If you’re looking for opportunities to organically grow you traffic to your business website and content, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more effective than YouTube.
Not only do nearly 60% of all people prefer online video platforms to traditional TV, but YouTube brings with it a massive audience of nearly 1.9 billion people worldwide on a monthly basis.
Think about it for a moment. Google is the #1 most popular search engine on the planet and YouTube, owned by Google, is the #2 biggest search engine. Therefore, to be successful in growing your business using organic content, you can’t just focus on written content like blog posts or Web pages that are designed to rank in Google using search engine optimization (SEO). Especially since YouTube videos are often included at the top of Google search results.
While publishing new long-form content like blog posts, you also need to decide when to create video content that can either stand on its own and drive traffic, or be embedded in your posts to compliment your written text. This takes time, energy, planning, and dedication.
Simply having a YouTube channel will never be enough to get the job done. Much like the Google search algorithm, the YouTube algorithm is looking to reward channels that publish content frequently and have growing levels of viewer engagement.
If you truly want to leverage YouTube to grow your business over the next one, five or even 10 years, there are a few important things you need to be aware of. Here are five tips that should get you started.
Tip #1 – Focus on the First Impression
If you really want to use YouTube to grow your business, there are a number of steps that you need to take before you even think about uploading your first video. Start by customizing your channel as much as possible – in other words, use this as an opportunity to make it look decidedly different in an interesting way when compared to every other similar channel out there.If you're starting up a new YouTube channel, be sure to customize your YouTube channel page before you ever post your first video. First impressions are important for your viewers if you want them to subscribe. Click To Tweet
Include some information about your business, your brand, and what you do. Make sure to link back to your primary domain for those SEO benefits. Customize everything from the colors to the cover image that runs across the top to make sure it falls in line with your current branding efforts.
When it does come time to upload your first video, make it a classic introduction. Record a short video letting people know who you are, what you’re all about, and why nobody does what you do quite like how you do it.
Keep it brief – a minute or two will do just fine.
You don’t have to launch with a full compliment of videos. Start small and take baby steps. Give people a sense of what type of content you’ll be posting and why it’s worth their time to subscribe. Be sure to use a thumbnail maker like Visme (which I founded) to choose a perfect thumbnail for your video.
Set this video to automatically play every time someone loads your channel for the best results. Remember, you are going to have new visitors to your channel for a long time, so this intro video is important.
Tip #2 – It’s All About Playing the Long Game
When using YouTube to grow your business, it’s important to not create content in a vacuum.
Every video you upload is important and should be able to stand on its own, but each video should also play a larger role in supporting your long-term goals for the channel. Each video should play a role in telling the story of your business, your products, your goals, and your customers.
Think of the process of publishing to a YouTube channel like putting together a pitch presentation for investors.
When you prepare a pitch or a presentation, you’re telling a story. You might use a presentation maker and sequentially add slide after slide to the deck in a manner that it tells a story. Each slide needs to be related to the previous slides, and they all need to be building to something more powerful than any one of them could be on their own.
Your YouTube videos are very similar. Your channel is telling the story of your business and each individual video should contribute to that overall story.
Tip #3 – Spark A Reaction
YouTube videos are great because they naturally allow for multiple calls to action, so be sure to use this to your advantage.
Emphasize the ways in which you can grow your business AND your channel at the same time. So for every “if you like this content, please rate this video” or “please subscribe to my channel” that you include, throw in a “visit my website to learn more about my products and services” or a similar variation.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customer to engage.
Likewise, always make sure that you’re varying up your content as frequently as possible. This is how you keep things fresh and new and incentivize people to come back for more.
Also, be sure you don’t just include product demonstration videos. Also include interviews with other thought leaders in your industry (use a service like Respona to find the right influencers) and more.
You should also leverage the full power of YouTube’s live recording abilities to your advantage and host live Q&A sessions on a regular basis, too.
Tip #4 – Consistency and Dedication Are As Much A Part Of The Success As Content
But the most important thing to understand is that just like your business, growing your YouTube channel is something you’re going to have to work at. It requires proactive dedication – never assume you’ve reached the point where you can just let things run on autopilot.
By making an effort to grow your YouTube channel, that forward momentum will naturally bleed into the business behind it as a result. At that point, you’ve got something of a self-fulfilling prophecy on your hands. The more high-quality content your produce, the more happy subscribers you earn and the more they will request content.
As an example, look at the Project Farm YouTube channel. When the creator of this channel started, he was just creating fun videos as a hobby. At the end of each video, he asked his viewers to recommend tests that he should perform in his workshop. He received so many requests for content that he only creates videos that were requested by his fans….more than 500,000 of them.
To date, his videos have received more than 88 Million views all because he understood his long-term goals, asked his fans for ideas, and then created videos for them.
Someone’s love for your YouTube content and their love for your business become one and the same, which creates the best kind of snowball effect for organizations like yours.
Tip #5 – Tech Costs Can Be Low, But Time Investment Should Be High
A “YouTube business” can quickly become profitable, because you don’t need to invest a lot of money to make it happen. A camera isn’t that expensive nowadays, and you can even create a channel that relies on screen recordings (tutorials, gameplays and so on).
But what you do need to invest, is time. YouTube businesses rely on content, so you should create that regularly (preferably several times a week).
The quality has to be outstanding and you need to have a great concept that people love to watch. Then it also takes a lot of time to grow your audience.
For most successful channels it takes at least 1 to 2 years to reach the 10,000 subscriber mark, which is were things finally start to get interesting in terms of ad revenue. But honestly, you’d need 1 to 2 million views per month to make a full time living out of YouTube.The most expensive investment in a YouTube channel isn't the camera...it's the time creating the content. Click To Tweet
The way most YouTube businesses start, is with a hobby channel. People just start out with a couple of videos. And at some point, their channels start to get traction and they start to get a lot of viewers and subscribers.
But either way, the only way can succeed on YouTube is if you’re passionate about making video content. It can be profitable if you can reliably make videos with good viewership. The key, though, is developing a loyal audience that will keep coming back for content.
|Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.
Thanks to Payman for his insights and tips on developing a successful YouTube channel. Have thoughts or tips that have helped you grow your channel or create effective video content? Be sure to share your feedback in a comment!