There are a few videos you have made, and a company to market and sell, but research has just begun in many respects. In order to ensure that people other than your family and friends see your film, you’ll need to create a marketing plan.
It’s not enough to just post the video and wait for people to come to you. Snowballs are pushed down hills by publicity.
You need to use as many promotional tactics as possible on YouTube if you want to stand out.
Below, we’ll discuss each of these tactics for promoting your YouTube channel and maximizing viewership. You can use these tips regardless of whether you are just getting started or want to see your numbers rise further.
Table of Contents
- 1. Select Google-friendly keywords
- 2. Use concise, descriptive video titles
- 3. Create an engaging YouTube profile and description
- 4. Create high quality videos
- 5. Post videos regularly and consistently
- 6. Create a video series and encourage people to watch all of it
- 7. Create a trailer for your YouTube channel
- 8. Create playlists and sections to group and feature great content
- 9. Post a bulletin to your subscribers
- 10. Choose an optimum YouTube URL, link your account to Google+
- 11. Optimize your YouTube banner art for all devices
- 12. Brand your YouTube channel background and add a high-res avatar image
- 13. Fill out your Channel Keywords
- 14. Associate your website with your YouTube channel
- 15. Use the feed to engage viewers
- 16. Blog about your YouTube videos
- 17. Embed a YouTube Subscribe widget on your blog or website
- 18. Leverage other social media to increase reach
- 19. Comment on other videos
- 20. Manage comments effectively
- 21. Paid advertising on YouTube
- 22. Feature call to actions within your videos
- 23. Ask your audience to review and promote your products
- 24. Ask and answer questions for your audience
- 25. Collaborate with other YouTubers
1. Select Google-friendly keywords
SEO is the foundation of a great YouTube channel. In order to do great SEO, you need to understand what users are searching for.
A YouTube keyword is very similar to any other keyword. It’s a single word or phrase that describes what the video will be about.
In addition, it closely matches what viewers search for when they’re looking for content about a particular topic in the search box.
YouTube keyword research involves determining which keywords and phrases YouTube users use to find relevant videos.
Choosing the right keywords for your web content helps ensure that it is found by the right people, and this is true both on YouTube and elsewhere.
For any video, here’s how to find a Google-friendly keyword:
- Using a tool like Google Adwords Keyword Planner, identify possible keywords.
- One of your options is to use Google.
- Analyze each keyword’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
- Try again with a different keyword. If you’re having trouble finding keywords for video results, try adding words like “How to” or “Tutorial.”.
- Make sure the keyword you choose is relevant to your content and prioritizes video.
2. Use concise, descriptive video titles
The title is one of the first things we notice when searching for videos. Viewers often decide if they will watch your video based on the title, so make sure it is not only compelling, but also concise and clear.
While your keyword plays a big role in the title of your video, it’s also helpful if the title closely aligns with what the viewer is looking for.
Backlinko found that videos with exact keyword matches in the title have only a slight advantage over those without.
So, while “using your target keyword in your title may help you rank for that term,” report author Brian Dean explains, “the relationship between keyword-rich video titles and rankings” isn’t always a strong one.
As long as the keyword fits naturally into a title that clearly describes what viewers will discover, optimizing your title for this keyword is a good idea.
3. Create an engaging YouTube profile and description
Don’t ignore your YouTube account’s “About” section. Use it to sell your channel and its benefits to potential subscribers, and include all relevant social media and web links. Fill out a keyword-rich description that will tell people all about your channel, what they will gain from it, why they should subscribe, what your upload schedule is, etc.
This text will be picked up by search engines and help your channel to rank higher in search results. The first 45 or so characters of your description will be visible when your YouTube channel appears in the “Channels” sub-section of the site’s search results, so pack it with keyword-rich information.
4. Create high quality videos
Whatever content you create for YouTube, a basic standard of quality is essential. At a minimum you should ensure that the video quality is high definition (at least 720p), that the audio is clear and balanced, that the lighting is good, and (if fitting), you use varying camera angles to add variety and dynamism to the finished product.
Viewers rarely expect YouTube content to have Hollywood production values, but watching a person talking down into the tinny microphone of their low-res webcam isn’t going to give anybody a good first impression, or reflect well on your brand.
If you’re serious about videos as a social media tool, consider investing in a decent camera and video editing software, such as Adobe Premier. Include only necessary footage in your videos – don’t be afraid to cut – and add transitions, overlays and graphics to help convey your story.
