Before anything you need to decide where your videos will be hosted. When choosing a hosting service YouTube isn’t the only game in town, but it’s the biggest and most popular of the platforms out there. Because of this Accurate Creative’s client base tends to use YouTube more and by this default is where our expertise has strengthened.
There’s also Vimeo you may want to consider. It’s a very respected video hosting service. If you don’t need to be with all the noise of billions trying to get noticed on YouTube with best pet tricks, cutest babies, and stars in the making, Vimeo is a an excellent alternative. Please note that hosting your videos on your own site is problematic for playback, bandwidth and SEO. It’s in your best interest to use the services available that will put you in front of search and provide analytics.
Following is a step-by-step recipe when setting up a great foundation for your company’s on-line video presence in YouTube.
#1 — Identify the purpose of your channel
Closet wanna-be rOck sTars doing covers in the hopes of being discovered really care about millions of views. Most businesses are not looking for fame. Get focused, get strategic. A critical first step is to define the purpose of your channel. Define what you want it to achieve. What role video plays in your brand promise and who is your end audience. How you will use your content to help drive your corporate vision. It’s good to put this in writing, plan it out. This document then serves as the blue print for building content moving forward.
#2 — Brand your landing page
Your channel should to be visually engaging, communicating quickly: who, what, and why. Properly set up YouTube should be seen as a company product. It is a tool in your communications toolbox not just a place to “put the company video”. Like any product whether it’s a newsletter, catalogue, or a product you sell your channel needs visual and written definitions. This forms the face of your product, and sets the foundation for your audience’s expectations. There are four key assets that need to be addressed when first setting up your channel: 1. your channel’s name (URL), 2. the channel icon, 3. the channel art and 4. your channel sections. You have some control over all of these within some boundaries dictated by YouTube.
1. Channel URL: This is something that YouTube allows users to control when first setting up your channel. You can’t change your URL though after it’s been created so give it the consideration it’s due. In our opinion it’s a great idea to have an easy-to-remember web address for your channel. Custom URLs is a newer add-on that allows you to use your name, username, tie into any other vanity URLs you may already have, and even link the name to match your website. Great for brand recognition.
2. Channel Icon: This is what YouTube calls the image where most people place their photo. Be aware that it is actually the image associated with your Google Account—not just YouTube. It’s where you could place your company logo as the face of your Google Products, as well as your channel. This can only be done via Google Account.
3. Channel Art: This is the top banner and is where you can visually display your brand or channel’s personality. It’s the most important visual space you can leverage on your YouTube space. For example if the channel was a specialty kitchen store and their purpose was to entice amateur cooks to purchase gadgets to raise their cooking from amateur to chef the channel art could be a photo of someone cooking, the title or tagline could be Kitchen Gadget Magic. A creative quality well thought out message and image can set the stage for your professional position in this space.
Creating the channel art is often an area of frustration as the initial image is so wide and it must follow strict criteria for pixel and size. It’s also cropped in many different ways for all the various formats (phone, tablet, computer) so needs to take all this into account when creating this important banner.
4. Channel Sections is one of my personal favourites. It allows the user to control playlists of your content that helps direct visitors to what they are most interested in, like a table of contents. The visitor can self-identify their interests and what they want to watch without having to sift through numerous videos. You may have up to 10 sections on one channel. Using the same kitchen company as above they can have sections like: Tools for Chocolate Creation [4 videos] / Vegetable Art [2 videos] / Baking Secrets [8 videos] etc. etc.
#3 — Get found, because people are searching
Depending on your business line, who your audience is and how you plan to use your YouTube channel some or all of the following points may apply to you. In the very least, when someone does a search for your business name … all your product assets, including your YouTube channel, should come up in that search — ranking you higher in the Google algorithms. (I’ll fill in these blanks)
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world! When it comes to search YouTube SEO has become as important as website SEO. Here are our FIVE top recommendations in setting up your channel and videos to help you get found in search:
1. About: This is often the most neglected tab on YouTube accounts. It would be a shame to waste the potential search engine terms here. Always fill this in: company name, what you do, mission, etc.
Videos you post on your channel:
2. Title keywords: the name of the video is searchable content … use this wisely as you start framing out your video plan. What are typical words that a user would apply in a search that is relative to a potential client you’d like to have? Taking our kitchen store again as the sample the product you are trying to sell is different types of candy making moulds. The video is about using these moulds specifically for chocolate — get creative.
3. Video File keywords (tags): Put in all and any keywords that are relevant to your video. Think like a user, what would they search, how would they say it? How do you add video file keywords? Go to “Video Manager” found in the top navigation, click on “edit” button to the right of your video thumbnail, the third field section “tags” is where you put your video file keywords. It is not labelled as tags, but this is where they are placed.
4. Put in a description: You find this on the same page as the tags. It’s the field just above the tags. Once filled in this text will appear under the video where is says “show more”. Always put in a description. Engage your audience with a bit of a story about your video or what they are learning etc.
5. Create awesome content: Okay this might sound a bit obvious, but I’ve seen enough video footage loaded up via a cell phone in my time to know that this is worth addressing. This said — it’s YouTube: WebTV — it isn’t PrimeTime entertainment streaming through a big network. Depending on the who, what, why of your video strategy and how you want to be perceived, align your quality output with this. As a benchmark, having some brand identity on the videos with opening and closing bumpers (talking seconds) is good practice if/when your video is shared on social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. Using good recording equipment is also key—audio needs to be clear, footage needs to be crisp. Many DSLRs now sold at the retail level have enough quality features for web casting videos. We all know though just because you have a video software … doesn’t mean you are a Videographer. There are good DIYers out there, but, if you aren’t one of them — hire someone who can make you look as good as they can.
#4 — Engagement: getting results
The last step is one that you may feel you have the least control. As I said in my opening statements, businesses aren’t about getting millions of views and monetizing a channel. You want engagement. You want sales or members. You want to position your organization as current and relevant within the space you occupy.
Great content that has a call to action gets engagement. Again, back to the kitchen company, and our chocolate video. If the video is a teaching video part of the narrative should flat out say … “please post any questions below, and I will answer these within a couple of days”.
You also need a strategy to get your video in front of audiences. There are a host of different ways over and above being found in search with great SEO: have your video reside on your website, use your video in social media, refer people to a link of your video etc.
Video has become a corporate necessity in the communications landscape. It’s not about “if we make a video” … it’s “when we make a video”. Plan it out. Think it through … and, most importantly create an awesome channel!
Hiring a professional firm to help you build a great channel is one of our service lines. If you have any questions or would like a quote, pleas don’t hesitate to reach out to us.