10 Tips for YouTube Success

Maintaining a successful YouTube channel means more than just uploading quality or clever video; you need to think about search, engagement and growing a subscription base.  Below are ten key tips to keep in mind to make sure that you are getting the most out of your effort on YouTube.

1. Branding
Ensure your brand is evident and prominent to your channel visitors as soon as they arrive at your channel by applying brand related colors throughout the interface and a suitable brand standard image as the background.  How to create a branded channel: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=94526

2. Titles
Appropriate titles for your videos are imperative for YouTube search.  Ensure to include your company name in the title of each video.  You cannot rely on having your company name in your channel alone to find your videos through search.   This is a common mistake that I see when performing consulting services for many of our clients.  Other than your company name, include other keywords (do not over do it) that relate to the video, such as the product, service, purpose or names of other key individuals in the video, if necessary.

3. Descriptions & Tags
Once you have sorted out your title and used appropriate keywords concisely, ensure that your description of the video uses those same keywords and elaborates on the videos content as well as includes other keywords that are not suitable for your title.  Yes, you may include links in your description and no, you do not need to use any HTML tags to do so; simply include the website addresses that you need and voila, YouTube will convert your links once you save and upload the page.
Similarly, do not forget to add tags, which should be important keywords that relate to you business and video.

4. Playlists
No, your YouTube channel does not need to be populated solely with videos that you create.  Pool a listing (or several lists) of videos through YouTube’s playlist feature.  Your playlists will include videos made by other YouTubers and could include other videos such as useful industry resources.  For example, on my personal YouTube channel I have playlists per top social media tool and feature recently released videos by each company to keep my audience informed. Obviously, you want to stay away from promoting competitor videos, but any content that you would consider to be complementary are videos that you can link to a given playlist and promote on the homepage of your channel. How to make a playlist: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=57792

5. Engagement
There are multiple ways to encourage engagement within your YouTube channel.  Either at appropriate points throughout your video or especially at the end of your video, you should ask for audience input in the comments section below where your video will be posted.  In your video’s description you may also conclude with copy that encourages audience feedback and further contribution to your initial work.

6. Subscribers
Ultimately, you want to raise the number of subscribers to your YouTube channel.  Firstly, subscribe to YouTube channels of other users that relate to your industry.  Secondly, when promoting your YouTube channel, ensure to remind viewers to subscribe to your YouTube page.  On your blog and website, instead of just having a button link to your YouTube channel, have a button that says “subscribe” and then the YouTube logo and link to this button to your subscribe page in order to encourage subscriptions to your channel right from the start.  How to use subscriptions: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=159998

7. Bulletins
One of the newest features on YouTube is bulletins.  Now you can send bulletins or messages rather, to your list of subscribers.  When used appropriately, bulletins can be a great way to grow hype over a new video project that you are in pre or post production on that is not yet released.  You can send messages that promote other videos on YouTube and other links in general.  Think of bulletins as updates and useful for promotional use.  How to use bulletins: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=178035

8. Annotations
Have an important point to reinforce or a helpful link to provide during your video, use annotations and provide those extra notes.  Annotations, when used properly (think Pop-Up Video) can provide for a more complete and even interactive viewing experience.  Do not overdo it with the annotations though, as two annotations maximum per minute are plenty.  How to use annotations: http://www.youtube.com/t/annotations_about

9. Linked Videos
Just like bounce rates on websites, help your viewers stick around and watch another video on your channel.  Link your views together so that once your video concludes, a user may easily click on the current video to progress to others on your channel.  Give reasons to entice a user to stick around.  How to link videos: http://www.youtube.com/t/annotations_about

10. Promotion
Even though you have awesome footage, a branded channel, the right keywords in the right places and a growing list of subscribers, you need to spread the word about your videos and your channel.  Use your other social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, blog and email marketing to spread the word about your recent uploaded videos.  Remember, it should not be all about you, as your videos are offering helpful content that you want to share and grow, so encourage viewer interaction, feedback and involvement within your promotional messaging from the get go.

I must say that limiting this post to ten tips was a little tough, so I would love to hear from you.  What other tips do you have for YouTube success?

-Marija Hamed, mhamed@451marketing.com


48 thoughts on “10 Tips for YouTube Success

  1. These are all great tips! One thing I’d like to add is to make sure you enable video embedding. This allows viewers to share the video on their own blogs, which increases the amount of viral activity and buzz that the video generates. Very nice list!

    On a sidenote: what do you think of Vimeo as an up-and-coming YouTube competitor?

  2. what about Facebook. it seems it is inherently more engaging than youtube !!

  3. Very useful tips. I am working with a small not-for-profit group to promote clean energy and YouTube is our next big step.

  4. This is really helpful! I have an intern creating a Youtube channel for me as we speak, and it has been hard to find information as useful as this.

  5. That was so helpful Marija! Great job gathering the set of hints! There are always these tiny details that people forget to pay attention that could really make dramatic changes!

  6. Great info! This piece was so helpful youtube is such a hard site to be successful with

  7. This is so helpful, Marija! Who knew Youtube could be such a useful marketing tool!

  8. Hi Marija
    I never knew there was so much to getting engagement as you call it, but you make it easier for me to look into features that I was unaware of. Thanks for the tips!
    gb

  9. Awesome blog Marija. Tip number 10 cannot be emphasized enough. With hundreds of thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube every day, promotion is crucial for YouTube success. That is where 451 Marketing comes in! Thanks for the tips.

  10. Awesome post Marija! These are such great tips for someone marketing on YouTube!

  11. Great tips Marija, and perfect timing. I’ll put these to good use almost immediately.

  12. Great stuff, Marija. As always, you do a great job calling out the importance of engaging content and technical precision in social media.

  13. Very good points! Especially when there’s so much junk out there there and your trying to keep your naughty junior high school students away from certain videos!!

  14. Great insights all around, Marija. Not a lot of info out there about YouTube–the forgotten channel–so this is very helpful.

  15. Thanks for the post Marija! These are beneficial, as well as crucial tips for a successful YouTube channel. I will be referencing these in the near future!

  16. I see a lot of YouTube Channels that have great content, but not many views because they aren’t optimized using the features you’re talking about. Great post. Thanks!

  17. In a world where online presence is everything, this blog is a perfect tool to use when using YouTube

  18. so helpful; great perspective from someone who looks like they’ve logged hours thinking about this stuff.

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