Editor's Note: Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist who writes for SEO Sandwitch. Today he joins us to explain how you can boost your YouTube platform with simple, time-proven strategies that promote success.
More people visit YouTube in a year than Facebook, Twitter and Instagram combined. As a result, many brands are turning to the platform as a way to advertise products and bring in leads.
Successful YouTube marketers expend lots of effort to create breathtaking and sometimes viral content. For instance, Tai Lopez - an investor, entrepreneur, and successful YouTube influencer - makes his mark on the site by sharing inspirational videos and podcasts. But while good content is a vital component of YouTube marketing in itself, you will find that figures like Tai follow other important steps to bring their channels into prominence.
Cheap, get-views-quick strategies are a dime a dozen; they include click-bait titles and thumbnails, as well as tricks to game YouTube's search algorithm. But these strategies suffer from the same flaws of blackhat SEO - what they produce quickly in the short term will amount to nothing in the long term, and may even hurt your chances at success.
Instead, here are 6 powerful strategies that are guaranteed to improve the visibility of your channel for the long term:
6 Strategies For Success
1. Strategic Keyword Research
Marketers sometimes forget the importance of fine-tuning messages to the stage a prospective customer is at in the buying process. When it comes to YouTube, audiences are almost entirely at the product discovery and preliminary research stage, and this should be reflected in your keywords. Keep these best practices in mind:
- Choose keywords suited for people seeking new information
- Use AdWords Display Planner; it’s a great tool for planning keywords to put in your video descriptions
- Choose words relevant to your product, industry, and target audience
- Choose keywords with at least a thousand monthly impressions
- Initially, distribute your YouTube advertisement budget in small amounts over potential keywords.
Important Tip: Try to understand Google’s logic for showing video results on SERPs. For instance, Googling ‘cool Amazon gadgets’ will bring up a results page with 4 YouTube links. If you’re running a similar campaign, take a cue from the title, description, and content of these videos.
2. Perfect Attention-grabbing Thumbnails
Chances are that your YouTube videos will compete with at least a few similar videos. How do you ensure that audiences click on you video first? Thumbnails can help a lot.
Work on the thumbnail images that draw attention and create a desire to click. You can upload a custom thumbnail for your video by choosing the custom thumbnail option while uploading a new video. For old videos with poor thumbnails, go to the Video Manager, click on Edit, then click on Custom Thumbnail.
Here are some suggestions to steer you in the right direction:
- Have 1280 x 720 resolution. Low-res thumbnails draw in much fewer clicks.
- Upload images in PNG, BMP, JPG, and GIF formats
- Keep the image size under 2 MB
- Keep 16:9 aspect ratio
- Use bold colored texts to express the value of the content in your videos
It’s no surprise that the 4th video in this image has more views than its neighbors, considering how well its thumbnail has been designed.
3. Optimize Your Channel Page
A big mistake is ignoring the potential of your channel page to drive audiences to web-links and landing pages. Here are some tips for you to do better:
- Invest time in writing the copy for your channel page; explain your goal, your brand, and your USPs.
- Add links to your websites, social media profiles, and product landing pages.
- Leverage the channel banner to add links to your websites and social profiles.
- Remove clutter and make it more appealing. Add proper calls to action.
- Use a relevant avatar image; your brand logo is an obvious choice.
Important Tip: YouTube audiences don't necessarily care where content comes from as long as it's good, as evidenced by the success of brands like BuzzFeed and Vox. But a channel page oriented around a character or personality is much more effective than one that resembles a corporate storefront.
4. Go Heavy on Calls to Action
YouTubers have long understood the importance of calls to action: "Please like, comment and subscribe if you enjoyed this video!"
Understand what you want your viewers to do, and plan a recurring call to action. There are 4 big goals you may want to optimize for:
- More channel subscriptions
- Getting viewers to watch other videos on your channel
- More comments
- Likes and Shares
Here are the ways that YouTubers typically integrate CTAs into their content:
Direct Host Mentions: Just request your viewers to perform an action; this is a method used by the vast majority of influencers and even casual YouTubers, because time has demonstrated its effectiveness.
Video End Cards: At the end of the video, show a large card with a clickable button. Example – this video uses a large Subscribe button:
Video Description: Add your links, promotional and explanatory content, or a transcript of the video in the description. Here’s an example:
5. Promote Across Channels
You should definitely leverage your existing web assets to increase viewership for your YouTube videos. Insert links to your YouTube channel in email signatures, do a curated list of your best videos for your next email newsletter, write a blog post about your most challenging video and the lessons you learnt, etc.
If you have a social media presence (you should!), this is one of the best ways to instantly bring in a high quality audience. Tailor YouTube content to the audience you already have on social networks, and share it with them actively.
Important Tip: Once you have a good following, it’s very worthwhile to collaborate with other YouTube influencers from related but non-competing markets. There are online tools like MakrWatch to help you easily find YouTube influencers. Key in relevant words, and use filters to shortlist the influencers you can target for collaborations.
6. Focus on Strengthening the Engagement Factor
Engagement - that's the keyword to remember and chant all day. To make people love your YouTube brand, you've got to show some love to them. Here are simple but highly effective ways to do it:
- Respond to comments as often as possible and with as much detail as necessary.
- Subscribe to users' YouTube channels and leave positive feedback.
- Create response videos, and create videos your viewers request or suggest.
- Collaborate with other brands and influencers.
- Run a quick contest or survey to gather audience feedback, get some user-generated content, and share some freebies.
Great content is the first step to a successful YouTube marketing strategy, but for a brand that wants to take their platform to the next level, there are many more factors that can be adjusted and experimented with to create an explosive impact. The steps outlined above are solid and time-proven strategies - by following them and paying attention to results, you will prepare the way to become a big presence in whatever field you choose.
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