With over 800 million unique visitors watching over 4 billion hours’ worth of content each month, YouTube is one of the most popular websites across the globe and a platform which simply cannot be ignored if you want to take your online business to the next level. You have seen some of the success stories on YouTube which have literally; exploded on to the global stage and you want in.
Now it is not as easy as uploading a video and waiting for it to go viral, you only need to look at the stats at the beginning of this post to realise that you are competing on a worldwide stage. In such an overpopulated arena, it is extremely difficult to stand out from the crowd so you have got to play the game smart and realise that the best content does not always receive the most views; take Gangnam Style for instance, it is essentially just some guy pretending he is on a horse yet staggeringly, it has received over 1 billion views and even some of the video responses have upwards of 50 million views. Actually, that might not be the best example because I quite like the video but I think you know what I am trying to say…
Ok, so let’s assume that you have not just uploaded the next “Charlie bit my finger” and that you do not already have thousands of subscribers to your channel; so how do you get more YouTube views and what do you do next? You believe your content to be good but you are not getting any traction from the site. This should not deter you from realising your true potential; as said by Anton Ego in Ratatouille “Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist can come from anywhere” and for me, that is what YouTube is all about, providing a platform for anyone to make their mark on the world, providing they know how to play the game.
This post, or series of posts, is all about getting more YouTube views to your videos. In part 1, I am going to be outlining some of the known techniques and strategies for getting more views for your videos as well as adding my own opinion as to how things should be done. Part 2 is going to be more of a real-time case study where I am going to provide actual data and statistics from one of my own videos which I will be trying to market for the purpose of this experiment.
Getting more YouTube views
The following advice, tips and methods are designed to attract more attention to your video content. To those of you who are familiar with SEO, you will notice a few similarities to the practices employed to improve rankings within search engines; after all, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine shortly behind its big brother and now owner, Google.
Note: If you are going to try and utilise YouTube in order to boost the exposure of your brand then you need to start thinking of it as a search engine. If like me, you have used YouTube for years, finding funny videos and watching links sent you from friends it is time to stop being the viewer and start thinking business.
This is the name of the file which you are going to upload to YouTube. It is important to realise that the marketing process begins before the video goes live. Prior to publishing the video you need to have a clear idea of who you want to see your video and how they are going to find you. In identical fashion to keyword research within SEO it is vital that you take every opportunity to insert your key phrase.
E.g. If you have created a video review for a Samsung Galaxy S3, you may want to call the actual video file “Samsung-Galaxy-S3-Review.mp4″ or similar. You may want to carry out further research into your niche and target a keyword set with slightly less competition (similar to longtail keyword research); either way, be sure to enter your keyphrase in to your video file name.
The title of your video is an extremely important factor when trying to gain more views to your content. We have all typed our search criteria in to YouTube or any search engine for that matter and instantly received numerous results to choose from; but which one do you go for? Standing out from the crowd is something that you will hear a lot of when trying to make it online and for good reason. The title of your video, along with the thumbnail (which I will cover shortly) is pretty much the first chance you will get to interact with your potential viewer and attempt to lure them in.
Note: research suggests that when a viewer lands on your web page, you have a maximum of 7 seconds to capture your readers attention and imagination. YouTube is significantly less so make sure you make a good first impression.
The Title of your video should obviously be keyword rich and provide an accurate overview as to the content but it should also be worded in a way to incite intrigue and invite interest. Would “Charlie bit my finger” have received so many views if it had been called “Home_Video_1″, maybe, but I think you get my point.
Let’s say that you have a video which provides a tutorial on how to use the spot healing tool within Adobe Photoshop. Your keyword is going to be something along the lines of “Photoshop Spot Healing Tool” or similar…Rather than just call your video “How to use the Spot Healing tool in Photoshop” which is a perfectly good title; clear, concise and to the point, why not try something like “Photoshop Spot Healing tool made easy” or “4 minute guide to the Photoshop Spot Healing tool”.
I will expand on this point a little later but you need to be aware that in order for your video to completely take off, it needs to contain valuable content, whether it makes people laugh, teaches you something or simply has the wow factor; it needs to draw people in. Once you have thousands of views, the success is almost self-perpetuating but you have got to get some initial traction and a catchy, stand out title is a great way to start things moving.
When you upload a video to YouTube, you will get an area to basically, summarise its content. Many people ignore this step and miss out on many potential views. As with the title of your video, it should contain your primary keyword and any other longtail keywords you wish to target but similarly to the principles of SEO within web pages, it should not encroach upon the boundaries of keyword stuffing (keyword stuffing is the process of constantly repeating the same words in order to rank higher for them) do not forget that Google owns YouTube so they do know a thing or two about SEO and user experience.
Many people advocate the process of writing two to three paragraphs in this area while others like to provide a full transcript of the video so do not assume that people will not read it and therefore keep it short. Always ensure that you write your description for people rather than the system but be aware that it is a search engine and the spiders are listening
If you are thinking to yourself, “How is a video on YouTube going to help my website” then it’s time to pay attention. You can add a hyperlink to the description which will open up a new browser window to your website. You cannot influence the anchor text of your link as it needs to be written out in full. You do not need to insert any special coding or html tags, simply typing out the address in full (with http:// at the beginning) will suffice.
Top Tip: Always make your hyperlink the first thing in the description box, this is the only way to ensure that it will always be seen, placing it further down will hide it from normal view and require user interaction to reveal it
When uploading to YouTube, you will get the opportunity to add tags to your video. Tags are similar to the keywords used within HTML Meta data in the sense that they are designed to provide the search engine (YouTube) with a rough idea of what your content contains.
