from a distance, of course.
No, seriously, social listening allows you to continuously search social platforms, including YouTube, for mentions of your brand or specific keywords.
By seeing what people are saying about you or your industry, you can find out what people want to know and use that for video content ideas.
Research your competition
The fastest way to grow on YouTube is to figure out what’s working for your competition and then do that… but better.
You can start by looking up channels from the competitors you already know. Perform a competitor analysis for the following:
- Subscriber count
- Average views per video
- Frequency of posting
- Overall video quality
- What people are saying in the comments
- The main topics they post about
And then ask yourself:
- What are their most popular videos?
- How are they presenting themselves?
- What is their brand voice?
- How can I differentiate my company from them?
- What ideas can I get for new content from this channel?
Put all your notes into a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (and always makes me feel like a Secret Service agent when I casually mention I’m gonna go do a SWOT to my coworkers by the coffee machine).
We’ve got a free SWOT template to get you goin’ right away.
At first, your goal is probably to grow your subscribers and audience as fast as possible. So write down your competitors’ subscriber counts and views. Track your own progress against theirs monthly.
Plus, if you’re competitive like me, the desire to crush their numbers will motivate you to keep going with your channel, even if growth is slow at first.
Make it clear what the video is about
If you want to get more views for your videos, obviously, you should provide enough information for people to decide whether they want to watch it or not.
John Bottom says on his blog that people skim the titles at first before watching the video, which makes sense.
But aside from the title and description, video isn’t an easy format to skim.
Don’t expect that people will choose to view your 5 or 10-minute video instead of scanning in seconds a piece of text or image.
How to fix this problem?
A. Write an accurate and informative synopsis. Highlight 3-4 benefits that viewers will get after watching the video. And if it’s a narrative, you can plot the main points.
B. Try to transcribe your videos. This way you give viewers the content in a text format they can skim read first, then watch if they prefer. Moreover, you will help search engines crawl your video content. In this case, I love how Rand Fishkin does it:
Learn from your favorite channels
Besides learning from your competitors, you should also be learning from your favorite YouTube channels. These don’t have to be channels related to your industry.
For example, did you know it’s more important to have good audio quality than video quality? It’s true: Bad audio can turn people off from watching your video or subscribing.
A lot goes into making YouTube videos people want to watch. When you watch others, pay attention to things like:
- Video thumbnails
- Channel art
- How other creators are linking to posts or products
- How other creators edit their videos, including text popups and other special effects
There are even entire channels devoted to video editing and YouTube growth. You can track them, or keywords relating to YouTube growth, in your Hootsuite dashboard.
Have a simple video SEO strategy
SEO isn’t only relevant for your blog posts and website. In fact, YouTube (owned by Google) has become the second largest search engine online.
People not only use this network to find specific videos, but they also use it to search for broad information – just as they would on Google.com.
There are also practical steps you can take to help make your videos easier to find on YouTube. Here are a few keys to video SEO.
- Titles are the best way to catch people’s attention. Keep it informative and short. The first 60 characters or less will show up onYouTube videos. And make sure you plan your keywords, just like for any blog post. You can use the SE Ranking keyword suggestion tool or the YouTube keyword tool to find relevant keywords.
- Add keywords to your video description and include a link to your website. Keep it to 70 characters on YouTube and help users to understand what your video is about.
Here a good example from R-Tools Technology:
- Use tags properly with different keyword variations. Think about all the different things that people who watch your video could be looking for, and make sure to include these.
- Link-building is important here too. The number of links that lead to your video is important for keywords rankings in search.
- Thumbnails are the first thing that makes users watch your video. Create engaging, colorful, high-quality, branded and eye-catching thumbnails.
- Many videos are watched on mobile devices, so you should think about optimizing your videos for mobile viewing.
- To help your videos rank, a video sitemap is a good way to provide all details about your video content to search engines.
Optimize your videos to get views
OK, let’s get specific about making you famous.
YouTube’s 2 billion users watch about 1 billion hours of video content every single day. So how do you rise above the noise and get YouTube’s algorithm to show your videos?
If you’re familiar with SEO and Google’s algorithm, YouTube works in a similar way with 1 key difference: Personalization.
When you search a phrase on Google, you’re served roughly the same website results as other people. I say “roughly,” because some results change based on location.
But if you and a buddy sat next to each other in the same room, on the same Wi-Fi and searched for the same keyword, you’d see the same results.
Not the case on YouTube.
When YouTube shows you search results, they take into account the keyword and similar things Google looks for: How popular a video already is, keywords in the title, etc. But YouTube also factors in your watch history and the types of videos it knows you like to watch.
That’s why no two users’ YouTube homepage or search results will be 100% alike.
Personalization plays a role, but it’s still important to do all those other YouTube SEO things to get your videos found in search.
Here are the 6 ways you need to optimize your videos to get more views:
Do keyword research
Before you can optimize your video, you need to know what you’re optimizing for. Keyword research gives you the phrases people are using to find content so you can add it to yours, too. (More on this in a sec.)
You can use Google Keyword Planner for keyword research. Additionally, type your topic into the YouTube search bar and see what comes up. These are all things real people have searched for. This can give you ideas for new keywords.
Add your keywords to your video
You should have one main keyword and a few additional ones for each video. Here’s where to add them:
- The video title (main keyword)
- The video description (main keyword + 1-2 related keywords)
- Use the main keyword within the first 3 sentences
- The video’s tags
- According to YouTube, this has minimal impact, but use your keywords as tags anyway. It only takes a second.
YouTube timestamps are like breaking your video into chapters. It allows viewers to skip around to the sections they’re most interested in. This increases the chance they’ll watch more of your video.
Take a look at how the Hootsuite team uses timestamps to help their audience navigate longer videos.
Create a detailed video description
Here’s what you want to include in your description:
- Website link
- Links to your other social media accounts
- Links to your products or services mentioned in the video
- A call to action
Create an engaging video thumbnail
Custom thumbnails are so important for views. Besides your title, it’s the only other thing users have to decide if they want to watch your video or not.
What counts as a good YouTube thumbnail will vary depending on your audience. As a minimum, make sure it isn’t just a screenshot from your video. Use a photo or your brand elements and add some text to lure viewers in — like Hootsuite does on the Hootsuite Labs channel:
Current specs are a 16:9 format with a minimum size of 1280 x 720 pixels.
Respond to comments
YouTube is a social network, right? So act like it. Responding to viewer comments shows you’re there to build a community, not to push out self-promotional content.
It also boosts your video’s status to the algorithm because more comments = more popular-seeming video.
This site is a tutorial that provides content creators on Youtube and some other social sites with information on how to get started, increase the number of viewers and subscribers, as well as start commercialising. It is aimed at anyone who wants to learn more about getting started online.