YouTube: 8 steps to a killer marketing strategy

Alina Gorbatch
by Alina Gorbatch on November 25, 2020

YouTube is one of the most intimidating social media platforms (save for Reddit). The amount of content there is overwhelming. The algorithm is cruel. But what's much worse, YouTube doesn't allow for careless marketing experimentation.

You can't hire an intern and ask them to play around: make some posts, ask some questions, create a poll. The first thing and everything you do on YouTube should be well-planned. It requires equipment, room, lighting, editing, and someone who doesn't shy away from the camera.

It's the effort that may or may not pay off, so the first thing I need you to do is to consider whether you really need a YouTube marketing strategy. 

Think about the goals you'll be trying to achieve with YouTube marketing. 

Is it increasing brand awareness? Increasing traffic to your website? Direct sales? Educating your existent customers?

Once you've answered these questions, move on to the next ones.

Why is YouTube the platform for your goals? How will you make sure your goals are achieved and your efforts don't go to waste?

Take a moment (or better a piece of paper and a pen) to plan your funnel.

Now that you're certain YouTube is important for your overall marketing strategy, know that you're not the only one. According to the latest State of Inbound report, nearly half of all marketers (48%) plan to add YouTube to their marketing strategy over the next 12 months. This isn't surprising: despite all its challenges, YouTube is a platform full of possibilities. It boasts 2 billion users of all demographics. Almost 30% of Internet users spend more than 10 hours a week watching online videos.

Besides, YouTube is the second largest search engine. Yep, not Bing and not Yahoo - none of the actual search engines. This means that being on YouTube can be fruitful for your overall SEO strategy. 

Now that we've considered the biggest advantages and disadvantages of the platform, let's move on to what this article is really about: YouTube marketing.

One last note: As I've pointed out before, if your brand is on YouTube, your videos should be well-made. How to make them well is beyond the scope of this article. Turn to the wisdom of others if you want to know which equipment you need and how to create a YouTube studio out of your office.

1. Create videos that align with your goals.

Depending on your goals, there are multiple kinds of brand videos you can create.

1. Educational videos

Regular (for example, weekly) educational videos on the subject you know can attract viewers, increase brand awareness, increase the perceived expertise of your brand, and ultimately attract new clients. 

2. YouTube Live

Live videos on YouTube can be either educational or entertaining, and usually are a mix of those two things. They are not as focused on delivering great content, but more on showing a glimpse into the process of whatever the brand is doing. The unfiltered moments these videos show make the brand look more authentic and build a relationship with the viewer. 

3. Thought leader interviews

Interviews with experts and influencers in a given field can be great for increasing brand awareness and attracting new viewers. 

4. Product demonstration videos

This popular type of short content on YouTube showcases products in an entertaining way. It has some chance of attracting new clients - especially if you get an influencer to do the demonstration for you. 

5. Tutorial videos

Tutorial videos are in-depth videos mostly made for existing customers. They make sure the customers know how to use the product, get the most out of it, and stay loyal to the brand. 

6. Customer testimonials and case studies

Customer testimonials are interviews with satisfied customers. Case studies are these same interviews but in a long form, where customers tell in detail how your product helped them with their goals. Such videos might help the ones who're in the process of googling your brand to make their decision in favor of your product.

7. Product reviews

Product reviews are usually made by someone outside of your brand - preferably, an expert or an industry influencer. This is an objective overview of the product where the person outlines all the advantages and disadvantages. These are usually great for increasing brand awareness and generating leads.

2. Perform SEO for your YouTube video.

As I mentioned earlier, YouTube is a search engine. This means, for your videos to be seen, you need to do some optimization. This, in turn, means optimizing your metadata: video title, description, tags, category, thumbnail, subtitles, and closed captions. They ensure the video is properly indexed by YouTube and appears when people are searching for your keywords. 

1. Title

Do some keyword research to know which words people use when they are looking for a product or service like yours. Then, include these words at the beginning of your title. Make sure the title is clear and catchy - no matter how important SEO is, copywriting still counts. You need the user to click on the title, not just find the video online. Lastly, keep the title up to 60 characters - the rest will be cut off in results pages anyway.

2. Description.

Just like with Google, you need to make sure the first 100 characters make the description click-worthy. This is all the user sees when they find your video in the list of other videos. To see the rest, they have to make another click and we know how people dislike that.

Include CTA at the beginning of the description and include the video transcript in the rest of it. The transcript will have all the keywords you (well, the algorithm) need(s).

 3. Tags

The more tags you have - the better. Use your main keywords in tags: both common keywords and long-tail keywords. 

4. Category

In the "Advanced settings", YouTube will provide you with the selection of categories. Choose the one most suited for your video. 

5. Thumbnail

Video thumbnails let viewers see a quick snapshot of your video as they're browsing YouTube. After your video is done uploading, you can choose a thumbnail from the three options YouTube automatically generates. Or, you can upload your own. I recommend the latter - YouTube reported that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails". This is most likely a correlation rather than a causation, however, won't hurt to try!

6. Subtitles and closed captions

Subtitles and closed captions provide you with even more opportunities to add your keywords. Besides, they can be very useful to the viewers. You can add subtitles or closed captions by uploading a supported text transcript, timed subtitles file, or provide a full transcript of the video.

Bonus tip: if you're creating multiple videos that are somehow connected, consider creating a playlist. It might hook the viewer and expand the chances to get into the search results, as each of the videos in the playlist will have different keywords.

3. Research your target audience.

To attract your target audience and not just random viewers, you have to speak the same language - and not just literally. You have to understand your audience: know their pain points, the questions they ask, the complaints they have, and the topics they discuss. Of course, the parts that are related to your industry, product, service, and expertise. 

For that, you need research:

  • customer feedback
  • focus groups
  • social listening​​​​

While the first two methods are widely used, social listening is often ignored. Social listening allows you to monitor mentions of your brand on social media to see conversations that are already happening. It makes it possible to find and join industry chats, forums, and - of course - stay up-to-date with the latest news and events in your niche. 

This way, you'll know which topics to cover, which questions to answer, whether to make jokes or make seriously helpful content. You'll also know whether someone has already made a video of your brand - perhaps, a review video that you didn't know about. You can learn a lot from these as well.

4. Learn from your competitors' videos.

Competitor research is the cornerstone of any marketing strategy. YouTube marketing is no exception. 

Analyzing your competitors' videos is unavoidable when creating your own YouTube marketing campaign. You have to find what worked for them and what didn't, which videos gathered the most views, which topics played out well, what tone and style they use, and so on. Besides, observing your competitors' work is the eternal source of content inspiration. The process can be broken down into the following substeps:

1. Identify your competitors

Your YouTube competitors are not necessarily your direct real-life competitors. The latter ones might not even have a YouTube channel. To find the competitors you'll target for YouTube marketing, first list all your competitors that fit the Myk Pono's classification

Then, choose the ones that are most successful on YouTube - even if they don't fall into the "direct competitors" category. 

2. Analyze the metrics and the content of your competitors.

Write down which of your competitors' videos get the most views, comments, likes, and dislikes. Once you have the data, analyze what it tells you: which topics are the most popular, what types of content get the most attention, and so on. Awario will provide you with all the required insights.

3. Analyze the level of competitor's activity on YouTube

Note how often your most successful YouTube competitors make videos. This will help you realize if you're not doing enough - or, perhaps, doing too much.

4. Make a note of what your competitors are not doing. 

Marketing is all about showing Unique Value Proposition. This is true for your product and this is also true for your content. Are there topics your competitors are neglecting, while your research shows that they could play out well? Are there questions that you're left with after watching their videos? Time to make some unique content.

5. Have a consistent publishing schedule. 

Just as with other social media platforms, you need a consistent publishing schedule - an editorial. This is even more essential when it comes to YouTube marketing. Unlike with Twitter or Instagram, you can't create last-minute content on YouTube. You need the time to prepare a script, film and edit the video. This means you have to know in advance when the videos will come out and make sure your schedule is consistent. 

The publishing frequency depends on your resources and your niche (as I noted before, it makes sense to look into the competitors' habits to see the optimal publishing frequency). But consistency is a must.

People are obsessed with consistency, and so are marketers. Nothing shows your dedication to entertaining and educating your audience better than a reliable weekly video that's filmed no matter what. 

6. Cross-promote your videos.

Despite what we'd love our audiences to do, they don't follow us on every one of our social media platforms. People rarely care about a brand that much.

That's why it's important to cross-promote your content and make sure your "forget everything you're doing and watch my video on YouTube" message is tailored to the audiences in every other network.

Refrain from just posting a link everywhere - instead, use each network's unique features. True, it's not easy to persuade Instagram users to watch a whole YouTube video, but with the help of Stories and IGTV, you might succeed. Similarly, you can write the first main points of your video to attract the people who only follow your brand on LinkedIn. And sometimes, just the YouTube icon will suffice.

7. Engage with the viewers.

Comment section on YouTube is incredibly messy. But there's also a bright side to this coin: YouTube drives engagement like nothing else. Even the not-so-popular accounts can get thousands of comments and go viral. 

Engaging with the viewers might facilitate that. Once your video has gathered hundreds of comments there is no need to bother, but before that make sure to reply and stir the conversation. The more comments your video gathers, the higher the chances it will show up in the "suggested" videos of similar content.

8. Partner with niche influencers.

As I said at the beginning of the article (seems like it was a long time ago, doesn't it?), YouTube is a difficult platform. 

One of the shortcuts to getting noticed quickly is working with an influencer. An influencer allows you to expose your brand and your product to a wide, relevant audience without much effort on your side. Of course, influencer marketing is rarely free. Besides, an influencer should genuinely like your product - in a sense, you have to sell it to the influencer first. It's important for influencers to avoid looking like a sell-out to their audience. They keep up their reputation by only promoting products that are genuinely good.

Partnering with a niche YouTube influencer requires first of all finding the right influencer. They should be within your budget and their audience should align with your target audience. 

When you've found your perfect (or at least good enough) influencer, let them do the talking. The less you interfere with the influencer's content, the more it will seem authentic and trustworthy to their audience. 

Over to you. 

Ready to start with your YouTube quest? Got any questions left? Hit us. 

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