Populating your tags does not have to be a brainless task, for example; you have a video of your dog chasing his tail, do not rush through the upload process and fill out the tags with “Dog Video”, “Dogs”. Thorough Tag creation should be a process of market and keyword research. Take a closer look through your niche and dive in to potential markets to determine the most profitable keywords.
Top Tip: Chances are that there is already a popular video covering a great deal of your content. Have a look what tags that video is using as a rough idea. Only as an idea though, remember that you want to surpass the competition, not just match it!
There has never been a better time to share information around the globe. Long gone are the days of waiting for information to be delivered, we can watch it happen instantly. As an online business, it is essential that you embrace this culture and place yourself in to every arena possible. As championed by Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income “Be everywhere”. The following list is by no means complete but will certainly get you pointing in the right direction: Share your content with your:
- Facebook friends
- Twitter Followers
- LinkedIn Network
- Google+ Community
- Subscribers on your blog / website
- Mailing List
- Forum members – This does not have to be exclusive to current forum subscriptions Go out find the major players in your niche and get connected. Start off with a “Thanks for all your help email” and you will be surprised how far it will go
- Web 2.0 sites (Squidoo, WordPress, Blogger)
If you want to make things happen then this is the area where you can always do more. Always fear regret, never lay back and think that you could have done more; someone out there is trying harder than you. You will be surprised just how big your own personal sphere of influence actually is.
Whilst carrying out my own research in to ways I could increase the view count on my own videos, I never really came across content as being an important factor; a few people brushed on it but for me it is crucial. A video is a lot more revealing to your audience than what a static web page can be and therefore needs to display your brand, identity and message with far greater clarity. You could have the greatest message in the world but if your video is grainy, choppy or contains poor quality audio, you are heading for disaster. While the whole world is almost demanding that you have a YouTube presence for your business, my advice would be to just hold off until you have the resources to do it right. The following list is what I consider to be YouTube “turn offs”:
- Poor Audio
- Grainy Video Quality
- Choppy Video (intermittently skipping)
- Too much camera movement
- Adverts – You might be surprised to hear me say this but I am actually against YouTube Ads. If you are new to a particular YouTube channel and the first thing you see is an advert, it might put you off for life. Yes it is easy to do and it can be extremely worthwhile but just ask yourself if it is helping your business or hindering it. Obviously if you are lucky enough to go viral then by all means earn as much as you can, while you can; but in the early days, have a little think about it…
Just going back to what I touched on above, having a presence on YouTube should not be viewed as just another tick box in the whole web arena. It seems to me that too many people, see having a YouTube video as a bit of a status symbol and automatically makes you a better company; the truth is that it doesn’t…anyone can record a video on their smartphone and upload it to YouTube. What will set you apart from the rest of the crowd is the quality of your content and how it is presented to your audience.
Top Tip: Always ask yourself, what value am I adding with this video and how is it helping people. Am I solving a problem, Am I making something easier, Am I saving time, Am I making people laugh. If you can tick a few of these boxes with your content, you are on to a winner.
Annotations are a relatively new addition to YouTube and one that everyone will have seen but may not have recognised. When you are watching a YouTube video, you will often see boxes or speech bubbles pop up with links to other videos, usually to content from the same producer, which can maximise the exposure to a channel within a single user session. These boxes are called Annotations and you can add them to any of your videos using the online editor within YouTube.
I have used this strategy several times and have seen instant success each time. In part 2, of this YouTube series, I will show you how I managed to get over 1000 views to a video in 3 days primarily through this strategy.
So you have created your video and would like to attract some attention. A great way to get things moving is by creating a video response to an already popular video. Once you have uploaded your video, you are free to submit it as a video response to an existing video. You can only do this once per video so choose wisely. I would recommend finding a video which sits within your niche and already has at least 100,000 views and recent comments, this way you know that people are still viewing it. The moderator of the existing video will then need to approve your video so it is important not to burn your bridges before you get started. Nothing offensive, keep it contextually relevant and high quality. Meet these criteria and you should not go too far wrong (Some other video owners may not go in for this practice but there is no harm in trying. Remember that everyone started at the bottom once and most people are more than happy to help)
One of the best things about YouTube is that you can easily see what is already working. If you carry out a search relating to your chosen market, you will clearly identify the popular videos against the not so. Take some time before publishing your content to see what makes the good videos good. I am by no means telling you to copy them word for word but you will be able to pick out the highlights and apply them to your content. You can even look for any areas which need improving and implement them into your work. What tags are the best videos using, what keywords are they targeting in both title and description. People who have popular videos prove to us that it can be done, do not waste time reinventing the wheel only to realise what you should have done in the first place. There is often a reason why so many people do things in a certain way…It Works!
It costs nothing to say Thank You to someone yet it means so much. The online world is no different and you will find that good manners go a long way. When I first started trying to make money online, I was completely against contacting people or even showing my appreciation. I thought that by contacting someone, it was a roundabout way of asking for a mention or a reciprocating link. The webmaster would automatically think “Who is this nobody” and never give me the time of day. I could not have been further from the truth, if you like something, tell the owner or if someone else’s content has helped you then thank them, be up front about it, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. It is not scheming, nor is it covert…just good manners.
With this in mind, feel free to thank, like, link and share other peoples YouTube content and think Karma…my time will come
YouTube marketing is by no means restricted to YouTube, if anything your video is just the landing page which will lead to other places. (Your Website, via description links or social pages)
Similar to the point of Sharing your content, this area is without boundaries and will allow you to spread the word until your heart is content. Find other people within your niche, trust me there will be some and tell them about your video.
Let’s say you have a video of your cat chasing his ball of wool, it is all about your cat and has been filmed from the perspective of an owner and cat lover. There is nothing to stop you promoting your video on every cat forum and website you can find. Not only will you create publicity for your video but you will also build valuable relationships with other people within your industry.