Mary Meeker from KPCB predicts that "74% of all internet traffic will be video by 2017." A top influencer in digital marketing, Neil Patel shares the 2015 statistics, claiming "70% of marketers report that video converts better than other forms of media." He says that "YouTube has over 1 billion users," which makes this channel a top performer for attracting a wider audience. In other words, it's high time for brands to think about YouTube content strategy, to create compelling content for their audience and efficiency for their business.
Easier said than done.
Over 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. This channel has over 5 billion views a day. It's the second largest search engine after Google, and mobile viewing time has already surpassed the desktop one. Globally, more than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices. Brands need a video content strategy, and here are five actionable steps to creating one.
Create a Content Plan
YouTube is a video channel, but it's about content. So, when considering YouTube as a marketing channel, make sure its content covers all stages of sales funnel: attract, engage, nurture, and convert. To improve strategy, you need a plan.
As Google says, "Before making corporate videos, create a content plan to ensure that your content both meets your brand’s goals and engages your intended audience." A pro content plan entails determining the right message and the right opportunities that would work for your clients. Also, consider specific video types (brand videos, vlogs, testimonials, commercials, explainer videos, etc.), choose an editorial planner (for instance Trllo or CoSchedule) that fits your needs, determine how long it will take to create content, finalize publication schedule, and fill in your editorial calendar accordingly.
Don't Ignore Video SEO
According to Google's YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands, "YouTube is a big place with lots of content for viewers to choose from", and "a successful optimization strategy will help you take full benefit of the platform’s functionalities and avoid execution mistakes." To make videos rank in the results of both YouTube and Google, maximize your chances by optimizing two major parts: video information and user engagement.
Add keywords to titles, descriptions, and tags for YouTube algorithms to understand the topic of your videos and rank them for relevant terms. Then, do your best to make users like your videos: the more likes it gets, the higher it ranks. It considers such areas as overall views, average view duration, rating (thumbs up and down), and comments.
Embrace Other Channels
The above-mentioned YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands, which helps marketers develop strategies that resonate with customers, suggests to "optimize the social amplification of your content." It works because "online video is a social medium allowing people to interact with the creators in ways that they can’t on television."
Many brands don't just create efficient YouTube channels but combine them with other platforms and content types. For example, Coca-Cola embeds YouTube videos into its websites; Intel publishes professionally produced content together with UGC; OmniPapers combines text content with video testimonials from students to embrace a wider audience, etc.
Consider All Options for Promotion
YouTube starts to rank videos after they've got a few thousand views. So, you need to find a way to get them, and there are several options to do that.
You might want to practice cross-promotion with top YouTubers by participating in their videos and, therefore, getting exposure. Ask viewers to subscribe to your channel and make sure to place a link in the video description. To find top channels for cross-promotion, search for keywords in your niche and check out those with most subscribers. Pitch 20-30 of them, offering to create videos for their channels.
One more option is promoting your videos to email subscribers. Send them newsletters with YouTube videos or add videos to your blog posts--when they watch embedded videos rather than go to YouTube, it still counts as a view. Or, you can outreach top bloggers in your niche by emailing them about your videos: explain why you think they should check your video content and ask to share it with their audience if they like.
And there is always the tried and true tactic of YouTube ads. In her article for 360 Degree Marketing, Amy Bakers writes: "As a YouTube advertising user you pay per view with an average cost per view ranging from $10-$30 (per thousand) with the option to have your ad in four standard ad formats." It makes sense to promote your videos with ads if your channel doesn't have many subscribers yet.
To understand if the game is worth the candle, track your YouTube video performance and measure your marketing efforts. Statistics and analytics will show the aspects to change or give up.
Many tools and services can help you determine the type of content resonating best with your audience, see the number of likes or dislikes, monitor websites that embed your videos, analyze your audience demographics, see where viewers stop watching, check traffic sources, and more. In his article for SMExaminer, Brian Honigman shares a list of YouTube Insights that can "give you the analytical know-how to help create improved branded content" and "measure your video strategy."
Today consumers are ten times more likely to engage, comment, and share video content than blogs or social media posts. As a marketer, you better stop considering YouTube nothing but an online video repository: it's a high-power social platform driving views and actions. It's a channel that benefits your marketing, as well as earn the sympathy of your target audience.