Want free music and sound effects for your videos? Check out the YouTube Audio Library. It features thousands of royalty-free instrumental tracks (arranged by mood, genre, instrument and duration) and sound effects that you can use for free, forever, for any creative purpose (not just in your YouTube videos).
Access it via a link on your Video Manager page, or at https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/ Another extremely popular source of royalty free music for YouTube videos is Incompetech (http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/), with tons of great tracks available for download and use as long as credit is given.
5. Post videos regularly and consistently
Once you launch a YouTube account and publish your first video, don’t just abandon your account thereafter. In order to start building traction with an audience, stay regular by publishing at least one video per week.
If possible, release videos on the same day every week; viewers like structure and they will know when they can look forward to new content If you can’t be around to post a video manually, use the feature to schedule your upload for posting ahead of time – this option is available from the drop-down menu on the video upload page.
All this said, don’t feel required to stick rigidly to a posting schedule; be flexible enough so that you are able to respond to things like breaking news or viral video trends.
6. Create a video series and encourage people to watch all of it
One-off videos are all well and good, but a planned series of videos will keep viewers engaged over a number of days or weeks, and ensure you of some healthy watch-time statistics. A series is also useful for chopping what might be one long video into separate, shorter, more viewable chunks.
When you launch a video series, make sure to actually tell people that the video is part of a series (visually in the title (e.g. How to Knit A Winter Scarf: Part 1) and audibly (e.g. “This is part one of your guide to knitting a warm scarf for winter”) and encourage them to subscribe to come back for more with an end card message and a regular upload schedule.
As well as video titles, series’ do best when they include consistent video tags (good for SEO), themed video thumbnails (so that people can easily see that a group of videos are related), and when they are organized into a specific playlist (so that a viewer can click “play” just once and watch the whole series of videos in one go).
7. Create a trailer for your YouTube channel
On the YouTube One Channel layout, you can show a trailer that will only appear (and autoplay!) to people who are not already subscribed to your channel. This is the perfect chance for you to let viewers know what your channel is all about and tell them why they should subscribe.
Keep it short and to the point, eye-catching – and include a clear call to action, inviting your audience to subscribe. My trailer is about 30 seconds long, and I used the simple tools at Animoto.com to create a snazzy video that far outperforms anything I could have created alone with my limited video editing skills. If you’re like me, I’d certainly recommend giving the site a look.
One other thing I love about channel trailers is that a good portion of the video’s description is displayed adjacent to them. Use this space to describe what you and your channel have to offer, and don’t forget to include relevant hyperlinks (shortened using tools such as bit.ly so that they are not cut off, as they will be if they are too long) and a call to action too.
To add a channel trailer, you must enable the Browse tab on your One Channel layout. The Browse tab lets you customize the display of your content. If enabled, this will be your default tab for all visitors. To enable the Browse tab:
- Hover your cursor over the menu bar that contains the ‘Video’, ‘About’, and ‘Discussion’ tabs on your Channel Page.
- Click on the pencil icon that appears and select ‘Edit channel navigation’.
- From here, click the button to enable the Browse feed, and then click Save.
When you re-visit your channel page, you will see a channel trailer placeholder and a ‘+ Channel trailer’ button. Select this to choose to embed your channel trailer (which you must have already have uploaded). If you do not want a channel trailer or are in the process of making one, you can choose any existing video to sit in its place.
8. Create playlists and sections to group and feature great content
From the controls on your main Channel page, build playlists to feature your “Best of…” and most viewed content, and to ensure people view a series of videos in the order that they were intended. Playlists will lure people in to experiencing the breadth of the content you offer and encourage multiple video views in one session.
If a playlist requires context, upload a short and snappy intro video and place it at the beginning of the list. If you’re not ready to create your own videos just yet, playlists offer a smart way to build subscriptions by curating the best content from other channels.
Create playlists full of videos that your audience will love, and position yourself as a one-stop destination for insightful curated content. When you begin to publish your own videos, you can choose to continue curating content from others or simply phase it out.
9. Post a bulletin to your subscribers
A bulletin is a text update you send from your Channel page to all of your subscribers. You can tell your subscribers about a video you’re working on, remind them of an awesome video you posted recently or include a link to a video you recommend, with a comment about it.
When you post a bulletin, it will appear on your subscribers’ recent activity feed (on their homepages) and on your Channel page in your recent activity feed. Here’s how to post a bulletin:
- Sign into your YouTube account
- Go to your Channel page
- When viewing your Feed underneath the ‘Browse videos’ tab you will see a ‘Create a new post’ text field box. Enter your bulletin’s text, add a video or playlist link to share (optional) and click ‘Post’
- Your bulletin will then be sent out to your subscribers.
