Up until a few years ago, the sight of people ‘vlogging’ on the street would have seemed unusual, but today, it is commonplace. Why is that? Well, it is because of a video-sharing platform that we all know as YouTube. Just when you think there is nothing left to see on the popular video-sharing website, a viral video comes out or a herd of new influencers emerges as a popular trend.
Five hundred hours of video were uploaded to Youtube every minute as of May 2019. That’s 12 hours of YouTube video per second!
How can your business capitalize on this growth? Start by creating a YouTube channel for your business.
Why YouTube Matters
But first, let’s briefly get into the basics of why YouTube matters.
YouTube was started by three former PayPal employees in 2005. The video-sharing platform quickly gained traction and was acquired by Google in 2006. While much has changed since that acquisition, the framework remains the same. Content is free to upload and to watch, with users being able to create their own YouTube channels, subscribe to other channels, engage with viewers in the comments section under the videos, and reply to other users’ comments.
Today, YouTube is one of the most popular search engines in the world. Google’s entire ecosystem commands roughly 90% of all worldwide searches. While Google’s core search platform is responsible for the majority of that statistic, the remainder is split between Google Images, YouTube, and Google Maps. Part of the reason YouTube is so popular is its videos are accessible on the YouTube platform itself, they are embedded in websites all around the world, appear in Google’s organic search results, and get displayed on the increasingly popular Google Home smart displays. So even though YouTube technically ranks third after Google Images, it is still huge and warrants your attention.
Here are a few examples of how YouTube can be used to market yourself, your abilities, or your business to a large audience.
Let’s look at an already established business such as the popular fashion house, Chanel. While Chanel may spend millions of dollars on other methods of marketing each year, it can upload its latest Métiers d’Art collection fashion show on its YouTube channel, garnering millions of views, and create thousands of potential customers, all for free.
Then, there is the influencer aspect! Influencers are people who mostly market themselves and the brands that sponsor them. They have something that appeals to an audience – their looks, personality, lifestyle, opinion on various topics, adventurous vlogs, or a combination of any or all of these aspects. Influencers form a large chunk of YouTube’s content creator community and they command an immense audience.
Popular YouTube personality Casey Neistat, for example, boasts 12.3 million subscribers on his YouTube channel as of early June 2021. With just shy of 3 billion total views, Casey is known for his travel videos and other content of the same nature. He gets flies premium at no cost and makes videos about them, courtesy of his popularity and unique review style. Casey also makes a pretty penny with Google AdSense, as do all popular YouTube channels that have been approved for monetization. One of the news highlights of December 2019 was about a kid who made $26 million from YouTube ad revenue that year by reviewing popular toys on his channel.
When your content gets shared by YouTube influencers, you can earn thousands, if not millions, of free views of your content.
Finally, there are channels that rely on viral trends. These channels don’t involve a business or an influencer. They could be a single person filming on their phone, in their bedroom, while still creating millions of views and earning hundreds of thousands of dollars from ads that play on their videos. These channels cater to trends such as ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), slime videos, match lighting videos (yes, you read that correctly), mukbangs (eating shows), and a variety of other interests.
You may be thinking, how is this information important for your business’s YouTube channel? If you are serious about creating a YouTube channel that attracts and sustains an audience, you need to be aware of the dynamics of YouTube. The other thing to know is that well-produced, professional content performs best. People will watch anything if it appears important or simply if it appeals to their aesthetic taste. Visual appeal is much more effective than any other form of marketing!
Steps To Create a YouTube Channel
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!
1 – Setup Your Channel Identity
The first step is to decide on a YouTube channel or username. Then you’ll upload a profile icon and banner image. This will establish your channel’s identity.
Don’t rush this step. You want to get it right.
Ideally, your channel name should be your unique business name but that’s not always possible. Someone may have already reserved your business name, so you’ll want to have a few alternatives in mind. They should be as close to your business name as possible. To get some ideas, poke around your subject area on YouTube and see what others have done. You might, for example, want to append some specific wording that has to do with the subject of your videos. Sometimes this can be helpful for your search audience as it makes it obvious what your channel is about. If you’re still stuck, try digging out a thesaurus to identify some possible alternative descriptive words you could append to your channel name.
Keep it short and avoid special characters. You don’t want a name that’s hard to spell, type, pronounce, or remember. Check to see if your preferred name is already being used by anyone, not just on YouTube, but across websites and social media channels as well. The website namecheck.com is helpful for that purpose.
Lastly, it also doesn’t have to be perfect. Building an audience takes time. Get some seeds in the ground early. You can always go back and edit or refine things after the fact
To create your channel, make sure you’re logged into Google and go to youtube.com. click on your profile thumbnail in the upper right-hand corner and a window with your account settings will appear. Click on ‘Create New Channel’ and follow all instructions.
Your basic channel has now been created. Now let’s turn it into a channel that starts earning views and subscriptions.
2 – Research Your Competition
The purpose of this step is to learn what works for your audience. The key to YouTube success is giving people the information and entertainment they’re after. It’s a process of ongoing discovery and the place to start is with your competition.
You will need to research your specific niche to discover what’s popular on YouTube and why. Your goal will be to identify what it is that your competitors are doing to make themselves so popular and then to one-up them. You will want your channel to be as good and better. Your goal should not be to just replicate what others have done. This won’t help you stand out in a good way. Your goal is to offer something unique and valuable to your audience, something others before you have not yet done.
This is not an easy thing to do, but it can be done. Others have. Remember Casey Neistat? He got famous because he figured out ad-averse millennials wanted great storytelling, adventure and authenticity instead of advertisements. And his formula is working. Think about what makes you, your own business, and your audience unique. Call it out so it’s obvious to others. Doing so will help you create a channel that is sought-after, entertaining, and valuable.
Another really valuable way to identify where there might be gaps and opportunities for you to stand out is to interview and observe your intended audience. Ask them about their most pressing information and entertainment wants and needs. Observe them in their natural environment. What are they trying to find? What satisfies them? What frustrates them? Where can you be helpful? Then cycle back again and see if anyone else has attempted to close these gaps before you. What worked for them? What didn’t.
If you’re really ambitious, you can prototype a few sample videos and share them with that same audience asking for feedback as you go. This is one of the best ways to learn what works and what doesn’t.
3 – Define Your Content Strategy
The next step is plan, develop, and manage the creation of content that helps you earn the trust of your intended audience and succeed in the long run.
A content strategy will include a definition of your intended audience(s) and the problems you intend to help them solve. It will touch on all steps in a customer journey from those who know nothing about you to the ones that are already customers and using your product or service on a day-to-day basis. Your content strategy should clearly demonstrate why your product or service is different and superior, and it should convince your audience of your ability to deliver on your promises.
Show, don’t tell. Show them what you can do.
Remember to vary your content so it doesn’t get boring and it appeals to people of different tastes, backgrounds, and learning styles. Come up with a publication schedule that is both achievable and predictable so your audience knows when new content is likely to become available. If you want to enlist the help of YouTube influencers, plan time to identify and reach out to those people. Be sure to encourage your own readers to bookmark, share, and comment on your content when they find it valuable, and to let you know when they do not.
Finally, plan on reviewing the performance of your content over time so you can learn what works and what doesn’t. A lot of content creation is just trial and error. Be patient. I will click at some point and you will begin to gain momentum and grow.
4 – Record Videos
Keep track of everything that goes into creating your videos. This will keep you organized, help you budget accurately, and will assist you in operationalizing video creation. By streamlining the process of content creation, you will make it easier on yourself to sustain your channel with new and fresh new content. Things you need to invest in and keep track of may include equipment (such as a high-resolution camera, a basic light kit, microphone, and background materials), editing software, and script writers, content optimizers, and analysts (if you’re not playing those roles yourself).
5 – Optimize and Measure Video Performance
Once you have all the basic things in place and your channel has started getting a regular audience, optimization is your key to long-term success. Over time, you need to focus on making your content more professional and more accessible by growing your audience.
Using new and relevant highly-searched keywords in your video title, description and tags will help you create relevancy for your channel and rank higher in YouTube / Google search engines. Regular keywords optimization and reviewing your content performance has immense benefits and is a requisite if you want your content to be seen by your target demographic. You need to stay ahead of the curve and regularly customize your channel into the best version of itself, be it updated graphics, a professionally animated introduction or higher quality camera and sound equipment.
YouTube is a platform that continues to grow every single day. The cultural value of this global network and its potential for providing success to users never ceases to amaze. With an endless stream of content that is categorized and made accessible for a global audience, YouTube as a tool is always available for you to use, completely for free. How you utilize it and reap its benefits is completely up to you! By following the steps in this article, you could be positioning yourself for recognition from a global audience that engages with your content, shares it with their friends and buys your products and services.
Now, lights, camera, action!