When it comes to marketing channels, just about every company knows they need to leverage blogs and social media. Both have proven to be highly effective at attracting leads and nurturing them into clients.
However, over the past few years, it’s become harder and harder to ignore that YouTube is also a powerful marketing asset. In many markets, it’s responsible for some of the most popular content. So, if your business doesn’t have a YouTube channel yet, it’s time to change that.
4 Steps to Turning YouTube into Your Company’s Next Marketing Channel
The good news is that countless companies have already found success with YouTube marketing, so we have a pretty good idea of what’s required.
Here are the four main steps you need to take to create the kind of popular content on YouTube that ends in greater profits.
1. Take a Content Marketing Approach to YouTube
Although many marketers contend that YouTube should be considered a social media channel, the platform functions much more like a blog.
Platforms like Instagram and especially Twitter are all about having conversations. Companies that do well on these sites know that they need to engage with other accounts and respond to those that comment on their posts.
Accounts that do well on YouTube tend to focus on regularly creating popular content, not following up with everyone who leaves their videos a comment.
Furthermore, people will most likely discover your company’s YouTube channel just like they discover blogs – by conducting searches. So, the key is consistently producing high-quality popular content around topics for which people are searching.
2. Don’t Make Monetization Your Main Goal for YouTube Marketing
Many companies started with YouTube in order to leverage the growing popularity of video marketing, but later realized that they could actually monetize their channels through selling ads. Immediately, they changed tack to enjoy this new source of revenue.
However, last year YouTube changed their rules about monetization. Now, it’s only available to accounts with more than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 annual views.
This underscores why you need to take a long-term approach to build your channel if you’re hoping to monetize it. Even if your company doesn’t care about monetization, it’s best to focus on the quality of your videos – not being the first to cover a trendy topic. Just like with blog posts, this means covering subjects your market clearly cares about and making your videos only as long as they need to be to cover these subjects well.
Another short-term tactic to avoid is buying fake views or subscriptions.
“Strike that off your list,” says Salma Jafri, whose YouTube channel, Be The Media, has 13,000 subscribers.
“YouTube works on watch time metrics, and people who subscribe but don’t watch will drive your numbers down rather than up,” Salma says.
3. Research What Makes for Popular Content on YouTube
Next, you need to think long and hard about your YouTube channel’s editorial calendar. It generally requires a lot more planning to put it together because creating videos requires more time and even money to create.
Quality blog posts require a sound understanding of the subject, writing that delivers the information effectively, and some helpful images.
For a video, you must have that same level of understanding and someone who can deliver it. Your video may necessitate animations or other graphics.
Just as you would with blog content, consider how best to make your ideas attractive in the YouTube context.
“YouTube is edutainment,” Salma says. “If your personality is charismatic and charming, you’ll do better on the platform than folks just teaching or just vlogging.
“You’ve got to master the art of teaching while being fun to watch.”Salma Jafri
Unless it will be a single shot, you will have to do some editing, as well. If you don’t have an experienced video editor in-house, you’ll have to consider what kinds of edits you’ll need, and how long it will take to get the video back.
Here are a few tools we use at BuzzSumo for in-house video creation and editing:
- Screenflow for screencast recording and editing
- Animoto for social promo videos
- A hacked together spreadsheet for estimating the time it will take to say a script
- iStock photo for images
- Canva for free images
- Pablo by Buffer for free images
- Envato Market for music and sound effects
- Rev for transcription and caption file creation
Because of the time and costs involved, your content-discovery process is extremely important for YouTube videos. Don’t assume that good blog posts make for good YouTube videos, though.
Instead, research what your competition has already been doing. If you notice that certain evergreen topics see a lot of interest, that’s where you should get started.
The BuzzSumo Content Analyzer allows you to sort your competitor’s content by Evergreen Score.
Ideally, you want to match your competitors’ production value, too. It’s okay if you keep your budget lean at first, but if your competitors’ videos look like they deserve Academy Awards next to yours, you probably won’t see a lot of success.
In the same way that static images contribute to the success blog posts, thumbnail images are critical for YouTube videos.
“Being able to design attractive thumbnails is going to get you more clicks and raise your click-through rate, which in turn raises your views, which gets you recommended more often by YouTube to newer audiences,” Salma says.
4. Use Social Media to Market Your Videos
Even though you should take the content-marketing approach I mentioned earlier, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for social media in your strategy. Specifically, I recommend making the most out of Facebook for your YouTube videos.
As James Blackwell pointed out in his beginner’s guide to content marketing, a combination of YouTube and Facebook is best for spreading your videos far and wide:
“YouTube and Facebook are the most popular channels for publishing video content. YouTube tends to do better with longer-form video (>5min) whereas Facebook tends to do better with shorter form video (<2min).”James Blackwell
Fortunately, you don’t need to choose between the two. You can upload a video to YouTube and easily share the link to Facebook. Just be sure you’re doing both. Doing so will not only increase your views. It could also become a simple method for building up a valuable Facebook following.
The other great thing about utilizing both channels is that Facebook is the far-superior option when it comes to learning about your market. Simply by running Facebook Ads for your marketing videos, you’ll get a better sense of what demographics like your videos the most, which will make ongoing content discovery much easier, too.
5. Get on a Schedule
Finally, don’t start posting videos until you’ve put together that aforementioned editorial calendar and have a plan in place for sticking to it.
“A plan is what. A schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.”Peter Turla
Aside from researching popular content in your market, the other absolute requirement for success on YouTube is that you post regularly.
One reason for this is simply that the more videos you make, the more opportunities you have to market them to your audience. Again, if you think about using Facebook Ads for this purpose, being able to launch them once a week is going to create better results more quickly than if you’re only able to do it once a month.
Need Help with Content Discovery for Your Videos?
If you’ve already had success with a blog or on social media, start reviewing your most popular content and then search YouTube to see if it does well there, too.
You can also use BuzzSumo. Our content discovery platform will show you what’s already trending, so all you have to do is check YouTube to see if it’s a legitimate opportunity and then start creating your marketing videos.