Choose a YouTube username that reflects your brand for your channel URL – preferably not too long or complicated, and one that represents the name of your company or product. You will then be able to send people to this memorable address, e.g. “http://www.youtube.com/user/yourcompanyname.”
Your username will default as your channel title, but you may want to change this for SEO purposes, or – as YouTube will ask for all new accounts – reflect the name associated with a Google+ profile or business page. Having a public identity that is consistent across Google will allow you to optimize your sharing, content distribution, content discovery, channel management, and more. This public identity is managed through Google+.
If you have an existing YouTube channel that you want to link to Google+, go to your account settings on YouTube and click “Link channel with Google+” below your email address.
In June 2013, YouTube rolled out a new channel layout called the One Channel design. This new look enables consistent branding across all devices (desktops, mobiles, televisions, etc.), allows you to reach out to non- subscribed viewers via a channel ‘trailer’ and shows off more of your content to existing subscribers to keep them watching for longer.
The One Channel layout’s main branding opportunity consists of just one main banner that features your channel’s profile photo to the left, and links to the channel’s website and social media profiles on the right. YouTube recommends uploading an image that is 2560 × 1140 pixels in size. Inside this massive space are sections that cater to different screen sizes.
For instance, the whole image will be seen on large televisions, while a central section of 1546 × 425 pixels is the ‘safe’ area where your logo will be visible on all devices.
Whatever your design, do your best to feature your brand’s personality in the channel art. Make the audience feel like they are connecting with a person or character when they arrive at your channel; this is a tactic that will encourage them to stick around.
12. Brand your YouTube channel background and add a high-res avatar image
Upload a square, high-resolution (1600 × 1600 pixel) profile photo that is recognizable at smaller resolutions. This avatar will be your channel’s billboard all over YouTube, including in search results and comments.
If you have chosen to link your Google+ account and YouTube channel, your Google+ profile or company page profile photo will have automatically become your YouTube avatar. If you want to change your profile image on YouTube, you will need to edit it via Google+, but be patient as the update might take a while to appear.
13. Fill out your Channel Keywords
When people search YouTube, the site does not just return individual videos for people to watch, it also suggests whole channels that a viewer might be interested in.
So, in the Advanced section of your account’s Channel Settings, be sure to fill in the Channel Keywords section with keywords relevant to your channel. Think about the types of search terms that your viewers will be using and be sure to throw them in.
14. Associate your website with your YouTube channel
Visit your Channel Settings’ “Advanced” menu again and you’ll see an option to associate your channel with a website.
Doing so will help YouTube to improve the quality of its search results and verify your channel as the official representation of your brand on the site. Enter your website URL and verify that you own it via the options listed, including an HTML tag or through Google Analytics.
15. Use the feed to engage viewers
The feed broadcasts your YouTube channel activities to your current subscribers. By default the feed includes uploads, liked videos, videos added to playlists, bulletins, comments you make, channels to which you subscribe, and ‘favorited’ videos.
Adjust your sharing settings to set the appropriate feed strategy for your channel and subscriber interests. If you do not upload regularly, the feed allows an easy way to appear active by broadcasting your other activities on the site. Space out your interactions on YouTube: multiple actions get aggregated into a single post for your subscribers, so maximize their impact as individual posts, by leaving time in between.
16. Blog about your YouTube videos
Every time you post a new video, compose a blog post based around it, and share it with your fans and followers and social media.
Conversely, if you write a blog post that is particularly visual and would work well as a video, then why not screen grab it while you talk through it and turn the blog post into content for your YouTube channel?
17. Embed a YouTube Subscribe widget on your blog or website
A YouTube Subscribe widget is a little box that you can embed in the sidebar of your website to encourage people to subscribe to your channel, or click through to check it out.
It displays your YouTube channel icon, subscriber count, the number of videos you have published and, of course, an all- important Subscribe button.
What I like about it most is that it acts as a permanent advertisement for your video content. I combine my widget with an embedded playlist that displays my most recently-published video to compound its effectiveness.
- Post your video to Facebook, (making sure to choose the best thumbnail).
- Tweet about it on Twitter with a couple of relevant hashtags (also include the prefix “Video:” before the video title, as although a shortened YouTube URL will show, it may not always be immediately obvious to your followers that you’re sharing visual content – something they are more likely to engage with.
