HdK’s guide to successful YouTube-ing

Not long ago Hans and I attended YouTube’s very own seminar where expert YouTubers divulged the best practises for implementing a super savvy video content strategy.

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And as YouTube is now the second largest search engine globally, we thought we’d share some useful pointers on how to tackle the beast – straight from the horse’s mouth. From beginner Tubers to fully-fledged video makers looking to grow audiences, the following carefully honed hashtags apply to anyone wanting to share content on the channel.

#Shareability – will people share your content?

Is your content emotionally inspiring or relatable? If your content talks to people, you start a conversation. When viewers see content that communicates to them personally, they feel excited to pass the message on to friends, family and followers. Are these title structures familiar to you: Things people who don’t need glasses will understand or You know you love food when…?   So simple. So effective. Whether your content inspires laughter, fascination or even tears, a video that evokes an emotional response compels viewers to share the link.

#Accessibility – can each of your videos be appreciated by a new viewer?

It’s very easy to become wrapped up in your channel and forget that every new viewer is joining your conversation mid-way. Make sure your video is open to fresh eyes through video introductions, appropriate titling and accurate captioning. Assume viewers have never heard of you, aim to hook them in the first 10 seconds and don’t keep them more than 2 minutes. In today’s world, viewers want bite-sized chunks of information. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you won’t be able to get away with videos longer than this.

#Discoverability – will your videos be found through search?

You must be smart with your titles and descriptions – they should be both relevant and intriguing. While your title should be clear and concise, the video description is where you can go into depth, providing insight into you and the channel. An example familiar to us all is including lyrics in the description of a music video – if a fan knows the chorus but not the song title, the lyrics will help them find your video.

Most importantly, tags are the best way to frontload relevant key words. One of YouTube’s most valuable tips was to include a random word, not associated with in the bass layer of all your videos’ tags. This way, it’s more likely your videos will show up on the right hand side when a video of yours is playing. Another way to do this is to use Playlists. This way viewers are lead directly from one vid to the next! And in answer to a popular question, it doesn’t matter what order your video’s tags are in.

Finally, trends trends trends. Are there any big events, days or celebrations coming up? Find them, join them, and really use them. You can use Google’s trend tool, google.com/trends to find out what’s happening and keep up to date with what your audiences are talking about.

#Collaboration – can you include other creators in your videos?

Joining forces is the best way to grow your audiences. The top tip for collaborating is involving people who have relevant audiences. Will your viewers be interested and vice versa? If successful, you’ll naturally feed off each other’s fans. Like friendly, intelligent leeching.

#Consistency – are there strong, recurring elements to your idea?

What’s your stamp? How do people recognise your content as yours? Is it content, genre, format, set-up, schedule, voice…? Whatever it is, it’s got to be strong, consistent and reliable. One specific tip here that might surprise you, is to steer away from having text on your thumbnail image. With your title and name readily available, the thumbnail is all you really have to market your video, and it’s your opportunity to seamlessly interlink your popping artwork to your clever titling. Design a high contrast, high impact and high resolution thumbnail that stands out.

#Targeting – do you have a clearly defined audience?

If the answer is no, you’ve fallen at the first hurdle. This one really is very important. Begin by answering the following questions: What is the purpose of my channel? Who is the channel for? What do I want to say? The clearer your idea of your audience is, the more likely you are to reach them.

#Conversation – are you initiating conversation with your audience?

Conversation is the key to engagement. You’ll find that highly successful bloggers talk directly to the lens, a simple technique used to simulate eye contact and generate a relationship through the camera. You’ll hear conversational content interspersed with colloquial terms ‘you guys’; questions ‘how are we doing today?’ and fillers ‘you know’, are all geared towards engaging the viewer in an online conversation.

#Interactivity – can you involve your audiences in your videos?

Vivaldi Partners Group coined the term Social Currency in 2010, defining it as “the degree to which customers share a brand or information about a brand with others.” It’s about the experiences and participation that is created around a brand which creates value. This is particularly essential amongst younger audiences. Don’t be a nameless and faceless entity. Audiences on YouTube want to connect with their favourite channels. One way to do this is to engage in the comments section of your videos. Keep revisiting your comments section and respond to first-time viewers. Another way is to mention your audience members by name, this might be through shout-outs or competitions, as this cultivates an emotional engagement with fans and helps to builds a social arena around your content. Think of your videos as opportunities for your viewers.

Finally, always have a subscribe link in your description and be prepared to talk about subscribing. Instruct people verbally as to why they should subscribe in your videos. SPEAK TO YOUR VIEWER. They just want to be loved.

#Sustainability – if your audience loves it, can you make more of it?

This is a key question, and if the answer is no, or not quickly, you could be in trouble. Updating content regularly not only keeps your channel fresh, but it sustains people’s attention. If they can rely on the fact that returning to your channel means seeing something new, they’ll do exactly that.

#Inspiration – are you your number one advocate?

This one links to the point before; are you passionate about the idea and is it sustainable? If you don’t love your videos, you won’t be inspired to make more. Don’t let this be the case!

So, these are our top pointers for practises to implement into your overall YouTube strategy – not a check list for every video! As a general rule, keep your videos short, create thumbnails that pop and remember, content is king. GOOD LUCK and let us know how you get on.

sarah@dekretser.com