With over 100 hours of video uploaded every minute and over one BILLION people across the world accessing the site every month, YouTube is no longer just a destination for one hit, viral videos.
It’s no wonder that an astounding 87% of online marketers use YouTube video content in their marketing mix. In addition, YouTube is the number 2 search engine on the planet, making it a fantastic platform to grow your audience.
In this post, I’ll walk you through the four C’s you need in your online video strategy to successfully drive traffic and sales from YouTube:
Simply put, you need to hook your viewer from the start and continue to engage them throughout the video. This is especially important since YouTube has changed its algorithm to give more weight to average watch time than number of view counts.
Also, videos that retain viewers throughout the entire video rank higher in YouTube search and are more visible in YouTube’s related videos algorithm (suggested videos at the end of each video and related videos on the right sidebar).
But how do you go about captivating your audience? Here are 3 easy steps that you can implement today:
1. Compelling Content Comes First
Many viewers decide whether they are going to keep watching your video within the first few seconds. Attention spans are short, and viewers are just one click away from abandoning your video.
It’s even more important to have an animated intro if your video only uses one camera angle (such as a webcam) or is a talking head video.
If you are creating a “how-to” video, consider showing the final outcome first then show the instructional steps. Hooking the viewer from the onset will keep them engaged through your video.
2. Vary the Camera Angle
There’s no hard and fast rule to how long you can stay on one angle, but I would recommend that you keep it at about 30 seconds and no longer than 1 minute.
Think about a trailer to your favorite movie. There are multiple cuts to different scenes and no scene receives longer than 15 seconds of airtime.
If you’re doing a talking head video, consider varying the angles or background for the different sections of your topic.
3. Add Transitions, Overlays, and Graphics
Caution: adding a transition does NOT mean inserting a “page over” effect on your video.
Transitions can be as simple as a single frame that introduces a new section or topic of a video.
An excellent example of adding a simple transition to break up different sections can be found in this video by CopyHackers’ Joanna Wiebe.
Remember, it does NOT need to be complicated.
“Consistent audience requires consistent content!” – Freddie W., Top YouTuber.
We all understand the importance of consistency when it comes to growing a blog.
And although creating a video can be more time consuming, the same principle of creating consistent content should be applied to marketing on YouTube.
By creating regular content on YouTube, you will keep your channel feed active, increase your reach, and build more subscribers. While there’s no hard and fast rule for how often you should produce content, YouTube suggests a minimum of one video per week.
However, the right amount of content depends on your audience and your goals.
A quick and easy way to create more frequent content is to do a Google+ Hangout interview with an expert in your industry. You can then use this material for your YouTube channel and blog.
Here’s an example of a video SmartShoot created from a Google+ Hangout expert interview, outlining the process that goes into creating an animated explainer video.
While conversions are always top of mind on your website, they somehow become an afterthought on YouTube.
Remember, online video is an interactive experience and prompting your viewers to take action will help you build engagement and a larger audience.
Depending on your message, you can use the middle or end of the video to prompt your viewers to take action.
Here’s a sampling of a few actions that you can use on your videos:
- Subscribe: Give viewers a reason to subscribe by highlighting how often you’ll produce new videos. If you’re a host or personality, you could also end your videos asking for viewers to subscribe.
- Like / Add to Favorites / Share: Simply asking your viewers to Like, Favorite, and Share within your video can yield some amazing results. The more you can get from your viewers the more likely the video appears in more places across YouTube.
- Comments: Encourage your audience to participate by asking a specific question or a topic that they’d like you to cover in an upcoming video.
- Video Graphics: Create a video “end slate” that appears at the end of the video to direct viewers to your website. Give them a lead magnet to increase email subscribers.
- Link to your website: Within the first 2 lines of the YouTube description, make sure that you include a link back to your website. Be sure to include the “http://”, otherwise YouTube will not make the link clickable.
Here’s a great example from the Nerdist channel using Conan O’Brien to ask viewers to subscribe to their channel:
While YouTube is a massive online video platform, don’t forget that it’s also one of the biggest social networks.
People are drawn to online video because unlike regular broadcast television, they can interact with their favorite channels and YouTubers. From video responses to parodies to musical covers, YouTube is an engaged community of viewers and creators.
So, listen to your audience and speak to them in a way that grows your following and empowers them to become your biggest ambassadors.
3 Easy Ways to Build Your Community on YouTube:
1. Ask the Viewers
Ask viewers for their opinions, ideas, or feedback on videos by leaving a comment. Ask them if they have any specific questions that they’d like you to cover.
Rather than asking general questions, ask specific questions. This will lead to more responses and a more engaged community.
For example, rather than saying “what would you like me to cover in my next video?” instead say “would you like me to cover a) Facebook marketing; b) Twitter marketing; or c) YouTube marketing?”
2. Feature the Community
Once you have feedback from your viewers, feature them and their content in your video. The goal is to make your community feel as if this is their channel by highlighting their comments and/or user-submitted content.
Consider doing a Google Hangout Q&A with a few of your most loyal fans. Seeing other viewers within your videos will not only build a loyal following, but also encourage passive viewers to become more active on your channel.
3. Reward Your Super Fans
Beyond the typical mention in your videos, look for ways to reward your super fans (both on and off YouTube).
Simple things such as a discount code, free month to your service or even a t-shirt can go a long ways to building an engaged and loyal following on YouTube.
While online video in general is still a confusing medium to most businesses, it does provide a fantastic platform for businesses looking to grow their audience beyond their blog.
Remember, Blendtec, a company that some may say sells a boring product (blenders), has over half a million subscribers on YouTube and is proof that when done correctly, YouTube is a powerful social network to attract new customers!
About the Author ~ Steve P. Young
Steve P. Young is the Director of Product Marketing for SmartShoot where marketers go to get stunning photos and video from the best local photographers and filmmakers. Connect with Steve on Twitter or LinkedIn.
image thanks to Maurits Knook (mauritsonline)
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