Developing a YouTube campaign can be tricky even for the most experienced PR professional. Fortunately, there are methods you can employ that can help you increase your views, channel subscriptions and improve your brand image on the online video giant.
Adam Finch, a digital and social media specialist at Westat and trainer at PR News’ upcoming Google Boot Camp in New York City, shares some thoughts on improving your content on YouTube through the various resources made available to brands.
- Read Google’s Creator Playbook for Brands: Earlier this year, Google released this comprehensive guide for integrating YouTube into a brand’s strategy. Features include ten fundamentals to create content people love, notes on how to schedule and optimize your content, guides on how promote your videos and channel with paid media (through YouTube’s TrueView in-stream ads and other methods), tips on how to amplify your content through Google’s social channels, and a review of the tools to help you measure and analyze your results. It’s a great resource to turn to whenever you’re creating a new campaign, and it should be included in the toolbox of any PR professional who uses YouTube.
- Optimize your metadata: The impact of your videos' titles, tags and descriptions is mostly well known by YouTube marketers, but many brands still under-utilize these features or use them incorrectly. Far too often I see videos try to trick the user with a misleading title or thumbnail—this can lead to a high number of impressions at first, but users will become aggravated with this approach, hit dislike and/or exit, negatively impacting your video’s watch time, which in turn causes you to appear lower in search results.
Similarly, tags should be related to your video (using a mix of general and specific terms), and they should be updated when new trends emerge. Utilize Google Trends and YouTube Trending Topics to stay abreast of the most recent popular content. Updating old videos with new tags can generate new spikes in views.
- Don’t be afraid of paid: I know. You want your video to go viral and not have to pay a cent to reach a million views. Unfortunately not everyone can create the next Dollar Shave Club. Sometimes, launching your video might require a little boost, and going through YouTube’s TrueView options in AdWords makes this process easy for even the most inexperienced AdWords user.
Moreover, data suggests that this can quickly lead to earned views as well. According to Google, there were over 6,000 campaigns over a recent six-month period of time where for every two paid views, at least one earned view resulted. Furthermore, the YouTube audience is not advertisement-averse. A poll of YouTube users showed three out of four agree with the statement: “If there is a brand I love, I tend to tell everyone about it.” A well-developed ad in conjunction with AdWords targeting can ensure that your content reaches the right audience. Given the amount of time we can spend trying to push our videos to blogs or other social influencers, sometimes it can be more cost efficient and effective to use a paid approach.
- Fine-tune your channel: Most brands on YouTube utilize major channel features (channel cover, social integration, etc.) but miss out on other small features that you can take advantage of to increase your reach and influence. For instance, taking the time to make a variety of well-organized playlists will make it easier for users to find and consume more of your content.
Also, adding a "featured channels" section can drive collaborative views and inter-brand conversions. For instance, you might highlight other channels in your brand’s portfolio in order to have your content reciprocally featured. Lastly, if you have executed enough large paid campaigns with YouTube, Google will allow you to create a custom tab—called a Gadget—on your channel that adds a lot of functionality and branding possibilities that are otherwise not possible on the network. If you do a lot of advertising with YouTube, be sure to look out for it and/or ask about it.
Of course, these tips work best if you have creative and compelling videos to support your campaign. Your message should be the priority before you take the steps to optimize. Nevertheless, if you take the time to plan a cohesive strategy that fills in the finer details like the ones above, your content has a good chance to be ahead of the rest.
Follow Adam Finch: @atyreefinch
Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene