As subscribers grow and video views increase, so the opportunities for promotion also move up to the next level. This month, anyone creating a new YouTube account will be presented with a 'Welcome to YouTube' page, in which Robin Good will be one of four spotlighted popular channels recommended to new YouTubers.
So, without further ado, here are some of the features and strategies that you can use to make sure that YouTube starts generating website traffic for you:
Create and Customize Your Own Channel
Why you need a YouTube Channel
The first thing you need to do, if you haven't already, is to create your own YouTube Channel. This is far from being a complicated procedure, as your channel is automatically generated for you when you sign up for a new YouTube account.
This is your first step towards becoming a video creator, NewsMaster or opinion maker, rather than just another site visitor.
Among the advantages of having your own channel are:
- The ability to arrange your own and others content in a single location, with its own YouTube URL (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/robingood")
- The opportunity to create a profile for yourself and your content, and link back to your website URL
- The chance to start creating playlists from your own and other people's content
- The opportunity to lay the foundations of your YouTube presence, which you can build on using the other tips in this guide
Once you have signed up and started uploading, recording or aggregating video content, you can take advantage of some of the recently launched channel customization options. You can find these in your channel settings once you are logged in.
In addition to being able to extensively edit the contents and design of your profile - selecting from a range of options the features you want to make use of - you can also select from your video selection 9 highlighted videos that will be prominently displayed on your channel profile.
If you have managed to gather quite a collection, this is a great way of being able to promote some of your favorite, or your audiences' favorite, videos.
Account Types - Choose Your Niche
Targeting your content by account type
When you sign up for a new account you are given the chance to choose which account type you would like. While one of the options is 'standard', it makes a lot more sense to choose from the other possibilities. You can select from the following categories:
- A Director account - great if you are producing your own web videos. This account allows you to to add custom items and a logo to your Profile pages
- A Musician account - which is a good opportunity if you are hoping to promote your music through YouTube. In addition to your custom logo and choice of music genre, you can also display tour date information and CD purchase links on your profile pages
- A Comedian account - which is of course a good way of promoting your comedy show or stand-up act. This allows you to add your custom log, comedy style, show date information and CD purchase links on your profile pages
- A Guru account - which is for anyone that is an expert in a particular field, whether that be cooking or web design. This account lets you choose a custom logo, genre and links to your other websites from your profile pages
If you already have a YouTube account but want to take advantage of this feature, you can do so by converting your account type from yourchannel info page. It is possible to change at any time.
Why limit yourself?
If you happen to dabble in music, comedy and dishing out advice you might wonder why it makes sense to limit yourself to one particular account type. The answer is simple - by choosing a particular account type you automatically increase your chances of your videos and profile being seen. Users can search by account type, looking just through the videos created by Guru account holders only for instance.
This means that in narrowing the focus of your channel, you automatically reduce the competition from other videos, and give yourself the chance to further promote your work. Users can search for videos on the YouTube channel guide by selecting a particular channel category.
From here, they can see the most subscribed and most viewed videos of the current week, and can also filter videos by the current month, or 'all time' in their search. Whether your videos get a lot of views in a particular week, or steadily gather views over a number of months, your self-promotion opportunities will have increased.
It is far easier to rise to the top of the pile within a particular category than it is to make the front page of the website, and in the process you help potential viewers to narrow down their search. All of this leads to more video and profile views, and in turn more traffic to your website, and that's before you consider any CD sales or live performance attendance you might see as an added bonus.
Create Short Form Viral Content
Online video has its own rules
In the vast majority of cases, your best chance of creating a highly-viewed video is to make sure that your running time is around the five minute mark or less.
While people will watch TV-ripped content for significantly longer, made-for-web video works best in short bursts, both in terms of its ability to keep your viewers attention, and to stay within the file size limit of 100Mb placed on YouTube uploads.
If you have a particularly exciting longer piece, it can very often be broken up into segments, and can always be combined together later in a playlist. This gives your viewers the chance to skip to relevant parts of the content if they choose to, rather than forcing them to sit through ten minutes of video before they get to the part that they are interested in.
In terms of creating content with viral reach, there are no hard and fast rules, as it really depends on the nature of your content.
If you have a Guru account, make short, snappy, super-informative videos and how-to guides that people won't find elsewhere. If you have a comedian account, make me laugh in the first thirty seconds of your clip. Musicians - hit me with your greatest song, and have me tapping my foot in the first few seconds. This is the way to create video that people want to share.
Tag and Categorize
Once you have created your video - or imported it from elsewhere - one important step to consider is choosing the right category and tags for your video. This is the stage that is most often rushed or overlooked, but if you take the time to check out the other popular videos in your niche, and see how they have been tagged and placed within the YouTube categories, it will finally pay off.
Categories aren't always as straightforward as they seem, and it could be that your content doesn't fit snugly into any one of the options available. The key here is to run a search on similar content by keyword, and then make a note of how that content has been tagged and categorized.
It is also worth paying attention to less popular categories if they fit your content, as you may be able to reduce your competition, and thus propel your video to the most popular or most viewed within your specific category.
When it comes to tagging, don't be shy about adding as many keywords as you can, and again, see if you can match them to other existing content. You may well then find your video being recommended in the 'related' videos sidebar next to other users videos, thus driving traffic to your own content and profile.
Create Niche-Targeted Playlists
Whether you create your own video or plan to bring together other users videos, putting playlists together is a very simple prospect. If you are using your own videos, you can do so by selecting clips from the My Videos section of your account and adding them to a new playlist.
If you want to do the same with other users' content, all you have to do is add the individual videos to your list of favorites, and then add them to playlists in the same way that you would your own videos.
You can do this by visiting the video you are interested in and choosing the 'save to favorites' option directly under the video player. You are even given the option of saving the video directly to any playlists you have already created.
Why make playlists?
The advantages of creating playlists are two-fold.
First of all, you can gather individual clips into a niche-targeted context so that viewers can find related content quickly and easily without having to search for the individual items themselves. By putting in the time and research you can provide this service and boost your web traffic without ever recording a single video of your own.
Secondly, you can gather your own videos either by thematic relevance, or as part of a series. If you have a longer video, it makes sense to break it down into several clips, each with a clear title, so that viewers can opt to skip to particularly interesting parts of your movie.
Either way, you have cut out some of the search and navigation work required of your potential audience, and won them over in the process. The ability to select and bring to other people's attention little-seen videos is a skill in and of itself, and people will thank you for taking the time.
The key is to look for videos with a small amount of views where possible, as you will then be promoting content that has not already done the rounds a thousand times before.
Promote Your Video with YouTube Email and Bulletins
If you want to get your video seen, your profile visited and your web traffic subsequently increased, it isn't enough to sit back and passively wait for viewers to come to you. YouTube provides you with a number of self-promotion opportunities, and among them is the ability to send emails to other users, and create bulletins from your profile or other users' channel pages.
People often forget that YouTube is a social community as much as it is a video-sharing site. As such, there is nothing terrible about reaching out to other users and letting them know about your content, your thoughts, or your admiration of their work.
The Robin Good YouTube Channel gets a lot of incoming emails pointing out new videos or recommendations of great content to be found in the depths of the YouTube vaults. This has led to whole articles being written on the content of the videos suggested before now, and is a great way of spreading the word in an informal way.
Obviously you don't want to spam people with totally irrelevant links, but if you have put in a little research and found other users with similar tastes and interests, it is certainly worth letting them know about your videos and playlists.
Bulletins are an even easier way of creating short messages on your own channel profile, or leaving messages for users on their profile pages. Bulletins are super-short messages about your status, new releases or anything else you might want to broadcast to the world via your YouTube channel.
This is a great way of leaving quick comments on other user's pages, and in doing so you are likely to pique their interest enough for them to come and check out your profile and maybe even subscribe if they like what they see.
Posting bulletins to your own profile is also an effective way to keep your viewers in the loop, and creates a sense of consistency and presence even when you haven't posted any new videos for a while.
Leave Video Responses
Another effective way of getting yourself seen is to leave a video response to another user's clip. These video responses can be created right from underneath the main video player, and can be chosen from your previously uploaded videos, uploaded there and then, or even captured directly from your webcam.
As such video responses can be relevant content that matches the theme of the original video or direct and personal responses from your webcam. Either way, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when leaving a response:
- Keep it relevant - nobody will thank you for leaving a totally irrelevant video response, and you are likely to make enemies this way
- Keep it civil - unless you are really aiming for a shock tactic, you are unlikely to win new supporters by being aggressive or unpleasant
- Choose your target video well - if your goal is to boost visits to your profile and website, there is little point in leaving a response to a little-seen, less-than-dynamite video. Hone in on who the most popular video-makers are in your niche area, and leave well-timed responses to their videos. You will then be in a good position to siphon off their viewers to your video and profile.
- Strike at the right time - The ideal situation is to get in early and get your response at the top of the pile, so that it gets seen. If you are the thirtieth person to leave a comment, chances are you are a little late
Join or Create YouTube Groups
YouTube has a strong community of groups that exist for users to discuss and share videos. You can browse for groups to join by category, or create your own group from the YouTube Groups page. There are advantages to both approaches.
Joining an existing group
If you manage to find a group that fits your content-niche, you can join it in a single click, and then have the ability to post videos or comments to the group discussion area.
Taking part in a group won't necessarily take up a great deal of your time, but it will provide you with a very nicely segmented, targeted audience for your content. You can then add your videos, describe and discuss them and interact with other like-minded users. All the while you will be building your network of YouTube contacts, and potentially winning new subscribers to your channel.
The major advantage of joining a pre-existing group is the fact that it will already have at least a small group of active users from the word go, while creating your own group may involve waiting for new members to join before you have any opportunity to promote your work.
Creating your own group
Nevertheless, with time and a little promotion via other YouTube community features, building a group around your own niche-interest, or even your website or business, is another great way to boost your YouTube presence and potentially win new site visitors.
Once you have clicked on the create a group button you can choose a name, tags, description, URL and categories for it.
You can also choose whether content will be posted directly to the group, or whether it will first require your approval. Obviously, if self promotion is your goal, it makes sense to make your group public rather than invitation only, which is another option available to you.
Chat in the Streams
YouTube Streams provide you with another way to engage with the YouTube community directly, and give you the opportunity to join or create a room where videos are shared and discussed in realtime. This gives you an opportunity to share your videos in a niche-targeted live environment and communicate with the people watching them. Other users can also share their videos in the room if you allow them to, so this is more of a conversation than it is a one-sided presentation.
Nevertheless, if you pitch the theme of your room just right, and do what you can to promote the 'live event', this could well be an effective way to bring new people into your circle of subscribers and friends.
When you create a stream you can set a name, background image, welcome message, maximum number of users (up to 300) and who will be permitted to share videos. It is a good idea to leave this last option open to all, as few people will be interested in sticking around if they aren't allowed to share their own videos in the mix.
A new feature, Active Sharing provides another opportunity to drive traffic to your profile. Active Sharing is aimed at trend setters and opinion makers, and makes it easy for you to broadcast the videos that you are currently watching.
If you choose to turn on Active Sharing, every time you visit a video, your username will appear next to that video clip for 30 minutes. All of your videos will then be added to a 'videos I'm watching' section on your profile page. Via this service, curious viewers may click through to your profile, based on the fact that you are watching the same video. From there they will be able to check out other videos you have been watching, as a form of recommendation.
While they are doing so, they will already be on your profile page, complete with the links to your website, CD sales or tour dates.
Either way, by making use of the great range of community, niche-building and content-targeting features of YouTube, you have a good chance of maximizing your conversion rate of YouTube viewers to website visitors.
By niche-targeting your content and promoting it via the range of community features packed into YouTube, you can optimize your chances of successful self promotion and turn a simple user-account into an effective marketing machine.
Broadcast yourself, and promote yourself in for the bargain.
If you would like to learn more about using YouTube as a marketing and promotional tool, you might want to check out the following links: