There are several things you need to consider before putting money into a YouTube channel for your business. The first and most obvious question you have to answer is “why do it at all?”. For me, YouTube has become a great HUB for sharing tutorials which I find difficult to explain in writing. The problem, as we all know, is that people really hate reading long blog posts. Regardless of how well written they are. Thus I write this blog post… hehe…
This shall be seen as an overview and I will probably dig into everyone of these topics as I go on making tutorials. Just wanted to keep it all in one place. If you have any questions I’ll try to find the answers. Please comment and give your suggestions below.
#1. Why use Video at all?
Well… I won’t go further into the topic than writing a couple of ways in which you can utilize video to simplify stuff.
- B2C – Product reviews and user generated tests
- B2B – Tutorials, best practices and demos
- HR – Recruitment and storytelling about you as an employer
- CSR – Production, logistics and distribution
- IR – Quarterly reports, words from the CEO
- Press/Com – News broadcasts showing the “other side of the story” and EPK’s
If you got a challenges making your point come across, video has the answers to many of them.
#2. Reasons to consider YouTube Marketing
But for a company there are a variety of reasons you should consider using YouTube for your marketing campaigns. Here are the three I find the most valuable:
- Distribution and hosting purposes
- SEO and branding purposes
- Technology and integration purposes
1. Distribution and Hosting purposes
Basically, you should make it as easy and cheap to host video online. Streaming is expensive and hosting video is as well. Why pay for it when you can do it for virtually no money at all on YouTube. Don’t fall for the old argument of YouTube delivering poor quality. Even TV ads are usually delivered in SD whilst YouTube offers you HD at no cost.
Yes, there is a limitation of 10 minutes per video if you are going to run it without any pro-account features, but c’mon… Seriously… if you can make a compelling enough video to have users wanting more after watching it for 10 minutes, then they are more than willing to click the second, third and fourth part of your cut up video in the related videos section.
Distribution is also a no-brainer. Why the heck spend millions on building your own embed player, streaming format and platform, when you have millions of users who already know how YouTube works. They are comfortable with embedding the format and the platform is already integrated with Facebook, Twitter and many other such social platforms which make video a lot more “shareable” from the get go. Don’t spend unnecessary money on stuff that gives you poorer results just because you’re a pixel fascist with to much of a IT budget.
Give the users what they want, and remember the bottom line.
2. SEO and branding reasons
Why the heck do I put SEO and branding in the same reason bullet for? Well, because they are highly related. How many of your brand search results do you “own” on the first page of your SERP in Google? How many do you “own” in the YouTube SERP?
Users search for information about you. Regardless if you are a B2B or a B2C company. You need control and one of the best ways to gain control of how your brand appears in search results is to actually be visible with indexable content in the most popular search engines out there.
This does not only mean that you should be present in Google, Yahoo and Bing, but also in YouTube and Facebook. Then, using SEO skills, you should interlink these online instances in order for them to rank 1 through 10 in Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube and Facebook. That’s what search engine optimization is all about. Not only making sure you rank number 1 for a specific keyword, but make sure you dominate the whole SERP for that specific phrase.
Through the sharing of video on YouTube, you have a much higher likelihood of appearing in blogs with YOUR content rather than with other peoples, home made stuff, which makes the internal mob go lawyer up. Modern online branding is about sharing easily accessible content so that you become the main source of information about yourself. Easy enough right?
3. Technology and integration purposes
YouTube has a wonderful API. They have a chromeless player which you can use and they have a video editor that you can all integrate into your own website or online project. This means that even those of you who really dislike the raw flavor and easy to use interface of YouTube, can mess it up all on your own, and still get the sharing and distribution benefits of the YouTube community.
There are several creative and new ways of using YouTube as well. If you contact your local Google office I am sure they can help you out a lot. I love Tippex use of YouTube and the fun game usage of StreetFighter. The limits are next to none and if you’ve got the creativity, the technology is there to support it.
#3. Proper settings for a YouTube video
You should play around a bit on your own but I have found the following settings on my videos to render the nicest outcomes.
- 640×480resolution or HD 1280×720pixels
- Do not change the frame rate of your video
- MPEG or MOV is the best, then WMV and AVI
- Up to 15 minutes (for some even longer than that)
#4. YouTube channel design
There are many ways and best practices on how to design a YouTube channel. What can be said as a pointer is that you get extra space above your channel if you get a branded channel in which you can put your own HTML, banners or navigation alike elements.
- Channel is 960 pixels wide and thus anything bigger than that will show up as the visible background
- Use web safe colors so that you can fill out what ever is on the sides with the background color available from YouTube for those who use sick browser resolutions
#5. How to Market your Videos on YouTube
There are several ways in which you can market your business through YouTube. When I say market, I mean ways in which you can create creative concepts that you then PAY to get to their audience. Marketing is still about one to many and you usually pay for both the relevant and the irrelevant receiver of your message. Marketing also gives you the control to decide the message of your campaign prior to its launch. In contrast to social media, or organic/viral use of YouTube, this kind of promotion is less target/goal driven and more “brand control” driven. Here are a few suggestions:
- Buy a branded channel and drive traffic from banner ads
- Seed/spam your videos to the top of searches by using seeding networks
- Post your videos on your blog, Facebook page or website to utilize already existing traffic
- Add your video link to your external newsletters footer or “video” section
- Add friends that make the same type of videos as you do and invite them to subscribe
- Submit your video to Stumbleupon and Mixx
#6. How to leverage YouTube and as a part of Social media
YouTube in itself is not a very social media. Yes, it does allow for sharing and commenting and reviews, but it isn’t very social and engaging in it’s creation before you make it social. This is where many companies go wrong with regards to YouTube marketing. They spend too much time considering how many people have viewed a specific video rather than spending time on how many have interacted with its contents.
How to create a YouTube video suitable for Social media
- Anchors – signs, colors, half baked one liners and songs that the users can pick up in their own videos
- Challenges – always put a question in there that helps people react with their own videos
- Bottom third’s – a message in the bottom third of the video
- Preroll – a little introduction where you ask a question for the user to think about when they watch the video
- Last frame – put a call to action in this last frame such that the user knows what to do next
- Use of surroundings and knowledge of interface – point to the subscribe button when talking about how to subscibe, point at the comments or on banners you want them to notice or click, by doing this you are not only directing the user, but you are also helping inexperienced users find their way, always end with a note about “if you’re watching this video embedded on a blog the pointing didn’t make much sense… goto youtube.com/namename to have a look at what I’m talking about”
- Links and annotations that lead to other related videos on YouTube
#7. How to update an old video on YouTube?
My tweep @beantin has written an excellent post about how to update your videos on YouTube when they have gone old or outdated. The only thing I would like to add to his “best practice” manual is to always include a reference to your YouTube channel in the end of your video with a text such as “To watch updates, new videos and messages, please subscribe to our youtube-channel”. Or something with a little bit of a better copy… hehe..