If you’re serious about video content, YouTube is going to be an obvious priority in your marketing strategy. Most marketers and SEOs know that it’s the second largest search engine, and it’s now reached 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users, spending an average of more than an hour per day watching mobile video alone.
But my own YouTube marketing journey quickly taught me that it’s a very unique beast, compared to other content and social media sites.
First of all, video content creation is more complicated and time-consuming than written content, at least with the same resources. Plus, SEO on YouTube is sometimes surprisingly different from the Google SEO best practices content marketers might be used to. Those are just two of many, many differences.
So if you’re going to put all of that time and effort into video content marketing on YouTube, you need to be committed to getting it right.
That’s why today, we’re talking about getting your brand’s channel started. Since 100 subscribers is a built-in milestone (it’s when you can customize your channel URL), let’s help you get there.
Here are the four most important things I focused on to grow a new business’s YouTube channel to 100 subscribers in its first four weeks:
Step 1: Perform Keyword Research
Like with any strategic content, you should start with keyword research. It’s just as important to research for video content, if not more, since you’ll want to look at keywords on both YouTube and Google.
Since YouTube’s algorithm is different from Google’s, it takes a separate SEO strategy and keyword research, separate focus keyword lists for videos and website content, and other changes.
Use a tool like TubeBuddy’s tag explorer to find keywords with the right balance of volume vs. competition (yup, some things never change!).
Like with other types of content, you need to do this keyword research upfront, before you create your editorial calendar or plan any content, so you can use the data to inform different themes, series, and topics.
Plus, you want to know which keywords you’re targeting before you start planning your script. Because YouTube looks at your video’s transcription and closed captioning, knowing your keyword before you start talking can help you naturally optimize parts of your video.
Step 2: Plan Your Video Structure
Here is where videos start to really differentiate from written content. People consume them SO differently, and that needs to be accounted for in every piece of your video.
For example, people can’t skim and scroll through a video the way they can a blog post. So where in blog posts intros, it can be effective to lead your readers into your main point with some conversation or a story, with video you need to let people know what you’re talking about right away. You can always tell that great story later, but viewers make up their minds about videos quickly that you don’t have time to leisurely win them over.
Another difference is branding and bios. With written content on your own website, people can see who you are and what your business is right there. With YouTube, you’re on someone else’s platform, so it’s important to incorporate brand awareness throughout the video. For example, by using branded title graphics or intros.
Even introducing yourself isn’t as cut and dry as you’d think. Consider vlog boss Amy Schmittauer’s advice on it:
And since people can’t skim through the content, your calls-to-action can’t be as buried as they would be in a blog post. A blog post might have calls-to-action in the sidebar, footer, and in the middle of the blog post. That works since readers aren’t forced to consume the content linearly, the way they are with videos.
While you don’t want to pitch your whole offer or lead magnet upfront, before you’ve provided free value, make sure to tease and mention it throughout the video so people know about it.
I like to tease the call-to-action and hint at the value viewers will get from it within the first minute, then give all the details towards the end. When it’s relevant, I’ll also bring it back up briefly within the video’s main content to keep enticing viewers to watch until the end.
Step 3: Optimize Your Videos
Next, you need to optimize your video correctly when publishing. How well a video performs in the 24 hours is predicted to impact overall success a lot, so it needs to be optimized from the second it’s public.
To make that a less rushed process, there are a few things you can do:
- Pull together your full list of topic and branded keywords before uploading your video.
- Creating custom thumbnails and closed captioning/transcription.
- Writing your video’s description in advance and using templates for parts like your bio and links to your social channels from week to week.
- Scheduling your video to publish later, or uploading it on private and making it public once it’s optimized.
You want to make sure that it can start appearing in YouTube search right away, and free up your own time once it’s live to focus as much of that first 24 hours as possible on promotion.
Some other optimization basics include using your focus keyword in your video file name, video title, closed captioning, and description.
Step 4: Promote and Repurpose Your Content
Okay, so your video is optimized and live for the world to see. Now it’s time to drive eyeballs to it, and quick.
Like I mentioned earlier, the first 24 hours of your video highly impacts its long-term success, so you want to set the stage well. But you also still need a long-term content promotion strategy for your channel’s backlog of videos.
The First 24 Hours
Your greatest asset in driving initial traffic and engagement to new videos will be your existing audience. When you’re first starting out with YouTube and video content marketing, lean heavily on your audience from other channels, like your blog, email list, and social media.
The same day a new video goes live, you want to:
- Send an email out to your subscribers
- Publish a blog post or landing page on your website featuring the video
- Share (even multiple times) on all of your social media channels
- Sent to any ambassadors or advocates that can share it
As your following on YouTube grows, you’ll be able to lean into that audience more, but the same rules still apply. People who already know and trust you will be quickest to activate around engaging with the video, so they’re your strongest focus for this time crunch.
For driving long-term views, use the basic rules of evergreen content promotion. For example, create more content on other channels pointing to your videos. Share them multiple times on social media.
There are also features on YouTube that are important for driving consistent traffic to your videos. Add videos to relevant playlists, customize your channel layout to feature top content, and use end screens and cards to link related videos to each other.
Video is also amazing for repurposing content. You can repurpose it as is or reformat and transcribe it into written content. For example, I break out each actionable tip in a YouTube video into its own short and shareable clip for social media:
Overall, for each video, you can create the following repurposed content:
- One blog post featuring the video
- Multiple blog posts (on your own blog or guest posts) reusing the video’s information
- Podcast episodes
- Text social media posts
- Graphic social media posts
- Video social media posts
- Email newsletters
- And more
Given the resources it takes to create video content, it’s worth it to throw your all into promotion – that might mean paid traffic like Facebook ads as well.
Get On Video
Don’t let the differences between written and video content trip you up or keep you from starting. The overall goals are the same, you just need to carefully account for the differences in content formats.
But that’s nothing a good strategy and plan can’t solve, so now you’re one step closer.
Share Your Thoughts
Hey Brittany,a wonderful post! very informative. But I have a query you said – “create your content on other channels” . How am I supposed to that with followers less than 50 on my account. Help Please. Cheers.
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