The proliferation of video content on the web has seen more and more brands investing in building a strong presence on YouTube. As more customers use the video sharing platform to search for reviews of products and services or using video tutorials to learn how to complete a task, developing a powerful YouTube presence is becoming an essential brand-building exercise.
YouTube is the largest video platform on the web by some margin, with over one billion unique visitors watching more than 6 billion hours of video. With a larger market share than Ask, AOL, Bing, and Yahoo! combined the potential reach of a well developed YouTube channel is huge.
In this article I want to look at the do’s and don’ts of creating a YouTube channel as well as making sure your videos get the maximum amount of exposure possible.
YouTube Channel Structure
Your YouTube channel is the place where you present all your content. It helps to think of it as the homepage of your YouTube web presence. Whilst many people will discover your individual videos through search, it’s important to get them onto your channel page, where they can subscribe and browse your content.
Below are some big do’s and don’ts when it comes to YouTube channel structure and layout.
It’s important to invest time into researching how your target audience engages with your various videos. By intuitively segmenting your content into different themes aimed at specific audiences, you will create a more intuitive and simpler experience for those browsing your channel. Mixing up videos intended for a corporate market with those aimed at the end consumer for example is something to avoid. Think about what you’re trying to achieve with your channel and how you can engage with your audience in a way that will deliver that message.
As with any social network, consistency is key. Users have come to expect regular content and therefore implementing a schedule can be helpful. You may, for example, decide to upload one video a week. Ensuring that video is published on the same day and at the same time each week means that your subscribers will come know when to expect the next instalment from you.
Another big no-no is ordering your content by popularity. As tempting as it is to show off your biggest videos and how many views they’ve received, if they’re no longer relevant or part of your current video content strategy, it makes no sense to overly promote them. Whilst your big ‘hero’ videos (see ‘Help Hub Hero’ section below) will undoubtedly feature at the top of your YouTube channel it’s important to know when to switch focus and move on. Keeping old content at the top of your YouTube channel for ages can quickly create the impression you have nothing new to shout about and actually put people off.
Understanding Video SEO
Like Google, YouTube is a powerful search engine and as such it’s important to optimise your videos for the search terms your potential audience will be using, as well as making your videos as clickable and enticing to anyone browsing as possible.
A relatively small percentage of viewers will click through to your website after watching your videos and tend to engage with your business through the YouTube platform itself. In this way it’s sometimes helpful to think of YouTube like a second website, instead of a strategy for generating referral traffic.
Let’s look at several elements of a good video SEO strategy.
Including keywords in the title of each video will help users to understand what to expect, as well as ensuring that the algorithm YouTube uses will rank them appropriately. Also look at the landscape of video content overall. Reviews, how-to’s and unboxings are extremely popular, so if your video includes any of those elements, make sure you include them in the title. Again, incorporating keywords into the description of each video is important, but don’t include too many. Once in the first 20 words and 2 or 3 times after that will be sufficient as long as you keep it natural.
Titles and Tags
Spend some time titling each video properly, creating a thumbnail that will entice users to click through and watch, and add useful information or links to the description box beneath each video. You will also have the option to tag your videos, so make sure you spend time looking into which keywords will be most useful. Something like the Keyword Planner Tool from Google will assist with the identification of keywords that will help to drive the most views to your content.
Captions and Transcriptions
Adding captions and transcriptions can boost SEO. Spending some time doing this will not only make your video accessible for a larger group of people, including those for whom English is not their first language, it also allows Google to fully understand what your video is about. From there it will analyse keywords accurately and reflect this in search relevancy. Don’t rely on the auto caption tool as this isn’t reliable and can often misrepresent the content of a video.
Make a point to regularly look at the analytics feature on your account. This will highlight what you’re doing right and what isn’t working quite so well. It will also show you how viewers are finding your content, which is invaluable information. It’s important to establish goals and key performance indicators from the outset. Click throughs certainly aren’t the only measure of success so try to measure viewing time and also time spent browsing your channel to gauge success.
Help Hub Hero
Help hub hero is a way of segmenting your content marketing strategy and something I’ve talked about before. Here is a quick summary of each element of this approach.
Your hero content will inspire, entertain and engage your audience. These videos will be produced a few times per year with the key objective being to make the greatest possible impact. Your brand may host or sponsor a major event and creating a video around that with the right production values has the potential to go viral. The yearly John Lewis Christmas advert is a good example of hero content.
Help content will answer any questions your potential customers may have. For example, if you are a razor brand, producing a series of shaving guides will answer questions whilst showcasing your product without any pushy sales tactics.
Hub content will aim to attract recurring views. These videos should be uploaded regularly and be insightful and informative. Make a video showing your latest product launches, host a question and answer session, or show viewers what it’s like behind the scenes of your business. Make it interesting and your channel should see regular growth.
Alongside other content channels like television, your website and other social media assets YouTube should be an essential pillar of your video marketing strategy. It’s amazing how many brands still have a lacklustre YouTube presence and under developed or poorly organised YouTube channels. By following these simple tips you can begin to start building a genuine audience on YouTube and with it real social buzz around your brand.
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