David Tomas, Co-founder and CEO of Cyberclick
YouTube isn’t just funny cat videos, carpool karaoke and influencers vying for their 15 minutes of fame. In fact, as the second most visited website in the world, YouTube can be a powerful tool for your brand. And yet, many marketers are intimated by the platform and unsure of what a branded YouTube strategy looks like.
After having a successful digital marketing blog for years, my company decided to expand our horizons and conquer new territory. We dedicated time and team members in creating our brand’s YouTube channel. In just over 12 months we gained over 35,000 followers on the platform and became one of the largest communities on YouTube within digital marketing.
In this article, I’ll share my top six tips for starting a successful brand YouTube account, and the lessons I learned on our path to gaining over 35,000 subscribers.
Define a buyer persona.
If you think your content is too “dry” for YouTube, think again. With over 2 billion monthly active users, there is an audience that is out there that is interested in what your brand has to say. You just need to figure out what kind of content they’re interested in.
To do this, create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Ask yourself: What problem does your audience have that needs to be solved? How can your videos and channel help solve them?
Your buyer persona will directly influence the kind of content you post. As a marketing agency, our buyer personas are marketing decision-makers and specialists, so our channel is a mix of educational, tutorial, informational and news-related videos.
Steal from yourself.
In the beginning, it can be a bit daunting to think about what videos to post. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Look at your already successful content, and use it in a new way.
In the beginning, many of our YouTube videos were based on our most popular blog posts. Over time, we were able to better understand what content our YouTube audience wanted and create videos independently from the blog.
In general, viewers want two things: to be entertained and to learn something. I recommend you aim to do both. Keep your videos brief, to the point and entertaining.
Another thing that viewers want? Consistency. Viewers don’t become subscribers if they believe you don’t post often. We learned that posting once a week, with an additional video every other week, was the perfect amount to keep our audience entertained. Play around with different posting times to see what works best for your brand.
Define a high-quality visual identity.
Millennial viewers are savvier than ever, and when they choose to watch a video, they expect it to be high quality. If it’s not up to par, they have hundreds of other options to choose from.
Make sure your videos are high quality and clearly belong to your brand. The more attractive your video looks, the less distracted your audience will be, and the more likely they will be to trust what you’re saying and return to your channel. Take a look at other videos focused on the same topics as yours, and see how you can make yours stand out, even starting with the thumbnail.
YouTube and video marketing are investments. Hire the right team members or consider outsourcing to make sure your videos are top-notch.
Don’t be a robot.
YouTube is a great opportunity to show the world your brand’s unique voice and personality. Don’t be a robot — viewers want to see the people behind the brand.
Whether you use a script or not, make sure your videos sound natural and not overly rehearsed. On our team, we have some members who prefer to use scripts and some who work best on the spot. Decide what works best for you.
Responding to comments is another great way to keep users engaged. Monitoring and responding to comments builds more trust and loyalty over time, and it allows you to understand what your viewers want to watch.
Understand YouTube SEO.
Not all SEO is created equally, and you’ll need to use a different SEO strategy on YouTube than you do on Google.
Be sure to use keywords in your video title, description and even in your name if you can. Add all relevant tags in your videos to help users discover you when they’re searching within the platform. Add links to your blog posts, downloadable content and other relevant videos. The easier you can make your content to find, the more views you’ll get over time.
Utilize all possible dissemination tools.
Views lead to more views. The fewer views you have, the less likely people will be to click on your video. To overcome this hump, promote your new channel using all of your other content.
Do you have a newsletter, blog, podcast or social media channels? Share your videos through all of these different sources to increase views and awareness. Whether it means posting short clips to your Instagram story, using sound bites in your podcast, embedding the videos into your blog posts or including a CTA in your newsletter, make sure all of your different audiences know about your newest endeavor.
Overall, the biggest lesson I learned is that investing in YouTube is a worthwhile venture. What started as a trial has turned into a major area of our company, and I believe many brands can benefit from this platform. At times it can feel futile — our biggest hurdles were around the 3,000 and 10,000 subscriber marks — but my best advice is to embrace the slow burn, and eventually, you’ll begin to reap the rewards of your hard work.