- Pin your video to Pinterest and make sure that the video’s title and a short description is posted along with it, as well as a couple of relevant hashtags. All of these details will improve the chances of your content being found by others in Pinterest search.
- Consider submitting your video to other major video sharing sites such as Dailymotion and Vimeo. These sites might not have the massive popularity of YouTube, but it could be that your most lucrative customers only ever browse those video websites. Also submit your video to StumbleUpon. This social bookmarking site has always been a powerful referrer.
19. Comment on other videos
Whenever you leave a comment on another video, your username and avatar will be visible to everybody on that page, driving more traffic to your videos.
Always comment in a way that will reflect well on your brand. Be helpful, insightful or funny and aim to become a well ‘thumbed-up’ comment that appears for a significant amount of time in the ‘Top Comments’ section.
20. Manage comments effectively
Be sure to keep a tab on the comments being left on your video via the Community option, found in the Video Manager portion of your account. Let commenters on your videos know that you appreciate what they have to say, and respond as often as you can. They’ll appreciate the time you give to do so.
Don’t go deleting any negative ones without reply, but do see that your brand isn’t being unduly damaged. If you expect a great number of comments, at least try to be around for the first hour or two after publishing so that you can respond to immediate feedback.
21. Paid advertising on YouTube
YouTube is one of only a handful of websites with over 1 billion monthly active users. With such a large and diverse audience, it makes sense to consider experimenting with paid advertising on the site. Its current model allows you to achieve video clicks for just a few pennies based on keyword and audience targeting, with the potential for very satisfactory cost per acquisition.
YouTube ads are fairly cheap; a budget of as little as $10.00 per day should allow you to experiment and collect some valuable data.
There are several types of YouTube ad available, including traditional banner ads positioned around the site, and other that overlay the videos. My preference, however, are TrueView in-stream video ads – skippable ads that is inserted before, during or after a video on the site (these are the default option in the basic setup method).
Not only are they the most engaging ad type with the option to drive clicks to your YouTube channel or website, but you won’t be charged if your video is skipped, or if a viewer does not watch at least 30 seconds of your ad.
Try to keep your video ads relatively short – 90 seconds or less is a good target; long enough to formulate a compelling visual story, but not too long that viewers will get bored and skip past it. Experiment with different types of campaign styles to see which resonates best with your audience, but I recommend giving an “Explainer” video a go if you haven’t done so before.
They’re short, often-animated clips that simply and stylishly tell people who you are and what you do. Hiring a professional team to create an explainer video can be costly, but with an imaginative script, a good voiceover, nice sound effects, and some hard work editing or animating, there’s no reason why you can’t make one yourself.
22. Feature call to actions within your videos
Depending on where during the video would be most effective, include calls to action (CTAs) to direct your viewers – do you want them to visit your website, call you for a quote, watch another video, reply to a question in the comments, subscribe for more great content, click an annotation or the link in the description?
Tell them! CTAs can be implemented in several ways, including direct from the video host, as clickable annotations or in on-screen graphics.
For example, at the end of each of my videos, I have an end card that features a teaser of my previous video (clickable via a spotlight annotation), and calls to action that encourage viewers to “like” the video they have just watched, and encouraging them to subscribe to my channel.
23. Ask your audience to review and promote your products
Ask your audience to use your product in their videos (like product placement in movies), or to provide reviews, and cross-promote each other.
You can then feature these customer-created videos on other social networking sites to increase your exposure, and play to the vanity of your customers, who will love to see themselves featured on your pages.
24. Ask and answer questions for your audience
One of the best ways to get and keep your audience engaged on YouTube is to ask questions for them to answer or ask them to submit questions for you to reply to. For the former, ask viewers to submit a comment or record and link to a video response.
For the latter ask fans to leave a comment featuring a question for a chance to see it answered in your next video or, even better, to video record themselves asking the question which they then email to you so that you can feature it in your next upload.
Imagine how surprised and delighted a customer will feel if you show off their feedback in a video, rather than just respond to it via a reply in the comments.
25. Collaborate with other YouTubers
Look into collaborating with other, relevant, YouTube channel owners in order to share audiences, introduce each other to new subscribers and publish complementary content.
As well as appearing in each other’s videos, you can feature any playlist from another channel as a section on your own channel by selecting the “Enter a playlist URL” option when setting one up – arrange for this to happen periodically.
In addition, feature brands that you like and support in the About section of your YouTube channel (and ask them to do the same). Under the Featured Channels menu, choose “Add channels”, then search for your buddies via their YouTube username or channel URL.