If a picture is worth a thousand words, then surely video has an entire story to tell.
More and more marketers are incorporating video into their content strategy, particularly on YouTube.
And it’s no wonder; YouTube boasts more than 2 billion monthly users and is the world’s second most visited website after Google.
In this post, you’ll find a five-part recipe for YouTube marketing based on what we know of the most successful channels on YouTube.
Who Can You Reach on YouTube?
You might think that it’s a very specific audience – the kind of video game players or beauty gurus tend to have, for example.
However, 50% of B2B decision-makers use YouTube to research purchases. Thus, all kinds of audiences can be reached through YouTube videos, be they Gen Z or boomers.
Many brands are hesitant around YouTube marketing, believing that they need to have the best equipment and TV host training to get loyal viewers.
This is not at all true.
In fact, the most popular people on YouTube are vloggers who don’t comply with any of these requirements. Most of them started their channels as ordinary people with rundown cameras.
They didn’t set out to get millions of followers — but they did.
I’m not saying your brand will be as successful as Pewdiepie or JoJo Siwa, but there’s a lot that brands can learn from the biggest YouTube channels.
Here are five lessons you can take from them to work on growing your own (or your brand’s) YouTube channel.
1. Create Videos Based on Your Objectives
Every piece of content you make should have a clear goal, whether it’s brand awareness, conversion, or attracting new clients.
Your content goals will define what kind of videos you should make. Don’t just try to make up a content strategy based on a hunch or what your competitors are doing (we will pay attention to that later).
Your goals can help inform both the topics you choose and the format you use to talk about them.
Here are some of the more common formats brands choose for their videos:
Educational videos and how-tos.
These aim to give a deeper understanding of your product and industry to your audience. Typically, the goal is conversion, achieved by showing people how to deal with a specific problem using your product.
Interviews with thought leaders.
These videos raise your brand awareness and help you improve your reputation. By associating with industry leaders, you may position yourself as an expert.
Product demonstration videos.
These are typically short and aim to showcase your product in a fun way. They are perfect for repurposing for multiple channels – YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and so on.
Customer testimonials and case studies.
These are essentially interviews with your satisfied customers. Similar to how-tos, they show how to use your product to solve a problem. Such videos can help undecided customers and lead them to a purchase decision.
These are usually posted on outside channels, not your own. They can be created by an influencer in your industry to describe your product with all of its advantages and disadvantages. Product reviews raise brand awareness and generate new leads for your brand.
It’s important to remember that no matter which format you choose for your videos, they should give something to your audience, as well. People don’t come to YouTube to watch advertisements unless they want to make fun of them.
Your videos should bring value to your audience, ideally through education or entertainment — or both. Make sure you are making content with as much value to your audience as your company.
2. Know Your Target Audience
To make sure you get a loyal viewer base and not just some random users that come and go, you need to research your target audience. Highlighting their pain points, interests, likes, and dislikes can help you create better content.
Take a look at the BonAppetit channel, an extension of BonAppetit magazine that actually gets a lot more viewers than readers. It’s a channel about cooking, and they could stop at that — but they know their audience.
Their viewer is not just looking for recipes but cherishes delicious food and wants to know more about it. That’s the channel mixes things up and includes videos about mutual aid initiatives, green living, food explorations, cooking with celebrities popular among millennials, and more.
How can you research your target audience? Here are a few ideas.nother
First, you can go through customer feedback and see what wishes and complaints your customers have more often. Check with your customer care team and ask them for the most common comments.
Focus groups are another great way to learn about the interests of your audience. You can even run a virtual focus group for your first YouTube video before you publish it and ask for people’s feedback in exchange for free samples or discounts.
Employing social media monitoring can help you find demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data on your audience and use these insights to build a buyer persona.
Social listening tools allow you to find online conversations about your product, brand, or niche and analyze their authors. You can find out what social media platforms they gravitate towards, what content they share, what questions they ask, what topics they discuss and how they feel about them, and so on.
This way, you’ll know which topics to cover, which questions to answer, whether to make jokes or make seriously helpful content.
Besides, if you monitor your brand you can also find out if someone already made a video featuring it – perhaps, a review video that you didn’t know about. You can learn a lot from these, as well.
3. Create Authentic Content With the Resources You Have
The biggest obstacle brands face when it comes to YouTube marketing is the belief that everything should be perfect. Do you really need the best equipment, lights, camera, tripod, and a professional entertainer to host your video?
Of course not. YouTube has made video production accessible to everyone, and you don’t need a high-tech camera to have a successful channel. Nowadays, many videos are actually filmed on a smartphone.
As for the presenters in your videos, many YouTube videos don’t feature people at all!
One of the most successful video channels on YouTube, The Nerdwriter, posts video essays where we only hear the voice-over without actually seeing the face of the creator.
Of course, people connect with other people more easily. However, it doesn’t mean that you need to hire professional entertainers to host your videos. In fact, the opposite is true.
PewDiePie, who runs the biggest channel on YouTube, started creating videos when he had an adequate camera and a strong Swedish accent – and his channel exploded.
The YouTube audience craves authenticity; they want to connect with real people, not actors. That’s why YouTube creators are so popular. They don’t have a huge team of producers telling them what to do, so they are able to be themselves.
4. Establish a Consistent Publishing Schedule
A consistent publishing schedule benefits your channel both from the audience and the platform perspectives.
Your viewers will know when to expect a new video and check your channel accordingly. As for YouTube, it’s no secret that YouTube’s algorithm favors channels that upload the content regularly and on a schedule.
Your publishing frequency will depend on the resources at your disposal. Most YouTubers stick to uploading once a week; for example, this is the publishing schedule of Kurtis Conner, who has more than 3 million subscribers.
Bigger video production teams such as Buzzfeed upload more often. It doesn’t matter how often your content comes out, whether it’s every two weeks or once a month, but it’s highly important that you have a regular schedule.
This will ensure you have content to share regularly in your social channels to promote the videos, as well.
5. Don’t Ignore YouTube SEO
YouTube is not just the second most popular website after Google, it’s also the second largest search engine. Thus, just like your post blogs, your YouTube videos require optimization.
On YouTube, this means optimizing all of the metadata that comes with your video when you upload it: title, description, tags and categories, subtitles, and thumbnails.
Do the same keyword research you do when planning a new blog post and include the keywords in the title.
Keep the title to 60 characters or less, as YouTube doesn’t show any more than that on the results page.
YouTube allows you to include a lengthy description where you can add links to your website, your social media profiles, and a short bio. You can also include hashtags in your description.
However, the first 100 characters should make the description click-worthy and search engine-friendly.
This is what the user sees when they search for videos on YouTube and this is what YouTube takes into account when choosing what videos to show. Thus, your description should include necessary keywords and be intriguing and attractive to YouTube users.
Here’s what a typical description looks like:
- A brief description of the video.
- A call to action.
- An introduction of the channel and links to other platforms.
The more tags you have, the better. You can use your keywords as tags in addition to niche-related keywords.
Choose a category in the “Advanced settings.”
Thumbnail is the biggest element your video users see when searching for a YouTube video, so it’s better to create a custom thumbnail with some additional text and exciting visuals than to choose one of the frames from the video.
If you’re planning to upload multiple videos united by the same theme, create a playlist. It raises your chances to get into the search results and positively affects your watch time since viewers stay longer with your content.
Over to You
The best way to master YouTube marketing is to get started and see what kind of results and feedback you get. Then, you can adjust your strategy going forward.
Ready to start with your YouTube quest?
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Featured image: Kachka/Shutterstock