YouTube. It's been around for over 5 years, yet for some reason most bloggers still haven't explored the video sharing platform where millions of people around the world are watching over 2 billion videos a day.
I took the SPI brand onto YouTube on September 26th, 2009 for the same reason I do everything else I report on this blog—to see if it's a worth while place to invest my time.
276 days later, I can truthfully say that I'm more than pleased with the results of my experiment with YouTube to expand the SPI brand and audience base. Here are some quick numbers from my account as of today:
- 15 Uploaded Videos
- 59,582 Total Views
- 720 Subscribers
That's an average of about 1 new video every 2 to 3 weeks. Considering that the average length of my videos is about 6 minutes in length, you can get a feel for just how much time I've really dedicated to this “experiment”—6 minutes every 3 weeks.
Not a huge amount of time invested, but you can see that I've earned a considerable number of views and a good amount of subscribers as a result, which has ultimately increased traffic to my blog as well as helped to earn a few affiliate sales here and there. Without much additional effort, my daily viewership continues to grow as you can see below:
By no means would I call myself a YouTube expert, but I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that may help you expand your brand, increase your views and grab more subscribers if you do decide to expand onto YouTube, if you're not on the platform already.
1. Provide Good Content
This is not really a trick, and I'm sure it's something you heard before, but I'm reiterating it here because it's still the most important thing to understand before anything else. Much like with your blog or online business, if you don't provide good content, then everything else you do doesn't really matter.
2. Video Quality Does Matter
If you upload a blurry, crappy and laggy video, people won't stick around to watch it—even if the content is good. Your video doesn't have to be in High-Def or an Emmy Award Winning production, but it does have to be watchable. Use your common sense here.
I try to upload all of my videos in HD (1280 x 720 resolution), because it looks really good on the YouTube and any embedded players.
3. Stand Out From the Crowd
There are a TON of videos on every subject imaginable, so in order to get more views and get people's attention, you're going to have to do something different than the “other guys”. What it is really depends on what niche you're in and what kinds of videos other people have uploaded, but just do your best to find something that's uniquely “yours”.
For example, a lot of my videos comprise of my “electronic white board”. Many people enjoy watching these videos because no one else uses this technique, and it makes learning about internet business and blogging fun.
4. What's the Worst That Can Happen?
Many bloggers don't use YouTube because of the fact that it is video, and video means they'll have to be on screen, or at least talking over some slides or a presentation.
Well, you can't hide behind your blog forever if you want to get anywhere, and YouTube is the perfect place to “practice” stepping out of your comfort zone and publishing more than just typed text.
I was scared too, at first, but then I thought to myself, “What's the Worst That Can Happen?”
Really, what is the worst that can happen? So you upload a video and it get's no views. So what? You learned from your experience, and you can only do better from there. Plus, I doubt you'll ever get zero views if you follow the tips later in this post/series.
Within Your Videos
5. Place a Watermark of your Blog's URL on the Video.
A watermark throughout most or all of your video will give people an easy way to know exactly where this content is coming from, and where they can go to get more.
More importantly, if anyone chooses to embed the video on their own website, their audience will know it originates from you and your blog, which they can see the url for right in front of their faces—driving traffic and expanding your brand at the same time. The description of the video on YouTube doesn't show up when embedded onto another site, so a watermark will at least include your url.
6. Begin with a Quick Overview
Your job as a publisher of a video on YouTube is to get people to watch your videos, and to continue watching your videos all the way through. The best and easiest way to do this is to simply begin your video with an overview of what you're going to cover and approximately how long it will take.
Even though there's a video title, a description and a timeline, just saying what your video is about will engage your viewers and increase the chances of them sticking around, especially if you can get them excited about what you're about to talk about.
7. Don't Forget Your Calls to Action
Many people shoot fantastic videos, but fail to leave out any calls to action. If you want the highest impact from your videos, you have to include at least one call to action at the end of your video, preferably telling them to visit your website. I've often included more than one, sometimes telling them to say hi to me on Twitter or on my Facebook Page as well.
Just think—if a viewer makes it to the end of your video, they're going to be in the best state of mind to follow any calls to actions that you have to say.
8. Screen Sharing is Awesome
There's a huge difference between just telling someone how something works (or even listing out the step-by-step instructions) and actually showing people exactly how to do it.
If you have an opportunity to teach your audience something by showing them how it works on your computer, do it. Screen recording and sharing is a fantastic way to engage your audience, as well as easily give them the steps needed to do whatever it is you want them to do.
You can use software such as Camtasia Studios (for PC) or Camtasia for Mac to get the job done quite nicely. There are cheaper options out there, such as Jing, Screencast or Screenflow (for Mac) that again make it easy to record your screen and then quickly upload to YouTube.
Most of my videos are done on Camtasia for Mac. It can record my screen easily in the 1280 x 720 HD format that I like, and also my face on my iMac camera at the same time. After a little bit of editing, I simply click share -> YouTube, and it's up in no time.
Also, if you have the chance, utilize some of the cool features that come with the software to enhance the look of your video. Using things like fade in and fade out, zoom in and zoom out, or even adding titles and little notes to your video, which you can see me utilize on this YouTube video. (see the 40 sec. mark)
Again, not so many people do this, so it's another way to make your videos stand out of the crowd.
9. Intro / Outro Screen and Music?
Putting intro or outro screen and music is debatable, and really depends on your style and what you like to do. If you already have a brand that has a recognizable tune (i.e. a podcast with intro music), then you may very well want to bring that music over to your YouTube videos for continuity.
I had intro music in my first few videos, along with a title screen for each, but I stopped doing that because they didn't really serve any purpose. They just took up precious time (YouTube's max video length is only 10 minutes), and for all I know hundreds of people who watched those videos exited right away because they didn't like the music, even before they get to the content of the video.
In my later videos, I skipped the intro music entirely and went straight to an overview of what's to come. If they still leave after that, then at least they are leaving for the right reasons.
It seems to be working out much better, and it's less editing for me to do as well.
In Part 2 of this series, I'll be going over some tricks you can do with your video title, description and tags to get more YouTube search engine traffic. Also, I'll be going over how to improve your channel as well.