If you are still thinking of YouTube as the place where mega-audience viral videos launch huge brand identity campaigns, then you need to catch up. It's become much more democratic. Today, it as much for the local pizzeria, the regional salon or the district franchise as it has been for the Madison Avenue types.
But to play in this space profitably, you need to have a plan. Are you there to educate or entertain? Are you looking to increase subscribers or attract new visitors to your website?
In any event, you need to understand that today, YouTube values (gives higher search results to) videos and channels where users view the entire video.
What does this mean to those producing a video? Don't be sneaky or tricky with your headlines or teasers; as soon as a viewer sees she is not getting what was suggested, she will abandon the video and you miss your message. The impression it leaves can even do damage to your brand.
It's all about the viewer
Viewers decide within the first 15 seconds of a video whether they are going to keep watching or not. To quickly engage viewers, you must:
- Gain the trust with a simple and quick introduction.
- Make the viewer curious about what is coming next.
- Be clear about what is going to be in the video from the very start to keep them engaged throughout your video.
Call them to action
To be successful, you must create clear and concise calls to action. There is no secret to where to put this in the video--you can use the beginning, middle, or end to direct the actions of your viewers. But having too many prompts can cause confusion, so keep them few and brief, such as:
- Subscribe Now: giving them a reason to subscribe (e.g., new content every week or special episodes they don't want to miss).
- Like / Add to Favorites / Share: Asking your viewers to “like,” “favorite,” and “share” the video will make them appear in more places throughout YouTube. Simply asking viewers to do this will yield surprising results.
- Comments: Encourage your audience to engage with you by asking a question or requesting a topic they want to see covered.
- Point to your website: End each video with your web address (URL), logo, and anything of primary importance to your brand and message.
Do it again
This is most important. You can't water a plant once and expect growth. Build an audience by consistently updating your channel with new content. The right frequency of content depends on your audience, your goals, and your content, but posting less than a few times a month certainly lacks commitment.
(Hint: produce short videos. Choose a topic and post bite-size videos weekly to keep your audience engaged and looking for more.)
Bob Namar is the Namarketer, a professional writer, editor and Internet marketer providing promotions and marketing via custom content and social media to businesses in New York and New Jersey, and internationally.