How to Make it Big On YouTube
YouTube may not be the hottest or most talked about social network on the web right now, but it remains to be a powerful website and platform that can help you gain a wider audience, boost your social media presence, and rank higher on Google (the search engine does include videos in SERPs).
Not only is YouTube the second largest search engine next to Google, it’s also the third most visited website on the Internet. In fact, it gets over 800 million unique monthly visitors, and over 4 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched each month. Furthermore, according to the site, about 72 hours of video are uploaded by users every minute. Still need convincing? In 2011, the site had over 1 trillion views from users—that’s about 140 views for every person on earth.
So by now you’re probably thinking, “Those big numbers are great and all, but what does it mean for my business?” The short answer is: Plenty. No matter what industry you’re in—whether it’s Internet marketing, real estate, construction, or even medicine—you will certainly find an audience on YouTube. And if you’re not taking advantage of this free platform, you could seriously miss a lot of viewing and marketing opportunities.
Don’t forgo the immense potential of YouTube. Check out the following tips below and see how you can make it big on the site:
Produce quality videos – This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to see the amount of people who put out low-quality videos with bad lighting and horrendous audio. Don’t make the same mistake. Before shooting, thoroughly think about the script, plot, and messages of the video. Write down your ideas. Find a good location. Test out your lighting. Get a tripod if you don’t have steady hand.
Proper planning can do wonders for your production, so pay attention to all the details. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a big budget to produce a quality video. No need to buy expensive cameras; thanks to the advancements in tech, people nowadays can produce top notch videos using just their smartphones and a little creativity.
Don’t worry if you’re not big on editing or effects. There are plenty of free (or cheap) online tools that you can use to produce great videos. Check out our earlier post here to learn more about top video sites and tools.
Always put your audience first – Before picking up the camera and shooting a single frame, ask yourself if you’re shooting a video that is meant for your target audience. A lot of companies get so caught up in their production that the end result becomes more about them than about their audience. When doing a video, always think about what your audience will get out of it. Will they be entertained? Will they find it informative? Would they be willing to share it with their friends? If you answered “no” or “not sure” to any of these questions, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Again, research is crucial to a video’s success. Conduct interviews and surveys with your target audience, and ask them about what they’re interested in. Doing so will not only help you get to know them at a deeper level, but talking to your target audience will help you speak their language and allow you to communicate better with them.
Optimize your video title – The title of your video can (and most likely will) be the deciding factor on whether or not a viewer will choose to watch it. Choose your title wisely. It should succinctly tell people what the video is all about, and more importantly, it should incorporate relevant keywords for which you want to be found. Research on the keywords related to your business and the video and put them in the title.
Some people try to be witty in their titles. There’s nothing wrong with this, but remember that you shouldn’t comprise clarity for cleverness.
Use keywords and links in your description – Keywords are… well, key to optimizing your YouTube video for search. Include relevant keywords in your video’s description, and ensure that the text clearly describes what viewers are about to see. Be straightforward and concise. There’s no need to write a lengthy description. After all, users are probably not going to spend too much time on it anyway.
Aside from keywords though, it’s also important to add a link in the body of your description. Direct viewers to your website, blog, or social media account. Include a call to action to prompt them to take the next step. For example, you can say something like, “To learn more, visit our website at [www your site .com]”
Tag your videos accordingly – Tags will tell YouTube if the video should be displayed in the “related videos” section of other pages. Tags help you get found on the site so choose them wisely. Similar to the video title and description, you should tag relevant keywords to help put it in front of your target audience.
Select good thumbnails – A video thumbnail could be another make or break factor for views. According to TechCrunch, “YouTube provides three choices for a video’s thumbnail, one of which is grabbed from the exact middle of the video”. With that said, if you want to ensure that a specific frame ends up as your thumbnail, position it in the middle part of the video.
When choosing your thumbnail, try to go for a frame that has a person in it, as faces or people generally get attract more clicks than inanimate objects. Also make sure that it’s bright and clear enough—nothing worse than dark or blurry thumbnails.
Share them across multiple channels – When you publish a video on YouTube, don’t just let it stay on YouTube. Broadcast it on your blog and various social media accounts. Encourage sharing, liking and comments. Rack up those page views and try to get it in front of as many people as possible. The good news is, people (especially those in social networks) are more inclined to interact with videos, so human nature is definitely on your side.
What are your thoughts on YouTube? Do you have any special strategies and tips to share when it comes to producing and marketing videos? Share them in the comment section below!
Image credit: Sean MacEntee on Flickr