It may seem like ages ago, but it was actually just a few years back when it became important to create videos and set up a YouTube channel as part of your online marketing strategy. These days, however, it’s not enough to simply have a YouTube channel and regularly upload a new video. In a world where almost every business already has a YouTube channel, it has become imperative for you to make sure your own channel is properly optimized.
So, how do you go about optimizing your YouTube channel as part of an effective online marketing strategy? Read on for some very useful tips.
Tip of the Iceberg
In the past, YouTube was IT when it comes to video marketing. If you truly want to grow your business by strengthening your online presence, however, you’ll have to move on from YouTube and bring your audience to a platform where you have better control over your content. This means you should leverage YouTube for gaining customers and then bring those customers to your own video site so you can increase your income potential.
Think of it this way: Although you are earning ad revenue on your YouTube channel, the gross revenue is divided between you and YouTube. By bringing your loyal viewers to your self-hosted video site, you get to earn ad revenue without having to share it with anyone. The point is that while it is indeed important to optimize your YouTube videos, you need to do so not only to get more people to subscribe to your channel, but more importantly, you need to do it as part of a multi-channel strategy.
Content of excellent quality is, of course, the key to successful video marketing. No matter how much time, money, and effort you spend on optimization, your work will likely be in vain if the quality of your video content is poor. People may easily find your videos, but they aren’t likely to stay long on it if they don’t like what they see during the first few seconds. More importantly, they aren’t likely to return to your channel or check your other videos, much less share it with their friends.
Make sure the topic discussed in every video you produce is one that your target audience finds interesting. You can take your hint from the conversations they have on your social media pages as well as from comments they make on your blog or on industry-related forums. You should also make sure each video contains substantial relevant information presented in an engaging manner.
Additionally, you should never forget to make your videos easy to share. Sharing helps widen the reach of your videos and increase the number of possible sources of web traffic for you. And when your videos get shared on popular websites, you get another step closer to achieving your online marketing goals. Finally, make sure you’re always on top of video marketing trends so people will be more likely to find you when they conduct online searches.
Since we’re talking about optimizing your videos, you should, of course, carry out a few tasks that’ll make your videos more search-friendly. Among other things, you’ll need to focus on:
- Transcripts – Neither YouTube nor Google has the ability to extract the words contained in videos. Therefore, their crawlers will not be aware of what your videos are about unless you provide them with transcripts. You could even post your video on your official blog, with the transcript converted into a blog post.
- Keywords – Although keyword-stuffing has long been deemed passé, keywords per se haven’t completely lost their usefulness. After all, people still use keywords and phrases when they conduct online searches. As you plan your videos, therefore, you need to have a clear idea as to what keywords and phrases you want to rank for.You should then use those words and phrases at least once in your video title, in the tags, and in the Meta descriptions. In choosing keywords, it’s best to place yourself in the shoes of your target audience, so you can target words they’re most likely to use in their searches.
- Tagging – The tags you use are among the major factors that make your videos more searchable. Again, it is worth noting that YouTube and Google have no way to understand the content of your videos unless you associate them with text. Tags are among the most important text associations your videos can have. Make sure they contain such keywords as your brand, and make sure all your tags are relevant.
Make sure all of your tags are relevant to the content of your video; otherwise, viewers aren’t likely to stay on the video for long.
Another important point you need to remember is that YouTube are no longer prioritized based on number of views, but on what’s popularly known as “watch time”—the length of time viewers stay on your videos. When a viewer reaches your video via an irrelevant tag, he or she isn’t likely to watch the video for more than a few seconds. Needless to say, this will reflect negatively on your channel.
- Multi-platform promotion – Once you have uploaded a video on your YouTube channel, take the time to create different titles for it and then embed it on your self-hosted site and on other platforms. You could, perhaps, post the video on your Facebook page and draft a short introduction and then post a link to the video on your Twitter account. Giving it different titles and tweaking the descriptions will help you avoid getting flagged by Google for duplicate content.
Call to Action
One of the most important components of a marketing video is the call to action. This is where you actually ask viewers to do something for you. The key is to make your call to action strong enough to convince the viewers to do what you want them to. Experts agree that the best calls to action are those that tell viewers where they can find more of the videos they like and the information they seek, and how to get there. For example, you could tell them to visit your website for more videos by “clicking on this link.”
Remember to include your call to action not only in the video description, but also in the annotations. The advantage of including calls to action in annotations is that it keeps viewers on your channel and reminds them to keep visiting your channel and sharing your videos. Be sure to place your annotations in unobtrusive areas of the video screen, such as the corners or top/bottom borders.
Just like any other social media platform, YouTube is also about building relationships. Aside from providing your audience with valuable information, you also need to reach out to them, connect with them, and keep them entertained. You never know how many channels out there provide the same or similar information; you need to set yourself apart by being the channel that actually cares about what their audience has to say.
Open your videos to comments. It’s baffling how many people choose not to allow comments on their videos just so they can avoid negative feedback. Sometimes negative feedback can actually be helpful, as it can bring to your attention some areas that need improvement. More importantly, allowing viewers to comment on your videos gives you a chance to respond to them, thereby letting them know their voices are being heard. When you give importance to people in this manner, they’re bound to hold you in high esteem.
Analyze and Plan
After going through all the necessary steps for creating and optimizing, you need to determine how well you performed. Towards this end, you’ll have to check some analytics. How many subscribers have you earned? What topics are discussed in your most-watched videos? How many of your viewers/subscribers have responded to your calls to action? How many regular viewers/subscribers do you have? These details are important because they will tell you which of your messages resonate with your audience and what modifications you need to make so as to improve your overall strategy.
Like almost anything else in the world, the key to making all of these tips work to your advantage is proper planning. You need to plan every strategy you opt to use and every step you choose to take. And as you start implementing your plan, you need to keep the goal you have set for yourself in mind. When you lose focus on your goal, that’s when things usually start to go awry.
Although it can be almost impossible to tell at the outset whether your video will generate a decent number of views, keeping your goal in mind and applying the above tips will certainly increase your videos’ chances of doing so. And remember, YouTube is just the beginning. It may be an important part, but still just one part of the whole video marketing scene. Rather than focusing solely on YouTube, therefore, you should leverage it to implement a successful multi-platform video marketing strategy.