With over one billion users worldwide, collectively watching hundreds of millions of hours of content every single day, building an effective YouTube presence is one of the most important marketing opportunities for building a brand presence online. At the heart of every online video strategy sits your YouTube channel. Surprisingly though, it is often one of the most neglected and overlooked assets businesses hold in their digital arsenal.
Building a successful channel does take time and effort but following these rules of thumb will help you maximise the appeal and subscriber base of your channel, as well as the wider reach of your YouTube content in general.
YouTube operates like a search engine, and a properly considered search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is vital if you are to increase the reach of your channel, as well as the videos you host on it.
The first thing to do is to research the types of video content likely to go viral within your niche or sector and ask yourself if you have incorporated any of those elements within your video. This will ensure that you will have a captive audience but your content needs to get found, so it’s important to ensure you also use relevant keywords in your video titles, as well as throughout your channel description.
Successful implementation of keywords in video titles and description boxes will ensure YouTube ranks your content appropriately, and will provide users with an understanding of what to expect. There are many tools for keyword research with Google’s Keyword Planner one of the most popular (partly because it’s free). Tools like SE Ranking, SEM Rush, Moz’s Keyword Explorer are also all excellent, but do require you paying for a subscription.
Top Tip: always avoid keyword stuffing and instead, make sure you maintain a natural tone throughout, incorporating 3 or 4 hyper-relevant keywords, with the first present within the first 20 words.
When constructing your thumbnail, your core aim must be to create an image that will attract attention and entice your audience to click through to watch your video. We’ve laid out some simple do’s and don’ts for thumbnails, which will form the visual candy for your YouTube channel.
- Include the title or a few words to provide context for that section of your audience who just look at thumbnails when scrolling through their subscriptions.
- Make sure your design is eye-catching and relevant to the video and your brand.
- Ensure it’s visually interesting, but avoid excessive clickbait techniques.
- Settle for a generic aesthetic – you need to stand out from the crowd.
- Become too repetitive, but do try to establish a signature style, so your audience instantly knows it’s a video from you.
- Be afraid to switch your thumbnail for something else, if it isn’t working as well as expected.
YouTube traditionally isn’t the best platform for driving referral traffic but it is an incredibly powerful brand building tool. In this sense, it might help to think of your YouTube channel as being like the homepage of your video content; a hub that should effectively communicate who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer through your videos.
Below are three golden rules when it comes to actually constructing your YouTube channel.
1. Separate your Consumer and Commercial Content
Understanding how your audience wants to engage with your videos will help you to correctly segment your video content. When creating each video, you should always have a clear idea of who your message is for. Presenting a consumer with content intended for a more corporate audience won’t go down very well, which is why taking the time to understand your audience is key.
Top Tip: understand exactly what you want your channel to help you achieve, and think about how each decision you make will push you closer to your goals.
2. Don’t Order Your Content by Popularity
Wanting to demonstrate how many views one of your older videos achieved is natural, but don’t give into temptation. Instead, focus on promoting the content that effectively reflects your current message. Ensuring that you still have something relevant to say will encourage your audience to keep coming back to your channel regularly.
Top Tip: you never want to look or feel stagnant. Recognise when you need to switch things up and act quickly.
3. Keep Creating Consistently
Consistency is integral to every strategy and its importance here cannot be overstated. Whether you’re going to upload every day or once a week, your audience need to know when they can expect to see something new from you. Establish a schedule and stick to it.
Top Tip: check in with your analytics data and see when your target audience is most likely to want to watch some new content. Tailor your upload schedule to the most popular times and days of the week, to ensure your message reaches as many people as possible.
Monitoring and Tracking your YouTube Channel
Keeping track of your analytics data is one of the most important elements of any digital strategy as it allows you to identify what works and what doesn’t and to focus budget where it’s best served. Picking the perfect metric or KPI to do this with video marketing isn’t easy and YouTube is no exception. Here are some key considerations when it comes to YouTube metrics.
- Views are excellent, as they demonstrate the reach of your channel and effectiveness of your optimisation strategy.
- Average viewing time will allow you to keep an eye how long people are watching your content. Are viewers getting to the end of your videos, for example? If not you might want to think about making shorter or more attention grabbing videos.
- Another important metric is how often your audience is sharing your content across other platforms. This is extremely important if engagement is key to your campaign or CTA.
Alongside your website and wider social media presence, YouTube should be an essential pillar of your video marketing strategy. With so many well known brands failing to establish a convincing YouTube presence with a properly organised YouTube channel, the opportunity to really make an impact is there for taking.
Adopting these techniques to your YouTube channel will help you create the best possible platform for your burgeoning video campaign and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.