If your business isn’t using YouTube as a marketing channel yet, you’re missing out on so much. YouTube boasts 2.29 billion active users as of July 2021, making it the second most popular social network worldwide (source: Statista). Your target audience is already there.
Anyone can create a YouTube channel with a couple of clicks, it’s true. And it’s also completely free – even for businesses. But making it into a successful channel isn’t as easy as a pie. Fear not, though – this guide will break down all the steps you need to take to achieve just that.
Before you go on reading: this guide won’t tell you which buttons to click or how to create a Google account. Instead, it’ll cover everything from content planning to whether or not to hire video production services and pay for ads to promote your channel. And most importantly, it’ll help you figure out how to stand out among billions of hours of content.
1. Understand Your Target Audience
If you don’t have quality content, your YouTube channel won’t ever gain traction. But how do you understand what is and isn’t quality content? As with any marketing channel, you need to analyze your target audience first:
- Who are they? Create the customer personas for each segment and describe their occupations, interests, level of knowledge on certain topics, etc. Make your target audience as narrow as possible.
- What do they want? These are their needs and wants that your content should match.
- Why do they come to YouTube? There are two broad options: they either want to get entertained (educational entertainment is a thing, too) or solve a problem.
- How do they want to consume content? This will help you determine your type(s) of content (tutorials, reviews, etc.) and the video’s structure.
2. Do Your Research on Competitors
Now, it’s time to take a close look at your competitors. Start with the businesses that you’re already competing with offline. Do they have a YouTube channel? If they do, what content do they upload? What about their viewer engagement, is it high?
Then, check out other YouTube channels in your niche and ask these questions:
- What’s trending in your niche? What topics haven’t been covered yet?
- What is these channels’ target audience?
- What types of content do they upload? Which ones are the highest-performing?
- Is their content engaging enough? How do they achieve high engagement?
- What are their best practices? What do they lack or miss out on?
3. Factor In Costs & Benefits
Yes, it’s free to create a channel and start uploading videos. But this whole endeavor doesn’t come without its costs:
- Equipment. If you shoot your content, you’ll need to chip in for the camera itself, lighting equipment, and microphone. Other expenses usually include props and studio rent.
- Software. If you want to make animated videos, tools like Adobe Illustrator and After Effects are a must – but they aren’t free. Video editing tools like Adobe Premiere Pro are paid, too.
- Talent. If you don’t have someone to produce content and manage the channel, you’ll need to do some hiring. A typical team consists of a marketing specialist, a director, a video editor, a writer, a designer, and a host/narrator.
- Promotion. Will you buy ads on YouTube? Or pay influencers to promote your channel?
A pro tip: you can cut all of these costs if you turn to a video production services agency.
As for the “benefit” part of the equation, the best way to calculate it is by looking at the ROI. And according to Wyzowl, 87% of businesses reported a positive ROI on video marketing in 2021, and 84% of them say it’s helped generate more leads.
4. Produce Quality Content
As mentioned above, quality content means it scores well with your target audience – i.e., it’s interesting and engaging for them. But it also concerns the actual quality of the video as a product, as in:
- Good resolution with proper focus and sharpness;
- Good sound and lighting;
- Professional design for intros, outros, end screens, thumbnails.
Your videos should look like you invested your time and effort into creating them. That’s why, if you’re not sure you can manage to achieve that, consider turning to professional YouTube video production services.
Here are 8 other best practices for you to keep in mind here:
- Have a content plan and stick to it;
- Be ahead of your uploading schedule;
- Be consistent in style, tone of voice, etc.;
- Make the videos long – but not too long (have enough content for a 10-minute explainer if you make one);
- Use thumbnails to stand out in the search results and feed;
- Include a CTA to encourage viewers to subscribe;
- Use cards and end screen to link to your other content or playlists;
- Have a channel trailer for users who haven’t hit the subscribe button yet and a featured video for returning subscribers.
5. Keep SEO in Mind When Uploading Videos
YouTube isn’t just a social network – it’s the second most popular search engine. So, SEO is crucial for ranking well and increasing your discoverability. Here are 2 ways to ace YouTube SEO at this stage:
- Add the target keyword or key phrase in the video’s title, description, and tags (once in each section is enough);
- Include it in the uploaded file’s name: YouTube algorithms scan it, too.
6. Understand Other YouTube SEO Metrics
Your keywords don’t matter to YouTube as much as the user engagement itself. Here are 5 metrics that carry the most weight in your final ranking:
- Average view duration. If 75% of users close your video after 20 seconds of your 10-minute video, it’s bad. Aim to have 50-60% of viewers watching your whole video.
- The number of views. The higher it is, the better – but only provided the average view duration is high, too. You don’t have to have millions of views to score high in the search results.
- Rating. Aim to have more likes than dislikes.
- Views to subscribers. If your content was so great that a viewer subscribed to your channel after watching, it’s a signal for YouTube that your content is high-quality.
- Comments. Since comments can be both positive and negative, their number doesn’t carry that much weight – but it still counts.
7. Promote Your YouTube Channel
Gaining your first subscribers is the toughest part. Just relying on a high SEO ranking isn’t a good strategy here: you need the initial boost of several thousand views to rank well. So, promote your newly created channel via:
- Existing marketing channels: your social media accounts, website, email newsletter, etc.;
- Cross-promotion: if you have a well-known brand, reach out to other YouTube creators and suggest collaborating on a video;
- Ads: it’ll cost you between $10 and $30 per 1,000 views. Make sure you target them well in terms of the audience, search queries, and location;
- Activity. Add industry leaders and influencers (but not your competitors!) to the featured channels list, like and comment on their content.
Word of caution: have at least several videos uploaded to your channel before promoting it. Users won’t subscribe to an empty channel.
Having a successful YouTube channel isn’t an overnight feat – even if you have the best of the best on your team or hire cream-of-the-crop YouTube video production services. It takes hours upon hours of hard work to produce top-notch content and ace YouTube SEO.
So, persistence and patience are key. Remember: you need to find a way to stand out in this ocean of video content that YouTube is. But with the right talent, nothing is impossible.
EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be considered an editorial endorsement
Featured Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/UfseYCHvIH0