By now, it’s tough to deny the power of YouTube marketing. The site that was most known for (at least initially) funny cat videos is now an essential tool for digital marketers. In fact, according to HubSpot’s “State of Inbound (Marketing)” report, nearly half of all marketers plan to add YouTube to their marketing strategy over the next 12 months.
One of the reasons is YouTube’s reach. According to Statista’s most recent study, YouTube has 2 billion users worldwide. It remains the internet’s second-largest search engine. The only social network that has more monthly active users than YouTube is Facebook.
YouTube can also help improve your SEO and overall brand presence. It allows you to present unique content that's easy for viewers to consume and share.
I recently helped optimize the YouTube channel of one of our clients. The channel was left untouched for years. Videos posted years ago didn’t have descriptions, tags, end screens, cards, or SEO optimization. So, I wanted to see what could be done to breathe some new life into this old channel and if it could become a part of our client’s YouTube marketing strategy going forward.
To be fair, our client’s YouTube channel was not a total disaster. The company makes hot-box enclosures for backflow preventers and meters. They were doing some digital marketing but did not have the manpower to cover all of the bases. The intent was there, but as time went on it became tougher and tougher for the in-house marketing team (by that I mean one-and-a-half people) to keep up.
When we partnered with the company to help them with digital marketing, I took on the task of optimizing (and dusting off) their YouTube channel. They were creating videos, but other than sticking them in a couple of blog posts, placing these videos on YouTube was not part of their strategy — brand awareness, or otherwise.
When you create a YouTube channel, you need to think about how someone will find your video(s) if they did a search on YouTube. You have to treat every video like it’s a blog you’re hoping someone will find in Google’s search results.
Where should you begin? For our client’s videos, I started with each video description. Your video description is a piece of metadata that helps YouTube understand the content of your video. That’s why you want to write long, thorough video descriptions (Backlinko recommends at least 200 words).
I used SEMRush to identify target keywords for each video description.Depending on the video’s topic, I would think about the target audience (which came from the buyer personas we created) and look for search terms that would resonate with them.
The keywords were included in the video title, as well. I used a couple of different headline analyzers to help me come up with the strongest possible title for each video, like “Why Backflow Enclosures Are Safer Than Utility Vaults.”
Once that was done, I used a custom thumbnail for each video. I chose eye-catching images that relate to my target audience. Your video’s title, thumbnail, and description are more important pieces of metadata for your video’s discovery. These main pieces of information help viewers decide which videos to watch. But you can’t forget the tags.
Tags are descriptive keywords you can add to your video to help viewers find your content. I added tags from a number of categories that are relevant to each video. You can’t use the same tag (or description) for each video. They must be personalized.
I also added calls-to-action (cards) and links to each description to help push viewers to the company’s website.
The plan was to get everything optimized for SEO and then see if it would have an immediate impact on results. It took about two weeks to finish the optimizations, which took us to the end of the month. This was perfect because we can use the entirety of the next month to gauge our results.
I have to admit, the initial results even astounded me. In just the first full month of tracking, our hot box enclosure company saw improvement in every category. They included:
They also added new subscribers. Subscribers are big because they are showing loyalty to your videos, or in other words, loyalty to your brand.
With all of the social platforms to choose from, it seems that many companies overlook the raw power of YouTube when they’re putting together a digital or video marketing campaign. Your videos don’t have to be overly-produced pieces of content.YouTube is about creating the right content that will be found by your target audience members and optimizing the descriptions to make it easier for them to find.
If you’re looking for help with your video marketing (whether it be YouTube optimizations or producing a video) check out our video marketing page to find tips on how to create great videos. Or take a look at examples of some of the videos we’ve produced for our clients.