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How To Get Started With YouTube

Sep 15, 2017
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YouTube has come a long way since its creation in 2005. No longer is it just used to watch cat videos or people playing video games. YouTube today has transformed into a media giant, with 30 million visitors per day. Businesses big and small can benefit a ton by creating and optimizing video content on YouTube. In this post, I’ll share why you should take YouTube seriously and how you can optimize your video content to increase brand awareness and thought leadership.

Video is a powerful marketing medium, but many companies still don’t invest in it. In the past, the cost of good video equipment deterred many from investing in video, but today’s smart phones have removed that obstacle. Video is a powerful way to personalize your content, and literality gets you in front of your online audience.  

YouTube overall and even YouTube on mobile alone reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the US. (YouTube Press) But here’s the real kicker, YouTube is free! Regardless, many businesses that do video still invest tons of money on local and national commercials that deliver little ROI.

Now just having a YouTube channel doesn’t guarantee success. You need to take the time to develop user-centric content and optimize your videos and your channel. But the upside to YouTube is just too great to ignore. Check out these statistics:

  • YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and each day those users watch a billion hours of video, generating billions of views. (Source)
  • The number of channels earning six figures per year on YouTube is up 50% y/y. (Source)
  • Millennials Prefer YouTube Nearly 2x More Than Traditional TV (Source)
  • Time Spent By Users 35+ On YouTube Grew 40% Faster Than Adults Overall (Source)
  • The Majority Of All Adults Will Take Action After Viewing An Ad On YouTube (Source)

Ok, so I hope you now see how valuable YouTube marketing can be. So the next question is how can you take advantage of this great platform. Constant Contact put together a nifty infographic to help get you stated, but I’ll layout the fundamentals for you in the text below.

Define Your Purpose

As with any marketing campaign, you need to have a strategic goal in mind. The “spray and pray” approach never delivers results. So before you even create an account, you need to define why you are creating videos and how they will help your audience.

Set Up Your Account

Creating a YouTube account is relatively straight forward. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to create a Google account. If you do have one, log in and navigate to YouTube. You’ll need to answer a few questions, and then you must agree to the terms and services. After that, you’re ready to get started!

Now, before you start posting videos, I recommend you take a moment to spruce up your account. Adding a channel icon, channel art and optimizing the “about” section is a must. You want to be sure that your visitors see a completed account when they stop by for the first time. First impressions are a big deal!

Channel Icon

I recommend you use your company logo as the channel icon. Google will automatically make your Google My Business icon your YouTube icon if you connect your channel to your business account

Channel Art

Channel art is what gives your channel some personality. YouTube provides a great walkthrough of this process, complete with dimensions and how your artwork will be displayed across a variety of devices including mobile phones and televisions.

When choosing channel art, keep your audience in mind. Design something that will help them quickly understand your channel subject matter. Lastly, go check out what these images look like on other devices to make sure everything looks good. Phones, televisions, tablets, and desktops all show the channel art at different dimensions. Here’s a great template you can use or check out Canva, which has some pre-made templates as well.

About Section 

The about section is where you get to tell people about yourself and your business. You can add a contact email and even add links to social media accounts and your website. A word of caution, don’t add too many links. YouTube likes when people stay on your channel, so adding a bunch of links can end up hurting you in the long run. I also recommend adding a “subscribe to our channel here” link. This step makes it easier for people to subscribe and receive updates.

Use this link:  http://www.youtube.com/channel/[REPLACE_WITH_ID]?sub_confirmation=1 and simply paste your channel ID in the place of [REPLACE_WITH_ID].

YouTube Channel ID.png

Now that you have your channel set up it’s time to add some content. Here are some tips on how to get started with creating great video content.

Choosing Equipment

Your budget will determine what gear you use. You can use anything from a webcam or smartphone to a high-end DSLR or professional camera. Here are a few things to considers when choosing a camera.

Smartphone

Smartphones have the ability to deliver reasonably high-quality videos with the touch of a button. One of the perks is that they are easier to transport than larger, bulkier cameras. This allows for you to record on-the-go if you like.

Smartphone tripods are available for under $30. I highly recommend using a tripod to stabilize your smartphone when filming. The largest drawback to using a smartphone is the lack of available audio input--you'll either need to record your audio separately on another device and then synchronize your video and audio later, or you'll need to settle for the in-camera microphone.

DSLR Camera

Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras include a wide array of devices, but entail a high standard of quality. I have a Canon 70d that I use a lot and it’s perfect for video. If you are going to invest in a DSLR, then get a higher-end one. Keep in mind that DSLR cameras require a higher level of skill and patience to operate efficiently. If you aren't already well-versed in DSLR camera operation, consider using a cheaper alternative.

All-In-One

There is a new camera on the market that I love. It’s called Mevo and was created by Livestream. This is a great camera and microphone combo that will take your production to a new level. Not only can you stream live with this camera, but you also have the ability to set up multiple shots with the phone app. If you want to up the level of production, without having to hire a professional videographer, check out Mevo.

Microphones

Great audio is what sets good videos and great videos apart. No matter what camera option you choose, make sure that you have good audio quality. If your camera doesn’t have a good mic, you may want to invest in a microphone. I recommend the VideoMic Pro from Rode or the Snowball by Blue Microphone.

Editing Software

Having a way to edit your video content is a must. If you use a Mac, iMovie is a great software to get you started. If you want to get a little technical, Adobe Premiere Pro is a great tool.

YouTube has made life even easier for beginners with their built-in editing suite. Access this by choosing “Create” within the YouTube creator studio. You can select audio from the free music library and add sound effects as well. The video editor is great for beginners or professionals looking to create a high-quality video in a flash! 

YouTube Video Editing Tools.png

Filming Tips

Choose your background: Make sure that the background you want it not distracting. I recommend using a simple background that helps you or your video subject stand out.

Place your camera: Naturally, you'll want it to face the area in which you (or your subject) will sit. Invest in a tripod so that your video image is still. A shaky video is not something people want to watch.

Use the rule of thirds: This rule dictates that, given a set of three-by-three lines dividing the frame into ninths, the subject of your shot will fall somewhere on intersecting lines.

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Essentially the rule of thirds means that you don't want to center yourself in your camera's frame--instead, you want to sit a little bit to the left or right. This position makes the shot look more natural and less static.

Many smartphones and other video cameras usually have this rule of thirds grid built into them. I recommend that you enable this feature if your camera has it as an option.

Optimizing Your YouTube Videos

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YouTube has some things you can do to optimize your videos after you have uploaded them. Here are a few basics to make your videos stand out and get more engagement.

Video Titles

The title of your video is extremely important.  Make sure that you use a title at least 5-words long. Include your full keyword into the title without keyword-stuffing.

Video Descriptions

Backlinko has an excellent article on YouTube optimization. Here are Brian Dean’s tips for great Youtube Descriptions.

  • Put your link at the very top of the video (this maximizes CTR to your site)
  • Include your keyword in the first 25 words
  • Make the description at least 250-words
  • Include your keyword 3-4 times

Tags

Tags are a great way to tell YouTube what your video subject matter is. Use the keyword or key topic that your video is about and add some related terms as tags as well.

Custom Thumbnails

Create a custom thumbnail that quickly tells your viewers about your content. Having a common theme for your thumbnails helps brand your channel and create continuity with your users.

PROTIP: Want to get more out of your videos? TubeBuddy is a great tool that will give you hints on how to better optimize your videos to maximize your reach. It has both free and paid versions so there is no excuse not to give it a shot! (I have no affiliation with the tool, just really dig it!)

These are just a few of the basics for getting started with YouTube. Of course, there are many other tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of your channel and video content. The key to getting started with YouTube is just to get started. Create your channel, optimize it, create some videos and start sharing them with the world. YouTube is a great medium to drive new business and grow your influence as a thought leader.

SMA Marketing YouTube

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works has also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing solutions.

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